News Feed 20120130

Financial Crisis
» European Politicians in Denial as Greece Unravels
» Greece Vexed by German Demand for ‘Budget Commissioner’
» Greece’s Worsening Situation to Dominate Summit
» Irish Minister Says Euro-Exit Possible if Treaty Rejected
» Italy: Yield Plunges to 6.08% at 10-Year Bond Auction
» Merkel Backs Away From Greek Budget Control
» Sarkozy: VAT and Tobin Tax, Shock to Growth
» Sarkozy Announces 0.1 Per Cent Transaction Tax From August
» Spain Heading for Recession; 4th Quarter GDP -0.3%
 
USA
» ‘Dumped’ Pythons Put Squeeze on Everglades Wildlife
» Frank Gaffney: Free Speech — For Some
» Mosque to Open Next Month
» Pro-Muslim Media Bias in the USA
 
Canada
» ‘You Have No Place in Civilised Society’: Muslim Family Jailed for Life After ‘Despicable’ Honour Killing of Three Teen Daughters Who Dared to Date Boys
 
Europe and the EU
» Check Your Facts, Sarkozy! Sneering French President Claims the ‘UK Has No Industry’ In Cheap Shot at Economy… But France Actually Has Less Than Britain
» France: Sarkozy Hikes Taxes in Pre-Election Gamble
» France: Socialist Drafts in Obama Advisers
» Gigantic Radio Telescope to Search for First Stars and Galaxies
» Greece: Third Santorini Quake in as Many Days
» Greece: Far-Right March in Athens Ends in Violence
» Greece: Priest Arrested for Treasure Hunting in His Own Church
» Monti Named ‘European of the Year’
» Norway: Two Found Guilty in Muhammad Cartoon Case
» Sweden: Stockholm ‘Upper-Class Safari’ Under Fire
» Swedish Cannibal Finds Vampire Love Behind Bars
» Two Convicted in Norway of Plotting Terror Attack
» UK: [Leicester] Mercury Opinion: EDL’s Letter Does Not Reassure Us
» UK: £21k-a-Day David Miliband Exploits Tax Loophole That His Government Pledged to Close
» UK: City Businesses Have Nothing to Fear, Insists EDL
» UK: Harry’s Place Debates Islamophobia
» UK: Home Office Launches New Wave of Crime Maps Which Will Tell You How Many Crimes Are Committed in Specific Places
» UK: Islamophobia and the Press
 
Middle East
» Turkey: Journalists in Prison for Common Crimes, Erdogan
 
Far East
» ‘Directly in Its Path’: German Satellite Almost Crashed Into Beijing
 
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Italy: Somali Premier Thanks Italy, ‘Expects More’
 
Immigration
» Foreigners: 15 Percent of Norway’s Workforce
» Italy: 50 Migrants Land in Puglia
» Switzerland: New Zurich Law to Make Naturalization Harder
 
Culture Wars
» Germany: Lip-Shaped Urinals in Stones Museum Called Sexist
» Switzerland: Christians Slam ‘Mystic’ Supermarket Campaign
 
General
» City Lights at Night: Astronaut’s Amazing View From Space
» Evolution Shrinks Mammals Quickly, But They’re Slow to Grow
» Shortage of Rare Metals Could Threaten High-Tech Innovation

Financial Crisis


European Politicians in Denial as Greece Unravels

Europe’s politicians are losing touch with reality. Greece is broke, and yet Brussels wants to send the country billions in new loans, to which there is growing opposition within the coalition government in Berlin. Rescue efforts are hopelessly bogged down by bickering over who will ultimately step up.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]



Greece Vexed by German Demand for ‘Budget Commissioner’

BRUSSELS — Greek politicians have reacted angrily at a leaked German proposal for a euro-commissioner to control the country’s fiscal policy. “Our partners do know that European integration is based on the institutional parity of member states and the respect of their national identity and dignity,” finance minister Evangelos Venizelos said Sunday (29 January) in a statement.

“Whoever puts before a people the dilemma of choosing between financial assistance and national dignity disregards basic historical lessons,” he warned, a veiled reference to the Nazi occupation of Greece during World War II. A German draft proposal, published on Friday by the Financial Times, envisaged the appointment of a “budget commissioner” by the eurozone finance ministers. This person’s job would be “ensuring budgetary control” and compliance with the EU-IMF conditions attached to the second bail-out, which still has to be approved.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]



Greece’s Worsening Situation to Dominate Summit

German Chancellor Angela Merkel had hoped that Monday’s EU summit would focus exclusively on finalizing her plan to impose budget discipline across the 27-member bloc. Problems in Greece, however, may hijack her headlines.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]



Irish Minister Says Euro-Exit Possible if Treaty Rejected

It would be “almost impossible” for Ireland to remain in the eurozone if voters rejected a proposed new fiscal treaty in a referendum, EU affairs minister Lucinda Creighton told RTE on Monday. The Irish government has indicated it would prefer to avoid a plebiscite on the treaty.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]



Italy: Yield Plunges to 6.08% at 10-Year Bond Auction

Treasury sells all 2 bln euros’ worth of paper on offer

(ANSA) — Rome, January 30 — The yield at a 10-year bond auction dropped Monday to 6.08% from 6.98% at the last such auction in December.

The Treasury placed all the two billion euros’ worth of bonds on offer.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]



Merkel Backs Away From Greek Budget Control

Chancellor Angela Merkel sought Monday to placate critics of a German proposal to put Greece under the supervision of an EU budget tsar, saying Europe must help Athens enact economic reforms.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]



Sarkozy: VAT and Tobin Tax, Shock to Growth

‘Financial world made a mistake, must do its part’

(ANSAmed) — PARIS — An increase in VAT, the Tobin Tax, the Bank of Industry, binding apprenticeship contracts for the manufacturing sector and stimulus for residential zoning: the measures announced yesterday evening by the French president Nicolas Sarkozy live on eight TV stations are tough medicine, a recipe “for growth recovery”. He held an hour-long speech in which he mentioned the German model as least ten times, almost an obsession for him, and did not announce his candidature but did hint clearly at it at the end of the broadcast in responding to journalists’ questions, saying “I know that I have an appointment with the French people, and I will not pull back.” Sarkozy’s plan, a number of parts of which had been announced over previous days, should make it possible for the structures of the French social state to bear up against that “tempest”, as Sarkozy called it, even though in replying to the first question of the four questions who questioned him he seemed optimistic: “Europe is no longer on the edge of the abyss. The financial situation shows elements of stability.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]



Sarkozy Announces 0.1 Per Cent Transaction Tax From August

(PARIS) — French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Sunday announced plans to introduce a 0.1 percent tax on financial transactions to come into effect from August this year in France. Sarkozy said he hoped to “create a shock” with the controversial “Robin Hood” tax and inspire other European countries to follow his lead, despite vocal opposition from other EU leaders.

