News Feed 20120323

Financial Crisis
» Central Banking Was Responsible for 2008 Meltdown — Nothing Else
» Greece to Revive Economy by Exporting Sun
» Italy: CGIL Announces 16 Hours of Strikes Against Labour Reform
» Feeding the Homeless Banned in Major Cities All Over America
» Scientists Vow to Fight Cuts in NASA’s Planetary Science
» Silence of the Lapdogs
» ‘We Have a Duty to Prepare for the Worst’: Peter King Warns Iran Has ‘Hundreds’ of Hezbollah Agents in the U.S.
Europe and the EU
» France: Tolouse: Joint Jewish-Muslim March Cancelled
» Italy: Telecom Italia in ‘False SIM Card’ Probe
» Mohamed Merah and the Secret Services: A Serial Killer Under Observation
» Mohamed Merah — Man of the West
» Murders in Toulouse: Authorities Helpless to Prevent Lone Wolf Attacks
» Ox Carts and No Coffee: Building a Monastery the Medieval Way
» Pattern Master Wins Million-Dollar Mathematics Prize
» Spain: Spring Brings Snow on the Peninsula’s Centre-South
» ‘Stoning Will Happen in UK Too if Sharia Allowed’
» Sweden’s Jewish Leaders Have Attacked Malmö’s Mayor Reepalu
» Swedish Parliament Passes Controversial Data Storage Bill
» The A380 and the Aviation Engineering Dilemma
» Toulouse: Italy Arab Communities: Dialogue Must Go on
» UK: Bullfinch Update: 13th Man Arrested
» After Kosovo Independence, Albanians Call for Unification
» Bosnia: President Izetbegovic: EU Accession Request in June
North Africa
» Abducted Eritreans Held in Sinai as Relatives Scramble to Find Ransom
Israel and the Palestinians
» Donors Urged to Help Palestinians
» Fears of Anti-Semitism: More and More French Jews Emigrating to Israel
Middle East
» Alevi Turks Concerned for Alawi ‘Cousins’ In Syria
» Saudi Arabia: Grand Mufti: All Churches on the Arabian Peninsula Should be Destroyed
» Stakelbeck: Real Roots of Iranian Regime’s Israel Hatred/Analysis
South Asia
» Emerging India Has More Cell Phones Than Toilets
» India Bans Its Airlines From Paying EU Carbon Tax
» Women in Pakistan Face the Brunt of Honor Killings
Far East
» Boom in Asian Patent Filings Continues
» China’s Monopoly on Rare Earths May Soon be Broken
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Africa’s Belt of Misery: Religion and Climate Change Fuel Chaos in Sahel
» First Madagascar Settlers May Have Been Indonesian
Culture Wars
» Dutch Group Pioneers Mobile Euthanasia
» Mercury Surprises: Tiny Planet Has Strange Innards and Active Past

Financial Crisis

Central Banking Was Responsible for 2008 Meltdown — Nothing Else

Free-Market Analysis: Following the 2008 global economic crash on an almost day-to-day basis, as we have, we’ve regularly made the argument that it was caused by central banking monetary inflation and that its result is bound to be the eventual demise of the dollar reserve system.

We believe we’re being proven correct on both points. We’ve also pointed out that the crash itself was predictable and that the top elites that put this global central banking system in place know full well that cyclically it creates crashes, recessions and now depressions.

But, of course, there is plenty of pushback. Seems everybody has an opinion about what caused the 2008 crash. And most of these opinions, played out in the mainstream media, are focused eagerly on causes that have nothing to do with central banking.

In other words, these theories are PROTECTIVE of central banking and the damage that monetary stimulation can do. Inevitably, when we read these theories we tend to notice that those advancing them are apologists for the system as it is. The system of monopoly fiat. The system that crashes regularly and ruins people’s lives as part of its foundering.

This article, a long one (excerpt above), posted at Reuters goes into incredible detail about an obscure rule change that the SEC allowed in 2004. This supposedly allowed big banks to increase leverage that led to the crash. The article sets out to disprove it.

