News Feed 20120930

Financial Crisis
» Bristol, England, Adopts Alternative Currency
» Dollar Falls Most Since 2011 as Central Banks Bump Up Stimulus
 
USA
» 3-Star General Warns: Muslim Brotherhood Has Infiltrated Every Major US Federal Agency
» American Muslims Launch Petition to Limit Free Speech
» Blacks and Hispanics Soar in Newly Revamped FDNY Test
» Military Wants ‘Minority Report’ For Suicide Prevention
» Muslim Violence is Our New Law
» NAACP File Complaint Over Entry Test
» Obama’s Tyrannical Executive Orders
 
Europe and the EU
» Ancient Burial Shroud Made of Nettles
» Bologna’s New Ice-Cream Museum Charts History of the Italian Treat
» Britain Warned it Must Take Action on Prisoner Votes Within Two Months
» French Authorities Arrest 6 for Abuse and Forcing Young Kids to Steal
» German Woman Killed 5 of Her Own Children Shortly After Birth, Police Say
» Greece: Website Leaks 30+ Names of Allegedly Corrupt MPs
» Hungary: Looking Into the Eyes of Bolshevik Murderers
» Italy: Two PDL Secretaries Under Investigation in Fiorito Probes
» Italy: Trial of Alleged Berlusconi Sex Suppliers Resumes in Milan
» Italy: Mixed Reactions to Possible Second Monti Term
» Italy’s Central Bank Governor Attacks Executive Pay
» Italy: Inquiry Opened Into Emilia-Romagna Region
» Roma Camp Dismantled in Italy’s Capital
» UK: Dogar: Nine Men Deny Child Sex Ring Charges
» UK: Hussain: Husband Guilty of Organising Brutal Exorcism of Wife
» UK: KitKat Firm Nestle Hides GPS Chips in Six Bars So They Can Track You Down and Hand Over a Briefcase Full of Cash
» UK: Mum: ‘A Stranger Stubbed a Cigarette Out on My Toddler’s Head’
» UK: Rochdale: Horrific ‘Sexual Predator’ Who Lured Manchester Teenagers to His Flat to Rape Jailed for Four Years
 
North Africa
» Egypt: Risk of Division Within Salafite Party
» Egyptian President Morsi: A Fugitive Addresses World Leaders
 
Middle East
» How Saudi Petrodollars Fuel Rise of Salafism
» Iran Condemns US Taking Group Off Terror List
» Understanding Bibi’s Urgency: Israel is Only Target of Iran’s Need for Islamic Apocalypse
» Worries That ‘Arab Spring” Leading to ‘Nuclear Winter’
 
South Asia
» 25,000 Muslim Rioters Torch Buddhist Temples, Homes in Bangladesh
» Afghan Situation ‘Is Worse Than Government Says’
» Afghan ‘Insider’ Attack Claims at Least Two Lives
» Blasphemy Hurts Muslims as Holocaust Denial Hurts Jews, Says Imran
» Buddhist Temples Targeted in Bangladesh
» India: Bibles Are Burnt, Christians Attacked to Convert Them Forcibly to Hinduism
 
Far East
» Tashkent Begins Exporting Gas to China
 
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Grenade Kills Child: Injures Three in Kenya Church Attack
» Tanzania: Witchcraft Wars Disrupt Schooling Attendance
 
Latin America
» The “Comfortable Invisibility” of the Globalist Project
 
Immigration
» UK: Shock on Immigration
 
Culture Wars
» California Becomes First State in Nation to Ban ‘Gay Cure’ Therapy for Children
» Gay Couples Should be Allowed to Marry in Church, Says Miliband as He Backs Government Proposals
» Inmate With Gender Identity Disorder Lauds Sex Change Ruling
» UK: ‘Cavalier’ Marr is Accused of Ignoring Jesus While Honouring Buddhism in His BBC History of the World
» ‘Why Have Kids?’

Financial Crisis

Bristol, England, Adopts Alternative Currency

As riots rage in the capitals of Greece and Spain and nearly every economy in Europe teeters like a drunkard on the edge of financial ruin, one city in the United Kingdom is responding by creating its own local currency.

Bristol, England, a major seaport and the town where the saying “cash on the nail” (meaning immediate payment in cash) originated, is now printing its own pound. The idea according to advocates and city leaders is to encourage patronage toward local businesses and away from multinational conglomerates like Tesco and Starbucks.

The BBC reports that “more than 350 firms in the city have signed up, making it the UK’s largest alternative to sterling.”

Ciaran Mundy, one of the chief proponents of the Bristol pound, revealed to the BBC the reason for the minting. “If you lock the money into the area, rather than it going into the international finance system then you keep more money actually working in the city here,” Mundy said.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

Dollar Falls Most Since 2011 as Central Banks Bump Up Stimulus

The Dollar Index fell by the most since the first quarter of 2011 after the European Central Bank pledged to protect the euro from unraveling and the Federal Reserve committed to reduce unemployment via open-ended debt buying, which may debase the U.S. currency.

Since July 26, when ECB President Mario Draghi said he would do “whatever it takes” to save the euro, the 17-nation currency rose versus 15 of its 16 most-traded counterparts tracked by Bloomberg. Amid the Fed’s expansion of monetary stimulus, the Dollar Index lost 2.1 percent in the third quarter. The Bank of Japan, which followed the Fed and the ECB in expanding its balance sheet by 10 trillion yen ($130 billion), is scheduled to announce its next policy decision on Oct. 5.

“The ECB announcement to buy one- to three-year bonds in the periphery” shaped currency markets last quarter, George Davis, chief technical analyst for fixed income and currency strategy in Toronto at Royal Bank of Canada, said in an interview. “It was the opening of a new chapter.”

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

USA

3-Star General Warns: Muslim Brotherhood Has Infiltrated Every Major US Federal Agency

Army Lieutenant General (Ret.) William “Jerry” Boykin confirmed that people with high security clearances connected to the Muslim Brotherhood hold important positions in every major federal agency including the Pentagon and the Department of Defense. The Muslim Brotherhood is a radical Islamist organization that has vowed the destruction of America from within. General Boykin has the credentials to back up his conclusions. He was one of the original members of the U.S. Army’s Delta Force which he ultimately led in combat operations. He also served a tour in the CIA during which time he participated in clandestine operations throughout the world. He served his last four years in the Army as Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

American Muslims Launch Petition to Limit Free Speech

Islamic leaders in Missouri and New Jersey are calling for lawmakers to limit free speech after an anti-Muslim film sparked outrage across the world.

The Islamic Society of Greater Kansas City has launched a petition calling on Congress to “establish a law against insulting one’s religion.”

“We understand the First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights and, as such, prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, etc., but when the allowance of ‘free’ speech incites violence it should be banned,” read a statement from the Islamic Society.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

Blacks and Hispanics Soar in Newly Revamped FDNY Test

Blacks and Hispanics scored significantly better on the newly revamped FDNY exam, a shift that could lead to firefighter jobs for as many as 42% of the minority-group test-takers, city officials revealed Tuesday.

The would-be minority-group firefighters far outscored those who sat for the previous three exams—the results of which were deemed discriminatory and tossed out by a judge.

Bravest hopefuls who nail a grade of 97 or higher are considered likely to be hired by the FDNY over the next four years.

Nearly half—42.3%—of minority-group members who took the test cleared that hurdle, officials said.

That’s much higher than top-scoring minorities who took the 1999 exam (14%), the 2002 exam (16%) and the 2007 exam (33%).

The results of all three earlier tests were thrown out by Brooklyn Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis in response to a 2007 lawsuit from the Justice Department and the Vulcan Society of black firefighters.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

Military Wants ‘Minority Report’ For Suicide Prevention

Suicides among U.S. troops have outpaced combat deaths in Afghanistan throughout much of this year. The alarming trend has spurred the U.S. military to envision a “Minority Report” future where it has better predictions of when a person is likely to commit suicide — or perhaps even murder. The idea of predicting people’s likelihood of using violence comes from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The agency plans to hold a suicide prevention workshop on Oct. 19 to figure out the best methods and technological tools for identifying troubled states of mind, according to a special notice issued on Sept. 26.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Muslim Violence is Our New Law

Over two centuries ago a group of British colonists huddling amid the forests and rivers of a new continent decided what they could and could not say by killing enough soldiers and mercenaries that the people who had been in charge of their speech decided they should try their luck somewhere where the regulating was easier.

This state of affairs in which the country that those colonists formed became and remains one of the very few places in the world, even among Western democracies, where freedom of speech is absolute, came about through stirring speeches, deeply felt debates, classical ideas and a passionate political culture—but most of all it came about because large numbers of people were willing to kill over it.

Currently large numbers of people are willing to kill over the idea that Islam is the supreme religion, that Mohammed is a deity whom all mankind should respect and that the infidels living in the suburban sprawl of a thoroughly explored continent should accept that or die. Our government calls those people a tiny minority of extremists. Our unofficial name for them is, “Muslims.”

Laws are decided by many things, but sweep away all the lawbooks, the pleas from tearful mothers, the timed publicity campaigns, the novel legal theories and the greedy bureaucrats expanding their turf, and under the table you will find a gun. The first and final law is still the law of force. The law begins with the power to impose its will on others. It ends with the enforcement of that power.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

NAACP File Complaint Over Entry Test

The largest U.S. civil rights group plans to file a complaint on Thursday over the admissions test at New York City’s specialized high schools, among the nation’s most elite public schools, citing effective discrimination against black and Latino students, the group said.

The complaint with the U.S. Department of Education focuses on eight schools in the city, particularly on Stuyvesant High and Bronx Science, which boast stellar alumni including several Nobel laureates, famed actors and musicians, and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

While more than half the population of New York City is black or Latino, black students made up only 1.2 percent of the Stuyvesant student body last year, while Latino students represented 2.4 percent, city data showed.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, which is filing the complaint, said the highly competitive, 2-1/2-hour, multiple-choice Specialized High School Admissions Test was at fault for the disparity.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

Obama’s Tyrannical Executive Orders

A September 24 a Wall Street Journal editorial warned that President Obama is moving to control the Internet by executive order. “Any day now, the White House will issue an executive order on cyber security, according to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano who said last week that the measure ‘is close to completion.’“

[…]

Jeffery T. Kuhmer, writing in The Washington Times in March, noted that “On March 15, the White House released an executive order, ‘National Defense Resources Preparedness.’ The document is stunning in its audacity and a flagrant violation of the Constitution.”

To understand how extensive this is, the Western Center for Journalism published a list of “Obama’s Worst Executive Orders” asserting that some 900 Obama executive orders had been initiated when in fact Obama has signed 139. However, added to active EOs from previous administrations, the Center is correct in its fears that he is “creating a martial law ‘Disney Land’ of control covering everything imaginable.”

  • Executive Order 10990 allows the Government to take over all modes of transportation and control of highways and seaports.
  • Executive Order 10995 allows the government to seize and control the communication media.
  • Executive Order 10997 allows the government to take over all electrical power, gas, petroleum, fuels, and minerals.
  • Executive Order 11000 allows the government to mobilize civilians into work brigades under government supervision. It noted that “the White House intends to go ahead with its order in the face of vociferous opposition on Capitol Hill.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Ancient Burial Shroud Made of Nettles

Ancient scraps of fabric found in a grave in Denmark are not made of cultivated flax as once believed, but instead are woven from imported wild nettles, suggesting the grave’s inhabitant may have traveled far for burial.

This discovery, announced Friday, Sept. 28 in the journal Scientific Reports, casts a new light on the textile trade in Bronze Age Europe, said study researcher Ulla Mannering, an archaeologist at the University of Copenhagen.

“Since the Stone Age, they had very well-developed agriculture and technology for producing linen textiles,” Mannering told LiveScience. “So it’s really unusual that a society which has established agriculture would also take in material from things that are not of the normal standardized agricultural production” — in other words, wild plants.

The soft and shiny fabric dates back to between 940 B.C. and 750 B.C., making it about 2,800 years old. It was discovered in Voldtofte, Denmark, at a rich Bronze Age burial ground called Lusehøj. The Bronze Age ran from about 3200 B.C. to 600 B.C. in Europe.

The fabric was wrapped around a bundle of cremated remains in a bronze urn. It was a luxurious piece of material, Mannering said.

“The fibers we get from the European nettle are very, very fine and soft and shiny, and we often say this is a sort of prehistoric silk textile,” Mannering said. (Silk, made from insect cocoons, is known for its shimmery texture.)

Previous analysis pegged the Danish fabric as woven from flax, a plant widely cultivated in the region. But along with nanophysicist Bodil Holst of the University of Bergen in Norway, Mannering and her colleagues used advanced methods to reanalyze the scraps of cloth. By studying the fiber orientation as well as the presence of certain crystals found in plants, the researchers were able to learn that the fabric is not flax at all, but nettle, a group of plants known for the needlelike stingers that line their stems and leaves.

Nor is the nettle local, Mannering said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Bologna’s New Ice-Cream Museum Charts History of the Italian Treat

A new ice-cream museum just outside Bologna charts the rise of the Italian sweet and offers visitors the chance to taste historic flavours and even create their own gelato

A new museum outside Bologna charts the rise of gelato — Italian ice-cream — from its early incarnation as a chilled delicacy for Roman emperors to the sweet treat seen on every corner of Italy — and offers to make every visitor an artisan.

The €1.5m ice-cream museum opens its doors tomorrow at the headquarters of Carpigiani, a gelato machine maker founded in Bologna in 1946 which now sells its treats in more than 100 countries.

The free museum is located in a modern exhibition space seven miles outside of the city in the municipality of Anzola dell’Emilia.

“The Foundation has created the first museum in the world that describes the complete history, culture and knowledge of gelato,” says Valentina Righi, vice president of the Bruto and Poerio Carpigiani Foundation, financier of the museum. By sending tourists home with an appreciation of the history, Righi hopes “to spread the gelato culture everywhere in the world”.

A tour through the museum is an animated affair, with an English-speaking guide on hand to take visitors through the 11th-century Arab pomegranate sorbet recipe and on to the birth of gelato in Italy 500 years later. Here its roots are traced to the House of Medici; a family famed in Florence for its political grip and production of popes. Luciana Polliotti, the museum’s historical curator, says gelato as we know it today was invented by Cosimo Ruggieri, alchemist and astrologer to Caterina de’ Medici in the 16th century.

The simple pleasure was reserved for the well-to-do until the “democratisation” of gelato in the 20th century, the focus period of the museum.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Britain Warned it Must Take Action on Prisoner Votes Within Two Months

Britain has been warned it has less than two months to take “concrete” measures towards allowing prisoners the right to vote, in a key test for David Cameron.

The body that runs the European Court of Human Rights said it was “almost seven years” since the blanket ban was ruled illegal, and that time was running out for Parliament to take action.

It puts renewed pressure on the Prime Minister, who famously said the thought of letting inmates take part in elections made him “physically ill”.

Britain was first told by the ECHR that its blanket ban on prisoners voting breached their human rights in October 2005, in a case brought by a convicted axe-killer, John Hirst.

A Cabinet Office spokesman said: “The Government is considering how best to proceed following the judgment of the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights in Scoppola.”

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

French Authorities Arrest 6 for Abuse and Forcing Young Kids to Steal

French authorities have filed preliminary charges against six people accused of forcing children to steal and beg as part of a yearlong investigation involving police in France and Romania.

Prosecutors said Friday that another six are still in custody pending further questioning. All were detained in Roma, or Gypsy, camps in a Paris suburb earlier this week. Prosecutors said family members forced minors between 9 and 17 to carry out thefts and they were whipped or starved when they didn’t fulfill quotas.

The announcement comes amid political debate about how France is treating Roma. Police have expelled hundreds from illegal camps in France recently. Residents of a Marseille neighborhood kicked out around 50 Roma from a camp there and burned it down Thursday night, the Sipa news agency reported.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

German Woman Killed 5 of Her Own Children Shortly After Birth, Police Say

German officials have charged a woman with murdering five of her own children shortly after they were born to preserve her family’s standard of living.

The 28-year-old woman, whose name has not been released, gave birth to two children, ages 8 and 10, but then allegedly began hiding her subsequent pregnancies from everyone, including her husband.

She dumped the first two babies’ bodies in public, leaving one along a roadside nine miles outside her hometown of Husum, a coastal town near Germany’s border with Denmark. After police realized the babies had the same DNA, she delivered her next three babies in the woods — but in macabre fashion disposed of their bodies in boxes in the basement of her apartment building. Police arrested her on five charges of manslaughter.

The case’s prosecutor, Ulrike Stahlmann-Liebelt, said the woman made a “comprehensive confession” after submitting to a DNA test.

“She has said that the family lived at a certain level of prosperity, that it was clear her husband did not want any more children, and that one reason was to preserve this standard, and she feared that might be endangered if another child were there,” she said.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

Greece: Website Leaks 30+ Names of Allegedly Corrupt MPs

Charges ranging from fraud and tax evasion to money laundering

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, SEPTEMBER 28 — A political scandal is brewing in Greece after a list containing the names of more than 30 politicians currently under investigation for corruption by the Financial Crimes Squad (SDOE) was leaked by www.zougla.gr website on Friday.

The list includes 11 former ministers, 10 former deputy ministers and 12 former or current MPs who are under investigation on allegations ranging from tax evasion to gaining wealth from illegal activities. Among them is parliamentary speaker Evangelos Meimarakis, who is allegedly under investigation for money laundering through shady real estate deals, Realnews weekly reported. Those named are presumed innocent until proven guilty, zougla.gr website specified.

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is expected to make an official statement today, according to ekathimerini.com online daily. The leak comes ahead of next week’s parliamentary vote on a tough new austerity package mandated by the EU-ECB-IMF troika, on which Greece’s permanence within the eurozone might depend.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Hungary: Looking Into the Eyes of Bolshevik Murderers

Jobbik, several patriotic organizations, including the Hungarian Guard and Kurultaj organizers held a rally this afternoon at the houses of two war criminals that are still alive, Bela Biszku and György Mátsik. The two Boshevik monsters are heavily involved in the post-1956 reprisals including the murder of innocent civilians and even minors.

Biszku and Mátsik, the soul-mates of Gyurcsany, Bajnai, Kovacs and other Bolshevik traitors have no remorse and even today they don’t regret what they have done. They live well on higher than average retirement pension while their victims are struggling to earn their daily bread.

About 2000 people, including Jobbik members of parliament showed up at György Mátsik’s house with protest signs and flags.

In the mostly young crowd, also appeared many older people. They told barikad.hu that they came to the rally because their relatives were imprisoned and murdered by these monsters in the post-revolutionary reprisals.

Jobbik deputy György Szilagyi said there are people in this country who do not accept that former Communists govern the country. Hungarians are humiliated on a daily bases while minorities and Hungarian-haters enjoy privileges even in the judiciary said the Jobbik politician. Then, he added patriot groups should join forces because only together can the traitors be defeated.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

Italy: Two PDL Secretaries Under Investigation in Fiorito Probes

Lazio governor gave secretaries access to party bank account

(ANSA) — Rome, September 28 — Two secretaries from ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Freedom (PdL) party are being probed in a regional corruption scandal that erupted earlier this month.

Bruno Galassi and Pierluigi Boschi were both PdL secretaries for former regional chief Franco Fiorito, who was placed under investigation for suspected embezzlement of party funds after his offices were searched by police mid-September.

Boschi is also Fiorito’s cousin, investigators said.

Investigators say that Boschi and Galassi were authorized access to the party’s Unicredit bank account.

The men reportedly wrote and cashed two checks in their own names for 4,600 euros each.

Bank transfers worth over 10,000 euros to Fiorito’s godmother and girlfriend for ‘services rendered’ are also being investigated.

The possibility that the scandal engulfing Berlusconi’s centre-right party is placing it at risk of imploding has been denied by the party’s founder.

“No, we are not in disarray,” Berlusconi told journalists on Tuesday.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Trial of Alleged Berlusconi Sex Suppliers Resumes in Milan

‘Bunga bunga’ parties ‘a joke’ says defendant

(ANSA) — Milan, September 28 — A trial against three people for allegedly supplying ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi with prostitutes resumed on Friday in Milan.

Bankrupt ex-talent scout Lele Mora, Lombardy regional councillor and Berlusconi’s former dental hygienist Nicole Minetti and retired television anchor Emilio Fede must answer to charges of inducing and favouring prostitution, including underage prostitution, in connection with alleged sex parties hosted by Berlusconi at his villa at Arcore near Milan.

One of the alleged prostitutes at the center of the case is Karima ‘Ruby’ El Mahroug, a Moroccan-born belly dancer who was underage at the time. Ruby’s father Mohammed El Mahroug told the court that all his daughter wanted from life was money and “we didn’t have any”. In a separate trial, Berlusconi is suspected of paying for sex with Ruby after several of the parties and allegedly coercing police into releasing her after an unrelated theft claim to hush up the fact.

Prosecutors say Berlusconi had sex with 33 prostitutes at his villa over the course of several months.

Mora and Minetti were both present in court on Friday, Mora for the first time. Mora told journalists outside the courthouse that Berlusconi was innocent and that the so-called ‘bunga bunga’ parties were nothing more than a “joke”: “at Arcore we ate and had a good time”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Mixed Reactions to Possible Second Monti Term

Italy needs ‘solid, reliable government’ say employers

(ANSA) — Rome, September 28 — There were mixed reactions on Friday to the possibility of a second Mario Monti government after Italy’s unelected technocrat premier said he would serve again “under special circumstances”. “A second Monti term is a possibility,” said the president of the Italian industrial employers’ association, Giorgio Squinzi. “But above all Italy needs a solid, reliable government of credible people which has a political basis”. His opinion was shared by Pier Luigi Bersani, the leader of the centre-left Democratic Party.

“Monti is a resource for the country,” Bersani told daily newspaper La Repubblica. “But if he wants to continue without a political majority supporting him, I say to him that it’s not possible. This is the basic point, everything else comes later”.

Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne had no reservations though. “(A second Monti government) would be a step forward for the country. It would give credibility and eliminate much uncertainty,” he said.

Susanna Camusso, leader of Italy’s largest trade union confederation CGIL, expressed a opposite view, saying a second Monti term “would be a message of resignation, not a prospect for change”.

“The sensation is that of a country that is unable to create different political alternatives to overcome the crisis,” she said. Antonio Di Pietro, the outspoken leader of the small anti-graft IdV party that opposes Monti’s emergency government, had no hesitation in shooting down the hypothesis. “In a democracy the idea that someone should want to govern the country without asking for authorisation from its citizens only exists in dictatorships or in countries where citizens are considered second-rate,” he said. Monti took the helm of government last November when the financial crisis forced Silvio Berlusconi to resign as premier.

His term as premier is set to end when Italy holds elections next spring.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy’s Central Bank Governor Attacks Executive Pay

Visco wants more women on bank boards

(ANSA) — Rome, September 25 — The governor of Italy’s central bank called on banking leaders for reforms in the governance of their sector at a conference in Rome on Tuesday, citing executive pay as an issue that needs tackling.

“The Italian banking system has undoubtedly made progress in governance,” Bank of Italy Governor Ignazio Visco said, Bu he added that: “we expect additional steps forward to be made; there are still plenty of areas where more efforts are necessary”.

Visco seems to be keen to see Italy’s banks break up ‘old boys’ clubs’ in board rooms.

Visco said banking boards must increase the number of women board members, and seek to diversify the experience and backgrounds of their members in general.

The governor commented that the “capacity to prevent or at least cushion the blow” of the credit crisis “has been greater where the board knew how to keep control of risks, demonstrated skill and transparency.” Visco also bit into banks for their “criticism and resistance to the Bank of Italy’s corrective actions” to nip executive salaries and bonuses that are “not coherent” with the current economic crisis. He scolded banks for not heeding pressure reduce the amount of assets connected to public debt too, saying they ignored “costs connected with profligate and excessively structured government assets”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Inquiry Opened Into Emilia-Romagna Region

Latest anti-corruption move after wave of scandals

(ANSA) — Bologna, September 28 — Bologna prosecutors on Friday opened an inquiry into the Emilia-Romagna region’s handling of public funds. The prosecutors, who cite no specific wrongdoing, are already investigating Paolo Nanni, the Bologna provincial leader of the anti-corruption party Italy of Values (IdV), for allegedly mishandling party money. “If Paolo Nanni has any explanations, he’ll tell them to the prosecutors. Otherwise he’ll answer to the law,” said party leader and former anti-graft judge Antonio Di Pietro.

The inquiry was announced shortly after police searched party offices at the Piedmont regional administration on Friday in a preliminary inquiry into suspected over-spending by various caucuses.

They are the latest in a string of anti-corruption moves after a wave of scandals that hit Bari, Naples, Milan and Rome and forced Lazio governor Renata Polverini to quit earlier this week. Politicians have vowed to revise regional spending laws.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Roma Camp Dismantled in Italy’s Capital

Amnesty International criticize the eviction of 250 people

(ANSA) — Rome, September 28 — Rome municipal authorities dimantled the Tor de’Cenci Romani settlement on the outskirts of the city, evicted its inhabitants and bulldozed the camp’s housing on Friday morning.

Human Rights group Amnesty International said in an open statement to the Italian government that they condemned the “unlawful eviction” and were “gravely worried for the wellbeing of the 250 inhabitants of the destroyed camp left without any offer of adequate alternative accommodation, leaving many of them at risk of homelessness”.

An Amnesty report in April said that Roma, sometimes called Gypsies, continue to face “persecution and human rights abuses” in Italy.

The non-governmental organization criticized the discriminatory climate against Roma, specifically the 2008 Nomad Emergency decree that gave government representatives in the regions of Lombardy, Lazio and Campania the authority to waive human-rights legislation and allowed forced evictions of Roma communities.

The decree was declared unlawful by the country’s highest administrative court in 2011.

Discrimination against Roma is one of Italy’s biggest human-rights problems, Amnesty International said in the country’s section of its 2010 annual report.

The Italian government has consistently denied applying discriminatory practices regarding Roma.

Rome Mayor Gianni Alemanno said on Friday that the destruction of the camp had been pre-warned and that no abuses by authorities took place during the operation.

Italy’s Minister for Economic Cooperation and Integration Andrea Riccardi expressed his “astonishment at the manner and the suddenness of the eviction of the Roma camp of Tor de’ Cenci, the destruction of shacks and caravans that all took place in front of numerous children and minors”. The dismantling precedes a to-be-released report by the Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner, which has asked Italy to immediately stop the practice of segregation and forced evictions that are in stark contrast to the National Strategy for Roma inclusion, approved by the government last spring.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

UK: Dogar: Nine Men Deny Child Sex Ring Charges

Oxford; Maidenhead, Berks — Nine Muslim men today (FRI) denied involvement in a child prostitution and sex trafficking ring based in Oxford. The suspects face a total of 51 charges relating to the rape and sexual assault of six vulnerable girls aged between 11 and 16. It is claimed the victims were befriended, groomed, sexually abused and required to perform sexual services for others for money. One girl was sexually assaulted with the handles of baseball bats, knives and cleavers and was subjected to an attempt to make her suffer a miscarriage.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

UK: Hussain: Husband Guilty of Organising Brutal Exorcism of Wife

Poplar, Bethnal Green, Shadwell, East London — A husband who organised the brutal exorcism of his wife to ‘beat the demon’ out of her is facing jail. Asma Hussain was tied to a bed and beaten with a walking stick after family members became convinced she was possessed. Wheelchair-bound husband Ahmed Hussain, 60, ‘instigated’ the exorcism by a local Muslim imam and encouraged him to hit his wife harder, Snaresbrook Crown Court heard.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

UK: KitKat Firm Nestle Hides GPS Chips in Six Bars So They Can Track You Down and Hand Over a Briefcase Full of Cash

It has an air of Big Brother about it.

But this time you’ll be delighted they’re watching you.

Chocolate giant Nestle has launched a new competition in the UK called ‘We Will Find You’ where they have placed tracking devices into six lucky wrappers.

Should you open one of them, the GPS will activate and send a signal through to the company’s control room.

A team of ‘commandos’ will then be despatched in a helicopter to your exact location within 24 hours and deliver you a briefcase containing £10,000 in cash.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Mum: ‘A Stranger Stubbed a Cigarette Out on My Toddler’s Head’

A MUM has spoken of her horror after a complete stranger put a cigarette out on her three-year-old son’s head as they walked along the street.

She said her son, Javid, was left with a sore, burnt head for two days following the attack.

“It was horrifying,” she added. “I’m so angry and upset. It breaks my heart someone could do this to any child, never mind my son.”

Miss Lal also said the attacker didn’t run away or make attempts to escape.

“He just stood there, as if he was waiting for a reaction, as if he had done nothing wrong,” she added.

Miss Lal, a mum-of-three, said she was too scared to leave the house for two days after the incident and that she now wanted to move away from the area.

“He just stood there, as if he was waiting for a reaction, as if he had done nothing wrong,” she added.

Miss Lal, a mum-of-three, said she was too scared to leave the house for two days after the incident and that she now wanted to move away from the area.

“I’ve lived here all my life and nothing like this has ever happened to me and I’m sure is unlikely to happen again.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

UK: Rochdale: Horrific ‘Sexual Predator’ Who Lured Manchester Teenagers to His Flat to Rape Jailed for Four Years

A sexual predator who lured two teenage girls back to his Rochdale flat and raped one of them was jailed for four and half years today.

Babar Ali, also known as Zakir Mir, 43, of Rathbone Street, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing at Minshull Street Crown Court to raping the 16-year-old girl.

The man plied the girls with alcohol after enticing them back to his home from a night out in Oldham town centre, he then forced one into the bedroom where he subjected her to a vicious sexual attack.

Detective Constable Michael Berger, of Rochdale CID, said: “This young victim was subjected to horrific and prolonged ordeal at the hands of Ali.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

North Africa

Egypt: Risk of Division Within Salafite Party

Ahead of parliamentary vote, relations with Brotherhood at stake

(ANSAmed) — Cairo, September 28 — The two fronts within Egypt’s main Salafite party ‘el Nour’ (the light) — the hardliners and the most progressive wing — have been at odds for days. In the end, the political office has decided to oust the president of the party, Emad Abdel Ghafour, the real revelation of the first democratic parliamentary elections in Egypt.

The official explanation is that Ghafour is now a member of President Mohamed Morsi’s team. But his allies say the measure was a coup against him within the party while analysts believe it is a measure to warn the ‘friends-enemies’ of the Muslim Brotherhood.

On the background of this fraction are new elections for Parliament which was dissolved in June by the Constitutional Court. The vote has not been scheduled yet and will depend on when the new Constitution is ready but the great manoeuvres within the Salafite party have already begun. At stake is the record 25% of votes recorded at last year’s elections which is coveted by the party’s most progressive wing as well as by the hardliners close to the Salafite movement.

Divergences between the two fronts reached a record high over anti-US demonstrations against the film mocking prophet Mohamed and the risk is that the division will take its toll on the results of the upcoming elections. Tensions heightened in the last few days after the outgoing president Ghafour ousted leading members of the party accusing them of contacts with an aid of Hosni Mubarak, his last premier and candidate for the presidency Ahmad Shafiq. Ghafour even annulled a vote within the party. The two moves led to his ousting and gave more power to the party’s hardliners who are seeking to control ‘el Nour’.

The spokesman for the progressive wing Mohmoud Abbas believes the solution is a clear separation between the party and the Salafite movement which is dominated by fundamentalist preachers who have felt threatened by the great success of the political party at the national vote.

According to a political analyst, Abdel Moneim Mahmoud, ‘nobody could have anticipated that the el Nour party exploded in such a way’. According to Mahmoud the ousting of the party president is a message to President Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood. ‘It is a message of warning to the hardliners to tell them that they could find themselves in the opposition given that the Salafites don’t even have a minister in the government’, said Mahmoud.

And the fact that a war between the two giants of Islamic politics in Egypt has already started is clear in the position against Prime Minister Hisham Qandil taken by a leading member of ‘el Nour’, Tarek el Sehry, the deputy president of Parliament’s higher house, the Shura, which has not been dissolved. ‘He is undecided, his performance is flat, he must be changed’, he said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Egyptian President Morsi: A Fugitive Addresses World Leaders

Mr. Morsi is an enemy of the free speech known in America.

Historically, the Egyptian prison cell has been the incubator for monumental accomplishments, such as the formation of Al Qaeda and the current presidency of Egypt. It has provided the necessary network, doctrine and framework to spawn greater goals. Perfect plans have been hatched and prepared in Egypt’s prison block, allowing bad actors like Muhammad Morsi to plot their next move. Within a few days of Hosni Mubarak’s confinement of Morsi to the Two Sahrawi branch of the Wadi el Natruon Penitentiary during Egypt’s January 2011 uprising, Morsi broke out. He was a pawn in the execution of the Muslim Brotherhood’s long awaited scheme to take over Egypt.

Morsi was under arrest for suspicion of treason and not yet officially a sentenced criminal at the time of his escape. He might never have received a trial. Hard core Islamists like Morsi have always been thrown behind bars by Egypt’s dictators in order to prevent successful insurrections and the rise of full-blown Sharia.

So on January 29, shortly into the revolutionary crisis and on the fourth day of telecommunication darkness throughout Egypt (a complete shut down of phones and internet), the doors of prisons around the country (including the Two Sahrawi Penitentiary) flung open and prisoners fled to the streets. No sooner had Morsi emerged from his vault when a satellite phone landed in his hands for an interview already set up with Al Jazeera. It has been widely speculated throughout the Arabic press that Hamas terror cells provided this capability and linked him to the airwaves.

[…]

Intelligence coming from the Egyptian Secret Service indicated to Mubarak’s regime that Morsi was a spy cooperating with the CIA to overtake the uprising of January 25. Supposedly, Mubarak was informed that the Muslim Brotherhood received the sum of two billion dollars via Qatar.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Middle East

How Saudi Petrodollars Fuel Rise of Salafism

Since the 2011 Arab revolts, a loose network of underground zealots has evolved into a potent and highly vocal force. Behind the remarkable rise of Salafism lies the world’s leading producer of oil — and extremist Islam: Saudi Arabia.

When protesters incensed by an anti-Muslim video scaled the walls of the US embassy in Cairo on September 11, tearing down the Stars and Stripes, a black flag could be seen floating above the battered compound. From Sanaa, in Yemen, to Libya’s Benghazi, the same black banner, emblem of the Salafists, soon became a ubiquitous sight as anti-US protests spread like wildfire across the Arab world. The 2011 Arab uprisings have served the Salafists well. With the old dictators gone, a once subterranean network of hardliners has sprung into prominence — funded by a wealthy Gulf patron locked in a post-Arab Spring rivalry with a fellow Gulf monarchy.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Iran Condemns US Taking Group Off Terror List

Iran condemned on Saturday the Obama administration for taking an Iranian militant group formerly allied with Saddam Hussein off the U.S. terrorism list, saying it shows Washington’s “double standards.”

The Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK), which began as a guerrilla movement fighting Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, helped overthrow the monarch in 1979 then quickly fell out with the Islamic Republic’s first leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. It fought in the 1980s alongside Saddam’s forces in the eight-year Iran-Iraq war but disarmed after the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003.

The State Department delisted the group on Friday, meaning that any assets the MEK has in the United States are unblocked and Americans can do business with the organization. On Saturday, at their Paris headquarters, MEK members gathered to celebrate, tossing flower petals and displaying photos of members killed in the past 15 years.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

Understanding Bibi’s Urgency: Israel is Only Target of Iran’s Need for Islamic Apocalypse

Why does Iran seem to only fixate upon war with Israel above any other goal? In fact, the need for an apocalyptic war against the Israeli state is the centerpiece of their religion and the key to unlocking paradise, in their estimation. The issue of the Shia’s messiah brings to light perhaps the most important aspect of the warmongering now occurring in the Middle East—that the bloodlust is religious in nature and not likely to go away on its own, ever. In fact, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad recently stated he’d like to see Israel gone. So how do we understand Shia Iran’s seeming eternal hatred for Israel?

Perhaps the best way to understand this is that the Iranian Shias see attacking Israel as a way to jump-start the final Muslim holy war and usher in the beautiful era of Islamic world preeminence—a time of peace and plenty. This final apocalypse is interpreted as Iran’s war against Israel, which must occur before paradise is established. This is why the Israelis fear a nuclear armed Iran.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Worries That ‘Arab Spring” Leading to ‘Nuclear Winter’

In an interview with US journalist Charles Rose broadcast on Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov expressed dismay about the “Arab Spring” turning into a “Nuclear Winter”. At the same time, Lavrov stressed the necessity of showing a “serious attitude” toward the fact that more countries are mulling maintaining national security by obtaining nuclear weapons. “Threats and isolation only fuel similar moods in some countries,” Lavrov said. Commenting on the Iranian nuclear program, he said that Moscow is concerned over Tehran’s attempts to develop nuclear weapons, something that Lavrov said is yet to be verified.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

South Asia

25,000 Muslim Rioters Torch Buddhist Temples, Homes in Bangladesh

Tens of thousands of rioters left a trail of destruction in southeastern Bangladesh as they torched Buddhist temples and homes near the town of Ramu. The violence was sparked by a photo posted on Facebook that allegedly insulted Islam.

­A 25,000-strong mob set fire to at least five temples and dozens of homes throughout the town and surrounding villages after seeing the picture, which they claimed was posted by Uttam Barua, a local Buddhist man, AFP reported.

The group chanted “God is Great” while setting fire to the centuries-old temples.

“I have seen 11 wooden temples, two of them 300 years old, torched by the mob. They looted precious items and Buddha statues from the temples. Shops owned by Buddhists were also looted,” local journalist Sunil Barua said.

Security forces were deployed to contain the uprising: “At least 100 houses were damaged. We called in army and border guards to quell the violence,” district administrator Joinul Bari said.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

Afghan Situation ‘Is Worse Than Government Says’

The German intelligence agency BND thinks the situation in Afghanistan is much more serious than the government has portrayed it, and is expecting an increase in attacks by Afghan soldiers on western troops.

In a report entitled “Afghanistan till 2014 — a prognosis,” seen by Der Spiegel magazine, the BND said it expects the situation to get worse and attempts to re-educate former Taliban fighters have shown “no effect” on the peace process.

Even after the official troop withdrawal set for the end of 2014, the BND estimates that some 35,000 foreign soldiers will be needed in the country to work with the Afghan army to stabilise the country and fight insurgents.

The US government announced on Sunday that it had lost 2,000 troops in the fight in Afghanistan — including two Americans, a soldier and a civilian, who died Sunday in a so-called blue against green attack, which is thought to have been carried out by an Afghan soldier working with American troops.

The US government has suspended joint military maneuvers as the attacks by Afghan soldiers on US military personnel continues.

The BND was especially critical of the Karzai government, saying corruption and nepotism run rampant in the Kabul regime. The report, which is classified as confidential, said the Karzai government is not directed at reform or the promised fight against corruption but on maintaining power.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Afghan ‘Insider’ Attack Claims at Least Two Lives

NATO says one of its soldiers and a civilian contractor have been killed in an attack believed to involve an Afghan soldier. The attack comes a day after the US said joint operations with Afghan forces were resuming.

NATO said Saturday’s attack, which occurred in eastern Afghanistan, also caused Afghan army casualties, but gave no details. The NATO forces statement did not provide the nationalities of those killed.

If the attacker is confirmed to be an Afghan ally, the NATO death toll from so-called “green-on-blue” attacks would rise to at least 52 this year in 36 separate attacks. That represents about 15 percent of all coalition casualties in the war in Afghanistan.

Earlier this month, NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) announced that it was scaling back joint operations with its Afghan partners following a dramatic rise in attacks by Afghan soldiers on their Western allies.

On Friday, the US announced, however, that the combined operations were resuming.

In a bid to curb such attacks, the coalition has increased internal security for its troops, and Afghanistan has instituted fresh vetting procedures for some security personnel. But such incidents continue to pose a problem for NATO, as it advises and trains Afghan forces in preparation for its scheduled pullout in 2014.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Blasphemy Hurts Muslims as Holocaust Denial Hurts Jews, Says Imran

CHITRAL:

In an appeal for global understanding of Muslim sentiments on blasphemy, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief Imran Khan on Saturday called for comprehensive legislation to outlaw hate speech and promote respect for all faiths.

“Comprehensive legislation must be introduced by the global community to dismantle the trend and ensure respect for all religions across the globe,”

Imran said people in Europe can be jailed for just questioning the historic facts linked to the Holocaust because it hurts the sentiments of the Jews. “We are also being hurt in the name of freedom of speech,” he said.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

Buddhist Temples Targeted in Bangladesh

A rare outbreak of anti-Buddhist rioting in Bangladesh has left at least four temples and dozens of homes gutted by fire. Muslims had taken to the streets to protest against an internet photo they said defamed Islam.

Senior police officers in the Cox’s Bazar coastal district said deployments of soldiers and border guards had helped quell the violence.

A young man accused of posting the photo was escorted to safety. At least 20 people were said to have been injured. Public gatherings had been temporarily banned, police said.

The rioters’ targets were the town of Ramu and its adjourning villages, some 350 kilometers (216 miles) from the capital, Dhaka.

“They became unruly and attacked Buddhist houses, torching and damaging their temples from midnight to Sunday morning,” said district administrator Joinul Bari.

A police officer, Rumia Khatun, said thousands of Muslims first attacked a Buddhist hamlet in Ramu, torching centuries-old temples, and later stormed Buddhist villages outside the town.

A local journalist, Sunil Barua, himself a Buddhist, said two of the temples set ablaze during the rioting were 300 years old.

“They looted precious items and Buddha statues from the temples. Shops owned by Buddhists were also looted,” Barua said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

India: Bibles Are Burnt, Christians Attacked to Convert Them Forcibly to Hinduism

Two more incidents are recorded in Karnataka. Hindu extremists submit Pentecostal Christians to a ‘purification’ ceremony at a Hindu temple in order to force them to abjure their Christian faith. For the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), “these attacks are work of the Hindu party to win votes.”

Mumbai (AsiaNews) — Two new anti-Christian incidents were recorded, at a one day interval, in the state of Karnataka. In both cases, Pentecostal Christians were the victims, attacked in the privacy of their homes, when ultranationalist Hindus tried to force them to forswear their Christian faith.

For Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), it is increasingly clear that the incidents “are orchestrated” because “in Karnataka and in other states governed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), religion and politics go hand in hand and are used to gain as many votes as possible.” The ultranationalist Hindu party has been in power in the state since 2007.

The latest case was recorded yesterday in Gudadahalli Hearaghatta (north of Bangalore). Two Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS ) activists infiltrated a prayer meeting held at the Pentecostal Church led by Rev Muniraju. After the start of the service, an additional eight RSS members burst into the place.

In the church, they burnt or tore up all the Bibles and religious documents found. They also slapped and beat up the clergyman.

To intimidate the community, they dragged him and his five to a Hindu temple, about a kilometre away, where they forced the couple to take part in a pooja, a Hindu rite. Before they let them go, the attacked warned them against holding more prayer services.

Two days earlier, on Friday, the Bethel Prathanalaya Pentecostal Church, near Bhadravathi, Shimoga District, was attacked in the same fashion.

The community of 25 is led by Rev Kumar Hanumanthappa. On that day, the members had travelled to the neighbouring village Voddarahalli Thanda, guests of five local families.

About 20 RSS and Bajrang Dal activists stormed the prayer services, telling those present they would suffer “terrible consequences” if they continued to practice Christianity.

After beating some of those present and burning some of the Bibles, the Hindus forced the entire community to walk to the nearest Hindu temple to take part in their religion’s ‘purification’ ceremony.

Once they were able to go home, some of the Christians stopped at the Holehonnur police station to file a formal complaint. However, no one has yet to be arrested in connection with the case.

“Article 14 of the Indian constitution provides for equality before law for all people,” Sajan George said. “And yet in the case of attacks on Christians and Christian places of worship, the perpetrators go scot free, while the innocent victims are arrested”.

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

Far East

Tashkent Begins Exporting Gas to China

The agreement with Beijing is the first step out of the economic crisis and escape from hegemony of Moscow, the main buyer of Uzbek gas. 25 billion cubic meters of gas a year by 2015. In 2011, about 63 million cubic meters extracted, only 12 million exported. The former Soviet republic will contribute to the development of the gas pipeline in Central Asia sponsored by China.

Tashkent (AsiaNews / Agencies) — To emerge from the economic crisis and escape the control of Moscow, Uzbekistan has begun exporting natural gas to China. Signed in August, the agreement was only revealed on September 12 during a visit to Tashkent by Chinese Deputy Prime Minister Hui Liagyu. Relations between the two countries were born in June 2010 with the signing of a contract which provided for the intermediate export of 10 billion cubic meters of gas a year. Under the new agreement Uzbekistan will export from 2 to 5 billion cubic meters of fuel in 2012, increasing to 10 billion in 2013 and stabilizing at about 25 billion in 2016.

The former Soviet republic is the largest producer and consumer of natural gas in Central Asia, but its exports are very limited. Of 63 billion cubic meters of material extracted in 2011, the companies exported only 12 billion. To date, the main customer is Russia, followed by Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.

Exports will be piped to Beijing through the Central Asia and China pipeline, which starts from Turkmenistan and reaches the Chinese border through Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. It has an annual capacity of 30 billion cubic meters, but the Chinese authorities plan to increase the amount up to 55 billion cubic meters by 2015.

The start of gas exports to China will allow Uzbekistan to diversify exports in the energy sector and to acquire new customers and counter the economic crisis that afflicts the country. The agreement with Beijing allows the ex-Soviet republic to break away from the orbit of Moscow, which controls its former satellite countries by imposing prices for the purchase of raw materials and the exclusive rights for export. In 2009 Russia contributed to the severe economic crisis of Turkmenistan reducing the purchase of gas.

The advantages for Beijing are countless. By accessing the Chinese pipeline, Tashkent will force other Asian republics to make the same choice, introducing a high level of competition in the sector, with huge savings for China. In recent years the Asian giant has become one of the main partners in the energy sector in Central Asia because of its appetite for energy and raw materials to maintain economic growth. To counter the hegemony of Moscow, Beijing has contributed to the construction of a huge pipeline that will connect all the countries of the region, allowing exports throughout Asia.

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

Sub-Saharan Africa

Grenade Kills Child: Injures Three in Kenya Church Attack

(AGI) — Nairobi, Sept. 30 — A child was killed and three others were seriously injured when a hand grenade was thrown into a church in Nairobi, the police chief of Kenya’s capital, Moses Nyakwama announced. The attacker targeted the children’s section of Sunday School at St. Polycarp’s church.

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

Tanzania: Witchcraft Wars Disrupt Schooling Attendance

Rorya. Students at Nyambogo Village in Rorya are living in fear and school attendance is at an all-time low following recent clashes over allegations of witchcraft that saw over 20 homes burned to the ground.

Of the 600 pupils enrolled at Nyambogo Primary School, only 16 are currently attending classes, according to headmistress Ms Hawa Elias. The rest have fled to the bushes to avoid the on-going police crackdown on rioters, she said.

Last week a battalion of unidentified young men descended on Nyambogo and torched more than 20 houses whose owners, they said, were involved in witchcraft. 11 local families were affected, left in dire straits to fend for themselves.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

Latin America

The “Comfortable Invisibility” of the Globalist Project

Olavo de Carvalho, left, is arguably the most knowledgeable and original Brazilian philosopher of the past 25 years His books, seminars and newspaper articles (over 30.000 pages) have spurred a revolution in Brazilian intellectual circles and earned him the bitter hatred and hostility of the country´s hegemonic socialist nomenklatura, especially after he blew the whistle on “Foro de São Paulo”, a Latin American coalition of radical left-wing groups founded by Lula and Castro.

He writes:

Abortion, gay marriage, racial quotas, civilian disarmament, draconian ecological regulations, drug liberalization, state control of all religious activity and the lowering of the age of sexual consent to 12 years or younger.

These are, among others, the ideals that make the hearts of students, teachers, politicians, reporters, enlightened entrepreneurs and NGO activists beat faster — the very people who have monopolized public debate in Brazil.

None of these proposals originated with the Brazilian people, or with any other people, for that matter. None of them are approved by the population.

But that doesn’t matter. The agenda is being imposed top-down and will continue to be so in Brazil and around the world by way of informal political agreements, administrative measures designed to circumvent legislative debate, heavy propaganda, boycotts, explicit repression of adverse opinion and, last but not least, through the ample use of bribery, much of which in the form of “research funding” for teachers and students who can be trusted to draw the politically correct conclusions desired by the elite.

[Return to headlines]

Immigration

UK: Shock on Immigration

Fresh-thinking Jon Cruddas, who is in charge of the party’s policy review, conceded Labour had “got it wrong” while in power when it allowed huge numbers to enter Britain simply to fill gaps in the workforce.

The Dagenham MP said no thought had been given to the effect on communities and local housing, health services and schools.

He hinted curbs might include an annual census instead of the current 10-year head count. A partial amnesty for long-standing illegal immigrants was also in his thinking, something London mayor Boris Johnson wants but Downing Street has ruled out.

The suggestion came as Labour leader Mr Miliband underlined the urgent need for large infrastructure and housing programmes as he arrived in Manchester with his wife Justine and sons Daniel, three, and Samuel, two, for Labour’s conference.

He said Britain was possibly facing a decade without any rise in living standards but urged people to draw inspiration from the Second World War struggles to rebuild the nation.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

California Becomes First State in Nation to Ban ‘Gay Cure’ Therapy for Children

California has become the first state in the nation to ban therapy that tries to turn gay teens straight.

Gov. Jerry Brown announced Sunday that he has signed Senate Bill 1172, which prohibits children under age 18 from undergoing “sexual orientation change efforts.” The law, which goes into effect Jan. 1, prohibits state-licensed therapists from engaging in these practices with minors.

“Governor Brown today reaffirmed what medical and mental health organizations have made clear: Efforts to change minors’ sexual orientation are not therapy, they are the relics of prejudice and abuse that have inflicted untold harm on young lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Californians,” Clarissa Filgioun, board president of Equality California, said in a press release.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

Gay Couples Should be Allowed to Marry in Church, Says Miliband as He Backs Government Proposals

The Labour leader backed Government proposals to change the law to allow gays to be married in a register office or other civil ceremony.

But he insisted the reforms should go further by enabling churches and faith groups to conduct ceremonies if they wish to.

Mr Miliband is expected to impose a three-line whip on his MPs — the strongest possible instruction on how to vote — when the Commons decides whether to back gay civil marriages following a consultation by the Home Office.

David Cameron will offer Tories a free vote, as he regards the issue as one of conscience.

The Government is committed to introducing legislation before the next election in 2015 and polls suggest a significant majority of MPs will back a change in the law.

At the moment, it is illegal for gay couples to be married in church. The Home Office intends to keep this ban.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

Inmate With Gender Identity Disorder Lauds Sex Change Ruling

Robert Kosilek a convicted murderer in Massachusetts who won the right to get a state-funded sex change is also eligible to have legal fees, expected to top US$500,000 (S$612,000), paid as well, a federal judge ruled. United States District Judge Mark Wolf earlier this month ordered the state Department of Correction to provide sex-reassignment surgery to Kosilek. Judge Wolf found that prison officials had violated Kosilek’s Eighth Amendment right to protection against cruel and unusual punishment, and that the surgery is the “only adequate treatment” for Kosilek’s gender-identity disorder. Judge Wolf has now found that Kosilek is also entitled to legal fees.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

UK: ‘Cavalier’ Marr is Accused of Ignoring Jesus While Honouring Buddhism in His BBC History of the World

Andrew Marr has been accused of a ‘cavalier and unsympathetic’ attitude towards Christianity after failing to include Jesus in a landmark BBC television history of the world.

Christians, including Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, say the BBC is guilty of ‘a glaring oversight’ for excluding Christ from the series.

Lord Carey said: ‘Any historical enquiry worth its salt takes seriously the life and ministry of Jesus when considering the impact of the Christian faith on world history.

‘This glaring oversight confirms a widely-held suspicion that the BBC tends to be cavalier and unsympathetic in its treatment of Christianity.’

In coming weeks Mr Marr will visit more than 60 historic locations but none has any association with Jesus’s life and death. The omission of such a pivotal figure from the series, which is a co-production with the Open University, is in stark contrast to the treatment of other faith leaders.

The rest of the series charts history to the present day, focusing on figures from the conqueror of Constantinople, Ottoman leader Mehmed II, to Adolf Hitler.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

‘Why Have Kids?’

Feminist author claims ‘guilt and self-flagellation’ of motherhood is making women wish they never had children

A feminist author claims that ‘guilt’ and ‘self-flagellation’ are ‘sucking the joy out of motherhood,’ leaving many women wishing they’d never had kids.

In her provocative new book, ‘Why have Kids?’ Jessica Valenti says women are being made miserable because the idea of parenting, and of motherhood in particular, is far removed from the often thankless and oppressive reality.

‘In killing ourselves to achieve this impossible standard, motherhood becomes less of a relationship and more of a job,’ she writes, adding that having children should not be the default setting for women.

Valenti, a mother-of-one, describes the thousands of anonymous confessions on discussion boards, website and forums where women open up about how they love their children, but hate being a mother.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

News Feed 20120929

Financial Crisis
» 14 Signs That the World Economy is Getting Weaker
» JP Morgan Secretly Stockpiles Silver and Gold; Blood Money (Gld, Slv, Agq, Iau, Jpm)
» Spain Falls to Pieces, As Predicted
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» Spain to Borrow $267 Billion of Debt Amid Rescue Pressure
 
USA
» Arthur O. Sulzberger, Publisher Who Transformed the Times, Dies at 86
» Big Day for Muslims
» Christian Activists Decry ‘Sharia Law’ At Arab Event
» Dearborn Muslims Rally Against the First Amendment
» Democratic Senators Offer Gun Control Amendment for Cybersecurity Bill
» Federal Gov. Limits Sales of “Nobama Brew” To State of Oklahoma
» Global Bacon Shortage? Stephen Colbert Blames Obama and ‘Creeping Sharia Law’
» If U.S. Troops Fight WWIII, Who Fights the Coming American Civil War?
» Jews-for-Obama, You Are Delusional!
» Muslims in Michigan to Rally Against First Amendment
» Muslims to Hold Anti-Hate Rally Saturday
» Muslim, Mahdi, Or Anti-Christ?
» Sen. Lieberman Urges President Obama to Sign Executive Order to Take Over the Internet
» Temecula: Smiles, Hugs at Groundbreaking Ceremony for Temecula Mosque
» Terrorist Professor Bill Ayers and Obama’s Federal School Curriculum
» The Battle for the Soul of the Republic
» Vote ‘President by Proxy’ Valerie Jarrett Out of Office on Nov. 6
» What the Military Kept From the Public on Microwave Radiation
» When Did Communism Become an American Dream?
 
Canada
» Youngest Guantanamo Bay Inmate Transferred to Canada
 
Europe and the EU
» France: Call for CCTV at Every Mosque in France After Series of Attack
» Gunman Wearing Camouflage Jacket Fires at Czech President Vaclav Klaus… But Weapon Was Only Loaded With Plastic Pellets
» Italy: Three Injured in Attack on Swedish Soccer Fans in Naples
» Italy: Rome Pothole Sparks Mussolini Granddaughter Ire
» Italy: Dirty Restaurants: Police Shut Down 2 Chinese Diners in Rome
» Italy: Peruvian Arrested in Rome for Trying to Rape a Tourist
» Italy: Magistrates Call for Action by Parliament on Corruption
» Make-Up Among Italian School Girls Leads to Skin Problems
» Northern Irish Protestants Set Off on Ulster Covenant Parade
» Spain: Brussels: Final Call on Recruitment of Dockers Rules
» Spain: Tibetan Lama ‘Reincarnation’ Rediscovers Himself in Ibiza
» Spain: Raw Video: Police Provocateurs Caught Inciting Violence in Spain
» UK: ‘It’s Safer to Insult the Prophet Mohammed Than to Contradict the Armed Wing of the ME Brigade’
» UK: Free Speech or Islamophobia? Enough Coalition Roundtable With Marwan Muhammad
» UK: Hundreds Gather to Protest at Anti-Islam Film
» UK: Man Jailed for Rape
» UK: Megan Stammers Was Abused — Just as the Rochdale Girls Were Abused. The Age of Consent is Worth Defending.
» UK: Rochdale Council of Mosques Strongly Condemns the Offensive Film
» UK: Rochdale Grooming Review: One Child’s Story
» Vienna Wine Hiking Day
» Why Italy Refuses to Recognize the World’s Fifth-Largest Religion
 
North Africa
» Cui Prodest? — Who Stands to Gain From “The Innocence of Muslims” Film?
» Egypt: Stop Persecuting US in the Sinai, Jihadists to Morsi
» Egypt: Govt is Walking the Course With Firm Steps — Morsy
» Egypt’s Copts Abandon Sinai After Threats, Attack
» Libya: Pro-Salafist Rally in Benghazi Turns Violent
» Muslims Order Christians Out of Their Village in Egypt
» The Sorry State Department
» US Warns of Terrorist Threat to Missionaries in Egypt
 
Israel and the Palestinians
» Fisherman Killed by Israeli Navy Fire
 
Middle East
» Iranian Minister: Israel Already Crossed Nuclear ‘Red Line’
» Schools Increasingly Religious in Turkey
» Surreal: Clinton Pledges $45 Million in Aid to Al Qaeda in Syria
 
Russia
» Budget and Oil: Putin and Government on Another Collision Course
» Russia to “Liberate the World From US Occupation”
 
South Asia
» Afghan Troops Told Not to Take Take Revenge for NATO Cultural Offenses
» Afghan Troops Get a Lesson in American Cultural Ignorance
» Bomb Kills 2 Police Near Afghan Training Academy
» British Father to Face Death by Firing Squad for Smuggling Crystal Meth Into Indonesia
» Experts Fear a ‘Talibanization’ of Afghan Justice
» India’s Gargantuan Biometric Database Raises Big Questions
» Pakistani Protestant Bishop Injured in Lahore
» Pakistan: Kidnap Victim Shot Dead by Masked Gunmen
» Soldiers Ordered Not to Shoot Taliban as They Plant Mines… ‘Because it Wakes Up Locals’
 
Far East
» Filipino Muslim Leaders Caution Against Violence in Protesting Anti-Islam Video
» UK, Canada, Australia & USA Issue Phillippines Terror Alert
 
Australia — Pacific
» Proof Smart Meters Are Being Used To Spy On Us
 
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Kenya: Police Comb Forest After MRC Clash
» Nigeria: Police Announce Discovery of Bomb Factory in Kano
» Somalia’s Al-Shabaab Islamists Abandon Last Major Stronghold of Kismayo After Government Assault
» South Africa: Third Truck Burnt in Khayelitsha
» Tanzania: Sharia Law Touted at ‘Katiba’ Meeting
 
Latin America
» Composer Quits London for New Life in Mexico Because ‘It’s Safer’ Despite Murder Rate Being 20 Times Higher
» Journalists Reporting on Lignano Murder Arrested in Cuba
 
Immigration
» Population of England to Rise 4.5m in a Decade as Growth Rate ‘Gets Faster’
 
Culture Wars
» Big Mother Will Watch Over You
» Cardinal Bagnasco Comes Out Against Unwed Couples
» One in 66 Britons is Gay or Bisexual — Not One in Ten, As Previously Thought
» UK: JK Rowling Has Turned Her Back on the Culture That Made Her Great
 
General
» As the UN Opens Its General Assembly Session, It is Already Thinking Up New Global Taxes
» Islamic Countries’ Appeal, “Laws Against Religious Hate “

Financial Crisis

14 Signs That the World Economy is Getting Weaker

The truth is that just about wherever you look around the globe things are getting even worse. China is experiencing a substantial economic slowdown, and Japan has resorted to yet another round of money printing in an effort to keep the Japanese economy moving. Unemployment in Europe continues to get even worse, and the riots this week in Spain and in Greece have been absolutely frightening at times. In the United States there are a whole host of signs that another recession is approaching, and the number of American CEOs that say that they plan to eliminate jobs in the coming months is rapidly rising. The world economy is more interconnected today than ever before, and that means that we are all in this together. Just remember what happened back in 2008 and 2009. The economic pain that started on Wall Street was felt in every corner of the planet. So anyone that believes that the United States (or any other major nation for that matter) is going to escape the next wave of the economic crisis is simply not being realistic. Why do you think central banks all over the world are in “panic mode” right now? They are firing all of their ammunition and printing money like there is no tomorrow in an attempt to keep the system together. Unfortunately, it is not going to work.

If the powers that be had an “easy button” that would quickly fix everything, they would have pressed it by now. But despite all of their efforts things continue to unravel. If you want to get an idea of where we are headed, just look at what is already happening in Europe. Unemployment has risen above 24 percent in Greece and above 25 percent in Spain.

Those two nations are on the “bleeding edge” of the next wave of economic problems. Unemployment is rising almost everywhere else in Europe as well, and things are eventually going to get really bad in Asia and in North America too.

So hold on to your seat belts — it is going to be a bumpy ride.

The following are 14 signs from around the globe that the world economy is getting weaker…

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

JP Morgan Secretly Stockpiles Silver and Gold; Blood Money (Gld, Slv, Agq, Iau, Jpm)

They [JP Morgan] buy the physical silver at the same time they sell the future (on Comex) futures trade in contango (higher price than spot physical) they get zero interest rate cash from FED so borrow the money for free, they own the vaults to store the silver… so as the future comes to maturity they can either settle against their physical long or roll the future to collect more free contango… This is pure arbitrage paid for by the FED. This has been going on for over 30 years and why shouldn’t they be allowed to have 25% of the Open Interest? There is no manipulation because they are short the futures and long the physical and have “ZERO” price risk, but nice profits! It’s brilliant trading and completely 100% legal and that’s why they will never be charged with manipulation because there is none going on. Sometimes it’s just that easy!

[…]

The bottom line to the JP Morgan bullion prices suppression scheme is, if bullion prices reflected the weakness of the U.S. dollar, the Fed would have to stop printing them. Congress would be forced to make the tough decisions regarding the public account, and the wrongs can be righted more quickly with less, much, much less pain — and most likely less suicides, too.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Spain Falls to Pieces, As Predicted

Be Very Careful, Beloved Spain … Two weeks ago I was interviewed by the Catalan newspaper El Punt Avui. I said it would be unthinkable for the Spanish state to stop Catalan secession by military force. Such action would violate EU Treaties and lead to Spain’s suspension from the European Union. You do not do such things in the early 21st Century. “No pots ser membre de la UE si utilitzes la força” was the headline. I may have underestimated the vigour of the Spanish officer corps. First we have the robust comments of Colonel Francisco Alaman comparing the crisis to 1936 and vowing to crush Catalan nationalists, described as “vultures”. “Independence for Catalonia? Over my dead body. Spain is not Yugoslavia or Belgium. Even if the lion is sleeping, don’t provoke the lion, because he will show the ferocity proven over centuries,” he said. — UK Telegraph

[…]

Spain now has a Right-wing nationalist government with Opus Dei links, the Partido Popular … The mood is becoming dangerous … Former army chief Lt-Gen Pedro Pitarch said his views reflect “deeply-rooted thinking in large parts of the armed forces”.

Gen Pitarch said Catalan independence is out of the question, though he also said Madrid had bungled the crisis of the regions disastrously. “Are we looking at a failed state?” he asked.

Now we have an explicit threat from the Asociación de Militares Españoles (AME), an organisation of retired army officers, warning that anybody promoting the break-up of Spain (“fractura de España”) will face treason trials in military courts.

This from El Mundo: The attitude of the Catalan government and members of its parliament is inadmissible. The Armed Forces are guardians of the Spanish state and its territorial integrity under Article 8 of the Constitution.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Spain Drains Schools and Parents of Money

One of the biggest victims of cuts in Spain has been public education. Schools reopened this month with bigger classes, fewer teachers and increased fees for things like school lunch. DW looks at how they’re coping.

Alvaro Laje, 13, and his friends crowd outside their Madrid school on the first day of classes, discussing what happened over summer vacation. The city started construction on a parking garage where they used to play, which means now they’ll have to stay inside during recess.

“It’s the yard where we used to play football and basketball,” said Laje.”They’ve gotten rid of it just to make some extra money — to build a parking lot.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Spain Capital Flight Continues Into 13th Month

Investors remain extremely wary of leaving their financial resources in Spain. Fresh data from Madrid show that capital is still moving out of the country on a large scale, reaching an alarming outflow level.

Capital flight from crisis-stricken Spain continued in July. Around 15 billion euros ($19 billion) in net financial resources left the country in that month, the Bank of Spain reported on Friday.

That marked a considerable slowdown compared with the 56 billion euros that made their way out of Spain in June, but that’s about the most positive spin that can be given with regard to the latest figures.

A longer-term look reveals that about 235 billion euros in portfolio investments, bank deposits and credits flowed out of Spain in the first seven months of the year. There was a positive balance of nearly 18 billion euros in the same period in 2011.

Capital flight actually continued into its 13th consecutive month, with a total of 331 billion euros making it out of Spain during that period. That’s about one third of the country’s total gross domestic product (GDP).

It remained unclear whether investor sentiment would improve tangibly after Madrid’s announcement of its 2013 austerity budget, which critics criticized for having the potential to strangle consumption and growth.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Spain to Borrow $267 Billion of Debt Amid Rescue Pressure

Spain plans to borrow 207.2 billion euros ($266.5 billion) next year, the Budget Ministry said today, as pressure builds for Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to tap the European rescue fund instead of financial markets.

Spain’s debt will widen to 90.5 percent of gross domestic product in 2013 as the state absorbs the cost of bailing out its banks, the power system and euro-region partners Greece, Ireland and Portugal. This year’s budget deficit will be 7.4 percent of economic output, Budget Minister Cristobal Montoro said at a press conference. Spain’s 6.3 percent target will be met because it can exclude the cost of the bank rescue, he said.

Spain’s borrowing plans may test investors’ willingness to continue financing the government with the European Central Bank waiting to buy the country’s debt should Rajoy agree to conditions. The government this past week unveiled 43 measures designed to boost economic growth that Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said go beyond the European Union’s recommendation for Spain’s restructuring.

The budget “seemed to be an indication that Spain would be asking for some official financing soon,” Megan Greene, director of European economics at Roubini Global Economics LLC, said in a Bloomberg radio interview Sept. 28. “There’s huge political pressure on Spain already.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

USA

Arthur O. Sulzberger, Publisher Who Transformed the Times, Dies at 86

Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, who shaped the destiny of The New York Times for 34 years as its publisher and as chairman and chief executive of its parent company, died Saturday at his home in Southampton, N.Y. He was 86.

His death, after a long illness, was announced by his family.

Mr. Sulzberger guided The Times through a long, sometimes turbulent period of expansion and change on a scale not seen since the newspaperâ€(tm)s founding in 1851.

The paper he took over as publisher in 1963 was the paper it had been for decades: respected and influential, often setting the national agenda. But it was also in precarious financial condition and somewhat insular, having been a tightly held family operation since 1896, when it was bought by his grandfather, Adolph S. Ochs.

By the 1990s, when Mr. Sulzberger passed the reins to his son, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., first as publisher in 1992 and then as chairman of The New York Times Company in 1997, the enterprise had been transformed. The Times was now national in scope, distributed from coast to coast, and it had become the heart of a diversified, multibillion-dollar media operation, which over the years came to encompass newspapers, magazines, television and radio stations, and online ventures.

[Return to headlines]

Big Day for Muslims

Rashid Khan has lived here 24 years and proudly says he was one of the first Muslims in the area. He had to go to Riverside for worship because there was nothing here. One can only imagine the emotions such a pioneer felt Friday, first at a groundbreaking ceremony for the Islamic Center of Temecula Valley and later at a wonderful community appreciation banquet. “I had a tear in my eye but my face was full of joy,” he says of the momentous day…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Christian Activists Decry ‘Sharia Law’ At Arab Event

CN) — A Michigan sheriff’s department let a “hostile mob” of Muslims enforce “sharia law” during an Arab Festival, a Christian group claims in federal court. “The Muslims at the Arab Festival were enforcing sharia, which is Islamic law,” the complaint states. “Under sharia, blasphemy is severely punished. And in line with the Islamic legal dictates of sharia, the Christian Gospel is treated as criminally offensive speech and violence ‘for the sake of Allah’ is reinforced by arresting or removing the Christians. In short, sharia is being enforced by a hostile mob, and defendants are aiding and abetting its enforcement by permitting the Muslims to silence the Christians’ message through violence.” Bible Believers, a group of travelling evangelists, says the outburst has been brewing for years, ever since the city Dearborn, “in cooperation with the American Arab Chamber of Commerce (‘AACC’), the sponsor of the Arab Festival, decided to institute and enforce a drastic, and ultimately unconstitutional, restriction on the right of Christians to effectively evangelize at the Arab Festival by restricting their right to distribute literature.”