He said in a television interview that the tax would enable French companies to keep jobs at home instead of outsourcing them abroad. Advocates of the tax see it as a potentially significant revenue generator as well as a penalty against speculation, but critics say it could cause investors to pull their money out of countries applying it.

Some governments have in recent years taken up the campaign but most now intend to use the so-called “Robin Hood tax” to help reduce their budget deficits rather than embark on specific social programmes.

France and its major eurozone partners have supported the idea of the tax but now seem divided on how to approach the issue, with the major players in the bloc Germany and Italy advising caution. Britain is opposed to transaction taxes being implemented across the 27-member EU bloc.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]



Spain Heading for Recession; 4th Quarter GDP -0.3%

Spanish economy up 0.3% on annual basis

(ANSAmed) — ROME — Spain’s GDP shrank by 0.3% in the fourth quarter of 2011, with the country heading for a second recession in three years. The Spanish economy has grown by 0.3% on a year-on-year basis, according to a statement by the country’s statistics institute.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

USA


‘Dumped’ Pythons Put Squeeze on Everglades Wildlife

Sixteen-foot-long pythons aren’t just frightening movie concepts, they are a real-life threat in the Everglades where they are annihilating the park’s mammal populations to unrecoverable numbers, researchers now say.

The pythons entered the park from households that kept the snakes as pets, and may also have been set loose by hurricanes in the ‘90s, researchers say. Rangers started noticing the python’s presence in 2000, when two snakes were removed from national lands. The number of pythons has skyrocketed, with more than 300 pythons being removed from the Everglades every year since 2007. Researchers don’t know their true numbers but estimate at least tens of thousands of the giant snakes inhabit the National Everglades Park.

“They turn up all over the U.S., but now they are established and reproducing and apparently doing very well in South Florida,” said study researcher Michael Dorcas, of Davidson College in North Carolina. “It’s 11 years later, and we are already recording a hugely devastating impact.” Dorcas is co-author of the book “Invasive Pythons in the United States” (The University of Georgia Press, 2011).

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]



Frank Gaffney: Free Speech — For Some

According to the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), there is a grave threat to America that must be suppressed at all costs. The threat is that Lieutenant General William “Jerry” Boykin might be allowed to exercise his constitutionally guaranteed right to free speech.

This proposition is bizarre on multiple levels. For one, General Boykin, who is a friend and greatly admired colleague of mine, is one of the United States’ most accomplished and decorated military heroes. He served in and led our most elite special forces units for decades, including in many of our most dangerous recent combat operations. He also held a number of senior positions in the intelligence community, including as the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence…

           — Hat tip: CSP [Return to headlines]



Mosque to Open Next Month

A new center of worship for Norman’s Muslim community is nearing completion after nearly five years of planning. When construction comes to a close, the Masjid An-nur Mosque located at 420 E. Lindsey St. will serve as a community center and a location where daily prayer will take place, project manager and founding member of the Islamic Society of Norman Saddiq Karim said. The mosque is scheduled for completion by the end of February, Karim said. Construction of the $900,000 mosque began last year with the demolition of the house that had previously housed the congregation, but the Islamic society began fundraising for the project in 2007, Karim said. Throughout the process, more than 90 percent of funding for the mosque has come from donations, Karim said. A new place of worship was needed by the society to accommodate Norman’s growing Muslim commmunity, Karim said.

When the society was founded in 1976, there were around 45 members, Karim said. Today an estimated 200 people will use the mosque, 50 to 75 percent of which are OU students depending on the school year. The Masjid An-nur Mosque will be mainly for prayer, or Salah, Karim said. Muslims pray five times a day and must wash before. The previous mosque did not have a place to wash, and this was an important factor in Karim’s design of the new building. Masjid An-nur also will be used for fellowship, teaching children the faith as well as teaching those who are interested in Islam more about it,” Karim said. “We have open doors. Anyone can come and see.” Omar Alamoudi, president of the OU Muslim Student Association, said when he first came to America the old mosque was a relief to find, as it helped him meet new people. “The previous mosque didn’t feature typical architecture like a dome or minarets but still had the same home-away-from-home atmosphere and community,” Alamoudi said.

Now that the new mosque is almost finished, it may serve to fix a disconnect between Muslims who may not know about the city’s Islamic community, he said. “More Muslims would recognize it and become more involved because it looks like a mosque,” Alamoudi said. After construction, students may participate in suggested volunteering opportunities at the mosque, like tutoring middle and high school students, Alamoudi said. The mosque is not exclusive to Muslims and will be open to everybody, Alamoudi said. People can come and observe if they are interested, without worrying about embarrassment. He also said he hopes it can serve as a bridge between Muslims and the fear that many people may have from the extremists that are portrayed in the media. “Muslims are not so much different from anyone else,” Alamoudi said. “There is an identity to them … but at the same time the common things between people are so much more than the differences.”

[JP note: No common ground.]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]



Pro-Muslim Media Bias in the USA

July of last year I wrote about the reporting of Anders Behring Breivik and the tragedy in Norway. I wrote at that time,

Depending who you ask or where you studied journalism, one of the first rules is to keep your bias out of the story. So what happened?

Somewhere during my lifetime it seems that all journalists or to be more specific, reporters, took sides. The way they state things or in many cases, don’t state them is a pure and blatant attempt to sway the reader.

Last October in an article I wrote about the media attacks on Dr. Walid Phares I wrote,

It is one thing to disagree with someone or their views; it’s something else when you blatantly lie, have no proof to back up what you are claiming and then you call it journalism.

What’s more, are those in the media that never bother to check something they have read and then regurgitate it over and over without any basis whatsoever, writing their own article using the original lies and still refer to it as “journalism”.

We have all heard the term ‘mainstream media’ and most of you reading this have probably used it more than once, and not in any complimentary sense. The problem as I see it is that maybe we should stop calling it the ‘media’ all together.