[Return to headlines]

Greece to Revive Economy by Exporting Sun

Greece is poised to boost its economy by exporting solar power to big markets like Germany, taking advantage of an EU goal that requires member states to produce 20 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2020.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Italy: CGIL Announces 16 Hours of Strikes Against Labour Reform

Italy’s biggest union opposed to ‘easy firing’

(see related story) (ANSA) — Rome, March 21 — Italy’s biggest trade union, the leftwing CGIL, said Wednesday that it will hold 16 hours of strikes against the government’s planned labour-market reforms, which include moves to make it easier for firms to dismiss staff.

CGIL chief Susanna Camusso has said her union will do “everything necessary” to stop the package, which has won broad backing from the country’s business associations and more moderate trade unions.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]


Feeding the Homeless Banned in Major Cities All Over America

What would you do if you came across someone on the street that had not had anything to eat for several days? Would you give that person some food? Well, the next time you get that impulse you might want to check if it is still legal to feed the homeless where you live. Sadly, feeding the homeless has been banned in major cities all over America. Other cities that have not banned it outright have put so many requirements on those that want to feed the homeless (acquiring expensive permits, taking food preparation courses, etc.) that feeding the homeless has become “out of reach” for most average people. Some cities are doing these things because they are concerned about the “health risks” of the food being distributed by ordinary “do-gooders”. Other cities are passing these laws because they do not want homeless people congregating in city centers where they know that they will be fed. But at a time when poverty and government dependence are soaring to unprecedented le vels, is it really a good idea to ban people from helping those that are hurting?

This is just another example that shows that our country is being taken over by control freaks. There seems to be this idea out there that it is the job of the government to take care of everyone and that nobody else should even try.

But do we really want to have a nation where you have to get the permission of the government before you do good to your fellow man?

It isn’t as if the government has “rescued” these homeless people. Homeless shelters all over the nation are turning people away each night because they have no more room. There are many homeless people that are lucky just to make it through each night alive during the winter.

Sometimes a well-timed sandwich or a cup of warm soup can make a world of difference for a homeless person. But many U.S. cities have decided that feeding the homeless is such a threat that they had better devote law enforcement resources to making sure that it doesn’t happen.

This is so twisted. In America today, you need a “permit” to do almost anything. We are supposed to be a land of liberty and freedom, but these days government bureaucrats have turned our rights into “privileges” that they can revoke at any time.

The following are some of the major U.S. cities that have attempted to ban feeding the homeless…

[Return to headlines]

Scientists Vow to Fight Cuts in NASA’s Planetary Science

Angry space scientists have launched a call to action to restore NASA’s planetary science budget — a rallying cry to push back on President Obama’s proposed fiscal year 2013 budget for NASA.

That budget calls for deep cuts to the nation’s planetary science program, a drop of more than 20 percent. The reduction in NASA’s planetary budget by $309 million includes cutting the Mars exploration program by $130 million.

Some 2,000 space researchers and luminaries are attending the 43rd Lunar and Planetary Science Conference here, and they are not happy.

“Part of the reason that planetary (science) got ‘whacked’ … is because the planetary community is perceived in certain powerful circles as being weak,” said Andrew Chaikin, a veteran science journalist, space historian and author. “We have to come together and show them you’re not weak,” he said before a town hall gathering of disgruntled space scientists. “We have to come together and respond in a sustained way to chart our own course,” Chaikin said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Silence of the Lapdogs

by Diana West

Warning: This column contains news of evidence of possible forgery and fraud in the long-form birth certificate of the president of the United States and — bonus — his Selective Service registration card.

I figure the warning is necessary to prevent Americans, particularly Americans who work in news media and politics, from hurting themselves on any hard, sharp facts that might poke through my discussion of what is surely the biggest scandal to emerge around the seemingly dodgy docs Barack Obama is using to verify his identity.

I refer to the logic- and history-defying news and political blackout of the March 1 press conference called in Maricopa County, Ariz., by Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Cold Case Posse.

I ask you: Have you read in your local paper about the technical evidence that led the posse’s three retired criminal investigators and two attorneys to conclude that the birth certificate image White House officials uploaded at the White House website on April 27, 2011, did not originate in a paper format, but rather was created (forged) as an electronic file on a computer?

Have you seen on network or cable news the video clip (one of six posse videos at YouTube) re-creating exactly how an additional fraud might have been committed to forge the president’s Selective Service registration card? Heard even conservative talk radio discussing the posse’s discovery that immigration files in the National Archives recording overseas arrivals into Hawaii are missing from the week of Obama’s 1961 birthday? Or about the retired mailman’s affidavit attesting that the mother of ex-Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers enthusiastically told him that she helped with “foreign student” Barack Obama’s education?