[…]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Dearborn Muslims Rally Against the First Amendment

by Henry Payne

Led by a newspaper publisher, Muslim activists will call for putting limits on American free speech at a Dearborn rally this evening. You can’t make this stuff up. Nearly a decade after Dearborn’s streets celebrated America for bringing down Saddam Hussein and opening a door to democracy in the Mideast, the same city will be the epicenter today of calls to squelch free speech. Protesting the film, “Innocence of Muslims,” that has sparked protests in the Mideast, rally organizer Tarek Baydoun says that so-called blasphemy laws are necessary to prevent speech that hurts the “the religious feelings of Muslims.”

This assault on the First Amendment in the name of the prophet Mohammed is a sad day in America — and confirms fears that Muslim-American activists do not understand the fundamental separation of church and state in the American Constitution. “There is a need for deterrent legal measures against those individuals or groups that want to damage relations between people, spread hate and incite violence,” said Arab-American News publisher Osama Siblani, a self-proclaimed “moderate” who is apparently oblivious to how gutting the First Amendment would affect his own business. The Dearborn organizers seek an international law banning what they define as anti-Mohammed speech that would supersede American law. The rally comes just days after President Obama reaffirmed America’s commitment to free speech in a U.N. address…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Democratic Senators Offer Gun Control Amendment for Cybersecurity Bill

Democratic senators have offered an amendment to the cybersecurity bill that would limit the purchase of high capacity gun magazines for some consumers.

Shortly after the Cybersecurity Act gained Senate approval to proceed to filing proposed amendments and a vote next week, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), a sponsor of the gun control amendment, came to the floor to defend the idea of implementing some “reasonable” gun control measures.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Federal Gov. Limits Sales of “Nobama Brew” To State of Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA CITY — Requests are pouring in for a local brewer’s new novelty beer but the government is saying he can’t sell the brew outside of Oklahoma.

Rick Huebert’s “Nobama Brew” has been a smash hit in the sooner state.

The owner of Huebert Brewing Company can barely keep up with demand.

That’s great news not just for the company but for all of Oklahoma.

Huebert Brewing Marketing Director Christa Miles said the company tries its best to keep work local.

“We have people from Minco, Oklahoma that provide the boxes [for the beer],” Miles said. “We have people from Henrietta that do our bottling, we have all of our labels that come from the Moore area”

Rick Huebert said he’s also been getting dozens of requests from outside the state for major quantities of “Nobama Brew.”

“Just yesterday we had a request for about 3,000 cases from Texas and New Jersey,” Huebert said.

But Huebert has to respond to all of those requests the same way: No.

When Huebert asked the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) to approve the label for “Nobama Brew,” he specifically requested to be able to sell the beer nationwide; that request was approved via written application.

But the TTB official who approved the request, Kent “Battle” Martin, added a line to the application that reads, “THIS PRODUCT IS ONLY FOR SALE IN THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA.”

“[The form] says two things,” Huebert said. “It says I can sell it federally but then it also says I can only sell it in the state.”

We called Martin to ask why the line was added.

He told us to contact a man with TTB public relations.

That man has yet to return our phone call.

But when Rick Huebert’s lawyer, Randy Malone, called Martin, the TTB official gave a different response.

“[Martin] misunderstood that we wanted to sell outside of Oklahoma,” Malone said. “[That] is the impression I got from him.”

Malone, who has been practicing alcohol licensing law since 1989, also said he’s never heard of the TTB making such an error before.

But Huebert doesn’t understand how the TTB could misunderstand a simple application, especially one the agency processes all the time.

“From a business owner’s perspective, it seems like the federal government is doing everything they can to push down business,” Huebert said.

Huebert can re-submit the label for approval but he’s afraid by the time it gets approved the election will be over and the novelty of the beer will have worn off.

           — Hat tip: McR [Return to headlines]

Global Bacon Shortage? Stephen Colbert Blames Obama and ‘Creeping Sharia Law’

by NBC news staff

Stephen Colbert was in rare form on Wednesday, offending a laundry list of religions with his political theories behind the pending bacon shortage and the movement to get people praying for a Romney win. Not surprisingly, the bacon story came first. The expected dearth in the supply of America’s favorite breakfast meat has been all over the news, and Colbert isn’t buying the explanation that a drought is the cause. “Just think about it — who’s not supposed to eat bacon? Well, Jews first, but most of the Jews I know eat it anyway. No, I’m talking about the really observant Jews — Muslims. They won’t even touch bacon. Which means this bacon shortage is nothing less than creeping Sharia law.”

[…]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

If U.S. Troops Fight WWIII, Who Fights the Coming American Civil War?

U.S. troops available for deployment to fight a full-blown war is 1.4 million, with an additional 2.1 million, if all of NATO were to oblige.

On the other hand, if the Chinese commanded its people to deliver up every able 18-year-old male to fight a full-blown war, 6.5 million would need a uniform. When all 18-year-old Chinese men are knocked off in first rounds of battle, another 6.5 million 19-year-old vengeful can step in, with another set of 17-year-old men coming of age at the rate of 500,000 per month.

With that back-of-the-napkin estimate of manpower available on both sides, some group buried deeply within the true power structure out of reach of an American president must believe that the prize gained from winning a war with Iran is truly that large.

And what if a conventional ground invasion strategy turns into a nuclear one? What prize is worth that? With most of the Middle East and North Africa stirred into a frenzy of anti-American sentiment, how does that “snake pit” make it any easier on those wishing to control the region?

What Washington has done, by destroying the secular governments that sat on these Islamist forces by destroying Saddam Hussein, by practically destroying Assad, by destroying Gaddafi, they’ve unleashed all of the virulent and extremist Islamist forces that are determined to throw off all forms of Western influence,” former Asst. Secretary of Treasury Dr. Paul Craig Roberts told Infowars’ Alex Jones.

So how can they control it now? They can’t. The way it was controlled was by the people we’ve overthrown. So we’ve produced this snake pit for ourselves,” he adds.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Jews-for-Obama, You Are Delusional!

First, let me introduce a bit of dry statistics.

There are 6 million Jews in the United States of America; 3 million of them — adults. The latest polls invariably show that approximately 75% of them would vote for Barack Hussein Obama on November 6.

Translated into plain English, that means that 2 million 250 thousand American Jews are absolutely and incorrigibly delusional!

Several million Jews are delusional?! How could it be? Isn’t it a ridiculous oxymoron? Aren’t Jews supposed to be one of the smartest people on earth? Isn’t the author of this article a secret anti-Semite?

Well, I can assure everybody that I’m not an anti-Semite, since I’m a Jew myself. And not a self-hating Jew, like, say, Noam Chomsky or George Soros.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Muslims in Michigan to Rally Against First Amendment

by Michael Warren

“We ? Prophet Muhammad”

Muslim Americans in Michigan, including a local newspaper editor, will be rallying Friday in Dearborn to protest the YouTube film, “Innocence of Muslims” and advocate for blasphemy laws. Here’s an image of a poster advertising the rally […]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Muslims to Hold Anti-Hate Rally Saturday

Muslims in Tulsa, and some others who support them, will hold a rally Saturday afternoon to “stand up for the tradition of Prophet Muhammad,” Islamic Society of Tulsa spokeswoman Sheryl Siddiqui announced Friday. The “United Against Hate Speech” rally will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. at the intersection of 101st Street and Memorial Drive, she said in a written announcement. Participants are asked to dress in white, if possible, she said…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Muslim, Mahdi, Or Anti-Christ?

Obama’s unequivocal defense of Islam at the expense of every other religion — Christianity in particular.

Why have some religious leaders in the East speculated as to whether President Barack Obama might be Islam’s Mahdi, or Twelfth Imam? The prophecy of the Mahdi is, for the uninitiated, the Muslim approximation of the Jewish or Christian Messiah. He is embodied in different ways depending on the branch of Islam with which one is dealing, and is of different levels of significance.

At present, the Shiite Muslim sect places the greatest stock in the Mahdi, and the entire Iranian paradigm as expressed by their leadership centers around this figure, his rise to power, and Iran’s role in bringing about his advent. This is largely the reason for their current political comportment, as they believe that fomenting an Islamic revolution is part of this process. The Mahdi, once in power, is prophesied to subjugate (read “kill”) all remaining infidels, and establish Islam in the four corners of the Earth.

[…]

What we must understand is that the hatred the Muslim world has for the US is not rooted in national identity, practices, or culture. It is rooted in its Christianity. Christianity had its genesis in Judaism, thus they have hated us since the days of Ishmael and Hagar (his Mother) and the disrespect shown the founder of the Arab peoples. This has never been forgotten. The fact that Israel sprang from the seed of Abraham (and thus the Arabs and Jews are related) is lost in the shuffle. God promised that there would always be “enmity” between the two races, and as usual He has proven to be correct.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Sen. Lieberman Urges President Obama to Sign Executive Order to Take Over the Internet

It is more and more brazen everyday. The political establishment hates our free speech. They hate the fact they no longer have a monopoly on the flow of information nor control the news anymore. The internet and alternative media now dominates the information war. They are losing the Public relations battle where a good majority of the American people have lost faith in the government and now see them as a threat to our freedom and security as a nation.

Even the political elite Zbigneiw Brzezinski and Hillary Clinton stated we have lost the information war. That is because the internet has bypassed the main stream dinosaur media. The major news outlets and newspapers have been losing viewers and readers because they are seen as a propaganda arm. They are losing revenue and are on the verge of collapse because they cannot compete with the alternative media.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Temecula: Smiles, Hugs at Groundbreaking Ceremony for Temecula Mosque

The protests, marathon public hearings and years of meeting in homes and business parks were just memories Friday afternoon. That’s when members of the Islamic Center of Temecula Valley gathered for a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the upcoming start of construction on its long-in-the-works mosque project. The mosque, which will be built in two phases, will be the center’s first permanent home for its members, who have worshiped in members’ homes and commercial areas in both Temecula and Murrieta. “This is a glorious day. A day to celebrate. Be proud to be in America, a Muslim in America,” said Emad Rasheed, the center’s chairman, addressing a cheering group of the center’s members…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Terrorist Professor Bill Ayers and Obama’s Federal School Curriculum

Three years after the Department of Education announced a contest called Race-to-the-Top for $4.35 billion in stimulus funds, some parents, teachers, governors, and citizen and public policy groups are coming to an awful realization about the likely outcomes:

1. A national curriculum called Common Core Regionalism, or the replacement of local governments by federally appointed bureaucrats

2. A leveling of all schools to one, low national standard, and a redistribution of education funds among school districts

3. An effective federal tracking of all students

4. The loss of the option of avoiding the national curriculum and tests through private school and home school

Working behind the scenes, implementing these policies and writing the standards are associates from President Obama’s community organizing days. In de facto control of the education component is Linda Darling-Hammond, a radical left-wing educator and close colleague of William “Bill” Ayers, the former leader of the communist terrorist Weather Underground who became a professor of education and friend of Obama’s.

When these dangerous initiatives are implemented, there will be no escaping bad schools and a radical curriculum by moving to a good suburb, or by home schooling, or by enrolling your children in private schools.

How was it that 48 governors entered Race-to-the-Top without knowing outcomes?

[…]

It is not clear what Ayers spoke about at this particular conference. But my analysis of his courses and methods at the University of Illinois determined that his purpose is to radicalize future teachers—and by extension their students—for the purpose of sparking a revolution and overthrowing capitalism.

[…]

In an April 28, 2010, Education Week article, “Developing an Internationally Comparable Balanced Assessment System,” Darling-Hammond claimed that the new assessment system is “designed to go beyond recall of facts and show students’ abilities to evaluate evidence, problem solve and understand context.” Bill Ayers, throughout his writings, likens the testing for “facts” to a factory or prison system, and agrees with Darling-Hammond’s emphasis on criteria like “student growth along multiple dimensions.” Such buzzwords thinly disguise an agenda of replacing the objective measurement of knowledge and skills with teachers’ subjective appraisals of students’ attitudes and behavior.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

The Battle for the Soul of the Republic

The National Security Agency (NSA) mega-data center, combined with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) special relationship with Google, and the federalization of local police using Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funds to pay for monitoring both the locations and the conversations of anyone they wish — without a warrant — suggest that the government of the United States of America (USA)-from local to national-is no longer in friendly hands.

As a professional intelligence officer and a retired Marine Corps officer, I am deeply offended, personally threatened, and patriotically alarmed. Evil has triumphed across the United States of America. Every single institution — from academies to civil society to commerce to the government and law enforcement at all levels, the media, the out of control military-industrial complex, and the bottom-feeding non-governmental and non-profit organizations that suck at the federal government tits gorged with printed money — has failed to respect the Constitution. There is neither intelligence nor integrity at the highest levels of all of our institutions.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Vote ‘President by Proxy’ Valerie Jarrett Out of Office on Nov. 6

Find out who Valerie Jarrett really is and you find out who Barry Soetoro Obama really is.

Put a skirt on Barack Hussein Obama and parade him before the world.

Call him President Valerie Jarrett. That, more than anything else, is who and what Barack Obama really is.

With full apologies to the awesome Investors.com, who called Valerie Jarrett “Obama’s Rasputin”, Rasputin’s got nothing on Jarrett. At least the mad monk came out of the dark, front and center into the palace, whereas Jarrett gets to hide on the taxpayers’ tab in the deepest of shadows.

In the sewer of Chicago politics, the Iranian-born Jarrett has never faced a court of law as one of the city’s prime slum landladies, and likely never will. Jarrett rose to power on the backs of the poor living in her ramshackle, rat-infested rental properties.

[…]

As an example of her power and influence, it was the power-crazed Jarrett who power called off three strikes against Obama bin Laden.

[…]

Her father-in-law, Chicago writer and TV commentator Vernon Jarrett, was an associate of noted communist Frank Marshall Davis, Obama’s mentor during his teen years. (Investor’s Daily.com). “When Vernon Jarrett died in 2004, he was given a salute on the pages of People’s Weekly World, a house organ of the Communist Party USA.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

What the Military Kept From the Public on Microwave Radiation

Eldon Byrd, a scientist for the Naval Surface Weapon Centre, USN, in one of his lectures in 1986 on the effects of microwaves stated: ‘We can alter the behaviour of tissues, cells, organs and whole organisms… you can cause up to six times higher foetus mortality and birth defects in laboratory animals, and these fields are so weak you can hardly detect them…You can do genetic engineering with ELF [extremely low frequency] weak magnetic fields without micro-surgical techniques that are currently employed to do genetic engineering. It is known how to induce malignant diseases in human cells and how to cure them. You can entrain human beings’ brain waves across a room with a very weak magnetic field.’

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

When Did Communism Become an American Dream?

Sadly, too many Americans don’t know what communism is, or they foolishly think that it died with the fall of the Soviet Union. Nothing could be further from the truth. Communism is alive and well, but it isn’t just in Russia or China anymore.

The 2012 election is not a referendum on Mitt Romney or Barack Obama. It is a referendum on American society. It is a contest between two opposite American Dreams and the outcome will tell us nothing about Romney and Obama, but everything about the American people.

It is a test of ALL Americans, those who vote and those who don’t bother, and those who think they can afford to play 3rd party games on the sidelines, even in the most important election in U.S. history.

Unfortunately, before we can answer the subject question, I will have to teach the definition of communism first. Baby-boomers were never taught not to destroy their own country by overloading productive members of society with the high cost of free-stuff for folks like the common Obama supporter. But they won’t be able to claim ignorance after reading this column…

Senator McCarthy was right. There was a very strong communist movement operating out of California via the Communist Party USA, now headquartered in New York. There is a like-minded competitor organization, the Socialist Party USA (aka Democratic Socialists of America) also operating out of New York. The two share a common dream for America and that dream is entirely un-American.

These organizations knew that they had to change strategies to advance communism in the U.S.A. — so they changed strategies. Communist Party USA member and Michigan congressman John Conyers formed the Congressional Black Caucus, used to exploit the black population via racial divisions, for the sole purpose of advancing the Communist Party agenda.

The Socialist Party USA (DSAUSA) formed the Congressional Progressive Caucus via Socialist Party USA member Bernie Sanders, congressman from Vermont. Their strategy was to work like parasites from inside the American two-party system, rather than in direct competition with it. The goal was to seize control of one or both parties from inside. They now control the DNC and have moles inside the RNC as well.

[Comments: A must read for every American.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Canada

Youngest Guantanamo Bay Inmate Transferred to Canada

The youngest prisoner and last Western inmate at Guantanamo Bay military base has been returned to his native Canada. Omar Khadr will finish serving his prison sentence in Ontario.

Khadr, who was 15 years old when he was caught in Afghanistan in 2002, was flown from the US naval base to a military base in Ontario. He was then transferred to the Millhaven maximum-security prison, where he will finish serving his eight-year sentence.

A U.S. war crimes tribunal in 2010 sentenced Khadr, now 26, to eight years in prison in a plea deal that included him admitting to the murder of Army Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Speer, conspiring with al Qaeda to commit terrorist acts and making roadside bombs to target U.S. troops in Afghanistan, as well as spying and providing material support for terrorism.

Under the terms of the plea deal, Khadr has been eligible to return to Canada since last October.

The case has proven controversial internationally owing to Khadr’s age at the time of his capture and the nature of his detention.

Khadr was born in Canada but spent most of his childhood in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

His now-deceased father, Ahmed Khadr, was an alleged al Qaeda financier, though Omar disputed the allegation.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

France: Call for CCTV at Every Mosque in France After Series of Attack

A mosque in Limousin region in west-central France has been vandalised with neo-Nazi graffiti

France’s leading anti-Islamophobia NGO has called for surveillance cameras to be installed at every mosque in the country following the latest in a series of attacks on mosques. A mosque in Limousin region in west-central France excrement was smeared on its doors in the early hours of September 12 in an incident that reflects a growing trend, according to the chair of Islamophobia Observatory set up by France’s Muslim Council, Abdallah Zekri. “It is time that town councils took this problem seriously and started putting cameras in front of mosques, as is already the case for synagogues,” Zekri said…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Gunman Wearing Camouflage Jacket Fires at Czech President Vaclav Klaus… But Weapon Was Only Loaded With Plastic Pellets

A young man wielding a plastic gun shot Czech President Vaclav Klaus in the arm today — but the plastic pellets left him totally unharmed.

Pavel Vondrous was wearing military camouflage when he approached Klaus during a ceremony to open a bridge in Chrastava, a village 60 miles north of Prague.

He opened fire on the President at close range with a handgun that is often used in a game called airsoft, similar to paintball, Nova TV said on its website.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Italy: Three Injured in Attack on Swedish Soccer Fans in Naples

Trouble ahead of Napoli v AIK Solna in Europa League

(ANSA) — Naples, September 20 — Three people were injured after a group of Swedish soccer fans were attacked here by Napoli supporters ahead of Thursday’s Europa League match between the Naples side and Sweden’s AIK Solna.

The Swedes, who were actually Napoli supporters, were attacked by hardcore ultras fans wielding baseball bats and knives outside a pizzeria, said police.

The attackers covered their faces with scarves.

The owner of the pizzeria, who tried to speak in the defence of the Swedes, was injured, as was a 41-year-old Swedish national who organized the trip and another 23-year-old. None of the injuries, mostly to the legs and buttocks, are said to be serious.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Rome Pothole Sparks Mussolini Granddaughter Ire

Rome, 19 Sept. (AKI) — Alessandra Mussolini, granddaughter of Italy’s wartime dictator Benito Mussolini has blasted Rome city council after her car got stuck in a giant pothole collecting her son from school in the upscale Villa Torlonia district.

“This is shameful — it could have been really dangerous. I invite the mayor (Gianni Alemanno) to come and inspect the city streets,” said Mussolini, a mother of three.

There was another big pothole a few metres further down down the road on which her son’s school and several others are located and the pedestrian crossing had disppeared, Mussolini said.

“It’s just one big battleground,” she fumed.

Traffic wardens took an hour and a half to come to her aid after she was unable to reverse her car out of the pothole, Mussolini claimed.

“What are they doing instead of dishing out parking fines to mothers collecting their kids from school?”

A former glamour model and actress turned conservative lawmaker, Mussolini is the niece of movie star Sofia Loren, whose sister married Benito Mussolini’s youngest son, Romano Mussolini.

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

Italy: Dirty Restaurants: Police Shut Down 2 Chinese Diners in Rome

(AGI) Rome, 22 Sept. — Italy’s NAS, office for the prevention of the adulteration of beverages and foodstuffs, shut down 2 Chinese restaurants located in Trastevere, one of Rome’s most popular nightlife neighborhoods. The NAS inspectors charged the owners of both restaurants with committing health-code violations. The restaurants were found dirty with unsafe electrical systems in the kitchens, that could pose a risk to customers. The adulteration squad seized 3 tons of typical Chinese foodstuffs. They were deteriorating, dirty and roach contaminated. Some of the products, which were found unsafe due to poor refrigeration, were being sold to customer as fresh.

The two Chinese businessmen were charged also with administrative violations for bad sanitary levels and for gross misconduct. The fine for such charges is of about EUR 7,000.

The amount of the seizure is approx.EUR 1,700.000.

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

Italy: Peruvian Arrested in Rome for Trying to Rape a Tourist

(AGI) Rome — A 19-year old Peruvian was arrested by the Railway Police Friday night for trying to rape a Danish tourist. The incident occurred near Rome’s Termini Station and more specifically in a cafe on Via Giolitti where the man assaulted the tourist and tried to drag her into the bathroom, touching her intimate parts. The girl managed to escape and launch the alarm. The Polfer agents of Rome’s Termini Station department arrested the man while the girl was taken to the Umberto I polyclinic University hospital.

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

Italy: Magistrates Call for Action by Parliament on Corruption

(AGI) Turin — The Italian magistrates’ governing body said the Parliament must update regulations to effectively fight corruption. “I think the Parliament cannot avoid its responsibility which, as the Head of State said, is to update regulations to effectively counter corruption”, said the deputy chairman of the Magistrates’ Governing Council, Michele Vietti, when asked to comment on the anti-corruption bill, on the sidelines of a meeting of the Fondazione con il Sud foundation, in Turin.

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

Make-Up Among Italian School Girls Leads to Skin Problems

Girls as young as 8 use mascara and rouge

(ANSA) — Rome, September 25 — Dolls and stuffed animals are taking a backseat to mascara and rouge among Italian elementary school girls — enough to spark an epidemic of make-up-induced dermatitis.

Girls as young as seven or eight are focusing on their looks — as are their parents, who either doll them up or help them beautify themselves, the president of the Italian Federation of Pediatricians (FIMP), Giuseppe Mele, warned Tuesday. “The use of make-up among girls has led to the sudden rise of allergic or contact dermatitis, recording a 16.7% increase in such pathologies in the 8-12-year-old age group,” Mele told journalists at a Rome presentation of the Sixth National FIMP Congress, which will take place in Genoa September 27-29.

“The trend to note is that today children increasingly are considered like ‘toys in the shop window’, a spectacle and an ‘accessory’ of parents’ desires,” Mele declared.

Mele also warned that marketeers increasingly target children directly, rather than indirectly through their mothers — “a phenomenon to monitor closely,” Mele added.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Northern Irish Protestants Set Off on Ulster Covenant Parade

Northern Ireland’s police force was on high alert on Saturday for one of the largest Protestant parades in years. Marchers marked the 100th anniversary of the Ulster Covenant.

As many as 30,000 pro-British marchers took to the streets of Northern Ireland on Saturday to mark the 100th anniversary of the Ulster Covenant.

The day is considered by local Protestants as being one of their most significant.

The Covenant, signed by more than half a million Protestants in 1912, rejected rule from Dublin and pledged allegiance to Britain, and laid the groundwork for the division of Ireland in 1921.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said Saturday’s deployment was its biggest in over 20 years on fears that the huge gathering could lead to clashes with Belfast’s Catholic minority.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Spain: Brussels: Final Call on Recruitment of Dockers Rules

Now barriers for the implementation of single EU market

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, SEPTEMBER 27 — The Commission has sent today a reasoned opinion to Spain for non-compliance with the EU Treaty of the regime organising the recruitment of port workers (dockers). Spain is obliging cargo-handling companies in several Spanish ports to financially participate in the capital of private companies managing the provision of dockers and not to allow them to resort to the market to employ their staff, unless the workforce proposed by this private company is not suitable or not sufficient.

Cargo-handling providers from other Member States wishing to establish themselves in Spain might be discouraged from doing so because of the barrier this provision raises on the market for cargo-handling services. This is the second stage in the infringement procedure. If Spain fails to react satisfactorily, the Commission may refer the matter to the EU Court of Justice.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Spain: Tibetan Lama ‘Reincarnation’ Rediscovers Himself in Ibiza

As a toddler he was identified as a reincarnation of a Tibetan lama, sent to a monastery in India where he was locked away from the outside world and worshipped as a god.

Now, aged 27-years-old the Spaniard who was recognised by the Dalai Lama as Lama Tenzin Osel Rinpoche, has swapped his monastic robes for a life on the party island of Ibiza where he plays bongo drums, chills out to trance music and dreams of becoming a documentary film maker. Osel Hita Torres has spoken out about his extraordinary childhood and his decision to abandon life as a spiritual leader, thwarting the dreams of his parents and the Tibetan monks who guided him until he left the monastery shortly after his 18th birthday…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Spain: Raw Video: Police Provocateurs Caught Inciting Violence in Spain

How to win friends in Madrid.

Undercover police attempting to incite violence are busted by protesters.

In this clip, the undercover officers are pilloried by the man filming.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: ‘It’s Safer to Insult the Prophet Mohammed Than to Contradict the Armed Wing of the ME Brigade’

by Damian Thompson

The article you’re about to read will almost certainly be referred to the Press Complaints Commission. I’ll explain why later. Anyway, here goes. This week I noticed that the Telegraph’s medical columnist, Dr Max Pemberton, was being horribly slagged off on Twitter. His crime? He’d commented on the fact that scientists at Columbia University had found no evidence that two specific viruses were linked to ME, which Max described (choosing his words carefully) as “the condition characterised by extreme fatigue and muscle pain”.

The Columbia finding was a terrible blow to many ME sufferers, who hoped that these viruses were the Holy Grail of a biological cause for their illness. But, as Max explained, it wasn’t widely reported because medical journalists are frightened of the militant wing of the ME lobby…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Free Speech or Islamophobia? Enough Coalition Roundtable With Marwan Muhammad

[JP note: No text, but click on the link to see the coalition’s flyer advertising an event on 3 October 2012 at the London Muslim Centre, London. Link to Enough Coalition here http://www.enoughcoalition.co.uk/ ]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Hundreds Gather to Protest at Anti-Islam Film

by Kathie Griffiths

Mosque leaders who praised the 700-strong turnout at yesterday’s protest against an anti-islamic film are now imploring governments across the world to ban it. And they are calling for all countries to act firmly and decisively against any social media sites that refuse to adhere to any future outlawing of offensive videos and posts which contain blasphemy. The Innocence of Muslims film made by the American Coptic Church has triggered a wave of unrest among followers of the Islamic faith across the world…

[JP note: It is a puzzle why Kathie Griffiths continues to finger the American Coptic Church as the organisation behind the film.]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Man Jailed for Rape

A man who raped a woman after she was enticed to a Rochdale flat has today been jailed. Babar Ali, aka Zakir Mir, born 05/05/1969, of Rathbone Street, Rochdale pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing at Minshull Street Crown Court to an offence of rape. He was today, 27 September 2012, sentenced to four and a half years imprisonment and signed the sex offenders register for life. On the night of Thursday 22 March 2012, the 16-year-old victim was with a friend in Oldham town centre when her companion received a call from a man she knew, inviting them for a few drinks at a Rochdale flat. The pair caught a taxi into Rochdale and were dropped off on Oldham Road, near a takeaway called Big Chef. They were met by two men and were taken up to a flat at the back of the takeaway where they were given alcohol. A short time later the victim was taken to an adjacent room where she was raped by Ali. The victim and her friend later left the flat and she called the police the following day.

Detective Constable Michael Berger, of Rochdale CID, said: “This young victim was subjected to horrific and prolonged ordeal at the hands of Ali. The victim and her friend were persuaded to come to the flat, but once there, Ali demonstrated truly predatory behaviour. The victim was quite rightly left deeply traumatised, but she had the courage to contact the police the next day and she put her trust in us to investigate this. Without the victim there would not have been a case against Ali so we must pay tribute to her bravery.”

Greater Manchester is nationally recognised as a model of good practice in terms of support services available to victims.

  • If you or someone you know has been raped or sexually assaulted, we encourage you not to suffer in silence and report it to the police or a support agency so you can get the help and support available.
  • You can call Greater Manchester Police on 101, or alternatively people can refer themselves to St Maryâ¿¿s Sexual Assault Referral Centre on 0161 276 6515.
  • St Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre in Manchester provides a comprehensive and coordinated forensic, counselling and medical aftercare service to anyone in Greater Manchester who has experienced rape or sexual assault. Services are available on a 24-hour basis and people can access them either as a self-referral or via Greater Manchester Police.
  • Manchester Rape Crisis is a confidential support service run by women for women and girls who have been raped or sexually abused. Confidential helpline: 0161 273 4500. Black and Minority Ethnic helpline: 0161 273 4514.
  • Survivors Manchester offers support and counselling for adult male survivors of sexual abuse and rape, regardless of when the event happened. Contact 07919 246 267.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Megan Stammers Was Abused — Just as the Rochdale Girls Were Abused. The Age of Consent is Worth Defending.

Martin Sewell is a family Solicitor from Kent

This week has had two primary news stories directing our attention to the same difficult subject of adolescent sexuality and the response of the adult world to it. Both stories should be sounding a klaxon to alert us that we have got all this seriously wrong.

In the Rochdale case, we have read of a long history of targeted abuse of vulnerable girls in the 13 to 15 age group by a group who had no interest in their individuality; I mean no disrespect to them by referring to them as from “the underclass”, but by doing so we can emphasise that they are presented in our media as very different from the missing 15 year old Sussex schoolgirl, Megan Stammers. One group is plainly known to the agencies responsible for protecting the poor, the vulnerable and excluded who slip through the protective net on a regular basis; the other hits the headlines as the seeming antithesis. In the latter case, Megan’s mother told the Daily Mail: “She is always in at 7pm, she is not one of these kids to roam the streets, she doesn’t go out drinking or anything like that. She doesn’t like the dark so she had never been out after dark,’ She added: ‘It is completely out of character, this is not her, she is not like this.”

In the former case, the threat was external, overtly exploitative, and, yes, “foreign” (whilst in Megan’s case the danger came from the wolf within within the fold). The Rochdale girls suffered more anonymously and brutally, whilst Megan’s exploitation is clothed in the language of “relationship”, though both should be identified as plain abuse by adults who should know better. Even as we discuss the wrongs, we have to treat the northern lasses as a “job lot”, whilst Sussex Megan has a name, a face and a personality. The differentiation and exclusion continue. I was struck as I Iistened to one “expert” on radio 4 defending under age sex and the “choices”of girls like Megan with the words “young person” and “relationship”, whilst subtly referring to others of the same age as ‘children” being “abused”. That is illustrates the double standard of such excusing minds.

Last night I met an ex-social worker friend, now a priest, and we compared notes: we were often on different sides of court cases but each of us had reached a common conclusion on these matters. These cases need to take us to some fundamental questions about how we protect young people, and part of that process involves making the progressive liberal establishment own the consequences of its actions. You can see those results in courts, prisons, drug rehabilitation hostels and sink estates throughout the country. My friend had been chatting to a workman at her house about Megan’s case. He would have no problem condemning the Rochdale abuse, but in the second case he softened “…but they’re in love” he intoned, as my friend struggled to contain her anger. Therein lies our confusion.

There are two approaches to framing laws and policies; the one clear, unambiguous, sometimes harsh; the other amorphous, inconsistent and malleable. We have moved from the former towards the latter, to our detriment. It is time to ask a simple plain question. Does the age of consent mean anything anymore, and if so what should be done about it? I have concluded that the pragmatic evidence is clear that society has a legitimate interest in delaying the onset of sexual activity amongst the young. I am sure I did not think this when I was 15. I have become a fogey, but that, I fear, is the price of maturity. I hope it is contagious.

A lifetime of working with, and for, children like those who suffered in Rochdale has taught me how wrong we have been to allow the surrender of childhood and adolescence to the progressive zeitgeist. By fearing to defend a defensible unambiguous standard we open many children to be let down and exploited by poor parenting, commercial interests, inadequately protective public institutions and social experimenters. Nobody with that background is under any illusion that children who engage prematurely in adult behaviours , whether sex, alcohol or drugs, tend to end up with poorer outcomes. Their problems swiftly become generational and grow exponentially to society’s cost.

There may be some highly resilient girls who make it through relatively unscathed, but the majority who fall into premature adulthood are highly ill equipped to do so, and most have tragic regretted outcomes for themselves and society. Put bluntly this behaviour costs us a fortune. Normally when we can help the vulnerable by limiting the freedoms of the advantaged, our progressive friends are highly in favour, but here we threaten their sacred cows of “self fulfillment” and the cult of the transgressive, so they turn their back. These poor girls of the underclass aren’t worth the effort.

Malcolm Muggeridge — who saw much of this coming — identified part of the problem. “Sex is the mysticism of materialism and the only possible religion in a materialistic society.” Amazingly. our progressive friends fail to notice that “respecting lifestyle choice” and “marketing opportunity” are almost synonymous. The commercial sexualisation of even the very young is built on the grubby premise that the sooner you can be “at it” the better. The philosophical roots of the problem are laid bare in the blog entries of Mr Forrest, the teacher in question, where we can hear how contemporary progressive society slithers through the cracks of an unclear social policy. “How do we, and how should we define what is right and wrong, acceptable and unacceptable…. you have to have faith in your own judgement”. If only he had added “ You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one”. It is a philosophical wet dream.

No doubt he thought Victoria Gillick utterly delusional when she sought to protect the age of consent at the cost of the much vaunted” harm reduction” approach. Her heroic failure meant that the abuser was armed with a powerful persuasion: “It’s not wrong…society pays for underage contraception and abortion… your parents need not know…it’s plainly such a hypocrisy to condemn us…” The protective parent was simultaneously disarmed, and continues to know that the police are usually not interested in ‘infringing human rights” in this area even though the convention permits countries to limit freedom of expression proportionately. In one aspect however, Mr Forrest’s blog showed unintended insight; his feelings “hit him like heroin”; doubtless they did. Heroin deprives one of all moral values, rendering one selfish, impervious to the interests of others and single mindedly intent on personal gratification. Welcome to moral relativism.

And there lies the problem. The simple law that says that anyone engages in sex with a minor at their peril, would be hard work to enforce, and we should have to back it up with a whole range of attitudinal changes. It used to work: it could again if we had the will to do so. Whether we are prepared to carry that fight forward depends upon answering one simple question. Do you think we should robustly protect the vulnerable girls of the underclass, and give them a chance of a better life or do we go with those who think they are not worth the trouble?

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Rochdale Council of Mosques Strongly Condemns the Offensive Film

The Rochdale Council of Mosques has expressed its “disgust” at the film that has been released on the internet in what they consider to be an attempt to “deliberately incite and aggravate Muslim communities”. A spokesman said: “Globally we have seen a now predictable response to this movie and in many Muslim lands people have expressed their anger and disgust at the symbolic buildings that represent the United States and other foreign countries — namely the embassies and other official buildings. As Rochdale Muslims we too are enraged by this film that misrepresents Islam and the Blessed Prophet Muhammad — May the Peace and Blessings of Allah be Upon Him. Muslims hold all prophets of God Almighty, Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus, in the highest regard. They are the chosen messengers of the pure divine Lord and any attempt to misrepresent and show them in a negative light is deeply painful and regrettable. The Prophet Muhammad is believed to be the seal of all the messengers, the last and most beloved and we therefore hold him in the highest esteem. We feel that any publication which defiles a pure and holy character should not be allowed to be published and should in fact be prosecuted as material that incites racial and religious hatred. We are pleased to see that the Vatican, the centre of the Catholicism in the world, has also released a statement condemning the film. ‘The serious consequences of unjustified offence and provocations against the sensibilities of Muslim believers are once again evident’, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said in a statement released last week. We have been informed, there are some rallies organised by individuals in Rochdale. However, the RCM has made a decision not to hold a demonstration and would instead lobby MPs for international action against attempts to incite religious hatred. Everyone agreed that holding rallies and expressing their feelings in peaceful way is a democratic right of people which they can exercise. Rochdale Council of Mosques would urge the organisers and the participants of these rallies to be peaceful. As a Rochdale Council of Mosques we first and foremost condemn the actions of this individual who has clearly caused the intended grief and anger across the globe. As an organisation of Muslims who are always working for peace, harmony and cohesion across the borough and beyond we area appalled at this deliberate attempt to defile our blessed and Holy Prophet. We would ask all members of our community firstly to remain calm and not be ignited by this film towards violence.”

[JP note: Gibberish.]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Rochdale Grooming Review: One Child’s Story

by Jackie Long

The phrase “missed opportunities” sounds almost benign, as if nothing too awful has happened, just that things could have been done a little bit better. It is a popular choice of words in official reports and reviews where agencies — the police or social services — concede that they have failed in some way. But let’s look at what “missed opportunities” meant in reality for one of the young girls involved in the Rochdale grooming case. For Sarah it meant that being raped and horrifically sexually assaulted on a daily basis happened not just for a string of dark days but stretched out into years. Between the ages of 12 and 18 she was passed round strangers like a “piece of meat”, ferried from town to town for sex in cars or cheap hotels, beaten and violently threatened. That was her life. That was how Sarah spent her childhood…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Vienna Wine Hiking Day

Vienna’s autumn on the wine hiking trail opens shortly — with lots of opportunities to sample good wines and enjoy the views of the city.

Vienna is unique in being the only capital city in the world to have vineyards within the city boundaries — in fact there are 700 hectares of vineyards and 230 vintners in the areas around Kahlenberg, Nussberg, Bisamberg, and Mauer.

The Vienna Wine Hiking Day is held every year in the autumn. The Vienna Wine Hiking Trail is accessible only on this weekend. The trail cannot be accessed during the rest of the year, because it runs through private vineyards.

There are two routes.

Route 1 leads from Neustift am Walde to Nussdorf. In between are Sievering, the Wien Cobenzl winery, and Grinzing, all legendary locations in the Viennese wine and Heuriger tavern traditions. For those who prefer a small section as opposed to the full length of the Wine Trail, your walk can also start here. After all, a hike on the Wine Trail is not supposed to too strenuous — sipping outstanding wines and enjoying the breathtaking views are what it’s all about.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Why Italy Refuses to Recognize the World’s Fifth-Largest Religion

The small ceremonial daggers that Sikhs must carry at all times are such an important part of their religion that the London Olympic organizers allow them to be worn during events. So why does Italy have such a problem with them?

Flavia Amabile, Rome

Should a boy scout walking around with a Swiss-army knife be considered dangerous? Should Swiss-army knives be banned altogether? Well, for the Italian interior minister, if the small knife is carried for religious reasons, then the answer is yes.

Last May, after years of court cases and appeals, the interior minister announced that it was refusing to recognize Sikhism as a religion, on the grounds that the kirpan, the small ceremonial dagger that Sikhs must carry at all times, is dangerous.

The announcement was a great disappointment for the Italian Sikh community. “We are sad. Obviously we respect Italy and its laws, but after all these years of honest work in this country, we were hoping for a positive outcome,” says Harwant Singh, president of the Italian National Sikh Dharam Parchar Committee.

“I’m surprised that legal status is denied to a community which is a symbol of integration. They are the pillars of the production of the Parmesan cheese, just to give an example,” says Andrea Sarubbi, a member of parliament with the center-left Democratic Party, who is trying to find a solution to the dispute.

The first Sikhs arrived in Italy in the 1980s. They moved to northern and central Italy, where they worked hard without complaining, glad to create their own Italian families. Today, there are 60,000 Sikhs in Italy. “We wanted to live and stay here forever,” says Singh. “We have always followed the rules. We are a peaceful community, but we wish others respected our religion too.”

Despite being founded in the 15th century and being the fifth-largest religion in the world, today in Italy, the Sikh religion has no legal existence. It is just an association like any other.

Traditions and rules

Sikhs have to follow many rules. Men cannot cut their hair and must cover their heads with turbans. They also have to carry a comb, which is a sign of cleanness, traditional pants, a steel bracelet — and the much disputed kirpan dagger.

The turban has also been an issue in the past. The Italian Interior Ministry only authorized its use in official ID photos in 1995. Even if, once in a while, there are some problems at airport security checks, the issue of the turban is considered settled…

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

North Africa

Cui Prodest? — Who Stands to Gain From “The Innocence of Muslims” Film?

Was the controversial “The Innocence of Muslims” film a false flag operation designed to undermine freedom of expression in the West? A rather interesting article on the issue of the authorship of the film has recently been published by Walid Shoebat. [1] In many ways the article makes a lot of sense. Please take some time to read his essay which can be found HERE.

[…]

Mr. Shoebat, himself a former member of the Muslim Brotherhood, certainly has a unique perspective on their operations. Even though he has turned his back on them and become a peace activist his insights are still valid, he knows how they think and how they work. It is good that the Western world has an informed person like Mr. Shoebat to shine light onto these matters.

From Walid’s article:

“Court documents reveal that Nakoula Bacile Nakoula, producer of the movie Innocence of Muslims, partnered in a scheme with Eiad Salameh, my first cousin.

Eiad is a Muslim terror supporter and is not an Egyptian Copt.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Egypt: Stop Persecuting US in the Sinai, Jihadists to Morsi

After military ops and 14 death sentences, Cairo protest 10/6

(ANSAmed) — CAIRO, SEPTEMBER 27 — Egyptian jihadist groups on Thursday announced an October 6 protest at the presidential palace against what they say is government persecution against them, especially in the Sinai region.

The government must stop “investigating and prosecuting jihadists and stop committing violations during Sinai operations, which are carried out without distinction between perpetrators and victims, solely to appease foreign powers or national movements,” Masri al Youm online daily reported Mohamed al-Zawahiri, brother of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, as saying. An Ismailia court two days ago confirmed death by hanging sentences against 14 jihadists convicted of participating in an attack on a police station and a bank in el-Arish last year, killing six police officers.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Egypt: Govt is Walking the Course With Firm Steps — Morsy

President Mohamed Morsy asserted that relations between Egypt and the US are normal and based on mutual respect. The US side, whether leader, officials or public figures, announced that they support the Egyptian revolution and new Egypt, Morsy told Al-Hayat television. “We had inherited a heavy burden in the march of the Egyptian-US relations, as a result of the corruption of the former regime which marginalized the real interests of Egyptian citizens,” he added. Morsy said that he thinks that the US side is trying to change their past stances.

As for the situation in Sinai, Morsy said that the number of Egyptian troops currently in the peninsula is enough to establish security there. “We are moving towards developing it and giving its citizens their full rights,” he stressed. He also asserted that Egypt respects its international treaties and will act firmly if other parties to those agreements violated them.

The Egyptian leader said that Egypt seeks to end bloodshed in Syria, ruling out the possibility of resorting to Arab or foreign military intervention. Egypt rejects any military action in Syria, he said.

Speaking about a recent phone conversation with US President Barack Obama, Morsy said that it was cordial and marked with mutual respect. The US president deplored the anti-Islam film, Morsy said, noting that he also offered condolences to the US leader over the US deaths in Libya. Morsy said he conveyed that Egypt is capable of protecting its guests as well as foreign interests. The conversation did not witness any negative tone like some reports claimed, Morsy added. Morsy asserted that the Egyptian people “are not the enemy of any side”, but also will not tolerate any attack or interference in the country’s domestic affairs. In the past, Morsy said, the US administrations used to take sides against the interests of the peoples in the region, including the Egyptian and Palestinian peoples. The situation is now different, he said, especially after the US supported the revolution, not the dictatorships…

[JP note: Mercy, mercy.]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Egypt’s Copts Abandon Sinai After Threats, Attack

ost Christians living near Egypt’s border with Israel are fleeing their homes after Islamist militants made death threats and gunmen attacked a Coptic-owned shop, a priest said on Friday.

The departure of nine families that made up the small Christian community in the border area of Egypt’s Sinai peninsula will fuel worries about religious tolerance and the rise of militancy after the overthrow of president Hosni Mubarak last year.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Libya: Pro-Salafist Rally in Benghazi Turns Violent

Hand grenades lobbed at security forces and cars set ablaze

Benghazi: Libyan demonstrators lobbed hand grenades at security forces and set cars ablaze after a rally in Benghazi on Friday in support of a hardline Salafist group which was evicted from the second city. More than 200 men converged on Benghazi’s Al Jalaa Hospital, which was guarded by members of Ansar Al Sharia until Friday of last week, when anti-militia protesters forced them out, an AFP correspondent reported. “We want Ansar Al Sharia to come back and protect this hospital,” a placard read. The crowd then marched on a nearby security forces building.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Muslims Order Christians Out of Their Village in Egypt

by Mary Abdelmassih

(AINA) — Copts in the North Sinai border town of Rafah have started leaving their homes after receiving an ultimatum from Islamists to leave “within 48 hours” or be killed. According to confirmed reports 9 Coptic families have left the town. The remaining 23 Coptic families are still there, waiting to leave. “it is difficult for us to leave as most of us are shop-owners and have property, so it is not easy just to leave everything and go,” said one Copt who is still with his family in Rafah. The Copts are all confined to their homes, afraid to venture out.

However, two days ago. masked men on motorcycles sprayed Coptic stores with bullets, but no one was hurt.

The nine Coptic families who left Rafah were government employees and the Governor of North Sinai offered to transfer them to neighboring Sinai Province capital, Al-Arish, to take posts there instead.

About three weeks ago a Coptic shop owner received a hand-written threat that “all Christians should leave Rafah within 48 hours, otherwise they will be killed.” Copts reported these threats to security but were told not to take the threats “earnestly,” because threats were during the time of the YouTube clip mocking Mohammad. “We thought the writers of these threats were just being vindictive against the Copts since it was claimed that a US Copt is responsible for it [the film],” said a Copts resident of Rafah.

Coptic families went with church representatives and met with the Governor of North Sinai asking for protection, he promised none, but just transferred nine government employees to work in Al-Arish.

The Coptic Church issued a statement this afternoon, after a meeting of the Holy Synod, signed by acting Patriarch Anba Pachomios, condemning the forced displacement of the Copts from Rafah, demanding that the “responsible state agencies address those that are trying to undermine the state authority and show it unable to protect its citizens.”

The statement further said “nearly one month ago the media had published the violations against the Copts but the Egyptian authorities have not taken the necessary measures to protect the Egyptian families, who have the right to live safely in their homes.” It went on say that the series of Coptic displacement started with El-Ameriya (AINAÂ 2-9-2012), then Dahshour (AINAÂ 8-1-2012) and now has reached Rafah.

Political parties and human rights organizations were angered by the forced displacement of the Rafah Copts. Many believe that this is the “method Islamists are using to change Egypt demographically, since they want an Islamic state in Sinai, all Copts have to go out,” said Coptic activist Mark Ebeid.

Dr. A. Shokr, vice-president of the National Council for Human Rights, said that they will support the displaced families as well as send a fact-finding mission next week to Rafah.

The Muslim Brotherhood Party “Freedom and Justice” published an article today saying that following an interview with H.G. Cosman, Bishop of North Sinai, no Copts were displaced. Bishop Cosman denied giving an interview to a Muslim paper and confirmed that some Coptic families have left Rafah and live in Al-Arish, and that some, fearing for their lives, are transferring their furniture and belongings from Rafah to Al-Arish because of the deteriorating security conditions..

Novelist and Sinai activist Mosad Abu Fagr commented to ElYom7 daily that what is happening in Sinai now indicates that president Morsi was defeated in his war in Sinai, and his adversaries already control the area, and because Christians are the weakest link in Rafah, it started with them. The rest will be displaced and the Islamists will take control of the areas of Rafah, Sheikh Zuwaid, Arish and Bir al-Abed. All of Sinai will be lost and become under the control of the Islamists.

           — Hat tip: Mary Abdelmassih [Return to headlines]

The Sorry State Department

It should come as no surprise that the State Department has much to answer for in the abysmal manner in which it so disastrously allowed the horrific murder of the American Ambassador, Chris Stevens, and three other Americans by Muslims in Benghazi, Libya to occur. What took place was an act of barbarism deliberately planned and perpetrated on the very anniversary of the 9/11 atrocity by fellow Muslims against Americans upon American soil.

And who must bear full responsibility for not adequately protecting the hapless ambassador and his staff in Benghazi? Well, it has to be none other than Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State, and appeaser to all and every tyrant and international thug in the world.

Her craven apologies to the ever hate filled and murderous Muslim world by blaming an amateurish video, purportedly the excuse for mass Islamic violence and killings, has been enough to make Neville Chamberlain look decidedly heroic and resolute. But then she takes her queue from her boss, the Appeaser and Apologist in Chief; Barack Hussein Obama.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

US Warns of Terrorist Threat to Missionaries in Egypt

(AGI) — Cairo, 29 Sep — The US Cairo embassy has issued a terrorist threat alert, warning of possible attacks against female American Christian missionaries in Egypt. The embassy quotes “credible information” suggesting “terrorist interest in targeting US female missionaries in Egypt,” urging US citizens “exercise vigilance, taking necessary precautions to maintain their personal security.” ..

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

Israel and the Palestinians

Fisherman Killed by Israeli Navy Fire

Palestinian medical sources in the Gaza Strip reported, Friday, that a Palestinian fisherman was killed by Israeli navy fire west of Beit Lahia, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip. The fisherman’s brother was wounded in the attack. Dr. Ashfar Al-Qdura, spokesperson of the Ministry of Health in the Gaza Strip told the Maan News Agency that Fahmi Salah Abu Rayyash, 22, was shot and seriously injured by Israeli fire on Friday morning, and died of his wounds at a local hospital on Friday evening. Al-Qudra added that Fahmi was shot by one round of live ammunition in his abdomen and another round in his right foot. Yousef, the brother of Fahmi, suffered mild injuries and received the needed medical treatment.

The attack is part of ongoing violations carried out by the Israeli army and navy against Palestinian fishermen in the coastal region; these attacks led to dozens of casualties, while dozens of fishermen were also kidnapped by the army. Since 2000, fishermen have been denied their right to sail and fish, as Israel reduced the area of fishing from 20 nautical miles, which was established upon in the agreements signed between Palestinian and Israel, to 6 nautical miles in 2008. However, Israeli forces have continued to prevent fishermen from going beyond 3 nautical miles since 2009…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Middle East

Iranian Minister: Israel Already Crossed Nuclear ‘Red Line’

Israel has already crossed its own nuclear “red line,” Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi said Saturday in response to remarks by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier this week at the UN General Assembly.

During his speech at the United Nations in New York, Netanyahu used an illustrated bomb diagram to call for a “clear red line” to be drawn with regard to Iran’s nuclear program, which he says is being used to develop atomic weapons.

Vahidi responded in kind on Saturday, saying Israel has already breached its own nuclear red line.

“If having the atomic bomb is passing the red line, the Zionist regime, that possesses dozens of nuclear warheads and weapons of mass destruction, has passed the red line years ago, and it has to be stopped,” Vahidi (pictured at top) told the ISNA news agency.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Schools Increasingly Religious in Turkey

Turkey may be a secular country, but the government is turning several secular schools into religious institutions under controversial education reforms. And the schools are being received with mixed results.

Many parents in Turkey were in for a shock this month when they discovered that their children’s schools had been turned into Imam Hatips. Religious schools were originally created to teach future imams or religious leaders.

But not everyone was unhappy at the change: at one school, a mother, wearing a headscarf, believes it’s a good thing.

“I want my child to learn about his religion (…) because we are a Muslim country so religion must be part of our education,” she said.

Another parent was less enthusiastic about the change.

“We want our children to be educated according to the principles of secularism,” he said.

He believes that things are changing in Turkey. Imam Hatips used to be part of Turkey’s education system, but most of them were closed down in the 90s as part of the pro-secular military-inspired crackdown on the country’s Islamic movement.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Surreal: Clinton Pledges $45 Million in Aid to Al Qaeda in Syria

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that the US would be providing an additional $45 million in “non-lethal aid” to the “opposition” in Syria, reported the Associated Press. The Western press chose their words carefully, ensuring that the term “civilian opposition” was repeatedly used to describe the armed terrorist forces attempting to violently overthrow the Syrian government.

In reality, the “opposition” in Syria constitutes foreign terrorist legions flowing across Syria’s borders, and in particular, staging and crossing over from NATO-member Turkey. In fact, it was recently admitted by the terrorist legions themselves that their headquarters has been located within Turkish territory for the duration of the conflict. In a recent France 24 article titled, “Free Syrian Army move HQ from Turkey to Syria,” armed militants claimed they had only just recently “moved from Turkey to within Syria.”

While the Western media attempts to portray heavily armed foreign terrorists as “Syria’s civilian opposition,” it has been revealed that entire brigades are led by Libyan terrorists drawn from the ranks of the US State Department (#29), UK Home Office (page 5, .pdf), and UN-listed terror organization, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG).

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Russia

Budget and Oil: Putin and Government on Another Collision Course

The budget fails to realize the election promises made by the head of the Kremlin. The government finds necessary funds from the coffers of the state Rosneftegaz, undisputed reign of Putin loyalist, Igor Sechin. Open war on the privatization of oil.

Moscow (AsiaNews) — The energy sector has once again become a battleground between the liberal wing of the government and President Putin. This takes place on the eve of the discussion in the State Duma of the 2013-2015 budget, the 1st of October. The head of the Kremlin, Vladimir Putin, has reprimanded the government for presenting a budget that, in fact — with the revenue available — recognizes the unsustainability of his campaign promises (including an increase in pensions). In response to criticism, the Ministry of Finance has found the budget funds for the implementation of presidential plans: proceeds from the state Rosneftegaz, headed by former energy minister and architect of Putin’s energy policy, Igor Sechin (pictured left). These funds were previously considered untouchable.

The proposal of the Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev is include in the budget, 95% of 130 billion rubles (4.2 billion euro) of dividends collected by the public company with its shares in Gazprom (11%) and the major proliferation Rosneft (75%), headed by Sechin. In this regard, the same Sechin had already been accused of “conflicts of interest” by the Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich (Medvedev loyalist).

The Prime Minister promised that the Rosneftegaz funds will be spent not only to achieve the decrees of the president, but also for development projects in the Russian Far East, Putin’s key campaign promise.

The move by Medvedev has a clear political side. According to analysts: the “expropriation” of Rosneftegaz, as some newspapers have called it, makes the aims of Sechin (a bitter enemy of the Prime Minister) to expand state presence in the Russian energy through the participation of its Rosneftegaz in the vast program of privatization of the sector, economically unfeasible. The powerful former minister and long time ally has complained to Putin, but the head of the Kremlin so far has made no comment. Probably it will come to a compromise along lines already suggested by Dvorkovich who on September 28 has reduced the percentage of funds to “be withdrawn”, talking about a sum ranging between 50% and 95%.

From the formal point of view, the government does not need the presidency to decide on Rosneftegaz dividends, but “consultations are ongoing” with the Putin administration, Dvorkovich said. Revealing that the battle is still open.

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

Russia to “Liberate the World From US Occupation”

Russia and its ally China are planning to replace the United States as the world’s leading power. Part of that plan involves ensuring that the US dollar is no longer the world’s reserve currency… which will spell economic disaster for this country.

[…]

The shift in global power centers is economic and political at present. If Barack Obama is re-elected and continues his mission of destroying the US military… the stage will be set for war… a war that America will have little chance of winning.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

South Asia

Afghan Troops Told Not to Take Take Revenge for NATO Cultural Offenses

Afghan troops have been issued with a new manual urging them not to take violent revenge when their Western counterparts mistakenly offend their cultural traditions.

The booklet is intended to bridge the divide cultural divide between local forces and Nato troops and avoid the misunderstandings that have sometimes ended in violence, the Washington Post reported. It warns Afghan soldiers that their international allies may blow their noses in public or “show their excitement by patting one another on the back or the behind”, both taboos in Afghan culture. The pamphlet, entitled “Cultural Understanding — A Guide to Understanding Coalition Cultures”, also cautions that Westerners may put their feet up desks without realising that showing the soles of feet is considered a serious insult in Islamic culture…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Afghan Troops Get a Lesson in American Cultural Ignorance

KABUL — During the Vietnam War, American soldiers shipped out armed with government-issued guides to the distant land and the mysterious people. In Afghanistan, the U.S. military has tried training sessions, embedded cultural advisers, recommended reading lists and even a video game designed to school the troops in local custom. But 11 years into the war, NATO troops and Afghan soldiers are still beset by a dangerous lack of cultural awareness, officials say, contributing to a string of insider attacks that have threatened to undermine the military partnership.

So the Afghan army is trying something new: a guide to the strange ways of the American soldier. The goal is to convince Afghan troops that when their Western counterparts do something deeply insulting, it’s likely a product of cultural ignorance and not worthy of revenge. The pamphlet is intended to “strengthen our understanding of our [NATO] counterpart,” according to an English translation of the pamphlet that was provided to The Washington Post. But in doing so, it also reveals seemingly minor — and rarely acknowledged — cultural faux pas that have created palpable tension between the two forces. “Please do not get offended if you see a NATO member blowing his/her nose in front of you,” the guide instructs…

[JP note: Beyond satire.]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Bomb Kills 2 Police Near Afghan Training Academy

KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghan authorities say a roadside bomb has killed two policemen in Herat province of western Afghanistan, just hours before a ceremony to hand a nearby police training academy over from NATO to Afghan control…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

British Father to Face Death by Firing Squad for Smuggling Crystal Meth Into Indonesia

A British father of one has been sentenced to death by firing squad for smuggling drugs into Indonesia, it has emerged.

Gareth Cashmore, 33, a roofer from Wakefield, West Yorks, was arrested a year ago after customs officials said they found 6.5kg of methamphetamine — crystal meth — hidden in a compartment in his suitcase.

He was originally handed a life sentence. But it only emerged last night that Indonesian judges raised his penalty to death at an appeal hearing in May.

Gareth Cashmore told The Sun from his cell: ‘I’ve got a son, how would you feel?’ But he added: ‘I hope to be out to see him before he’s grown up. I’ll survive this by hook or by crook.’

Mr Cashmore’s mother Lynne said she could not understand why her son had been sentenced to death when Umar Patek, the mastermind behind the Bali nightclub bombings that killed more than 200 people in 2002, had not.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Experts Fear a ‘Talibanization’ of Afghan Justice

The lashing of a teenage girl in Afghanistan for having an “illegal relationship” has caused an uproar inside and outside the country. Experts fear a “Talibanization” of the Afghan justice system.

On September 16, three mullahs in the southern Afghan province of Ghazni sentenced 16-year-old Sabera to 100 lashes for having an “illegal relationship” with a boy. On Monday, September 24, hundreds of students and rights activists took to the streets to protest so-called “desert trials” such as the one which tried Sabera, which take place without due process of law and are held by the Taliban and local clerics.

The protesters demanded the government take measures to stop such unlawful trials and punishment. A day later, Afghan authorities reported the arrest of five people connected to Sabera’s lashing. Authorities said they were investigating the case.

Sabera’s sister Shafiqa was among the demonstrators. She had watched the sentence being carried out.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

India’s Gargantuan Biometric Database Raises Big Questions

The government of India has amassed a database of 200 million Indian residents’ digital fingerprints, iris scans, facial photographs, names, addresses and birthdates. Yet this vast collection of private information is only a drop in the bucket compared to the volume of data it ultimately intends to gather. The Unique Identity Authority of India (UIDAI), the agency that administers Aadhaar — India’s Unique Identity (UID) program — has a goal of capturing and storing this personal and biometric information for each and every one of India’s 1.2 billion residents. Everyone who enrolls is issued a 12-digit unique ID number and an ID card linked to the data.

Once it’s complete, the Aadhaar system will require so much data storage capacity that it is projected to be 10 times the size of Facebook. And while it’s optional to enroll, the program is envisioned as the basis for new mobile apps that would facilitate everything from banking transactions to the purchase of goods and services, which could make it hard for individuals to opt out without getting left behind.

India’s is the largest biometric ID scheme in the world, and the masssive undertaking raises serious questions about widespread data sharing, a lack of legal protections for users’ data, and concerns about whether adequate technical safeguards are in place to keep individuals’ information safe and secure.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Pakistani Protestant Bishop Injured in Lahore

(AGI) Rome- Pakistan Christians are under attack from Islamic extremists angry at the film US-made film, The Innocence of Muslims. Following the attack on St. Paul’s church in Mardan, a bishop was assaulted, beaten and injured. Local sources of the Vatican news agency Fides report that protestant bishop Naeem Samuel of the Trinity Evangelical Church Prayer, was attacked yesterday as he was leaving church in Youhanaabad, a suburb of Lahore (Punjab province), where about 10,000 Christian families live.

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

Pakistan: Kidnap Victim Shot Dead by Masked Gunmen

A Bradford dad-of-four kidnapped in Pakistan and freed after his family paid a £15,000 ransom has been brutally slain by masked gunmen after he bravely returned there to give evidence against his alleged abductors. Malik Iqbal, 55 was shot in the head in front of female relatives by two balaclava-wearing assassins who burst into the house in Rawalpindi where he was staying in the early hours of yesterday. His nephew, who had travelled with him, only escaped the slaughter because he was collecting dry-cleaning from a nearby shop…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Soldiers Ordered Not to Shoot Taliban as They Plant Mines… ‘Because it Wakes Up Locals’

Soldiers were ordered not to open fire on Taliban fighters planting mines in case they disturb local people, it has been claimed.

U.S. military chiefs ordered troops to exercise ‘courageous constraint’ and even warned them they could be charged with murder if they shot any Taliban without permission from above.

The claims were made by a former Royal Marine who spoke out following the inquest into the death of Sergeant Peter Rayner last week.

At the hearing in Bradford, his widow Wendy Rayner revealed how her husband was blown up days after senior officers had apparently ‘laughed off’ his complaints that insurgents were being allowed to plant explosive devices unchallenged.

[…]

Outside Bradford Coroner’s Court Mrs Rayner fired a further broadside at the Ministry of Defence, calling for rules of engagement to be changed to protect soldiers.

‘They are not allowed to return fire unless they are fired upon. But all the lads have expressed concern because the patrol area was filled with IEDs.

‘They can shoot at us and take us out but the lads can’t do that to them.

These terrorists and Taliban can do what they want yet our soldiers try to do their job and get persecuted by the law.

‘If they are going to be soldiers let them be soldiers and do their jobs. The job is hard enough as it is.

‘There will be an internal investigation, but I think the rules of engagement need to be looked into if someone is planting IEDs and threatening lives.’

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Far East

Filipino Muslim Leaders Caution Against Violence in Protesting Anti-Islam Video

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines—Muslims, no matter how hurt they are, should not resort to violence in protesting against the anti-Islam film, “The Innocence of Muslims”, Muslim clerics in Mindanao said. Ustadz Al Mahdi Baginda of the National Ulama Conference said while the film ridiculed the Prophet Muhammad, “reacting violently will not make us different from the one who created the film.” He said it was clear that the filmmaker was trying to incite violence among Muslims because it can also justify the story portrayed in the film.

The film initially showed Egyptian Muslims attacking Egyptian Christians and burning their homes while Egyptian police forces, who are also Muslims, just watched and stood from a distance. The rest of the film depicts scenes featuring the main character, referred to as the Prophet Muhammad…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK, Canada, Australia & USA Issue Phillippines Terror Alert

(AGI) Manila — The UK, Canada and Australia joined the USA in issuing a security alert to their citizens in the Philippines.

The alert was sounded after the US embassy warned of the possibility of actions against American citizens in Manila, the capital of the archipelago. A UK Foreign Office statement said, ‘The attacks could be indiscriminate and that is why we advise British nationals to exercise particular caution and extra vigilance’.

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

Australia — Pacific

Proof Smart Meters Are Being Used To Spy On Us

If you have ever wondered if your smart meter is being used to spy on you, well now there is proof that governments and private organisations are using data collected from smart meters.

Information about power usage, which can be used to identify when a home is being occupied, is being shared with third parties including government agencies, private organisations and off-shore data processing centres.

This unethical breach of privacy was discovered on the website of one of Australia’s largest electricity retailer, Origin Energy.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Kenya: Police Comb Forest After MRC Clash

Nairobi — Police were still combing the forest in Kilifi where suspected members of the Mombasa Republican Council (MRC) are believed to be hiding, following Thursday’s killing of eleven people. Those killed were shot or hacked to death when residents clashed with the MRC members who were allegedly found taking an oath, according to police. “There was a confrontation between residents and the criminals, and our officers intervened only to find the criminals armed,” Aggrey Adoli, police chief for Mombasa said. “Twelve people were killed,” he said. Some of those killed are MRC members while others are residents — including a village elder.

Kilifi divisional police chief Beatrice Gachao said the area remained tense even as more officers were deployed to the forest and neighbouring villages. She said a police officer wounded in the confrontation is recuperating at the Pandya Hospital in Mombasa. Several suspected MRC members were arrested and detained for interrogation on Friday. “An investigation is going on; we want to know what exactly happened,” Adoli said. Police said they believe the MRC members were taking an oath in the forest because some of their paraphernalia and a flag were recovered. Members of the MRC have threatened to lobby the coastal people to secede from the rest of Kenya, arguing that they have been neglected by governments over the years. A Mombasa court recently ruled that the group is legitimate, although the government still insists it remains illegal.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Nigeria: Police Announce Discovery of Bomb Factory in Kano

The Police Command in Kano State on Thursday announced the discovery of a bomb factory at Hawan Hotoro Area in Kano metropolis. The Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr Ibrahim Idris, who confirmed this while briefing newsmen in Kano, said two suspected owners of the factory were arrested during the operation. Idris told newsmen that assorted bomb manufacturing materials were also discovered during the operation. He said the factory, which had been cordoned off by mobile policemen, would be demolished. The commissioner said three vehicles were also found and taken to the police headquarters, Bompai, Kano. Idris said other items discovered were 100 detonators, the main primer for the construction of Improvised Explosive Device (IED), concentrated salt, used to mix with ammonium nitrate. Others included: T and T, a high calbre military chemical for bomb making; battery chargers, laptop computers, finished IEDs, four AK 47 rifles and eight fully loaded magazines. Idris commended members of the public for providing useful information to the police and assured the people that the command would intensify raid on flash points until total peace was restored in the state. (NAN)

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Somalia’s Al-Shabaab Islamists Abandon Last Major Stronghold of Kismayo After Government Assault

Somalia’s al-Shabaab Islamist group has conceded the loss of its last major stronghold after an attack by Kenyan and Somali government troops on the port city of Kismayo.

Gunmen from the movement, which has pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda, withdrew from Kismayo overnight following a combined siege by their Western-backed opponents. “We moved out our fighters … from Kismayu at midnight,” al Shabaab spokesman, Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage, told Reuters on Saturday. The loss of Kismayo, which provided al-Shabaab with lucrative revenues via control of its Indian Ocean port, could prove a final nail in the coffin for the movement, which once controlled most of southern Somalia and also the capital, Mogadishu. It imposed a Taliban-style regime throughout its fiefdoms, with stonings and public executions commonplace. However, Sheikh Rage threatened to strike back with a guerrilla campaign against the African Union forces, both in Kismayo itself and the surrounding countryside…

[JP note: Sheikh Rage sounds as if he may well be an import from the mini Mogadishu’s mushrooming in the West’s centres of civilisation.]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

South Africa: Third Truck Burnt in Khayelitsha

Another delivery truck was set alight in Khayelitsha next to Town Two yesterday allegedly by striking South African Trade and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) truck drivers who are demanding a 12 percent wage increase. Two trucks were set alight in separate incidents in Cape Town on Wednesday. A delivery truck of medication to local clinics was petrol bombed in Nyanga’s Emms Drive on Tuesday and another flat-bed truck carrying a skip was set alight on Klipfontein Road near Crossroads. Yesterday the delivery truck from Premier Food in Epping was attacked in spine road after returning from delivering food to Makhaya Cash Store…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Tanzania: Sharia Law Touted at ‘Katiba’ Meeting

Miteja — SEVERAL residents here called for introduction of sharia law through which thieves will have their hands chopped off and those committing adultery stoned to death.