According to the Business Dictionary the word ‘media’ is defined as,…

           — Hat tip: The Observer [Return to headlines]

Canada


‘You Have No Place in Civilised Society’: Muslim Family Jailed for Life After ‘Despicable’ Honour Killing of Three Teen Daughters Who Dared to Date Boys

An Afghan father, his wife and their son have been jailed for life after a jury found them guilty of killing three teenage sisters and a co-wife in what the judge described as a ‘despicable’ and ‘heinous’ crime.

The jury had taken 15 hours to find Mohammad Shafia, 58, his wife Tooba Yahya, 42; and their son Hamed, 21, each guilty of four counts of first-degree murder.

The four bodies were found in June 2009 in a car submerged in a canal in Kingston, Ontario, where the family had stopped for the night on their way home from Niagara Falls.

Prosecutors said the daughters were killed because they dishonored the family by defying rules on dress, dating, socialising and going online.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU


Check Your Facts, Sarkozy! Sneering French President Claims the ‘UK Has No Industry’ In Cheap Shot at Economy… But France Actually Has Less Than Britain

When a journalist pointed out that Britain had experienced a rise in prices after increasing its VAT contributions, Mr Sarkozy spat out the words: ‘The United Kingdom has no industry any more.’

But experts across the Channel today pointed out that industry accounts for almost 17 per cent of GDP in Britain — compared with just over 14 per cent in France.

It was newspaper Le Monde that branded Sarkozy’s claim ‘totally false’, pointing out that ‘Britain is actually more industrialised than France’.

Le Monde admitted that ‘industrial decline is stronger in our country’, adding: ‘In 2007, industry accounted for 16.7 per cent of GDP against 14.1 per cent for France: a statistic that did not change in 2011.’

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]



France: Sarkozy Hikes Taxes in Pre-Election Gamble

President Nicolas Sarkozy went on primetime TV Sunday to unveil plans for new taxes he hopes will fix France’s ailing economy and boost his credibility ahead of polls he is tipped to lose to a Socialist. The right-winger has not confirmed he will stand for re-election, but he gave his strongest hint yet he will be a candidate in the election that opinion polls predict will be won by François Hollande.

“I have a rendezvous with the French. I will not shy away from it,” Sarkozy told journalists who pressed him on whether he would stand in the election, the first round of which will be held in April. In an hour-long broadcast carried by six channels, Sarkozy unveiled plans for a hike in the sales tax to 21.2 percent and a 0.1 percent “Robin Hood” financial transaction tax.

He also promised a raft of measures on reducing work time to cut salaries to save jobs, increasing the number of young people taken on as apprentices and creating a new bank to invest in French industry. Sarkozy’s ministers say he believes the reforms will show that, unlike Hollande, he is courageous enough to do the dirty work to save France from economic meltdown.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]



France: Socialist Drafts in Obama Advisers

Presidential candidate François Hollande is reportedly getting advice from some of the experts who helped Barack Obama win the US presidency in 2008. A report in Le Parisien newspaper said that Hollande wants to replicate the successful online campaign that helped Obama take the White House.

“In 2008, Obama won because he knew how to use digital channels to organise and mobilise his supporters,” said Vincent Feltesse, who is in charge of all things web for France’s Socialist candidate. The newspaper reported that the designer of both Obama’s campaign site and the White House website, Matt Ipcar, was in Paris last week. Another adviser specialising in using social networks, Ryan Davis, was also in Paris.

A further meeting is planned for early February with Joe Rospars, head of the Blue State Digital agency and leader of Obama’s 2008 online campaign. The Hollande team is also planning to replicate the door-to-door approach that helped Obama to victory, with the objective of getting to “between 5 and 12 million doors” before the first round of voting, said Feltesse.

Hollande’s ambitions may be limited by the size of his team and his budget. Le Parisien pointed out that while Obama has an online staff of more than 100 people and a budget of €230 million ($300 million), Hollande has around 30 people and a much smaller pot of just €2 million.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]



Gigantic Radio Telescope to Search for First Stars and Galaxies

More than 20,000 radio antennas will soon connect over the Internet to scan largely unexplored radio frequencies, hunting for the first stars and galaxies and potentially signals of extraterrestrial intelligence. The Low Frequency Array (LOFAR) will consist of banks of antennas in 48 stations in the Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe, all hooked up by fiber optic cables. Signals from these stations will be combined using a supercomputer, transforming the array into “perhaps the most complex and versatile radio telescope ever attempted,” said Heino Falcke, chairman of the board for the International LOFAR Telescope.

Currently 16,000 of LOFAR’s antennas and 41 of its stations are up, and the array will be completed by the middle of this year. All told, LOFAR will have a resolution equivalent to a telescope 620 miles (1,000 kilometers) in diameter. In addition, “it’s an expandable design — we can always come along later and add additional stations,” said Michael Wise at ASTRON, the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]



Greece: Third Santorini Quake in as Many Days

Yet another earthquake struck the area between Santorini and Crete in the early hours of Saturday, measuring 4.5 degrees on the Richter scale, according to the Athens Institute of Geodynamics. This was the third tremor at the same spot in as many days, causing justified concern among citizens on both islands in southern Greece. There was no damage or injuries reported.

On Thursday there was a 5.3 R quake followed by a 5.2 R tremor on Friday. Seismologists, however, say they are not worried by the seismic sequence as they suggest that it serves to defuse the energy stored some 30 kilometers from the surface, where the center of the quake was.

Santorini citizens even expressed worries about a possible awakening of the island’s volcano, but Greek experts answered that although there has been some irregular behavior by the volcano, there are absolutely no signs linking it with the week’s tremors.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]



Greece: Far-Right March in Athens Ends in Violence

Two people were injured and 42 detained on Saturday night during disturbances that followed a march by the far-right Chrysi Avgi (Golden Dawn) group. The rally was held to mark the anniversary of the 1996 Imia crisis, during which three Greek military officers were killed.

Hundreds of nationalists marched from a statue in central Athens erected in honor of the three soldiers toward the US Embassy. The march was heavily policed and there were no disturbances, but after the rally a group of extremists took the metro to Omonia station, where they began to attack immigrants and pull other passengers off trains. All of the alleged assailants were released Sunday.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]



Greece: Priest Arrested for Treasure Hunting in His Own Church

Police in northern Greece have arrested an Orthodox priest and a church elder on charges of treasure hunting, inside their own church. The 53-year-old priest and his 57-year-old assistant were allegedly digging a hole inside the 150-year-old church in the district of Kilkis, north of Thessaloniki, hoping to find hidden archaeological treasures.