I know my ears pricked up when, watching the posse’s press conference online, I heard lead investigator Michael Zullo explain that the 1961 Hawaiian newspaper listings of Barack Obama’s birth confirm nothing because the posse “can prove beyond a doubt” that these newspapers announced arrivals of foreign babies as well as native-born. Zullo also announced the posse had “documented evidence of two adopted individuals who were breathing three years prior” and were similarly listed as newborn infants. Heard anything about that?

I know the answer. You have read, seen and heard nothing — and certainly not a peep from any representatives in Congress. The unique exception seems to be poor Republican Rep. Cliff Stearns of Florida, whose mere mentions (better than nothing) of “examining the evidence” get him insta-hammered by the media and White House alike. Obama’s communications director, Dan Pfeiffer, one of the presenters of the birth certificate at the White House last spring, actually had the gall to call into question via tweet Stearns’ fitness to conduct congressional investigations into the Obama administration’s decision to funnel $535 million into Solyndra, the bankrupt solar company. Why? Because Stearns dared to express interest in evidence amassed by veteran law enforcement professionals under Arpaio, himself a 30-year federal law-enforcement official and five-time-elected sheriff.

“1984?-style, we mustn’t question. We mustn’t look. We certainly mustn’t look at questions that cross the narrative of authority. What are we, free people?…

           — Hat tip: Diana West [Return to headlines]

‘We Have a Duty to Prepare for the Worst’: Peter King Warns Iran Has ‘Hundreds’ of Hezbollah Agents in the U.S.

‘As Iran moves closer to nuclear weapons and there is increasing concern over war between Iran and Israel, we must also focus on Iran’s secret operatives and their number one terrorist proxy force, Hezbollah, which we know is in America. That’s right, we know Hezbollah operatives are here.


King warned that there were hundreds — at a minimum — of Hezbollah operatives in the United States, including 84 Iranian diplomats at the United Nations and in Washington who, ‘it must be presumed, are intelligence officers.’

[Note from Egghead: I rest my case.]

           — Hat tip: Egghead [Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

France: Tolouse: Joint Jewish-Muslim March Cancelled

(ANSAmed) — PARIS, MARCH 21 — The joint Jewish-Muslim march scheduled for Sunday in Paris, organized in memory of the victims of the Toulose and Montauban serial killer, who killed seven people in the last days was cancelled, as the Chairman of the Representative Council of the Jewish Institutions in France (CRIF) Richard Prasquier announced. “It has no more reason to take place”, Prasquier specified, according to what the French media reported.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Telecom Italia in ‘False SIM Card’ Probe

Ninety-nine employees investigated, including management

(ANSA) — Milan, March 21 — Ninety-nine Telecom Italia employees and managers are being probed for the alleged activation of falsified SIM cards and related criminal association from 2005 to 2007, said Milan investigators Wednesday.

Police searched the company’s headquarters Wednesday and Telecom Italia CEO Marco Patuano, as legal representative of the telecommunications giant, was served investigation notification, though the probe predates his position at the helm.

Investigators allege that the SIM scam could have inflated 2008 profit statements by as much as 231 million euros.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Mohamed Merah and the Secret Services: A Serial Killer Under Observation

A debate is beginning in France over possible failures of the country’s security and intelligence agencies. Prior to his killing spree, Mohamed Merah had been placed on a government list of radical Islamist fundamentalists. And there were even clues leading to his mother after the first murder. Could authorities have acted sooner?

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Mohamed Merah — Man of the West

by Caroline Glick

The massacre of Jewish children at the Ozar Hatorah Jewish day school in Toulouse presents us with an appalling encapsulation of the depraved nature of our times — although at first glance, the opposite seems to be the case.

On the surface, the situation was cut and dry. A murderer drove up to a Jewish school and executed three children and a teacher.

Led by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, all of France decried the massacre and announced its solidarity with the French Jewish community. World leaders condemned the crime. The killer died in a standoff with French security forces. Justice was served. Case closed.