Speaking at a meeting with members of the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) at Miteja and Kinjumbi Ujamaa villages, the residents favoured adoption of Islamic laws. “Application of sharia laws will end corruption, theft and promiscuity,” said Mr Hassan Abdallah Seif, a resident of Miteja village. Mr Mohamed Kionjo said capital punishment should be maintained. He dismissed demands by human rights activists charging that “anyone who kills must be killed.” “Even in the United States those convicted of murder are executed by lethal injection,” he said. Mr Abdallah Mselem, and several other villagers, suggested that Fridays be declared as days of prayer and that Muslims should be allowed to stay with their families at home…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Latin America

Composer Quits London for New Life in Mexico Because ‘It’s Safer’ Despite Murder Rate Being 20 Times Higher

Composer Michael Nyman is packing his bags and moving to Mexico — because he has had enough of crime-riddled London and yobs throwing peanuts on buses.

Mr Nyman, who composed the score for the 1993 film The Piano, told a local newspaper that he was going to permanently move to La Roma, in Mexico City, after becoming increasingly worried about the level of violence in London.

But the talented artist, who lives in Islington, North London, admitted he had never been a victim of serious crime in the borough, the Daily Telegraph reported.

He told one of the borough’s newspapers that every day Upper Street, the main road of Islington, is carpeted with bouquets of flowers remembering people who had died there.

He said: ‘You see more flowers left by lampposts as memorials to murdered citizens than you do in Mexico City.’

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Journalists Reporting on Lignano Murder Arrested in Cuba

(AGI) Rome, 26 Sep — Four Italian journalists following a lead in August’s Lignano Sabbiadoro murder have been arrested in Cuba. News of the arrest of Ilaria Cavo (Mediaset), Fabio Tricarico (Mediaset), Domenico Pecile (Messaggero Veneto) and Stefano Cavicchi (Corriere della Sera) was first reported by all-news channel TgCom and later confirmed by the Italian foreign ministry. With the arrests carried yesterday, foreign ministry officials have contacted the families of the arrested and have dispatched embassy staff to secure the four Italians’ prompt release. Informed of the arrests late last night in Cuba, embassy staff were not in a position to establish contact with local officials, but it is understood that Pecile and Cavicchi have already been released. The four journalists were apparently following a lead concerning Reiver Laborde Rico brother and alleged accomplice of Lisandra Rico, accused of murdering Paolo Burgato and Rosetta Sostero on August 19.

Videonews editor-in-chief Claudio Brachino today explained that Ilaria Cavo was arrested on her way out of Cuba having finished researching her report. Brachino said “she did nothing which could be characterised as illegal, she simply interviewed people.” The cause of the arrests has not yet been disclosed, but it is understood that Cavicchi was held on visa grounds.

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

Immigration

Population of England to Rise 4.5m in a Decade as Growth Rate ‘Gets Faster’

The number of people in England will rise by more than four and a half million over the next decade, official estimates said yesterday.

The estimates mean population growth over the next ten years will outpace the historic record increase of the past decade.

Figures on future growth, from the Office for National Statistics, were made public following Home Secretary Theresa May’s suggestion earlier this month that no specific effort would be made to keep Britain’s overall population below the symbolic 70million level that one Labour minister promised would never be reached…

The figure follows the acknowledgement from the ONS earlier this week that numbers in England and Wales went up by four million between 2001 and 2011, the fastest rate of increase in more than a century. The population boom is thought to be driven by both immigration and higher birthrates.

Immigration and births to migrants were responsible for around 70 per cent of growth, with the rest accounted for by higher birthrates among mothers born in Britain.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

Big Mother Will Watch Over You

The Nanny State has reached a point where three quarters of Danes would turn to the government for help instead of their families

Big Mother. The Holy Welfare State. The Nanny State. The nation’s social safety net is called many different things by many different people. Depending on who you ask, the Danish system of social assistance is either a shining example of nurturing to be followed by the rest of the world, or a bloated monstrosity that robs the populace of individualism, initiative and ambition by attempting to meet their every need.

Whatever one’s opinion, Big Mother is completely interwoven into the national psyche. Fully 75 percent of 1,000 Danes asked in a recent Centre for Political Studies (CEPOS)/Norstat poll said that they would turn to the state before their own families in times of need.

Henrik Gade Jensen, a senior fellow at CEPOS, found those numbers disturbing.

“It is remarkable that 75 percent of Danes would rather depend on the state than their own family,” Jensen said. “This clearly shows that the welfare state has become so extensive that we have forgotten our obligations to ourselves and our loved ones.”

Jensen said that the constitution’s intent was never that the state would take the place of families and individuals when it comes to caring for the nation’s citizens.

“The Danish constitution only intended that the most vulnerable with no other options had a safety net,” he said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Cardinal Bagnasco Comes Out Against Unwed Couples

(AGI) — Vatican City, Sept. 24 — In his opening address to Italian bishops, Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco invited politicians and the public to consider “the negative consequences” that will be caused by a “supposed vanguard” pushing for legal recognition of couples living together, through which, “beyond the words, want the same rights as families founded on marriage, without an increase of duties.” ..

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

One in 66 Britons is Gay or Bisexual — Not One in Ten, As Previously Thought

Only one in every 66 people say they are gay or bisexual, a nationwide survey revealed yesterday.

The numbers are in contrast with the decades-old and widely accepted 10 per cent figure for the gay population, and the 6 per cent estimate used by Whitehall when civil partnership legislation was drawn up in 2003.

The Office of National Statistics survey found that 1.5 per cent of men say they are gay, 0.7 per cent of women say they are lesbian, and 0.4 per cent of people identify themselves as bisexual.

The scale of the gay population — a subject of deep sensitivity among both gay rights groups and their opponents — has remained virtually unchanged since the ONS began large-scale surveys three years ago.

Campaigners against same-sex marriage said the figures showed that the gay population was ‘tiny’, and questioned David Cameron’s policy of changing the laws.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: JK Rowling Has Turned Her Back on the Culture That Made Her Great

by Charles Moore

The Harry Potter author made a fortune from the provincial life that she now so clearly despises

‘People round here are ****** mental,” says Gaia the 16-year-old sexpot from London in JK Rowling’s new novel The Casual Vacancy. This is an accurate summary of life in Pagford, the small West Country town in which the action takes place. Take it from me that Gaia is right, and thus save yourself from reading the 500 pages of swearing, rape, drug abuse, suicide, drowning, self-harm, pseudonymous internet denunciations, domestic violence, acne and meetings of the parish council which Miss Rowling has just inflicted upon her devoted global fan-base. If you have seen the film Hot Fuzz, in which the Neighbourhood Watch association turn out to be a gang of murderers obsessed with winning the Village of the Year competition, you will get the feel of the plot. The difference, however, is that Hot Fuzz is a comedy. The Casual Vacancy is grimly in earnest.

JK Rowling has told the world that this is a book she “had to write”. She detests snobbery, she says, and she wishes to expose it. She has very simple codes to indicate who is bad. Anyone who has a slightly out-of-date, petit-bourgeois Christian name, like Howard, Shirley or Maureen, is bad. Such people’s evil is proved by the fact that they have carriage lamps outside their doors, refer to the sitting-room as the “lounge”, wear deerstalkers (indoors!) and candlewick dressing-gowns. They have — for no cliché is unturned in this book — hanging baskets, fake log fires and privet hedges. They look down, snobbishly, on poor people, such as those who live in the Fields, a council estate uncomfortably close to Pagford. The word JK Rowling keeps on using is “smug”. She uses that word smugly…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

General

As the UN Opens Its General Assembly Session, It is Already Thinking Up New Global Taxes

A 1 percent tax on billionaires around the world. A tax on all currency trading in the U.S. dollar, the euro, the Japanese yen and the British pound sterling. Another “tiny” tax on all financial transactions, including stock and bond trading, and trading in financial derivatives. New taxes on carbon emissions and on airline tickets. A royalty on all undersea mineral resources extracted more than 100 miles offshore of any nation’s territory.

The United Nations is at it again: finding new and “innovative” ways to create global taxes that would transfer hundreds of billions, and even trillions, of dollars from the rich nations of the world — especially the U.S. — to poorer ones, in line with U.N.-directed economic, social and environmental development.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Islamic Countries’ Appeal, “Laws Against Religious Hate “

(AGI) New York — The Foreign ministers of 57 countries belonging to the Islamic Cooperation Organization condemned the movie on Mohammed produced in America and urged the adoption of laws against “religious hate inducement.” In the communiquee’ issued at the conclusion of their meeting held at the end of the UN general assembly, the Muslim countries warned that freedom of expression must be used with “responsibility’“ and urged the governments around the world to “take the all of the needed measures, including the adoption of laws against acts that induce hate, discrimination and violence” on the basis of religion.

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

News Feed 20120928

Financial Crisis
» Germany Raps Berlusconi’s Eurozone Exit Remark
» If Obama’s Economy is a Joke, Then What is Clinton Lying About Again!
 
USA
» Diversity Forever
» Muslims May Convert Part of Hamtramck American Axle Plant to Islamic Center
» Romney Won’t Challenge Liberal Media Bias
» Skirting Obama Booby Traps on the March of the Last Mile
» Taxpayers Spent $1.4 Billion on Obama Family Last Year, Perks Questioned in New Book
 
Europe and the EU
» Sweden: Explosion Rocks Malmö Jewish Centre
» The Decade That Art Forgot (From Naked Emperors by Brian Sewell)
» UK: ‘Fire the Carers Who Scorned 147 Alerts Over Child Sex Gang’
» UK: Betrayed by the PC Brigade: From the Mail Writer Who First Revealed the Scandal of Muslim Sex Gangs, A Damning Exposé of How Politically Correct Police and Social Workers Betrayed Underage White Victims
» UK: Bullfinch Update: Child Exploitation is “A Sickening Slur on Our Society”
» UK: Crowd Gathers in Bradford in Protest at Anti-Islamic Film
» UK: Child Sex Trafficking Case Police Arrest 13 in Oxford
» UK: Cameron Gives Strongest Hint Yet That He’ll Give Green Light to Referendum on Europe After Next Election
» UK: Child Genius, 14, Becomes One of Britain’s Youngest University Students After Picking Up Four a-Levels
» UK: Cameron Prepares Series of Moves to Claw Back 100 Powers From EU
» UK: EDL/Muslim Debate Initiative Event Cancelled
» UK: EDL Members Distribute Anti-Islam Pamphlets at Margate Mosque
» UK: Grandmother, 81, Who Collapsed in Hospital Grounds Left in Gutter for Half an Hour as Ambulance Dispatched From Seven Miles Away
» UK: Hamza Farce is a Source of Real Fury to Me: Lord Chief Justice Hits Out at European Court Over Endless Extradition Delays
» UK: Institutional Racism is Keeping Black Children in Care
» UK: Just One GP for 500,000 Patients: The True Scale of Crisis in Out-of-Hours NHS Cover Revealed
» UK: Lord Ahmed Calls on Mosques ‘To Speak’ About Sex Abuse
» UK: Mother’s Anger After Complete Stranger Stubs Cigarette Out on Her Three-Year-Old Son’s Head as They Walk Down the Street
» UK: National Action to Fight the Child-Sex Gangs
» UK: Oxford Sex Ring is ‘Larger Than Feared’
» UK: Panel to Look Into Wedding Claims at Peterborough Mosque
» UK: Rochdale Child Sex Ring: Council Head to be Questioned by MPs
» UK: Rochdale Child Sex Ring: Did Political Correctness Delay Justice?
» UK: Teenage Rape Victims Failed by PC Dogma
» UK: Victim of Rochdale Gang Talks of Ordeal
» UK: What’s Happened to Labour’s Passion and Principle When the Only Way Was Ethics?
» UK: We’re Right to Worry About Megan Stammers — But Why Was the Rochdale Grooming Allowed to Happen?
» UK: Who’ll Take the Blame Over Rape Gangs? Not a Single Social Worker Sacked Over Teenage Grooming Scandal
 
Balkans
» EU-Albania: Brussels Says OK to Candidacy and Negotiations
 
North Africa
» Tunisia: Police Rape Victim Charged With ‘Indecency’
» Tunisia: President Marzouki Says Police Torturing Citizens
» Who Needs Reform Most: Egypt or America?
 
Israel and the Palestinians
» Ex-Soldier Shalit at FC Barcelona Match, Hamas Protests
» The British Public Opposes an Israeli Boycott
 
Middle East
» Makkah: Saudi Authorities Stop 1,000 Nigerian Women Without Male Relatives
» US Voters Back Ahmadinejad? Iranian News Agency Fooled by Article in Satirical Paper the Onion
 
Russia
» Russian Facebook Deletes Anti-Muslim Film
 
South Asia
» British-Built Schools in Afghanistan May be Forced to Close
» Pakistan: Minister Who Offered Bounty for Filmmaker is ‘True Muslim’ Says Taliban
 
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Zuma Not Fit for UN Education Role
 
Immigration
» France: Criteria to Obtain Citizenship Eased
» Italy: Back to the Classroom for Milan Elementary School With “Too Many Foreigners”
 
Culture Wars
» Cardinal Ravasi on Religious Education in State Schools
» Couples Who Share Housework Divorce More: Study
» Italy: Minister Sets Off Firestorm Over Religion in Class
» Italy: ‘School Lessons Must Reflect Multiethnic Population’ Says Minister
» Morning-After-Pill Free in 13 New York City High Schools
» Religion Teachers Against Min. Profumo: “It’s No Solution”
 
General
» Who is Muhammad? (Peace be Upon Him)

Financial Crisis

Germany Raps Berlusconi’s Eurozone Exit Remark

‘Absurd’ to say German departure would not be dramatic

(ANSA) — Berlin, September 28 — Germany responded sharply Friday to ex-Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi’s suggestion the eurozone would not suffer too much if Berlin left it.

“Maintaining that a Germany exit from the eurozone would not be dramatic is absurd,” said German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert.

Berlusconi, who stepped down when the eurozone crisis threatened to engulf Italy in November, has suggested more than once that mighty Germany might break away from the currency union as an alternative to struggling Greece leaving it.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

If Obama’s Economy is a Joke, Then What is Clinton Lying About Again!

The real question is in the last 4 years: What has Obama done to encourage innovation, education and job training? To answer the question substantially, and if you are honest the answer is nothing. It is true that you need to employ the middle class so they can pay the bulk of the revenue to the government. I don’t think Clinton means “strong”. He really means employed with real jobs paying taxes so we can reduce the debt caused by all the unconscionable government spending.

So far Obama has overspent about a trillion dollars a year. He didn’t have to deal with Katrina. He didn’t have to deal with 911. He could have gotten us out of Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen etc. He could have spent money protecting our embassies and their personnel, but he was too busy campaigning.

In the end, Obama has nothing to show the middle class. Obama has made a lot of people rich. He has made bankers rich. He has made his friends rich by allowing them to move their factories to China and making it easy for them to sell their inferior products to Americans. Obama has made it easier for our American business phones to be answered in foreign countries. Can you find any reason to believe that Obama has done anything to make the middle class stronger?

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

USA

Diversity Forever

by Heather MacDonald

The University of California backs a tax hike to support its ever-expanding bureaucracy.

The University of California, San Diego has done it again. Last year, it announced the creation of a new diversity sinecure: a vice chancellor for equity, diversity, and inclusion. Campus leaders established this post even as state budget cuts resulted in the loss of star scientists to competing universities, as humanities classes and degree programs were eliminated to save money, and as tuition continued its nearly 75 percent, five-year rise. The new vice chancellorship was wildly redundant with UCSD’s already-existing diversity infrastructure. As the campus itself acknowledges: “UC San Diego currently has many active diversity programs and initiatives.” No kidding. A partial list of those “active diversity programs and initiatives” may be accessed here…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Muslims May Convert Part of Hamtramck American Axle Plant to Islamic Center

HAMTRAMCK — Where machines once hummed in Hamtramck, Muslims may soon pray.

Hamtramck, a heavily Polish Catholic community where the Pope visited in 1986, has seen religious and cultural clashes as the Bangladeshi immigrant and other Muslim populations have grown.

More than 40 percent of Hamtramck residents were foreign-born in 2010, according to the U.S. Census.

Much of the public debate surrounded the issue of mosques playing a call to prayer, the “Adhan,” over loud speakers five times a day as required under religious guidelines.

In 2004, Hamtramck City Council approved an amendment to its noise ordinance to allow playing of the call to prayer.

A group “supervised” by Abdulrahman Bin Muhammad Al-Omaisan is in the process of purchasing a 32,000-square-foot building that is currently part of the shuttered American Axle Manufacturing Plant located in Hamtramck and Detroit along Interstate 75 at Holbrook.

“We hope to close within the next few weeks,” said Brent Beshears, a real estate agent for Colliers International, the company selling the property.

The listing price is $472,000. Planners issued flyers in recent weeks asking for donations to offset the cost.

“Many of the (mosques) are not fulfilling their legislated obligation, we have decided to establish a complete Islamic center in Detroit, Michigan and name it Abu-Bakr As-Siddeeq Islamic Center,” the pamphlet says. “We have named it after the best of the Companions — may Allah be pleased with them — because Allah has obligated us to follow them, be upon their guidance and remain steadfast upon their way.”

The two-story building with blue metal siding and no windows at 8904 St. Aubin in Hamtramck is bordered to the west by the plant.

American Axle purchased most of the surrounding lots about a decade ago and demolished the homes that once claimed them.

           — Hat tip: RE [Return to headlines]

Romney Won’t Challenge Liberal Media Bias

Longtime Democratic political operative and pollster Pat Caddell told the AIM “ObamaNation: A Day of Truth” conference on September 21 that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney should run against the press as well as Barack Obama. Romney should be strongly “pushing back” against the media bias, he said.

Caddell, who has become critical of the liberal direction of the Democratic Party, has recently declared that Romney is running an incompetent campaign. He said about Romney’s strategists, “They are incompetent, they believe that you can sit and an election will automatically come to you.”

At the AIM conference, he mentioned that criticism in the context of urging the Romney campaign to launch a vigorous attack on the major media. He said major news organizations are serving “as off-shoots of the White House press office,” and will destroy America unless their power is monitored, exposed, and checked.

He added, “Why isn’t Romney himself getting up and saying, ‘I’m running against two organizations—I’m running against the Democrats and the President, and I’m running against the mainstream media, which will not tell you the truth.’“

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Skirting Obama Booby Traps on the March of the Last Mile

Upcoming presidential debates won’t change anything, even though ego-driven mainstream media hosts will try to make you believe otherwise. For all but the wishy-washy, minds have already been made up.

The only thing left is not allowing anything or anybody stop you from getting out and casting your vote, one of the few freedoms still standing after four years of Barack Hussein Obama.

Don’t allow the news of the day depress you. It is part of the plan to demoralize you. Don’t get waylaid along the way by those hanging on to their free telephone like it is a lifeline. Don’t look behind you; don’t look away, don’t lose your focus. Keep a mental picture of your children and grandchildren in mind between now and whenever you get to exercise your vote.

On the way to the voting booth, you’ve being pummeled with faux poll results. The truth about the polls—they’re skewed—is the same truth about the presidential election. It’s not just another election, it is in fact the end of the line if the activist president who wants to fundamentally transform America gets four more years to continue his evil and deliberate mission.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Taxpayers Spent $1.4 Billion on Obama Family Last Year, Perks Questioned in New Book

Taxpayers spent $1.4 billion dollars on everything from staffing, housing, flying and entertaining President Obama and his family last year, according to the author of a new book on taxpayer-funded presidential perks.

In comparison, British taxpayers spent just $57.8 million on the royal family.

Author Robert Keith Gray writes in “Presidential Perks Gone Royal” that Obama isn’t the only president to have taken advantage of the expensive trappings of his office. But the amount of money spent on the first family, he argues, has risen tremendously under the Obama administration and needs to be reined in.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Sweden: Explosion Rocks Malmö Jewish Centre

Police were called out early on Friday morning after loud bangs were heard near the Jewish community centre in Malmö, southern Sweden.

“There as been an explosion. Something has detonated — we are certain of that,” said police officer Erik Liljenström to local paper Sydsvenskan early on Friday morning.

The police received a call shortly after 1am. Witnesses said they had heard loud blasts near the centre some 15 minutes earlier.

When police arrived at the scene they soon established that there had been some sort of explosion and that someone had tried to smash in the door.

There were loose paving stones lying among shards of shattered glass in front of the entrance, according to the paper.

While damage had been done to the front door, the building had not been damaged in any other way as far as the police could see, but according to witness statements the blasts were heard a few blocks away.

“I’m shocked that it’s happened now; that it’s happened at all. Jewish institutions are under constant threat, but we haven’t noticed anything out of the ordinary recently,” Fred Kahn, head of the Jewish community in Malmö, told the TT news agency on Friday morning.

Shortly after 4am, police announced that they had identified one of the vehicles and brought two men in for questioning.

Both of the suspects are 18-year-old, according to Malmö police, who nevertheless believe that more people were involved in carrying out the attack.

No one was reportedly injured in the attack. According to the police, the men are under suspicion of destruction constituting a public danger.

“Now their going to be interrogated, then we’ll see. They weren’t caught in the act,” police spokesperson Anders Lindell told the TT news agency.

On Friday, Malmö’s Social Democratic mayor Ilmar Reepalu, who has previously been criticized for making controversial statements about the city’s Jewish community, condemned the attacks.

“It’s a terrible incident which damages different groups in Malmö as well as Malmö’s brand,” he told the TT news agency.

“It’s terrible and shocking when things like this happen.”

Reepalu added that he hoped police would be able to solve the crime quickly and that it doesn’t lead to heightened tensions in the city.

“This is a criminal act,” he said.

Earlier this year, Reepalu came under fire for comments in which he claimed that the far right Sweden Democrats had “infiltrated” the Jewish community in Malmö.

The comments were followed by a visit to Malmö from US President Barack Obama’s Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat anti-Semitism, Hannah Rosenthal, who said there is “no excuse” for using anti-Semitic language.

In 2009, comments by Reepalu prompted the the Simon Wiesenthal Centre in the United States warned Jews from traveling to Sweden’s third largest city.

           — Hat tip: The Observer [Return to headlines]

The Decade That Art Forgot (From Naked Emperors by Brian Sewell)

In one of the most defining essays from his new book, Naked Emperors, a revealing collection of Evening Standard exhibition reviews, Brian Sewell explains why he took against the conceptual artists and curators of the mid-Sixties and Seventies

It all seems so long ago and hardly worth remembering except that, at the time, in the haze of cannabis smoke it seemed so hopeful, innocent and flower-powerful, a time to reject the materialism of the past and escape into Kate Greenaway land. The first of those 10 years was marked by (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction sung by the Rolling Stones, and by the first shaven-headed children of the Hare Krishna movement; the last saw in sombre gloom the execution of Malcolm X and the election of Margaret Thatcher as the preposterous leader of the Conservative Party. In the years between, the Notting Hill Festival came into being, freedom was crushed by Russian tanks in Czechoslovakia, a human egg was fertilised in a test tube, a heart transplanted in South Africa, Greenpeace founded, Britain joined the Common Market and Bloody Sunday brought to a head the murderous divisions that had troubled Ireland since the founding of Sinn Fein in 1905. The years in question are those from 1965, in the middle of the Swinging Sixties, to 1975, when Britain was struggling to recover from the devastating effects of the oil crisis and an inflation rate of 28 per cent; they have now been identified by the panjandrums of the Whitechapel Gallery as a significant era in the history of English art.

[…]

Everybody of importance in the contemporary art world of the day was an angel too — the ICA, the Arts Council, the art magazines, the organisers of great international exhibitions — and the new art swiftly became invincible. Its apologists and propagandists founded what is now the universal jargon of criticism and theory, and their heirs have become the high priests of today’s Arts and British Councils, today’s Department for Culture, today’s Tate Gallery and Royal Academy, today’s art schools and universities, today’s new galleries funded by the Lottery and the Millennium Fund.

In revisiting this pretentious and dull trivia, the Whitechapel Gallery reminds us how arid it all was to both eye and intellect, and how utterly familiar it is, partly because the work of those contributing artists who are still alive has changed so little in the passage of a generation, and partly because so much of what they did has been done again and again by student imitators imitating imitations. It is all very well to argue that art must be disassociated from the skills of art, but to disassociate so far that the skills become disreputable, their exercise clear proof that the practitioner is not an artist, results in visual mayhem — though that is perhaps too exciting a word for literary and conceptual things that are incomprehensible without written explanations and obstinately unrewarding in any sense even when explained. When the students of the immediately post-Hockney years at the Royal College declared that “Every convention in art is now dispensable” and believed it, they were expressing with the glee of the adolescent iconoclast what Derek Jarman, their contemporary at the Slade, described with melancholy as “the final solution” — a phrase as telling in this context of culture control as in the history of the Jews, for it has indeed meant the death of art as once we knew it. This is the art at once of an Orwell world, preaching, hortative, domineering, and the art of the silly and frivolous, the art of those who, like communists, fascists and low-church Christians have a message and insist on delivering it, and the art of those who haven’t the foggiest notion of what their work may mean, but take the chance that to someone, somewhere, it may mean something.

[…]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: ‘Fire the Carers Who Scorned 147 Alerts Over Child Sex Gang’

BLUNDERING social workers should be named, shamed and sacked for ignoring an astonishing 147 warnings about Asian gang members grooming vulnerable white girls for sex, parents of victims urged last night.

Care staff were guilty of a series of “missed opportunities” which allowed nine mainly Pakistani men to entrap as many as 47 victims, some as young as 10, plying them with drink and drugs before abusing them, a damning report revealed yesterday. The independent investigation by the Rochdale Borough Safeguarding Board, which followed the jailing of the men in May for a series of offences, also condemned the police response in the Greater Manchester town…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Betrayed by the PC Brigade: From the Mail Writer Who First Revealed the Scandal of Muslim Sex Gangs, A Damning Exposé of How Politically Correct Police and Social Workers Betrayed Underage White Victims

by Sue Reid

For 20 years or more, there has been a shameful silence about the sexual exploitation of young girls in this country. Hundreds of children — some of them still at primary school — have been groomed by street gangs and turned into sex slaves. And it is still going on today. When I have written about this subject after investigations in towns and cities in the North of England, I have been reviled as a hater of our immigrant communities in abusive emails, letters and phone calls by those who continue to deny such things are going on. For there is an uncomfortable truth about this abhorrent crime which we must not flinch from: the majority of girls ensnared by the street gangs are white, while most of the perpetrators come from the Pakistani and South Asian communities…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Bullfinch Update: Child Exploitation is “A Sickening Slur on Our Society”

Barnardo’s chief executive Anne Marie Carrie YESTERDAY’S arrests may have shocked Oxford but for experts it was part of a disturbing increase in the sexual exploitation of children.

Over nine months last year, 15 British girls and a further 38 from other nationalities were identified by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre as being sexually exploited, while children’s charity Barnado’s said it dealt with 1,098 children who had been groomed in 2010 — an increase of four per cent.

Reports from both organisations detail how abusers groom their victims.

The report from CEOP, the lead agency for tackling the sexual exploitation of children revealed: “Child sexual exploitation is a complex crime.

“Perpetrators often act in network, grooming victims to believe they are in a genuine romantic relationship before sexually exploiting them.

“Some cases involve an element of trafficking, where a victim is taken from their place of residence to another town or city within the UK for the purposes of sexual exploitation.” All the victims in the report were girls and chief executive Peter Davies said: “Our report showed that child sexual exploitation affects children of many different backgrounds across the country.”

Barnado’s report, Puppet On A String, said trafficking was becoming more common and more organised.

It highlighted cases where girls are groomed, often by a younger man, and then passed on to older men.

Barnardo’s chief executive Anne Marie Carrie said: “Too many children from all walks of life can so quickly be caught up in a world of drugs, violence and sex — this is a sickening slur on our society and we must do all we can to end it.

“Wherever we have looked for exploitation we have found it. But the real tragedy is we believe this is just the tip of the iceberg.”

           — Hat tip: Seneca III [Return to headlines]

UK: Crowd Gathers in Bradford in Protest at Anti-Islamic Film

Senior Muslims in traditional religious dress gathered early in sunlit Centenary Square, Bradford, today for a peaceful protest against the American-made film about the Prophet Muhammed. As they sat ringing the paved area, police kept a low profile as uniformed officers mixed and chatted with community leaders. But by 3.30pm the tables and chairs outside bars and restaurants in the area were discreetly moved inside as the number of protesters began to swell. Organisers, the Council for Mosques, expected thousands but half-an-hour into the rally the crowd was still only in its hundreds.

It opened with a recitation from the Holy Koran and before speeches began there was an impassioned appeal to everyone to keep calm. The speaker emphasised the protest was not about creating chaos. “It’s not about creating trouble,” he said. “It’s about registering our hurtful feelings that we all feel and that our beloved, beloved Prophet has been insulted in a disgraceful manner. We are here to show that we are not the troublemakers, we are the peace makers.”

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Child Sex Trafficking Case Police Arrest 13 in Oxford

Thirteen men have been arrested in Oxford by police investigating child exploitation offences.

Police said the men, aged between 21 and 37, were arrested following an investigation into exploitation of 24 girls aged between 11 and 16.

They have been arrested on suspicion of prostitution of females under the age of 18, trafficking, grooming and rape.

Four of the men have been released on police bail until 19 April and nine remain in custody.

Thames Valley Police said they believed the offences had taken place over a six-year period.

Twelve men were arrested during early morning raids with a 13th arrested on Thursday afternoon.

The suspects are also being questioned on suspicion of administering drugs for the purpose of rape.

Police believe gang members targeted British children living in care or who had run away from home and transported them around Britain.

‘Protect victims’

Det Supt Rob Mason said: “We believe we have uncovered an organised crime group who have been running a business of selling young girls for sex.

“We have also identified a number of customers who we have reason to believe have used this service.

“The warrants executed today are the second phase of this investigation and the arrests have been made to protect the girls from further harm.

“Our number one priority is to protect the victims, both their identities and wellbeing.”

Neighbourhood policing teams will be carrying out reassurance patrols in the area.

Oxford Commander, Supt Chris Sharp, said: “I understand today’s events will have an impact on residents.

“Policing teams will be issuing information about the operation with contact details if people need further information, or would like to report any activity in relation to this investigation.”

The police investigation was carried out in conjunction with Oxfordshire County Council’s children, education and families department.

Sheila Taylor, director of the National Working Group for Sexually Exploited Children and Young People, said: “As always, our concerns lie with the young people who have been victims.

“We are very pleased to see a complete multi-agency team approach to assisting the recovery of the young people.”

The men are being held in custody at an undisclosed police station.

Thames Valley Police said it expects to extend the custody for some of the suspects which will keep them detained until Friday.

           — Hat tip: Seneca III [Return to headlines]

UK: Cameron Gives Strongest Hint Yet That He’ll Give Green Light to Referendum on Europe After Next Election

David Cameron has pledged to seek ‘fresh consent from the British people’ on Europe — if he wins the next election.

Speaking in a round of TV interviews in Rio de Janeiro, the Prime Minister said the fallout from the euro crisis would create ‘opportunities for a new settlement between Britain and Europe’.

He said he would give details of his new pledge later this autumn. But Tory MPs last night called for ‘action, not words’ and said any referendum must include an option to leave the EU if the Prime Minister was to restore his battered credibility on the issue.

It came on the da Mr Cameron visited one of Brazil’s toughest neighbourhoods, Mare Favela, just north of Rio De Janeiro, which is so dangerous it is not policed.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Child Genius, 14, Becomes One of Britain’s Youngest University Students After Picking Up Four a-Levels

A boy aged 14 today became one of Britain’s youngest ever degree students when he started his first day at university.

Brainbox Wajih Ahmed, from Chandler’s Ford, Hampshire, officially enrolled on an economics degree at the University of Southampton.

He picked up his new student ID before heading off to an introductory lecture as the youngest ever student at the university.

Incredibly Wajih isn’t the only genius in the family — his brother Zohaib achieved his second A-level in maths aged just ten.

But it is Wajih who is taking the first steps into Higher Education.

He is aiming for a first class honours degree to add to his already impressive haul of 15 GCSEs and four A-levels.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Cameron Prepares Series of Moves to Claw Back 100 Powers From EU

David Cameron is preparing a series of moves to loosen Britain’s ties with Brussels amid growing questions about our future in the EU.

The Prime Minister will push for the repatriation of more than 100 powers over justice, crime and policing.

He is also likely to veto the EU’s demands for a bigger budget and will give the clearest signal yet that the Tories will offer an EU referendum in the next Parliament, according to Government sources.

His plans put him on a collision course with Nick Clegg, who has described opponents of Britain’s membership of the EU as ‘insular’, ‘chauvinistic’ and ‘short-sighted’.

Mr Cameron is likely to make a major speech about Britain’s future relationship with Europe before a crunch EU leaders’ summit in December.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: EDL/Muslim Debate Initiative Event Cancelled

by Sarah AB

I grumbled slightly when I first read about this debate because I thought the way it was framed ‘Islam or Islamophobia — which is a threat to Britain’ was unhelpful. But I certainly had no problem with the general principle of holding a debate between Tommy Robinson of the EDL and a group called the Muslim Debate Initiative. Searchlight wrote a rather ridiculous letter complaining about the event — which it claimed was opposed by ‘real Muslims’ — and turning down an invitation to attend. Now Conway Hall has cancelled this event over security concerns. The MDI is clearly disappointed by this decision, and asserts that the objections, or threats, weren’t coming from Muslims who actually wanted to offer their perspective and answer the EDL’s criticisms.

That sounds convincing — and I’m sure the EDL were equally anxious to present their side of the case. I would like to know more about the circumstances of the cancellation, but my instinctive thought is to think it was a pity that UAF decided to demonstrate rather than participate. Anti-fascists ought to be able to articulate their concerns about the EDL — and, if appropriate, about the Muslim speakers should their views turn out to be extreme or unwelcome.

[Reader comment by tokyo nambu on 27 September 2012 at 9:43 am.]

Had, however, the meeting been being held by a bunch of Islamo-fascists, with an agenda mostly focused on blowing stuff up with a special guest appearance by video link by a couple of terrorists, Searchlight, UAF and the Quakers would have flocked to offer them support, succour and encouragement. That’s the world of the modern “anti-fascist” — supporting terrorism, so long as the terrorists are exotic, while having a fit of the vapours when the white working class in this country don’t toe the line.

[Reader comment by curious on 27 September 2012 at 10:08 am.]

Apart from the expression “ill-conceived debate” I especially like this sentence from the Searchlight´s letter: “We will be standing alongside anti-fascists, anti-racists and real Muslims to take the protest to the doors of Conway Hall and beyond, to help the bunch of quasi intellectuals that is the MDI to understand the reality of life in Britain today.” That reality probably means that it is Searchlight now who decides who is the real Muslim and who is just quasi-intellectual fake. Nice.

[Reader comment by tokyo nambu on 27 September 2012 at 10:18 am.]

That reality probably means that it is Searchlight now who decides who is the real Muslim and who is just quasi-intellectual fake.

That’s been a real problem on the left. Because Islam is exotic and exciting and gives nice white people the thrill of danger, there’s a tendency to assume that “real” Islam is the most violent headbanging variety, because that’s the most thrilling and transgressive. Richard Dawkins’ endless pursuit of straw men to attack means that he has his own set of tests for “real Christians”, which again means that he is now ready and able to tell many practicing and devout Christians that they aren’t really. He’s now expanding that ability to sense devotion in religions he knows little about to Islam as well. Labour’s anointing of “community leaders” was on the same basis: they always deemed reactionary and conservative elements as “more representative”, again because they seemed more exotic. We now have the laughable sight of Searchlight, under the guise of anti-fascism, essentially setting itself up as the arbiter of who is a coconut.

[Reader comment by Sarka on 27 September 2012 at 8:22 pm.]

gigi

Even with all my reservations about the EDL, I am very concerned about the multiple reports of this kind of persecution. I don’t think it’s fanciful to see this as a deliberate policy of not just trying to discourage EDL activism, but of pushing what activism there is in an extremist direction. When you put people under intense pressure like this, the less extreme and volatile give up, while the more extreme and volatile become more violent in rhetoric and easier to catch out for hate speech, conspiracy to circumvent police actions and so on.

One example is that Robinson was so frustrated by police tactics in Walthamstow that he said he would give up trying to organise own EDL stewards at demos to control supporters. After all, what was the point when the police did so much over-controlling of EDL supporters and under-controlling of Antifa/Muslim counter-demonstrators, who have no “stewards” at all?

But this is walking into a trap. The authorities (if not the police on the ground), probably would like nothing better than the spectacle of the EDL giving up the struggle to keep its own supporters disciplined. Compare this with the attitude to Islamist/Muslim protesters. Well, obviously the police/special branch do a great deal to track Islamist extremists — because of the terrorism threat — and many Muslims find this intrusive and oppressive. Yet Islamist/Muslim and Antifa protests and events would seem to pass off without any of this generalised police pressure on participants.

To me that strongly suggests that the police are much more genuinely nervous of the Islamists/Muslims than they are of the actual, on-the-ground, EDLers. They are shy of “strong-arming” the former, unless the provocation is extreme, and perhaps exercise great care in an effort to show a tolerance on the street that will counterbalance the resentments caused by covert surveillance, and to pursue the “Prevent” sort of policy that stresses the maximum of tolerance of any Muslim activism that stops short of actual conspiratorial terrorist activity. With the EDL, no such considerations apply, and it’s obvious from videos that cultural familiarity lends the police confidence when dealing with EDLers.

What the authorities fear, then, is not EDL extremism but that the EDL cause should be allowed to present any image of respectability. So — not really fearing EDL extremist actions, they can happily push the EDL in that self-discrediting direction. Meanwhile, the authorities do indeed very much fear Islamist or Muslim separatist extremism, and for that very reason, are motivated to police the mere street demonstrations of Muslim activism very correctly and relatively gently, not to risk radicalisations by excessive pressure on ordinary participants, and to treat them as respectable or semi-respectable expressions of political views.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: EDL Members Distribute Anti-Islam Pamphlets at Margate Mosque

POLICE were called to keep the peace after English Defence League (EDL) demonstrators targeted Muslim worshippers outside Margate mosque. Two men handed out anti-Islamic propaganda before Friday prayers last week, angering some members of the congregation who then reported the incident to police.

Salah Ansari, the imam at Margate mosque, said worshippers complained of EDL members distributing offensive leaflets outside. He agrees with the EDL that fundamentalist Muslims must be confronted but rejects the far-right group’s stance against mainstream customs. Imam Salah said: “People are free to hand out leaflets as long as they keep the peace.

“This is part of living in a pluralistic society. “We are all against extremism and fundamentalism and you can’t put all the people in one basket. I would advise them to educate themselves about Islam and ask if they have the same views of Jews and kosher.”

Officers attended to calm the situation but no arrests were made. A Kent Police spokesman said: “We were called to an address in Union Crescent at 1.50pm last Friday following a complaint from a member of the public about potentially racist material but officers found no breach of the law.” Pat Riot, leader of Thanet EDL, said: “Our aims are to highlight radical Islam through peaceful protests. “It is not a case of colour but a rather small culture within Islam that radicalises people. “We feel that honour killings, grooming of young girls, burqas or sharia law have no place in Britain.” The South East alliance of the English Defence League gathered in Thanet last weekend (see below) to discuss their movements and plan upcoming action to promote their views.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Grandmother, 81, Who Collapsed in Hospital Grounds Left in Gutter for Half an Hour as Ambulance Dispatched From Seven Miles Away

An 81-year-old who collapsed outside a hospital was forced to lie in a gutter in the pouring rain, while an ambulance came from seven miles away.

Receptionists said there were no doctors available to assess Gladys Shepherd — so she lay where she fell in the grounds of Burnley General Hospital, Lancashire, while an ambulance was called from another hospital seven miles away.

Paramedics finally arrived 30 minutes later, picked up badly-bruised grandmother and drove her just 300m around the corner to the urgent care unit.

Her granddaughter Louise Woods, 26, who is heavily pregnant said: ‘My Gran was literally left lying in the gutter in the rain. I couldn’t believe it.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Hamza Farce is a Source of Real Fury to Me: Lord Chief Justice Hits Out at European Court Over Endless Extradition Delays

The country’s most senior judge said yesterday that the interminable delays in extraditing hate preacher Abu Hamza were ‘a source of real fury to me’.

Lord Judge, the Lord Chief Justice who heads the judiciary in England and Wales, said of the eight-year wait: ‘We really can’t have cases taking that long to reach a conclusion.’

He pointed to the European Court of Human Rights as the institution most to blame for the delay in the extradition of the hook-handed cleric to the US.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Institutional Racism is Keeping Black Children in Care

The Macpherson Report, which investigated the Metropolitan Police over their response to the murder of Stephen Lawrence in 1993, defined “institutional racism” as:

“The collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture, or ethnic origin. It can be seen or detected in processes, attitudes and behaviour which amount to discrimination through unwitting prejudice, ignorance, thoughtlessness and racist stereotyping which disadvantage minority ethnic people.”

I think “unintentional racism” might have been a better description. The term “institutional racism” implies that racism is an act of policy, determined by the procedures of an organisation. The police should be colour blind. They should recognise equality before the law and apply the law without fear or favour. Clearly in the past there were a lot of individual police officers who failed to maintain this standard. Does this mean there was “institutional racism”? True, not many police officers lost their jobs for racist behaviour — although I don’t think they were likely to be sacked for other failings either.

A few years later Sir Ian Blair accused the media of “institutional racism” on the grounds that more attention tended to be given to the murder of white people than of ethnic minorities. It is certainly true that journalists find some murder stories more newsworthy than others. But Sir Ian’s evidence for his claim was scant. Given the space devoted to Stephen Lawrence and Damilola Taylor I would be surprised if an exercise in totting up column inches would establish widespread racism among journalists. Still less “institutional racism”, in a sense that in any way reflected editorial policy.

However, there is one area where the decription of “instutional racism” could validly be applied. That is in relation to “Looked After Children” — the children in care. The discrimination concerns an issue of great importance for these children, that is their chance of being placed for adoption and the length of time it takes…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Just One GP for 500,000 Patients: The True Scale of Crisis in Out-of-Hours NHS Cover Revealed

Out-of-hours GPs are being left to care on their own for up to half a million patients.

Cost-cutting NHS chiefs are routinely assigning just one family doctor to districts that stretch over hundreds of square miles.

A third of primary care trusts, which manage GP services, have slashed night and weekend spending over the past 12 months.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Lord Ahmed Calls on Mosques ‘To Speak’ About Sex Abuse

Labour peer Lord Ahmed has called on mosque leaders in South Yorkshire to speak about the issues surrounding sex exploitation.

His comments follow a Times newspaper report of widespread abuse of girls by Asian men in the county. It prompted MPs to order South Yorkshire Police’s chief constable to answer the claims in Parliament. Lord Ahmed said: “It’s important that the community, rather than going silent… talk about it.” An investigation by The Times said a confidential 2010 report by the Police Intelligence Bureau detailed “a significant problem with networks of Asian males exploiting young white females, particularly in Rotherham and Sheffield”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Mother’s Anger After Complete Stranger Stubs Cigarette Out on Her Three-Year-Old Son’s Head as They Walk Down the Street

[WARNING: Disturbing content.]

A three-year-old boy was left with a burn on his head after a complete stranger stubbed a cigarette out on him.

Javid Lal was with his mother, Malikah, when the incident occurred in Hyson Green, Nottingham.

He was left with a mark on his head for two days following the random attack.

The youngster had been walking on the pavement with his mother when a man walked past them and then turned around, appearing to aim his lit cigarette for the top of the child’s head.

Miss Lal said: ‘It was absolutely horrifying. I’m so angry and upset. It breaks my heart someone could do this to any child, never mind my son.’

The 30-year-old said she was too shocked to go after the man and instead comforted her son.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: National Action to Fight the Child-Sex Gangs

by Andrew Norfolk

A new national forum to tackle the sexual exploitation of children is to be launched after damning revelations about the abuse of hundreds of children by organised groups of men.

Interviews are being held today for posts in the new “special interest” group, which will allow local authorities across England to pool information about sex-grooming networks, sharing the most effective ways to protect child victims and prosecute offenders…

[JP note: The rest of the article is behind a paywall.]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Oxford Sex Ring is ‘Larger Than Feared’

Additional arrests are made in Operation Bullfinch as total number of victims estimated at over 50

Reports suggest that as many as 50 young girls have come forward claiming to have been exploited, following the high profile arrests of thirteen Oxford residents last month.

It was originally thought there were 24 victims, aged between 11 and 16 years, but more girls have since contacted the police alleging they were also abused.

Thames Valley Police have also made two more arrests in connection with the ongoing inquiry, bringing the total to 15 people.

A 39 year old man was arrested on Tuesday 10th April on suspicion of grooming and has been released on police bail until 10 May. He was out of the country when officers made the original arrests on 22 March.

A 40 year old woman was arrested on Wednesday 11th April on suspicion of grooming but was released without charge.

The news follows Operation Bullfinch, led by Thames Valley Police and assisted by Oxfordshire County Council, which revealed that a “criminal gang” of had groomed, drugged and raped vulnerable individuals over a period of six years. Thirteen men were arrested.

Esther Davidson, from the group Oxford Community Against Trafficking said, “The essential thing to realise is that human trafficking and sexual exploitation are happening on an appalling scale — not just in places like Eastern Europe or Cambodia, but in towns and cities right across Britain. We are not immune. Members of our society are involved.

“But because this is a hidden crime, we all need to keep our eyes open. If you are concerned that someone might be being coerced into exploitation, you can tell Crimestoppers safely and anonymously. The good news is that anyone can make a difference. And students have a particular role to play in raising awareness. We need every creative way of waking people up.”

OUSU’s Vice President for women, Yuan Yang, added, “Sex trafficking and forced prostitution stem from treating people as objects, not as humans. We can all stand against sexual violence by making sure to demonstrate respect to other human beings in our own lives. This can be as simple as making sure that people we have sex with are fully consenting, or as courageous as calling someone out on a sexually abusive joke.”

Last month Oxford residents Zehsan Ahmed, Kamar Jamil, Akhtar Dogar, Anjum Dogar, Mohammed Karrar and Bassan Karrar were all charged for crimes relating to child explotation.

The other seven men who had previously been arrested and bailed in connection with the inquiry answered their bail on Thursday 12th April and it has been extended until 7 June.

           — Hat tip: Seneca III [Return to headlines]

UK: Panel to Look Into Wedding Claims at Peterborough Mosque

An independent panel will investigate an imam alleged to have offered to carry out underage marriages at the Husaini Islamic Centre in Peterborough. Earlier this month a Sunday newspaper alleged imam Mohamed Kassamali, who works at the Husaini Islamic Centre in Burton Street, Peterborough, had told an undercover reporter it was possible to arrange the marriage of a 12-year-old girl and a man in his 20s. Following the reports in The Sunday Times on September 9, Imam Kassamali agreed to step aside for an investigation to take place.

Now Cambridgeshire police have confirmed that following a voluntary interview with the imam no criminal action will be taken following the publication of the allegations, as there was no evidence of any criminal activity taking place at the mosque. A panel, featuring religious experts and community leaders, has also been set up at the Islamic centre to investigate the claims further and it has already held its first meeting. A spokesman for the centre said: “An independent panel of cross-community experts has held its first meeting and is now considering the case of the Husaini Islamic Centre imam, Mohamed Kassamali, following comments made about the possibility of underage marriage reported in The Sunday Times newspaper.

“The seven panellists include a former senior police officer and specialist in child protection; a high-profile Islamic scholar and interfaith specialist from the Muslim Council of Britain; an Arabic and Islamic specialist and educationalist; a former BBC head of religion; a local social worker; and a local human rights lawyer. They will consider all aspects surrounding the case and make their recommendations to the management committee of the Husaini Islamic Centre in the coming weeks.”

The imam has not returned to work at the mosque since the allegations were reported. East Ward councillor Nabil Shabbir said he was pleased with the panel of experts that had been selected to conduct the enquiry. He said: “I welcome the news a panel has been set up to investigate the claims. It is also very pleasing to see no criminal action is being taken.

“As far as I know, and the police appear to have confirmed this, no crime has been committed in this case. Imam Kassamali is a very respected member of the community and has done a lot of good work for the city. He is held in high esteem by the public, so it is important there is a proper investigation into this. Nothing illegal happened at the mosque.”

Following the report’s publication, police confirmed there had been no reports of forced marriages in Peterborough.

[JP note: Everything hunky-dory in Peterborough then and it would be racist to suggest otherwise.]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Rochdale Child Sex Ring: Council Head to be Questioned by MPs

Leader to be asked why social workers ‘missed opportunities’, as lawyer for victims considers legal action against authority

The head of Rochdale council will be questioned by MPs over why his social workers “missed opportunities” to stop the sexual exploitation of young girls, it has emerged, as a lawyer for some of the victims said it was “very likely” they would take legal action against the local authority. A critical review into child protection in the area was released on Thursday and Keith Vaz, the Labour chairman of the Commons home affairs select committee, said he had been “deeply concerned” at its findings. He said the council’s chief executive, Jim Taylor, would be summoned to appear before MPs. “As part of its ongoing inquiry into grooming, the committee will be recalling the chief executive of Rochdale council to explain why social services missed opportunities to stop the exploitation of vulnerable girls, what is being done to ensure agencies are now working together to keep them safe and how individuals responsible for the failings will be held to account,” he said…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Rochdale Child Sex Ring: Did Political Correctness Delay Justice?

Critics question whether social services failed to act because of the ethnicity of the suspects

DID political correctness delay the authorities’ pursuit of the Rochdale sex abuse gang? An inquiry that found social services and police had “missed opportunities” to help victims of the Rochdale sex abuse gang has revived the national debate about whether race was a factor in the case. The report, published yesterday by the Rochdale Borough Safeguarding Children Board, into the grooming and rape of young teenagers in Rochdale revealed systemic failures by social workers, police and officials from the Crown Prosecution Service. It has prompted a new national forum to be set up to help pool information about sex-grooming networks between authorities.

But, as one of the victim’s fathers has pointed out, there was no reference to the question of race or whether it played a part in the authorities’ unwillingness to act. The fact that nearly all the victims were white girls and the gang was predominantly of Pakistani origin sparked wide debate and far-right demonstrations when the nine men were jailed at Liverpool Crown Court in May.

Judge Gerald Clifton himself told the gang during the trial that he believed that “one of the factors that led to that was that they were not of your community or religion”. This morning, former home secretary Jack Straw insisted on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that “there is an issue of ethnicity here which can’t be ignored” and that the Pakistani community “must face up to the grooming scandal following the Rochdale case”. Mohammed Shafiq, a youth worker and head of the Ramadhan Foundation, told On Islam that he agreed with some elements of Straw’s comments. “There are some people in my community, the Pakistani community, the elders, who think that the best thing to do is just ignore it and assume it is all a British National Party and English Defence League conspiracy,” he said. “I think that is really dangerous, it gives oxygen to the far right.”

But Peter Davies, chief executive of the Child Exploitation and On-line Protection Centre, told The Independent that claiming that this kind of offending is only perpetrated by British Pakistani men could “reduce victims’ awareness that it may be perpetrated by other people and put children at risk”. The newspaper also points out that in an analysis of more than 1,200 cases across the country, just 28 per cent of abusers were Asian, and that figures from Greater Manchester Police show that 95 per cent of those on its sex offenders’ register were white.

Others have questioned whether authorities missed opportunities to help the Rochdale victims because they were trying to be too “politically correct” over race. Tim Loughton, former Children’s Minister, told BBC Radio 4’s World at One yesterday: “There are clear cultural sensitivities around these cases that too often meant the relevant agencies were reluctant to intervene properly and then pursue the perpetrators all the way through, ending up being prosecuted in the courts.” He added that this sort of “political correctness is absolutely unacceptable”. In an editorial, The Guardian said: “If social services feared to tread to avoid causing offence, and perhaps complicating wider work within the Pakistani community, then that has proved a terrible error. For giving offence is as nothing compared with the grotesque offences that eventually transpired.”

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Teenage Rape Victims Failed by PC Dogma

[WARNING: Disturbing content.]

It’s impossible not to be horrified by yesterday’s report into the serial failings by social workers, police and prosecutors that allowed a gang of Asian men to systematically rape and pimp vulnerable, underage white girls in the north of England.

Overwhelming evidence that the youngsters, many from broken homes, were being abused was ignored by social workers, some of whom reached the staggering conclusion that the victims were ‘making their own lifestyle choices’ — despite sex with a minor being blatantly illegal.

Almost as appalling is the fact the staff involved are still working under the aegis of Rochdale Council, whose pedantic, box-ticking chief executive Jim Taylor yesterday refused to admit the girls had been ‘betrayed’.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Victim of Rochdale Gang Talks of Ordeal

[WARNING: Disturbing content.]

It all began just a few feet from the school gates.

The men persuaded her to get into their car before plying her with alcohol and taking her to various houses for sex with other men.

It was a routine repeated on a daily basis.

For the girl, who was only 15 at the time, there seemed no way out.

And as the weeks and months passed she realised she was alone and utterly helpless.

Like the other victims of the Rochdale child sex gang, she was well known to social services and the police. But they were unwilling to help her.

‘These men would be picking me up from school — as soon as I walked out of the gates at three o’clock — and take me to houses,’ she said.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: What’s Happened to Labour’s Passion and Principle When the Only Way Was Ethics?

by Martin Bright

There was a time, not so long ago, when you knew where you stood with Labour Party foreign policy. Remember 1997 and that headline in the Observer: “Goodbye Xenophobia”? Robin Cook’s ethical foreign policy may now be lost in the mists of New Labour nostalgia, but it was an inspirational rallying cry. This was a break with Foreign Office realpolitik, we were told, and Labour would now develop policy according to principle. Mr Cook famously resigned over the decision to go to war in Iraq. But this itself was driven by another principle: the so-called “Blair Doctrine” of humanitarian intervention, developed in his Chicago speech of 1999. For some, this was the ultimate expression of an ethical foreign policy, for others its very betrayal.

Labour’s fall from grace can be traced, at least in part, to the Iraq intervention of 2003. Despite the election victory of 2005, the fallout from the war poisoned the last Labour government. It is no surprise, therefore, that Ed Miliband wished to distance himself from his predecessors in order to boost internal morale within the party. That he chose the Israel-Palestinian conflict as the iconic symbol of that differentiation was unfortunate. His leadership acceptance speech two years ago when he singled out Israel for attack was deeply unfortunate, but it was no accident. What more definitive way of signalling a break with the past than rejecting the Zionism of the Blair-Brown era?

[…]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: We’re Right to Worry About Megan Stammers — But Why Was the Rochdale Grooming Allowed to Happen?

by Ruth Dudley Edwards

Now that — at last — some of the truth is coming out about the grooming of girls in Rochdale, for the record, let’s just remember and re-interpret what happened there when Gillian Duffy met Gordon Brown in April 2010. Duffy: “You can’t say anything about the immigrants because you’re saying that you’re … but all these eastern European what are coming in, where are they flocking from?” Gordon Brown: “A million people have come from Europe but a million British people have gone into Europe. You do know that there’s a lot of British people staying in Europe as well.” Later, in his car, Brown’s aide asked “What did she say?” Mr Brown: “Everything, she was just a sort of bigoted woman who said she used to be Labour.”

I watched that live. And even then I knew Rochdale’s immigration problem wasn’t Eastern European. It was Asian. Googling it now, I see a Daily Telegraph report in May that year telling me that the ethnic minority population had doubled in twenty years to 33,650, which included more than 27,000 from Pakistan and Bangladesh. Even though she tactfully mentioned white European immigrants rather than Asians, Mrs Duffy was denounced as a bigot. What would Gordon Brown have called her had she mentioned immigrants from Pakistan and Bangladesh?

Cultural relativism was so frightful over the past few decades that I found myself denounced as racist by some modish friends for saying that female genital mutilation was wrong, wrong, wrong. The social services and the police failed children, but the rot came from the top. It did all the decent Asian immigrants no good to cover up the crimes of their degenerates. There is an enormous hue and cry over the disappearance of Megan Stammers, a 15-year-old on the run with a teacher with whom she is in love. It is, of course, disturbing. But in the interests of racial harmony, no one in authority, apparently, gave a damn about 13-year-olds being gang-raped by men who thought them white trash and fair game and got away with it. Those men were bigots. And they were criminals. The authorities were cowardly colluders. The majority Asian community didn’t know, or, if they did, they didn’t tell. When will our masters grasp that lies imprison us and the truth — however unpleasant — will ultimately set us free?

[JP note: Note the message at the bottom of this piece: “Comments are closed” ie., the Daily Telegraph is too scared to allow its readers the opportunity to discuss this issue. For all its fine journalists and commentators, it remains a deeply dhimmi rag.]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Who’ll Take the Blame Over Rape Gangs? Not a Single Social Worker Sacked Over Teenage Grooming Scandal

No social workers have been sacked or suspended over their failure to prevent the systematic rape and abuse of white teenage girls by an Asian gang. A report into the Rochdale sex abuse scandal was condemned yesterday for failing to identify those responsible, none of whom have faced disciplinary action. The report was also attacked for making no mention of the race or religion of the perpetrators, all Muslims and all but one from Pakistani backgrounds, although critics say ‘political correctness’ was behind the failure to act.

The review was carried out by Rochdale Borough Safeguarding Children Board, whose members include the police, council, the NHS and prosecutors, and was itself responsible for organising child protection between different agencies in the area. A father of one of the victims said the 29-page report told him ‘nothing new’. He said: ‘The staff concerned should be named, shamed and sacked. ‘I don’t want them transferred to another department, pensioned off or given early retirement. Their wrongdoing, their negligence, their mistakes, have ruined lives.’ And he added: ‘I do spot that there’s no reference to the question of race in the report, as to whether that was a factor in their lack of willingness to act.’

Labour MP for Rochdale Simon Danczuk said the report was ‘limited’ and failed to ‘give a voice to the victims or explain why social services had a culture of blaming the victims for the abuse’. The abuse centred around nine men, eight of Pakistani origin and one from Afghanistan, who worked for or were connected to taxi firms and takeaway food outlets…

Failures That Left Abuse Victims to Their Fate

There were signs for many years that men were using vulnerable young girls in Rochdale for sex, but no action was taken. Here we highlight the failures.

Social Workers

From the outset, social workers failed to regard the teenage girls being passed around for sex among a gang of Asian men as victims.

That was despite more than 100 reports of abuse from the victims, health workers and elsewhere linked to men working in taxi and takeaway businesses dating back to 2004, and involving children as young as ten. Instead the girls were treated as their attackers treated them, ‘like prostitutes’.

Victims as young as ten were seen as ‘making their own choice’ and ‘engaging in consensual sexual activity’. In one case a parent making a complaint was told his daughter was ‘hanging out with a bad crowd’. As a result of this catastrophic dereliction of duty, information was not systematically passed to the police, and the terrified victims were left at the mercy of a gang of violent sexual predators.

Police

Just as social workers failed to protect the victims from the rapists preying on them, so the police failed for years to grasp the nettle and launch a serious investigation. As well as reports from social workers, Greater Manchester Police received 44 referrals from the NHS about the abuse.

In 2009 one victim, known as ‘Suzie’, made a detailed complaint about the attacks. Arrests were made but the case was dropped by state prosecutors. It was not until a year later that a full investigation was launched. Police also failed to demand proper bail restrictions on the attackers.

Even after the trial, the police refused to acknowledge the racial element of the crimes, saying it was wrong to get ‘hung up on race and ethnicity issues’.

Crown Prosecution Service

An early police investigation in 2009 was passed to prosecutors but astonishingly no action was taken. Instead a senior CPS prosecutor ‘refused charge’, claiming it was unlikely to lead to a successful trial. That was despite the existence of forensic evidence including DNA swabs from a victim’s underwear. It was two years before that decision was overturned. Yesterday’s report found prosecutors thought the main victim would be seen by the court as an unreliable witness, and blamed the cost of bringing the case and ‘officer workload’ for the decision.

The Muslim Community

Members of the community would have known about the abuse of white girls being carried out by Pakistani men but did nothing to stop it. Jack Straw, the former Justice Secretary, said there was ‘denial’ around the issue. He said: ‘These are small communities so people would have a rough idea that there is a group of men who are abusing white girls in this way. That has to be dealt with there, as well as much more effective police and social services action.’

[Reader comment by — Lurch, Palma de Mallorca, 28/9/2012 1:11]

The one group you miss off the list to blame are the Labour politicians who shouted “racist” at anyone who tried to confront the problem.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Balkans

EU-Albania: Brussels Says OK to Candidacy and Negotiations

In past three years Tirana made ‘substantial work’, report says

(ANSAmed) — Brussels, September 24 — Albania might become the next country in the Western Balkans to be candidate to EU membership, reports a document prepared by the European Commission to be made public on October 10.

According to the Commission report examining possible EU enlargement, dialogue between government and opposition in Albania has led to overcome the political stalemate. “The contry largely superseded political differences by adopting electoral and parliamentary reforms”. Tirana, the report says, has made a “substantial progress”, with regards to the priority key established by the European Commission to obtain the status of candidate country and the opening of accession negotiations.

After three years of failed requests to become an official candidate country in April 2009, Albania appears finally ready to pass the exam in Brussels, winning on October 10 a positive opinion by the European Commission.

A recommendation that will go straight on the table of EU Council in December, where the Member States will make a decision. In the likely case of a positive decision, Albania will become the fifth country in the Western Balkans to be candidate to join the EU after Croatia (which will make its entrance in July 2013), the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. Some other candidate countries remain to be added, such as Turkey and Iceland, while Bosnia Herzegovina and Kosovo will remain in the waiting room.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

North Africa

Tunisia: Police Rape Victim Charged With ‘Indecency’

Gang raped by police, ministry criticizes media and civil society

(ANSAmed) — TUNIS — The Tunisian Interior Ministry on Thursday reprimanded Tunisian media and civil society for rallying in support of a young woman who was raped by police officers, but also confirmed that the violence did take place.

“The justice system is based on facts, and the judges will base their verdicts based on the facts at hand,” Faouzi Jaballah from the Interior Ministry told reporters.

His comments followed on widespread outrage after the 27-year-old victim was summoned by the investigating judge on Wednesday to face charges of “indecency” from the two police officers accused of raping her.

The young woman and her fiance were “apprehended” in their car by three police officers on September 3. One officer immobilized the young man while the other two raped the young woman, the couple said.

All three officers were subsequently arrested. They are due to appear on rape charges on a new hearing on Tuesday. Leading human rights and feminist groups and other prominent members of civil society have called for a protest outside the court on Tuesday in support of the young couple.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Tunisia: President Marzouki Says Police Torturing Citizens

Cites case of girl gang raped by officers, among others

(ANSAmed) — TUNIS, SEPTEMBER 27 — The office of President Moncef Marzouki on Thursday issued a communique stating that Tunisian police may be practicing torture once more.

Issued while Marzouki is attending the UN General Assembly in New York, the communique cited three examples of a possible return to pre-Arab Spring police practices, and which are currently under investigation: that of a young woman gang raped by police and then charged with indecency, that of a man who was beaten to death during an interrogation, and the repression of unrest in El Hencha square. The president invites all citizens to bring their charges to his office, which will investigate them and bring those responsible to justice, the communique said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Who Needs Reform Most: Egypt or America?

Prior to leaving Egypt for the United Nations General Assembly, Egypt’s Islamist President Mohamed Morsi told The New York Times the United States needs to “fundamentally change” its approach to the Arab world. That includes, he said, showing greater respect for Arab values, as well as helping to build a Palestinian state.

Is there an Arab equivalent for the Yiddish word “Chutzpah”? It isn’t the policies and attitude of the United States toward the Arab world that need changing. It’s the attitude and policies of the Arab world that need to change. For a former leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, who still subscribes to the group’s radical beliefs, to blame America for problems in the Arab world is like blaming the mirror for what it reflects.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Ex-Soldier Shalit at FC Barcelona Match, Hamas Protests

In Gaza, calls to boycott team

Children wearing a Barcelona shirt inTel Aviv

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, SEPTEMBER 28 — Spanish football giants Barcelona face a possible boycott from Palestinian fans angered that Israeli sportswriter Gilad Shalit, a former Hamas hostage, will be attending a big match against Real Madrid next month. A Hamas radio station called on Palestinians to stop supoorting the club, which is popular with youth people in the Gaza Strip. Gaza youngsters expressed their outrage on social media, calling for their team not to let the former Israeli soldier come to the game.

The Spanish club on Friday confirmed that 26-year-old Shalit, who spent five years in captivity before being released in October 2011 as part of a prisoner exchange deal, will be at Camp Nou for the Clasico against Real Madrid on October 7.

Barcelona did not invite Shalit, but accepted a request from the young reporter, who is a sports columnist for Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, to attend the game, the club said in a statement.

Former Israeli welfare minister and Labor Party MP Itzhak Herzog, solicited the invitation on Shalit’s behalf, Yedioth Ahronoth reported.

A former Israeli defense forces soldier, Shalit was abducted by Hamas militants in June 2006. He was held in a secret location for over five years, until his release in October 2011 in exchange for more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners held in Israel.

“Inviting Shalit is a new attempt to cover up Zionist crimes, using sport as a pretext,” the Hamas-linked Palestinian Prisoners’ Club said in a statement on Friday. “How can such a respected club, that defends humanism and multiculturalism, invite a criminal and a murderer like Shalit, and show him honor and respect?” The Hamas prime minister of Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, also condemned Barcelona in a statement on Friday and called on the club not to let Shalit attend the match. Barcelona has in the past invited young former Palestinian detainees to its matches.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

The British Public Opposes an Israeli Boycott

by Jake Wallis Simons

The British public is often commended for its common sense. Over recent years, however, the movement to boycott all aspects of Israeli output — from vegetables and cosmetics to orchestras and dance troupes — has been so vociferous that it has begun to cast doubt upon our reputedly solid sense of judgment. Now, however, those concerns can be laid to rest. A new poll conducted by YouGov for the Jewish Chronicle has established that “fewer than one in five Brits believe that Israeli actors, dancers or musicians should not be welcome to perform here, and three-quarters can see no reason why British performers should not travel to Israel”.

[…]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Middle East

Makkah: Saudi Authorities Stop 1,000 Nigerian Women Without Male Relatives

Visiting Saudi Arabia for the annual Hajj pilgrimage, the women have been stuck for days at Jeddah and Madinah airports. The Saudi action breaches an agreement that allowed Nigerian Muslim women to enter the country without a male relative. The Saudis fear a rise in illegal immigration.

Makkah (AsiaNews/ Agencies) — Concerned about illegal immigration, Saudi authorities have stopped a thousand Nigerian women on their way to Makkah for Hajj.

Ostensibly, the women had violated an Islamic rule whereby each woman had to be accompanied by a male relative. However, the authorities waved through women 45 and over, stopping only those aged 20 to 35, who, for the past ten days, have been waiting to be repatriated at the airports in Jeddah and Madinah.

Nigeria’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Abubakar Shehu Bunu, said he had made a formal protest to the foreign affairs office in the capital, Riyadh.

He complained about the discriminatory treatment given to Nigerian women pilgrims and the violation of an agreement between the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria and the Saudi authorities to allow visas to be issued to Nigerian women going to Makkah as long as they were accompanied by their local Hajj committee officials.

For their part, Saudis complain that the agreement has for years favoured illegal immigration. In fact, many Nigerian women come into the country for Hajj but end up looking for work, often falling into the prostitution racket.

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

US Voters Back Ahmadinejad? Iranian News Agency Fooled by Article in Satirical Paper the Onion

A joke by the satirical newspaper The Onion appears to have gotten lost in translation. An Iranian news agency picked up — as fact — a story from the paper about a supposed survey showing an overwhelming majority of rural white Americans would rather vote for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad than President Barack Obama. But it was made up, like everything in the just-for-laughs newspaper, which is headquartered in Chicago.

The English-language service of Iran’s semiofficial Fars news agency republished the story Friday, several days after it appeared in The Onion.

The Iranian version copied the original word-for-word, even including a made-up quote from a fictional West Virginia resident who says he’d rather go to a baseball game with Ahmadinejad because “he takes national defense seriously, and he’d never let some gay protesters tell him how to run his country like Obama does.”

Homosexual acts are punishable by death in Iran, and Ahmadinejad famously said during a 2007 appearance at Columbia University that “in Iran we don’t have homosexuals like in your country.”