Locals reportedly tipped off the police late on Thursday after hearing loud noise coming from the church. Police discovered a two-meter deep, one-meter wide tunnel behind the altar, and confiscated sacks full of earth, digging tools and two pairs of gloves. Another four people are being charged in connection with the illegal dig, a police statement said.

Hundreds of churches were burgled last year and faced with a rapid rise in the number of break-ins over the past few years, forcing priests across the country to take more measures to protect church property.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]



Monti Named ‘European of the Year’

30-year-old prize awarded by French political annual

(ANSA) — Paris, January 30 — Italian Premier Mario Monti will pick up the European of the Year award in Paris Tuesday, assigned by the French political annual Trombinoscope.

The 30-year-old prize was last year given to ex-European Central Bank governor Jean-Claude Trichet.

Previous recipients have included French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]



Norway: Two Found Guilty in Muhammad Cartoon Case

An Oslo court on Monday found two men guilty of plotting “a terrorist act” for a planned attack on the Danish newspaper that published cartoons of the Muslim prophet Muhammad. Norwegian national Mikael Davud, a member of China’s Uighur minority considered the mastermind behind the plot against the Jyllands-Posten daily, was sentenced to seven years behind bars, while Shawan Sadek Saeed Bujak, an Iraqi Kurd residing in Norway, received a three-and a half-year prison term.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]



Sweden: Stockholm ‘Upper-Class Safari’ Under Fire

The so called “upper class safari” that has been recently running in Stockholm has come under extreme criticism from residents of the elite suburb, and has even evoked several protest attacks. “Everything for Everyone” (Allt åt alla) is the organization behind the venture, which aims to give tourists a peek behind the curtains of the rich and famous living in glamorous parts of Stockholm.

“The trip is a way of learning about Stockholm’s history and seeing what the segregation really looks like,” said Shabane Barot, a spokesperson for the organization, to the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper. The tour has proved popular, and eager spectators have filled the 65 seats on the coach, which soon sold out since it was first advertised a few weeks ago.

The tour starts in central Stockholm, travels through Fisksätra, giving a glimpse into a “lower class” area of Stockholm, before heading in the direction of Solsidan, Saltsjöbaden, an ‘upper class’ suburb of the capital.

Solsidan has shot to fame recently as the setting (and the name) of a popular sitcom, based on the lives of the upscale residents of the waterfront area. Protests against the idea, however, have been strong, and the mayor of Nacka has referred to the tour as ‘childish’.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]



Swedish Cannibal Finds Vampire Love Behind Bars

After meeting at a high security ward and chatting on the internet, “the Skara Cannibal” and the “Vampire Woman”, two infamous Swedish murderers, have found love and are hoping to get married. “We got together on November 13th. ‘Do you want to be my girlfriend?’ he asked on MSN. Then we decided to get engaged, which we did on December 9th,” the “Vampire Woman” Michelle Gustafsson told Expressen.

The couple are fellow inmates at the Karsuddens psychiatric facility near Katrineholm in eastern Sweden. They are both being treated for highly unusual crimes, making huge headlines in Sweden. Gustafsson is convicted of the murder of a father of four in Stockholm in 2010. She stabbed him to death with a knife, but claims she does not remember the incident at all.

On her personal blog she had been writing about killing people on the Stockholm underground and published pictures of herself as a vampire with a bloodied mouth, brandishing a knife and a power saw, according to the paper. Isakin Jonsson, or “the Skara Cannibal” was convicted in March 2011 of the gruesome killing of his then girlfriend, mother of five, Helle Christensen. After stabbing her to death with a knife, Jonsson cut off her head and other parts of her body, some of which he then ate.

Jonsson showed no remorse during his trial and was found to suffer from severe mental illness by a court-ordered psychiatric evaluation. He couldn’t explain why he had killed his girlfriend.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]



Two Convicted in Norway of Plotting Terror Attack

OSLO, Norway (AP) — Two men accused of plotting to attack a Danish newspaper that caricatured the Prophet Muhammad were found guilty Monday of terror charges in Norway, the first convictions under the country’s anti-terror laws.

The Oslo district court sentenced alleged ringleader Mikael Davud to seven years in prison and co-defendant Shawan Sadek Saeed Bujak to three and a half years.

Judge Oddmund Svarteberg said the court found that Davud “planned the attack together with al-Qaida.”

A third defendant, David Jakobsen, was cleared of terror charges but convicted of helping the others acquire explosives. Jakobsen, who assisted police in the investigation, was sentenced to four months.

Investigators say the plot was linked to the same al-Qaida planners behind thwarted attacks against the New York subway system and a British shopping mall in 2009.

The case was Norway’s most high-profile terror investigation until last July, when a right-wing extremist killed 77 people in a bomb and shooting massacre.

The three men, who were arrested in July 2010, made some admissions but pleaded innocent to terror conspiracy charges and rejected any links to al-Qaida.

During the trial Davud denied he was taking orders from al-Qaida, saying he was planning a solo raid against the Chinese Embassy in Oslo. He said he wanted revenge for Beijing’s oppression of Uighurs, a Muslim minority in western China.

Davud, a Norwegian citizen, also said his co-defendants helped him acquire bomb-making ingredients but didn’t know he was planning an attack…

           — Hat tip: The Observer [Return to headlines]



UK: [Leicester] Mercury Opinion: EDL’s Letter Does Not Reassure Us

The English Defence League has written an open letter to Leicester businesses in which it states that its only intention in coming to Leicester next Saturday is to stage a peaceful protest. We sincerely hope this is how things turn out but the EDL cannot be surprised that people are fearful about its return to Leicester. On the last occasion it staged a protest here, in October 2010, people in the EDL section pelted police officers with bottles, cans, bricks and coins. At one point a Leicester Mercury reporter and photographer had to flee a building as debris crashed through the windows. Another group of EDL followers broke through police lines to engage in running battles with local youths and officers. In contrast, Unite Against Fascism, which the EDL tends to accuse of provoking trouble, staged a counter-protest which seemed to us to be entirely peaceful. This is not propaganda, as the EDL would no doubt suggest, but what our journalists saw with their own eyes.