But dig a little deeper and it becomes clear that justice has not been served…

           — Hat tip: Caroline Glick [Return to headlines]

Murders in Toulouse: Authorities Helpless to Prevent Lone Wolf Attacks

A man like Mohammed Merah is Western law enforcement’s worst nightmare. The suspected perpetrator of the Toulouse attacks fits into the “lone wolf” category of terrorist. Such individuals claim to be part of organizations like al-Qaida but act on their own initiative — making them hard to detect before they act.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Ox Carts and No Coffee: Building a Monastery the Medieval Way

Historians, architects, archaeologists and volunteers in Germany are teaming up to build a medieval monastery the old-fashioned way. Working conditions will be strictly 9th-century, without machines, rain jackets or even coffee. It will take decades, but they hope to garner fresh insights into everyday life in the 800s.

What did a medieval stonemason do when heavy rainfall interrupted his work? Umbrellas are impractical at construction sites. Gore-Tex jackets weren’t yet invented, nor were plastic rain jackets. “He donned a jacket made of felted loden cloth,” says Bert Geurten, the man who plans to build an authentic monastery town the old-fashioned way.

Felted loden jackets will also be present on rainy days at Geurten’s building site, which is located near Messkirch, in the southwestern German state of Baden-Württemberg, between the Danube River and Lake Constance. Beginning in 2013, a Carolingian monastery town will be built here using only the materials and techniques of the 9th century. From the mortar to the walls, the rain jackets to the menu, every aspect of the operation will be carried out as just as it was in the days of Charlemagne. “We want to work as authentically as possible,” says Geurten.

The building contractor from the Rhineland region has long dreamt of carrying out his plan. When he was a teenager, the now 62-year-old was inspired by a model of the St. Gallen monastery plan in an exhibition in his home city of Aachen. The plan, dating from the beginning of the 9th century, shows the ideal monastery, as envisioned by Abbot Haito of Reichenau.

Haito dedicated his drawing to his colleague Abbot Gozbert of St. Gall, who presided over the monastery from 816 to 837. He meticulously recorded everything that he believed was necessary for a monastic city, from a chicken coop to a church for 2,000 worshipers. Altogether he envisaged 52 buildings — but they were never built. That will change in spring 2013, though, when ox-pulled carts wil begin carrying the first stones to the building site in the forest near Messkirch. It won’t be finished until about 2050, according to estimates.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Pattern Master Wins Million-Dollar Mathematics Prize

Imagine I present you with a line of cards labelled 1 through to n, where n is some incredibly large number. I ask you to remove a certain number of cards — which ones you choose is up to you, inevitably leaving ugly random gaps in my carefully ordered sequence. It might seem as if all order must now be lost, but in fact no matter which cards you pick, I can always identify a surprisingly ordered pattern in the numbers that remain.

As a magic trick it might not equal sawing a woman in half, but mathematically proving that it is always possible to find a pattern in such a scenario is one of the feats that today garnered Endre Szemerédi mathematics’ prestigious Abel prize.

The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters in Oslo awarded Szemerédi the one million dollar prize today for “fundamental contributions to discrete mathematics and theoretical computer science”. His specialty was combinatorics, a field that deals with the different ways of counting and rearranging discrete objects, whether they be numbers or playing cards.

The trick described above is a direct result of what is known as Szemerédi’s theorem, a piece of mathematics that answered a question first posed by the mathematicians Paul Erdos and Pál Turán in 1936 and that had remained unsolved for nearly 40 years.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Spain: Spring Brings Snow on the Peninsula’s Centre-South

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, 21 MARCH — >From the recent weeks’ drought and high temperatures to snow: on the first day of spring, Spain and the capital Madrid woke up beneath a thin white layer during the morning hours. Low temperatures and snowfalls, unusual in this period of the year, caused the imposition of an “orange” and “yellow” (medium) danger code on over 30 Spanish provinces, as the State Weather Broadcasting Agency informed, and the use of snow chains for road circulation on the streets of Teruel, Granada, Jaen, Murcia and Castellon, in Central and south-east Spain, involving the provinces of La Rioja, Guadalajara (Castilla-La Mancha), Avila, Burgos, Segovia, Palencia, Soria and Valladolid, in Castilla y Leon. In the Valencia Community, car boxes, parks and basements were flooded due to heavy showers and rain, causing floods and tens of calls to emergency services.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

‘Stoning Will Happen in UK Too if Sharia Allowed’

London: Brutal punishments like whipping and stoning could become widespread in Britain if Islamic Sharia law is allowed to thrive, a member of the House of Lords has warned. Baroness Cox said a growing number of British Muslims are shunning the official court system in favour of Sharia councils to settle legal disputes. She told a House of Lords conference this could even lead to the destruction of democracy and fuel support for far-right groups like the British National Party, the Daily Mail reported on Wednesday.