The Iranian version of the article leaves out only The Onion’s description of Ahmadinejad as “a man who has repeatedly denied the Holocaust and has had numerous political prisoners executed.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Russia

Russian Facebook Deletes Anti-Muslim Film

(AGI) Moscow — The Russian Facebook, Vkontakte, decided to delete any links to the controversial film “The innocence of Muslims”. The movie has triggered Muslim protest the world over. The founder and owner of the Russian most popular social network, Pavel Durov, acted without waiting for the judges’ verdict on the movie ban requested by the Attorney General, due its extremist content. “I watched ‘The innocence of Muslims and I believe it is a squalid, low quality product that leaves no room to discussion. I deleted it. Give us quality anti-Islam movies!” Durov wrote yesterday on Twitter. Currently, Vkontakte gives access only to news on the issue. The petition to ban the movie, filed by the Russian Attorney General will be discussed on 1 October at the Tverskoy Court in Moscow.

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

South Asia

British-Built Schools in Afghanistan May be Forced to Close

Dozens of schools and health clinics built by the British military in Helmand may be forced to close down because the Afghan government can no longer afford keep them open, it was reported last night.

Millions of pounds were spent across the war-torn province over the last decade in an effort to win over hearts and minds and convince civilians to side with British troops rather than the Taliban. However, a confidential report admits that Britain “built too much” during the wave of construction and that the Afghan government would not be able to sustain the costs of the extensive programme. British officials have now reportedly been ordered to identify which facilities are “critical” to the people of Helmand and to begin closing down the others by the end of 2014…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Pakistan: Minister Who Offered Bounty for Filmmaker is ‘True Muslim’ Says Taliban

The Pakistani minister who offered a $100,000 bounty for the murder of an anti-Islam film-maker, has been removed from a Taliban hit list and hailed by the militants as a “true Muslim.”

Ghulam Ahmed Bilour, Pakistan’s railway minister, was widely condemned after he made his offer in Peshawar last Saturday. His offer was open to members of the Taliban or al-Qaeda if they killed Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the US-based Egyptian Coptic Christian whose film The Innocence of Muslims provoked violent protests around the world which left 21 people dead and 200 injured throughout Pakistan. His comments were disowned by both the Pakistan government and members of his own Awami National Party, who have seen 700 of their party colleagues killed by the Taliban in the last four years. Many of them remain targets for assassination. But according to a spokesman for the Tehrik e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Mr Bilour is no longer on their ‘hit list.’ “We have totally forgiven him and removed his name from our hit list,” Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan told the news agency AFP. Its ruling shura or council had met on Tuesday this week and “praised Bilour for his sacrifice”. “The shura paid rich tributes to Bilour and endorsed his bounty announcement,” he said…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Zuma Not Fit for UN Education Role

[Comment by LH: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appointed South African President Zuma to participate in the UN Education First initiative. This despite the shocking state of South African education under Zuma’s leadership. It really makes one question the UN’s credibility.]

President Jacob Zuma is not “fit to serve” on the UN education panel because of the “destruction” of the school system on his watch, says the DA.

“As long as Zuma has accepted a position like this, he remains in denial that we have a poor education system, one that is almost in implosion,” DA spokeswoman on basic education Annette Lovemore said on Thursay.

Zuma has been invited by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the General Assembly meeting in New York to take part in the UN Education First initiative. Zuma accepted and is one of 10 inaugural member state champions of the initiative.

The members would provide support to the secretary-general to ensure the success of the initiative, the Presidency said.

“South Africa will, in essence, be strategically positioned to ensure that education projects that may accrue from this initiative benefit countries in southern Africa and the African region,” it said.

But Lovemore said:” The only value Zuma could add to the panel is to show the world how not to manage education systems.”

She said Zuma had overseen a “crumbling” education system, marked by failures, such as:…

           — Hat tip: LH [Return to headlines]

Immigration

France: Criteria to Obtain Citizenship Eased

No more culture test and permanent contract

(ANSAmed) — PARIS, SEPTEMBER 28 — France’s government will make the criteria to obtain French citizenship more flexible by eliminating, in particular, the obligation to have a permanent contract and a general culture test imposed by the right-wing administration of former president Nikolas Sarkozy.

‘It is important to affirm the intention of a strong integration with the citizenship. We don’t fear these new French citizens who represent a strength for the republic’, Interior Minister Manuel Valls told reporters. Valls was born in Barcelona, Spain, and became a French citizen when he was 20.

The minister said the new regulations will be transmitted ‘in the next few days’ to all prefects in the country. The document, he said, in particular scraps a test on ‘French history, culture and society’ promoted by Sarkozy, although ‘the knowledge of French and the adhesion to the values’ of the republic will remain among the conditions to become citizens.

Other criteria, said the interior minister, will concern the number of years spent in France, ‘family stability’ and employment.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Back to the Classroom for Milan Elementary School With “Too Many Foreigners”

Some stories do have a happy ending. The most multiethnic school in Italy, Lombardo Radice public school in Milan, had a new batch of first graders again this week.

Last year it wasn’t allowed to open to a new incoming elementary school class because it had “too many foreigners.” It had appeared to be an action that would de facto condemn the longstanding school, considered a model of successful integration, to be closed permanently within five years.

Instead, on Wednesday morning, 21 six-year-olds showed up for first grade at the school entrance at 83 Via Pier Alessandro Paravia, in the San Siro neighborhood near Milan’s famous soccer stadium.

Eighteen of the pupils are foreign, a proportion in line with Lombardo Radice’s tradition. Two years ago the school had 93 foreign students, from 27 different nationalities, out of a total of 97 children; last year the number was 80 out of 93. This year, if the count is correct, foreigners will make up 83 % of the student body.

But what does “foreign” actually mean here? Of the first grade’s 18 “non-Italian-citizen children” (none of whom are EU citizens), 14 were born in Italy, and every one of them went to nursery school in Milan.

“To us, they are little Milanese children,” says Deputy Mayor Maria Grazia Guida, who was at opening day Wednesday, along with all the others who have been working for the past year to save the school.

But why was the school put on the road to closure?…

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

Culture Wars

Cardinal Ravasi on Religious Education in State Schools

(AGI) — Holy See, 25 Sep — The president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, today welcomed Education Minister Francesco Profumo’s latest proposals concerning religious tuition in Italian state schools. With religious education subject to Concordat agreements between Italy and the Holy See, the cardinal welcomed the minister’s proposals to inject innovation in the subject’s tuition methods arguing, however, that the core content of religious education should be the Christian religion. Ravasi said ‘it is important that we innovate methods,’ adding ‘the Gospel and the greater Christian teachings will continue to warrant teaching, but there is always room to latch on to changes within society, the times and culture.’ Ravasi went on to suggest that the issue of innovation would be the subject of follow-up discussions.

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

Couples Who Share Housework Divorce More: Study

Norwegian researchers have concluded that the more work a man does in the home the higher the risk that a couple will get divorced, explaining the correlation as a sign of “modern” attitudes.

The divorce rate among couples who shared housework equally was around 50 percent higher than among those where the woman did most of the work.

“The more a man does in the home, the higher the divorce rate,” Thomas Hansen, co-author of the study entitled “Equality in the Home”, told AFP.

Researchers found no, or very little, cause-and-effect. Rather, they saw in the correlation a sign of “modern” attitudes.

“Modern couples are just that, both in the way they divide up the chores and in their perception of marriage” as being less sacred, Hansen said, stressing it was all about values.

“In these modern couples, women also have a high level of education and a well-paid job, which makes them less dependent on their spouse financially. They can manage much easier if they divorce,” he said.

There were only some marginal aspects where researchers said there may be cause-and-effect.

“Maybe it’s sometimes seen as a good thing to have very clear roles with lots of clarity … where one person is not stepping on the other’s toes,” Hansen suggested.

“There could be less quarrels, since you can easily get into squabbles if both have the same roles and one has the feeling that the other is not pulling his or her own weight,” he added,

In Norway, which has long tradition of gender equality, childrearing is generally shared equally between mothers and fathers (in seven out of 10 couples), said Hansen, speaking notably from a park where he was minding his children.

But when it comes to housework, women in Norway still account for most of it in seven out of 10 couples.

The study also pointed out however that those women were largely satisfied with the situation, and their overall happiness was very close to those women who lived in “modern” couples.

==== Fjordman

http://www.ansa.it/ansamed/en/news/sections/culture/2012/09/27/Cyprus-hosts-Euro-Mediterranean-celebration-music_7541302.html

Cyprus hosts Euro-Mediterranean celebration of music

From classical to rock, series of concerts in Limassol until 30

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, SEPTEMBER 27 — Cyprus is welcoming hundreds of young and upcoming musicians from EU member states and the Arab world, in a true Euro-Mediterranean celebration of music, until the 30th of September.

A series of concerts and music workshops are held in the coastal city of Limassol and the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, Mrs Androulla Vassiliou, will address the opening ceremony on Friday 28 September.

“From classical (Western and Arabic) music to rock, ethnic, jazz, hip-hop and reggae, artists will present something for everyone’s musical taste during this Euro-Mediterranean celebration of music” says the Cypriot presidency of the EU.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Italy: Minister Sets Off Firestorm Over Religion in Class

‘Mediterranean crossroad of faiths which should also be taught’

(ANSAmed) — Rome, September 26 — Italy’s education minister refused to back down Wednesday from his earlier suggestions that schools in the country should teach more than Catholicism in the classroom. But Francesco Profumo said he had no immediate plans to change “certain rules or terms” of the curriculum for religion classes. The minister triggered controversy recently when he suggested it was time to update school curricula with respect to teaching the Catholic religion in public schools. As Italy becomes more multicultural, it may be important to teach students about other faiths, Profumo said.

He expanded on his views in a letter to Catholic philosopher Giovanni Reale, a copy of which was obtained by ANSA Wednesday. “Our country is at the center of a tumultuous evolution, both political and spiritual, in the Mediterranean, which has always been a crossroads of peoples and faiths,” Profumo wrote. It’s time, therefore, that Italian schools “deal with this changing reality” of a multicultural world, he added.

Religious education teachers have responded to Profumo’s ideas by saying the Catholic faith is a deeply embedded part of Italy’s historical heritage, and curricula shouldn’t be changed.

These teachers, and an association for Italian families, noted that in June Profumo signed new agreements on what would be taught in religious education classes and now is no time for change. “Christianity is inextricably inserted in the history of our country,” said Francesco Belletti, president of the Forum of Family Associations.

Religious teachers are appointed by schools in consultation with local religious Catholic authorities. Students who opt out of religion classes should be given alternative teaching.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: ‘School Lessons Must Reflect Multiethnic Population’ Says Minister

Rome, 25 Sept. (AKI) — The teaching of religion and other subjects in Italy’s schools needs to be overhauled to be relevant to immigrants and their children living in the country, education minister Francesco Profumo said on Tuesday.

“There are students in our schools who come from different countries, cultures and religions,” said Profumo, opening a new library in Rome.

“We need to update the religion curriculum but also the geography curriculum to reflect this.”

Italy’s traditional school curriculum needs reforming to make its schools “more open, more multiethnic and able to be relevant to the world,” said Profumo.

On Monday, he visited a school classroom in Italy where 50 percent of its pupils were from other countries, he said.

The integration of non-Italian pupils in Italian schools has been a contentious issue in recent years as the number of immigrants has continued to rise. Around 4.6 million or 7.5 percent of the population are foreign residents in Italy according to the central statistics office Istat.

During the conservative government of Silvio Berlusconi which fell in November 2011, its junior coalition partner, the anti-immigrant Northern League party proposed allowing schools to have separate classes for immigrant children who do not speak the Italian language or fail admission tests for Italian state schools.

Immigrant leaders, Italy’s centre-left opposition and Catholic leaders criticised the Northern League plan, which also wanted mainstream classrooms to contain a ‘proportionate’ number of Italian and immigrant pupils.

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

Morning-After-Pill Free in 13 New York City High Schools

(AGI) New York — Thirteen NYC high schools are making available a free morning-after-pill plan to girls over 14 wishing to avoid pregnancy. This occurs without parents being informed of the experimental program, called “CATCH”, which aims at avoiding unwanted pregnancies among minors, writes the New York Post.

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

Religion Teachers Against Min. Profumo: “It’s No Solution”

(AGI)Rome -Teaching the Catholic religion “is in school curricula because the Italian Republic acknowledges the value of religion. This is because the principles of Catholicism form part of the historical heritage of the Italian people, teaching them according to the objectives set out for schools”. Orazio Ruscica, the President of the Italian Independent Trade Union of Religion Teachers (SNADIR), comments the controversy on the teaching of religion that exploded following the statements made by Minister Profumo on the need to update school curricula and recalls that “at the end of June, the Minister signed two agreements on the teaching of the Catholic religion in public schools, including teaching guidelines, without however having paid much attention to what he signed”. “Of course — Ruscica observed — the Minister is concerned about other cultures and religions present on our territory and about the students who opt to not take the Catholic religion classes but the solution does not lie in trading in the current teaching of religion with a class offering a broader panorama”. Upstepping his argumentation, he went on to say: “The Minister should know that in Italian schools, religion teachers give each student the opportunity to become culturally acquainted with texts, documents, traditions, testimonies and contents that constitute the universe of religion. Let’s say that, if they fail to attend their religion classes, students would be deprived of qualified religious literacy. Therefore, if we have at heart training our students for peace and dialogue, we can’t surrender them to religious ignorance”. The problem, he went on to say, “is not the current teaching of the Catholic religion, which offers highly qualified courses by teachers with a high-level University training; what must concern us now is to offer this teaching also to those students that are not provided with an equally qualified training”. In conclusion, “it would perhaps be advisable to focus on that sham alternative to the teaching of religion that has turned into a monstruous negation of knowledge: i.e. dropping out of school”.

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

General

Who is Muhammad? (Peace be Upon Him)

Mahatma Gandhi “wanted to know the best of one who holds today undisputed sway over the hearts of millions of mankind…” George Bernard Shaw believed, “he would succeed in solving” the problems of the world “in a way that would bring it much needed peace and happiness” He is the most talked about human being throughout human history now and for centuries. So who is he?

Click to see if you know him.

Watch: The Life of Prophet Muhammad

Read: Who is Muhammad? By Khurram Murad

[JP note: Who indeed.]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

News Feed 20120927

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Financial Crisis

Berlin Wants Next Italian Government to Follow Monti’s Lead

German govt hopes ‘path of reform’ continues

(see related story on Monti on site) (ANSA) — Berlin, September 26 — Berlin said on Wednesday that it hoped the next Italian government continues with the policies currently being pursued by Premier Mario Monti’s emergency technocrat administration.

“We hope that the next government in Italy also continues on the path of reforms and with efforts to regain competitiveness,” German government spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters when asked about Monti’s pledge not to run in Italian elections next year.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Five Mainstream Economists Sound a Warning

The Wall Street Journal ran an article [url] the likes of which I have never seen. “The Magnitude of the Mess We’re In.” It was written by five well-known economists. It warns readers about a series of highly destructive outcomes of the federal government’s present fiscal policies. The article says that these problems are close to being unmanageable.

[…]

The problem with [the] article is it is naïve. It is Pollyanna to the core. It begins with the on-budget deficit: a mere $1.2 trillion a year. The on-budget deficit is peripheral to the real federal deficit, which reflects the unfunded liabilities of the federal government, primarily in Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. This deficit dwarfs the on-budget deficit. It is rising at $11 trillion a year.

This deficit has a present value of $222 trillion. This means that the federal government, today, must invest $222 trillion in market investments that will return about 5% per year for the next 75 years. No such investments exist, and the federal government does not have $222 trillion in reserve. The Federal Reserve system could print that, of course, but then that would only lead to hyperinflation.

In other words, by starting with the on-budget deficit, the five economists low-balled the problem. This makes it look as though the problem can be dealt with by Congress. It cannot, except by one technique, namely, default. They mention unfunded liabilities only briefly, and they offer no numbers.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Irish MP: ‘The ESM is Destroying the EU’

Ireland is taking its challenge of the European Stability Mechanism to the highest authority. Unlike previous challenges, this case will go before the European Court of Justice, with potential implications for the ESM.

He is quick to respond to emails and calls, and even answers them himself — regardless if it is Saturday night and he’s out on the road. What he is up to is not only obvious on his website, but also on his Facebook page and, of course, is reported in the Irish media. His words are both assertive and engaging. Thomas Pringle, the independent member of the Irish House of Commons, is a full-blooded politician. His biggest task at hand today is his legal case against the European Stability Mechanism (ESM).

The case against the ESM, has grown out of Ireland, a country which requested financial help in 2010. Thomas Pringle believes that Ireland will not benefit from the EU bailout, and even less so from the ESM. “I do not think the terms of the ESM are in the interests of Ireland. The ESM is designed in a way that will divide the EU and result in its destruction.” The EU is based on good grounds,” says Pringle, “and the EU must make decisions which respect the rights of all the countries and their laws, as is enshrined in the EU Treaties.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Make Sequestration Work for Country, Not Destroy it

The big news these days outside of terrorist killings and fire bombings of American embassies in most of the lands where the “peaceful” Muslims currently have the upper hand and are administering their particular version of their “peaceful” and “loving” enforcement of their gentle hints of persuasion to have their way, is a process taking place in our once grand nation that was honorable and strong, but is now destined to be one of the more inferior and weak world nations, pending on our socio-communist leaders bent on destruction of America with the help of a new tool called Sequestration.

If you’re not aware of what that term means don’t feel lonely as millions haven’t got a clue to what it is supposed to represent; but, when our country is left as a shadow of its former self and a relatively spineless, gutless, decimated shadow of pre-Obama America, then you’ll have an inkling of what is going on.

Sequestration is taking shape in the form of implementation planning by means of legislation enacted on August 02, 2011 titled, Budget Control Act of 2011, Public Law (112-25, S.365) which is a round of automatic Sequestration spending cuts scheduled to begin in January 2013. These cuts will be dangerous to our military along with the nation’s economy. Were they enacted on a complete basis covering ALL cost bases they could have had great merit; but they fall woefully short.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Quantitative Easing Did Not Work for the Weimar Republic Either

Did printing vast quantities of money work for the Weimar Republic? Nope. And it won’t work for us either.

If printing money was the secret to economic success, we could just print up a trillion dollars for every American and be done with it. The truth is that making everyone in America a trillionaire would not mean that we would all suddenly be wealthy. There would be the same amount of “real wealth” in our economy as before. But what it would do is render our currency meaningless and totally destroy faith in our financial system. Sadly, we have not learned the lessons that history has tried to teach us. Back in April 1919, it took 12 German marks to get 1 U.S. dollar. By December 1923, it took approximately 4 trillion German marks to get 1 U.S. dollar. So was the Weimar Republic better off after all of the “quantitative easing” that they did or worse off? Of course they were worse off. They destroyed their currency and wrecked all confidence in their financial system. There was an old joke that if you left a wheelbarrow full of money sitting around in the Weimar Republic that thieves would take the wheelbarrow and they would leave the money behind. Will things eventually get that bad in the United States someday?

Of course we are not going to see hyperinflation in the U.S. this week or this month.

But don’t think that it will never happen.

The people of Germany never thought that it would happen to them, but it did.

The following is an excerpt from a Wikipedia article about the Weimar Republic. Take note of the similarities between what the Weimar Republic experienced and what we are going through today…

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Where Were You the Day the Dollar Died?

That’s a question people will be asking you in the not-too-distant future. The past few weeks have seen several events transpire that spell the inevitable ruin of the dollar. As usual, only some of these events have been reported in the mainstream press, leaving most Americans blissfully clueless about the catastrophe roaring towards them.

Most people are aware that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke recently announced the Fed would begin “purchasing additional agency mortgage-backed securities at a pace of $40 billion per month.” Additionally, the Fed “will continue through the end of the year its program to extend the average maturity of its holdings of securities as announced in June, and it is maintaining its existing policy of reinvesting principal payments from its holdings of agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities in agency mortgage-backed securities.”

Taken together, the Fed will “increase the Committee’s holdings” of long-term securities to the tune of $85 billion per month, at least through the end of the year. And then? The Fed “will continue its purchases of agency mortgage-backed securities, undertake additional asset purchases”, use its “other policy tools” until such time as the labor market—read “unemployment rate”—improves “substantially”. How much is “substantially”? Mr. Bernanke didn’t say. For all practical purposes, this third round of Qualitative Easing (QE3, as it’s being called) will go on and on and on…until Mr. Bernanke says “enough”. So, at least in theory, QE3 will obviate the need for QE4, QE5, QE6 and so on…because it’s QE “Until”.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

USA

30 Examples of Why America is No Longer a Free Country

Nanny state is no longer on steroids, it has turned into the Incredible Hulk

From people being harassed for paying by cash or having a food garden, to Americans being arrested for letting their children play outside — innumerable examples over the past few months alone illustrate that the United States is no longer a free country.

The nanny state is no longer just on steroids, it has turned into the Incredible Hulk as collectivism, pernicious bureaucracy, regulation, mass surveillance and outright tyranny runs wild across the country.

Here are just a selection of stories from scores of recent examples illustrating how America is ‘land of the Free, home of the brave’ no more.

  • Parents across the country are being arrested for letting their children play outside. A stay at home mom in Texas was held in jail for 18 hours for allowing her children to ride on scooters while she was watching them from her home. A mother in Virginia was also harassed by social services and police for the egregious crime of allowing their children to play outside in another example of how the nanny state is running wild in America.
  • The war on lemonade stands, traditionally viewed as a quaint example of America’s entrepreneurial spirit, has intensified in recent months with cops slapping parents with fines for letting their kids run “unlicensed” lemonade stands in three separate incidents over the last year alone. A map of restrictions on child-run concession stands illustrates how there have been dozens of examples of police interference across the country.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Americans Care Far More About Magna Carta Than We Do

by Daniel Hannan

I suppose it’s possible to spend five years at Eton and not know what Magna Carta means. Winston Churchill once translated a piece of Latin in the House of Commons ‘for the benefit of any Old Etonians who may be present’. It’s even conceivable that you could take a First in PPE without stumbling across the answer. For what it’s worth, though, it strikes me as far more likely that David Cameron was being polite. He was in the US, after all, to fly the flag. There is a line between being polished and being smart-alecky, and David Cameron used the moment to come across as modest and amiable by not knowing something that a lot of viewers did know.

For the Cousins, in my experience, are far more aware of Magna Carta than we are. The site where the document was sealed, at Runnymede in my constituency, went unmarked until 1957, when a memorial stone was finally erected there — by the American Bar Association…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Attacks on Muslim American Houses of Worship on the Rise

The days during and immediately following Ramadan this year—which began July 20 and ended at sundown on August 18—saw one of the worst spikes in anti-Muslim incidents in more than a decade. The incidents were widespread and frequently violent, and although some of the perpetrators have been apprehended and charged, most have not been caught. Many cases are still under investigation.

Religious freedom is one of our most sacred principles, and it includes the right to worship freely and according to one’s conscience. Yet since the September 11 terrorist attacks more than 11 years ago, Muslim Americans and their houses of worship have been subject to threats, vandalism, violence, and even arson. The most recent rise in violent targeted crimes against Muslim Americans represents a threat to all Americans and violates core principles on which our nation was founded: religious freedom and tolerance…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Dispatch International: Tariq Ramadan Does Washington

by Diana West

Our motto is taken from Thomas Jefferson: Freedom of the press cannot be limited without being lost.

“Now Playing in Washington: More Lies from Tariq Ramadan”

WASHINGTON, DC — When I read that Tariq Ramadan would be speaking at a local bookstore in Washington, DC on September 11, the juxtaposition gave me a jolt. Was Ramadan — the world-famous and Left-celebrated Muslim “intellectual” banned from France for six months in the 1990s for alleged terror ties, and later from the US for six years (2004-2010) for reasons said to include charitable donations to HAMAS — really an appropriate choice for this darkest of anniversaries? But there was something intriguing about the prospect. What message would this scion of the Muslim Brotherhood deliver to the largely liberal upper middle class masses who would throng the bookstore to hear him?

I had never before seen Ramadan in action, but I knew his reputation for glibness, “doubletalk”, and contradiction. From these waves of words, as I would see, listeners seem to extract what is most shiny and appealing, and, as I would watch, nod their heads in recognition.

Never mind that among his favorite Muslim philosophers is Mohammed Rashid Rida, whom Islamic expert Andrew Bostom has described as a “full-throated, public supporter of the political aspirations of Ibn Saud’s Wahhabism”. Never mind that Ramadan, grandson of Hassan al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, unequivocably states there is “nothing in this heritage” that he rejects.

The Muslim Brotherhood, a shadowy organization with violent offshoots (including al-Qaeda) is best summed up by its motto: “Allah is our objective; the Prophet is our leader; the Quran is our law; Jihad is our way; dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.” But not to worry: Tariq Ramadan says he isn’t a member. Here in the bookstore, he repeatedly emphasized “dignity, justice and freedom” as the goals of so-called Arab Spring. People nodded. I doubt many realized these are the English-language buzz words of the Muslim Brotherhood, too.

Then again, maybe they did. Maybe it was Ramadan’s lineage — the grandfather he reveres, his father Said Ramadan, who spearheaded the Muslim Brotherhood’s entry into Europe — that drew the audience to his side where they could enjoy the frisson of the forbidden while taking comfort in Ramadan’s media-driven reputation as a “moderate.” But Tariq Ramadan is anything but “moderate.” Otherwise, he wouldn’t lie so much…

           — Hat tip: Diana West [Return to headlines]

Futuristic Cycles Become Today’s Reality

Bikes used to be seen as the preferred means of transport for the tech-resistant, but a new wave of e-bikes could prove popular with gadget geeks too. They provide chargers for smartphones, intelligent automatic transmissions, advance theft protection and enough power to make biking up steep mountain climbs more manageable.

Imagine a bike that can issue a smog alert: Exhaust sensors on the handlebars will be able to detect fumes and transmit the pollutant concentration to headquarters, where hundreds of sensors are feeding information into a pollution map of the city. The bike will then calculate an alternative route that steers clear of the worst pollution.

It’s part of a vision called “Smart Cities” that was dreamt up at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab, a stronghold of high-tech pioneers. Here, engineers who usually spend their time experimenting with artificial intelligence and avatars are now concentrating their efforts on reinventing a bike that will serve as the central feature of an intelligent transportation system in the future.

For now, the smart city is still just a figment of their imagination. But many of the components for intelligent bikes are already in place. For decades, the digital revolution bypassed bicycle design, but it is now finally reaching a domain hitherto dismissed as Luddite.

This sudden acceleration in development is powered by the boom in e-bikes. This year, some 400,000 electric bicycles are expected to sell in Germany alone, which is 100,000 more than were sold in 2011. Also known as pedelecs, they were initially seen as an option primarily for senior citizens. But these days, even mountain and touring bikes have gone electric.

These new high-performance two-wheelers allow amateur cyclists to raise their game: Even steep mountainsides and gale-force headwinds are manageable on a bike with a 250 watt motor. Professional cyclists, in comparison, can produce 400 to 500 watts.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Illinois Sailor Killed in Afghanistan

The U.S. Defense Department has announced the death of a sailor from Illinois who was part of military operations Afghanistan. According to the Pentagon, Gunners Mate 2nd Class Dion Rashun Roberts of North Chicago was killed Sept. 22 in a single vehicle accident in Jalalabad. Officials did not give a cause for the accident. The 23-year-old Roberts was assigned to an East Coast Naval Special Warfare Unit. North Chicago High School Principal Eric Gallagher says Roberts, a 2005 graduate, enlisted in the Navy his senior year after participating in the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps. Gallagher describes Roberts as a friendly kid who was very well liked.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Judge Orders ‘Innocence of Muslims’ Filmmaker to Jail

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the filmmaker behind the controversial movie “Innocence of Muslims” that has sparked days of rioting across the Muslim world, was ordered detained Thursday by a federal judge for allegedly violating terms of his probation.

The judge cited a “lengthy pattern of deception,” including making false statements to probation officials. “The court has a lack of trust in the defendant at this time,” Judge Suzanne H. Segal said, adding that he posed “some danger to the community.”

Nakoula was arrested earlier in the day. Federal prosecutors argued in a court hearing Thursday afternoon that he posed a flight risk and should remain in custody.

His attorney argued that Nakoula be released on bond, saying his client would be in danger at the downtown L.A. federal prison because it had a large Muslim population. He also denied his client violated his probation.

Nakoula was convicted on bank fraud charges in 2010 and was warned against misbehaving on the Internet.

He was ordered not to own or use devices with access to the Web without approval from his probation officer -— and any approved computers were to be used for work only. “Defendant shall not access a computer for any other purpose,” according to the terms of his probation.

There were also restrictions placed on him in enlisting others to get on the Internet for him. Some speculated that Nakoula may have violated those terms after the film trailer was loaded onto YouTube, although it is unclear what exactly prompted the recent arrest.

Nakoula had been arrested in 2009 after federal agents searched his home in Cerritos on suspicion that he had engaged in a scheme to create fake identities and open credit cards in those names, then draw tens of thousands of dollars from the phony accounts.

According to the court file, Nakoula operated under a dizzying array of aliases, including Kritbag Difrat. In June 2010, he was convicted on four counts, including bank fraud and identity theft, and was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison. He was also ordered to pay $794,700.57 in restitution.

He was released, according to federal records, in June 2011.

Authorities interviewed Nakoula earlier this month amid the furor over the movie. Actors have identified him as the filmmaker.

[Return to headlines]

Liberals Can’t Break 200-Year Racism Habit

Democrats spent the first century of this country’s existence refusing to treat black people like human beings, and the second refusing to treat them like adults.

After fighting the Civil War to continue enslaving black people and then subjecting newly freed black Americans to vicious, humiliating Jim Crow laws and Ku Klux Klan violence, Democrats set about frantically rewriting their own ugly history.

Step 1: Switch “Democrat” to “Southerner”;

Step 2: Switch “Southerner” to “conservative Democrat”;

Step 3: Switch “conservative Democrat” to “conservative.”

Contrary to liberal folklore, the Democratic segregationists were not all Southern — and they were certainly not conservative. They were dyed-in-the-wool liberal Democrats on all the litmus-test issues of their day.

All but one remained liberal Democrats until the day they died. That’s the only one you’ve ever heard of: Strom Thurmond.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Most Republicans Think West and Islam Are in Fundamental Conflict, Poll Finds

Most Americans reject view of a clash of cultures that can only have one winner, but two-thirds of Republicans support it

An overwhelming majority of Republican voters in the United States regard the west and Islam as being embroiled in “a fundamental conflict which only one side can win”, according to new YouGov polling seen exclusively by the Guardian. As the UN general assembly was convening in New York, with an agenda including the ongoing conflict in Syria, the Iranian nuclear question and the Arab uprisings, the pollsters asked both American and British voters about their attitudes to the Muslim world.

Opinion was reasonably evenly split on both sides of the Atlantic, and indeed somewhat more tolerant in the United States. Overall, Americans rejected the view of a fundamental clash of cultures that can only have one winner — only 39% adopted this view, against 47% who believe that “it is possible for the west and Muslims to coexist in peace”. In Britain, by contrast, the respective figures were 43% and 41%, suggesting that British opinion towards Islam is somewhat more hostile overall. But American opinion is beset by a sharp partisan divide. By a near three-to-one margin, of 64% to 23%, Republicans perceive a fundamental conflict. The overall picture of American tolerance emerges only because Democratic identifiers incline even more emphatically towards the hope of peaceful co-existence, by a 68%-18% margin. The partisan gap in support for the “conflict” view is therefore 46 percentage points. Among independents, the split is right down the middle — with 45% believing peace should be possible, and 44% ruling it out.

There is something of a right-left split in the UK too, but it is nothing like as marked. Amongst Conservatives, there is a 49%-40% lead for the perception of conflict, a near mirror image of the 48%-39% balance in favour of peaceful co-existence among Labour supporters. That makes the Tory-Labour gap in support for the “conflict” perspective 10 points. Liberal Democrats are the most optimistic about east-west relations, with 58% believing peace should be possible, against just 26% who say the reverse.

The powerful picture of partisan division in the United States is also evident when YouGov asked respondents whether they felt that most Muslims backed the recent wave of anti-American violent protest that swept several countries after an anti-Islamic film made in the US became available on YouTube. The overall balance of opinion in both Britain and America was very similar, with 34% of Britons and 37% of Americans believing the violence had the support of half or more Muslims, against 55% of Britons and 53% of Americans who believed that it only had minority support.

Once again, however, when Republicans were singled out the balance changed: by 59% to 34% they believed that the violent attacks enjoyed majority backing among Muslims. Democrats take the opposite view, by a margin of 68%-18%. British voters are, once again, less sharply divided on partisan lines. Respective proportions of 41%, 34% and 23% of Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat voters believe that the rioting enjoyed majority support. And among voters of all three stripes most believe that the violence rested on only minority support.

Britons and Americans alike are feeling disinclined to provide aid to foster democracy in the wake of the Arab spring. In Britain, 69% rejected the suggestion of giving aid, as did a majority of each party’s voters. In the US, the idea of aid is rejected by a slightly smaller overall majority of 58%, although once again the strong partisan divide comes to the fore. Some 81% of Republicans reject the idea of giving aid, but only 36% of Democrats feel the same way.

For the British element of the fieldwork, YouGov interviewed 1,739 British adults online. Fieldwork was undertaken between 23 and 24 September 2012. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+). YouGov is a member of the British polling council, and complies with its rules. In the US, 1,000 adults were interviewed between 22 and 24 September.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

New 3D Printing Project Aims for Gun Blueprint

3D printers may challenge U.S. gun regulations the coming decade by creating the possibility for a gun factory in every home. The “Wiki Weapon” project aims to make that a reality by creating the digital blueprint for such homemade weapons.

The Wiki Weapon project successfully raised $20,000 to hit its fundraising goal last week — even after crowd-funding website Indiegogo kicked the project off its site. The project’s creators, a group of friends organized under the name Defense Distributed, want to create the first fully plastic, printable gun for anyone with a 3D printer to make, according to The Guardian.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Obama and Ahmadinejad Singing From the Same Choir Book

“Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Tuesday that a new world order needs to emerge, away from years of what he called American bullying and domination.” (FoxNews, Sept. 26, 2012.)

Were it not for height and beard, Obama and Ahmadinejad would be one and the same.

The day before Obama told the UN Assembly: “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam” and “Let us remember that Muslims have suffered the most at the hands of extremism.”

The millions slaughtered by radical Islam over the centuries got no mention, let alone a requiem, in the ramblings of this Hollywood-manufactured Pocket Messiah.

[…]

The biggest news ignored by the mainstream media is that the UN, the Muslim Brotherhood and the socialists are now working in concert to deliver One World Government on a largely suspecting global population.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Organs Taken From Patients That Doctors Were Pressured to Declare Brain Dead: Suit

[WARNING: Disturbing content.]

The New York Organ Donor Network pressured hospital staffers to declare patients brain dead so their body parts could be harvested — and even hired “coaches” to train staffers how to be more persuasive, a bombshell lawsuit charged yesterday.

The federally funded nonprofit used a “quota” system, and leaned heavily on the next of kin to sign consent forms when patients were not registered as organ donors, the suit charged.

“They’re playing God,” said plaintiff Patrick McMahon, 50, an Air Force combat veteran and nurse practitioner who claims he was fired as a transplant coordinator after just four months for protesting the practice.

[…]

In September 2011, a 19-year-old man injured in a car wreck was admitted to Nassau University Medical Center. He was still trying to breathe and showed signs of brain activity, the suit charged.

But doctors declared him brain dead under pressure from donor-network officials, including Director Michael Goldstein, who allegedly said during a conference call: “This kid is dead, you got that?” the suit charged.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Pa. High School Band Commemorates Russian Revolution; Citizens Outraged

Pennsylvania’s New Oxford High School marching band stirred controversy earlier this week after a halftime show that commemorated the Russian revolution included olive military-style uniforms and giant hammers and sickles.

[…]

An angry parent notified Fox News to alert them to the school’s antics. The parent, who asked not to be identified, attended a football game at the school with his children on September 14 and was appalled by the performance he witnessed. He told Fox News,

It was Glee meets the Russian Revolution. I’m not kidding you. They had giant hammers and sickles and they were waving them around. Who thought this was a good idea?

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

SAT Reading Scores Hit a Four-Decade Low

Reading scores on the SAT for the high school class of 2012 reached a four-decade low, putting a punctuation mark on a gradual decline in the ability of college-bound teens to read passages and answer questions about sentence structure, vocabulary and meaning on the college entrance exam.

Many experts attribute the continued decline to record numbers of students taking the test, including about one-quarter from low-income backgrounds. There are many factors that can affect how well a student scores on the SAT, but few are as strongly correlated as family income.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

Security Requested for Mosque Meeting

The Islamic Society of Santa Barbara’s plan to put a community center and mosque at the corner of Los Carneros Road and Calle Real had a conceptual hearing on Tuesday before Goleta’s Design Review Board. The society — which has been moving through the various stages of review and seven similar meetings since 2008 — moved the building slightly and added two additional parking spaces for a total of 44. Planning-wise, the project has not generated much controversy; but socially, the Islamic Society’s quest triggered enough emotionally charged response from letter writers that the city on Tuesday asked for the presence of a sheriff’s deputy.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

The Green Energy Fraud

Just like Obamacare, President Obama is committed to force us into using green energy regardless of what the people want — or can afford. Although U.S. reserves of oil, natural gas and coal are inexpensive and very abundant, Obama has done all he can to shut down every plan to develop these sources of economically cheap energy.

Obama even defied a court order requiring the Department of Interior grant deep water drilling permits for oil. Meanwhile, Cuba contracted several companies, including China, to conduct exploratory drilling within 60 miles of the Florida coast; something Obama would not let U.S. companies do. By the end of 2011, Cuba had brought in a Chinese deep water drilling rig and started drilling some 60-70 miles from Florida.

The EPA is also refusing to grant new permits to open new coal mines and has gone so far as to revoke existing permits. Once again, the federal court ruled against the efforts of the Obama administration, in this case the EPA, charging that the EPA exceeded its authority under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act.

[…]

Europe is already reeling from the realization green energy is bankrupting them. Great Britain estimated last summer that 25 percent of their population already suffers from “energy poverty” as British energy costs skyrocketed by 71 percent. British companies are threatening to move to other countries. Some are already moving.

An in-depth study in Spain found that for every job green energy creates, 2.2 are lost in the rest of the economy as the enormous subsidies required for green energy sucks jobs out of the private sector.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

This is Insanity

I believe Albert Einstein is credited with saying, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Using that definition, it would appear that many of our so-called “conservative” friends are insane. Every four years, they accept a phony conservative Presidential candidate and expect somehow that they are going to achieve a different result. They never do. Either the phony conservative loses because he is virtually indistinguishable from his Democrat opponent (i.e., John McCain), or after being elected while campaigning as a true conservative, he governs as a big-government neocon, and the course of the country changes not one iota (i.e., George W. Bush). This election year is no exception.

The GOP has nominated a man who has governed as a big-government liberal in one of the most liberal (if not the most liberal) states in the union: Governor Mitt Romney of Massachusetts. Furthermore, on virtually every issue one can think of, Governor Romney has flip-flopped more often than a fish that just landed in the bottom of a boat. To get a feel for just how often Romney changes his positions, watch this video.[url]

If Mitt Romney has proven anything, it is that his word means absolutely nothing. Nothing! Romney is an opportunistic chameleon who will say anything or do anything to get elected. Yet, this is the man whom conservatives trumpet as the savior of America! Why? He is a Republican, and, therefore, he must be better than the Democrat. In short, Mitt Romney is the lesser of two evils. But is he really?

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

US Army General Removed From Afghanistan Faces Sex Charges

Winston-Salem, North Carolina: A decorated US Army general is facing charges of forcible sodomy and engaging in inappropriate relationships stemming from allegations that got him sent home from Afghanistan this year, US officials said on Wednesday. Brigadier General Jeffrey Sinclair, who is based at North Carolina’s Fort Bragg, has also been charged with wrongful sexual conduct, misusing a government travel charge card, possessing alcohol and pornography while deployed and mistreating subordinates, military officials said in a statement…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

US Boycotts Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Speech at UN

The United States boycotted President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s speech at the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday as thousands protested outside the building about the Iranian leader’s hate-mongering.

In his address, Mr Ahmadinejad criticised the US over the manner of Osama bin Laden’s killing and questioned the motives of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in wishing to be president. He described Israel, whose delegates were absent because it was the Yom Kippur holy day, as “uncivilised Zionists”. Mr Ahmadinejad’s offensive language in UN addresses has prompted Western diplomats to walk out in past years. But yesterday the US announced beforehand that its delegates would not attend. The UN building in New York was the target of a large crowd of protesters condemning Iran’s threats against Israel, days after Mr Ahmadinejad expressed his hopes that the country would be “eliminated”. Britain sent three officials to the speech. They had been instructed to walk out if he said anything offensive. David Cameron and William Hague were both in New York, but neither the Prime Minister nor the Foreign Secretary attended. Mr Ahmadinejad called September 11 a “tragic incident” but suggested that an “independent fact-finding team” should have prepared the world for the perpetrators to be brought to justice “instead of killing and throwing the culprit into the sea without trial”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Whole Foods Knowingly Engages in Massive GMO Deception, Says Undercover Video by ‘Organic Spies’

(NaturalNews) Whole Foods deceives consumers into unknowingly buying GMOs while financially supporting a GMO supply chain that ultimately enriches Monsanto, charges an explosive new undercover sting video released by Organic Spies. (Link below.)

The video features secret camera footage from a dozen Whole Foods stores in the Los Angeles area, capturing Whole Foods employees lying on camera about the genetically engineered ingredients found in products sold at Whole Foods.

“It’s against our policy to carry anything that’s grown with GMOs in it,” says one employee, caught on camera.

But according to Organic Spies, anywhere from 20% — 30% of Whole Foods products contain GMOs. See the full video at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oR9H7NgOLBQ

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Canada

Critics Deplore Canada’s Shift to the Right

Canada used to be hailed globally, especially vis-à-vis the US, for its progressive environment and social policies. But under the conservative government a drastic rollback has taken place, say green and rights groups.

As Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Thursday will receive the annual “World Statesman” award from the Appeal of Conscience Foundation, launched in 1965 by a New York rabbi, for his work as a “champion of democracy, freedom and human rights” his approval ratings at home are plummeting.

According to a recent poll conducted by an Ottawa-based research firm, 50 percent of Canadians disapprove of their leader and nearly that many of his Conservative Party. The country is headed in the wrong direction say 45 percent of respondents.

Linda Luneau, a 73-year-old artist, is one of these Canadians. On 17 September she participated in a protest on the steps of Parliament, as session opened, and just days after the award to Harper was announced, to voice her distaste with his government and its cuts to social programs.

“I’m here today because I’m watching one program after another being destroyed. There’s just so many things and now they want to introduce another bill and how much are we going to loose again?”

Other protestors included union leaders, environmentalists, human rights activists, organic farming supporters, indigenous rights activists, anti-poverty activists and concerned citizens.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

British Judge Halts Abu Hamzas Extradition

LONDON: A British judge on Wednesday halted the extradition of Abu Hamza to the United States on terror charges after the radical Islamist preacher lodged a last-ditch legal appeal.

The High Court will hear the legal challenge from the Egyptian-born cleric and a second terror suspect, Khaled Al-Fawwaz, on October 2, Britain’s Judiciary Office said.

The European Court of Human Rights on Monday gave Britain the green light to deport Abu Hamza, Fawwaz and three other men, and British officials had said they expected to extradite them within two weeks.

But a high court judge on Wednesday “issued interim injunctions preventing their (Abu Hamza and Fawwaz) removal” pending a hearing in open court on their appeal, a Judiciary Office spokeswoman told AFP.

The hearing will take place next Tuesday before two senior judges, John Thomas and Duncan Ouseley, the spokeswoman added.

The grounds for the appeal by Abu Hamza and al-Fawwaz were not immediately clear and their lawyers did not return calls from AFP seeking comment.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

Cleansing the Internet of Terrorism: EU-Funded Project Seeks to Erode Civil Liberties

A new project aimed at “countering illegal use of the Internet” is making headlines this week. The project, dubbed CleanIT, is funded by the European Commission (EC) to the tune of more than $400,000 and, it would appear, aims to eradicate the Internet of terrorism.

European Digital Rights, a Brussels-based organization consisting of 32 NGOs throughout Europe (and of which EFF is a member), has recently published a leaked draft document from CleanIT.

On the project’s website, its stated goal is to reduce the impact of the use of the Internet for “terrorist purposes” but “without affecting our online freedom.” While the goal may seem noble enough, the project actually contains a number of controversial proposals that will compel Internet intermediaries to police the Internet and most certainly will affect our online freedom. Let’s take a look at a few of the most controversial elements of the project.

Privatization of Law Enforcement

Under the guise of fighting ‘terrorist use of the Internet,’ the “CleanIT project,” led by the Dutch police, has developed a set of ‘detailed recommendations’ that will compel Internet companies to act as arbiters of what is “illegal” or “terrorist” uses of the Internet.

[…]

Notice and Take Action

Notice and take action policies allow law enforcement agencies (LEAs) to notify and act against Internet companies, who must remove “offending” content as fast as possible. This obligates LEAs to determine the extent to which content can be considered “offensive.” An LEA must “contextualize content and describe how it breaches national law.”

[…]

Real Identity Policies

Under the CleanIT provisions, all network users, whether in social or professional networks, will be obligated to supply their real identities to service providers (including social networks), effectively destroying online anonymity,

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

First Review of J.K. Rowling’s Very Grown-Up Novel

BBC Arts Editor Will Gompertz gushed forth in an embarrassing fountain of flattery. ‘I have never ever encountered a pair of electric blue peepers like J.K. Rowling’s. It’s as if a couple of azure-coloured crystals have been installed in her head — and then back-lit for dazzling effect.’

The Guardian’s interviewer couldn’t wait to inform the world’s richest author that she is, you know, rather brilliant. ‘When I tell her I loved the book, her arms shoot up in celebration.’

Oh, what a spell the normally reclusive J.K. weaves on her admirers. Pre-sale orders have already placed the hardback at the top of the bestseller lists before it is even in the shops. Holy invisibility cloak! Now you don’t see it, now you do. The question is, can The Casual Vacancy ever live up to the hype?

On balance, I would have to say no. Not unless you want to have more than 500 pages of relentless socialist manifesto masquerading as literature crammed down your throat.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

France to Expel Muslims Who Threaten Public Order

Muslims must respect ‘laws and values’ of French Republic, Valls

(ANSAmed) — PARIS, SEPTEMBER 27 — “I will not hesitate to expel those who declare themselves a part of Islam and pose a grave threat to public order,” French Interior Minister Manuel Valls said on Thursday. Speaking at the opening of the Grand Mosque of Strasbourg, which has the biggest Muslim prayer hall in the country, Valls added that he would not hesitate to expel whoever claims to be a Muslim but does not respect the “laws and values” of the French Republic. “In order to be French, or to live in France, there is no need to give up one’s faith or to deny one’s origins,” said the minister, whose approval ratings are rising.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Germany: Merkel: Stop Worrying About Muslims

The first online “tele-townhall” meeting between Chancellor Angela Merkel and some 7,000 of her party members took place on Wednesday evening, during which she asked Germany for more tolerance towards Muslims.

Merkel was clear about her thoughts towards the three million Muslims living in Germany. Islam, she said, “is a part of us.”

In the wake of a turbulent year for the German Muslim community, Merkel urged her country against generalising, news magazine Der Spiegel said on Thursday.

“We absolutely have to make sure that we do not tar everyone with the same brush,” she said. “(Radical) Islamism is not Islam in Germany and the majority of Muslims here clearly distance themselves from violence.”

Merkel, who leads the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), suggested to viewers that as Christians, her party members should spend a little more time thinking and talking about Christianity “than being afraid of Islam,” Die Welt reported.

Shortly before the conference, it emerged that Merkel had cancelled a trip to Tunisia due to safety concerns.

The meeting, a spokesman for Merkel told the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper, took inspiration from the eighteenth century open townhall meetings in the US. Organisers hoped it would be “close to the people, a bit cool and a bit Obama-esque.”

CDU members were invited to phone and ask the Chancellor questions. Other topics included pensions, the euro crisis and education policy.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Germany: Merkel Urges More Tolerance Towards Muslims

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called on her fellow citizens to exercise more tolerance toward the country’s 4 million Muslims, stating that Islam is part of Germany. People, she said, need to be careful to differentiate between extremists and the religion itself.

Germany should be more tolerant of its Muslims, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday night, calling the religion part of the country’s makeup.

“We should be very open about this and say: Yes, this is part of us,” Merkel said during a teleconference with some 7,000 members of her conservative Christian Democratic Union party.

In view of the violent protests that have taken place in recent weeks across the Muslim world against a controversial anti-Islam film and offensive Muhammad caricatures, Merkel said Germans should be careful to differentiate between Islamists and the religion itself. “We must be incredibly careful that we don’t lump everyone together,” the chancellor said. “The Islamists are not the Islam of Germany.”

Indeed, the majority of the around 4 million Muslims living in Germany have distanced themselves from the violence abroad, Merkel said, adding that those who refuse to recognize the country’s laws can naturally expect to face legal consequences.

Merkel’s open reception to Islam comes some two years after she was criticized for fanning the flames of the country’s immigration debate by saying that the multicultural concept had “failed utterly.” During that same speech in Oct. 2010, however, the chancellor did voice support for a widely discussed statement made just weeks before by then-President Christian Wulff, who said that Islam was “part of Germany.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Green Light for Prayer Calls at Swedish Mosque

A mosque in the south Stockholm suburb of Botkyrka has received approval to make prayer calls from its minaret, the first time such permission has ever been granted in Sweden.

On Tuesday, a majority of the members of Botkyrka municipality’s city planning committee voted in favour of scrapping a 1994 prohibition on allowing prayer calls dating from before the construction of the mosque, located in the municipality’s Fittja district, the Dagen newspaper reported.

The Christian Democrats were the only party to vote against allowing the mosque to make prayer calls.

The matter was put to a vote after Ismail Okur, chair of the Botkyrka Islamic Association (Islamiska föreningen i Botkyrka) filed a citizens’ petition with the local council in January seeking permission to allow prayer calls at the mosque.

He told Dagen that members of the association decided it was time they took steps to exercise their right to religious freedom in Sweden.

“We’ve lived our whole lives in Sweden; we’ve paid taxes; we’ve been exemplary citizens; we’ve given a lot to Sweden,” he said.

“Now we want to get a little back. Now we want to have religious freedom.”

However, the local council’s decision to allow prayer calls at the mosque is only the first step toward making Okur’s request a reality.

First the entire municipal council and executive board must approve the move. Then the Islamic Association must decide whether to file a request for a permit with local police, or start sounding the call to prayer immediately.

The decision could be of major significance for Sweden, as it could set a precedent for other mosques in the country to follow, according to Dagen.

Stefan Dayne, a Christian Democrat member of the city planning committee who voted against lifting the ban, claimed that members of other parties didn’t vote to uphold the prayer call ban because “they were afraid” of losing the support of local Muslims.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Islamists Who Pose a Threat ‘Have No Place in France’

France “will not hesitate” to expel those who threaten French security or secular values in the name of Islam, Interior Minister Manuel Valls said Thursday in a speech for the inauguration of the largest mosque ever built in France.

France’s Socialist government vowed Thursday to do more to integrate the country’s Muslims but warned that it would not tolerate the country becoming a hotbed of Islamic radicalism.

In a speech marking the inauguration of the Strasbourg Grand Mosque, the biggest Islamic place of worship ever built on French soil, Interior Minister Manuel Valls pledged to come down hard on extremists, warning that foreign activists trying to stir up trouble would be immediately deported.

But he also held out an olive branch to the country’s four million Muslims by promising state help for the construction of more mosques and for the training of Muslim clerics.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Italian Regions’ Requests for EU Solidarity Funds Denied

Marche governor says refusal is a ‘big disappointment’

(ANSA) — Ancona, September 26 — The request by 11 Italian regions for European Union solidarity funds for damage from heavy snowstorms last February was refused on Wednesday by an EU review commission.

The regions of Abruzzo, Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Emilia-Romagna, Lazio, Marche, Molise, Puglia, Tuscany and Umbria together applied for 2.7 billion euros for last winter’s snow emergency.

According to European Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn, “the request does not meet the criteria required for the EU solidarity fund”.

Brussels reviewers said that two out of the three criteria were not met, including the minimal damage estimate filed by Italy, which was below the 3.6 billion euros required.

Italy submitted documentation estimating 2.7 billion euros in damages.

Marche Regional Governor Gian Mario Spacca called the decision a “great disappointment”.

“The EU has not heard our people’s cry of suffering brought on by the emergency that has harmed living conditions in our territory,” said Spacca.

Spacca emphasised that “the formalism the European Union applies is a standardized assessment based only on the parameters of red tape. It disregards the real aspects of a painful event that forced us to call on Europe’s solidarity”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Govt Considering Checks on Regions After Lazio Scandal

Bill responds to pressure to clean up corruption

(ANSA) — Rome, September 26 — The Italian government said Wednesday it was mulling a law that would impose checks on the regions following a string of scandals, culminating in the alleged embezzlement of millions of euros in public money at Lazio party offices. Civil Service Minister Filippo Patroni Griffi announced it planned to introduce a bill that would be the first item on the agenda in the next legislative term if it is not approved sooner. Pressure has mounted both nationally and internationally on Italy to impose stricter checks on corruption in politics since the center-right People of Freedom (PdL) party, headed by former premier Silvio Berlusconi, was hit by a scandal that forced its governor in Lazio, the region around Rome, to quit this week.

Responding to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) on Monday, Premier Mario Monti promised to implement balanced anti-corruption reforms.

Other scandals have reached Lombardy, Campania, Puglia and Sicily.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy’s Regions: 300 Fewer Councillors

(AGI) Rome, Sept. 26 — Italy’s Regions have proposed to curtail the number of regional councillors in Italy. “There will be over 300 fewer councillors,” said President of the Lombardy Region, Roberto Formigoni, at the end of a meeting with Undersecretary Antonio Catricala at the Palazzo Chigi government office. “We illustrated our proposal to the President of the Republic and suggested that the government adopt an urgent measure in a very short time to roll out cost reductions in all our Regions,” said Formigoni: “This plan envisages a drastic cut in the number of councillors by over 300, a one-third reduction.” Formigoni went on to say that , “the Court of Auditors will scrutinize political expenses. This is a compulsory self-reform initiative for everyone. Those who do not implement it within a reasonable time-frame, say 60 days, will be sanctioned.” ..

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

Merkel: Islam is Part of Germany

Angela Merkel has said Islam has become a part of Germany and is urging her fellow citizens to show tolerance for Muslims. The Chancellor told members of her conservative Christian Democratic party that the great majority of Muslims in Germany had distanced themselves from the recent violence during protests against an anti-Islam video that ridiculed the Prophet Muhammad…

[JP note: Mutti Dhimmi.]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Monti Exploits UN Trip to Promote New Image of Italy

Premier meets Obama, says country wants to ‘restore itself’

(ANSA) — New York, September 25 — Mario Monti said on Tuesday that he aimed to modify global perceptions of Italy and the European Union during his visit to New York for the opening of the 67th session the United Nations General Assembly. “New York is one of those cities where many global opinions are formed — I am here to give a precise perception of the evolution of the situation in Italy,” Monti told journalists. “Participating in this assembly is an opportunity to hold a series of bilateral meetings that form a part of the actions taken from the beginning (of my tenure) to promote the perception of a new dynamic by which Italy wants to restore itself to grow and, at the same time, (communicate) the new European framework to which Italy is contributing”.

Former European commissioner Monti has been credited with restoring Italy’s international standing after taking the helm of an emergency technocrat government after the financial crisis forced Silvio Berlusconi to step down as premier last November.

He has passed austerity measures to put Italy’s public finances in order and structural economic reforms to boost growth which have been acclaimed for making the country part of the solution to the eurozone crisis, rather than part of the problem.

Monti said he updated United States President Barack Obama about progress made toward stabilizing the economic situation in the European Union during a brief meeting late on Monday.

The Italian premier said one of the subjects they touched on was “an update on European Union progress toward a more stable eurozone structure — a subject that interests Obama very much”. Monti said that no mention was made of upcoming parliamentary elections in Italy. But they did discuss Obama’s bid to beat Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and win another term this November. “We talked about the progress of the election campaign in the US,” said Monti, who has pledged not to run in next year’s elections in Italy. Monti went on to say that the US president’s speech to the General Assembly of the United Nations on Tuesday had been “totally coherent”, showing “tight logic” with an important emphasis on the need for “tolerance, respect of the rights to speech and religion and human rights”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Netherlands: Extreme Right-Wingers Disrupt Mandela Statue Unveiling

Five members of the extreme right-wing organisation Voorpost were arrested in The Hague on Tuesday evening after disrupting the unveiling of a statue of Nelson Mandela by South Africa’s archbishop Desmond Tutu.

During the ceremony the four shouted slogans and threw missiles, Nos television said. According to news agency ANP, they were protesting at the killing of white farmers in South Africa.

The statue was made by artist Arie Schippers and is located close to the Omniversum.

The archbishop is in the Netherlands for a few days. He has also been given an honorary doctorate by Groningen University and made an honourary member of FC Twente football club.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

Norway: Hagen Halts Muslim Prayer at Oslo School

An Oslo high school has been told by the city officials to close a Muslim prayer room following criticism from Carl I. Hagen, a city councillor for the right-wing populist Progress Party.

“I have told the school via the education director that it is not acceptable to establish a separate prayer room in an Oslo school,” Torger Ødegaard of the Oslo schools council has explained, according to a report by state broadcaster NRK.

“School is an institution for education and not a religious institution,” he said.

Hellerud high school in Oslo became the first school in Norway to establish a Muslim prayer room and the move was roundly criticised by Carl I. Hagen, former head of the right-wing populist Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet) and currently a representative on the city council.

Hagen is reported to have threatened to jeopardise budget negotiations if the city’s education authorities did not act on the issue.

According to NRK, Ødegaard was initially dismissive of Hagen’s complaints, explaining that it is not the job of the council to interfere in the daily business of the city’s schools, but ultimately bowed to the pressure.

Hellerud high school’s principal Tora Morstad explained however that the room is not a “prayer room”, but a quiet room where pupils can go to pray and was established so that they would not have to go down to the cellar.

Morstad however told NRK that the school plans to fall in line with the council’s decision and prayers in school premises will be discontinued.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Norway: Breivik Seeks Return of ‘Knights Templar’ Outfit

Norwegian terrorist Anders Behring Breivik has requested the return of a dress uniform and other items which he connects to a clandestine group called the Knights Templar.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Tests Underway for New Swiss ‘Monster’ Trains

Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) is grappling with how to handle longer passenger trains than it has ever operated before.

The 16-car double-decker trains, set to go into operation at the end of 2015, are 400 metres long, requiring special training for drivers and technicians, according to a press report.

SBB has been conducting simulations since the beginning of the month to see how such trains would actually operate.

“We wanted to learn in reality how to overcome problems with these monsters,” SBB spokesman Reto Scharli is quoted as saying by the 20 Minutes online news site.

The Twindexx Swiss Express trains, produced by Bombardier, are capable of carrying 1,400 passengers in their longest versions.

They are part of a 1.9-billion-franc ($2 billion) order announced by the state-owned railway — the biggest in its history — to supply 59 new trains, totalling 436 carriages, with the first ones set for delivery next year.

The Twindexx trains, with a top speed of 230 kilometres per hour, are to be built in Villeneuve in the canton of Vaud and in Görlitz, Germany, while their propulsion and control systems are being produced in Västerås, Sweden.

The trains are touted for passenger comfort, their ability to negotiate curves at high speed and their energy efficiency.

SBB locomotive drivers, such as Roger Walder, expressed concerns about the longer trains because he said it will be necessary to arrive at stations more slowly than before.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UK: ‘Missed Chances’ In Rochdale Abuse Scandal

Social workers, police and the Crown Prosecution Service “missed opportunities” to stop a child exploitation ring abusing young girls, a report into the scandal reveals.

The review was ordered in the aftermath of a trial which saw nine Asian men jailed for grooming young white girls for sex. It looked at how agencies including the council, police, NHS and Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) worked between 2007 and 2012 to safeguard children and young people who were at risk of sexual exploitation. The picture which emerges from the report is one of vulnerable young girls, some as young as 10, who were being targeted for sexual abuse, being written off by those in authority who believed the girls were “making their own choices”. “Deficiencies” in the way children’s social care responded to the victims’ needs in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, were caused by “patchy” training of frontline staff, the Rochdale Borough Safeguarding Children Board (RBSCB) said in its review into child sexual exploitation (CSE). Rochdale Council said it has used the review’s findings to implement a catalogue of changes and improvements…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: British Freedom Party Appoints Racist as South West Regional Organiser

Earlier this week the English Defence League’s political wing, the British Freedom party, announced the appointment of their new South West regional organiser. She’s an EDL activist from Bristol named Chelsea Anne White. White’s explanation of her decision to join British Freedom features the usual anti-Muslim rhetoric — “mosques, we don’t want them and we don’t want burka-clad women on our beaches…. We don’t want animals sent for halal slaughter”. However, in a statement on her Facebook page outlining what motivates her longstanding support for the EDL, White makes it clear that her Islamophobia is part of a wider philosophy that differs little from the traditional skin-colour racism of the far right:

“WHEN YOU’VE BEEN AROUND IN THE E.D.L. FOR AS LONG AS SOME OF US ANGELS….YOUR ANGER CHANGES FROM BEING OUTRAGED TO A CALM RESOLVE TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT….WE SEE IT DAY IN DAY OUT….INJUSTICE….WE LIVE IN A COUNTRY….OUR COUNTRY. WHERE IF YOUR WHITE AND ENGLISH YOU DON’T COUNT FOR MUCH BECAUSE THE VOTE IS IN THE AREAS THEY HAVE FLOODED WITH IMMIGRANTS.”

You might think that a party which claims its hostility towards Islam has nothing to do with racism would balk at appointing such an obvious racist as its public representative. But then, given BF leader Paul Weston’s own views on the “ethnic cleansing” of the “indigenous race”, that would be a bit hypocritical, wouldn’t it?

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Council and Police Had 127 Warnings About Sex Abuse in Town Where Asian Gang Raped Dozens of Children, Finds Damning Report

[WARNING: Disturbing content.]

A council and a police force received 127 warnings from NHS staff about children as young as 10 at risk of abuse and ‘missed opportunities’ to stop an Asian gang that raped dozens of vulnerable young girls over several years, it has been revealed.

Rochdale social services, police and the Crown Prosecution Service had failed to shut down the sex ring — dismissing victims as prostitutes in years of turning a blind eye, a damning report into the scandal has found.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: David Cameron on Letterman: PM Fails His History Test

by James Kirkup

Well, they knew it was a risk. The Prime Minister’s appearance on David Letterman’s chatshow was always going to be tricky, but he was caught out pretty sharply by his host’s questions about British history. Who wrote “Rule Britannia”? What does “Magna Carta” mean? Mr Cameron didn’t know, floundering obviously. “It would be good if you knew,” Mr Letterman told the sheepish PM, who took a minute or two to catch on and grasp that he’d been caught out by his host’s “dumb American” pose. Still, he got the important stuff right; the population of the UK, the difference between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, the Government’s policy on euro membership, that sort of thing.

He also got in a few “shameless” plugs for British business and investment, which is why he was there in the first place. There were also mercifully few “posh” gags, beyond a jibe that he sounds like “the guy from the King’s Speech”. And no one mentioned Boris Johnson. Most important, he laughed at his own mistakes. “I’ve ended my career on your show tonight,” he said with what looked like a genuine laugh. So what did we learn tonight? First, Eton College and a First (in PPE) at Oxford don’t make you omniscient. And second, David Cameron is human, makes mistakes and can take a joke. The PM may feel a bit silly tonight, but he’s suffered no real harm. Who knows? This could even do him some good: in politics, a little humility goes a long way .

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: EDL Sets Date for First March in Norwich

The English Defence League will hold its first march in Norwich this November, citing a decision to ban a Christian bookstall as a reason for the demonstration. Police confirmed they had been approached by the EDL about the protest for Saturday November 10, although a route is yet to be decided. The EDL, which has 81 members on its Norwich Facebook page, listed the banning of Reverend Alan Clifford of the Norwich Reformed Church from using a market stall on Hay Hill as a reason for the march. They believe the decision by Norwich City Council, following a complaint about anti-Islamic leaflets, violated freedom of speech…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Ex-Soldier in Court Over Anti-Muslim Facebook Rants

A FORMER soldier wrote anti-Islamic comments on his Facebook page he started supporting the English Defence League (EDL). Kenneth Holden, 30, was arrested after police were alerted to two updates he posted on his personal page on the social network site, abusing Muslims. Holden, of Winskell Road, South Shields, pleaded guilty to two counts of sending an offensive message by a public communication network at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court yesterday. He also admitted causing criminal damage to his grandfather’s home in a separate incident.

Claire Wright, prosecuting, said: “On April 21, the two messages were brought to the attention of the police. Officers searched Facebook and found the defendant’s page and saw the religiously abusive comments. He was arrested, and asked the police if it was because he didn’t like Muslims. In a second police interview, he posted the comments on his page and accepted that they could be seen as offensive to Muslims.” The criminal damage case goes back to June 28 when he was found by police in his grandfather’s home. The court heard his grandfather was ill in hospital at the time, and Holden’s uncle had changed the locks to the house. When he went round to the house, he couldn’t get in, so he broke in through the back door.

Kevin Smallcombe, defending, said: “He was in the Army, and has some fairly strong views about Muslims. He supports some of the beliefs of the English Defence League and believes that the group was started after some Muslims spat on soldiers who were returning from Afghanistan. The comments on Facebook were of a religious nature. Some people say it is part of free speech, but by his guilty plea Mr Holden accepts he crossed the line. Most of our country has fair and tolerant views but some are extremists, on both sides of this argument.” Mr Smallcombe added that while Holden supports the EDL, these posts were not in any way to do with the group. With regards to the criminal damage, the court heard it was a family dispute and Holden was at his grandfather’s home to change the locks again. Magistrates adjourned the case until Monday for the probation service to prepare a report about him. He was granted bail until then.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Girl: 17, On HIV Drugs After She Was Brutally Raped in City Street

A TEENAGE rape victim had to take medication after she was attacked amid fears she may have contracted HIV.

Mawawe Karam was jailed for ten years yesterday for raping the 17-year-old.

CCTV showed Karam with her in the street, steering her along and directing her into an alleyway where he brutally raped her. He stripped her of her clothes and stole her mobile phone. Despite suffering grazes and bruises, the girl managed to get help from a passerby who saw her crying uncontrollably and wearing just a jacket in the street at 5.15am.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

UK: Grooming Trial Sparked National Debate

When a child sex ring of nine men was brought to justice in May it sparked a national debate over the role of gangs of largely Asian men in grooming white girls. Following the trial the police, questions were raised about the cultural backgrounds of those involved, and whether this had allowed exploitation to flourish. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the local council in Rochdale were heavy criticised when it emerged that the girls who complained were not listened to amid a catalogue of systematic failings.

Police and social workers were accused of failing to tackle the issue for up to a decade. A chance to stop the gang was missed in 2008 and both the police and the CPS were forced to apologise for their failings while Rochdale Council said it “deeply regretted” the missed opportunities. The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is now investigating the botched inquiry…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Imams Hold Meeting to Discuss Affect on Community Relations in Run-Up to Today’s Bradford City Centre Protest

A group of Bradford Imams has expressed concern about tomorrow’s mass protest in the city, fearing it could do more harm than good.

Thousands of Muslims are expected to meet in Centenary Square in the afternoon to rally against an American-made ‘anti-Islam’ film they say attacks their faith and insults the Prophet Muhammed.

Organisers estimated around 2,000 people could turn up but there are reports that crowds could be much bigger if supporters travel in from outlying areas.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

UK: Jack Straw: Pakistani Community Must Face Up to Grooming Scandal Following Rochdale Case

Jack Straw has called on the Asian community to face up to the issue of Pakistani men grooming white girls following the abuse of vulnerable youngsters in Rochdale.