The EDL in its open letter is also at pains to assert that it is not seeking to divide communities but to unite them. However, earlier in the letter it says, without a shred of evidence to support its claim: “It has become increasingly evident that there is an anti-English sentiment amongst some communities of Leicester.” It is hard to imagine a much more divisive statement than this. The EDL believes that there is a “two-tier justice system” at work in the UK where Muslims are treated more leniently than English people. It is coming to Leicester because its supporters think that a court case last year at the city’s crown court illustrated this. We are not going to go through all this again — we did so at length last Saturday — suffice to say that what actually happened in court does not bear out the EDL’s view. We know because our reporter was at the hearing. The EDL’s open letter is articulately expressed in measured tones. Some people might conclude that it is perfectly reasonable. However, our experience of this group is not a good one and we think that what its supporters say and do is frequently divisive and damaging. That is not scaremongering or propaganda but is based on what we have seen for ourselves.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]



UK: £21k-a-Day David Miliband Exploits Tax Loophole That His Government Pledged to Close

David Miliband is channelling his earnings of up to £21,000 a day through a controversial tax loophole his own Government vowed to close.

The former Foreign Secretary uses an ‘income-shifting’ device that was condemned by Gordon Brown’s administration.

Last night Tory MPs accused Mr Miliband of hypocrisy for taking advantage of the tax-avoidance measure.

Rather than paying income tax on his non-parliamentary earnings, Mr Miliband pays the money into a company where shares are split 50-50 between himself and his wife Louise Shackleton.

Mr Miliband recently pocketed more than £21,000 a day for work in the United Arab Emirates. His rate of pay even outstrips controversial Royal Bank of Scotland boss Stephen Hester, who earns just under £6,000 a day in salary and bonus.

Mr Miliband’s latest entry in the Commons Register of Members’ Interests shows that he received £64,475 from the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

He was also provided with transport and accommodation for himself and an accompanying member of staff worth £4,935 for joining the ‘advisory board’ at the ‘Sir Bani Yas Forum’ in Abu Dhabi last November.

The confidential forum lasted just three days. The event was described as a ‘high-level retreat’ that ‘created a space for action-oriented discussions among leading policy and opinion-makers about critical issues for peace and security in the Middle East’.

Last week The Mail on Sunday revealed Mr Miliband is also working for a Pakistan-based City firm backed by a Swiss aristocratic playboy.

It has now emerged that he will do just five days’ work a year for the firm, Indus Basin Holdings, in return for a £50,000-a-year salary.

Mr Miliband’s burgeoning post-ministerial income is siphoned into the company owned with his wife, called The Office Of David Miliband Limited.

High earner: How the Mail on Sunday reported on Miliband’s lucrative new job

Financial analysts say the tactic is usually deployed to reduce a joint tax bill by taking income in the form of share dividends and exploiting both partners’ tax-free allowances.

But the loophole was the target of a campaign by HM Revenue & Customs during the last Labour Government.

One married couple, Geoff and Diana Jones, who had split their Arctic Systems consultancy between them, were pursued by HMRC through the courts but won their fight to keep the perk when they were backed by the House of Lords in 2007.

Furious officials at the Treasury, then run by Chancellor Alistair Darling, released a statement saying: ‘This case has brought to light the need for the Government to ensure that there is greater clarity in the law regarding the tax treatment of arrangements used by some taxpayers to achieve an unfair advantage.

‘The Government will therefore bring forward proposals for changes to legislation.’ No such change to the law has yet been introduced. One senior accountant, who estimates that Mr Miliband’s annual tax saving runs into six figures, was highly critical of the former Cabinet Minister’s actions. ‘Miliband was part of a government that hounded couples through the courts for doing exactly what he is doing,’ the accountant said. ‘It will strike my clients as a bit rich, to say the least.’

Mr Miliband was joined at the ‘Sir Bani Yas Forum’ in Abu Dhabi by his former political patron, Tony Blair, whose own earnings now surpass £12 million a year.

Ed and David Miliband have been accused of being untrustworthy by a Tory MP

The forum was held on Sir Bani Yas island, a luxurious desert island resort created in the Eighties by UAE founder Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who spent billions of pounds transforming the island into a forest and animal park.

More than 3.5 million trees and 60,000 animals were shipped to the island in 1985, following ten years of construction work. And nine million gallons of desalinated water are reported to be pumped to the island each day.

Last night Tory MP Charlie Elphicke MP was critical of Mr Miliband and his brother Ed.

He said: ‘Usually when spouses own shares it is to help avoid tax. Ed Miliband and Labour talk tough on tax-avoidance except when it’s in the family. You can’t trust a thing they say.’

A spokesman for David Miliband declined to comment on his tax affairs. He confirmed that the former Cabinet Minister would be working ‘about five days a year’ for Indus Basin Holdings, adding: ‘That is about in line with the amount he earns for his speeches.’

           — Hat tip: Steen [Return to headlines]



UK: City Businesses Have Nothing to Fear, Insists EDL

The English Defence League has told businesses they have nothing to fear from its supporters during next weekend’s planned protest in Leicester city centre. The EDL, which says it was created to combat Islamic extremism, plans to stage a protest in the city centre on Saturday, February 4. Leicester Unite Against Fascism hopes to stage a counter-protest on the same day. Police are planning a major public order operation to “facilitate” peaceful protest and to combat any potential for a repeat of the violence which broke out when the EDL last staged a major protest in the city. On that occasion, in October 2010, many businesses chose to close for the day and many premises near the protest site in Humberstone Gate East were boarded up.

Now, the EDL’s local leadership has written an open letter, on Facebook, to city businesses to urge them to ignore “propaganda” it claims is being spread about its supporters’ behaviour during protests. It has passed a copy to the Leicester Mercury. The EDL letter restates that the purpose of the march was to highlight the group’s anger that, in a recent court case, four Somalian women “escaped jail for a savage street attack” on a white woman. It says: “It has come to our attention that many communities and businesses prior to our demonstrations are misinformed by certain groups or individuals as to our intentions, and many places of business are advised to close. We feel this is an attempt, merely to raise tensions and undermine our message. I would like to assure you there is no need to close because of an English Defence League demonstration. We have marched through many cities and towns across the country with zero disruption to communities and that is our full and only intention for February 4.”