Jack Straw has said that the “fundamental failure” in the Rochdale case, in which dozens of girls were groomed for sex by a group of men of Pakistani origin, lay with the police and social workers who failed to take action to protect them. But, the former Home Secretary added, there was an added “issue here about colour,” in cases in which Asian men took advantage of white girls. Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, he said: “There is an issue of ethnicity here which can’t be ignored. It is true that if you go into the sex offenders wings of prisons there are proportionally more white men than Asian men. But there’s also the separate issue of group grooming in the Asian community. In terms of group grooming, there is an ethnic dimension to this which is Asian men and white girls, and that has to be faced by the Asian community. These are small communities, and people would have an idea that there are groups of men that are abusing girls in this way, and that has to be faced.”

A report into the events in Rochdale has found that police and social services missed dozens of opportunities to intervene to stop the abuse. Girls as young as 10 were considered to have consented to sex, and were said to have made a lifestyle choice to have relations with dozens of strange men in return for money, food and drugs. Nine members of the group were convicted of rape and other offences following a trial in May. David Crompton, chief constable of South Yorkshire Police, has been ordered to appear before the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee to answer allegations that the force withheld information about the case. The committee will also examine whether there was a racial element to the crimes.

Last year, when the Rochdale scandal first emerged, Mr Straw claimed that some men in the Pakistani community viewed white girls as “easy meat”. He said: “There is a specific problem which involves Pakistani heritage men … who target vulnerable young white girls. We need to get the Pakistani community to think much more clearly about why this is going on and to be more open about the problems that are leading to a number of Pakistani heritage men thinking it is OK to target white girls in this way. These young men are in a western society, in any event, they act like any other young men, they’re fizzing and popping with testosterone, they want some outlet for that, but Pakistani heritage girls are off-limits and they are expected to marry a Pakistani girl from Pakistan, typically. So they then seek other avenues and they see these young women, white girls who are vulnerable, some of them in care … who they think are easy meat. And because they’re vulnerable they ply them with gifts, they give them drugs, and then of course they’re trapped.”

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Labour Back “We Are Walsall” Rally

Walsall Labour Party is giving its full support to a peaceful demonstration celebrating community strength and tolerance being held in Gallery Square on Saturday at 11am. The “We are Walsall” rally is being held to counter the racism of the English Defence League who are bussing in people from across the country to incite hatred of the town’s Muslim community. Cllr Tim Oliver said it is fantastic that so many community groups, churches, temples and members of political parties are joining together to oppose the EDL’s message of hate, and instead celebrate the town’s tolerance and understanding. “We in the Labour Party were the first to warn about this vile group and its plans to come to Walsall in July. Since then the leaders of all the borough’s main political parties have condemned it and people from so many diverse and varied backgrounds have come together to organise this peaceful statement to show our communities won’t be divided by the hatred of outsiders. As a party we have made representations to the council and the police on how we can minimise the threat and disruption the EDL want to bring to our streets. Given that past protests by the EDL in areas like Dudley have become drink-fuelled, violent rampages we are very concerned that the site of their demonstration will take place so close to bars and we would urge that landlords either shut for the day or refuse to serve them.”

The “We are Walsall” rally will be joined by local Labour MPs David Winnick and Valerie Vaz, who will stress the rally’s message that the people of Walsall won’t be divided.” Cllr Oliver added “The best response to the EDL is for the people of borough to join the peaceful rally and send an overwhelming message that they are not welcome in our town.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Radical Cleric Abu Hamza Launches Another High Court Challenge to Avoid Extradition to the U.S.

Radical cleric Abu Hamza has today launched a feckless last-minute High Court bid to avoid extradition to the United States, costing taxpayers at least £10,000.

The hate preacher is trying one final throw of the dice to stay in Britain but the Government is confident there is nothing he can do to avoid being thrown out of the UK.

He and fellow terror suspect, Khaled Al-Fawwaz, will have their applications to stay heard at the High Court next Tuesday.

The basis of his appeal has not yet been revealed but it is likely to involve his physical and mental health.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Rochdale Child Sex Ring Inquiry Blasts Care Workers

Exclusive by John Scheerhout

The father of a victim of the Rochdale sex gang has called for the care workers who let his daughter down to be ‘named, shamed and sacked’ — after a report laid bare the extent of their failings. Nine men were jailed in May after being found guilty of exploiting girls as young as 13 as part of a grooming ring. A court heard how the victims were routinely plied with drink and drugs before being passed around for sex. Today, an independent probe into the failings of Rochdale council, the NHS and police found care workers had:

  • Missed opportunities to help the victims and bring the perpetrators to justice
  • Concluded that the girls were having consensual sex — and may even have been working as prostitutes
  • Refused to believe one of the victim’s stories, instead urging her parents to ‘set boundaries’.

The dad of one of the victims told us he welcomed the report — but said it told him nothing he didn’t already know. He added: “This is what I’ve been saying for three years. The staff concerned should be named, shamed and sacked. Their wrong-doing, their negligence, their mistakes, have ruined lives. If you do wrong in a job you should be sacked. They have not only done wrong, they have ruined lives.”

The 29-page report, published today, was drawn up by the Rochdale Borough Safeguarding Board, which is made up of officials involved in various bodies that care for children, including the police, the council and NHS. The report slams care workers for refusing to believe victims when they first came forward in 2008. Care workers had little understanding of child sexual exploitation, the report says, and instead tended to focus their energies on the parents. The report noted patchy training and ‘deficiencies’ in the way children’s social workers responded to the victims. It said some care workers became frustrated because they believed managers were failing to act on their concerns.

The document detailed the experience of one victim of sexual abuse, referred to by the pseudonym Suzie. It said care workers didn’t believe her even though she had repeatedly complained, and instead told her parents to ‘set boundaries’. The report said case files showed staff in the council’s children’s social care department often took no further action as they believed the girls were ‘making their own choices’ and engaging in consensual sexual activity. It added that care staff and their managers ‘did not consistently recognise or understand the nature of the sexually exploitation of children and young people’.

The report did NOT name any individual care workers linked to any of the failings. Nor did it raise the issue of race — even though the judge who jailed the nine Asian members of the sex ring told them he believed a factor in the abuse was that the girls were ‘not of your community or religion’. That sparked allegations from victims’ relatives that fears of being branded racist had prevented a prompt investigation. Jim Taylor, chief executive of Rochdale council, said: “This review highlights that all agencies did not work together adequately and it is very clear that, in the past, council services missed opportunities to offer assistance. I deeply regret this. There was more that could, and should have been done to protect the victims when allegations first came to light.”

The nine men jailed in May, aged between 24-59, received jail terms of between four and nine years. They were found guilty of a range of offences including rape and conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with a child. The abuse, which centred around two takeaways, began in 2008 and was reported to police by one of the victims that year. But it was not until 2011 that a prosecution was launched.

Inquiry ignores ‘race’ claims

RACE had been a major theme during the trial of the nine Asian men accused of systematically sexually abusing a string of white girls. But it was only when they were finally jailed that anyone in authority suggested publicly it had been a factor in their crimes. Judge Gerald Clifton told the gang: “I believe that one of the factors that led to that was that they were not of your community or religion.” The court heard most of the men were from Rochdale’s Pakistani community and were married with children. The gang’s leader, Shabir Ahmed, had repeatedly suggested during the trial he was the victim of a ‘white conspiracy’. But the judge’s views were hotly contested by police and council bosses. It was only later — when quizzed by MPs — that GMP’s chief constable Sir Peter Fahy conceded figures showed Asian men were over-represented when it came to sexual grooming of children. One of the few to support the judge was Mohammed Shafiq, of the Rochdale-based Ramadhan Foundation, who said: “We’ve got a problem because these people think white girls are worthless.”

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Rochdale Abuse Victims Ignored by Social Workers, Review Finds

A review of multi-agency responses to the sexual exploitation of young girls in Rochdale unearthed multiple failures, which the council has already begun to address

Social workers repeatedly ignored victims of child sexual exploitation in Rochdale because they perceived teenage girls to be “making their own choices”, a review has concluded.

The review of multi-agency responses to child sexual exploitation in Rochdale is a fore-runner to a serious case review, due next year, and was conducted at the same time as some of the criminal court proceedings. It found serious faults with the way General Manchester Police (GMP) and Rochdale’s children’s social care dealt with allegations and referrals, as well as lack of a joined-up strategy to tackle the problem.

The review acknowledged that professionals around the country were only just starting to become more aware of the issues around sexual exploitation between 2007 and 2011. They recognised the impact of the Baby P case and budget cuts had hampered this. However, it also concluded that social workers did not follow current ‘child in need’ guidance properly, which would have protected some of the victims. Police also missed chances to arrest and convict perpetrators early on. The review followed the case of Suzie*, one of the victims involved in the high profile Operation Span, which saw nine men convicted of grooming girls earlier this year.

One victim’s experience

Although Suzie had been referred to children’s social care several times since the age of 15, none of the referrals were followed up. When Suzie fell pregnant social care focused on the risk to the baby but continued to ignore the exploitation she was experiencing. Despite twice reporting attacks on her to police, a poor investigation and a decision by the crown prosecution service that Suzie was an unreliable witness meant her attackers went free. Suzie lost all faith that agencies were able to protect her. Combined with perceived pressure from social care about her parenting, Suzie resorted to self-harming, drug and alcohol use and running away. “Social work practitioners and managers wholly over estimated the extent to which Suzie could legally or psychologically consent to the sexual violence being perpetrated against her,” the report stated. There were numerous problems creating the specialist “Sunrise” team to deal with sexual exploitation. They included a lack of co-ordinated funding and a failure to plan for issues such as governance, supervision and information sharing protocols. It also remained difficult to recruit a social worker to the team, the review found.

Recommendations

Many of the report’s recommendations have already been put in place by Rochdale’s Safeguarding Children Board, including more staff training on sexual exploitation, workshops in secondary schools and an expansion of the “Sunrise” team. All referrals to social care of children over the age of 12 are also now screened for signs of sexual exploitation. Jim Taylor, chief executive of Rochdale Borough Council, said the council accepted the findings of the review. “There was more that could, and should have been done to protect the victims when allegations first came to light. Unacceptable practice is being investigated and dealt with in line with our procedures.”

Chief superintendent Annette Anderson, divisional commander for Rochdale, said the report had highlighted the complex nature of child sexual exploitation. “We have already stated that there were issues with an initial inquiry into child sexual exploitation in Rochdale in 2008. However, the IPCC are currently supervising an investigation into that inquiry so it would be inapprotpriate for us to go into further details at this moment. All we can say is that GMP’s forcewide approach to child sexual exploitation and child abuse in general has changed significantly over the last few years,” she said.

*Name has been changed

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Rochdale Grooming Victims ‘Did Not Want Sex’

Social workers and police officers must realise that victims of grooming gangs are not consenting to sex, a senior social worker has said.

Janet Foulds, former chair of the British Association of Social Workers, was responding to a report on the Rochdale grooming case which found that some social workers thought the victims were mature enough to make their own decisions about sex. Ms Foulds said: “Part of the grooming process… is that children, young people, appear to be going along with what’s happening — terrified often, and under the control of the perpetrators.

Abuse justice

“But the way that the children and young people are groomed may give people the impression that it is consensual, but it absolutely isn’t.” The chief executive of Rochdale Borough council, Jim Taylor, said he accepted the findings of the Rochdale Safeguarding Children Board. He said: “I need to be confident improvements have gone far enough, that we really are doing everything we can do to ensure young people are protected — and also, let’s not forget that abusers need to be brought to justice quickly.” Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk said the report should have included input from the victims. He said: “It doesn’t explain why the social workers, why social services had a culture of blaming the victims for the abuse that they received.” Jon Brown, of the NSPCC, said: “These vulnerable girls were groomed and exploited and should have been treated as victims from the start.” He praised Rochdale Council’s “openness” in publishing the report, and said “huge strides” had been made to stop the failings happening again.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Rochdale Abuse: Social Services ‘Missed Opportunities’

Social services and police “missed opportunities” to stop the sexual abuse of young girls in Rochdale, a report into a grooming scandal has revealed.

“Deficiencies” and “patchy” training of front line staff were behind the failings, the Rochdale Borough Safeguarding Children Board said in its review of child sexual exploitation.

It comes after nine men were jailed in May for grooming girls as young as 13. Lawyers say the findings could support “legal action against social services”. The report — ordered in the aftermath of the grooming trial in Rochdale, Greater Manchester — reviews the work of local agencies, including the council, police and the Crown Prosecution Service between 2007 and 2012 in safeguarding children at risk of sexual exploitation. Using feedback from 23 support staff, it charts the experience of one victim from 2007 to 2010.

It reveals the girl spoke to support workers on several occasions about the abuse she was suffering — including giving a detailed complaint to detectives. However, the report suggests some child protection services failed to act and the abuse continued. It says: “While some organisations were consistently supportive in their response, overall child welfare organisations missed opportunities to provide a comprehensive, co-ordinated and timely response and, in addition, the criminal justice system missed opportunities to bring the perpetrators to justice.” It also reports that “activity to disrupt alleged offenders was developing on the ground, but this was not always followed through at a more senior level”.

“The early investigations of crimes and the prosecution of alleged offenders were flawed.” The report also shows some officials believed vulnerable girls as young as 10 — who were being groomed for sexual abuse — were “making their own choices”. One of the girl’s parents said they were simply told their teenage daughter was hanging out with a bad crowd, it says.

‘Victims ignored’

Labour MP for Rochdale Simon Danczuk, who described the report as “limited”, said: “It doesn’t give a voice to the victims.” He added: “It doesn’t explain why the social workers, why social services had a culture of blaming the victims for the abuse that they received at the hands of these perpetrators.” Richard Scorer of Pannone Solicitors, which represents one of the victims in the recent case, said he expected legal proceedings to follow: “There’s clear evidence that social services failed to act, failed to intervene, when they had this mass of information, about this grooming and exploitation of young girls. They failed to act on that information, even though they had a responsibility to do that. And that’s the basis of any legal action we’ll be putting forward.” He added: “Obviously we need to… build up the detail of exactly what happened. But I think this report probably does give us a pretty firm basis for legal action against social services.”

[…]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Social Services Under Fire in Rochdale Grooming Scandal

LONDON — Social workers and police in Rochdale came under fire on Thursday after a report revealed “missed opportunities” to stop the grooming of young girls in a shocking case which saw nine men convicted earlier this year. The review from Rochdale Borough Safeguarding Children Board (RBSC) found there were “missed opportunities” to respond to claims being made by the girls, and to prosecute those responsible…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Tory Grassroots ‘Despair’ At £12bn Foreign Aid Spree: I Haven’t Met One Backbencher Who Agrees With Cameron, Says Ex-Minister

David Cameron’s pledge to spend billions more on foreign aid has come in for a withering attack from a sacked minister — who said he did not know a single rank-and-file Conservative who backed it. Gerald Howarth, a defence minister until the reshuffle, urged the Prime Minister to scrap the ‘arbitrary’ target to spend 0.7 per cent of national income on aid by 2013, and said it was only being imposed to mollify Lib Dems. He said it was time to ‘reorder the priorities’ and divert the money saved into the defence budget, warning that savage cuts to spending on the Armed Forces were having a dangerous effect on Britain’s influence in the world…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: What Would be the Details of a Conservative-UKIP Pact?

by Andrew Lilico

I have recently joined longer-standing advocates of a Conservative-UKIP pact, such as Daniel Hannan and Toby Young. Some folk will think this an obviously attractive idea; others will think it obviously unattractive. But for some the question might turn upon the details. Here, then, I try to unpack some. As a preamble, though, it is worth reflecting upon what the Conservatives and UKIP might each expect to get out of such a pact. Some folk say we don’t need any pact — we should simply announce a referendum and expect UKIP to fold as a consequence. Others say we should just declare we endorse UKIP’s agenda and ask UKIP, in exchange, to endorse our candidates. I don’t think either of those is really a goer. It really isn’t true that the Conservatives endorse most of UKIP’s agenda. The modern UKIP is a fully-fledged party with a range of policies, most of which Conservatives don’t agree with. Even on Europe, I don’t recommend that the Conservative Party says its position is to withdraw — if that were really our position, why would we need a referendum? We’d simply say we’d withdraw!

[…]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Why Do the Asians Hate Me? …

From the Daily Mail. The Times does society no favours by hiding it’s reporters research behind a paywall; the Daily Mail likewise by refering to these men as Asian when we know they are not Tibetan or Hindu. They are Muslim…

[JP note: Daily Mail article previously posted in the newsfeed for 25 September 2012.]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

What Kind of French Republic Needs the Protection of Marine Le Pen?

by Fiachra Gibbons

Le Pen’s logic sees her calling for a ban on Jewish kippas. France must escape this kind of myopic secular fundamentalism

Marine Le Pen’s call for a ban on headscarves, Jewish kippas, and even the djellaba in public is not some new low in the long and abject story of France’s failure to come to terms with itself. We have been here before, and unfortunately we will be again. That is the tragedy of modern France, a tragedy that entered a new absurdist phase the day Marine Le Pen recast herself as the protector of the values of the Republic.

You need to suffer from a very particular kind of historical amnesia not to find banning the kippa in France grotesque, particularly as Le Pen used it to kickstart her party conference just as Holocaust survivors were gathering at Drancy to remember the 60,000 Jews who were deported to the death camps from there by French police. The blocks in which they were held now house mostly north African immigrants and their children and grandchildren, some of whom wear headscarves and, on very rare occasions, djellabas…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

North Africa

Celebrating Al-Andalus Day in Egypt

From Al-Ahram Online:

El-Sinnary House to host ‘Al-Andalus Day’ Wednesday

Event will feature rare photos of region’s most celebrated mosques, along with rare art dating back to the Umayyad Period

Egypt’s Bibliotheca Alexandrina and Kuwait’s Abdul Aziz Saud Al-Babtain Foundation will host a one-day event in Cairo’s El-Sinnary House on Wednesday to celebrate Andalusian heritage. Dubbed ‘Al-Andalus Day,’ the event will feature rare photos — including many depicting the famous Alkaza Palace in Seville (the Andalusian capital) — and a collection of rare art, some of which dates back to the Umayyad Period. The gallery will also feature silk tissues dating from the era of the Bano El-Ahmar, or ‘Red Sons,’ who ruled Granada until 1492 AD. The visitor will also be able to see rare coins from the Islamic era, along with old photos of the region’s most celebrated mosques, including the Bab Al-Mardoum Mosque, the Great Mosque of Cordoba and the Gaffaria Palace. The event will take place on Wednesday, 26 September, from 10am until 9pm. El-Sinnary House, Haret El-Mong (behind El-Saneya School)

Sayeda Zeinab, Cairo

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Libyan President Has ‘No Doubt’ Deadly 9/11 Attack on U.S. Consulate Was ‘Pre-Planned’ And Says Anti-Islam Film Had ‘Nothing to Do With’ It

Libyan president Mohamed Magarief has claimed the deadly 9/11 anniversary attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi was undoubtedly a ‘pre-planned act of terrorism.’

The comments follow repetitive claims by the U.S. government that the attack last month that killed ambassador Chris Stevens was spontaneous, and was sparked by an anti-Islam film produced in California.

But President Magarief quashed the idea the assault on the consulate was prompted by the movie, adding that he has ‘no doubt’ it was a premeditated act of terrorism targeting American citizens.

‘It’s a pre-planned act of terrorism,’ he told NBC’s Ann Curry, adding that the anti-Islam film had ‘nothing to do with this attack.’

[…]

Magarief said the video had been available for months before the Benghazi attack and therefore wasn’t the catalyst.

‘Reaction should have been, if it was genuine, should have been six months earlier. So it was postponed until the 11th of September,’ he told NBC. ‘They chose this date, 11th of September to carry a certain message.’

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Libya: The Big Bang in Benghazi

The problem with Obama’s split Islamists maneuver is that Al Qaeda had spent more time attacking Saudi Arabia, the most Islamist Sunni country on earth, than any other Muslim country. Turning Egypt and Syria Islamist was not going to dissuade or isolate Al Qaeda. For Islamists, there is an endless well of “extremes” so that the rise of one Islamist government is just an excuse for more Islamists to arrive and denounce them as fakes and puppets of America and Israel.

Islamist governments have a traditional way of occupying the attention of their angrier Islamist brethren. They buy them flight lessons and maps of American landmarks. That’s how the House of Saud largely solved its Islamist terror problem and that is how our “moderate” friends in Egypt are hard at work solving their Islamist terrorist problem by pointing them at Israel and using their attacks as an excuse to militarize the Sinai.

In Libya, the Benghazi consulate was being guarded from other Islamist militias by the Muslim Brotherhood militia. The ways in which plan failed are a microcosm of the larger failure of the entire plan to buy peace by selling out our allies to the Muslim Brotherhood and hoping that the Islamists we backed will be more moderate than the ones bombing us.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Merkel Postpones Her Visit to Tunisia for Security Reasons

(AGI) Berlin, 27 Sept — Angela Merkel postponed her visit to Tunisia on 9 October for security reasons. Government spokesman Steffen Seibert said “the visit was postponed to a later date by mutual agreement with the government of Tunisia.” The Financial Times Deutschland wrote that security worries caused the chancellor to call off her trip. The newspaper pointed out that this postponement was ‘the most visible consequence’ in the Arab world of the unrest caused by the US-made anti-Islamic during which the German Embassy in Sudan came under attack.

Tunisian president Hammadi Jebali went to Berlin over the summer and in the course of his visit, Merkel pledged her support for the country’s ongoing process of democratisation, saying there would be “intense collaboration” between Germany and Tunisia.

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

Now Hillary Clinton Strongly Hints That Libya Consulate Was Attacked by Al Qaeda in Humiliating Back Track

In a humiliating admission, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said today that there was an explicit link between the al Qaeda network in North Africa and the deadly attacks on the U.S. consulate in Libya, backtracking from what the State Department had said previously.

Speaking at a Security Council meeting at the United Nations, Mrs Clinton said an Algerian-founded branch of the al Qaeda network was situated in the area, using their location to plan and execute attacks, like the one in Benghazi on September 11.

This goes directly against the initial statements of the White House and President Obama, who acknowledged that the consulate attack, which killed Libyan ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, was a terrorist attack but that al Qaeda’s involvement’s was unclear.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Middle East

Iran Unveils ‘Indigenous’ Drone With 2,000km Range

Iran has unveiled what it says is a new “indigenous” long-range unmanned drone capable of flying over most of the Middle East, state media report.

The Shahed (Witness) 129 had a range of 2,000km (1,240 miles) and could be equipped with bombs and missiles, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps said.

It is reportedly capable of carrying out reconnaissance and combat missions.

Last year, the Iranian authorities displayed a US drone which they claimed to have brought down electronically.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Netanyahu Draws “Red Line” On Iran’s Nuclear Program

(Reuters) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu drew his “red line” for Iran’s nuclear program on Thursday despite a U.S. refusal to set an ultimatum, saying Tehran will be on the brink of a nuclear weapon in less than a year.

By citing a time frame in an address to the U.N. General Assembly, Netanyahu — who has clashed with President Barack Obama over the urgency of military action against Iran — appeared to suggest no Israeli attack was imminent before the November 6 U.S. presidential election.

Holding up a cartoon-like drawing of a bomb with a fuse, Netanyahu literally drew a red line just below a label reading “final stage” to a bomb, in which Iran was 90 percent along the path of having sufficient weapons-grade material.

Experts put that at the point that Iran has amassed enough uranium, purified to a level of 20 percent, that could quickly be enriched further and be used to produce an atomic bomb.

Netanyahu told the United Nations he believes that faced with a clear red line, Iran will back down in a crisis that has sent jitters across the region and in financial markets.

“And this will give more time for sanctions and diplomacy to convince Iran to dismantle its nuclear weapons program altogether,” he added.

Netanyahu’s remarks were the closest he or any top Israeli official has come to publicly laying out precisely which Iranian actions could trigger an Israeli military strike on Tehran’s nuclear infrastructure.

But by referring to a spring or summer 2013 time frame for Iran to complete the next stage of uranium enrichment, the Israeli leader also seemed to dispel, at least for now, fears that Israel might strike Iran before the U.S. presidential election, 40 days away.

Netanyahu’s remarks also seemed to deliver a two-part message to the Obama White House — along with Iran’s leaders, his most important audience — signaling that the hawkish prime minister wanted an end to the all-too-public war of words with Washington over Iran’s suspected nuclear ambitions. But they also showed he was not backing down an inch on his insistence that much harsher warnings must be delivered to Tehran…

[Return to headlines]

Not in Our Name: Understanding Youth Engagement in the Middle East and Around the World

Sally Steenland talks with Zeenat Rahman, special adviser to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for Global Youth Issues at the U.S. Department of State, about young Muslim leaders standing against intolerance, the secretary’s work with youth throughout the Middle East, and why building engaging partnerships in this young region is not only strategic but necessary for strengthening our own social fabric and the message of empowerment worldwide.

Sally Steenland: Let’s get right to it. There has been a lot of news coverage about the uprisings and unrest in the Middle East in response to a hate-filled, anti-Muslim video that was produced in California. What’s important for us to know that’s either not being covered in the news or should receive more attention?

Zeenat Rahman: One of the most salient images that stuck in my mind from the last couple of weeks was the counterprotest that many Libyan citizens held right after Ambassador Stevens was murdered. They were saying, “This is not in our name.” What I’ve heard over and over from young people across the Middle East is, “This doesn’t represent us.”

We saw it last weekend with the protests by Libyan people standing up for what they believe in. I did a web chat with colleagues from the State Department and our alumni in the region last week, and we got notes from those who tuned in saying, “Just so you know, I’m doing my small part and participating in these counterprotests. I hope they help.”

So I think the story is that what we saw on our TV screens the last couple weeks doesn’t represent the majority of people. We have a responsibility as policymakers, media people, and just regular people to know what the rest of the story is…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Putin: Western Countries Are Wreaking Chaos in Syria

(AGI) Moscow — The policies of Western Countries are destabilizing the States of the Arab world and risk wreaking chaos in Syria. This is the accusation launched by Russian President Vladimir Putin. “Our [Western] partners can’t stop.

Having wreaked havoc in many areas, they continue the same policy in other countries, including Syria”, said Russia’s leader.

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

Saudis Stop Unaccompanied Nigerian Women Pilgrims in Jeddah

(AGI) — Jeddah, 27 Sep — More than a thousand unaccompanied Nigerian women on their way to the Mecca are being held at Jeddah airport. With the women now in day 5 of their detention, Saudi authorities explained that the decision was warranted by their lack of a male chaperon — what the Muslim religion calls a ‘mahram’. Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan has dispatched a team of five to negotiate a solution with Saudi authorities.

The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has clarified that under similar past circumstances Saudi authorities had agreed to allow the women to reach the Mecca. With no such hindrance occurring at Saudi Arabia’s other major pilgrimage site in Medina, NAHCON has suggested that the Saudi authorities’ decision appears to target “Nigerian pilgrims only.” It is understood that a total of 170 pilgrims have given up hope of completing their pilgrimage and have already made their way back to Nigeria.

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

Russia

Alexander Lebedev Charged in Russia With ‘Hooliganism’

Alexander Lebedev, the Russian billionaire owner of The Independent and Evening Standard newspapers, could be jailed for five years after he was charged with “hooliganism motivated by political hatred” for punching a fellow guest on a television show.

Legal proceedings were brought against Mr Lebedev in Moscow, a day after the 52-year-old tycoon suggested President Vladimir Putin had endorsed an attempt to put him in prison in revenge for allegedly funding opposition groups. Mr Lebedev’s lawyer said the prosecution was a politically motivated attack designed to stop him dabbling in politics. A trial raises the spectre of a second high-profile businessman and critic of Russia’s ruling elite ending up behind bars, after the two guilty verdicts against the opposition-minded oil magnate Mikhail Khodorkovsky in 2005 and 2010. The hooliganism charge against Mr Lebedev, who is worth an estimated £700  million, is the same as that under which three members of the Pussy Riot feminist punk group were jailed for two years last month. The prosecution relates to an incident last September when Mr Lebedev, a former KGB officer, punched the rich property developer Sergei Polonsky during the recording of a programme on Russia’s NTV channel about the global financial crisis…

[JP note: Hopefully they will lock him up and throw away the keys.]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Duma Studies Draft Blasphemy Law: The Support of the Patriarch, The Hopes of Muslims

The text provides for up to five years in prison for desecration and destruction of religious symbols. For the Orthodox Church, society has long been in need of the initiative, while Muslims hope that it will protect their right to build mosques.

Moscow (AsiaNews) — Already pre-announced by national press, the draft legislation that will introduce fines and penalties for “offenses against religion and the religious sentiment”, was presented to the Russian parliament yesterday. The proposal is supported by the Russian Orthodox Patriarchate and also Muslims, the second largest religious community in the Federation.

According to the text — which has the support of all four parties in the lower house of parliament — “public insults to the faith and humiliation during liturgical services” will be subject to fines of up to 300 thousand rubles (10 thousand dollars), to 200 hours community service or imprisonment for three years. For the desecration and destruction of religious objects, places of worship and pilgrimage, fines arrive at 100 to 500 thousand rubles, 400 hours mandatory community service or up to five years in prison.

The legislative initiative comes on the heels of the controversy raised by the Pussy Riot case, the Russian feminist punk band members sentenced to two years in prison for a performance in February, in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow. The prosecution during the trial, relied on the alleged offense against the Orthodox faithful. But the issue is not only related to the Church. Even within the Muslim community (18% of the population), after the spread of anti-Islam film that sparked violent protests in more than 20 countries, tensions are running high. The Russian judicial authorities are trying to prevent access to the trailer on Youtube . Meanwhile internet providers in some regions such as Volgograd, Omsk are blocking the site hosting the controversial video.

According to a Vtsiom State institute survey, 82% of Russians are in favor of a stiffer penalties against blasphemy especially after a succession of vandalism against religious symbols: soiling of icons, crosses destroyed in different parts of the country. “This broad consensus in society — said the head of the Synodal Department for Relations between state and society, Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin — is a clear sign that many were waiting for this initiative.”

The draft law has also found the consensus of Muslim leaders, who they hope will be used “against those who try to foment ethnic hatred and religious.” The mufti of Moscow and central Russia Albir Krganov, expressed the hope that the law protects the right of “every community of traditional religions” to build their own places of worship. The question is rather delicate, he noted, with different regions with a Muslim majority where attempts are being made to prevent the construction of new churches and Moscow, where there are protests against the construction of new mosques.

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

Putin Slams Double Standards in Fighting Terrorism

(AGI) Moscow — Russian President Vladimir Putin has called for increased efforts to counter “terrorist threats and extremism”.

“We consider it necessary to increase joint efforts to counter terrorist threats and extremism wherever it may be: in Libya, Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Egypt and Afghanistan”, Vladimir Putin said during a meeting with foreign ambassadors. “Double standards do not belong here. Terrorists need to be given a hard and unanimous rebuff, but only while respecting the cultural values and religious feelings of the people”, he added.

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

Russia Bans All GM Corn Imports; EU May Also Ban Monsanto GMO in Wake of Shocking Cancer Findings

(NaturalNews) Russia has now officially banned all imports of genetically modified corn, citing concerns from a recent study by French researchers [url] showing rats grew massive cancer tumors when fed a lifetime of Monsanto’s genetically modified corn.

Russia’s consumer protection group, Rospotrebnadzor, said it was halting all imports of GM corn while the country’s Institute of Nutrition will be evaluating the results of the study.

The Russian ban is the latest blow to Monsanto, a company desperately clinging to the myth that its genetically modified crops are “no different” than traditional crops and therefore long-term safety testing is completely unnecessary. Monsanto has assaulted the French study, claiming it did not use enough rats and that the duration of the study was too short — an absurd claim, given that Monsanto’s own studies on animals are only 90 days in duration, while the French study looked at the effects of rats eating GM corn (and drinking trace levels of Roundup herbicide) for two years.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

South Asia

Emotional Scenes at RAF Honington as Troops Return From Afghanistan

THERE were tears of joy and relief at RAF Honington last night as family and friends gathered to welcome home the first wave of troops from Afghanistan.

Twenty-one soldiers from 1 Royal Tank Regiment’s G Squadron returned to their Suffolk base after being deployed in the Helmand Province on Operation Herrick for the past six months, as part of the 12th Mechanized Brigade. Wives, girlfriends, mothers and children watched proudly as their loved ones, led by three pipers, marched along the runway and back into their arms…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

India: Quran Pages Found Again, Now in Prem Nagar

Twelve days after torn Quran pages found in Masuri triggered violent clashes between residents and police, leading to the death of six, more desecrated pages of the holy book were found in Ghaziabad. Police said a ragpicker in Prem Nagar had found the torn pages of the Quran on Tuesday. This is the third such find in Ghaziabad in the past one month — desecrated pages were first found in Pilkhuwa on August 10 and then in Masuri on September 14, police said. According to police, the torn pages found in Prem Nagar also had a few phone numbers scribbled on them. “The ragpicker found the pages near the railway tracks in Prem Nagar, close to Devendra Hotel. He handed them to his father— a scrap dealer — who took the pages to Chand Masjid,” a police officer said.

Police said community elders along with the Imam decided to bury the book to avoid a conflagration on the lines of the Masuri incident. “The scrap dealer took the pages to the mosque at 6 am on Wednesday. Those at the mosque called the phone number scribbled on the pages. The number is of an owner of a farmhouses on Meerut Road,” the officer said. “The farmhouse owner denied any involvement, and later contacted the police. Police then got in touch with the masjid authorities and asked them to hand over the pages for an investigation,” he said…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Indonesia: Jakarta: New Extremist Cell Linked to Al Qaeda: Eight Arrests

The group called Indonesian Al-Qaeda was affiliated with the network of bin Laden and was planning bloody attacks. Investigators have identified a new type of detonator and a liquid “extremely lethal” substance. Among the possible targets of the fundamentalists the Buddhist temple of Borobudur World Heritage Site.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) — Indonesian police have identified a newly formed, Islamic extremist cell, linked to the international terror movement founded by Osama bin Laden. The fundamentalist group is called Indonesian Al-Qaeda and, according to investigative sources, had already “planned” — even though there were certain dates — a series of devastating attacks on sensitive targets in the country. The deputy police spokesman in Jakarta, Brigadier General Boy Rafli Amar says that this new extremist organization has “designed” a new model of detonator, using containers for cooking rice to enhance the effects of the explosion and cause the most possible casualties and damage.

Il nuovo metodo di fabbricazione degli ordigni è stato scoperto dagli agenti dell’anti-terrorismo, nel corso di un raid avvenuto la scorsa settimana a Surakarta (Solo), nello Java centrale, in seguito al quale sono stati arrestati otto sospetti estremisti. Alla guida del gruppo vi sarebbe Badri Hartono, meglio noto col nome di battaglia Toni, 45 anni, fermato in precedenza dalla polizia.

The new method of manufacture of explosives was discovered by anti-terrorism agents, during a raid last week in Surakarta (Solo), central Java, following which they arrested eight suspected extremists. The suspected leader of the group Badri Hartono, better known as the Battle Toni, 45, had been stopped earlier by the police.

During the operation, the security departments seized dozens of materials and articles suitable for the preparation of bombs, including a liquid “extremely lethal” substance as confirmed by Gen. Amar. To illustrate the danger, the senior officer explained that it is comparable to the bomb detonated by a suicide bomber aboard a minivan in August 2003, which hit the Marriot Hotel in South Jakarta, killing 12 people and wounding 150 others.

Along with Toni, police arrested seven suspected extremists in several areas including Solo, Tangerang and West Kalimantan. Among those arrested was Joko Tri Priyanto, already sentenced to three years in prison and released in 2007, for providing accommodation and hospitality to Malaysian terrorist Noordin Moh. Top. Another component of the newly formed extremist cell led by Badri Hartono is Thorik, already chosen as a possible suicide bomber in an attack that is still under investigation.

In recent days, Security Minister Djoko Suyanto, refused to confirm the reports that the extremist Indonesian Al-Qaeda cell wanted to attack the temple of Borobudur in Magelang, in central Java, the largest Buddhist place of worship the world and a world heritage site.

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

More Than 50 Village Chiefs Resign in Indian Kashmir Following Threats From Muslim Extremists

The decision comes after terrorist groups kill two local officials. Extremists fear losing support among the local populace. After last year’s first democratic elections in 30 years, various administrations have opened new schools, health clinics and roads, making people freer and better educated.

Srinagar (AsiaNews/Agencies) — More than 50 sarpanch (village chiefs) have resigned in Jammu and Kashmir after receiving threats from Islamic extremist groups. Their decision was made public in local Urdu-language newspaper following the assassination of a local administrator in Baramulla District, the second in less than two weeks. Locals believe the threats stem from fundamentalists’ fear of losing grassroots support in favour of village chiefs.

For the past eight months, village chiefs and their aides have been the victims of intimidation of terrorist groups like Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (responsible for the 2008 Mumbai attacks) and Jaish-e-Mohammad. So far, more than 700 sarpanch have tendered their resignation.

Everything began in 2011 when the first free vote was held in Jammu and Kashmir’s panchayat (village-level administrations) in more than 30 years. Between 13 April and 27 June, more than 30,000 officials were elected with a 79 per cent turnout despite extremists’ threats and calls for a boycott.

Rapidly, the newly elected administrators launched a series of initiatives to favour the development of the poorest rural areas in the state, including schools, health clinics, roads and electricity.

Locals believe that the wave of democracy and progress pushed Muslim extremists to act in order to stop losing support in a population that was getting better educated.

For now, the two murders have been enough to cause panic among local administrators.

Nevertheless, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah urged panchayat officials to stay at their posts.

“The government,” he told them, “will do everything possible to create trust and bring security. Creating a network of strong and functioning local administrations remains one of its goals.”

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

Pakistan: Faisalabad: 16 Year Old Christian Girl Gang Raped for Hours by Young Muslims

The rape took place in the house of one of the three members of the group, all belonging to wealthy families. The incident occurred in broad daylight; the desperate cries for help of the girl in vain. The father tells AsiaNews: “despite our poverty, I will not accept compromise.” Vicar General: “poor family, but rich in the Catholic faith. They deserve justice. “

Faisalabad (AsiaNews) — A new case of gang rape against a Christian minor in Pakistan. The rape occurred in broad daylight, for hours, in a private home where three young Muslims — all under 30 — abused a defenseless girl. A story, Fr. Bonnie Mendes tells AsiaNews that demonstrates “the powerlessness of the poor in Pakistan,” which is reflected “in all its evidence in events such as the sexual abuse of Shumaila” which took place on September 20 last, but has only now been revealed by the press. A story similar to that which occurred Sept. 4 — again in Faisalabad — when a 60 year old Muslim merchant has raped a Christian girl of 10. These episodes confirm the increase of attacks against children in Punjab, as evidenced by a survey carried out by the Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC), covering the first five months of 2012, which documents 122 cases of violations in the province: among these, at least 40 sexual, 14 murders, 22 kidnappings, 14 corporal punishment, six forced marriages and 13 deaths due to lack of basic medical care.

Shumaila Masih, a native of Chak 226, Samundari, in the district of Faisalabad (Punjab), is the oldest of four children of a poor Christian family. On the morning of September 20 the girl was headed to the house of a wealthy Muslim, where her mother worked as a maid, to warn of sudden visit by some guests. On the way she met three young Muslims — Iftikhar Hussain 27, Shahid Munir and Muhammad Imran both 30 — who tried at first to persuade her to go with them. At her refusal, the three took her by force and locked her up in the house of Iftikhar Hussain, taking turns raping her for hours. The attack took place at 11 am, in broad daylight, but no one intervened to save Shumaila, despite the desperate cries and pleas for help. At about 5 pm the father Manzoor Masih, along with two cousins, began searching for the girl when she failed to return home. Arriving close to the house where she was being held they heard her cries. At the sight of the men, the three young Muslims fled, leaving Shumaila naked and in pain on the bed.

Her father reported the incident to police who opened an investigation and arrested two of the three members of the pack. The last, Shahid Munir, is still at large and the police have launched searches to arrest him. Meanwhile, a medical report has confirmed the gang rape suffered by the girl, who is now a guest of the family of her uncle for security reasons. Shumaila has extensive physical and psychological injuries, as well as pain and injuries that prevent her from even walking. Contacted by AsiaNews the girl’s father Manzoor Masih, 45, swears that “despite our poverty, I will never reach a compromise settlement” with the rapists of his daughter. He hopes that these elements “are punished according to the law,” so that everybody understands that “it is not permissible to assault any young girl” just because you are rich or powerful. “These people are monsters — concludes the parent — and must be punished without mercy” -

Fr. Bonnie Mendes, former Executive Secretary of the National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) of the Church of Pakistan, also insists on the poverty factor, while stressing that the violence occurred “in broad daylight” at the hands of “rich young Muslims.” The young girl “continues to suffer” and does not get justice, “because of her poverty.” As long as the lower segments of the population do not unite, the priest adds, “they can never aspire to social equality.” He thoughts are echoed by Fr. Khalid Rasheed Asi, vicar general of the diocese of Faisalabad, according to who “religious minorities and marginalized groups are easy targets for wealthy landowners in rural areas.” “I personally know the victim — he adds — because I was pastor in that area, they are a very poor family, but rich in the Catholic faith. They deserve justice.”

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

Suicide Bomber Kills 2 NATO Troops in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan — A suicide bomber wearing a vest packed with explosives killed two foreign troops in eastern Afghanistan on Wednesday, according to NATO and Afghan officials. Din Mohammad Darwesh, the governor’s spokesperson in Logar province, said the bomber targeted a vehicle inside a NATO convoy that was on its way to a nearby district. Although the NATO-led international military coalition declined to give further details on the casualties, citing policy, Darwesh said both of those killed were Americans, one who died immediately and one who died of his wounds a short while later. A third soldier was injured, he added. Wednesday’s deaths bring the number of coalition fatalities to at least 3,190, including 2,123 Americans, since the war started in 2001, according to icasualties.org…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Thailand: Muslims Protest at US Embassy in Bangkok

BANGKOK (AP) — Islamic protesters have pushed barricades and confronted police in front of the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok during a rally against a video produced in the United States that denigrates the Prophet Muhammad…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Far East

China’s Young Communists in it for the Glory

With over 80 million members, China’s Communist Party is the largest in the world. But its young members are more interested in helping their own reputation than the teachings of Marx and Mao.

The young, thin woman with long black hair doesn’t wish to be named or share at which state-owned company she works at in Beijing out of fear for the repercussions of talking to the press without permission. Still, she is proud. Proud that she has been a member of the Communist Party for three years.

“Maybe I was only chosen because I studied international politics; everyone around me wants to join the party,” she said.

But not everyone is invited to the party. China’s Communist Party only wants the best. Whoever wants to join must have excellent grades. They have to fill out an application, take preparation courses and pass an entrance examination. Those accepted are put on a probationary period and have to write reports on self-reflections every three months. Then they must also swear an oath of loyalty to the party. Why bother with all the trouble?

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Racial Attacks Incidents: South Africa

From May 1 2012 to Sept 17 2012, the Farmitracker.com site logged 334 violent incidents of a racial nature. A total 255 were attacks on whites, of whom 99% were Afrikaners — including 65 incidents of ‘dehumanisation’: i.e. mutilation/torture and humilation of the victims indicating extreme hatred towards the victims. There also were 86 incidents of ‘xenophobia’ including the hacking to death of Chinese shopkeeper Long Liang Chen 31, his young wife and baby girl in their shop in Warden, Free State on Sept 16 2012. The 33 recorded incidents of industrial sabotage are worrying: targetting as they did the economic strength of South Africa to undermine the increasingly shaky ruling Troika of the ANC/SACP/Cosatu movements, which are waging internal warfare over leadership-positions and financial advantage. The 33 industrial-sabotage incidents included four sabotage attacks by armed groups of black ‘demonstrators’ against two coal-fired power stations in which multi-miltion Rand damage was inflicted on expensive, imported infrastructure sites. Two incidents of ‘strongly suspected’ incidents of sabotage against two other power stations were also recorded which were never investigated by officials as suspected sabotage, but considered ‘due to incompetent personnel’. In this regard, it is also worrying that the number of squatter-camps for fired Afrikaner artisans and other ‘white’ workers has mushroomed (another 19 new camps were identified in this time-period). These skilled artisans are being fired under the ANC’s striving for 100% black-African job-occupation under its racist black-economic-empowerment laws. The ANC-regime denies that they are firing ‘white’ workers and replacing them only with lesser-skilled ‘black African’ workers, but Solidarity trade union has recorded a growing number of their members being fired from government- and private economic enterprises only because of their skin-colour, and private & state-run enterprises such as Eskom, the SA Police Service and the Public Health Service and even the Blood Bank all are firing ‘white’ workers and/or refusing to advance them inside the organisations to higher-level positions: which are kept for black-African job seekers only. Similar incidents were also recorded at for instance the Woolworths company, resulting in a boycot and legal protests against the company’s anti-white hiring policies by its primarily ‘white’ customers.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

EU Parliament Wants Women on ECB Board

The European Parliament wants a woman appointed to the European Central Bank’s (ECB) executive board, reports Reuters. “We notice that the EU member states’ nominations to some of the most important… EU institutions result in an appallingly monotonous line-up of nominees,” said the parliament in a letter to EU governments.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Leading Homosexual Rights Advocate Arrested on Child Pornography Suspicions

Larry Brinkin a prominent homosexual rights advocate surrendered to police on Thursday after being charged with two felony counts of child pornography possession and distribution, according to the San Francisco Police Department

The SFPD has released information indicating that some of the children used for Brinkin’s alleged pornography collection appear to be as young as one, two and three years old.

Accompanying the pornographic images of the children were racist and violent remarks also alleged to be made by Brinkin.

Peter LaBarbera, president of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality, told LifeSiteNews that people shouldn’t be shocked to learn that Brinkin, “the pioneering San Francisco homosexual activist who famously came up with the term ‘Domestic Partner,’“ may have been involved in child pornography. “Sexual sin doesn’t satisfy and often deviance begets even worse sexual deviance,” he said. “Tragically, we see homosexual men disproportionately represented in pedophilia cases.”

Brinkin brought the first domestic partnership lawsuit against his employer in 1982, then went on to work for the pro-homosexual San Francisco Human Rights Commission until retiring in 2010. The week of his retirement was declared Larry Brinkin week by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

General

I Think You Need a Dose of James Thurber

by Ruth Dudley Edwards

What with Plebgate and Lib Dems and polarised American politics and trolls and other grave topics, I thought a dose of the great American humorist James Thurber might be just what some of you need. It was Thurber who explained: “The wit makes fun of other persons; the satirist makes fun of the world; the humorist makes fun of himself.” This is from an interview in the Paris Review in 1955 and describes how he dealt with his literal-minded editor’s questions about this cartoon [see article].

Once I did a drawing for The New Yorker of a naked woman on all fours up on top of a bookcase — a big bookcase. She’s up there near the ceiling, and in the room are her husband and two other women. The husband is saying to one of the women, obviously a guest, “This is the present Mrs. Harris. That’s my first wife up there.” Well, when I did the cartoon originally I meant the naked woman to be at the top of a flight of stairs, but I lost the sense of perspective and instead of getting in the stairs when I drew my line down, there she was stuck up there, naked, on a bookcase.

That cartoon really threw The New Yorker editor, Harold Ross. He approached any humorous piece of writing, or more particularly a drawing, not only grimly but realistically. He called me on the phone and asked if the woman up on the bookcase was supposed to be alive, stuffed, or dead. I said, “I don’t know, but I’ll let you know in a couple of hours.” After a while I called him back and told him I’d just talked to my taxidermist, who said you can’t stuff a woman, that my doctor had told me a dead woman couldn’t support herself on all fours. “So, Ross,” I said, “she must be alive.” “Well then,” he said, “what’s she doing up there naked in the home of her husband’s second wife?” I told him he had me there.

If you liked that, try his “The Night the Bed Fell on My Father”, one of the most perfect humorous short stories ever. You will be the better for it.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Is it Time Up for Watches? One in Four Prefer to Rely on Their Mobile or Tablet

Watch lovers, watch out. Your favourite accessory may be running on borrowed time.

Watches are falling out of fashion, a study has revealed — with a quarter of us preferring to use a mobile phone or computer to tell the time.

This is up from 18 per cent just a year ago, suggesting that the clock on their demise is ticking rather rapidly.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Needed — A Refresher Course in Freedom of Speech

by Hugh Fitzgerald

[Re-posted from February 11, 2006]

Fitzgerald:

Free speech is not absolute. It never was. Not to John Adams, who approved of the Alien and Sedition Acts. Not to Abraham Lincoln. Not to Holmes or Brandeis. Not to those who crafted the Brandenburg Test. Whether or not that test which requires incitement to “imminent lawless action” needs to be revised given that anti-Infidel propaganda almost never results in the “imminent” action that is feared, but rather helps, through the steady stillicide of Islamic propaganda, in the recruitment of Muslims and mentally unstable non-Muslims Looking for a Community and a Reason for Living, needs to be examined.

And so too does what is to be defined as a “speech act.” Choking an adversary, or raping someone, may be a way of “expressing” one’s hatred of, let’s say, an Infidel who disparages Muhammad, or of an Infidel girl who has chosen to wear dress deemed provocative while walking near a mosque. But no non-Muslims would define these as “speech acts” requiring protection. Training for terrorist acts cannot be protected even if they have been disguised as something else — such as mere innocuous “paintball” play.

[…]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

New Theory on Why Men Love Breasts

Why do straight men devote so much headspace to those big, bulbous bags of fat drooping from women’s chests? Scientists have never satisfactorily explained men’s curious breast fixation, but now, a neuroscientist has struck upon an explanation that he says “just makes a lot of sense.”

Larry Young, a professor of psychiatry at Emory University who studies the neurological basis of complex social behaviors, thinks human evolution has harnessed an ancient neural circuit that originally evolved to strengthen the mother-infant bond during breast-feeding, and now uses this brain circuitry to strengthen the bond between couples as well. The result? Men, like babies, love breasts.

When a woman’s nipples are stimulated during breast-feeding, the neurochemical oxytocin, otherwise known as the “love drug,” floods her brain, helping to focus her attention and affection on her baby. But research over the past few years has shown that in humans, this circuitry isn’t reserved for exclusive use by infants.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

RIP Andy Williams — Voice of the Greatest Generation

by Tim Stanley

How sad to hear that Andy Williams has died, a man with a voice as smooth and delicious as caramel whipped cream. Modern listeners would probably label him pejoratively as “easy listening.” But that was entirely his appeal: he was easy to listen to. Williams’ performances contained none of the latter-day trend towards screeching and melisma — verbal acrobatics confused for singing. His records are timeless because they deferred to the words and the music. And what music.

Williams was one of the most popular artists of his generation. At one point in the 1960s he had more golden albums than any singer bar Presley, Sinatra or Mathis. Some of those songs have achieved legendary status, including Moon River and Can’t Take My Eyes Off You. There are probably millions of people across the world who were conceived to this music, accompanied in Britain by the old standards of soft lighting and Babycham. He sang at Robert Kennedy’s funeral and Ronald Reagan called his voice “a national treasure.” Given the current state of the US treasury, one might say that he was considerably bigger than that. This man’s voice was the dictionary definition of class.

Andy Williams was one of the voices enjoyed by the greatest generation — the men and women who liberated Europe and then tried to build a prosperous and peaceful America in the 1950s and 1960s. He conjures up images of Christmas specials (doubtless recorded mid-summer in Burbank), mustard sweaters, scarves, children’s choirs and plastic snow. These were the motifs of an epoch that valued family and tradition, an era that saw home life as a place of stability. With his passing, we are reminded that this ideal is far beyond our grasp. It was made briefly possible by the postwar wealth and lingering religious values. Both are now in short supply and the world is far poorer for it.

Of all my favourite Williams’ songs, the best is the one I’ve posted above — I Can’t Help Falling in Love. My late grandmother played it obsessively, and it’s easy to see why.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

News Feed 20120926

Financial Crisis
» Crisis: 30,000+ Take to the Streets of Athens, Molotovs
» Italy Strong Enough to Solve Its Economic Woes Says Germany
» Popular Discontent Boils in Spain
» Spain: Parliament Under ‘Siege’ In Protest Against Cuts
» Spain: At Least 35 Arrested, 64 Injured in Madrid Clashes
» Spain: Rubber Bullets Fired at Violent Anti-Austerity Protest
 
USA
» American Jacobins
» Anonymous Attacks Golden Dawn NY’s Website
» Anti-Muslim Filmmaker’s Probation Case Creeps on
» Christian Conservatives Angered by Obama’s Comments on Islam at UN
» Hubble Telescope Reveals Farthest View Into Universe Ever
» Madonna Causes Confusion by Referring to President Barack Obama as a Muslim
» Mosque Approved for South Santa Clara County
» Obama: Anti-Islam Video Can’t be Banned
» Women Scuffle Over Spray-Paint Protest of Anti-Jihad Ad
 
Europe and the EU
» Belgium: Over 600 Anti-Social Behaviour Fines Since June
» Europeans Did Not Inherit Pale Skins From Neanderthals
» France: ‘Anti-White Racism’
» Greek Ministers Debate Outlawing Golden Dawn
» Italian Newspaper Editor Sentenced to Jail for Libel
» Italy: Pressure Mounts on Berlusconi Party Governor in Lazio
» Italy: Land-Artist Near Verona Creates a Work for Obama
» Italy: Prosecutor Probed for ‘Aiding’ Berlusconi in Sex-Party Case
» Italy: Napolitano Speaks of Unacceptable and Shameful Corruption
» Italy: Prosecutors to Probe Sicily Assembly Budget, Party Documents
» Oldest Ivory Workshop in the World Discovered in Saxony-Anhalt
» Sicilian Prosecutors Investigate Region’s Spending
» Swiss Catholic Bishop Tells Google to Remove Anti-Islam Movie
» UK: Babar Ahmad’s Family Respond to ECHR Ruling
» UK: David Cameron to Reaffirm Britain’s Aid Commitment
» UK: London Local Mosque Receives Hate Mail
» UK: Less a Nation of Shopkeepers, More a Land of Stand-Ups
» UK: Mother of Three, 32, Wakes From a Coma Thinking It’s 1998 and She’s Still Only a Teenager
» UK: Oldham Mosques Council Rejects Anti-Islamic Film Demo
» UK: The Queen: Why Couldn’t We Arrest Abu Hamza?
» UK: The Queen’s Question is Fair — Why Was Abu Hamza Allowed to Continue?
» Zinedine Zidane Headbutt Statue Unveiled in Paris
 
Balkans
» Serbia: Bajrakli Mosque, Last Relic of Ottomans in Belgrade Challenges Passage of Time
 
North Africa
» Egypt’s Morsi Will Embrace Non-Muslims, Women in Secular State
» Gaddafi’s Revenge From Beyond the Grave: Libyan Rebel Credited With Capturing Dictator Dies After Being Kidnapped and Killed by Dictator’s Supporters
» Libya President: Anti-Islam Film Trailer Had Nothing to Do With Attack on US Consulate
» Tunisia: Women Win: Constitution Confirms Their Rights
» UK to Advise Egypt on Quelling Sinai Militants
 
Israel and the Palestinians
» Ashton to Donor Countries: Help Palestinians
 
Middle East
» Iran to Boycott 2013 Oscars Over Innocence of Muslims
» Syria Crisis: Blasts Hit Damascus — Live Updates
» Turkey: ‘Innocence of Muslims’ Film Banned in Turkey
» Viennese Muslim Group Petitions for Church in Saudi Arabia
 
Far East
» Chinese Muslims Start Leaving for Hajj
 
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Mali Islamists ‘Increasingly Repressive’
» Rise in Witchcraft & Satanism in Kwazulu-Natal
» Somalia’s Islamist War Chest Being Boosted by UN Funds
 
Latin America
» Barbados: British Aid Used to Train Waiters at Billionaire’s Playground
 
Culture Wars
» Bullying, Bingeing, Racism and the Other New Deadly Sins
» Paris Sets Sights on Gay Games
» UK: Grandmother: 73, Who Sent 500 Racist Letters Demanding England is ‘Made Pure Again’ Gets Life-Long ASBO
 
General
» Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamophobia at UN General Assembly
» Noam Chomsky: Not Even Right About Linguistics
» What Chomsky Doesn’t Get About Child Language
» World Muslim Group Demands Laws Against “Islamophobia”

Financial Crisis

Crisis: 30,000+ Take to the Streets of Athens, Molotovs

Anti-austerity protests, marches, 24-hr national strike

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, SEPTEMBER 26 — Tensions were high on Wednesday in the central Syntagma Square as some anti-austerity protesters threw molotov cocktails at police, who responded with tear gas as a small-scale fire developed in the square.

More than 30,000 people took to the streets in a massive, union-organized protest against the government’s latest proposed austerity measures. In a smaller event organized by the Communist Party-affiliated PAME union, more than 15,000 people marched without incident from Omonia Square to the Parliament building.

Protests are ongoing in all major cities to coincide with a 24-hour national strike called by the country’s three major unions, which are PAME, ADEDY (public sector) and GSEE (private sector). Meanwhile leaked media reports allege that Premier Antonis Samaras has already signed off on the new austerity package, which must now be approved by the leaders of the three-party ruling coalition.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Italy Strong Enough to Solve Its Economic Woes Says Germany

‘Fundamentally sound,’ Bundesbank chief tells Grilli

(ANSA) — Frankfurt, September 26 — Italy is strong enough to cope with problems created by the debt and economic crisis shaking Europe, the head of Germany’s central bank said Wednesday.

“Italy is strong enough to solve its problems on its own, despite the challenges it faces, it is fundamentally sound,” Jens Weidmann, Bundesbank president, said at a joint press conference with Italy’s Economy Minister Vittorio Grilli.

Grilli agreed, saying Italy has no plans to seek any form of bailout from European authorities.

The country’s reform efforts and “the results that we are getting provide comfort in the fact that our economy can get back on a growth trajectory,” Grilli said in Frankfurt. “We do not need help”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Popular Discontent Boils in Spain

Protestors clashed with police in Spain’s capital yesterday (25 September) as the government prepared a new round of unpopular austerity measures for the 2013 budget.

Thousands gathered in Neptune plaza, a few meters from El Prado museum in central Madrid, where they formed a human chain around parliament, surrounded by barricades, police trucks and more than 1,500 police in riot gear.

Police fired rubber bullets and beat protestors with truncheons, first as protestors were trying to tear down barriers and later to clear the square. The police said at least 22 people had been arrested and at least 32 injured, including four policemen.

As lawmakers started to leave the parliament late Tuesday in official cars or by foot, a few hundred people were still demonstrating in front of the building. Most dispersed shortly afterwards.

The protest, promoted over the Internet by different activist groups, was younger and more rowdy than recent marches called by labour unions. Protestors said they were fed up with cuts to public salaries and health and education.

“My annual salary has dropped by €8,000 and if it falls much further I won’t be able to make ends meet,” said Luis Rodriguez, 36, a firefighter who joined the protest. He said he was considering leaving Spain to find a better quality of life.

Demonstrators also said they were angry that the state has poured funds into crumbling banks while it is cutting social benefits.

With this year’s budget deficit target looking untenable, the conservative government is now looking at such things as cuts in inflation-linked pensions, taxes on stock transactions, “green taxes” on emissions or eliminating tax breaks.

The 2013 budget is the second conservative Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has had to pass since he took office in December. Spain must persuade its European partners that it can cut the budget shortfall by more than €60 billion by 2014.

Rajoy has already passed spending cuts and tax hikes worth slightly more than that over the next two years, but half-year figures show the 2012 deficit target slipping from view as tax income forecasts will not be hit due to economic contraction.

He said earlier this month the 2013 budget would cut spending further in all areas of government apart from pensions and borrowing costs.

Spain is at the centre of the eurozone debt crisis on concerns the government cannot control its finances and those of highly indebted regions, bitten by a second recession since 2009 which has put one in four workers out of a job.

On the regional front, Catalonia, which generates about 20% of the national output, announced on Tuesday it would hold early elections on 25 November after its call for more tax autonomy was rejected last week by Rajoy.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Spain: Parliament Under ‘Siege’ In Protest Against Cuts

Thousands on the street, riot police seal off building

(ANSAmed) — MADRID — Riot police have sealed off Spain’s Parliament Tuesday ahead of a demonstration against the Rajoy government’s handling of the economic crisis. The protest, which began gathering steam this morning and has been supported by over 50,000 people across Spain in a Facebook campaign, is expected to end in a symbolic ‘siege’ of congress at 18.00 in which protestors will call for Rajoy’s resignation. Activists from left wing parties, disillusioned trade-unionists, ‘indignants’ from the 15-M movement, public sector workers, academics, intellectuals and ordinary people who have been hit by the crisis plan to cordon off the Lower House during session in order to save it from ‘kidnapping by the Troika and financial markets, in collaboration with Spain’s main political parties.’ A high wire mesh erected around Parliament and the surrounding streets is being guarded by 1350 riot police who were last night deployed to the scene ahead of the protest.

La Carrera de San Jeronimo has been the scene of numerous protests at austerity cuts over the summer, including the abolition of civil servants’ ‘13th month’ pay and a VAT increase to reduce the deficit and achieve the goal of stability fixed at 6.3% this year and 4.5% in 2013.

Budget cuts totaling 40 billion euro are likely to be approved by the executive of the Partito Popolar at a Council of Ministers meeting on Thursday.

Government delegate in Madrid, Cristina Cifuentes, has warned that it would be a ‘crime’ to surround Parliament. President of the Parliament, Jesus Posada reminded protestors that “Parliament is inviable’ and cannot be interrupted or suffer external pressures”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Spain: At Least 35 Arrested, 64 Injured in Madrid Clashes

Protest continues outside parliament today

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, SEPTEMBER 26 — At least 35 people were arrested and 64 injured in clashes late on Tuesday between protesters and police during a rally outside Spain’s parliament against austerity measures, the government said Wednesday.

Officials said 27 of the injured people were police officers.

The ‘Occupy Congress’ rally took place with the Spanish government preparing to present new austerity measures on Thursday as part of moves to reduce the country’s budget deficit.

Protesters have said they will demonstrate outside parliament again later on Wednesday.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Spain: Rubber Bullets Fired at Violent Anti-Austerity Protest

Police fire rubber bullets and beat protesters with truncheons at an anti-austerity demonstration near Spain’s parliament in Madrid.

Protesters clashed with police in Spain’s capital on Tuesday as the government prepares a new round of unpopular austerity measures for the 2013 budget that will be announced on Thursday. At least 22 demonstrators were detained and 28 injured, as clashes continued late into the evening near the Spanish parliament, Spanish broadcaster TVE reported. More than 1,500 police in riot gear had been deployed throughout the day in preparation for the demonstration, with barricades being set up. Police fired rubber bullets and beat protesters with truncheons, first as several protesters were trying to tear down barriers and later to clear the square…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

USA

American Jacobins

by Seth Ackerman

In a recent broadside against the Occupy movement, Alexander Cockburn assailed, among other things, “the enormous arrogance which prompted the Occupiers to claim that they were indeed the most important radical surge in living memory. Where was the knowledge of, let alone the respect for, the past?” Cockburn may be prone to rhetorical excess, but it is striking how little the Occupy movement has identified with any particular tradition of American radicalism. At the height 
of the southern Civil Rights Movement, it was common in New Left circles to refer to the 
Freedom Riders as “the new abolitionists,” the title of a much-read 1964 book by Howard 
Zinn. No such cries of historical continuity were audible from Zuccotti Park…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Anonymous Attacks Golden Dawn NY’s Website

Hackers respond fast to news of the Greek neo-Nazi group’s New York chapter

After news broke Monday that Greek neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn had opened up an office in New York to garner expat support, it did not take long for Anonymous hackers to get to work bringing down its communications systems.

The Twitter account, @YourAnonNews, often used to make announcements for the hacker collective, first publicly posted the phone number connected to the fascist group’s Queens-based office and invited followers to “give them a warm welcome to the neighborhood.”

A follow up tweet asserted, in characteristically playful parlance, that the hackers had disabled Golden Dawn’s New York chapter website:

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

Anti-Muslim Filmmaker’s Probation Case Creeps on

CERRITOS, Calif. (AP) — The federal probation violation investigation targeting the man behind the anti-Muslim video inflaming the Middle East is proceeding slowly and privately, reflecting the explosiveness of the case. Federal officials have said nothing publicly about the case, and neither has Nakoula Basseley Nakoula’s attorney. Nakoula has put his home up for sale and gone into hiding since violence erupted over the 14-minute YouTube trailer for “Innocence of Muslims,” a crudely made film that portrays the Muhammad as a religious fraud, womanizer and pedophile. Enraged Muslims have demanded punishment for Nakoula, and dozens have died in violent protests linked to the movie. A Pakistani cabinet minister on Monday offered a $100,000 bounty to anyone who kills Nakoula. Meantime, First Amendment advocates have defended Nakoula’s right to make the film even while condemning its content. President Barack Obama echoed those sentiments Tuesday in a speech at the United Nations…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Christian Conservatives Angered by Obama’s Comments on Islam at UN

by Chris McGreal

Some right-wing commentators saw president’s discussion of hate speech as a thinly veiled attack on American Christians

has drawn fire from the Christian right over his attempt to criticise Muslims who are offended by slander of the prophet Mohammed while desecrating other religions. Right-wing critics turned on the president over his speech to the United Nations in which he sought to dampen the backlash against the anti-Muslim film that prompted violence across the Middle East earlier this month. They accused him of saying that the foundation of Christianity is itself a slander against Islam.

Obama told the UN that the modern world presents a unique challenge because “anyone with a cell phone can spread offensive views around the world with the click of a button”. He said the notion that the flow of information can be controlled is obsolete and so the question is how to respond to offensive material. The president said that there is no justification for violence and the killing of innocents in response to an offending video or hate speech because that “empowers any individual who engages in such speech to create chaos around the world”. “We empower the worst of us if that’s how we respond,” he said.

Obama returned to the theme later in the speech when he implicitly noted the hypocrisy of those who resort to violence because they believe their religion is offended while refusing to respect the beliefs of others. That’s when he upset some on the Christian right. “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam. But to be credible, those who condemn that slander must also condemn the hate we see in the images of Jesus Christ that are desecrated, or churches that are destroyed, or the Holocaust that is denied. Let us condemn incitement against Sufi Muslims and Shiite pilgrims,” he told the UN. “It’s time to heed the words of Gandhi: ‘intolerance is itself a form of violence and an obstacle to the growth of a true democratic spirit.’ Together, we must work towards a world where we are strengthened by our differences, and not defined by them. That is what America embodies, that’s the vision we will support.”

The backlash was almost immediate with some on the right saying the president was launching a thinly veiled attack on Christians. “It is an orthodox Christian belief that Mohammed is not a prophet,” wrote Erick Erickson, the editor of the conservative website Red State. “Actual Christians, as opposed to many of the supposed Christians put up by the mainstream media, believe that Christ is the only way to salvation. Believing that is slandering Mohammed.”

[…]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Hubble Telescope Reveals Farthest View Into Universe Ever

The Hubble Space Telescope has captured the farthest-ever view into the universe, a photo that reveals thousands of galaxies billions of light-years away.

The picture, called eXtreme Deep Field, or XDF, combines 10 years of Hubble telescope views of one patch of sky. Only the accumulated light gathered over so many observation sessions can reveal such distant objects, some of which are one ten-billionth the brightness that the human eye can see.

The photo is a sequel to the original “Hubble Ultra Deep Field,” a picture the Hubble Space Telescope took in 2003 and 2004 that collected light over many hours to reveal thousands of distant galaxies in what was the deepest view of the universe so far. The XDF goes even farther, peering back 13.2 billion years into the universe’s past. The universe is thought to be about 13.7 billion years old.

“The XDF is the deepest image of the sky ever obtained and reveals the faintest and most distant galaxies ever seen,” Garth Illingworth of the University of California at Santa Cruz, principal investigator of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field 2009 program, said in a statement. “XDF allows us to explore further back in time than ever before.”

The photo reveals a wide range of galaxies, from spirals that are Milky Way-lookalikes, to hazy reddish blobs that are the result of collisions between galaxies. Some of the very tiny, faint galaxies could be the seeds from which the biggest galaxies around today grew.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Madonna Causes Confusion by Referring to President Barack Obama as a Muslim

Pop star Madonna urged Americans to support President Barack Obama during a concert in Washington DC but incorrectly referred to him as a Muslim.

In a video posted on YouTube by audience members at the concert, the singer delivers a rousing, profanity-laced political speech on freedom during her show. “Now, it’s so amazing and incredible to think that we have an African-American in the White House … we have a black Muslim in the White House … it means there is hope in this country, and Obama is fighting for gay rights, so support the man,” Madonna said. Mr Obama, who stands for re-election on Nov 6, is Christian. Madonna said later: “I was being ironic on stage. Yes, I know Obama is not a Muslim — though I know that plenty of people in this country think he is. And what if he were? The point I was making is that a good man is a good man, no matter who he prays to. I don’t care what religion Obama is — nor should anyone else in America.”

[…]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Mosque Approved for South Santa Clara County

After another round of debate between impassioned opponents, American Muslims living at the southern tip of Silicon Valley finally received the go-ahead Tuesday to build a mosque in rural San Martin. Even so, nobody seemed to leave the room happy. “We feel vindicated that our mosque has been approved,” said Melindah Bush, a spokeswoman for the South Valley Islamic Center. “But we’re somewhat disappointed in that it will affect the practice of our religion.” In a chamber filled nearly to capacity, five Santa Clara County supervisors voted unanimously to approve a mosque that was, ultimately, smaller and more limited in the number of events than the group wanted. Still, the downsizing didn’t mollify opponents…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Obama: Anti-Islam Video Can’t be Banned

(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) — Global discussion on blasphemy will doubtless rollon, after US President Barrack Obama declared that the “Innocence of Muslims” a form of “freedom of speech”, in a statement that directly contradicted President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s view on the same issue. Obama, the second head of state to address the first day of the General Debate session of the UN 67th general assembly after Brazilian President Dilma Vana Rousseff, claimed that the video was “crude and disgusting” and “sparked outrage throughout the Muslim world.” “Now, I have made it clear that the United States government had nothing to do with this video. It is an insult not only to Muslims, but to America as well,” Obama went on, in a move to ease global rage at his country as part of the fallout of the circulation of the video. Two weeks ago, US Ambassador to Libya John Christopher Stevens and three other US Department of State employees were killed during an assault on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya by an angry mob in a protest at the video, which the Muslim world has said is ridiculing Prophet Muhammad. Despite acknowledgement that conflicts and violence may appear as a result of a publication of such “blasphemy”, Obama said the US could not ban such a video…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Women Scuffle Over Spray-Paint Protest of Anti-Jihad Ad

A protester was arrested after spray-painting one of the controversial anti-jihad ads that have appeared in subway stations

A protester was arrested Tuesday after she was caught spray-painting one of the controversial anti-jihad ads that have gone up in subways, then tussling with another woman who tried to stop her. The New York Post recorded the exchange on video, showing 45-year-old Mona Eltahaway spraying over the subway ad, as another woman, Pamela Hall, tried to block the paint as she held on to a mounted camera…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Belgium: Over 600 Anti-Social Behaviour Fines Since June

The City of Brussels imposed more than 600 fines for anti-social behaviour in the period between 15 June and 15 September.

69 of the fines were issued to people that were caught attacking homosexuals or sexually intimidating women. In the summer the film “Femme de la rue” (top photo) that was made by the film student Sofie Peeters, highlighted the problem of sexism and sexually aggressive behaviour that is all too commonplace in some areas of the capital.

There have also been a number of well-reported homophobic assaults in the centre of Brussels that is home to a vibrant gay community.

The City Authorities decided that it was time to act and a system of on-the-spot anti-social behaviour fines was introduced.

This had the advantage of being immediate, while a criminal prosecution can sometimes take years.

The figures on anti-social behaviour fines were given by the Mayor of Brussels Freddy Thielemans (Francophone socialist) in response to a question tabled by the Flemish liberal councillor Els Ampe.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Europeans Did Not Inherit Pale Skins From Neanderthals

The people who built Stonehenge 5000 years ago probably had the same pallid complexion of many modern inhabitants of the UK. Now it seems that the humans occupying Britain and mainland Europe only lost the darker skins of their African ancestors perhaps just 6000 years earlier, long after Neanderthals had died out. The finding confirms that modern Europeans didn’t gain their pale skin from Neanderthals — adding to evidence suggesting that European Homo sapiens and Neanderthals generally kept their relationships strictly platonic.

There is a clear correlation between latitude and skin pigmentation: peoples that have spent an extended period of time at higher latitudes have adapted to those conditions by losing the skin pigmentation that is common at lower latitudes, says Sandra Beleza at the University of Porto in Portugal. Lighter skin can generate more vitamin D from sunlight than darker skin, making the adaptation an important one for humans who wandered away from equatorial regions.

Those wanderings took modern humans into Europe around 45,000 years ago — but exactly when the European skin adapted to local conditions had been unclear.

Beleza and her colleagues studied three genes associated with lighter skin pigmentation. Although the genes are found in all human populations, they are far more common in Europe than in Africa, and explain a significant portion of the skin-colour differences between European and west African populations.

By analysing the genomes of 50 people with European ancestry and 70 people with sub-Saharan African ancestry, Beleza’s team could estimate when the three genes — and pale skin — first became widespread in European populations. The result suggested that the three genes associated with paler skin swept through the European population only 11,000 to 19,000 years ago.

“The selective sweeps for favoured European (versions of the three genes) started well after the first migrations of modern humans into Europe,” says Beleza.

The finding agrees with earlier studies suggesting that modern humans did not lose their dark skins immediately on reaching Europe, says Katerina Harvati at the University of Tübingen in Germany. “(The new study) is interesting because it suggests a very late differentiation of skin pigmentation among modern humans,” she says.

An earlier analysis of ancient DNA in 40,000 and 50,000-year-old Neanderthal bones, respectively from Spain and Italy, suggested that our extinct cousins had light-coloured skin and reddish hair in their European heartland. But the Neanderthals went extinct around 28,000 years ago — long before modern humans in Europe gained a pale skin. Evidently Neanderthals did not pass these useful local adaptations on to modern humans, despite genetic evidence that the two species interbred.

Middle Eastern contact

That might seem unusual given that the two species lived cheek-by-jowl in Europe for several thousand years. But it makes sense if the interbreeding evident in the genes occurred in the Middle East, where modern humans and Neanderthals first met, says Chris Stringer at the Natural History Museum, London.

In that region, Neanderthals may have had darker skins, explaining why our species did not gain a pale skin after interbreeding with them. Indeed, a study earlier this year of ancient DNA suggested that Neanderthals living in what is now Croatia had dark skin and brown hair.

“Neanderthal skin colour was probably variable, as might be expected for a large population spread out over a large territorial expanse,” says Harvati.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

France: ‘Anti-White Racism’

“Anti-white racism is growing in our cities.” It’s a statement that the French have heard several times over the past few years, during TV and radio interviews; debates; perhaps from their bigoted neighbour. But never before has it been heard publicly by a politician who isn’t affiliated with the far-right National Front (FN) party.

So when Jean-François Copé, secretary general of France’s (supposedly) centre-right UMP party, came out with the disquieting assertion on Wednesday, the reaction was one of disbelief. Admittedly, Copé, was trying to get attention. He’s runnig for UMP party president, with elections just two months away. He’s also about to publish a new book, extracts of which had been sent to conservative daily Le Figaro for some favourable airing…

“There are certain districts in our towns, where individuals — some of which hold French nationality — despise French people who qualify as Gallic, under the pretext that they don’t share the same religion, don’t have the same skin colour, or the same origins.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Greek Ministers Debate Outlawing Golden Dawn

Greek ultra-nationalist party Golden Dawn (Chrysi Avgi) is under the political microscope as several government ministers have debated outlawing the party. Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has discussed a possible ban but so far appears negative.

The election of Golden Dawn to parliament in June this year acted as a shock to the political world. From the beginning other political parties refused to work with them, but have witnessed the surging popularity of Golden Dawn amongst citizens, as their own political popularity wanes.

Golden Dawn is a legitimate political party protected under the Greek constitution, with current polls indicating it has more than 10 percent of the electoral vote. Digital Journal reported that former Greek Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis said this weekend that “If we had elections tomorrow the Golden Dawn would get 20%.”

Despite Golden Dawn’s political legitimacy their presence in parliament has set off alarm bells across Greece and Europe. Many claim the party is Neo-Nazi, a charge the party denies. It also vehemently denies any links to a spate of racist violence that has seen immigrants attacked. The party has however been involved in a number of direct actions that prompted debate, including a vote by the parliamentary ethics committee.

To Vima reports that several government ministers have been discussing outlawing the party with Antonis Samaras. However, the prime minister is not in favour of a ban. Talk of outlawing the party is not new.

In May Digital Journal reported Moshe Kantor, President of the European Jewish Congress, called for a ban on European far-right groups, following Golden Dawn’s first electoral victory and entrance to parliament.

Earlier this year the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, Nils Muiznieks, initiated an investigation into allegations of links between the Greek police and Golden Dawn. Now he has called on the Greek government to investigate if Golden Dawn should be outlawed.

Recently Alexandros Sakellariou, a sociologist and researcher at Panteion University in Athens, told theSET Times: “Golden Dawn does not have any legitimate place in the government, but it does have a legitimate place in the political arena from the moment it is a legitimate political party.”

In a recent interview Alexis Tsipras, leader of the coalition of the extreme left, SYRIZA, told Athens News that Golden Dawn are “obviously being treated with tolerance by the police, the mass media and a broad swathe of the pro-memorandum front. This tolerant attitude must end. Whether these organisations are acting within the parameters of the law is for the courts to judge. On the other hand, the fact is that a substantial segment of the electorate chose an extreme answer to the crisis by voting for the neo-Nazi party, thinking that they were casting a so-called anti-system vote.”

As ministers debate outlawing Golden Dawn To Vima reports several members of the cabinet have said: “It is not so easy to outlaw. A decision to outlaw will lead to more intense activism with unpredictable consequences.”

Concerned about repeated reports of racist violence allegedly committed by members of Golden Dawn, Minister of Public Order Nikos Dendias has given orders for police to come up with a strategy to deal with the issue. According to RFI Golden Dawn headquarters and local branches are under observation from the security police, whilst related websites are under surveillance by the Cyber Crime Unit. These measures are intended to keep a tight control to limit actions by Golden Dawn, and to curb its influence.

Meanwhile Dendias has been tasked with dealing with many of the issues raised by Golden Dawn. The aim is to mitigate direct action by Golden Dawn by replacing it with a political solution. If the government is seen to be dealing with issues which have helped Golden Dawn win popularity, then the party is expected to limit its action and concentrate more on the parliamentary process.

https://www.numbersusa.com/content/news/september-24-2012/birth-tourism-rise.html

Birth tourism — an industry that helps wealthy foreign women give birth in the United States and get citizenship for their babies — appears to be growing in California, according to the Sacramento Bee. The thousands of dollars these women spend later gives their children easy access to American universities and jobs. It also opens up green cards for the entire family after the child becomes 21.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 7,719 children were born in the United States to mothers who lived overseas. That is an increase of almost 55 percent since 2000. NCHS data likely understate the totals, critics say, because it only includes information reported by parents during hospital stays. No one knows the actual number of birth tourists

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

Italian Newspaper Editor Sentenced to Jail for Libel

‘Disturbing ruling in a democracy’ says journalists’ union

(ANSA) — Rome, September 26 — The Cassation Court on Wednesday confirmed a 14-month jail sentence for Alessandro Sallusti, the editor of the Berlusconi family newspaper Il Giornale, for libel.

Sallusti was appealing an earlier sentence from June 2011 in which he was held responsible for printing libellous remarks submitted by a reader in another rightwing paper he edited, Libero, expressing outrage over judge Giuseppe Cocilovo’s decision granting a 13-year-old the right to have an abortion. “If there were the death penalty, and if it were ever applicable in a situation, this would be the case. For the parents, the gynecologist and the judge,” wrote the anonymous reader in 2007, who used the pseudonym ‘Dreyfus’. The comment appeared in an article by Andrea Monticone, who now faces a new trial. The court ruled that since the comment was not directly traceable to the person who said it, the responsibility fell on the editor of the paper. It added Sallusti was responsible for misrepresenting the court’s ruling as one that forced the girl to have an abortion, as opposed to granting her the right as a minor without the consent of both parents.

The case, which has aroused freedom-of-expression protests from Italian journalists of all leanings, prompted a special session of the Italian journalists union FNSI, which has not ruled out calling a strike. “The ruling defeats and kills the freedom of expression,” FNSI Secretary Franco Siddi told ANSA, calling the decision “disturbing” in “a country with a democratic constitution”. “Journalists know how to respond in unison,” he added. Upholding the Milan court’s ruling, the Cassation Court on Wednesday also ordered Sallusti to pay for all trial expenses, including an additional 4,500 euros for costs from the latest appeal. Following the ruling Wednesday, Sallusti announced he was stepping down.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Pressure Mounts on Berlusconi Party Governor in Lazio

Opposition parties quit in protest over corruption scandal

(ANSA) — Rome, September 24 — Pressure was mounting on Monday for Lazio Governor Renata Polverini of former premier Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Freedom (PdL) party to quit because of a big corruption scandal in the region.

The scandal erupted earlier this month when the PdL’s then regional chief, Franco Fiorito, was placed under investigation for suspected embezzlement of party funds.

Investigators are looking at around 800,000 euros of financial transactions linked to Fiorito. On Sunday councillors for the main parties in opposition in the regional assembly, the centre-left Democratic Party, the leftist SEL and the anti-graft IdV, quit in protest at the scandal.

If the councillors of the centrist UDC party, which supports Polverini’s administration, also step down the government of the region around Rome will collapse.

Polverini met PdL Secretary Angelino Alfano, who last week said the governor was a “victim”, in the House on Monday for talks on the crisis caused by the case.

The scandal is seen by many as a threat to the PdL’s chances of maintaining its position as the biggest party in parliament in next year’s general elections.

The PdL are currently trial far behind the PD in second place in the polls.

Berlusconi has not decided whether he will run for a fourth term as Italian premier next year at the head of the PdL ticket.

Polverini last week hinted she would step down and said that she had been “betrayed by a system that has existed for years”.

But she subsequently said she had “suspended” her resignation and announced cuts in spending by local politicians to raise up to 20 million euros to divert to health and social services.

On Monday a senior Catholic clergyman commented on this scandal and a series of other recent ones that have hit various parts of Italy’s political spectrum. “Rome is a city where the social fabric is irritated by the scandals, by the privileges (of the political class) and the repeated unscrupulous crimes in which there are some people who are well off and many who are badly off,” said Cardinal Agostino Vallini, the Vicar General of Rome.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Land-Artist Near Verona Creates a Work for Obama

Dario Gambarin draws on US President for inspiration

(ANSA) — Verona, September 25 — Italian land-artist Dario Gambarin has produced a one-of-a-kind artwork dedicated to US President Barack Obama in his family field near the northern city of Verona.

Gambarin, who produced a colossal portrait of the US president in 2009, has drawn on the Democratic candidate once again as a source of artistic inspiration.

Using a tractor, the artist says he makes the images, which are viewable only by flying over, without taking any measurements beforehand.

He deletes the work after a few days. His most recent design that spans the size of a football field is not a portrait this time, but a combination of graphics and symbols that spells out in letters and numbers “for Obama” and encircles the word for love in Italian with the letter O and prefaces it with a B.

The mown-field design also includes a crescent moon symbolizing the Islamic world and writes “for the earth”. A mixture of Italian and English was used to convey a message in favor of the US president and Nobel Peace Prize winner’s work for peace and dialogue.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Prosecutor Probed for ‘Aiding’ Berlusconi in Sex-Party Case

Laudati suspected of trying to block investigations

(ANSA) — Bari, September 25 — Bari chief prosecutor Antonio Laudati has been put under investigation for allegedly trying to thwart a probe into alleged sex parties at former premier Silvio Berlusconi’s homes, magistrates in Lecce said on Tuesday.

Laudati is being probed for alleged abuse of power for allegedly trying to block and hamper investigations into Bari businessman Giampaolo Tarantini, who is suspected of having supplied prostitutes to parties at the media magnate’s homes.

He is also suspected of “aiding and abetting” Berlusconi by trying to prevent investigations into the ex-premier. Another prosecutor who has served in Bari, Giuseppe Scelsi, is also being probed for alleged abuse of power. Berlusconi is being probed over suspicions he bribed Tarantini to lie to magistrates about the women he took to the parties.

The case is related to an ongoing trial concerning allegations Berlusconi paid to have sex with an underage prostitute, Karima ‘Ruby’ El Mahroug, at his Arcore villa outside Milan and abused his power to try to cover the affair up.

Tarantini is suspected of providing at least 30 women for the former prime minister in a bid to exchange sex for public contracts.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Napolitano Speaks of Unacceptable and Shameful Corruption

(AGI) Rome — President of the Republic Giorgio Napolitano spoke at a ceremony held to inaugurate the new school year today, saying, “Sadly the press has recently revealed to us all how, totally disregarding legality, there are many unacceptable and shameful phenomena of corruption”. “This is not a context,” said the president,”that is acceptable to those sensitive to the common good,for honest citizens, or for those wishing to start a business.”

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

Italy: Prosecutors to Probe Sicily Assembly Budget, Party Documents

Speaker’s expenses questioned

(ANSA) — Palermo, September 25 — Palermo prosecutors are to examine the budget of the Sicilian regional assembly and documents pertaining to spending by party caucuses as part of a probe opened on Tuesday. The investigation comes in the wake of funding scandals involving parties from both sides of the political fence in Milan, Rome and other cities.

On Tuesday youth coordinator for the Great South party Massimo Cusimano called on the speaker of the regional assembly Francesco Cascio to “disclose the list of expenses made using reserved funds at his disposal because the assembly president has the moral obligation, even before the political obligation, to say how he spends citizens’ money”. Cascio allegedly spent his entire budget allocation of 380,000 euros for 2010 and had the same amount available to him the following year. In the 2012 budget he was allocated 342,000 euros. photo: assembly building in Palermo, Palazzo dei Normanni

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Oldest Ivory Workshop in the World Discovered in Saxony-Anhalt

An international team of archaeologists has discovered a 35,000-year-old ivory workshop within a larger mammoth hunting site in Germany. The open-air workshop had been divided into different work zones, where the ivory was split and then carved. Such organization of tasks is thought of as modern human behavior.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Sicilian Prosecutors Investigate Region’s Spending

(AGI) Palermo — Palermo prosecutors are now investigating money spent by parliamentary groups in Sicily’s Regional Assembly in order to assess any eventual waste and irregularities. The prosecutors responsible are Leonardo Agueci, Maurizio Agnello and Sergio De Montis .

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

Swiss Catholic Bishop Tells Google to Remove Anti-Islam Movie

(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) — A Swiss Catholic priest has censured the release of a blasphemous US-made film that insults Islam’s Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), calling for its removal from the Internet. Bishop Pier Giacomo Grampa told the Swiss SonntagsZeitung newspaper in a recent interview that the “Google officials should remove this byproduct” from YouTube. Grampa further highlighted that the West must not take advantage of freedom of speech to insult other people’s beliefs. Google claims that its policy is to remove content only if it represents hate speech, violates the company’s terms of service, or in case of a request by the US government or a court order.

Google also says that it did not consider the highly offensive Islamophobic video as a hate piece. However, millions of protesters across the Muslim world consider the video as one of the most inflammatory contents to circulate on the Internet. Google’s action, according to US observers, has raised fundamental questions about the control that Internet companies have over online content. The Muslim world has been outraged over the $5-million movie that was reportedly financed by more than 100 Zionist Jews…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Babar Ahmad’s Family Respond to ECHR Ruling

In response to the news that the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights has rejected Babar Ahmad’s appeal against his extradition, the family of Babar Ahmad stated: “The decision of the Grand Chamber is largely irrelevant to us as this matter should never have come to this stage had the British police done their job almost nine years ago and provided the material seized from Babar’s home to the CPS rather than secretly passing it to their US counterparts. The CPS is now in possession of all that material which forms the basis of the US indictment and should immediately prosecute Babar for conduct allegedly committed in the UK. There is enormous public interest in Babar being prosecuted in the UK, as reflected by the fact that almost 150,000 members of the British public signed a government e-petition to this effect last year. Moreover, a British businessman Karl Watkins has recently commenced his own private prosecution of Babar based on the principle of the matter. We now call on the Home Secretary to immediately undertake to halt any extradition until the Director of Public Prosecutions makes a decision on the material that is in his possession.”

For further information contact [email protected] or 07585355581. You can also visit www.freebabarahmad.com or the official Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/FreeBabarAhmad.

[JP note: The Travels of Babar the Elephant here www.youtube.com/watch?v=TsMHjo33Ve0 ]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: David Cameron to Reaffirm Britain’s Aid Commitment

David Cameron has reaffirmed Britain’s commitment to increase its aid spending to the United Nations target of 0.7 per cent of national income by 2013.

The Prime Minister, in New York for the UN General Assembly, last night co-chaired the first meeting of a new high-level panel tasked by Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, with drawing up a new framework for global development after 2015. Mr Cameron also urged other countries to live up to their promises to deliver funding to meet the Millennium Development Goals, which expire in 2015. “I think it is important that countries that make promises keep those promises,” he said. “We made promises to the poorest people in the world and it is a promise we should keep. To those who are sceptical, I would say it is not only a moral obligation that the better-off countries have to tackle poverty in our world when we still have over a billion people living on less than a dollar a day, but it’s also in our interests that we build a more prosperous world.”

[…]

[Reader comment by ripleynu on 26 September 2012 at about 9:10 am.]

Cameron seems to like putting his signature to his own (political) death warrant as often as possible.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: London Local Mosque Receives Hate Mail

(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) — While violent protests are taking place across the Middle East and North America, a local mosque was concerned, but not totally surprised, when it received hate mail. London Muslim Mosque Imam Jamal Taleb said the incident was reported to the police Sunday (Sept. 23), adding the mosque doesn’t know who sent the letter, but the institution does occasionally receive letters when conflict arises somewhere else in the world. “Whenever something happens overseas, especially related to the Muslim faith, we get something by phone or by mail,” Taleb said. “They tell us, ‘We don’t want you here, you’re a stranger, we want you to be out of the country’.”

[…]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Less a Nation of Shopkeepers, More a Land of Stand-Ups

by Rowan Pelling

Everybody’s now in the laughter biz — including me

Question: how many comedians does it take to change a light bulb?

Answer: One, but you’ll have to drag him kicking and screaming from the spotlight and remind him he’s an electrician. Everyone I meet nowadays, whatever their day job, burns to do stand-up comedy. I caught the contagion in March this year and, five small gigs later, I can safely say no legal high compares with the euphoria you feel when a room of strangers laughs at your gags. Each chortle is a massage to your ego that no other form of praise can equal. On Monday I dashed into my London hairdresser’s for a blow dry and mentioned to the young man on reception that I was co-hosting the Funny Women Awards that evening. He looked suddenly bright-eyed. “Really? I’ve just set up a website, Jokepit, that promotes new comics,” he said, confirming my suspicion that everybody’s now in the laughter biz. Comedy’s the thread that binds Britain’s social tapestry together. Ruminations about politics, faith and the economy have been replaced by one-liners…

[JP note: They laughed when I said I was going to be a comedian. Well, they’re not laughing now.]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Mother of Three, 32, Wakes From a Coma Thinking It’s 1998 and She’s Still Only a Teenager

Quite a few 30-somethings have wished they could turn back the clock and be a teenager again.

Sarah Thomson experienced the reality when a burst artery in her brain wiped out her memories of marriage and 13 years of motherhood.

The 32-year-old went into a coma from which she awoke thinking she was 19.

She had no idea who husband Chris and children Michael, 14, Daniel, five, and four-year-old Amy were. She started to dye her hair all colours and, by her confession, act moodily like a teenager.

The ten days she spent in intensive care last November had destroyed 13 years of her life, making her think it was still 1998. Mrs Thomson thought her favourite band the Spice Girls were together, had no memory of the Millennium and didn’t know Michael Jackson had died.

‘When the children came to see me I just had no idea who they were, I thought they were somebody else’s,’ said Mrs Thomson, who lives in Exeter. ‘I kept calling them the wrong names, and had no idea why they were so pleased to see me…

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UK: Oldham Mosques Council Rejects Anti-Islamic Film Demo

Muslims in Oldham will lobby politicians rather than hold street demonstrations over an anti-Islamic film that has sparked global protests.

Oldham Mosques Council (OMC), which represents 27,000 Muslims, made the decision at an emergency meeting called over rising anger among mosque members. On Saturday Muslim groups marched through Manchester calling for new blasphemy laws. The US-made film denigrates the prophet Mohammed, say Muslims. The 14-minute video was first posted on YouTube on 1 July. “We would like to appeal to all the people of Oldham, that, while we respect individuals’ human rights, it is through respect of each other that we build a better tomorrow for all our citizens,” said a statement from OMC, which represents 35 mosques and madrassa. It added: “The video represents a new insult, provocation and incitement to religious hatred against Islam and Muslims, which could damage world peace.” The council said it would be working with other faith groups to devise a local strategy to respond to similar incidents in the future. It added that it would lobby MPs and MEPs for international action against attempts to incite religious hatred.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: The Queen: Why Couldn’t We Arrest Abu Hamza?

by James Delingpole

Like many razor-sharp 86-year-olds, the Queen must spend an awful lot of time wondering what the hell became of the Britain she knew in her youth, and of all those commonsense values and that basic decency which saw us through trials like the Second World War. Unlike the rest of her generation, she is constitutionally prevented from saying this aloud. But just occasionally her private views slip out. And when they do, my how you wish she was actually running the country herself rather than leaving it to idiots like her useless fifth cousin Dave…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: The Queen’s Question is Fair — Why Was Abu Hamza Allowed to Continue?

by Vikram Dodd

MI5 let the ‘preacher of hate’ carry on as long as he didn’t target Britain — seeing his mosque as a useful source of intelligence

Some may doubt the constitutional propriety of the Queen’s reported intervention in the Hamza case, but it is difficult to fault her question: why was the “preacher of hate” allowed to run free for so long? Her Majesty’s questioning was shared by Muslims who had once used the Finsbury Park mosque, and felt terrorised when Hamza and his henchmen seized control of it, turning it into a place of hate. Some will claim the long-running Hamza saga shows the extent to which human rights have got so out of hand and that they need to be “rebalanced”, that is, cut. Some will claim the then Labour government was soft on Hamza because of a multicultural-inspired fear of upsetting Muslims — a claim undermined by the fact that the same Labour government took part in the widely opposed Iraq invasion, and allegedly colluded in the torture of Muslim terrorism suspects held by the Americans. But when, as now seems as certain as anything in the saga dating back to the late 1990s, he is extradited to the US, Hamza will take some secrets with him. How could he turn a north London mosque into a place to foment violent jihad under the noses of the security services?

[…]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Zinedine Zidane Headbutt Statue Unveiled in Paris

Six years after French football legend Zinedine Zidane was ejected from the 2006 World Cup championships for headbutting another player, the infamous moment has been immortalised in the form of a bronze statue in the heart of the French capital.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Balkans

Serbia: Bajrakli Mosque, Last Relic of Ottomans in Belgrade Challenges Passage of Time

The Bajrakli Mosque, which was built almost 300 years ago by Ottomans in Belgrade, now capital of Serbia, challenges the passage of time with dignity. In the centre of Belgrade, the mosque got its name from the flag (Turkish, bayrak) that signalled the call to prayer to other mosques. As the endowment of Sultan Suleiman II, it is the only remaining mosque of the many that once existed in Belgrade and is still full at Friday prayers. Turkey’s ambassador to Belgrade Ali Riza Colak told AA correspondent on Tuesday that as the first worship place Ottomans built in the city, Bajrakli Mosque was priceless. He said that it was not a symbolic mosque but an active Muslim place of worship in Belgrade. Colak added that new worship places were getting opened as the Muslim population grew in the area. Bajrakli Mosque, the only mosque with minaret, was turned into a Catholic church during the period of Austrian rule (1717-1739). This period also saw the majority of Belgrade’s mosques destroyed. Upon the return of the Ottomans, it once again became a mosque. After its restoration in the 19th century, which was undertaken by Serbians, it became the central city mosque.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

North Africa

Egypt’s Morsi Will Embrace Non-Muslims, Women in Secular State

The rights of non-Muslims and women are safe in Egypt, Prime Minister Mohammed Morsi said, repeatedly telling a US audience that the newly democratic country will remain a secular state.

“All Egyptians represent the majority, all Egyptians — men, women, Muslims, and Christians… regardless of their beliefs, their gender, their colour,” Morsi said at the Clinton Global Initiative forum in New York. Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood movement who was elected following Egypt’s revolution against US-backed strongman Hosni Mubarak, told the forum led by former president Bill Clinton that Egypt will remain pluralistic and secular. “We have really a new democratic state and a new real civilian state in Egypt: non-theocratic, not military,” he said. Morsi dismissed worries by some outside Egypt that civil and religious rights, including for the Coptic Christian minority, are likely to decline with the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood. He said the real problem in Egypt was Mubarak-era corruption. “We don’t have a real problem in terms of the rights of women,” he said. “However, the corruption is something everybody suffered from.” Morsi also said freedom of expression must be used responsibly, hinting at looming tensions in the newly-democratic nation…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Gaddafi’s Revenge From Beyond the Grave: Libyan Rebel Credited With Capturing Dictator Dies After Being Kidnapped and Killed by Dictator’s Supporters

One of the young Libyan rebels credited with capturing Moammar Gaddafi in a drainage ditch nearly a year ago has died of his injuries after being kidnapped, beaten and slashed by the late dictator’s supporters.

The death of Omran Shaaban, who had been hospitalised in France, raised the prospect of even more violence and score-settling in the north African country.

The newly elected National Congress have already authorised police and the army to use force if necessary to apprehend those who abducted the 22-year-old and three companions in July near the town of Bani Walid.

Libya is battling lingering pockets of support for the old regime, and its government has been unable to rein in armed militias in a country rife with weapons.

Earlier this month, a demonstration at the U.S. Consulate in the eastern city of Benghazi turned violent, killing four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador.

Shaaban was praised as a ‘dutiful martyr’ by the National Congress, although his family says he never received a promised reward of 1million Libyan dinars ($800,000) for capturing Gaddafi on October 20, 2011, in the former leader’s hometown of Sirte.

The eccentric dictator was killed later that day by revolutionary fighters.

The Libyan government said it would honour Shaaban with a funeral befitting a hero. His body was greeted at the airport in his hometown of Misrata by more than 10,000 people for a procession to a soccer stadium for funeral prayers.

Photos on social media websites showed a wooden coffin with a glass window that revealed Shaaban’s face, with white gauze covering his head.

In the capital of Tripoli, several hundred protesters gathered outside the headquarters of the National Congress to demand that the government avenge Shaaban’s death.

Shaaban’s family said that he and three friends had been en route home to the western city of Misrata from a vacation in July when they were attacked by gunmen in an area called el-Shimekh near Bani Walid.

Shaaban and his friends, who like many Libyans were armed, fired back, the family said.

Two bullets hit Shaaban, and he was paralysed from the waist down, his relatives said. The men were captured by militiamen from Bani Walid, a town of about 100,000 people that remains a stronghold of Gaddafi loyalists and is isolated from the rest of Libya…

           — Hat tip: Gaia [Return to headlines]

Libya President: Anti-Islam Film Trailer Had Nothing to Do With Attack on US Consulate

The anti-Islam film trailer that the White House has repeatedly blamed for sparking unrest in the Middle East had nothing to do with the attack that led to the death of U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, that nation’s president said in a television interview.

Libyan President Mohamed Magarief said the deadly Sept. 11 attack in Benghazi, which also resulted in the deaths of three other Americans, was more likely pegged to the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

“Reaction should have been, if it was genuine, should have been six months earlier. So it was postponed until the 11th of September,” Magarief told NBC’s Ann Curry in the exclusive interview. “They chose this date, 11th of September to carry a certain message.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Tunisia: Women Win: Constitution Confirms Their Rights

No ‘complementary’ role to men

(ANSAmed) — TUNIS, SEPTEMBER 25 — A simple word in the text of a draft of Tunisia’s new Constitution and the conditions of Tunisian women would have gone back half a century in an instant. The word is ‘complementary’ and had been promoted by hardliners — who then dragged so-called moderates, including women, along — with Ennadha and other ultra-conservative parties. Such an addition would have made women in Tunisia not social actors with the same rights as men but a complement to men worthy of nothing by themselves.

The word was scrapped despite the resistance of its supporters after the commission of the constituent assembly in charge of social issues, including women’s role in society, also stated that men and women are equal in the labour market.

Tunisian women have repeatedly demonstrated to defend their rights as part of efforts to preserve the country’s secularism under the strenuous attack of the religious Ennahdha party. They protested with courage against Salafite fundamentalists who have been monopolizing demonstrations and threatened them with violence.

Tunisian women have regained their role in society, a role many wanted to marginalize.

In 1956, Tunisia became the first Arab country in the world to have legislation equaling women to men in a long road to bring women’s rights on the same level as those of the West.

Women’s rights have however been undermined by traditions such as ‘cotumier’ marriages under which families arrange marriages without the bride’s consent, often without her even knowing her future husband, in poor as well as in the richest families.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

UK to Advise Egypt on Quelling Sinai Militants

General Sir David Richards will lead team advising how to ween Bedouin tribes in the Sinai Peninsula away from smuggling

Britain is to provide military advice to the Egyptian government to help it crack down on militants in the Sinai Peninsula who are destabilising relations with neighbouring Israel.

In his first meeting with the Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi in New York, David Cameron will announce that Britain’s most senior military figure will travel to Cairo. General Sir David Richards, the chief of the defence staff, will lead a British effort that will also see a stabilisation team despatched to Egypt. The team, which will mainly consist of field experts from the Department for International Development, will advise on how to ween Bedouin tribes in Sinai away from smuggling…

[JP note: Perfidious Albion. Useful to have the British Army in place when it comes to advising the Egyptians on how to penetrate Israeli defences. As in 1948 in Jordan.]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Ashton to Donor Countries: Help Palestinians

EU,conflict resolution urgent

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, SEPTEMBER 25 — The European Union has launched a new appeal to donor countries withthe Ad Hoc Liaison Committee for the Coordination of the International Assistance to Palestinians during a meeting in New York. The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton called on donors to help the Palestinian Authority, said a statement released in Brussels.

The high representative reaffirmed the EU’s position concerning the need to make urgent progress for a solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the best interest of stability, prosperity, lasting peace and security in the region, said the statement issued by Ashton’s spokesperson. Ashton also stressed that the results obtained with the creation of the institutions of the Palestinian State and to support economic sustainability are crucial in this context. The EU high representative also emphasized the importance of pursuing all political issues, confronting the grave economic situation and security issues concerning both sides.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Middle East

Iran to Boycott 2013 Oscars Over Innocence of Muslims

Culture minister Mohammad Hosseini also called for a wider boycott of next year’s Academy awards by Muslim nations

Iran’s film-making community will not be represented at this year’s Oscars after the government announced a boycott over the anti-Islam film Innocence of Muslims. The move is something of a turnaround because the country’s Oscar entry for 2013, Reza Mirkarimi’s comedy A Cube of Sugar, was announced on Monday. Culture minister Mohammad Hosseini also called for a wider boycott of next year’s Academy Awards by Muslim nations. “I am officially announcing that in reaction to the intolerable insult to the Great Prophet of Islam we will refrain from taking part in this year’s Oscars and we ask other Islamic nations to show their protest like this,” the minister told the ISNA state news agency. “This film was made in America and the Oscars are held there, and so far no official stance by the nation that made this film has been taken.”

[…]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Syria Crisis: Blasts Hit Damascus — Live Updates

‘Criminal mischief’ charge

Mona Eltahawy is tweeting again after her arrest in New York. She has been charged with “criminal mischief”…

[JP note: See story above — USA: Women Scuffle Over Spray-Paint Protest of Anti-Jihad Ad]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Turkey: ‘Innocence of Muslims’ Film Banned in Turkey

(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) — Turkish minister of transport, seafaring and communications Binali Yildirim ordered the blocking of links to the provocative film ‘Innocence of Muslims’ on all URL-addresses in Turkey, Anadolu agency reported. In order to ban access to the film without banning entire websites, the ministry is negotiating with the administration of these resources. As a result, the access to the scandalous content in the Internet was reduced. Demands for the deletion of the film were sent to the law office of YouTube & Google Inc. in Turkey. However, the company didn’t fulfil the demands and was sent for trial by the Turkish government.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Viennese Muslim Group Petitions for Church in Saudi Arabia

‘Like Islam in Europe,Christianity must have freedom of worship’

(ANSAmed) — Vienna — A liberal Viennese Muslim group has petitioned the Saudi Arabian government for permission to erect a Christian church and repeal its prohibition of the Christian faith. “Like Islam in Europe, Christianity must be acknowledged the right to freedom of worship,” wrote the ILMOE — which stands for Liberal Muslim Initiative in Austria — in a letter to the Saudi ambassador to Austria, Mohammed al-Salloum.

The contents of the letter was reported Wednesday by the news agency APA. ILMOE President Amer al-Bayati requested a meeting with the Saudi diplomat to present the group’s ideas for the project.

Bayati wrote that Saudi Arabia’s prohibition of Christianity exposes the people of that faith to grave personal risk and is “a glaring violation of the freedom of denomination.” Bayati added that at a moment when Saudi Arabia is supporting and financing the construction of mosques on a massive scale in Europe, the lack of freedom of region for Christians in Saudi Arabia is a source of “great disappointment”. The organization first asked Saudi authorities to build a church last spring, after Saudi Arabia’s top Sunni religious leader, the Grand Mufti, called for the destruction of all Christian churches on the Arabian peninsula. The ILMOE condemned the Grand Mufti’s gesture saying Islam does not prohibit the construction of Christian churches.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Far East

Chinese Muslims Start Leaving for Hajj

BEIJING: A total of 332 Chinese Muslims flew to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, via a charter flight Tuesday evening for Hajj. They are the first group among 13,800 Chinese pilgrims that will head to Saudi Arabia, according to Jin Rubin, vice secretary general of the Islamic Association of China…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Mali Islamists ‘Increasingly Repressive’

Radical Islamists in control of northern Mali are becoming “increasingly repressive,” amputating limbs, whipping people in the streets and stoning to death a couple accused of adultery, a human rights group has said.

The Islamists’ efforts to impose Sharia law has also extended to banning ring tones on mobile phones that are not Koranic verse readings, as well as prohibiting cigarettes and alcohol. Women who wear jewellery or perfume, or fail to cover their heads can also face punishment, Human Rights Watch said in its report Tuesday. “The Islamist armed groups have become increasingly repressive as they have tightened their grip over northern Mali,” said Corinne Dufka, senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Stonings, amputations and floggings have become the order of the day in an apparent attempt to force the local population to accept their world view.” Human Rights Watch said it had documented at least eight amputations since the radical Islamists seized power earlier this year in the north of Mali, a predominantly moderate Muslim country in western Africa. Other elderly residents collapsed after being flogged as punishment, the group said…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Rise in Witchcraft & Satanism in Kwazulu-Natal

A student’s eerie discovery of burning candles, a jar of blood and a knife within a six- pointed star at the University of KwaZulu-Natal has alarmed occult experts, who warn there is an upsurge in witchcraft and Satanism in Durban, Pietermaritzburg and Richards Bay.

Of particular concern is that the symbol of the six-pointed star was also found last week at the scene of the suicide of a Reservoir Hills teenager, Kyle Mudaly, 16, with claims he had occult links. This is denied by his family.

Mudaly was found with a deep incision to his chest, with blood smears around it. A six-sided star was daubed in black ink on his bedroom wall.

Occult expert and sociologist Dr Kobus Jonker said he was receiving calls for help every week from every province with hot spots including the three KZN cities, Cape Town, Fish Hoek and on the West Rand in Krugersdorp, Randfontein and Roodepoort. In some cases students were turning to witchcraft to pass exams.

Both Jonker and occult and Satanism expert Dr Herbie Staples warned parents to be vigilant to avoid a tragedy such as a suicide.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

Somalia’s Islamist War Chest Being Boosted by UN Funds

The war-chest of Somalia’s al-Qaeda-allied Islamists is likely being boosted with United Nations funds used to buy charcoal from areas the terror group controls, The Daily Telegraph has learnt.

Al-Shabaab pays for weapons and fighters with the £800,000 a month it earns from charcoal sales and exports, now banned under a British-sponsored UN Security Council resolution adopted at the London Conference on Somalia in February. The business has become the group’s “most lucrative source of income”, according to the UN Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea. But the UN has since April been buying 52 tonnes of charcoal a week for the kitchens of peacekeeping forces in Mogadishu, and one Somalia expert said it was “highly unlikely” that the deal was “not at least indirectly benefiting” the terrorists…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Latin America

Barbados: British Aid Used to Train Waiters at Billionaire’s Playground

A billionaire’s playground where British funds help to train the next generation to wait on wealthy hotel guests.

Gathered around an urn full of hot water, a group of young waiting staff are polishing the cutlery until it gleams. Another team is laying the restaurant tables, while a manager picks up a wine glass, turning it in the sunlight to ensure that it is spotless. Little surprise: guests at Barbados’s hotels are among the most demanding in the world. Yet this training establishment is not being run by one of the country’s many world-class hotels. It is paid for by you. The European Union provided £1.8m to build an entire hotel and leisure complex, complete with golf course, in which to train 200 young people a year in hospitality management, baking technology and “culinary arts” in Barbados. Despite having one of the most sophisticated hotel industries in the world, Barbados asked the EU — whose aid budget is one-sixth funded by Britain’s Department for International Development (DfID) — to pay to train the next generation of sommeliers, chefs and maitres d’s at the Hotel PomMarine, on the south west coast of the island…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

Bullying, Bingeing, Racism and the Other New Deadly Sins

THE seven deadly sins have been given a modern makeover after being branded outdated.

And research has named racism as the biggest sin in today’s society.

In horror flick Se7en, starring Brad Pitt, 48, gruesome murders were carried out based on the original sins of wrath, envy, greed, gluttony, sloth, lust and pride.

But the film may require a remake to include the updated list of binge-drinking, domestic violence, tax evasion, racism, ­terrorism, bullying and bigotry.

The poll was carried out by TV channel CBS Reality, whose new series Sins & Secrets premieres tonight at 10pm.

Director of programming Sam Rowden said: “The research has really opened our eyes as to the strength of public feeling toward some of the biggest issues today.”

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

Paris Sets Sights on Gay Games

Paris is officially in the running to host the 2018 Gay Games, but is facing formidable competition. France24.com spoke to Michael Geffroy, co-chair of the Paris organising committee, to find out how the French capital has to offer.

Two years ago, the city lost the bid, but Paris has not given up the hope of some day organising the Gay Games, an international sports and cultural event that gathers athletes, artists and activists every four years. The French capital recently received approval from national authorities to re-launch its bid to become a host city and is now aiming for 2018.

Paris’ bid is being is backed by a 30-strong group of French LGBT (lesbians, gay, bisexual, transgender) organisations working alongside France’s gay and lesbian sports federation.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UK: Grandmother: 73, Who Sent 500 Racist Letters Demanding England is ‘Made Pure Again’ Gets Life-Long ASBO

Poison pen letter writer Margaret Walker, 73, was given a lifetime antisocial behaviour order after she admitted sending over 500 leaflets full of racist slurs, graphic drawings and vile rants about different ethnic groups.

The widow from Fareham, near Portsmouth, branded Scots ‘scum’ and lambasted people of Pakistani origin as ‘scroungers’ during the five-year spree.

She said Prime Minister David Cameron was ‘flooding the country with ethnic people’ and bombarded MPs, businesses, shops and parish councils up and down the country with her racist views.

She singled out Marks and Spencer and St Mary’s Hospital in Portsmouth demanding the hospital to get rid of ‘dirty, untrustworthy foreign staff, to make it pure again’ for English people.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

General

Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamophobia at UN General Assembly

(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) — Muslim leaders have called on the Western countries to stop spreading Islamophobia and blasphemy in their communities, challenging US President Barack Obama’s defense of freedom of expression. In his address to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, Obama condemned the “violence and intolerance” erupted across the world over a blasphemous anti-Islam film produced in the United States. He also stated that the removal of such sacrilegious videos or offensive publications from the Internet would be a violation of the US constitution, which “protects the right to practice free speech.”

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono challenged Obama’s speech, saying the insulting movie was another example of religious defamation. Yudhoyono stressed that freedom of expression is “not absolute” as according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights “everyone must observe morality and public order.” He also called for the establishment of an international “instrument to effectively prevent incitement to hostility or violence based on religions or beliefs.” In addition to Yudhoyono, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari asked the UN to take actions against the “incitement of hate” against Muslims…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Noam Chomsky: Not Even Right About Linguistics

For a certain kind of leftwinger, there’s no bigger blight on the world than the USA. Admittedly, the foreign policy mistakes of successive US administrations have supplied ample grist to the mill of anti-Americanism, but you don’t have to be a neo-con to see that the deep hostility of people like Julian Assange to America’s role in the world is utterly unbalanced.

Perhaps the most respectable exponent of this kind of worldview is Noam Chomsky, the grand old man of theoretical linguistics. As if often the case with public intellectuals, achievement in a specialised academic field somehow translates into a general license to have your ill-considered rants on unrelated topics taken seriously. However, as a fascinating post by Deevy Bishop — a Professor of Developmental Neuropsychology — explains, Chomsky might not even be right about linguistics…

In other words, Chomsky has made a valid observation (about the way that sentences can be analysed by linguists), but has falsely assumed that it is of fundamental relevance to the issue at stake (about how human beings acquire language in the first place). Deevy makes no comment about Chomsky’s political views, but something analogous surely applies: Just because bad things are done within the context of America’s political and economic systems, it does not mean that those systems are fundamentally bad.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

What Chomsky Doesn’t Get About Child Language

by Deevey Bishop

Noam Chomsky is widely regarded as an intellectual giant, responsible for a revolution in how people think about language. In a recent book by Chomsky and James McGilvray, the Science of Language, the foreword states: “It is particularly important to understand Chomsky’s views … not only because he virtually created the modern science of language by himself … but because of what he and colleagues have discovered about language — particularly in recent years…”

As someone who works on child language disorders, I have tried many times to read Chomsky in order to appreciate the insights that he is so often credited with. I regret to say that, over the years, I have come to the conclusion that, far from enhancing our understanding of language acquisition, his ideas have led to stagnation, as linguists have gone through increasingly uncomfortable contortions to relate facts about children’s language to his theories. The problem is that the theories are derived from a consideration of adult language, and take no account of the process of development. There is a fundamental problem with an essential premise about what is learned that has led to years of confusion and sterile theorising…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

World Muslim Group Demands Laws Against “Islamophobia”

GENEVA (Reuters) — The world’s largest Islamic body called on Tuesday for expressions of “Islamophobia” to be curbed by law, just as some countries restrict anti-Semitic speech or Holocaust denial.

Pakistan, speaking on behalf of the 56 countries that form the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), condemned a video made in the United States that defamed Islam and the Prophet Mohammad, igniting Muslim protests around the world this month.

“Incidents like this clearly demonstrate the urgent need on the part of states to introduce adequate protection against acts of hate crimes, hate speech, discrimination, intimidation and coercion resulting from defamation and negative stereotyping of religions, and incitement to religious hatred, as well as denigration of venerated personalities,” Pakistan’s ambassador Zamir Akram said in a speech to the U.N. Human Rights Council.

Akram said the crudely made video, as well as the burning of the Koran and the publication of defamatory cartoons, amount to “deliberate attempts to discriminate, defame, denigrate and vilify Muslims and their beliefs”.

Such acts constitute “flagrant incitement to violence” and are not protected by freedom of expression, Akram said. Rather, he said, Islamophobia must be acknowledged as a contemporary form of racism and be dealt with as such.

“Not to do so would be a clear example of double standards. Islamophobia has to be treated in law and practice equal to the treatment given to anti-Semitism, especially in legislations.”

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

News Feed 20120925

Financial Crisis
» Euro Rescue of €2 Trillion ‘An Illusion’
» Greece: Athens Refuses to Buy File on Tax-Evaders
» Monti: “Growth in 2013”. Italy is No Longer a EU Problem
» Spain: Catalonia: A New Headache for the EU
» Spain: Parliament Under ‘Siege’ In Protest Against Cuts
» Spain’s Bailout Hesitation ‘Highly Risky’, Says Commissioner
 
USA
» Dhimmitude, Obama-Style
» Govt. Officials Allowed Billions in Medicaid Overpayments for New York
» Meet Monsanto’s Number One Lobbyist: Barack Obama
» No Business Like Gov Business
» Obama, “The Prophet of Islam”, and Slander
» U.S. Government Celebrates Terrorist Who Craved to Nuke the U.S.
» U.S. Distrust in Media Hits New High
 
Canada
» Hillel Neuer From U.N. Watch Speaks at University of Toronto
 
Europe and the EU
» Authorities Investigating Call for Terror Attacks in Germany
» France: Death Threats and New Editions Stoke Mag Row
» France: Child Pickpocket Group Arrested in Paris Raid
» French Man Falsely Convicted of Child Rape Gets €800,000
» ‘Goebbels Was a Sensitive Man,’ Poems Up for Auction
» Italy: Berlusconi Would Have Been Less Bound to Merkel Than Monti
» Italy: Lazio Governor’s Resignation Amid Graft Scandal Sparks Political Crisis
» Italy: Berlusconi Denies His Party in Disarray Over Lazio Graft Scandal
» Italy: Berlusconi Denies PDL Implosion Over Lazio Scandal
» Italy: Catholic Weekly Slams ‘Squandering’ In Lazio Council
» Scotland Surfs Ahead on Marine Energy
» Study: 150,000 Bribes a Month in Bulgaria
» Switzerland Ponders a Future of Clean Money
» Two Jihadist Suspects ‘Preparing Attack’ Deported From Italy
» UK: A Study of the English Defence League: The Faith Hate Report
» UK: BBC Apology After Reporter on Radio 4 Divulges Queen’s Private Views About Hamza
» UK: Call for Inquiry Into Grooming of Girls for Sex
» UK: Cambridge’s Eco Mosque Finally Granted Permission
» UK: Hate Preacher Abu Hamza Set for Extradition as it is Revealed Queen ‘Asked if He Could be Arrested in Britain’
» UK: Muslims Appeal to Government to Help Stop ‘Blasphemy’ In Wake of Film Row
» UK: Mother’s Fury as Son’s Seventh Birthday Party at Public Pool Had Full View of Mens’ Naked Swim Session
» UK: Obsessed With Andrew Mitchell, The British Media is Neglecting the Police Story That Really Matters
» UK: Police Turned a Blind Eye to Sex Grooming Gangs for More Than a Decade, Confidential Files Reveal
» UK: Queen ‘Asked Why Britain Couldn’t Arrest Abu Hamza’
» UK: The Queen Lobbied the Government to Kick Out Abu Hamza
» UK: The EDL and Interfaith Dialogue
» UK: Terrifying Moment Masked Robbers Stormed Family’s Garden Threatening Them With Knives Before Forcing Them to Empty Safe
» UK: Why Do the Asians Hate Me? Heartbreaking Letter Victim, 13, Of Grooming Sex Gang Wrote to Herself
 
North Africa
» Egypt: Moderate Against Islamist Constituent Assembly’s Denial of Women’s Rights
» Obama to Release One Third of Gitmo Inmates
» Permanent Spin
» US ‘Ramps Up Anti-Terror Surveillance, Eyes Possible Strike’
 
Israel and the Palestinians
» Academia’s Judith Butler of BDS Flunks on the Facts
» Forget the Party Conferences. Think Instead About What Will Happen Here if Israel Bombs Iran
» Suicide Bombers ‘Martyrs’ According to Taxpayer-Supported Charity
 
Middle East
» Barack Obama: US Will Not Backtrack on Middle East
» Car Bomb Explodes Near School in Hit, Iraq; 4 Killed
» Energy: Solar Power Set to Give Saudi Arabia a Green Edge
» Iran: Israel is a ‘Fake Regime’, Says Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
» Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: Sir Salman Rushdie ‘Still Under the Threat of Death’
» Romney Attacks Obama on ‘Bumps in the Road’
» Saudi Millions and Special Forces Expertise Turn Syria’s Rebels Into a Fighting Force
» Saudi King Launches Huge Medina Mosque Project
» Soldiers Kill Child in Syria’s Aleppo
» Turkey Blocks Access to Mohammed Video
» U.S. State Department is Going to Remove the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (Pmoi/Mek) From it List of Foreign Terrorist Organisations
 
South Asia
» Afghanistan: US Marines Face Courts Martial Over Taliban Urination Video
» Afghanistan: The Simple School-Style Plan Sketched on a Whiteboard Taliban Used to Plot Attack on Camp Bastion
» Bomb Squad in Afghanistan Finds Baby in Roadside Package
» India: More Violence Against Christians. Governments Complicit With Hindu Nationalists
» Pakistan Minister Refuses to Step Down Over Bounty
» Two Marines Stand Trial for Urinating on Taliban’s Bodies
 
Far East
» China’s First Aircraft Carrier Enters Service
» China: The Foxconn Riot Shows US the Misery of Communism and the Hypocrisy of Western Liberals
» Taiwanese Vessels Add New Twist to Japan-China Row
 
Australia — Pacific
» Islamist Compares Perth Drunks to Sydney Rioters
 
Sub-Saharan Africa
» French FM Says Mali Asked for ECOWAS Troops Intervention
 
Immigration
» Migration Fuels 4m Rise in Population of England and Wales Over the Last 10 Years
» Two Afghan Men Sentenced to Life in Prison for Greece Stabbings That Sparked Anti-Immigration Riots
 
Culture Wars
» Ahmadinejad: Support to Gays? Stuff for Capitalists
» President Obama Declares the Future Must Not Belong to Practicing Christians
 
General
» Extreme Islamic Doctrine Affects All Non-Muslims
» Giant Gas Cloud Surrounds Our Milky Way Galaxy
» Global Bacon Shortage ‘Unavoidable’ Next Year, Says U.K.’s National Pig Association
» We Mustn’t Fall for the Great Illusion Again
» Where’s the ‘Freedom’ In the Freedom to Abuse?

Financial Crisis

Euro Rescue of €2 Trillion ‘An Illusion’

Germany on Monday dismissed as “completely illusory” a press report suggesting that the eurozone’s bailout fund could be leveraged up by a factor of four to around €2 trillion euros ($2.6 trillion).

A spokesman for Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble told a regular news briefing that the figure, reported by Der Spiegel magazine over the weekend, was unrealistic and “completely illusory.”

While there were discussions in Brussels over boosting the firepower of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), due to come into force next month with a volume of €500 billion, it would be “abstract” to discuss figures, said the spokesman, Martin Kotthaus.

“It’s not feasible” to put a precise number on the potential final amount of the fund, he said.

However, he said that the German government backed in principle the idea of leveraging the fund, which is reported to have run into opposition from Finland.

The possibility exists already for the ESM’s predecessor, the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), Kotthaus recalled.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Greece: Athens Refuses to Buy File on Tax-Evaders

Rzeczpospolita

The Greek government has rejected an offer by an unidentified whistle-blower to buy CD discs with names of tax evaders stolen by dishonest Swiss bankers, arguing it would constitute an act of “industrial espionage”. Thus, Greece is refusing to follow the example of Germany and other countries that bought several CD discs from Swiss whistleblowers in order to recover due taxes from their citizens. Warsaw daily Rzeczpospolita notes that “it is not a secret that for many years Greeks have deposited billions of euro in Swiss accounts”. According to Swiss broker company Helvea, the amount in question could be as high as 20 billion euros. Rzeczpospolita adds that —

The Greek revenue hasn’t the slightest idea about 99% of this money. So if that sum could be taxed once Greece and Switzerland signs a tax agreement, it could provide the Greek budget with at least 4 billion euro.

An agreement currently being negotiated by Athens would provide that deposits of Greek citizens in Swiss banks be taxed between 19% and 34% (depending on their duration) with the collected taxes then being transferred to the Greek revenue office. Recently, Germany, Austria and Britain have signed similar tax treaties with Switzerland.

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

Monti: “Growth in 2013”. Italy is No Longer a EU Problem

(AGI) Rome — “The dramatic end” that faced Italy months ago “now appears to be more remote”.”Italy has succeeded to be taken off the list” of Countries “with problems in the EU”.

These were the words uttered by Italian Premier Mario Monti on opening the International Conference on Structural Reforms in Italy together with OECD Secretary General Jose’ Angel Gurria.

“Without the ‘Salva-Italia’ bill, we would have lost sovereignty” underscored the Premier-Professor while assuring that in the upcoming 10 years, thanks to the reforms brough about by the Government, Italy’s GDP will record an additional 4% growth. As for 2013, Monti clarified: “The year will record a growth” even if “the engine driving the economy will start off slowly, held back by the weight of the past”. The Premier also mentioned his talks with Fiat’s top-management. “They did not request the application of the exceptional wages guarantee fund or financial concessions, which wouldn’t have been accepted” he specified, calling on all the parties concerned to interpret the “result of the meeting” held 2 days ago “like a bet”.

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

Spain: Catalonia: A New Headache for the EU

El País Madrid

Catalonia, Spain’s wealthiest and yet most indebted region is claiming the right not to pay for a central government brought low by debt, all the while brandishing the spectre of independence under Madrid’s nose. For Brussels this microcosm version of trouble the eurozone faces is the cause of much scepticism, as well as concern.

Claudi Pérez

The crises work as plotting devices: the German take on the European crisis is a morality tale, grounded in the belief that the economic fainting fit is due to the fiscal irresponsibility of sinners in the south of Europe, who must do penance. Using that erroneous script as a guide, the solutions are getting harder and harder, the mechanisms of solidarity scarcer, and the citizenry of some northern countries more suspicious.

In the south, meanwhile, an anti-German (or anti-European) mood is growing and extremists have been posting gains in many of the most recent elections. In the euro crisis, Spain is a kind of microcosm: the misunderstanding dramatised by Catalonia has odd parallels with that story of the euro.

As Brussels sees it, the direct causes of the economic problems of Catalonia lie in the deep recession following a vastly inflated housing bubble and the works of various governments over the years, and not in the more than dubious fiscal exploitation (although the funding system is imperfect and the scale of Catalonia’s taxation deficit debatable) that Catalan separatism is brandishing to justify its claims. For this reason, the EU saw this controversy coming with some perplexity, which has now metamorphosised into worries that it’s coming at the worst time of the Spanish crisis.

“More Catalonia and more Europe”

Catalonia, obviously, is not Germany. To start with, it is suffering the ravages of the recession and unemployment firsthand. In many other ways, though, the analogy is accurate. Once again, in the midst of the crisis, it is the rich North that wants to cut back on its transfers of solidarity.

Brussels is noting that debate with some unease: “Catalonia is an additional source of concern. Spain had already abundant problems, and now it turns out that one of the wealthiest communities must apply for a bailout from the State. Almost on the same day it threatens independence and proposes a mis-named fiscal pact, which ultimately proposes paying in fewer resources to the coffers of the Spanish state at a time when that the health of the public accounts is raising some doubts,” said one diplomat…

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

Spain: Parliament Under ‘Siege’ In Protest Against Cuts

Thousands on the street, riot police seal off building

(ANSAmed) — MADRID — Riot police have sealed off Spain’s Parliament Tuesday ahead of a demonstration against the Rajoy government’s handling of the economic crisis. The protest, which began gathering steam this morning and has been supported by over 50,000 people across Spain in a Facebook campaign, is expected to end in a symbolic ‘siege’ of congress at 18.00 in which protestors will call for Rajoy’s resignation. Activists from left wing parties, disillusioned trade-unionists, ‘indignants’ from the 15-M movement, public sector workers, academics, intellectuals and ordinary people who have been hit by the crisis plan to cordon off the Lower House during session in order to save it from ‘kidnapping by the Troika and financial markets, in collaboration with Spain’s main political parties.’ A high wire mesh erected around Parliament and the surrounding streets is being guarded by 1350 riot police who were last night deployed to the scene ahead of the protest.

La Carrera de San Jeronimo has been the scene of numerous protests at austerity cuts over the summer, including the abolition of civil servants’ ‘13th month’ pay and a VAT increase to reduce the deficit and achieve the goal of stability fixed at 6.3% this year and 4.5% in 2013.

Budget cuts totaling 40 billion euro are likely to be approved by the executive of the Partito Popolar at a Council of Ministers meeting on Thursday.

Government delegate in Madrid, Cristina Cifuentes, has warned that it would be a ‘crime’ to surround Parliament. President of the Parliament, Jesus Posada reminded protestors that “Parliament is inviable’ and cannot be interrupted or suffer external pressures”.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Spain’s Bailout Hesitation ‘Highly Risky’, Says Commissioner

EU competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia, himself a Spaniard, has acknowledged Madrid faces a “difficult decision” in asking for another bailout. “But what’s highly risky is to maintain the uncertainty — because you can come to a time when the cost of that uncertainty is bigger than any decision,” he said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

USA

Dhimmitude, Obama-Style

The only religion for which liberals make excuses is the most illiberal one — Islam. While they interpret Christianity in the worst possible light — the Obama administration places Catholic and Evangelical opponents of gay marriage in the same moral category as racists — they cast Islam in the rosiest one. It is a “great religion,” pronounced Hillary Clinton last week, even as its adherents set fire to embassies and cheered the killing of U.S. diplomats and Navy Seals.

The more violence Islam produces, the more liberals insist it is “peaceful.” The cravenness would be comic were its implications not so serious. Last week self-styled Voltairean liberals, who normally gush about the glories of free speech, popped up on mindless morning shows to endorse the imprisonment of Islam’s critics. MSNBC pundit Mike Barnicle encouraged the Justice Department to round up Florida pastor Terry Jones as an “accessory” to crimes. Barnicle’s colleagues appeared untroubled by his fascistic suggestion. One even chimed in that “I was thinking the same thing.”

[…]

Due to his reflexive Islamophilia, Obama will never acknowledge Islam’s role in terrorism. Muslim terrorists have shot up a military base at Fort Hood, tried to blow up a plane over Detroit, attempted to bomb tourists in Times Square, and now killed our diplomats abroad. Meanwhile, Eric Holder refuses to let Justice Department officials identify “radical Islam” as a motive for terrorism and Obama security adviser John Brennan holds that jihad is a harmless concept of self-improvement “meaning to purify oneself or one’s community.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Govt. Officials Allowed Billions in Medicaid Overpayments for New York

On Friday, House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) released a new report entitled, “The Federal Government’s Failure to Prevent and End Medicaid Overpayments,” which examines outrageous abuses of federal tax dollars within the Medicaid program, specifically regarding payments made to New York State developmental centers.

The report reveals that over the past 20-years, New York State received billions of dollars in Medicaid reimbursements through mismanaged overpayments, and that the overpayments are continuing. Further, the report documents that as Medicaid payment rates increased, Federal officials failed to question the rising cost or implement measures that would bring the rates in line with actual costs, according to Rep. Issa.

The Committee estimates that the state-operated facilities in New York that house and treat individuals with developmental disabilities received federal Medicaid overpayments of at least $15 billion over the past two decades.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Meet Monsanto’s Number One Lobbyist: Barack Obama

After the election, and during Obama’s term as president, people who had been working to label GMO food and warn the public of its huge dangers were shocked to the core. They saw Obama had been pulling a bait and switch.

The new president filled key posts with Monsanto people, in federal agencies that wield tremendous force in food issues, the USDA and the FDA:

At the USDA, as the director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Roger Beachy, former director of the Monsanto Danforth Center.

As deputy commissioner of the FDA, the new food-safety-issues czar, the infamous Michael Taylor, former vice-president for public policy for Monsanto. Taylor had been instrumental in getting approval for Monsanto’s genetically engineered bovine growth hormone.

As commissioner of the USDA, Iowa governor, Tom Vilsack. Vilsack had set up a national group, the Governors’ Biotechnology Partnership, and had been given a Governor of the Year Award by the Biotechnology Industry Organization, whose members include Monsanto.

As the new Agriculture Trade Representative, who would push GMOs for export, Islam Siddiqui, a former Monsanto lobbyist.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

No Business Like Gov Business

Once upon a time, Americans were shareholders of government. Today Americans are consumers of government.

A choice between big corporations and big government is a choice of choices and no choice at all. There isn’t much good that can be said about corporations, just as there isn’t much good that can be said about any branch of the government. The difference is that you have a choice whether to deal with a corporation or not. Unless the government mandates that you buy health insurance from one of them; because most cases where people are forced to do business with a corporation is due to government regulations.

Imagine a big corporation. A really big corporation that monopolizes as much as it can and compels you to buy its low quality overpriced services and imprisons you if you refuse to pay for them whether you use them or not.

Now imagine a CEO who has no accountability, who cannot be put on trial for his actions while serving in that position, who picks and chooses which laws to follow, who breaks the law, causes thousands of deaths, lies repeatedly and wants to spend another four years doing it all over again.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Obama, “The Prophet of Islam”, and Slander

By Andrew Bostom

During his speech to the UN General Assembly yesterday (Tuesday, 9/25/12) Mr. Obama proclaimed ,

The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.

He rapidly cloaked this bold statement regarding Islam, alone, with a pretense of ecumenism, by adding

But to be credible, those who condemn that slander must also condemn the hate we see in the images of Jesus Christ that are desecrated, or churches that are destroyed, or the Holocaust that is denied.

This latter statement rings hollow. Mr. Obama and his State Department have never condemned, let alone actively sought to preclude—in real time and with specificity—the ongoing Muslim jihadist ravages against Christians and other non-Muslims across the length and breadth of Islamdom, often perpetrated by so-called US “Muslim allies,” and/or purveyors of “moderate Islam.” Even on the domestic front, one still awaits any Obama administration commentary on the “Piss Christ” revival, an exhibit originally funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts—particularly in light of their endless condemnation of the previously marginal, amateurish video, “Innocence of Muslims .”…

           — Hat tip: Andy Bostom [Return to headlines]

U.S. Government Celebrates Terrorist Who Craved to Nuke the U.S.

Last week the Environmental Protection Agency kicked-off its celebration of “Hispanic Heritage Month” with an e-mail message featuring Che Guevara along with his famous slogan, “Hasta la Victoria Siempre.”

Let’s hope these U.S. civil servants were innocently unaware of some of Che Guevara’s other slogans:

“The U.S. is the great enemy of mankind!”

“Against those hyenas [Americans] there is no option but extermination!”

“ We will bring the war to the imperialist enemies’ very home, to his places of work and recreation. The imperialist enemy must feel like a hunted animal wherever he moves. Thus we’ll destroy him! (the U.S.)

“We must keep our hatred [against the U.S.] alive and fan it to paroxysm! “

“If the nuclear missiles had remained (in Cuba) we would have fired them against the heart of the U.S. including New York City. The victory of socialism is well worth millions of atomic victims!”

(Full documentation for all of the above here.)

U.S. taxpayers pay U.S. government employees to celebrate the author of the charming sentiments above. Fine. As usual only a few Americans of Cuban heritage have complained about the EPA’s “gaffe.” As usual, most of the people Che Guevara craved to incinerate view this EPA “gaffe” as silly obsession by hyper-sensitive and loudmouthed Cuban-Americans.

Since the U.S. government insists on these ethnic celebrations here’s an idea: Instead of celebrating a foreign “Hispanic” who dreamed of incinerating and entombing millions of U.S. citizens and obliterating the U.S. as a political entity, why not celebrate a U.S. citizen of Hispanic heritage who voluntarily put his life repeatedly on the line to defend the U.S.! Better still, this American of Hispanic heritage played a key role in capturing the foreign Hispanic who craved to murder millions of Americans!

EPA, meet Felix Rodriguez. Some background:

[Comments: Life story of Felix Rodriguez well worth reading.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

U.S. Distrust in Media Hits New High

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Americans’ distrust in the media hit a new high this year, with 60% saying they have little or no trust in the mass media to report the news fully, accurately, and fairly.

The record distrust in the media, based on a survey conducted Sept. 6-9, 2012, also means that negativity toward the media is at an all-time high for a presidential election year. This reflects the continuation of a pattern in which negativity increases every election year compared with the year prior.

The current gap between negative and positive views — 20 percentage points — is by far the highest Gallup has recorded since it began regularly asking the question in the 1990s. Trust in the media was much higher, and more positive than negative, in the years prior to 2004 — as high as 72% when Gallup asked this question three times in the 1970s.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

Canada

Hillel Neuer From U.N. Watch Speaks at University of Toronto

The U.N. Watch’s mandate as a Geneva-based non-governmental organization was to “monitor the performance of the United Nations by the yardstick of its own Charter,” which seemed a reasonable premise. So I decided to hear them out.