Chief Superintendent Rob Nixon, head of city police said: “We trust that EDL will fulfil their promises as set out on the letter. The police have a legal duty to facilitate peaceful protests.

We take our role of protecting our communities seriously and there is a significant policing operation in place as a precautionary measure.” Martin Traynor, chief executive of Leicestershire Chamber of Commerce, said: “I’m encouraged by the police approach of trying to control this march. However, based on past experience and people’s perceptions of them this will still have a detrimental effect on the city centre.” Suleman Nagdi, spokesman for the Leicestershire Federation of Muslim Organisations, said: “What we have seen in other parts of the country does not instil confidence in this letter. So, we welcome their undertaking but we have doubts this will be the case on the day. If violence does break out — and we hope it does not — will they blame a fringe group they have no control over? They are responsible for bringing people to Leicester on that day and they have to rein in any fringe groups.” Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “We are talking to business leaders about our plans for the day, and these discussions will increase next week as more details become available. The success of city centre businesses is vital to Leicester and we will do whatever we can to ensure they can operate normally before, during and after the demonstrations.”

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]



UK: Harry’s Place Debates Islamophobia

A couple of days ago Sarah Annes Brown posted a piece on Islamophobia at the terrorism-supporting Zionist blog Harry’s Place which provoked the reaction you would expect from the crowd of bigots and racists who inhabit the comments section of that site. Here are a couple of responses by one of HP’s regular commenters, “Nick (in South Africa)”:

… the term Hinduphobia doesn’t get banded about…. There is not a problem with Hindus in the UK, there is with Muslims, it’s that simple. This is because Islam is a political system that happens to come wrapped in the guise of religion. One with global imperialist aspirations, one that is deeply authoritarian, highly misogynistic, profoundly intolerant, violent and much more besides. We DO have unfettered serial immigration to the UK of huge numbers of ill educated Muslims with a mediaeval World view. There are now 4 million Muslims in the country and not a hint of any stop to it. This IS causing problems. A very large percentage of these first, second and third generation immigrants hold views inimical to life in a pluralistic tolerant liberal democracy, and these views are directly informed by mainstream Islamic dogma.

There IS an ignoble record of this manifested in Muslim violence, hundreds of terror plots, terror attacks, ‘honour’ killings, blatant intimidation, nothing other than utterly cynical sexual predation by gangs of Muslim men on vulnerable white girls, grievance monging by Muslims with hair-trigger sensibilities and special pleading for dress concessions, diet concessions, prayer rooms, protective censorship, faith schools and so on…. Charges of Islamophobia are overwhelmingly used by grievance monging Muslims, overweening bleeding-heart guilt soaked liberals and deeply illiberal Lefties in attempts to shut down critique of Islam, mass Muslim immigration and attempts at obtaining privileged status for Muslims. Many of us despise Islam because it really is profoundly nasty.

Followed by:

Muslims who in public, identify with Islam should be fair game to be held to account for the ideology to which they subscribe, this doesn’t happen nearly enough.

Muslims should be made to feel pressure that their ideology is beyond the pale; because it really and truly is. Self identifying Muslims in dress, deed or word should be treated as pariahs in exactly the same way as members of the EDL and the BNP are. If you rock-up for work in an office in the UK dressed in a dish-dash or a burqua, it is a political statement, one quite clearly endorsing mainstream Islamic ideology, which quite undoubtedly is a form of Fascism. This is functionally no different at all from rocking up to work in BNP regalia. We need more conversational intolerance towards Islam, not less. We shouldn’t tolerate its intolerance. The fact that it is a religion as well as a political ideology, the fact that most of it’s adherents are brown skinned really shouldn’t be seen as any kind of mitigation…. What I won’t do is try to pretend that Islamic ideology is what it isn’t. It isn’t ‘a religion of peace’, it isn’t tolerant…. it’s horrible. I don’t and won’t try to make fluffy, cooing noises in its direction in the hope that it will be de-fanged; indeed I think this approach, which has been quite common, even amongst even HP posters — the David T of yore springs to mind, is very deeply misguided. Is my view towards Islam an ‘irrational fear’? B******* it is! Is it Islamophobic — the word tells you more about the person using it than it does about the person or group its directed against. Muslims are best advised to abandon this especially nasty ideology. Again if we — the British collectively — don’t catch a wake-up we are setting ourselves up for the most appalling sectarian strife.

These disgusting diatribes were posted yesterday but more than 24 hours later they have still not been removed. And don’t imagine this is because of some ultra-libertarian comments policy at Harry’s Place. Tony Greenstein has pointed out that a comment he posted on another thread, replying to the slanderous claim that a fifth of the delegates at the recent Palestine Solidarity Campaign AGM voted against condemning Holocaust denial, was quickly deleted by the moderator. That’s Harry’s Place for you. Vile anti-Muslim bigotry is welcome there, but comments in support of the Palestinian cause are censored.

[JP note: Islamonausea, not Islamophobia, as Nicolai Sennels has quite accurately redefined the concept — Islam is profoundly toxic and the nausea attendant upon its manifestation is a natural defense mechanism.]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]



UK: Home Office Launches New Wave of Crime Maps Which Will Tell You How Many Crimes Are Committed in Specific Places

Home Secretary Theresa May has announced an extension of the government’s internet crime mapping scheme — which was so popular when first launched that the website went into meltdown.

Currently, homeowners can check for details of crimes reported to the police on residential streets.

But, in a central London speech, Mrs May said the website will be extended to show crimes which happen ‘near a range of public places’.

These will include nightclubs, railway stations, hospitals, airports, football grounds and shopping areas.

Separately she announced 40 per cent of police officers will face a pay cut under reforms designed to save £150million a year.

Speaking today, the Home Secretary added: ‘By May, crime maps will show the public what happens after a crime has occurred — what action the police took and what the criminal justice outcome was.

‘You’ll be able to see if the criminal was arrested, charged and sent to prison.’

Ministers hope the maps will make the police more accountable to the public.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]



UK: Islamophobia and the Press

by Inayat Bunglawala

No other faith group receives this inaccurate and malicious treatment in the national press.