Today I laud U.N. Watch as one of the few human rights advocacy groups that has real balls. Standing up at U.N. conferences to question mass butchers on brutality and deception is far more courageous than holding up ‘He’s Not My President’ placards about Bush in a free country. More, U.N. Watch is sometimes the only outlet that bothers reporting or drawing attention to some of the most heinous failures of leadership around the globe. It’s a mystery to me why most of the issues they highlight do not end up in “TruthDig” or Now Magazine or other leftist outlets that purport to care about human rights.

[…]

U.N. Watch believes “that even with its shortcomings, the UN remains an indispensable tool in bringing together diverse nations and cultures.” Personally, I’m not so hopeful; I will come right out and call the U.N. evil.

The level of the corruption, and the fact that its own Declaration of Human Rights is something that it treats like a joke gives me pause to say the least. The fact that it sucks up its money from the west and uses that money against the west is highway robbery.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Authorities Investigating Call for Terror Attacks in Germany

A group of Islamist extremists has called for terrorist attacks to be carried out in Germany. The letter also claims that a German plays the leading role in a video that has caused outrage in the Islamic world.

The news of the call for attacks in Germany was first reported in the Tuesday edition of the daily newspaper Die Welt.

The Hamburg-based paper reported that it had obtained the text of the document in which a German Islamist who goes by the name of Abu Assad calls on his fellow Muslims to carry out attacks in revenge for the video about the Prophet Muhammed that recently turned up on the Internet

The statement calls on Muslims to behead their enemies and film such acts “so that Germany, yes even all of Europe, knows that their criminal games will be stamped out by the sisters of Islam.”

The document, which was published on an Islamist Internet forum, which has been used by terror groups such as al Qaeda, also contains an unsubstantiated claim that the lead actor in the video is of German origin.

“Let your target be this German actor in this film, who played the role of our noble messenger,” the statement reads. “(The far-right party) Pro-NRW, who make fun of our beloved prophet in caricatures. And those politicians who supported and allowed the display of these caricatures. And those citizens who support them in this, no matter who they are.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

France: Death Threats and New Editions Stoke Mag Row

An inquiry has been launched after graffitied death threats to satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo were found in the town of Albi, in the south of France, as editors reveal they will publish two versions of the paper this week: a “responsible” and an “irresponsible” one.

Graffiti daubed in blue paint on a community centre spotted by police reportedly read “death to Charlie Hebdo”, “for the prophet”, “we are going to kill you” and “death to the USA”.

Violence erupted over the cartoons of Muhammad in a sensitive area of the town on Saturday night. Police were called out at 11pm to burning vehicles and wheelie bins.

Meanwhile, editors at the magazine have revealed this week’s edition will have two copies — a “responsible” one, for those who criticised the publication of cartoons last week, and an “irresponsible” one, which will be a “normal Charlie Hebdo”.

Editor in Chief, known just as Charb, said the two copies will be written by the same staff but have completely different content. Some 100,000 copies will be published — 25,000 more than usual.

The magazine came under heavy criticism for publishing cartoons of the Muslim prophet last week. European MP Daniel Cohn-Bendit called the editors “idiots” and “masochists”, while France’s Christian Democratic party said the “put the lives of others at risk”.

Charb said: “(you will see) in the responsible edition what people like Cohn-Bendit want to read.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

France: Child Pickpocket Group Arrested in Paris Raid

French police on Tuesday raided three Roma camps in the gritty northern Paris suburbs and detained 10 people for forcing children into pickpocketing in the capital’s metro network.

The operation involved some 200 police officers who swooped into camps in the working-class districts of Aubervilliers, Stains and Saint-Denis, officials said.

Three others linked to the network were arrested in Romania, officials said.

The raids came after a probe by the children’s protection wing of the police service, launched last year, said minors were being “ill-treated and forced to beg” under the threat of violence.

Officials said dozens of cellphones stolen from passengers on underground trains were recovered in the camps. A police official said the network accounted for “75% of pickpocketings on the Paris metro.”

It was also connected to a money-laundering racket in Romania.

The French government is trying to get an estimated 15,000 Roma living in makeshift, often illegal camps to return to their countries of origin, mainly Romania and Bulgaria.

The policy of closing migrant camps and repatriating the Roma with a €300 incentive has been widely criticised. Critics have said the Roma will use the money Paris will give them to buy bus tickets back to France.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay recently expressed concern over France’s forced closures of Roma camps.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

French Man Falsely Convicted of Child Rape Gets €800,000

A French court Tuesday ordered nearly €800,000 to be paid in compensation to a former farm worker who spent more than seven years in prison after being falsely convicted of child rape.

Loic Secher, 51, is only the seventh person to have a wrongful conviction overturned in France since 1945. He had been demanding €2.4 million ($3 million) in damages.

Secher had spent seven years and three months in prison after a 14-year-old girl accused him of raping her. He was sentenced in 2003 to 16 years in jail.

The alleged victim retracted her accusation in 2008 and Secher was acquitted two years later, emerging from prison in April 2010.

His lawyers said he suffered violence at the hands of his fellow prisoners and had attempted suicide.

The court in the northwestern city of Rennes also ordered Secher’s mother to be paid €50,000 in damages and awarded a sum of €30,000 to each of his three siblings.

Secher, who had consistently proclaimed his innocence, has said he felt “destroyed” and “ruined” by his time in prison.

“There can be no price put on compensation for what he went through,” said Jean-Pierre Chesne, who headed a group seeking Secher’s acquittal.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

‘Goebbels Was a Sensitive Man,’ Poems Up for Auction

(AGI) Rome, September 24 — It may be difficult to believe but Joseph Goebbels wrote poems, love letters, short stories and novels. The material, which shows a previously unseen side to the character of Adolf Hitler’s head of Nazi propaganda, will be auctioned this week in Stanford, Connecticut. The value of what the auction house Alexander has called “the most significant collection of writing of the Second World War” is estimated to be between 200 and 300 thousand dollars. The short stories and other documents, says the auction house, show “the transformation of a romantic student who reads Marx and Engels” into an “anti-Semitic Nazi, the propagandist of the man who destroyed large swathes of Europe”.

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

Italy: Berlusconi Would Have Been Less Bound to Merkel Than Monti

(AGI) Rome, 25 Sept — Silvio Berlsuconi said that we needed both austerity and growth, but the influence of the left prevented it. “At a time when austerity had to be accompanied by growth, the left influenced the Monti government.The PD vetoes on the reform of the labour market interrupted the reforms.” The former prime minister was speaking in an interview with the Italian version of the Huffington Post.

“Compared to Monti I would have been less bound to Germany, a hegemonic country that dictates the rules of rigour and austerity to the other European countries, claiming that austerity is the way to reduce debt. But this is an illusion: public debt decreases with an increase in GDP, which means development and growth,” said the former prime minister.

Berlusconi’s idea is to abolish the IMU and cover the lost revenue with a series of tax treaties with Switzerland. “The IMU regards first and second homes with revenue split between the government and local councils, and in effect it is a property tax if we also consider the revaluation of cadastral estimates. We propose to abolish IMU on first homes. It is an intolerable tax for the Italian people, 80% of whom unlike the rest of Europe own their own home,” said Berlusconi.

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

Italy: Lazio Governor’s Resignation Amid Graft Scandal Sparks Political Crisis

Rome, 25 Sept. (AKI) Italy’s conservative People of Freedom party chiefs convened crisis talks on Tuesday after the Lazio regional governor Renata Polverini quit amid a major graft scandal.

Polverini, a PdL politician, was forced to resign on Monday over the alleged embezzlement and misuse of millions of euros of public funds by members of her regional government.

The allegations of the theft of funds allocated to the PdL from the public purse largely involve members of the PdL. They risk futher damaging the party and its founder and president, three-times prime minister Silvio Berlusconi,who has hinted he may seek re-election in the spring.

The PdL — Italy’s former ruling party — was hit by numerous corruption scandals while in power, and members of the Campania and Lombardy regional governments are currently being probed for the alleged misuse of public funds.

Polverini told Sky News Italia on Tuesday she had no intention of running for office again and claimed past regional administrations were also guilty of “unethical behaviour”.

In Italy, most party funds are provided by the state, supposedly to ensure a level-playing field during election campaigns.

No evidence has so far emerged to incriminate Polverini personally. She denies any wrongdoing and in her defiant resignation speech said she left office “with her head held high,” the victim of PdL in-fighting.

In an interview with the Huffington Post, Berlusconi praised Polverini’s departure, saying it allowed “change”.

“We appreciate Renata Polverini’s decision. While she has done nothing immoral or illegitimate, she stepped down in order to allow a change of guard at the regional administration,” he said in the interview.

PdL secretary Angelino Alfano said Polverini’s resignation “was a highly dignified and responsible choice” and praised her record at the region’s helm.

The Lazio scandal erupted earlier this month when the PdL’s former regional chief Franco Fiorito, was placed under investigation on suspicion of transferring party funds to personal accounts abroad.

Documents seized by prosecutors indicated 750,000 euros were sent to Fiorito’s accounts in Italy and overseas and that more than a million euros were charged as “non specified” expenses.

Fiorito has offered to give back 400,000 euros after documents leaked to Italian media showed that party funds paid for a holiday in Sardinia, a BMW car and Gucci fashion items.

He has implicated other PdL members in the scandal and reportedly told prosecutors there was no way Polverini could not have known of the way the funds were being used.

Before coming under massive pressure to resign, Polverini last week announced 26 million spending cuts in the wake of the scandal, saying she wanted to usher in a new era in the government of Lazio, which includes Rome.

But at a time of recession, austerity measures and tax hikes imposed by the central government to cut Italy’s massive debt load, Italy’s regions, which control significant areas of spending including health, are under scrutiny.

Aside from expenses, members of the Lazio regional assembly earn around 13,000 euros a month, more than ten times the average salary in Italy, and twice that paid to their counterparts in the northern Lombardy region around Milan.

Almost six million euros of party funds have disappeared from the region’s coffers over the past two years since Polverini’s election, according to La Repubblica daily.

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

Italy: Berlusconi Denies His Party in Disarray Over Lazio Graft Scandal

Rome, 25 Sept. (AKI) Former premier Silvio Berlusconi on Tuesday denied a multi-million euro embezzlement scandal that led to the Lazio governor’s resignation has routed his conservative People of Freedom (PdL) party.

“No, we have not been defeated, “ Berlusconi told journalists as he arrived at Rome’s central Termini station by train from Milan.

Renata Polverini, a PdL politician, was forced to resign on Monday over the alleged embezzlement and misuse of millions of euros of public funds by members of her regional government.

The allegations of the theft of party funds allocated to the PdL from the public purse largely involve members of the PdL.

In Italy, most party funds are provided by the state, supposedly to ensure a level-playing field during election campaigns.

The current system system of funding for Italy’s political parties needs to be scrapped, Berlusconi said in a statement later on Tuesday which blamed all the political groups in the Lazio regional council for the embezzlement scandal.

“It is necessary to repeal the system of party and caucus financing as we have known it,” the statement said, calling for the implementation of “independent controls”.

“All the groups in the Lazio regional council were jointly responsible: majority and opposition,” the statement claimed.

Perhaps ironically for a billionaire who is currently on trial in Milan for tax evasion and fraud, Berlusconi called for “strong renewal”.

“Strong renewal is needed to return to a form of politics that is a service rather than a source of individual gain,” he said.

Berlusconi, had hinted he might seek re-election in the spring. But in an interview with the Italian version of The Huffington Post said on Tuesday he would “wholeheartedly” be prepared to support another candidate to build a new centre right ahead of parliamentary elections next year.

PdL leaders were meeting in Rome on Tuesday after Polverini’s resignation. She denies wrongdoing and claims she was a victim of in-fighting in the PdL, which has long been riven by internal splits.

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

Italy: Berlusconi Denies PDL Implosion Over Lazio Scandal

Calls for repeal of party-funding law

(ANSA) — Rome, September 25 — Former premier Silvio Berlusconi of the centre-right People of Freedom (PdL) party on Tuesday denied that his party was at risk of imploding as a result of the corruption scandal that has engulfed the PdL caucus in the Lazio regional council. “No, we are not in disarray,” Berlusconi told journalists on arriving in Rome by train from Milan.

The party, long in the grips of internal splits, was shaken earlier this month by the news that Franco Fiorito, the former regional PdL party whip, had been placed under investigation for suspected embezzlement of party funds.

However in a note released later in the day Berlusconi said that responsibility for the scandal lies with the leaders of all political parties. “All the groups in the Lazio regional council were jointly responsible: majority and opposition,” he said. The former premier added that now “it is necessary to repeal the system of party and caucus financing as we have known it” and called for the implementation of “independent controls”.

He concluded by committing himself to a process of recovery “without uncertainties”: “Strong renewal is needed to return to a form of politics that is a service rather than a source of individual gain,” he said.

In an interview with the Italian version of The Huffington Post, in its first edition on Tuesday, Berlusconi said that he would be prepared to support a candidate other than himself to build a new centre right ahead of parliamentary elections next year.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Catholic Weekly Slams ‘Squandering’ In Lazio Council

Scandal ‘offends poor,’ says Famiglia Cristiana

(ANSA) — Rome, September 25 — A corruption scandal that has engulfed the Lazio regional council is an “indecent squandering of resources that offends the poor, the unemployed and young people without work”, Catholic weekly Famiglia Cristiana said in an editorial on Tuesday. On Monday Lazio governor Renata Polverini of Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Freedom party resigned and said she would “expose” misuse of party financing. “From today on I can say everything I have seen,” said Polverini at a press conference.

The scandal exploded after Franco Fiorito, the PdL’s former regional chief, was placed under investigation this month for suspected embezzlement of party funds.

Investigators are looking at around 800,000 euros of financial transactions linked to Fiorito.

“It cries for revenge in the eyes of God,” said the Famiglia Cristiana editorial, which likened the council to a “pigsty”.

“Those going into politics must take a loss, not make gains.

“It is already a huge honour to serve the country. And after one or two mandates they (the politicians) must all return to their former occupations”. photo: Franco Fiorito.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Scotland Surfs Ahead on Marine Energy

The idea of harnessing the power of the waves to produce electricity is not new, but now this renewable energy source is finally making a breakthrough. Pioneers are feeding wave power into the grid off Scotland’s coast.

Beneath the cliffs at Billia Croo on the Scottish island of Orkney, a number of unusual devices are being tested as energy producers. A yellow object, for example, bobs on the sea and serves as the tip of a hydroelectric wave energy converter. At a depth of fifteen meters (49 feet), a large platform is attached to the seabed, bearing a flap that moves up and down with the waves.

This device pumps water at high pressure to shore, where it produces electricity for the grid with the help of a turbine. It’s called the “Oyster” and was developed by Aquamarine Power, a Scottish company headquartered in Edinburgh.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Study: 150,000 Bribes a Month in Bulgaria

Corruption in Bulgaria is two to three times higher than the EU average, with some 150,000 bribes paid out every month, a report of the Sofia-based Centre for the Study of Democracy (CSD) said Monday. Meanwhile, due to “impunity” of politicians, the country has no proven political corruption to date.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Switzerland Ponders a Future of Clean Money

The end of Switzerland’s famous banking secrecy seems inevitable as US and German authorities crack down on tax evaders. Many Swiss are asking themselves whether their prosperity will survive if the country abandons its status as a tax haven. But some academics argue that the importance of the banking sector has been wildly exaggerated.

Jean Ziegler steps onto the veranda behind his house. It’s a warm day in late summer. He points to the hilly landscape on the other side of the Rhône River, to France, where Mont Blanc is visible in the distance. “That’s where Switzerland finally comes to an end,” says Ziegler. It’s the kind of joke you would expect of Ziegler, a man notorious for never sparing his own country.

No one else is as well known for his moral criticism of Switzerland. Ziegler is 78, and until a few years ago he traveled the world as a United Nations special rapporteur. The fight against hunger and against Swiss banks has shaped his life. Has nothing changed in the last 20 years? “No, the banditry of the banks is in full swing!” he says energetically. His wife is about to serve a meal of Wiener schnitzel accompanied by white wine.

A search for answers about Switzerland begins in Ziegler’s garden in Russin, a wine-growing municipality near Geneva. Where does the country’s wealth come from? How much of it is due to Switzerland’s tradition of banking secrecy, and for how much longer will it exist? And what happens to Switzerland when that secrecy is gone?

This Wednesday, the finance committee of the German parliament, the Bundestag, will continue a public hearing on Berlin’s tax treaty with Switzerland. Under the agreement, the money held by German citizens in Swiss banks would be taxed retroactively, while allowing the account holders to remain anonymous. German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble estimates that the change will bring in about €10 billion ($12.9 billion) in tax revenues.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Two Jihadist Suspects ‘Preparing Attack’ Deported From Italy

Libyans wanted revenge for blasphemous film

(ANSA) — Rome, September 25 — Two suspected Libyan jihad militants who were thought to have been trying to prepare attacks on Western targets have been deported from Italy, authorities in Rome said Tuesday.

The unnamed men, aged 26 and 28, are believed to have wanted to stage a revenge attack for an American-produced film that allegedly ridicules Islam’s Prophet Mohammed.

The film sparked a wave of violence in the Muslim world and the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and three other State Department employees were killed in an attack by Islamist extremists in Benghazi earlier this month. The deported men are thought to have links to Salafi militia operating in Libya.

They had been in Rome for a number of months for treatment on injuries sustained in the civil war that led to the end of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime last year and they were staying at hotels in the capital.

Investigators said that “they had started activities of proselytism and propaganda for the jihad in the Libyan community to obtain material to carry out attacks against Western interests”.

The investigators said the pair came under suspicion because of the “radical nature of their behaviour”, above all with fellow Libyans.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

UK: A Study of the English Defence League: The Faith Hate Report

What Draws People of Faith to Right Wing Organisations & What Effects Does the EDL Have on Interfaith Relations?

Key findings of the report include:

  • EDL attempts to recruit among faith communities
  • Christian leaders should publicly stand up to EDL
  • UK government should examine group’s international funding
  • Jewish Defence League should be banned

Christian organisations should be doing far more to combat the appeal of far-right groups such as the English Defence League (EDL), according to counter-extremism organisation, Faith Matters. The comments from Faith Matters coincides with the launch of research into the appeal of the EDL among faith communities, particularly among a small element of Christian, Jewish, Sikh and Hindu figures. “Christian institutions on a national level have not been robust in condemning the EDL,” said Faith Matters’ director, Fiyaz Mughal OBE. “There is no national voice from the Church of England for example, universally condemning the actions of the EDL despite the fact the EDL disrupts and attempts to divide Christian and Muslim communities. Why?”

[…]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: BBC Apology After Reporter on Radio 4 Divulges Queen’s Private Views About Hamza

BBC bosses yesterday made an extraordinary public apology to the Queen after revealing her distress at the authorities’ lack of action against Abu Hamza for ‘denigrating’ her country.

The Corporation said it had been guilty of a ‘breach of confidence’ by reporting the remarkable details of a conversation she had with its security correspondent Frank Gardner at a military dinner.

Gardner, who has an OBE, disclosed live on air that the Queen had told him of her frustration that the hate preacher had been left free to ‘use this country as a platform for his very violent, hateful views’.

He claimed she had even intervened to raise the issue with a government minister.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Call for Inquiry Into Grooming of Girls for Sex

An MP has demanded an inquiry into claims of widespread sexual exploitation of vulnerable girls in Yorkshire. The call by Rotherham’s Denis MacShane comes after shocking details emerged of grooming and trafficking of girls by groups of men in South Yorkshire. Confidential police and social services reports focusing on Rotherham, obtained by The Times, reveal a highly-disturbing series of abuse cases committed mainly by Asian men against vulnerable white girls dating back more than a decade. One report in 2010 warned that thousands of such crimes were committed by organised networks of abusers in South Yorkshire each year. The spotlight fell on Rotherham in 2010 when five men, described by a judge as “sexual predators”, were given lengthy jail terms after they were found guilty of grooming teenage girls for sex. The murder of 17-year-old Laura Wilson in 2010 by her boyfriend also raised questions about the sexual exploitation of teenagers in the town.

Yesterday Mr MacShane demanded an inquiry into the extent of the problem which he claimed had been “kept secret” from MPs by police. “The sexual violation and commercial exploitation of young girls by older men is a growing problem and needs far more public policy attention,” he said. Ash Chand, minority ethnic lead for the NSPCC, said it was deeply concerned by the allegations. “If correct, these show a systemic failure to act in the interests of young and vulnerable victims of sex crimes,” he said. “These failures left hundreds of vulnerable young girls at risk and allowed many of their abusers to continue to act with impunity for years. It seems that cultural sensitivities, and a view that some of these girls were simply rebellious teenagers, created a total failure to act. The NSPCC backs calls by the children’s commissioner to make one body responsible for all the local intelligence on the victims and perpetrators of grooming to ensure that these cases are viewed as part of a bigger picture and not as isolated incidents.”

In a statement, South Yorkshire Police said it was “leading the way” on the issue and branded claims it was deliberately withholding information as a “gross distortion”. It was working on several investigations, two of which were large and likely to lead to more prosecutions but saving children from exploitation remained the top priority. It added: “These cases are massively complex and need long and painstaking investigative work and obtaining the evidence necessary from young and vulnerable girls can be extremely difficult.”

Coun Paul Lakin, cabinet member for services for children, young people and families in Rotherham, said: “There is no question that we will do whatever we can to protect our young people from harm in whatever form that threat takes. The council has already acknowledged publicly that there have been lessons learnt from previous work, cases and investigations and that the support offered to a small number of vulnerable young people has not always reached the high standards we always look to provide. Sexual predators do come from different sections of the community and are criminals who need to be brought to justice regardless of their background.”

[JP note: There should be an inquiry followed by prosecutions of people such as Paul Lakin and his ilk. They should expect lengthy prison sentences for their crimes of multiculturalism.]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Cambridge’s Eco Mosque Finally Granted Permission

Back in 2010, we reported that the Cambridge Muslim community was planning to build Europe’s first eco mosque which would minimise carbon emissions and maximise the role faith has to play in environmental protection. Years on and the plans which were drawn up by Marks Barfield Architects have finally been approved. The mosque committee is now in fundraising mode and has already raised 19% of the money needed to build the mosque — or as they put it, 67,832 of the 350,000 bricks needed to construct the mosque have been paid for.

The Muslim Academic Trust, the UK charity promoting the new mosque development said they were delighted that their plans had been approved. “This is wonderful news for Cambridge,” said Tim Winter, Chair of the Trust, who has been leading the project since the site was bought in April 2008. “Cambridge is one of Britain’s great international cities, welcoming thousands of overseas students and academics every year, many of them of Muslim heritage. It’s tragic that there is still no significant purpose-built mosque to accommodate this community… Now a solution is in sight.”

[…]

[JP note: Mosque go green.]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Hate Preacher Abu Hamza Set for Extradition as it is Revealed Queen ‘Asked if He Could be Arrested in Britain’

Radical clerical Abu Hamza was today preparing to be extradited to the United States after an eight-year legal battle which has cost an estimated £4 million. The hook-handed preacher and four other terror suspects are due to leave the UK for a high-security prison in the US within weeks after Europe’s most senior human rights judges last night rejected a last-chance appeal bid. The decision was today welcomed by the Home Office but the eight-year struggle has left taxpayers with a bill running into millions of pounds. Welfare benefits, housing, NHS treatment, trials, legal appeals and incarceration, have cost at least £3.5 million for Hamza alone. A Home Office spokesman said the four would be handed over to the US authorities “as quickly as possible”.

Labour MP Keith Vaz, who chairs the Home Affairs Select Committee, added: “I think we’ve been waiting a very long time for Abu Hamza to be extradited. He went to the European Court and he tried to delay matters but now the decision has been taken so this clears the way for the Home Office to take action as quickly as possible against him.” Hamza was arrested in 2004 and jailed for seven years for soliciting to murder and inciting racial hatred. He has been fighting extradition ever since, accused of planning to set up a terror training camp in Oregon…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Muslims Appeal to Government to Help Stop ‘Blasphemy’ In Wake of Film Row

by Katie Griffiths, T&A

Muslim faith leaders in Bradford angered by a film insulting their Prophet Muhammed are to lobby the Government for a new law to protect all religions from blasphemy. About 80 senior Muslim leaders and representatives from the city’s mosques turned out to an emergency meeting called last night by the Council For Mosques. Council for Mosques chief executive Mohammed Saleem Khan said the meeting at the Khidmat Centre in Lidget Green was the result of “all the hurt” and strength of feeling shown by the Muslim community since the 14-minute video made by the Coptic Church in America was made public. After it was screened on YouTube thousands of people protested against it across the Middle East, North Africa and Asia. The video is still on-line despite the White House asking YouTube to consider whether the film breaches its own guidelines. Those against the video say it ridicules and abuses Islam depicting it as a religion of violence and hate and that it attacks the Prophet of Islam.

Mr Saleem Khan: “The response was so emotional, so big that we had to call the meeting. We need to show the strength of feeling and how hurt we are by this. One of the outcomes of the meeting was that there needs to be a protest of some kind and also that we must set up a steering group, a kind of working party, to write to the Government, to the Prime Minister, the Home Secretary and to the Minister of Communities and call for some kind of law that will protect the basic human right all religions have to be respected. For many people their faith is their life. We will also be writing to Bishops to the Sikh and Hindu faiths and to others asking them to join us in a joint call for this protection from blasphemey. We must work together on this.” Before the meeting, the Council for Mosque’s President Hafiz Mohammed Mushtaq said: “There is a growth of anger among the rank and file of the British community that these types of unprovoked attacks on the Islamic faith have become only too regular. There seems to be a concerted effort in the West to ridicule and abuse Islam and its followers. This is a worrying trend.”

[JP note: Hopefully, this appeal will fall on deaf ears. And the journalist, Kathie Griffiths, should be barred from her profession for a long time — “made by the Coptic Church in America” indeed.]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Mother’s Fury as Son’s Seventh Birthday Party at Public Pool Had Full View of Mens’ Naked Swim Session

[WARNING: Disturbing content.]

A mother has spoken of her horror after a group of naturists turned up at her son’s seventh birthday party at a public swimming pool.

A group of around 20 nude men began a swimming session at Radcliffe Pool and Fitness Centre in Greater Manchester in plain view of children who were eating in the canteen.

Staff had taped bin bags and paper to the windows in attempt to keep the naturist party from view.

But the boy’s shocked mother said she and other parents had to stand in front of cracks and at the balcony to make sure children didn’t see them.

The mix-up came after bosses at the pool accepted their first-ever booking by the men’s naturist group.

Council chiefs admitted they had ‘overlooked’ the clash between the bookings.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Obsessed With Andrew Mitchell, The British Media is Neglecting the Police Story That Really Matters

The Hon Shane Stone AC QC is a former (Australian) Attorney General, Police Minister and barrister who specialised in the criminal jurisdiction — defence and prosecutions…

[JP note: Not to worry, The Learned Shane is not referring to the South Yorkshire Police child sex scandal.]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Police Turned a Blind Eye to Sex Grooming Gangs for More Than a Decade, Confidential Files Reveal

[WARNING: Disturbing content.]

Police turned a blind eye to allegations of sexual abuse of white girls by gangs of largely Pakistani men for more than a decade, it was claimed yesterday.

Research, reports and case files also revealed that council officials were desperate to cover up any racial link to the abuse of young girls.

The research shows that a string of warnings dating back as far as 2000 were ignored by the authorities. In many cases, police action was taken only against the victims.

Among the alleged crimes for which no one was prosecuted were:

  • A 14-year-old girl being forced to perform sex acts on five men — four Pakistanis and an Iraqi Kurd asylum seeker;
  • A British Pakistani man was found in a car with a bottle of vodka and a 12-year-old. Both were arrested on suspicion of stealing the car. Police also found pornographic images of the girl on the 22-year-old’s phone;
  • A 14-year-old girl missing for a week was found under the influence of drugs in a car with a man 20 years older. They had had sex but he was arrested only for drug possession;
  • A 13-year-old girl was found drunk at 3am in a derelict house with a ‘large group of adult males’ who had plied her with vodka. She was arrested for a public order offence while the men walked away.

According to previously confidential documents seen by The Times, police in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, found evidence of thousands of similar crimes and described ‘networks of Asian males exploiting young white females’.

The groups were reported to have trafficked victims to cities including Bristol, Manchester and Birmingham.

Despite this, just two prosecutions of groups of men for sexual abuse have taken place in South Yorkshire since 1996.

[…]

The revelations come only three months after it emerged that social services in Rotherham had known for six years that a teenage mother, murdered for bringing shame on the families of two men who had used her for sex, was at clear risk from predatory gangs.

Laura Wilson, 17, had been groomed by a string of men before she was stabbed and thrown into a canal to die for informing her abusers’ families of the sexual relationships.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Queen ‘Asked Why Britain Couldn’t Arrest Abu Hamza’

The Queen personally intervened to ask why the British authorities had not arrested Abu Hamza, the radical cleric, it was claimed today.

She was so “upset” about the Islamist extremist being allowed to preach his message of hate in the UK that she asked a former Home Secretary to explain why he was still at large, the BBC’s respected security correspondent Frank Gardner said. Hamza and four other terrorism suspects are facing extradition to America within days after they had their case against removal from Britain thrown out by the European Court of Human Rights yesterday. Mr Gardner revealed today that the Queen told him of her frustration at Hamza remaining at liberty in Britain before he was charged with offences under the Terrorism Act in October 2004. “The Queen was pretty upset that there was no way to arrest him. She couldn’t understand — surely there must be some law that he broke,” the BBC correspondent told Radio 4’s Today programme. “Well, sure enough there was. He was eventually convicted and sentenced to seven years for soliciting murder and racial hatred.”

[…]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: The Queen Lobbied the Government to Kick Out Abu Hamza

THE Queen asked the UK government why radical cleric Abu Hamza could not be arrested, it was reported today.

The decision was finally made to kick ranting Hamza out yesterday after European judges rejected his appeal against deportation. And BBC Security Correspondent Frank Gardner revealed this morning that the Queen had lobbied for Hamza to be deported before he was charged with offences under the Terrorism Act in October 2004. Mr Gardner told BBC Radio 4 this morning: “The Queen was pretty upset that there was no way to arrest Abu Hamza.” He said she told the then Home Secretary that “surely this man must have broken some laws. Why is he still at large?” The Queen’s request came at the same time as The Sun’s campaign to put Hamza behind bars.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: The EDL and Interfaith Dialogue

by Sarah AB

Faith Matters has prepared a report analysing the reasons why members of different faith groups might be drawn to the EDL and exploring the effects the EDL is having on different communities and on interfaith dialogue.

One issue which emerges right at the beginning of the report is the slipperiness of the terms used in these debates, the difficulty of pinning down parameters. Trevor Kelway from Casuals United is quoted explaining what his own beef is:

‘ … we would march alongside Muslims and Jews who are against militant Islam…they can join the EDL as long as they accept an English way of life. It is the people who threaten with bombs and violence and threaten and bomb our troops — they don’t belong here’.

Now — although I probably wouldn’t say ‘they don’t belong here’, I’d actually go much further than Kelway, in a sense, because I think there are people and groups who are problematic even though they don’t threaten violence. The way Kelway refers to Jews in that sentence is — interesting. Why the need to make a big deal of being prepared to march alongside Jews as though, bizarrely, Jews were likely to be fans of militant Islam? I think someone’s mask just slipped a bit. The EDL is of course made up of many different individuals whose motivations and views may vary substantially. This report cautions against simply demonising the EDL

[…]

[Reader comment by david on 24 September 2012 at 10:45 am.]

Didn’t Muslim terrorists try to blow up the EDL? So they must have struck a cord. And why are you on the side of Muslim terrorists.

[Reader comment by Adrian Morgan on 24 September 2012 at 11:24 am.]

I am just wondering, Sarah. As you seem to be writing quite a lot about the EDL, but are filtering what you think they might or might not be thinking through the lens of the openly biased articles of Nick Lowles (and, it appears other non-EDL sources) — may I make a suggestion? You do as I did in September 2009, with a set of questions, and then email those to leading figures in the EDL and related groups, and then publish the answers ATL [Above the Line] on Harry’s Place? The results of my survey, and responses, can be read and here, here, here and here.

Because I am sorry to say that your “soppy end of the political spectrum” (your words) perspectives on such emotive and highly charged issues as the EDL are not objective at all.

I am not saying you should agree or disagree with them. But journalistically you are actually presenting a pile of nothinglessness masquerading as fact [my emphasis]. If you have access to the original sources, and I am sure that can be done quite easily, then please go to the original sources, not through a person (Nick Lowles) who has previously deliberately dissembled in his accounts of the EDL, for his own political reasons. You can add your own spin/bias to the facts, but I think that as a writer on facts you are being preposterous by continually relying on biased sources (Loonwatch, Nick Lowles and HnH) for your information. Go to the source, please, or just write about Judge Dredd or what you saw on TV. At least that sort of writing would be based upon direct experience, and not reassambled second-hand scraps.

I would offer to write such a post for you ATL, freshly sourced, of course, but as is so obviously clear, I am not “of the right sort’ (i.e. you do not agree with everything I say, and others ATL are biased against me) to be able to write ATL here….

[JP note: Sarab AB, it would appear, carries water for Islam.]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Terrifying Moment Masked Robbers Stormed Family’s Garden Threatening Them With Knives Before Forcing Them to Empty Safe

These shocking images show the terrifying moment when a family were confronted by knife wielding thugs who stole cash and valuables.

Two thieves, wearing scarves and masks to cover their faces, entered the back garden of the property in Doncaster, South Yorkshire while a 44-year-old man, his wife and three children were innocently enjoying the last few days of summer.

The father immediately confronted the men who threatened his children before forcing the family into the house and making them empty the safe.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Why Do the Asians Hate Me? Heartbreaking Letter Victim, 13, Of Grooming Sex Gang Wrote to Herself

[WARNING: Disturbing content.]

A 13-year-old girl who told police how she had been groomed and raped by an Asian sex gang wrote a harrowing letter to herself at the age of 14.

In the letter addressed to her alter-ego Michelle, she wrote, ‘I feel like the asians really hate me even when they say they love me’.

The girl, who told police about the rape that took her virginity and the time five men queued outside a bedroom to demand sex from her, added, ‘They took all my dreams and my life away from me.’

In a three hour interview with South Yorkshire Police in 2003, the girl, at the time 13, told of the hellish ordeal of how she was ensnared to two police officers.

Six months later, at the age of 14, Amy, a name used to protect her identity, from a village near Rotherham, was interviewed again for two hours, which was filmed and captured.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

North Africa

Egypt: Moderate Against Islamist Constituent Assembly’s Denial of Women’s Rights

They point the finger at Article 36 of the draft constitution, which the constituent assembly adopted a few days ago. The article recognises the equality between men and women as long as they conform to Islamic precepts. Freedom of the press, expression and scientific research would also be restricted under the new constitution. Pro-democracy parties want an alternative proposal for people to vote on.

Cairo (AsiaNews) — Egypt’s Islamist-dominated constituent assembly is drafting a constitution that undermines women’s rights, limits press freedom and freedom to demonstrate as well as subordinates fundamental rights to Islamic precepts. In recent weeks, Egyptian intellectuals and representatives of moderate parties have presented petitions and appeals to reform the assembly, saying it was unrepresentative of Egyptian society.

Article 36 of the draft constitution (on rights and duties) has especially raised concerns since it states that the state will “ensure equality of women with men in all walks of political, cultural, economic and social life, without contradicting the precepts of Islamic Law.”

Wording that refers to Islamic precepts worries moderate forces because it could be the first step to making Sharia a point of reference for the constitution.

Last Sunday, four moderate parties, including the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, the Popular Socialist Coalition, and Free Egyptians party as well as various women’s groups issued a statement. In it, they noted that such unclear wording “endangers the democracy that everyone aspired for and sacrificed for.” Likewise, they stress that the decades-old struggle by Egyptian women for equal rights with men cannot be erased by a group that does not represent the entire people.

The statement went on to say that a constitutional referendum should not be put up to a single yes-or-no vote, but should rather be voted upon section-by-section. It added that the approval rate for amendments to pass should also be raised to 75 per cent, and that public debate on the constitution should be increased beyond the 15 days currently planned after the draft constitution is completed.

The new proposal concerning freedom of the press has also raised eyebrows. Under the draft constitution, national media would be under the authority of the Supreme Council of the Press in the Shura Council, which will remain under the control of the majority party. Thus, it will not be an independent body.

Overall, not much would change from the Mubarak regime, the one main difference being the possibility of launching newspapers by private citizens.

Under the proposed draft, the right to demonstrate and hold sit-ins would also be subject to parliamentary approval.

Islamists are accused of limited artistic freedom as well. They have removed “Literary, artistic and cultural creativity is the right of every citizen” from the ‘Freedoms and Rights’ section in favour of ‘Freedom of creativity,’ without adequately outlining its meaning.

The Islamist majority also removed the article on the freedom of scientific research, by placing it in the section on ‘basic components’ of state and society, thereby restricting science to universities and other public research facilities.

“This is a critical phase,” said Mohamed Salmawy, head of the Egyptian Writers Union, at a conference.

For him, “Now that a new regime is stabilising, there is a risk that the new constitution will be formulated by only one section of society. [. .. .] Winning a parliamentary majority gave the [Islamists] some authority, but not the right to exclude others from writing the national charter,” Salmawy noted.

In order to create a broad coalition of moderate parties and intellectuals against the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists, Bahieddin Hassan, head of the Cairo Centre for Human Rights, urges a rethink of how the current assembly was drawn up.

“The [current] draft constitution jeopardises Egypt’s unity,” Hassan explained. “It also compromises equality and goes so far as to exclude faiths other than Sunni Islam.”

In August, the constituent assembly announced that a first draft proposal for the constitution would be ready by the end of September.

Sources tell AsiaNews that the legality of the assembly might be challenged in the Supreme Court following the dissolution by the same court of the Islamist-dominated parliament because it was elected according to an electoral law that violated the provisional constitution. (S.C.)

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

Obama to Release One Third of Gitmo Inmates

President Barack Obama is about to release or transfer 55 Gitmo prisoners, despite reports that the Libyan believed to be behind the killing of US Ambassador Christopher Stevens was a former Guantanamo inmate transferred to Libyan custody.

The large percentage of those scheduled to be released are Yemeni, according to a list made public by the Obama administration.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Permanent Spin

For nine days, the Obama administration made a case that virtually everyone understood was untrue: that the killing of our ambassador and three other Americans in Benghazi, Libya, was a random, spontaneous act of individuals upset about an online video — an unpredictable attack on a well-protected compound that had nothing do to with the eleventh anniversary of 9/11.

These claims were wrong. Every one of them. But the White House pushed them hard…

Intelligence officials understood immediately that the attacks took place on 9/11 for a reason. The ambassador, in a country that faces a growing al Qaeda threat, had virtually no security. The two contractors killed in the attacks were not part of the ambassador’s security detail, and there were not, in fact, “many other colleagues” working security with them.

The nature of the attack itself, a four-hour battle that took place in two waves, indicated some level of planning. “The idea that this criminal and cowardly act was a spontaneous protest that just spun out of control is completely unfounded and preposterous,” Libyan president Mohammad el-Megarif told National Public Radio.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

US ‘Ramps Up Anti-Terror Surveillance, Eyes Possible Strike’

Rome, 25 Sept. (AKI) — The United States has been intensifying its surveillance operations in North Africa ahead of a possible ‘surgical strike against hardline Islamic militants in the region, well-placed US military sources told Adnkronos International (AKI).

The surveillance operations include Libya and Mali and are aimed at pinpointing Salafite groups and Al-Qaeda cells, the sources in the US special forces told AKI.

Italy is not playing an active role in the operations but medical teams giving assistance to US forces carrying out any possible strike may be allowed to use an airbase in Sicily, according to the sources. Nato is not involved.

The administration of US president Barack Obama view areas of the North Africa region as a ‘no-man’s land’ that poses a threat to security.

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

Israel and the Palestinians

Academia’s Judith Butler of BDS Flunks on the Facts

American academic Judith Butler, who took part in a panel debate in Berlin’s Jewish Museum last weekend on whether Zionism “belongs to Judaism”, is the doyenne of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction Movement. In a new set of essays, Parting Ways, Butler, who is Jewish, argues for a one state solution for Israel-Palestine. With many on the Israeli and Palestinian sides pessimistic about the chances of a viable two state solution, there is a growing debate about one state. Reality in Israel and the West Bank indicates that a one state solution would be the end of Israel. But for Butler and other BDS activists, a rejection of Zionism is the strategy, regardless of facts on the ground. Just as a starter, since Butler consistently defines Israel as a “settler” or “coloniser state” and the Palestinians as the “indigenous” population, how does she expect to build a cohesive, rational bi-national state that respects the two claims to one land?

[…]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Forget the Party Conferences. Think Instead About What Will Happen Here if Israel Bombs Iran

by Paul Goodman

Cameron is worried that Israel may attack Iran…

I returned from Israel and Palestine recently, but in one sense didn’t need to go. For although much of the conversation there was about Iran’s nuclear programme and Israeli military action, the most vivid news about it broke back in Britain. The Daily Mail reported that John Sawers, the head of MI6, had made his own recent trip to Israel — to plead with Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s Prime Minister, not to order a strike on Iran. “David Cameron,” the paper reported, “is understood to have become increasingly concerned at the rhetoric from the authorities in Israel, who have been threatening unilateral military action to halt Iran’s nuclear drive”.

Unlike, say, the Times, the Mail isn’t especially interested in security stories, and this fact plus the detail above suggests that the tale came from a political source. The Mail also said that the prospect of an attack “has been discussed by the Government’s national security council”, before turning to the Netanyahu Government perhaps launching an attack “before the US presidential elections in November, while the leadership in Washington is in a state of limbo”. (The paper might have added, as a domestic detail, “possibly during the party conference season”)…

What would happen in Britain if the middle east flared up further?

How would Britain’s (largely Sunni) Muslims react, and what would be consequences for Britain’s Jewish communities? What would Ed Miliband do — especially if fault lines appeared in the Coalition that Labour could exploit? Could the Straits of Hormuz run through the Prime Minister’s office, as Clarissa Eden said of the Suez canal during the Suez crisis? Above all, how should the Government respond to any Israeli strike? My thinking on all these questions has been challenged by reading David Patrikarakos’s recently-published “Nuclear Iran”.

Mr Patrikarakos provides an account of Iran’s nuclear quest that is both detailed and gripping — a challenge given the technical nature of the subject. He has interviewed several of the country’s key players, and is not unsympathetic to its position. He points out that the non-proliferation treaty (which Iran has signed) is tough on non-members of the nuclear club, that the country has nuclear neighbours — India and Israel both have the bomb — and that America treats nuclear-armed countries with respect, not hostility, however unstable they may be (consider Pakistan).

We cannot put boots on the ground, but nor should we sit on our hands

However, he draws a distinction between Iran and its government: “if the spectre of a possible attack on Iran is deeply troubling,” he writes, “the spectre of a nuclear-armed Iran would be even worse”. It would “more than likely” trigger a regional arms race, which Israel’s possesson of nuclear weapons has not. The logic of mutual assured destruction just about held during the Cold War. But would it prevail if more middle eastern states, vulnerable to religious fanaticism and having obscure chains of command, built or gained nuclear weapons?

The threat of maniacs exploding a dirty bomb in London is remote but real. Britain cannot afford to fight another major war abroad. But that we cannot put “boots on the ground” is no reason to sit on our hands. If war flares in the middle east, the best course the Government could take is to try to keep our troops out of it and maintain the international diplomatic pressure on Iran. This would be difficult, since Russia and China’s support for sanctions would probably collapse. But we must play our part in trying to stop the middle east going nuclear.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Suicide Bombers ‘Martyrs’ According to Taxpayer-Supported Charity

by Sam Westrop

The Camden Abu Dis Friendship Association (CADFA) was founded in 2004. CADFA claims to “promote awareness about the human rights situation in Abu Dis” (a village in the West Bank) through “friendship links and twinning”. In reality, CADFA is a highly-politicised organisation that uses human rights as a facade to shield its apologism for terror and vicious anti-Israel sentiment. For many years now, far-Left groups have adopted humanitarian fronts in order to legitimise their hard-line anti-Israel sentiment. Those who follow the machinations of the anti-Israel networks have watched as groups hijack interfaith dialogue, anti-war, anti-fascism, among others. The ‘twinning’ of education establishments is yet another victim of such exploitation — in particular, schools and universities.

In lobbying for twinning initiatives, anti-Israel groups claim an interest in the mutual exchange of ideas, and express solidarity with those trying to claim an education in areas of conflict. But twinning schools and universities with their counterparts in the Palestinian territories has allowed extremist groups to legitimise their anti-Israel rhetoric, and gives them the chance to indoctrinate the students of twinned establishments with visceral anti-Israel propaganda. CADFA is a charity, and runs a number of exchange programmes between schools in London and Abu Dis. It also runs ‘urgent action’ campaigns, and releases regular ‘updates’ about the ‘human rights situation’ in Abu Dis.

In 2009, Jon Benjamin, Chief Executive of the Jewish Board of Deputies, wrote to Hampstead School to express his concern at a CADFA-organised event. One anti-Israel activist, brought over by CADFA, had repeatedly warned children of the “Jewish soldiers” who he claimed were persecuting him. Benjamin described CADFA’s activism as a “one-sided, partisan political campaign”. London Mayor Boris Johnson also condemned the incident, noting: “I don’t think it is right that London schoolchildren should face any kind of prejudice or any kind of upset in their life as a result of the attempt to import into London schools the politics and the political disputes of the Middle East.”

[…]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Middle East

Barack Obama: US Will Not Backtrack on Middle East

Barack Obama will use the United Nations general assembly to declare before the world that anti-American rage and riots among Muslims abroad will never force the US to backtrack on diplomacy.

In his final international address before the US election in November, Mr Obama will use the stage to try to boost his political standing without mentioning his opponent. His comments to the General Assembly will be scrutinised around the globe and by the gathering of presidents and prime ministers in the famed United Nations hall, given the tumult, terrorism, nuclear threats and poverty that bind so many nations. He will respond to unrest in the Muslim world and seek to underscore US resolve in keeping Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.

Yet, were there any doubt that the US presidential campaign hung heavy over Mr Obama’s speech to the General Assembly, Republican rival Mitt Romney shredded it by assailing Mr Obama’s foreign affairs leadership on the eve of the president’s speech. “This is time for a president who will shape events in the Middle East, not just be merciful or be at the mercy of the events,” Romney said Monday. Focusing on the killing of the US ambassador in Libya and mass bloodshed in Syria, Romney repeatedly ridiculed Obama’s comment that nations moving toward democracy after the Arab Spring face “bumps in the road.” That prompted White House spokesman Jay Carney to fire back at Romney: “There is a certain rather desperate attempt to grasp at words and phrases here to find political advantage, and in this case that’s profoundly offensive.”

[…]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Car Bomb Explodes Near School in Hit, Iraq; 4 Killed

(AGI) Fallujah — A car bomb exploded near a primary school in Iraq, killing four children and injuring two. It happened in the city of Hit, in the province of Anbar, 160 km west of Baghdad. The car was parked near the school, waiting for an anti-terrorist patrol to pass and exploded right when the children were arriving at school to go to class. The security forces personnel was unharmed. UN envoy to Iraq, Martin Kobler, firmly condemned the attack, calling it “a shocking act of violence on innocents”.

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

Energy: Solar Power Set to Give Saudi Arabia a Green Edge

Mecca set to become largely fueled by solar energy

(ANSAmed) — DubaI — Saudia Arabia is set to turn Mecca into the first green city of the oil kingdom, satisfying a large part of its energy needs with a powerful, local, renewable source — solar energy. The project is part of Saudi Arabia’s plan for energy diversification, laid out in its National Energy Plan 2032. The heavily oil-dependent monarchy has a population of fewer than 30 million, yet covers an area about half the size of Europe and enjoys twice its sun exposure. The combination makes the solar power project both feasible and useful, despite its ambition.

The country with the world’s largest petrol reserves is also the country with the highest rate of energy consumption. It governs a rapidly growing population, which is increasing at more than 3% per year. In addition, Saudia Arabia is carrying out a significant industrial plan and, according to the most recent assessment by the United Nations Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center, ranks 10th in the world for its carbon dioxide emissions. Demography and development are causing an environmentally devastating rise in energy demand of 7% annually. Mecca, Islam’s most sacred city and destination for millions of pilgrims each year, will select contractors in January to build and manage a new power plant that will produce 385 gigawatts of electricity, including 100 megawatts of solar energy.

The project is not the first of its kind, but of its scale.

Saudia Arabia launched another power plant in October 2011 on the Farsan island, which currently produces 500 kilowatts of clean energy, with the potential for expansion to six to eight megawatts. The takeoff of the Saudi solar industry could satisfy at least a third of the country’s energy needs by 2032 — a goal of the national plan. It means investing about 84 billion euros, according to Saudi Arabia’s central bank. Investment worldwide in solar energy reached 114 billion euros in 2011, according to the 2011 report, “Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2012”. The oil kingdom, the strongest economy in the region, is not its pioneer in renewable energy, however. That title goes to the United Arab Emirates, both for the volume of its investment in research and development as well as its creation of Masdar, the first zero-emissions, environmentally sustainable city, now rising at the gates of the capital.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Iran: Israel is a ‘Fake Regime’, Says Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called Israel a nuclear-armed “fake regime” shielded by the United States, prompting a walkout of a high-level UN meeting.

The Iranian president also accused the US and others of misusing freedom of speech and failing to speak out against the defamation of people’s beliefs and “divine prophets,” an apparent reference to the recently circulated amateur video made in the US which attacks Islam and denigrates the Prophet Muhammad. The Iranian leader, who has called for Israel’s destruction, used his speech to denounce Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory and US vetoes in the UN Security Council to back its ally. He urged all nations to “hold occupiers accountable and make efforts to return the occupied territories to their rightful owners.” he blamed the “discriminatory” veto power of the US, China, Russia, Britain and France for the Security Council’s failure to ensure peace in the world, and he called for a change in the rules “in favor of nations with due regard to justice.” As Mr Ahmadinejad addressed leaders and ministers from more than 100 countries, Israel’s UN Ambassador Ron Prosor walked out of the General Assembly hall. “Ahmadinejad showed again that he not only threatens the future of the Jewish people, he seeks to erase our past,” Mr Prosor said in a statement…

[JP note: Islam is a fake religion, Obama is a fake president … the list is endless.]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: Sir Salman Rushdie ‘Still Under the Threat of Death’

Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said yesterday Sir Salman Rushdie was still under the threat of death from the Islamic Republic for writing the Satanic Verses in 1989.

The hardline Iranian leader was asked about the British author in the wake of the broadcast of an anti-Islam film, The Innocence of the Prophet that has set off protests around the Muslim world. Mr Ahmadinejad appeared to reiterate the Iranian threat to Rushdie by advising that the writer’s location be kept secret. “Where is he now?” Ahmadinejad asked of Rushdie. “Is he in the United States? If he is, you shouldn’t broadcast that for his own safety.” The founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomenei, issued a fatwa that Mr Rushdie should be killed for blasphemy for his writings about the prophet Mohammad in Satanic Verses. An Iranian religious foundation headed by Ayatollah Hassan Saneii raised the bounty for Rushdie from $2.8 million (£1.7 million) to $3.3 million (£2 million) following the protests over the film…

[JP note: I’m a dinner jacket and I don’t care.]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Romney Attacks Obama on ‘Bumps in the Road’

President Barack Obama was assessing his support for the governments that have sprung up in the wake of the Arab Spring when he argued in a 60 Minutes interview that aired Sunday that “I was pretty certain and continue to be pretty certain that there are going to be bumps in the road.”

“Bumps in the road?” Mr. Romney said Monday as he sized up Mr. Obama’s interview performance and rattled off examples of tumult abroad. “We had an ambassador assassinated…twenty thousand people have been killed in Syria. We have tumult in Pakistan and of course Iran is that much closer to having the capacity to build a nuclear weapon. These are not bumps in the road, these are human lives.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Saudi Millions and Special Forces Expertise Turn Syria’s Rebels Into a Fighting Force

Syria’s ragtag rebel army is being turned into a disciplined military force, with the help of tens of millions of dollars of funding from the Middle East and under the watchful gaze of foreign former special forces.

Hidden under olive groves in the rolling countryside of Syria’s northern Idlib province, of which a vast swathe is now in opposition hands, more than a dozen training camps have been set up in which young men prepare for the fight against President Bashar al-Assad’s military.

In one camp seen by The Daily Telegraph this week, recruits were put through their paces on an arduous obstacle course. Timed to the shouts of Commander Abdel Kadr, a military officer who has defected, the men vaulted walls, scrambled under razor wire mesh and swung along ropes in the tree tops.

Two men looked on from the tented sleeping quarters nearby. Tall with shaven heads, fair skin, bulging pectoral muscles, and biceps covered in tattoos, they were incongruous among the scrawny young fighters. They could not speak Arabic and were extremely unhappy in the presence of The Daily Telegraph.

The men, who use the code names Radwan and Mohammed, come from Scandinavia, but have requested that the country not be disclosed.

Though they refused to speak, saying only that they were “here to help”, recruits in the Free Syrian Army told this newspaper that the men were ex-special forces working as military advisers.

“The Free Syrian Army at first didn’t exist, it was just an idea. Now we are trying to turn this into a reality,” said Louay al-Mokdad, a coordinator for the FSA in charge of channelling much of the foreign funding into Syria. Unlike most of Syria’s rebel “brigades”, who, with informal behaviour and mismatched uniforms bear little relation to a conventional army, the men in this training camp wore identical uniforms and conducted themselves with military discipline.

As Commander Kadr arrived, the men sprung to attention with a salute. Answers were given in the shouted delivery of soldiers responding to a command.

“We have 20 men training, 12 on vacation and some on missions,” said one recruit. To some questions he replied that the information was “classified” and the “strength of an army is in its secrets”.

For three weeks the men are subjected to extensive physical training, gun practice on a firing range, lessons in military discipline, and instruction in military tactics, such as how to attack a sniper or move under fire. Trainees cannot leave the camp without permission.

Failure to follow the rules leads to “hard physical punishment” or expulsion. Many of the men undergoing the extensive training are civilians.

“I was studying in Damascus and I went to the first protests,” said a 21-year-old, who would not give his name. “And then the massacres started. You see it on TV and you hate it, and then you feel it and you hate it more. Then either you die with your hate or you go to fight.”

There are 18 such training camps spread across Idlib province, as well as some in the suburbs of Damascus, FSA commanders said. Rebels denied that other camps also had foreign advisers, but one source said it was something that was under consideration…

           — Hat tip: The Observer [Return to headlines]

Saudi King Launches Huge Medina Mosque Project

Saudi King Abdullah, who has just returned to the kingdom after a month-long absence, has launched a huge expansion project for the Prophet’s mosque in the holy city of Medina, the state news agency reported.

The expansion project, expected to be the largest of its kind, is set to begin after the annual Muslim pilgrimage, the hajj, at the end of October, the SPA news agency reported late on Monday. According to Saudi officials, the project will require the expropriation of lands that could cost the government some $6.6 billion in compensation. Once completed, the three-phase project will mean the mosque can accommodate an added 1.6 million worshippers. Its current capacity is 200,000…

[JP note: Might as well just turn the whole planet into a mosque.]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Soldiers Kill Child in Syria’s Aleppo

Soldiers shot dead a child on Tuesday in Syria’s Aleppo province when troops targeted the car she was in, after a bloody day in which 116 people, including 12 children, were killed, a rights watchdog said.

The young girl was in a car on the motorway that links the northern commercial hub of Aleppo to Damascus after midnight when the attack happened, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. “Save the Children,” the global children’s aid agency, warned on Tuesday that children are being “badly traumatised” after witnessing killings, torture and other atrocities in the brutal conflict that has gripped Syria for 18 months…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Turkey Blocks Access to Mohammed Video

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, SEPTEMBER 25 — Turkey’s nationalist Islamic Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan has ordered that access on the internet to the film ‘Innocence of Muslims’, which has sparked violent protests across the Muslim world, be blocked in the country, Egemen Bagis, the minister for European affairs, announced today.

In statements to Turkish state broadcaster Trt, the minister said that ‘under the directive of Prime Minister Erdogan’ some ‘technical interventions are ongoing in order to block access to the anti-Islam film insulting the sacred prophet Mohammed’.

Bagis stressed that, as announced last week by Erdogan, ‘Turkey is working so that insults to sacred values will be considered a crime against humanity’. The Turkish premier should have addressed the issue at a UN assembly but cancelled his trip to New York Friday to focus on preparations for the fourth congress of his Justice and Development Party (AKP) scheduled Sunday in Ankara.

Turkey is represented at the UN by the head of diplomacy, Ahmet Davutoglu. ‘God willing, many world leaders will listen to Turkey’s appeal and ask the UN to act so that the world is endutrable for all’, said Bagis.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

U.S. State Department is Going to Remove the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (Pmoi/Mek) From it List of Foreign Terrorist Organisations

It’s been a long time in coming, but the decision that the Iranian Resistance has been waiting many years for has finally been made: The U.S. State Department is going to remove the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI/MEK) from its list of foreign terrorist organisations.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton deserves much praise for her action because she had to overcome strong resistance within her own department. It has never been clear why that resistance existed — perhaps officials didn’t want to admit they were wrong in the first place when they listed the MEK…

But this victory is not the end of the battle. Rather, it is the beginning of the bigger battle to free Iran from the boot of the oppressive mullahs who have ruled since 1979 and who have blotted out Iran’s beacon of democracy and replaced it with the scourge of terror.

Of course, it never had been the MEK that belonged on the terrorism list — it always has been the government in Tehran, which has executed tens of thousands of its own citizens in its struggle to keep power and now seeks nuclear capability to threaten its neighbors and the world even more, and supports Syria’s Assad as he also murders his own people.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

South Asia

Afghanistan: US Marines Face Courts Martial Over Taliban Urination Video

Two US Marines will face trial by courts martial for urinating on the bodies of dead Taliban fighters in Afghanistan and posing for photographs with them.

The charges against Staff Sergeants Joseph Chamblin and Edward Deptola come a month after three other Marines were sanctioned administratively for their role in the July 27, 2011 incident in Afghanistan’s Helmand province. A videotape that surfaced on the internet in January showed four US troops urinating on three bloodied corpses, and one of the men, apparently aware he was being filmed, saying: “Have a great day, buddy,” to one of the dead. The Pentagon said that charges against the sergeants concern “violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice for their involvement in urinating on deceased Taliban fighters and for posing for unofficial photographs with human casualties.” They also were charged with dereliction of duty for a number of other command failures involving younger Marines. The actions depicted in the video took place during a counter-insurgency operation in the restive Musa Qala district of Helmand province, in southwestern Afghanistan in July 2011…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Afghanistan: The Simple School-Style Plan Sketched on a Whiteboard Taliban Used to Plot Attack on Camp Bastion

This is the ludicrously simple plan that the Taliban concocted to break into Camp Bastion, where Prince Harry is based as a helicopter pilot.

The unsophisticated strategy, which appears to be drawn with marker pens, ended in the death of two Marines at the heavily-fortified base in Afghanistan.

A video shows a group of insurgents cutting through a wire fence before a man dressed in camouflage points to a map, drawn on a whiteboard.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Bomb Squad in Afghanistan Finds Baby in Roadside Package

Anti-explosive unit arrived in full gear after alarming call

(ANSA) — Kabul, September 25 — A Polish anti-bomb squad in Afghanistan called to investigate a suspicious package left on the side of the road in the northeastern province of Kunar discovered a newborn baby, not an explosive, NATO authorities said on Tuesday.

The Polish unit in the country as part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) arrived at the scene in full protective gear after receiving a call alerting them to a possible “Taleban-made bomb”.

“We took all necessary precautions when nearing the package. When we got close enough, we realized it was moving,” said a Polish forces spokesman from the Waghez base.

After lifting a cardboard covering, the soldiers found an infant no more than two-days old swathed in a towel.

Medical staff at the Polish military base performed a check-up while a soldier was assigned to purchase a bottle and formula at a local pharmacy.

The girl, named Pola by the soldiers, will be entrusted to Afghanistan State authorities, said a Polish military spokesman.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

India: More Violence Against Christians. Governments Complicit With Hindu Nationalists

Two new attacks in Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh, by the United National Party led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Sajan George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), notes “a growing intolerance, discrimination and persecution” against the minority community.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) — “The Indian states where the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is in power, close their eyes to the atrocities against Christians” is the comment of Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), two new attacks in Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh, administered by the ultra-nationalist Hindu party. In both cases, activists of radical groups supported by the BJP attacked and accused the pastors of the Christian communities of forced conversions and proselytism.

The first incident dates back to September 5th, in the village of Sagar (Shimoga, Karnataka). The Rev. Damodara, 42, of the Parishudda Prarthanalaya Pentecostal Church, led a prayer service. Suddenly, 15 Hindu radicals led by a certain Omkara entered, attacking the pastor and the faithful who are present there. The activists then called the police to report Taligoppa Christians of forced conversions. Arriving on the scene, before shutting it down the agents beat the Rev. Damodara and those present.

Informed of the attack, the GCIC contacted a Sitaram police inspector, explaining what had happened. The official then ordered the pastor transferred to Sagar police station, for an impartial interrogation. At dawn, the priest was released without charges. Police said the man signed a document, in which he claims not to be involved in forced conversions. Even the attackers had to sign a declaration stating that they would not interfere with the Christian prayer services.

The second incident took place on September 7 in Birmawal villages (Ratlam, Madhya Pradesh). The victim was Rev. John Pargy, 26, of the India Gospel Church. The pastor was distributing pamphlets on Christianity at the bus station, when 25 Hindu radicals of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Bajrang Dal stopped him. Instead of beating him, the activists dragged him to the local police station: the told police that the pastor was publicly criticizing Hinduism and forced them to drink cow’s blood (an animal sacred to Hindus, and therefore untouchable , ed.) The police held him in prison for three days, then released him.

“India — said Sajan George — is a secular country. This means that it protects all religions equally, and does not raise any belief to the level of state religion. Yet, over 60 years since independence and the proclamation of our Constitution some minority communities, such as Christians, are experiencing growing intolerance, aggression and severe discrimination. “

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

Pakistan Minister Refuses to Step Down Over Bounty

The Pakistan minister who offered a $100,000 (£61,000) bounty for the killing of a director whose anti-Islam film provoked worldwide protests told The Daily Telegraph he would not resign nor withdraw his incitement to murder.

Ghulam Ahmad Bilour, Pakistan’s Railways Minister and one of the most powerful figures in the key coalition partner, the Awami National Party, has been under intense pressure to step down since inviting the Taliban and al-Qaeda to murder Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the US-based Egyptian Coptic Christian behind the film “Innocence of Muslims”. Since then, his comments have been denounced and disowned by Raja Pervez Ashraf, Pakistan’s prime minister, and his own party leadership, with several senior members calling on him to withdraw his offer and express regret. But in telephone interview with The Daily Telegraph, he said he did not regret his comments, stands by the bounty and will not withdraw it.

“I cannot tolerate the insult of the holy prophet. I hadn’t done anything wrong. I am very honest and a true Muslim wouldn’t allow any blasphemy of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him),” he said. “These were my sentiments and feelings which I had announced.”

[…]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Two Marines Stand Trial for Urinating on Taliban’s Bodies

(AGI) Washington — The Pentagon has reported that the Marine Corps has charged the two marines photographed on January 12 urinating on the bodies of dead Taliban. The images which were posted on-line were seen all over the world, and in addition to other events have contributed to increasing the Afghans’ hatred for NATO troops and the multiplication of ‘green on blue’ incidents.

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

Far East

China’s First Aircraft Carrier Enters Service

China’s first aircraft carrier has entered into service, the Defence Ministry says.

The 300m (990ft) Liaoning — named after the province where it was refitted — is a refurbished Soviet ship purchased from Ukraine. For now the carrier has no operational aircraft and will be used for training. But China says the vessel, which has undergone extensive sea trials, will increase its capacity to defend state interests. The delivery of the aircraft carrier comes at a time when Japan and other countries in the region have expressed concern at China’s growing naval strength. China and Japan are embroiled in a row over disputed islands in the East China Sea. Several South East Asian nations are also at odds with China over overlapping territorial claims in the South China Sea. It also comes weeks ahead of a party congress expected to see the transition of power to a new generation of Chinese leaders…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

China: The Foxconn Riot Shows US the Misery of Communism and the Hypocrisy of Western Liberals

by Thomas Pascoe

The tragic incidents at Foxconn’s factory in China, where 10 people died after a 2,000-person brawl, throw the difficulties faced by China as it turns into a modern economy into sharp focus. It also shines a spotlight on hypocrisy in the West. The incident has been reported as being the result of a personal dispute between employees which escalated. Such a violent escalation was made possible by the atrocious working conditions which apparently exist in Foxconn’s factories. If you treat people like animals, eventually they will act that way.

Foxconn has form on this score. Earlier this year, around 150 Foxconn employees threatened to jump from the roof in a protest about pay and conditions. Explosions at another plant have laid bare lax attention to health and safety. In 2010, the company had to increase wages by 70 per cent after its reputation for employee care became so blackened in the West that there was talk of it losing its lucrative Apple contracts.

Not much appears to have changed. A report by the Shanghai Evening Post (translation here) earlier this month revealed dormitory conditions at the plant in Tai Yuan to be little short of disgusting:

The first night sleeping at Foxconn dormitory is a nightmare. The whole dormitory smells like garbage when I walked in. It’s a mixed of overnight garbage smell plus dirty sweat and foam smell. Outside every room was fully piled up with uncleared trash. When I opened my wardrobe, lots of cockroaches crawl out from inside and the bedsheets that are being distributed to every new workers are full of dirts and ashes.

Likewise, working conditions sound like some Dickensian nightmare:

By my own calculations, I have to mark five iPhone plates every minute, at least. For every 10 hours, I have to accomplish 3,000 iPhone 5 back plates. There are total 4 production lines in charge of this process, 12 workers in every line. Each line can produce 36,000 iPhone 5 back plates in half a day, this is scary … I finally stopped working at 7 a.m. We were asked to gather again after work. The supervisor shout out loud in front of us: “Who wants to rest early at 5 a.m !? We are all here to earn money ! Let’s work harder !” I was thinking who on earth wants to work two extra hours overtime for only mere 27 yuan (USD$4) !?

Maybe our removal from the realities of industrial labour have rendered us in the West particularly sensitive to this sort of thing. That said, who can honestly be surprised that working long hours for low wages, performing mind-numbingly repetitive tasks, and sleeping in dirt and squalor surrounded by others drives people mad? Their lives are more comparable to those of a battery hen than a human being. This is a horribly sad story, and it ought to remind us of two horrible contradictions we often overlook.

Firstly, that in the People’s Republic of China, “people” don’t matter very much as individuals. Communism is a degrading moral system because it dispenses with the Western notion of the value of the individual. The collective matters. The national economy matters. The perception of China as a manufacturing powerhouse matters. For all that the Left deride the “injustice” of the quasi-capitalist economic system in Britain, it offers the gifted and the industrious the opportunity to advance from humble beginnings. Despite this, we seem in the midst of a permanent campaign from all sides to mould our thoughts into a standardised way of thinking. Expressions of preference have become hate crimes, earning a higher wage than your peers is immoral and deserves to be punished with heavy taxation, the practice of education in Britain (at least before Gove’s reforms take root) devotes itself to reducing the talented to the level of the less talented. We are all in this together, and the state commits all manner of economic larceny and social engineering in order to eliminate the differences between people. However, as the Foxconn story shows, when all are equal in their supplication to the state, no one is of value (politicians excepted, of course).

Secondly, Apple’s reaction is yet to be released, but I am willing to bet that the reaction of Apple’s slavish fans will be one of cold indifference. Owning Apple products is like owning a Toyota Prius. They might be designed well, but they are essentially statements of outlook. When you buy a product, you either endorse the values of the manufacturer or you take the view that the manufacturer’s actions and attitudes are less important than your desire to consume. The fact that Apple’s products are manufactured in part by a firm with an atrocious human rights record is not new information. Even so, the most thoughtful and caring of the new Left seem to use one — even figures as compassionate and crusading as Laurie Penny.

But, hell, if you took a principled stand on an issue like this, what sort of kit would you use to blog Occupy Wall Street ? Or Slutwalks? Or the stuff that really matters instead of dead Chinese?