Back in November 1998, the Sun carried a highly provocative front page story asking “Are we being run by a gay mafia?” in reference to some members of Tony Blair’s government who happened to be gay. The story led to heated controversy with the Sun coming under heavy fire for what was widely viewed as an inflammatory and bigoted headline. Three days later, the Sun announced that it was adopting a change in policy towards gays and would no longer be seeking to “out” them. The incident is telling for a number of reasons, including how our best-selling national newspaper had failed to keep up with changing public attitudes towards the matter of sexual orientation. However, when it comes to anti-Muslim bigotry, the story is very different.

“Muslim schools ban our culture”, “Muslims tell us how to run our schools”, “Christmas is banned: it offends Muslims”, and “BBC puts Muslims before YOU!” are just some of the headlines which have been splashed across the front pages of our national newspapers in recent years. Our papers, particularly some tabloids, appear rather eager to stir up prejudice towards UK Muslims. Some of these headlines have been openly cited and utilised by the far right BNP and the English Defence League in their anti-Muslim campaigns.

Last Tuesday, I gave testimony on behalf of ENGAGE before the Leveson Inquiry, which is looking at the ethics and practices of the press. ENGAGE is a Muslim organisation that seeks to encourage greater civic engagement, political participation and media awareness amongst British Muslims. Our recommendations to the Inquiry centred around three areas.

Firstly, when newspapers make serious errors in their stories, the subsequent correction or apology should be given a prominence that is commensurate with their original story. This would surely encourage greater diligence and accuracy on the part of some of the worst tabloid offenders. At present, the situation is farcical. Back in December 2010, a Daily Express front page read “Muslim Plot to Kill Pope”. Note the lack of any cautionary speech marks — the story was presented to its readers as a clear fact. Pages four and five of that day’s edition were also given over to the same story. Less than 48 hours later, all the six detained men were released without charge by the police. The Express‘s response? One sentence hidden away on page 9 noting their release.

Second, whichever body eventually replaces the discredited Press Complaints Commission, it should be given the power to ensure a swift resolution of complaints. Back in June 2011, the Daily Mail published a column by Melanie Phillips in which she described ENGAGE as an “extremist Islamist group” and claimed that they were funded by the government. As I pointed out to the Leveson Inquiry, Mel P has a very particular worldview. She is on record for repeatedly suggesting that the “litmus test” for deciding whether someone is a “moderate Muslim” is whether they “‘understand that fundamentally Israel is the victim in the Middle East.” I suspect most sane people would happily fail her “litmus test”. Still, while her characterisation of ENGAGE may be idiosyncratic, her assertion that they were funded by the government is simply untrue. ENGAGE value their independence and have never received a penny from the government and indeed, have never applied for a penny from the government. It is now over seven months since the Mail article was published and they still have not published a correction. The Daily Mail‘s legal counsellor sheepishly promised to the Leveson Inquiry that a resolution to this complaint was “imminent” but one has to ask what value a correction will have many months after their original false story.

Thirdly, it is bizarre that serving editors of newspapers can also sit on the PCC committee that adjudicates complaints from readers. It is a clear case of a conflict of interest. The Inquiry has already heard proposals that they should be replaced by former senior journalists/editors who were no longer employed by our newspaper groups. It is a sensible suggestion and certainly one that improves on the current position.

Ultimately, we need to try to get to the point where our press apply the same standards to Muslims as to any other faith group or any other minority group community. Currently, no other faith group is treated with this barrage of inaccurate and often downright malicious misrepresentation in the national press. It is, of course, understandable that in view of the al-Qaeda terror threat we have seen in recent years that newspapers will often touch on the issue of Muslims and Islam in their reporting. That is, however, absolutely no excuse for their lies and incitement.

Inayat Bunglawala is the chair of Muslims4UK, and a consultant editor at ENGAGE. He blogs at Inayat’s Corner.

[ Reader comment by gerry on 29 January 2012 at 11:15]

Inayat — I loathe the national media, their sheer brutality,lies, dishonesty, distortions, bribery, all round criminailty as exposed by the phone hacking and police corruption events.

However, islamic extremism in the UK is a fact, and there have been thousands of factual events which have been reported, and should continue to be reported — crimes and horrific attitudes in the name of Islam, from attempted beheadings, ricin plots (just this week a 25 year old Muslim extremist from Bolton was convicted and jailed for a ricin plot), suicide bombings, airport and nightclub would be bombings, gay hate leaflets and incitementts to murder, the case of Dr Hasan in London, the extremists who nearly killed a white RE teacher for teaching about Islam at a mixed school, the list in just the last few year is endless.

Inayat, Muslim extremism is a fact- a significant % of your fellow UK Muslims tell opinion pollsters that they want sharia law in the UK, supprt jihad, want homosexuality tio be recriminalised and punished, want strict gender separation, want apostacy from islam to be punished, want freedom of expression NOT to apply to Islam or its prophet. We have all seen the explosion in the visible symbols of Islamic extremism on the streets, burkas, veils and long beards, esp among the young. And I have even mentioned the vile extremism of most UK Madrassas and many UK mosques and groups like FOSIS, IFE, Islam for UK, etc. So we have two horrors — widespread Islamic extremism in the UK, and a vile and hateful national media.the two deserve each other…dont downplay how widespread islamic extremism is in the UK, Inayat and dont bleat when a hateful press reports on it either.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Middle East


Turkey: Journalists in Prison for Common Crimes, Erdogan

Premier defends controversial arrests

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, JANUARY 27 — Turkey’s Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan has defended the legitimacy of the arrests of journalists who are currently in custody in Turkey, claiming that they have been accused of common crimes and have not been arrested for their opinion. The website Bianet reports that Erdogan defended the move two days ago during the 25th anniversary of the newspaper Zaman, specifying that the journalists are in prison under charges of possession of weapons or explosives, falsification of documents, sexual harassment, terrorism or coup attempt: “A campaign against Turkey is being waged by murders of police officers, sexual molesters and supporters of a coup who call themselves journalists,” the Premier said according to the website. “The West does not understand” because it has no dealings with journalists who support a coup, Erdogan complained, explicitly referring to alleged coup plans by ultra-secular organisation Ergenekon.