Foxconn is no minnow. The Taiwanese group is the largest electronics manufacturer in the world by shipments and revenue. It can afford to pay its workers better; it chooses not to. Apple has the clout to insist on improvements to working conditions. It may have done so, but the results are not obvious. As such, it falls to the liberal Western consumer to decide. Which is more important, your principles or your convenience? Only one answer has been forthcoming so far.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Taiwanese Vessels Add New Twist to Japan-China Row

Ships from the Japanese and Taiwanese coast guards used water cannons to spray each other on Tuesday in the latest incident in a growing row over a group of disputed islands.

The Japanese vessels reportedly opened fire with water cannons in an effort to turn away dozens of Taiwanese fishing boats that had entered waters near the islands in the East China Sea. Taiwanese coast guard vessels, which had accompanied the fishing boats, then returned fire with their own water cannons.

The Japanese coast guard announced that all of the Taiwanese boats have since left the disputed area.

“We have made contact with the Taiwan authorities and told them they cannot enter our territorial waters,” Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, Osamu Fujimura told a press conference in Tokyo. “Our stance is that this is something that needs to be solved in the context of good bilateral ties between Japan and Taiwan,” he added.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Australia — Pacific

Islamist Compares Perth Drunks to Sydney Rioters

by Piers Akerman

It hasn’t taken long for elements in the Muslim community to claim that the Sydney riot of a week ago was caused by the police and the anti-Islamic media.

The claims have been made by a Bankstown group, al Risalah, and the virulently anti-Western organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir.

So much for those Muslim leaders who joined in a brief moment of unity last week to condemn the rioters.

In a lengthy piece written for the Fairfax website, Uthman Badar, spokesman of Hizb ut-Tahrir in Australia, which is dedicated to the Islamic domination of the world under an Islamic caliphate, attempts to compare the treatment of the Sydney riot with the manner in which the media, police and politicians handled a drunken brawl involving five hundred drunken teenage gatecrashers in the Perth suburb of Piara Waters.

The comparison doesn’t work for a number of reasons.

Just for starters, none of the drunken Sandgropers turned up at the party (which was advertised on what is laughingly called “social media”) carrying placards calling for beheadings.

Nope, no-one called for anyone’s head. Imagine that?

But Badar says the Perth incident is evidently “quite similar, if not worse, than the Sydney protest as far as objective facts go, and it occurred on the very same night. Yet it has been treated very differently”

About the only similarity is that it did take place on the same night.

The activist wants to know why the Perth shambles received nowhere near as much media coverage.

Why it was not dubbed the “Perth riots”.

Why politicians did not fall over one another to condemn the violence.

Why Federal Parliament did not see a need to raise the issue in question time and forward bipartisan condemnation.

Why parents and community leaders in Piara Waters were not asked to condemn the behaviour, nor did they themselves go out of their way offer to apologies or to condemn the violence.

“Why the difference?” he asked.

He said that “objectively, protesters angry about a given matter clashing with police is not an uncommon phenomenon in Australia”.

“We have seen it time and again. We saw it in the Occupy protests in Sydney and Melbourne. We saw it very recently at union protests in Melbourne,” he said.

This is where the wheels start to fall off his argument. He’s using the lunatic Left and the trade union movement as his Aussie role models.

This is something our education-minded Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, should address.

She might start with a stern denunciation of the Melbourne riots, the Occupy idiots and, for good measure, throw in a retrospective apology for her wharfie mates and the union thugs who smashed their way into Parliament House.

But none of us have the time to wait for that to happen.

           — Hat tip: Nilk [Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

French FM Says Mali Asked for ECOWAS Troops Intervention

(AGI) New York — Mali has officially asked the UN to authorise the deployment of ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) troops to restore order in the northern part of the country, under the control of militiamen linked to Al Qaeda.

French Foreign Affairs minister Laurent Fabius announced so.

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

Immigration

Migration Fuels 4m Rise in Population of England and Wales Over the Last 10 Years

The number of people living in England and Wales has soared by around four million in only ten years, according to the latest count released yesterday.

The increase, driven by large-scale immigration, pushed up the population at its fastest rate during the past 100 years.

Rapid growth outpaced even the baby boom of the 1950s and 1960s, the historic post-war period when record childbirth levels helped fuel long-term economic and social upheaval.

The scale of the population boom that has followed Labour’s decision to ease curbs on immigration after 1997 was revealed by the Office for National Statistics in new estimates for England and Wales in the middle of last year.

The figures showed the population rose by 3.8million, or 7.3 per cent, from 52.4million in 2001 to 56,170,900 last year. And in three months last year — between the day of the 2011 national census at the end of March and the end of June — the population went up by 95,000, the equivalent of a city the size of Worcester.

Home Secretary Theresa May has dismissed fears that a UK population of 70million — likely to be reached by 2027 — will put too great a strain on housing, transport, education and other state services.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

Two Afghan Men Sentenced to Life in Prison for Greece Stabbings That Sparked Anti-Immigration Riots

A Greek court has sentenced two Afghan men to life in prison over the fatal stabbing and robbery of a Greek man that sparked extensive anti-immigrant riots in central Athens.

The court on Tuesday convicted Harodi Han Mamad and Shirzad Neinatullah of the murder of 44-year-old Manolis Kantaris on May 10, 2010, and of stealing his video camera as he was preparing to drive his pregnant wife to hospital to give birth.

At least 25 people were hurt in an anti-immigrant rampage by far-right youths two days later — starting a wave of xenophobic street attacks in Athens.

The ultra-right Golden Dawn party won nearly 7 percent of the vote in general elections last June — increasing its support more than 20-fold. The party officially condemns violent attacks.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

Ahmadinejad: Support to Gays? Stuff for Capitalists

(AGI) Tehran — The Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stated that gays “are defended only by hard-core capitalists who care only about capital growth and disregard human values.” In a New York interview with CNN, Ahmadinejad defined homosexuality as “a very bad behavior” “forbidden by all prophets, all religions, and all faiths.” Ahmadinejad rejected the idea that the active opposition to homosexuals practiced in his Islamic republic is a violation of human freedom and ridiculed the parties and the politicians who “defend gays and lesbians to gain four or five votes.” “Homosexuality interferes with procreation. Who said that if you do something wrong, something that no one accepts, this is a violation of freedom?” he insisted.

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

President Obama Declares the Future Must Not Belong to Practicing Christians

By: Erick Erickson

In his speech to the United Nations General Assembly today the President of the United States declared that the future does not belong to practicing Christians. Already, the media and the left are in full denial, probably based on their general lack of understanding of theology. This would have been a gaffe had Mitt Romney said it. But with Barack Obama, he’s just speaking bold truths. His bold truth declares that the future does not belong to practicing Christians.

Pay careful attention to what he says.

The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam. Yet to be credible, those who condemn that slander must also condemn the hate we see when the image of Jesus Christ is desecrated, churches are destroyed, or the Holocaust is denied. Let us condemn incitement against Sufi Muslims, and Shiite pilgrims. It is time to heed the words of Gandhi: “Intolerance is itself a form of violence and an obstacle to the growth of a true democratic spirit.” Together, we must work towards a world where we are strengthened by our differences, and not defined by them. That is what America embodies, and that is the vision we will support.

Now, that’s the full paragraph so no one can claim I took him out of context.

But consider this.

It is an orthodox Christian belief that Mohammed is not a prophet. Actual Christians, as opposed to many of the supposed Christians put up by the mainstream media, believe that Christ is the only way to salvation. Believing that is slandering Mohammed. That’s just a fact. If you don’t believe me, you go into the MIddle East and proclaim Christ is the way, the truth, and the life and see what happens to your life.

Then Barack Obama went on to say “Yet to be credible, those who condemn that slander must also condemn the hate we see when the image of Jesus Christ is desecrated, churches are destroyed, or the Holocaust is denied.” Note he says we cannot “slander the prophet of Islam” but it’s only the image of Christ in the next sentence — not actually Christ himself desecrated. If this is so, why does Barack Obama’s government continue funding the National Endowment for the Arts, which funded Christ in piss, the Virgin Mary painted in dung, etc.?

Now, in point of fact, this is a major difference between Islam and Christianity. Christ came to this world as an enemy of the world and expected to be impugned. He also tells his followers that they should expect to be impugned. There is joy in being persecuted for following the Risen Lord. In Islam, if you impugn Mohammed, you get a fatwa on your butt.

And then there is the first amendment. The President of the United States tried to have it both ways in his speech.

I know there are some who ask why we don’t just ban such a video. The answer is enshrined in our laws: our Constitution protects the right to practice free speech. Here in the United States, countless publications provoke offense. Like me, the majority of Americans are Christian, and yet we do not ban blasphemy against our most sacred beliefs. Moreover, as President of our country, and Commander-in-Chief of our military, I accept that people are going to call me awful things every day, and I will always defend their right to do so. Americans have fought and died around the globe to protect the right of all people to express their views — even views that we disagree with.

We do so not because we support hateful speech, but because our Founders understood that without such protections, the capacity of each individual to express their own views, and practice their own faith, may be threatened. We do so because in a diverse society, efforts to restrict speech can become a tool to silence critics, or oppress minorities. We do so because given the power of faith in our lives, and the passion that religious differences can inflame, the strongest weapon against hateful speech is not repression, it is more speech — the voices of tolerance that rally against bigotry and blasphemy, and lift up the values of understanding and mutual respect.

I know that not all countries in this body share this understanding of the protection of free speech. Yet in 2012, at a time when anyone with a cell phone can spread offensive views around the world with the click of a button, the notion that we can control the flow of information is obsolete. The question, then, is how we respond. And on this we must agree: there is no speech that justifies mindless violence.

Just words, Mr. President? You say “there is no speech that justifies mindless violence,” but all last week you condemned a ridiculous video trailer for a movie that does not exist. Your government ran advertisements in Pakistan denouncing the video. What of free speech, Mr. President? Last week you were saying the violence was understandable given the offensive film and this week you are trying to claim it was mindless.

Oh wait, you did it again in the same speech where you said “there is no speech that justifies mindless violence”:

At times, the conflicts arise along the fault lines of faith, race or tribe; and often they arise from the difficulties of reconciling tradition and faith with the diversity and interdependence of the modern world. In every country, there are those who find different religious beliefs threatening; in every culture, those who love freedom for themselves must ask how much they are willing to tolerate freedom for others.

That is what we saw play out the last two weeks, as a crude and disgusting video sparked outrage throughout the Muslim world.

Time and again the President of the United States tries to have it both ways.

But are they just words?

The fact is, many religions do not recognize Mohammed as a prophet. In the widest swath of Islam, that denial is, in and of itself, slander. So what exactly are you saying Mr. President?

As an exit point, with all of President Obama’s statements on tolerance in his speech, we should remember that tolerance is really not a Christian virtue. As Archbishop Chaput of Philadelphia noted, “We need to remember that tolerance is not a Christian virtue. Charity, justice, mercy, prudence, honesty — these are Christian virtues. And obviously, in a diverse community, tolerance is an important working principle. But it’s never an end itself.” The Archbishop also noted that evil preaches tolerance until it is dominate and then it seeks to silence good. That’s not a statement that the President is evil in any way, shape, or form, but we should be mindful when the secular world demands tolerance for all, tolerance for all means we cannot have standards of faith to live by, because those standards obviously require we be intolerant of sins this world has embraced.

           — Hat tip: Nilk [Return to headlines]

General

Extreme Islamic Doctrine Affects All Non-Muslims

by Vijay Kumar

Prophet Muhammad, the founder of Islam, is perhaps the most successful political leader the world has ever seen — particularly because his theological and political book, the Quran, is claimed to be the unalterable word of his deity, Allah, and Muhammad himself is declared to be the “last prophet” with no possible successor to eclipse him. Islam is relentlessly evangelical and has insatiable imperial designs. It authorizes and encourages the advancement of its goals by any means available, from deceit to outright murder — as just occurred at our embassy in Libya. Because the political doctrine of Islam has growing adverse impact on “non-believers” worldwide, non-Muslims have every right to comment accordingly.

Islam and Muslims demand religious criticism to be a one-way street. They can criticize others, but others should submit to them and keep silent. No other religion but Islam so vehemently criticizes other metaphysical and theological systems. Hence, Muslims forfeit the right to protest when others criticize Islam. The infantile movie produced in California is no more than a convenient excuse. The real issue is human freedom and right to critical thought. Thus, every thinking person — regardless of nationality, race, religion or philosophy — has a personal interest in the Islamic worldview.

All over the Internet are articles and movies against every religious or ethnic group, every country and every culture — anti-Christian, anti-Catholic, anti-Hindu, anti-Mormon, anti-Jewish, anti-Japanese, anti-Chinese, anti-black, anti-white — you name it, you find it. And you also find rebuttal articles and videos, pro and con commentary and even outright mockery. No viewpoint, nationality, race, religion or public person is immune. Religious criticism is as old as religion itself. Most religions, with the exception of Islam, have learned to settle their theological and religious disputes through dialogue. Islam as a religion is unique for its intolerance of all criticism. Its leaders try to silence free speech. Islam attacks all non-Muslims on the basis of both religion and culture — and even other Muslims who differ in language, race or color. Islam considers itself free to refer to those who do not share its metaphysical views as dhimmis, kaffirs and infidels. But no one is supposed to criticize Islam. Provide any excuse at all, and riots, arson and murders will ensue.

Pope Benedict XVI has ridiculed Buddhism as an “autoerotic spirituality” and the greatest threat to Christianity since the fall of communism. Did his remarks incite Buddhists to burn local Christian churches and kill their worshippers at prayer the way raging Muslim mobs have destroyed thousands of Hindu temples, Christian churches, Jewish synagogues and even some Islamic mosques? In 1987, artist and photographer Andres Serrano took a picture of a small plastic crucifix he described as submerged in a glass of urine. Prints of this photograph were vandalized when displayed in Australia in 1997 and destroyed beyond repair when shown in France in 2011, and Serrano has received hate mail and death threats; but no Christians ever stormed a U.S. embassy just because Serrano happened to be an American citizen living in the U.S.

Theological criticism, like all criticism, is a two-way street — and violence is not an acceptable way to express it. Though they didn’t kill anyone, the vandals who smashed car windows at mosques in Virginia were just as wrong as the embassy attackers across the world who provoked their wrath. There is no such thing as “radical” Islam. There is only literal Islam, which wants all humanity to return to seventh-century Arabian values. All other religions readjust their metaphysical views to our ever-changing world. Islam’s refusal to evolve is manifest in the actions of its more fundamentalist members. Because the resultant militancy threatens peaceful coexistence worldwide, both moderate Muslims and non-Muslims have common cause to defeat it.

Vijay Kumar, a native of India and longtime resident of Nashville, is in sales; [email protected]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Giant Gas Cloud Surrounds Our Milky Way Galaxy

Astronomers have discovered a cloud of gas engulfing our Milky Way galaxy that weighs as much as all the stars inside our galactic home. If the size and mass of this cloud is confirmed, it may solve a longstanding astronomical mystery, experts say.

The cloud, called a halo, appears to be enormous, extending hundreds of thousands of light-years across. Scientists suspect it is composed mainly of hydrogen, with some oxygen and other elements. The halo’s temperature, size and mass were estimated using data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, the European Space Agency’s XMM-Newton space observatory and Japan’s Suzaku satellite.

Researchers think the mass inside this halo could be the answer to what’s called the “missing baryon problem.” Baryons are a class of subatomic particles that includes the protons and neutrons that make up the atoms inside stars and galaxies.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Global Bacon Shortage ‘Unavoidable’ Next Year, Says U.K.’s National Pig Association

With pork costs rising, Great Britain is facing a bacon and sausage shortage as pig farmers cut back on herd size. But the problem may soon become global. In a recent press release, the U.K.’s National Pig Association is warning that a “world shortage of pork and bacon next year is now unavoidable”.

Financial Times reports that this past season’s droughts in North America and Russia are to blame for the spike in prices for grain crops, which are used to feed animals. As of August, nearly half of all counties in the U.S. were considered disaster areas due to extreme dryness and heat. Some U.S. farmers have taken to extreme measures to feed their livestock and save money at the same time, including one Kentucky farmer who fed his cattle candy “just to survive.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

We Mustn’t Fall for the Great Illusion Again

by Jeremy Warner

With China sabre-rattling over the disputed Senkaku islands, the lessons of history are going unheeded as free trade comes under threat around the world

In 1910 the British journalist Norman Angell published a book called “The Great Illusion”. It’s thesis was that the integration of the European economy, and by implication the global economy too, had become so all-embracing and irreversible that future wars were all but impossible. The book perfectly captured the zeitgeist of its time and fast became a best seller. In some respects, the early 20th century was a period much like our own — one of previously unparalleled global trade and exchange between nations. Human beings appeared largely to have outgrown their propensity to mass slaughter, and everyone could look forward to to a world of ever increasing prosperity. War, Angell compellingly argued, was economically harmful to all, victors and defeated alike. Self interest alone could be expected to prevent it happening again. Young men read the book in their thousands, mostly agreed with it, and then willingly marched to the fields of Flanders to take part in the most destructive conflict the world had ever known. When the First World War failed to resolve matters, they did it all over again in a second one…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Where’s the ‘Freedom’ In the Freedom to Abuse?

by Yasmin Alibhai-Brown

In good societies there have to be curbs on what can be said. Sometimes freedom has to give way

Freedom of expression in the West is hokum, I say. It’s hypocrisy dressed up as high virtue. Worse still, it is now used as a missile aimed mainly at Muslims. Freedoms are sacred and easily snatched by the powerful and it is a blessing to live in a country where prime ministers and princes are berated with impunity. Authoritarian states like Saudi Arabia and China and many others remain unenlightened because they suppress the human voice. But I also believe that freedom without responsibility and sensitivity amounts to anarchy…

[Reader comment by Freedemocrat on 25 September 2012 at about 7:30 am.]

Yasmin is an adherent of a minority view within Islam and also, I believe, a Ugandan Asian. her views are not remotely representative of Muslims in general. Her article above is a good example of how deeply psychologically and politically untenable an enterprise it is for someone like her to try to square islamic bigotry with vaguely liberalish Western views.

[JP note: Called by some, with good reason, the Yazzmonster.]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

News Feed 20120924

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» Greek Leaders Yet to Agree on 11.5 Bln Austerity
» Hollande-Merkel Axis: “We’re the Driving Force of Europe”
» Parmalat to Close Three Italian Plants
» Van Rompuy Warns Against Half-Hearted Crisis Fighting
 
USA
» Anti-Muslim Film Protest Held in Chicago, Ignored by Media
» Bring the Troops Home. The U.S. Military Betrayed
» Daniel Pipes: MPAC Calls Me an “Expert on Islam”
» Fake Gold Hits NYC
» Frank Gaffney: Team Obama’s Mendacity
» Plan B for Obama Redux
» Planning Commissions, Smart Growth and Land Use, Part 2
» Robot Tuna Joins Homeland Security Arsenal
» Saudi Billionaire Did Help Obama Into Harvard
» Why is Romney Trying to Lose?
 
Europe and the EU
» Back the EU or Risk Isolation, Polish Minister Warns Britain
» Czech President: The Destruction of Europe’s Democracy is in Its Final Phase
» France: Strauss-Kahn off the Hook on Lille Rape Charges
» Germany: Hamburg Mosque May Have Violated Anti-Hate Contract
» Italy: CIA Imam Snatch Convictions Upheld, Extraditions Sought
» Italy Prepares 1-Mln-Euro Teacher Selection Process for 2013
» Italy: Scandal-Hit Lazio Regional Government Unveils Cuts
» Italy: Mayor Makes Girlfriend His Deputy, Council Falls After Rows
» Sweden: Court Upholds Acquittals in Vilks Murder Plot Case
» UK Hospitals on the Verge of Collapse as Socialized Medicine Fails
» UK: A Decades’ Worth of Sexual Exploitation “Ignored” In South Yorkshire
» UK: Asian Sex Gangs Operated for a Decade in Rotherham as Authorities Refused to Acknowledge the Problem, Chilling Police Files Reveal
» UK: Council Chiefs Vow to Bring Child Grooming Offenders to ‘Justice’
» UK: English Defence League and Opposition Groups Plan Demonstrations in Walsall Town Centre
» UK: Leader of ‘Con Air’ Gypsy Family Gang Ordered to Pay Back Less Than a Tenth of the Cash Swindled
» UK: Police Were Aware of Rotherham Child Sex Grooming for Years
» UK: Pregnant Wife of 21 Murdered by Family to Rid Her of Evil Spirits
» UK: Staff at Nursery School Where Boy, 3, Fell 15ft Down an ‘Unsafe’ Staircase Lied to Parents by Claiming He Was Pushed
» UK: Times: After 2 Yrs of Cameron, Labour Ahead 15 Points
» UK: Tory Chief Whip Insults Downing Street Police Officers
 
Balkans
» Serbia: Radical Islam ‘Latent Threat’ In Muslim-Majority Region
» Top Officials Deplore Croatian MP’s Comments on Serbs
 
North Africa
» ‘Arab Spring’ Cost 12 Billion Dollars
» Egypt: Mohammed Morsi Warns US it Needs to Change Middle East Policy
» Libya: Body of Lies From Benghazi to Barack
» ‘Muslim Rage’ Turns Against Libya’s Jihadist Militia. So Much for Lazy Stereotypes of Fanatical Arabs
 
Middle East
» Ahmadinejad Calls Sanctions “Sacrilege Against Islam”
» British Soldier to be Questioned by Iraq War Crime Investigators
» Iran’s Government Accused of Controlling Internet Access as it Prepares to Switch Citizens’ Networks to ‘Improve Security’
» Iraq: Kirkuk: Young Christians Hold Day of Fasting for Peace After a Bomb Attack on Cathedral
» Obama Incites Middle East Toward Chaos and Murder
 
South Asia
» Defence Minister Visits Italian Contingent in Afghanistan
» India: 50 Million People on Strike Against the Opening to Foreign Supermarkets
» Pakistan: Muslims Ready to Sacrifice Lives for the Prophet’s Sanctity: Munawar
» Pakistan: Massive Protests Over Muhammad Cartoons
 
Far East
» EU/China: Premier Wen Demands Ends of Arms Embargo
» Hong Kong Muslims Protest Anti-Islam Film, Cartoons
» Japan Accuses China of Encroaching in Its Waters After Three Ships Closed-in on Disputed Islands
 
Australia — Pacific
» An Ahmaddiya Mosque in Marshall Islands
» Church Reveals Over 620 Cases of Paedophilia in Australia
» Far Right and Atheists Hold Small Anti-Islam Protest in Melbourne
» Marshall Islands: Islam Group Opens First Mosque in the Marshalls
» We Must Reject the Anti-Muslim Hysteria
 
Sub-Saharan Africa
» South Africa: ANC’s Ethnic-Cleansing of Poor Afrikaners
» Third Day of Muslim Protests in Nigeria
 
Latin America
» Fiat Applauds Brazil Incentives, Heats Up Italy Govt Spat
» Luis Fleischmann: The Consequences of Colombia’s Negotiations With FARC
 
Immigration
» UK: Exposed, The ‘Myth’ of Bright Foreign Students: Just Five Per Cent Attend University Rated in the Top Ten
 
Culture Wars
» France Set to Ban the Words ‘Mother’ And ‘Father’ From Official Documents
» Islam and Mohammed Should Not be Protected From Mockery
» Two-Year Study Reveals Gay People Seven Times Likely to Use Illegal Drugs Than General Population
 
General
» From Nigeria to Athens, Muslim Protests Rumble on

Financial Crisis

Could China’s Massive Economic Growth be Coming to an End?

Could China be in crisis? It seems unbelievable but the figures suggest it could be true. Growth was “just” 7.6% in the second trimester of the year — anough to make any economist’s mouth water — but that is the lowest level recorded in the last three years. Production is slowing down and exports to Europe have been hit hard by the financial crisis in the West.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Eurozone Seeks to Quadruple Rescue Fund Firepower

The eurozone is looking to increase its permanent rescue fund to about 2 trillion euros ($2.58 trillion), according to German media reports. European ministers want to use private capital to reach the formidable target.

The member states of the single currency are making preparations to allow the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) to leverage its capital in the same way as its European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) predecessor, German newsmagazine “Spiegel” wrote Monday.

Spiegel said eurozone finance ministers had reiterated at their meeting in Cyprus earlier this month that the ESM should be allowed to use this method to increase the rescue fund’s planned lending power of 500 billion euros ($647 billion) to about 2 trillion euros with the help of private investors.

While German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble was supporting the plan, Finland had voiced their opposition to it, Spiegel wrote. Germany’s liability under the ESM would remain capped at 190 billion euros, the news magazine added.

German opposition parties on Monday demanded that the leverage mechanism should be subject to a new vote in parliament, as it would pose higher risks for the German taxpayer.

In a ruling earlier this month, Germany’s Constitutional Court made consulting the parliament on any changes to the ESM a condition for giving its approval to the rescue fund’s ratification.

The ESM is expected to come into force on October 8, and will succeed the EFSF as the eurozone’s permanent financial rescue fund. It is intended that the fund will be able to bail out Europe’s larger economies, such as Spain and Italy, should that become necessary.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Greece to Abolish Special Trade Union Pensions

In place since 1937, cuts will save the state money

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, SEPTEMBER 18 — Greek Labor Minister Giannis Vroutsis will propose the abolition of a special pension that’s been paid to trade union leaders with 12 years of service, since 1937.

The cost-cutting measure, effective November 1, “is just and fair, and contributes to the strength and credibility of trade unions”, the minister said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Greece: New Homes to Lose Up to 40% of Their Value

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, SEPTEMBER 13 — House prices in Greece are set to drop to levels unseen since the turn of the millennium within the next couple of years, as properties are expected to lose up to 40% of their market value compared with the third quarter of 2008, their peak period, according to a recent analysis by Fitch. The study by the international financial services firm — as daily Kathimerini reports — showed that prices will drop another 17% by the end of 2014 on top of the 20% decline seen in the last four years. The latest Bank of Greece data available, for the second quarter of the year, indicate that the prices of newly built homes have posted a 10.8% decrease from the same period in 2011, while older dwellings saw their prices shrink 9.7% year-on-year. This means that builders and construction firms, the main sellers of newly built apartments, have begun to realize they have to lower their asking prices in order to find buyers. Estate agents say that depending on the cost of the house, the area and the financial state of the seller, reductions could reach up to 50% of the original price, which translates into an amount of 50,000 to 90,000 euros on average. This reflects the desperate situation many builders now find themselves in.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Greece Gears Up for a Week of Strikes Against Cuts

All sectors, public and private, suffering under austerity

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS — Greece gears up for a week of strikes against new austerity measures, enacted to appease the country’s international creditors in exchange for a first tranche of 31.5 billion euros in aid.

Journalists led off with a 24-hour strike, which began at 6am on Monday. This comes ahead of a general strike on Wednesday called by the three major unions: the General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE) representing private sector workers, the Civil Servants’ Confederation (ADEDY), and the Communist Party-affiliated All-Workers Militant Front (PAME).

The National Federation of Maritime Workers has also adhered to the strike, which “is a cry of outrage and despair at everything that is going on”, said GSEE leader Yannis Panagopoulos.

Public sector and state-participated company employees, tax collectors, health and education workers, banks and local autonomous administrations are all participating, as will the nation’s judges, who will stop court hearings for five hours.

Greek ships and ferries will remain docked, while railway unions have yet to decide what form their work stoppage will take. Athens subway workers will keep the trains running, however, so that people can get to the demonstrations. The two major ones, both starting at 11am, are in Pedio tu Areos Square (GSEE and ADEDY), and in Omonia Square (PAME).

On the health care front, hardships are ongoing for people who are covered by state-owned health insurer National Organization for Healthcare Provision (EOPYY). Tired of waiting for reimbursements that never come, the pharmacists’ union has refused to dispense any more medicine until the state pays up.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Greek Leaders Yet to Agree on 11.5 Bln Austerity

Meeting adjourned to next week, 2-2.5 bln still up for grabs

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, SEPTEMBER 20 — Greece’s coalition leaders on Thursday failed to come to an agreement on the 11.5 billion euro austerity measures requested by the country’s international creditors.

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras met with PASOK’s Evangelos Venizelos, Democratic Left’s Fotis Kouvelis, Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras and Labor Minister Yannis Vroutsis to discuss the measures. “Nothing has yet been decided”, and leaders have adjourned the meeting to next week, Kouvelis told reporters. The international creditors’ troika (EU-ECB-IMF) “must stop attacking Greek society”, he said.

“Negotiations will go on for a few more days”, Stournaras told reporters, adding that “right now, some 2-2.5 billion euros” in cuts still remain to be discussed.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Hollande-Merkel Axis: “We’re the Driving Force of Europe”

(AGI) Ludwigsburg-France and Germany have “special responsibility” in the Eurozone crisis as they are “the driving force of Europe”. In Ludwigsburg, in front of the same baroque palace where 50 years ago Charles De Gaulle launched the grounds for the Franco-German friendship and reconciliation that led to the Elysee Treaty of 23 January 1963, today Francois Hollande and Angela Merkel reasserted the Franco-German axis. “The only response to the crisis is Europe, it is Europe that will beat the crisis” Hollande said.

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

Parmalat to Close Three Italian Plants

Genoa, Como factories on chopping block

(ANSA) Milan, September 21; Italian dairy company Parmalat on Friday announced plans to close three plants in Italy including one in the northwestern port town of Genoa.

The company said it will also close the Villaguardia plant located in the province of Como, as well as a third factory in Cilavegna in the province of Pavia, according to a statement.

Parmalat said it is working with trade unions to draw up a “social plan” aimed at “limiting the impact on employment” from the closures. The company has already made contact with Italy’s industry ministry to work to draw up the necessary social instruments aimed at buffering the impact on employees. Parmalat was at the center of a 2003-2004 financial scandal which saw the company collapsing after it defaulted on $16 billion of debt. It was forced to declare bankruptcy in December after disclosing that a $4.7-billion account with Bank of America did not exist. Many criminal trials ensued and it was subsequently purchased by French dairy company Lactalis.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Van Rompuy Warns Against Half-Hearted Crisis Fighting

Ahead of a crucial meeting of European leaders next month, EU President Herman Van Rompuy has urged governments not to slow down the pace of reforms. He said there was too much at stake to just sit back and relax.

EU President Herman Van Rompuy told governments across the 27-nation bloc that they must not relax their economic reform programs even as the European Union was making progress in protecting itself from financial shocks.

“I see a tendency of losing the sense of urgency both on short term and long-term policies, but this must not happen,” Van Rompuy said a in video message on his homepage on Monday.

He acknowledged that markets had calmed down on the back of the European Central Bank’s decision to relaunch a conditional bond-buying program. But he added the eurozone was still slipping into recession, with analysts worried about the pace of reforms in Italy, France, Spain and Greece.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

USA

Anti-Muslim Film Protest Held in Chicago, Ignored by Media

Lead Story: On Sunday, protests surrounding the controversial film Innocence of Muslims reached Chicago. Rather than the violent outbursts we’ve seen overseas, this protest was a relatively small, peaceful demonstration. But don’t look for any mention of it in the local media. The closest thing I’ve seen is a paltry 58-word post on ABC 7’s website that completely left out the “who” and “where.” Instead, we get this and this. There has been some coverage of local reaction to the film, so it’s not as if the story been completely ignored here. But the poor reporting on yesterday’s protest is a huge missed opportunity. If you want to inform readers about the world around us, inform readers about the local angles of stories of international import instead of ignoring it like a problem that doesn’t bother us because it’s all happens too far away.

[…]

[JP note: This article contains a photo-clip from the film — a pensive Mohammed somewhere in a desert, perhaps already worried that some centuries down the line he would end up in photo-caption contest.]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Bring the Troops Home. The U.S. Military Betrayed

The troops are not being sent to war to win. Take off your ideological glasses and look at the facts.

As the Middle East rages in violent anti-American protests, the dirty little secret that few in Washington want to discuss is how military families have worried for years about whether or not their loved ones serving in Afghanistan and previously in Iraq would be killed by insurgents or by the bureaucracy and policies of their own government.

Intrepid journalist and author Diana West reports from an alarming letter written in June by Army Staff Sgt. Matthew S. Sitton that was sent to U.S. Rep. C.W. “Bill” Young asking for help after his commanders in Afghanistan told him to “quit whining” about orders to lead patrols twice daily without objective, “or purpose” through basically “a mine field.”

As SSG Sitton wrote, “As a Brigade, we are averaging at a minimum an amputee a day from our soldiers because we are walking around aimlessly through grape rows and compounds that are littered with explosives. Not to mention that the operation tempo that every solider is on leaves little to no time for rest and refit. The moral and alertness levels on our patrol are low and it is causing casualties left and right.”

[…]

Under both Bush and Obama, U.S. soldiers serve war-crime related sentences in Leavenworth prison, Kansas. Meanwhile Taliban prisoners are set free on a “pledge” declaring that they will “never support the Taliban or fight for the Taliban ever again.” A double-standard policy that shows mercy to the Taliban and no mercy for America’s military.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Daniel Pipes: MPAC Calls Me an “Expert on Islam”

Why thank you, Muslim Public Affairs Council, for this endorsement. It’s much appreciated, even if came in a 65-page pamphlet, Not Qualified: Exposing the Deception Behind America’s 25 Top Pseudo-Experts on Islam.

According to MPAC, a leading Islamist group based in Los Angeles, those 25 would be Andrew Bostom, William Boykin, Stephen Coughlin, Nonie Darwish, Steven Emerson, Brigitte Gabriel, Frank Gaffney, David Gaubatz, William Gawthrop, Pamela Geller, John Giduck, Sebastian Gorka, John Guandolo, Tawfik Hamid, David Horowitz, Raymond Ibrahim, Zuhdi Jasser, Andrew McCarthy, Walid Phares, Patrick Poole, Walid Shoebat, Robert Spencer, Erick Stakelback, David Yerushalmi … and me.

The gravamen of MPAC’s analysis is that members of this group overwhelmingly are not what it calls experts on Islam, where this term is defined as:

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Fake Gold Hits NYC

Diamond District finds 10 tungsten-filled bars

Federal agents are investigating the peddling of bogus gold bars in Midtown.

The Post has learned as many as 10 fake gold bars — made up mostly of relatively worthless tungsten — were sold recently to unsuspecting dealers in Manhattan’s Midtown Diamond District.

The price of gold has risen more than 600 percent since January 2000, while the S&P 500 index is down 0.6 percent over the same period.

The 10-oz. gold bars are hugely popular with Main Street investors, and it is not known how many of the fake gold bars were sold to dealers — or if any fake bars were purchased by the public.

Helayne SeidmanGold refiner Ibrahim Fadl claims he was sold four bogus bars, which were covered with a thin layer of gold, and filled with a tungsten slug.One gold dealer discovered that four of the 3-inch-by-1-inch gold bars he bought — worth about $72,000 retail — were counterfeit.

“It has the entire street on edge,” said Ibrahim Fadl, 62, who has been the owner of Express Metal Refining, a Midtown gold-refinery business, for the last 11 years. “I and the others on the street work off of trust; now that trust is strained.”

Fadl, a Columbia University graduate with a master’s degree in chemical engineering, and who has more than 40 years in the industry, purchased the four fake bars from a well-known Russian salesman with whom he has done business.

A second 47th Street refiner, who wished to remain anonymous, said he was burned recently when he bought six gold bars that turned out to be mostly tungsten, with just a gold veneer. He would not comment, though, on who sold him the bogus bars.

Fadl became suspicious when he offered the salesman a deep discount for the investment-grade gold bars and he quickly accepted it, a source tells The Post.

Fadl said he did his due diligence “by X-raying the bars to ascertain the purity of the gold and weighing the bars, and the Swiss markings were perfect.”

Tungsten is an industrial metal that weighs nearly the same as gold but costs a little over $1 an ounce. Gold closed Friday at $1,774.80 an ounce.

To quell his suspicion, Fadl then drilled into the bar and discovered the tungsten — whose silver color is distinctive from gold’s bright yellow hue.

Raymond Nassim, CEO of Manfra, Tordell & Brookes, the American arm of the Swiss firm that created the original gold bars — with their serial number and purity rating stamped clearly into them — said he reported the situation to the US Secret Service, whose jurisdiction covers the counterfeiting of gold bars.

He said his company “is supporting and cooperating with authorities any way we can.”

Nassim thought the culprit must be a professionally trained jeweler to have pulled off the caper.

“The forger had to slice the original bar along the side, hollow out the gold and insert the tungsten ingot, and then reseal and polish the bar, Nassim said.

At an industry dinner Thursday night hosted by Comex, the New York-based metals exchange, the room was abuzz with talk about the bogus gold bars, according to Fadl.

Numerous calls to the Secret Service were not returned.

           — Hat tip: Ann Barnhardt [Return to headlines]

Frank Gaffney: Team Obama’s Mendacity

For the last two weeks, the American people have been encouraged by Team Obama — both official spokesmen for the administration, its champions in the press and other partisans — to believe a number of national security calumnies that can only be described as surrealistically epic lies and dangerous deceptions. Far more than the usual political slight-of-hand that can be expected in the run-up to an election, the mendacity of Team Obama is truly audacious, and the consequences of the public accepting it at face value are very grave.

Take, for example, Obama’s insistence that the surging violence in dozens of countries is a “natural” response by Muslims to a video produced in America that trashes Islam’s prophet, Mohamed. One can scarcely find an official or press account of these events that does not start with something to the effect that the attacks were precipitated by that (almost-entirely-unviewed) short film…

           — Hat tip: CSP [Return to headlines]

Plan B for Obama Redux

If Obama wins re-election and Democrats retain control of the Senate but do not gain control of the House, Obama will depend on an aggressive expansion of the federal government through the regulatory agencies and through the abusive use of executive orders. The agencies may adopt all manner of regulations having the force of law without having to obtain congressional consent. They are already possessed of combined legislative, executive, and judicial powers and operate as an oligarchy outside the constitutional branches. Consequently, circumventing Congress to achieve his true aims is a facile move for a re-elected Obama.

We can therefore expect a substantial increase in regulatory strictures that block market entry and direct market incumbents to take courses of action preferred by the Obama Administration. That will continue to create financial insecurity and impose substantial costs on politically disfavored markets and entrants. The effect will be to block GDP growth, keeping the economy from expanding as it must to reduce unemployment and the national debt. The government planning approach preferred by President Obama has the look and feel of national socialism, akin to Mussolini’s Italy. During an Obama redux, government planning will rule the day by relying on a combination of coercion and intimidation to alter the course of free enterprise.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Planning Commissions, Smart Growth and Land Use, Part 2

While most Americans go about their busy lives and focus on being entertained by an endless stream of college football games and new fall programs on TV, our freedoms and rights are disappearing at an exponential rate. As I described in Part 1 of this article, we have a two-pronged attack on our property rights.

Rosa Koire, author of Behind the Green Mask describes one prong, “What Smart Growth is and what United Nations Agenda 21 Sustainable Development does is instates Communitarian Law, which says that the individual’s rights are subsumed by or balanced with the rights of the “community.” Those rights are not delineated, they’re not written, and they can change at any time, or even be taken away. What we’re being told is that this is for our own good, and for the good of the community. It’s a stealth plan, people don’t know about it. In fact, when you’re invited to come down and give your opinion on what that new plan is (like our Plan ET) for the remaking of your city center, it’s a Delphi Technique meeting where you’re being tricked, or manipulated into thinking your point of view is actually desired by your city or county. In fact, the plan has a pre-determined outcome. The plan was already completed before you even came in the room. All that’s needed is so-called community buy in, because they want to be able to say the community vetted it, looked at it, approved it, and this is your plan.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Robot Tuna Joins Homeland Security Arsenal

Speedy tuna capable of swimming tirelessly in the Earth’s oceans have inspired the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to fund a lookalike robot for underwater patrols.

The “BIOSwimmer” robot features faithfully replicated fins and a flexible tail to pull off quick maneuvers like the real-life fish. Homeland Security made the choice to fund the robot made by the Boston Engineering Corporation in Waltham, Mass., with an eye toward missions such as exploring the flooded areas of ships, inspecting oil tankers or patrolling U.S. harbors to watch out for suspicious activity.

“It’s called ‘biomimetics,’“ said David Taylor, program manager for the BIOSwimmer at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. “We’re using nature as a basis for design and engineering a system that works exceedingly well.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Saudi Billionaire Did Help Obama Into Harvard

Exclusive: Jack Cashill shares shocking secret president tried to keep under wraps

Given the game-changing nature of this revelation when it surfaced in late August 2008, the Obama camp and its allies in the media, particularly Politico and Media Matters, shifted into overdrive to kill the story. Through a series of denials, lies and slanders about Sutton’s mental health, they succeeded.

The story, however, has come back to life. The elusive al-Mansour was a guest Sept. 19 on the BlogTalkRadio show “The National and International Roundtable.”

In his introduction, the host openly acknowledged that al-Mansour “made news in 2008 when it was revealed that he had been a patron of President Barack Obama and had recommended him for admission to Harvard Law School.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Why is Romney Trying to Lose?

Billionaire hedge fund operator George Soros said that, if Mitt Romney wins the presidency, there will be “little difference” between him and Barack Obama in the White House. As if to prove the point, Romney on Tuesday will speak to the Clinton Global Initiative sponsored by the disgraced and impeached former president.

You may recall that Clinton is married to Obama’s Secretary of State and that he nominated Obama for a second term at the Democratic Party convention.

Check the list of speakers yourself. It is no surprise that Obama is going to speak there. But Romney? What is he thinking?

[…]

Did you know that senior Romney adviser Ed Gillespie, a former chairman of the Republican Party, is a partner in a lobbying firm with Democratic Party operative Jack Quinn? Their firm “Quinn Gillespie & Associates” was founded in 2000 by Democratic White House veteran Jack Quinn and Republican strategist Ed Gillespie.

These operatives make tons of money no matter who is in power. They don’t care if Romney wins or loses. Gillespie is a hired gun who will make millions of dollars under Obama or Romney. Why does Romney hire people like this?

In addition to hosting Romney, we also have learned that Clinton is hosting Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood President Muhammad Morsi at his Clinton Global Initiative.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Back the EU or Risk Isolation, Polish Minister Warns Britain

Polish foreign minister Radek Sikorski has called on Britain to abandon its “false consciousness” of euroscepticism and take the lead in EU decision-making.

Speaking at the Global Horizons conference at Blenheim palace near Oxford on Friday (21 September), the Oxford-educated Sikorski said Britain’s hostility towards the EU is based on “myths.”

“(The UK) is living with (a) false consciousness … your interests are in Europe. It’s high time for your sentiments to follow,” he told the meeting.

Calling for Britain to take a stronger position on shaping EU policy, Sikroski noted that the EU: “is an English-speaking power. The Single Market was a British idea. A British commissioner runs our diplomatic service. (And) you could, if only you wished, lead Europe’s defence policy.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Czech President: The Destruction of Europe’s Democracy is in Its Final Phase

‘Two-faced’ politicians have opened the door to an EU superstate by giving up on democracy, Václav Klaus, the veteran Czech statesman, tells Bruno Waterfield.

The new push for a European Union federation, complete with its own head of state and army, is the “final phase” of the destruction of democracy and the nation state, the president of the Czech Republic has warned.

In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, Václav Klaus warns that “two-faced” politicians, including the Conservatives, have opened the door to an EU superstate by giving up on democracy, in a flight from accountability and responsibility to their voters.

“We need to think about how to restore our statehood and our sovereignty. That is impossible in a federation. The EU should move in an opposite direction,” he said.

Last week, Germany, France and nine other of Europe’s largest countries called for an end to national vetoes over defence policy as Guido Westerwelle, the German foreign minister, urged the creation of a directly elected EU president “who personally appoints the members of his European government”.

Mr Westerwelle, in a reference to British opposition, called for nation states to be stripped of vetoes on defence to “prevent one single member state from being able to obstruct initiatives” which “could eventually involve a European army”.

The new offensive followed the unprecedented declaration by the Commission’s president, José Manuel Barroso, during his “state of union” address to the European Parliament on 12 September, that he would make proposals for a fully-fledged EU “federation” in 2014. “Let’s not be afraid of the word,” he said.

Speaking in Hradcany Castle, a complex of majestic buildings that soars above Prague, and is a symbol of Czech national identity, Mr Klaus described Mr Barroso’s call for a federation, quickly followed by the German-led intervention, as an important turning point.

“This is the first time he has acknowledged the real ambitions of today’s protagonists of a further deepening of European integration. Until today, people, like Mr Barroso, held these ambitions in secret from the European public,” he said. “I’m afraid that Barroso has the feeling that the time is right to announce such an absolutely wrong development.

“They think they are finalising the concept of Europe, but in my understanding they are destroying it.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

France: Strauss-Kahn off the Hook on Lille Rape Charges

(AGI) — Paris, 22 Sep — French daily Le Figaro’ claims enquiries into Strauss-Kahn’s alleged rape in Lille have come to a dead end. With the former IMF chief accused of rape during group sex at the Lille Carlton hotel, his prime accuser — a Belgian prostitute — is said to have withdrawn her claims, suggesting Dominique Strauss-Kahn merely partook in “sex games” in the role of “dominator.” ..

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

Germany: Hamburg Mosque May Have Violated Anti-Hate Contract

House of prayer operators participate in march calling for Israel’s destruction.

BERLIN — The Imam Ali Mosque in Hamburg, widely considered by experts in Germany and abroad the long arm of Iran’s regime in the Federal Republic, appears to have violated the spirit — and perhaps the terms — of its contractual partnership with the city of Hamburg. The mosque and its parent organization are said to have mobilized anti-Israel activists to call for the destruction of the Jewish state…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Italy: CIA Imam Snatch Convictions Upheld, Extraditions Sought

Cassation Court upholds 23 sentences

(ANSA) — Rome, September 19 — Italy’s top court of appeals on Thursday upheld the convictions of 22 CIA agents and a retired US air force officer found guilty of abducting Muslim cleric Hassan Mustafa Omar Nasr from Milan in 2003. 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 justice ministry said Italy will ask for extraditions.

Italy’s top two former military intelligence officers, former SISMI (now AISE) chief Nicolo’ Pollari and his ex-No.2 Marco Mancini, must be retried in the Milan Court of Appeals, the supreme court ordered.

The two have repeatedly been acquitted on appeal in the past because of the state-secrecy injunction.

Lower-ranking ex-Sismi officers Pio Pompa and Luciano Seno, had their sentences of two years and eight months confirmed. Nasr, an Islamist wanted in Italy on suspicion 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.

Prosecutors said he was snatched by a team of CIA operatives with SISMI’s help and taken to a NATO base in Ramstein, Germany, en route to Cairo.

In the closely watched case, the world’s first judicial examination of the controversial United States practice of extraordinary rendition, 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.

The prosecutor had sought 12 years for Pollari and 10 for Mancini. 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 Prepares 1-Mln-Euro Teacher Selection Process for 2013

11,500 posts up for grabs in 2013-2015

(ANSA) — Rome, September 20 — Italy is gearing up to launch a 1-million-euro selection process for 11,542 public school teaching positions for the 2013-2015 academic years as 160,000 contenders sharpen their skills to vie for the first jobs picked by competition in more than a decade. The participants in the selection process are applying for a variety of public schools and for all levels of teaching positions.

Interested candidates will need to apply via an online application process. The government has also established a so-called preselection process given the large volume of interested parties. This will take place in December via an online multiple choice test made up of 50 questions that will need to be answered in 50 minutes. The preliminary test will include seven information technology queries, seven linguistics questions, and 36 tests aimed at assessing the candidates’ logical deduction skills. Each candidate will have a completely different set of questions selected randomly from an overall total of 3,500 queries.

The selection process will be completed by the summer of 2013, when some 7,351 teachers will be selected for the 2013-2014 academic year as well as 4,191 for the 2014-2015 period.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Scandal-Hit Lazio Regional Government Unveils Cuts

Rome, 21 Sept. (AKI) — Lazio’s embattled regional governor Renata Polverini on Friday announced cuts to the region’s bloated bureacracy as it moved to limit the damage from a multi-million euro embezzlement scandal.

The cuts include halving the number of standing commissions from 16 to 8, and will free up as much as 20 million euros to be spent on health and other services in the region, said Polverini.

She is fighting for her political survival after the scandal erupted earlier this month when the ruling People of Freedom party (PdL)’s then-regional chief, Franco Fiorito, was placed under investigation for suspected misappropriation of party funds.

The Lazio regional government has launched its own investigation into the use of party funds by members of the Regional Council after six million euros of party funds disappeared over the past two years.

“Chaotic” money management allowed Lazio regional officials easy access to PdL funds, just by making a single phone-call, investigators said Thursday.

Fiorito reportedly told prosecutors there was no way that Polverini could not have been aware of how the funds were being disbursed and has implicated a number of other regional councillors in the deepening scandal.

The head of the PdL in the Lazio region, Francesco Battistoni, resigned on Thursday over the scandal, a move welcomed by the party’s secretary Angelino Alfano.

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

Italy: Mayor Makes Girlfriend His Deputy, Council Falls After Rows

(AGI) Bergamo — A ‘relative-gate’ scandal involving the Lega Nord has brought down a local council in Bergamo. Just four months after its election the municipal administration of Capriate San Gervasio has collapsed. The alliance between the Lega Nord (to which the now former mayor Simone Doric belonged) and a civic list, defeated an unusual alliance between the PD and PDL in last May’s election. The resentment against the mayor began just three weeks after the vote, when at the first council meeting on 24 May he announced the appointment of his girlfriend Valeria Cavenaghi as his deputy. Cavenaghi had served on the council for nine years and had just won 140 votes. She was given responsibility for social services, the family, community, education, cultural promotion, and the protection and improvement of Crespi Village. The mayor himself decided to oversee sustainable development, urban quality, the budget and sport, leaving only crumbs to the other two councillors. All these decisions created much discontent among the ranks of the minority and majority groups on the council.

The mayor defended his decision and protested against what he saw as an abuse of his privacy. However the bad feelings did not subside, despite the negotiations of recent weeks. So this morning, councillors belonging to the governing coalition, Cristiano Esposito (former Lega Nord mayor), Patrizio Massola and Donatella Pirola, submitted their resignation to the council’s protocol office together with those of minority party councillors, Mino Maggioni, Enzo Galbiati and Tullio Gambirasio. The council will now be put under the authority of a commissioner. (AGI) .

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

Sweden: Court Upholds Acquittals in Vilks Murder Plot Case

A court of appeal in Gothenburg has upheld the acquittal of three men charged with having plotted to murder Swedish artist Lars Vilks.

Following the same line of reasoning applied by the lower court, the appeals court found that there were a number of circumstances that raised suspicions that the three men had been planning an attack on Vilks, who has been the target of numerous death threats since his drawing of the Prophet Mohammed as a dog was first published by a Swedish regional newspaper in 2007.

For example, the suspects were looking for Vilks at an art exhibition at the Röda Sten gallery in Gothenburg on the night of September 11th, 2011 — the night they were arrested.

All three were also carrying knives at the time of their arrests, and had given police faulty information about what they had been doing in the days prior to the arrests.

But according to the court of appeal, there is no concrete evidence linking the suspects to claims by the prosecutor that they intended to murder Vilks, even if the men were no strangers to violence.

The prosecutor appealed the district court’s acquittal of the men to the Court of Appeal for Western Sweden because she believed there was sufficient evidence for a conviction.

The three men were arrested along with a fourth man, no longer considered a suspect, by an elite counter-terrorism unit in Gothenburg.

The unit had evacuated hundreds of people from the Röda Sten gallery as it hosted a September art fair “after concluding that there was a threat that could endanger lives or health or cause serious damage”.

Vilks had initially said on his blog that he would attend the art fair although he did not in the end.

The three suspects — one Somali citizen and two Swedes in their mid-20s — were all carrying knives when they were arrested and were, according to the prosecution, planning to stab Vilks to death.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UK Hospitals on the Verge of Collapse as Socialized Medicine Fails

(NaturalNews) If you want to get a good look at the future of healthcare in America, compliments of the “Affordable Care Act,” the monstrosity reform law known not-so-affectionately known as Obamacare, look across the Atlantic to Great Britain. Because of that law, our system is set to become nearly as socialized a system of medicine as is the system in England, where top doctors are now predicting that a number of hospitals there are “on the brink of crisis,” the BBC is reporting.

That’s not politics, that’s reality.

According to the Royal College of Physicians, a trio of issues — rising demand, increasingly complex cases and falling numbers of hospital beds — is contributing to the destruction of the healthcare system there.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: A Decades’ Worth of Sexual Exploitation “Ignored” In South Yorkshire

A dossier of internal police, social services and intelligence reports shows agencies in South Yorkshire were aware vulnerable girls were being abused, but a catalogue of alleged crimes were not prosecuted. In one case, a white girl who was sexually abused by an Asian gang from the age of 12 was offered lessons in Urdu and Punjabi by her local council after her ordeal, to “try to engage her in education”. The papers revealed fifty-four children from Rotherham were linked to sexual exploitation by three brothers from a British Pakistani family.

An intelligence report for police identified 61 girls who were linked to sexual exploitation by three brothers from another British Pakistani family. It named 41 of the brothers’ associates, who allegedly used girls for sex. They also document an incident when neighbours heard screaming, and a 13-year-old girl was found at 3am in a house with a large group of men who had given her vodka. Police arrested the child for being drunk and disorderly but did not question the men. The report, seen by The Times, states that such groups are believed to have trafficked victims to other cities and towns, including Bristol, Manchester, Birmingham, Bradford and Dover. Another confidential 2010 report, for the Rotherham Safeguarding Children Board, warns against drawing too much attention to the ethnic origin of the alleged abusers. Neither South Yorkshire Police nor Rotherham Council have yet commented.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Asian Sex Gangs Operated for a Decade in Rotherham as Authorities Refused to Acknowledge the Problem, Chilling Police Files Reveal

Asian sex gangs were able to groom, pimp and traffic girls across the UK for more than a decade while authorities failed to publicly acknowledge the problem was happening, confidential documents reveal today. A dossier of internal police, social services and intelligence reports shows that agencies in South Yorkshire were aware that vulnerable girls were being abused, but a catalogue of alleged crimes were not prosecuted. In one case, a white girl who was sexually abused by an Asian gang from the age of 12 was offered lessons in Urdu and Punjabi by her local council after her ordeal…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Council Chiefs Vow to Bring Child Grooming Offenders to ‘Justice’

COUNCIL chiefs in Rotherham today vowed to bring sexual predators to justice for targeting young children in the town. The vow came after the disclosure of confidential police and council documents and intelligence files on the sexual exploitation of children in South Yorkshire. They revealed that for more than a decade South Yorkshire authorities have been aware of a growing culture of men targeting vulnerable young English girls to groom for sex, but give a series of shocking examples of where offenders have never been prosecuted.

They also reveal instances where young children have been pimped and trafficked to other parts of the country for the sexual gratification of men.

One of the reports made public today came from the South Yorkshire Police intelligence bureau in 2010, which admitted that at that time there was ‘evidence of a substantial and organised offender network that groom and exploit victims on a worrying scale’. It referred to ‘a significant problem with networks of Asian males exploiting young white females’ in the county. One of the intelligence bureau reports made public today, laid bare the problem South Yorkshire Police had with investigating the issue. It revealed that by 2010 up to 300 children were being sexually exploited in the county but there were only three officers dedicated to tackling the issue. One was part time and the other two had other areas of work which took up at least half their time, the report said. It added: “Force provision for the policing of child exploitation is not equivalent to the scale and seriousness of the problem.”

Joyce Thacker, Strategic Director of Children and Young People’s Services for Rotherham Council, said: “Rotherham Council, working with local partner agencies and the community, is fully committed to tackling sexual exploitation — a commitment which has led to the conviction of men involved in this despicable crime as well as support for victims and potential victims and the education of hundreds of young people about the dangers of sexual exploitation. There will always be those people who will attempt to harm our young people and carry out these horrendous crimes but we, along with our partners and communities, will do whatever we can to bring them to justice. It has been well documented before that the council along with partner agencies have been aware of the issue and been working with young people for some years now. Rotherham was one of the first areas in the region to have a dedicated team, originally set up in 1997, to work with the victims, or potential victims, of sexual exploitation and help support criminal investigations. The service also worked with local schools and community groups to educate young people about the issue. Multi-agency work in Rotherham over a number of years has led to successful convictions and support for the victims. These are highly complex cases and situations and some work with individuals did not lead to court cases for a variety of reasons, but those young people have been supported to understand the situation they have found themselves in and assisted by many services.”

Councillor Paul Lakin, Cabinet Member for Services for Children, Young People and Families, added: “There is no question that we will do whatever we can to protect our young people from harm in whatever form that threat takes. The council has already acknowledged publicly that there have been lessons learnt from previous work, cases and investigations and that the support offered to a small number of vulnerable young people has not always reached the high standards we always look to provide. From that learning, improvements have been made and new services introduced and those developments will continue. Sexual predators do come from different sections of the community and are criminals who need to be brought to justice regardless of their background. We have worked closely with communities and community leaders across Rotherham in recent years to enlist their support in helping to tackle some of these issues and to educate people about sexual exploitation. The response has been very positive and our commitment to continue to tackle this issue is shared by local agencies and our communities.”

Rotherham MP Denis MacShane, said he was disappointed that despite regular meetings with police chiefs in his town the seriousness of the problem with child exploitation had not been revealed before. He said: “We need clear leadership from Government to eradicate this evil. Firstly, we need to shame and name all those who pay for sex with girls. In 2009, Parliament passed a law making it an offence to pay for sex with a young or coerced woman. But few if any prosecutions have followed. The police should be more vigorous in naming and shaming men who pay for sex. Instead of waiting for a terrified girl to be willing to give evidence the police should be arresting any man suspected of offering young girls a ride in his car or taxi or buying them presents.

Secondly, we need to bring a system of guardianship so that there is individual supervision of the most vulnerable of these girls. Many of the abused young girls came from care homes or from dysfunctional poor families. I have repeatedly called for a system of guardianship — naming legally empowered guardians for any child in care or who has been internally or externally trafficked. Such guardians would have a legal responsibility for these girls and the power to ask the local authority, police, doctors, social workers and teachers what they are doing to protect the child. So far the Government has refused to countenance this reform which many MPs who campaign on trafficking and exploitation of young girls believe would make a real difference. We need to tackle the alienation of so many young Asian men from modern society. Sadly the endemic poverty and growing joblessness especially amongst young British men in South Yorkshire with Asian parents who often face prejudice in getting jobs creates a no-work, no-hope, no-future. The culture of waiting to be married with someone from overseas instead of normal healthy boy-girl relationships, including responsible caring sexual relationships at the right time and age, leaves some Asian men confused as they see the rampant sexual availability promoted by the media. There are thousands of Muslim families in Rotherham and Yorkshire who lead normal decent lives and know no more about these crimes than east Manchester families knew about the killers of the two policewomen last week. The racist BNP, EDL and other xenophobic and anti-Muslim political outfits seek to exploit community divisions and turn an evil crime into an excuse for racial tension and inter-community violence. It is highly misleading to categorise these sexual abusers as ‘Asians’ or ‘Muslims’.the men are wholly unrepresentative of British Asians and of British Muslims.”

[JP note: One law for Muslims, crumbs for the rest.]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: English Defence League and Opposition Groups Plan Demonstrations in Walsall Town Centre

FEARS are growing of trouble in Walsall next weekend after it was revealed that the English Defence League are to mount a demonstration in the town centre — while groups opposing the far-right group are also planning an event in the town. West Midlands Police said they were aware of the planned protest due to take place in the town centre on Saturday, 29 September, 2012. A spokesman said: “As on previous occasions, the police have no power to ban a static protest — in fact the right to protest peacefully is a sign of a healthy democracy and West Midlands Police has a positive duty to facilitate that right.”

[…]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Leader of ‘Con Air’ Gypsy Family Gang Ordered to Pay Back Less Than a Tenth of the Cash Swindled

The notorious ‘Con Air’ gypsy family who jetted in and out of Britain on budget airlines to fraudulently claim £800,000 in benefits were today ordered to pay back less than a tenth of the swindled cash.

Ringleader Telus Dumitru, 38, and his fellow gang members cheated taxpayers out of hundreds of thousands of pounds in a ‘flagrant’ attack on the benefits system.

Dumitru was jailed along with eight others for the ‘sophisticated and professional’ fraud against various Government departments.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Police Were Aware of Rotherham Child Sex Grooming for Years

Today’s Times reveals that South Yorkshire Police had detailed knowledge of how young girls were being groomed, pimped and sexually abused for more than a decade — yet nobody was prosecuted using this information. In the past two years the Times has broken a string of child sexual abuse stories, highlighting how networks of men, usually of south Asian origin, were exploiting underage girls for sex in South Yorkshire and the Midlands. Hundreds of children are believed to have been exploited.

Young teenagers, many from troubled backgrounds or in care, were singled out for attention by local men, who would often act as a boyfriend. Over time, using drugs, alcohol, violence and the threat of abandonment, the girls would be coerced into having sex with their friends. In some cases girls were driven all over the country to be used for sex. Now a cache of over 200 classified documents has been passed to the paper, revealing just how much police and child protection services knew about the abuse. They also reveal shocking incidents in which potential child exploitation was ignored by officers — and in many cases the victims were treated as the criminals.

In one such case, a 13-year-old was found by police with clothing in disarray, at 3am in a house with several men. She had been fed vodka by them. None of the men were questioned; she was arrested for being drunk and disorderly. The files reveal multiple further cases where whole networks of abusers were identified by name, yet nobody was prosecuted. The documents, which include research papers, case files, intelligence reports and correspondence between the police and social services, reveal that social services were concerned girls in care were being targeted for sexual abuse in Rotherham as long ago as 1996.

A report written a decade ago revealed there was ‘a great deal of data concerning the activities of these men’, including where girls were targeted and how they were ferried around to be used for sex. Yet, a later report noted, the feeling among the police was that if the girls would ‘help themselves’ by coming forward to give evidence against their abusers there was little the police could do. No successful investigation into groups of sexual offenders in Rotherham was launched until 2009 — and several investigations since have failed.

All in all the Times’ work — led by their chief investigative reporter — is a fine example of dogged and unflinching journalism. It’s a disturbing tale that touches on a difficult issue — the treatment of young, vulnerable white girls by ethnic minority men. In less delicate hands it could have been prurient or inflammatory. As it stands, the Times has, unlike the police or social services, done the story justice. And there are signs that what has been revealed so far may be the tip of the iceberg — the children’s commissioner is currently studying the issue and said in a preliminary report that a cautious estimate indicates that ‘several thousand children nationally’ may be showing the signs of sexual exploitation, with abuse taking place across the country. Detailed findings will be released in November, offering the first nationwide snapshot into how widespread the horrific abuse revealed by the Times may be.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Pregnant Wife of 21 Murdered by Family to Rid Her of Evil Spirits

[WARNING: Disturbing content.]

Jailed for life, husband and the in-laws who held bride down and suffocated her.

A man and three members of his family were jailed for a total of 58 years yesterday after being convicted of murdering his pregnant wife claiming she was possessed by evil spirits.

One of the four smothered 21-year-old Nalia Mumtaz while the others held her down, apparently in an attempt to drive out the ‘jinn’ spirit from her body.

The killers included her husband, Mohammed Tauseef Mumtaz — who later claimed she suffocated herself — his parents, Zia Ul-Haq and Salma Aslam, both 51, and his brother in law Hammad Hassan.

The murder of the isolated young woman was said to have been instigated by Mumtaz’s parents.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Staff at Nursery School Where Boy, 3, Fell 15ft Down an ‘Unsafe’ Staircase Lied to Parents by Claiming He Was Pushed

Eshan Ahmed, now four, had to be put into a coma after suffering a fractured skull when he fell headfirst through a gap in the railings of the staircase at the first-floor nursery in Birmingham.

A court heard the steep staircase was used as an entrance and exit to Little Hippos Multicultural Nursery and Day Care Centre even though the owner knew the fire escape was unsafe, as small children could easily slip through large gaps on either side of the steps.

Birmingham Crown Court was told that Irshad Ahmed had lied to Eshan’s family and to Ofsted about the fall and created a ‘fiction’ surrounding it, claiming that the three-year-old was pushed off the steps during a fire drill at the nursery in Summer Lane.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Times: After 2 Yrs of Cameron, Labour Ahead 15 Points

(AGI) London — The economic crisis has not spared the UK and the pound and in 2 years the voters are tired of Mr. Cameron.

According to a survey run by conservative, Rupert Murdoch’s “The Times”, if the polls were open today, Ed Milliband’s Labour party would be the main UK party with a 45% approval (it was 35,2% at the 6 May 2010 legislative elections), some 15 points ahead of the Tories lead by the prime minister. The vice-premier Nick Clegg’s Lib-Dems are a 10% minority (2 years ago they received 22,2% of the votes).

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

UK: Tory Chief Whip Insults Downing Street Police Officers

(AGI) London -Tory chief whip Mitchell confronted police officers who didn’t let him ride his bike through Downing Street’s gates. Tory chief whip Andrew Mitchell called the Downing Street police officers “plebs” and threatened them saying “I’ll have your ****ing job for this”, after they refused to let him ride his bicycle through the main gates of the British prime minister’s office. The incident was promptly criticized not only by the Labour opposition, but also by the Tories’ increasingly reluctant coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats.

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

Balkans

Serbia: Radical Islam ‘Latent Threat’ In Muslim-Majority Region

Belgrade/Sarajevo, September 24 (Aki) — Serbia’s Muslim-majority Sandzak could see a dangerous upsurge in fundamentalism, which is simmering in the southern region, an Islamology expert has warned.

“The symptoms are not serious threats at the moment but could trigger a chain of events in the future,” Belgrade-based Islamology expert Darko Tanaskovicas aid on on Monday, cited by Pres daily.

His comments followed rallies held on Saturday by ultraconservative Wahabis in Sandzak’s main town Novi Pazar and in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo calling for Muslim unity and a state governed by Sharia or Islamic law.

A group of about 100 Wahhabis got together in Novi Pazarì’s central square but a Wahabi activist from Bosnia, Bilal Bosnic was not allowed to cross the border into Serbia to address the rally, according to rights activists cited by Serbia’s Tanjug news agency.

Last Friday by thousands of fans from a local soccer club in Novi Pazar marched against a US-made film deemed insulting to Islam that has sparked deadly protests across the Muslim world, ‘Innocence of Muslims’.

BH televison station RTRS quoted Bosnia’s self-styled Wahhabi leader Nusret Imamovic as explaining the importance of Sharia law and “the indissoluble link between politics and Islam” in an address at Sarajevo’s Muslim cultural centre.

Imamovic was earlier detained and than released by Bosnia police during an investigation into the sniper attack on the US Embassy in Sarajevo in October 2011 in which a policeman was wounded.

The attack on the American embassy was allegedly carried out by Wahabi member Mevlid Jasarevic, who was reportedly trained in mountains in northeastern Bosnia.

The Wahabi ideology is a fundamentalist form of Sunni Islam attributed to 18th century Saudi scholar Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab.

It was brought to the Balkans by thousands of mujahadeen fighters who came to fight on the side of Bosnian Muslims during the country’s bloody 1992-1995 civil war

According to intelligence reports, many Wahabis remained in the country after the war, indoctrinating local youths with radical Islam and operating terrorist training camps in several locations in Bosnia

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

Top Officials Deplore Croatian MP’s Comments on Serbs

Belgrade and Zagreb, September 20 (AKI) — Croatia’s president and Serbia’s prime minister on Thursday moved to condemn inflammatory remarks by Croatian member of parliament Zeljko Kerum that Serbs were “the source of all problems” in his country.

Croatian president Ivo Josipovic condemned Kerum’s comments made on state broadcaster HTV as hate speech — a social ill that was increasingly targeting the various minorities.

“I condemn every attempt at discrimination,” he said.

Serbian premier Ivica Dacic said the UN Security Council “would probably intervene immediately” if Serbs were to make similar remarks about Croats.

Local reports said police and the public prosecutors in Croatia “are considering” launching procedures against Kerum, a businessman is also the mayor of the Adriatic city of Split .

In his televised remarks made on Sunday, Kerum claimed that the Serb ethnic minority “controls the media and the money” in Croatia.

“The statement of the mayor of Split is a classic example of the abuse of national issues and emotions. We tend to have good relations with Croatia and this certainly cannot violate that fact”, Dacic told Belgrade’s daily Pres.

Asked if hostility between the citizens of the two Balkan neighbours could increase as a result of the statement, Dacic reminded that “Kerum has already said a lot of things about Serbs”.

Kerum has previously said that he would not