Erdogan made his statements on the day Turkey was placed on a very low position (148th on 179 countries) on the list of freedom of press, drafted this time by Reporters without Borders under the title World Press Freedom Index. Based on the most recent data supplied this month by the Union of Turkish journalists, 97 journalists, editors and other people active in the media are currently in prison in Turkey, more than in China.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Far East


‘Directly in Its Path’: German Satellite Almost Crashed Into Beijing

Last October, the German research satellite Rosat plunged into the Bay of Bengal, more than 20 years after it had been launched into orbit. But had it remained aloft for just seven more minutes, it would have landed in Beijing instead, new calculations show.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa


Italy: Somali Premier Thanks Italy, ‘Expects More’

Terzi says Shabaab in ‘growing difficulty’

(ANSA) — Rome, January 30 — Somali Premier Abdiweli Mohamed Ali on Monday thanked Italy for helping his beleaguered government but said it “expected Italy to do more”.

Speaking after talks with Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi, Ali said Somalia was grateful for Italy’s efforts in “humanitarian activities, security, reconciliation and transition”.

But given Italy’s “unique historical links” to the Horn of Africa country, he said, “there is the expectation that Italy should do more”.

Terzi voiced Italy’s “strong determination to continue to support Somalia’s (progress) towards stability and security,” amid the “growing difficulties” of the Shabaab Islamist insurgency.

He stressed that Somalia’s transition process, already eight years old, “must be concluded by next summer according to the Garowe principles,” referring to guidelines for the creation of new institutions adopted by the government last summer.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Immigration


Foreigners: 15 Percent of Norway’s Workforce

After several years of what a leading economist has described as “mass immigration”, foreign nationals made up 15 percent of Norway’s workforce in 2011, official figures show. Of the 2,560,000 people registered as employed by the tax authorities last year, 387,103 were foreign nationals, newspaper Bergens Tidende reports.

Kjell Gunnar Salvanes, a professor of economics at the NHH business school, said Norway’s economy had benefitted hugely from an influx of foreign workers since the last major EU enlargement eight years ago. “Since 2004, immigration has switched from low-qualified asylum seekers to well-qualified workers from Eastern Europe and Sweden. And that change has come about very quickly,” he said.

The 2004 EU enlargement gave increased access to the Norwegian labour market to citizens of Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Cyprus and Malta. Since then, workers have poured in to take up jobs on a strong Norwegian labour market. For example, the period has seen a seven-fold increase in the number of Polish tax payers, with some 70,000 Poles now working in Norway.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]



Italy: 50 Migrants Land in Puglia

Another 59 found on Greece ferry

(ANSA) — Rome, January 30 — Some 50 migrants landed on the coast of Puglia Sunday night from a boat whose mast had snapped in half as it ran aground in high seas, police said.

The migrants said 23 others were with them on two other boats when they left Greece two days ago.

Coastguard and navy boats are seeking the two craft.

Meanwhile 59 migrants were found aboard a ferry heading for Venice from Corinth.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]



Switzerland: New Zurich Law to Make Naturalization Harder

A proposed amendment to the Citizenship Act will make it possible only for foreigners holding residence permit C to apply for naturalization in Zurich, immediately reducing the number of valid applications by about one fifth.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Culture Wars


Germany: Lip-Shaped Urinals in Stones Museum Called Sexist

Women’s rights campaigners are demanding the removal of urinals shaped like female mouths from the men’s lavatory of a Rolling Stones museum in Germany. The owner denies the bowls are offensive and vows: “They’re staying.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]



Switzerland: Christians Slam ‘Mystic’ Supermarket Campaign

Swiss Christians have taken issue with a new campaign by supermarket giant Migros that encourages children to awaken strange powers by collecting 48 different magical stones. While the slogan, “Discover your inner animal”, is considered particularly contentious by Christian critics, the front cover of Migros’ customer magazine, which depicts a child’s face roaring like a wild beast, has also received a large number of complaints.

According to critics, the collectible stones that can be worn as amulets around the neck promote esoteric ideas and mysticism. Christian website Jesus.ch has argued that the use of amulets promotes non-Christian beliefs, in that an amulet represents an intermediary force between humans and higher powers, newspaper Tages Anzeiger reported on Monday.

Fritz Imhof of the Association of Evangelical Free Churches (VFG) believes the campaign tells children that their happiness and strength are dependent on objects, newspaper newspaper 20 Minutes reports. This, he said, was in direct contradiction to the teachings of the Christian faith.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

General


City Lights at Night: Astronaut’s Amazing View From Space

A remarkable nighttime panorama taken from the International Space Station captured a dazzling cobweb of city lights as the orbiting complex flew roughly 240 miles (386 kilometers) overhead. The captivating picture of Earth from space was taken on Jan. 22. The image shows the space station in the foreground, with the lights of Belgium and the Netherlands shining at the bottom center. The British Isles are slightly blocked by the station’s solar array panels on the left, according to NASA officials.

The North Sea appears at the left center, and Scandinavia is at the right center, beneath the end of the space station’s robotic arm.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]



Evolution Shrinks Mammals Quickly, But They’re Slow to Grow

Within as little as 24 million generations, mammals can evolve from the size of a mouse to the size of an elephant, a new study estimates. This calculation is based on the most rapid increase in size seen in the fossil record after a mass extinction wiped out their much larger competitors, the dinosaurs. They also found animals can shrink more than 10 times as fast as they can grow to giant sizes.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]



Shortage of Rare Metals Could Threaten High-Tech Innovation

A world in need of faster computers, smarter phones and more energy-efficient light bulbs threatens to strain the small supply of rare metals used by the global electronics industry. But limits on the production of such rare metals mean the supply can’t easily expand to meet the demand for innovation in both consumer electronics and clean technologies.

Scarce metals such as gallium, indium and selenium — known as “hitchhiker” metals — come only as byproducts of mining major industrial metals such as aluminum, copper and zinc. That makes it hard to simply boost production of hitchhiker metals whenever industries face a shortage, even if the metals have become critical components of everything from high-performance computers to solar panels.

“With respect to metals that are hitchhikers, a higher price isn’t going to lead to much more production,” said Robert Ayres, a physicist and economist based at the international business school INSEAD in France. “And therefore it’s much more important to think in terms of conservation, recycling and substitution.”

That sobering message was delivered by Ayres at a Royal Society discussion meeting held in London Jan. 30. He wants both governments and industries to come up with a standard recycling process that could reuse rare metals.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

One thought on “News Feed 20120130

  1. The article by Nick [ in South Africa] on Islam and Islamonausea
    is spot on so there would be no reason to ‘take it down’.He shows clearly that he has thought Islam through and come to the correct conclusion, that Islam is completely
    anathema to every other ideology or life-style, and needs to be
    dismantled completely.

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