Baroness Cox has been one of the most outspoken campaigners against the growth of Islamic law in Britain. British Muslims have been able to turn to Sharia courts since 1982. A study estimated that at least 85 Islamic sharia courts were operating in Britain. The figure surprised many as it was 17 times higher than previously accepted. Sharia law courts are run by the Muslim Arbitration Tribunal, a body whose rulings are enforced through the state courts under the 1996 Arbitration Act.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Sweden’s Jewish Leaders Have Attacked Malmö’s Mayor Reepalu

[Translated from the Swedish by Freedom Fighter]

[Comment by FF: Many Jews in Sweden consider Reepalu’s statements as Nazi-like, comparable to Social Democratic statements from WWII]

In a letter to the Social Democratic chairman Stefan Löfven the Swedens Jewish Central Council has attacked Malmö’s Social Democratic Mayor Ilmar Reepalu (S) in Malmo and his allegations in the magazine Neo that the Jewish Community of Malmö has been infiltrated by the Sweden Democrats.

The Council took issue with Reepalu about the statement across all borders having previously given the Jews themselves the blame for the threats, violence and harassment they face. Reepalu himself has already backed off the statement.

           — Hat tip: Freedom Fighter [Return to headlines]

Swedish Parliament Passes Controversial Data Storage Bill

Sweden’s parliament on Wednesday overwhelmingly voted through an EU-backed law obliging telecom and Internet operators to store data traffic information for at least six months. The proposal passed with 233 in favour, 41 opposed and 19 abstentions, the TT news agency said.

The new law, which will take effect May 1, requires all operators to store information on subscribers, including who they contact by phone or over the Internet, how long the conversation lasts and their location at the time, for at least six months. However, the contents of the communications will not be stored.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

The A380 and the Aviation Engineering Dilemma

To reduce fuel consumption, Airbus used extremely lightweight materials in its flagship A380. Now cracks have appeared in the wings, and repairs will cost the company hundreds of millions of euros. The problem highlights the engineering dilemma caused by the industry drive for fuel efficiency.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Toulouse: Italy Arab Communities: Dialogue Must Go on

“We are horrified, Islam nothing to do with crazy fanatic”

The organisation Arab World Communities in Italy (COMAI) has expressed its horror at recent events in Toulouse and has called for short-cuts and generalisations assimilating Islam and the acts of a “criminal fanatic” to be avoided.

“Unfortunately, fanaticism is a phenomenon that concerns all religions, and episodes such as those in Toulouse risk taking backwards a form of dialogue that is in fact increasingly necessary,” Foad Aodi, the president of COMAI and of the Association of Foreign Doctors in Italy, has told ANSAmed.

“It is at moments like this that we must strengthen the links that unite us, overcoming prejudice and stereotypes,” he explained. “The great challenge that we face is to show how Islam can co-exist with democracy and that the two are not incompatible terms,” he added. As a result, “moderate Muslims should be supported in their battle. It is not right or fair to evoke the Palestinian question to justify the murder of innocent Jewish children”.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UK: Bullfinch Update: 13th Man Arrested

ANOTHER man has been arrested this afternoon as detectives in Oxford continue to investigate allegations of a child sex exploitation ring in the city involving 11-year-old girls.

The man was arrested just after 1pm and a total of 13 men have now been arrested in Oxford today as part of Operation Bullfinch.

More than 140 police officers have today been involved in the operation which centres on 24 girls from Oxford aged between 11 and 16.

All of those arrested, who are suspected of crimes including causing prostitution of girls under the age of 18, rape and administering drugs with intent to commit rape, are still in police custody.

They are expected to be questioned by detectives until 10.30pm this evening, when some could be released on police bail…

           — Hat tip: Nick [Return to headlines]


After Kosovo Independence, Albanians Call for Unification

Belgrade, 20 March (AKI) — Four years after Kosovo ethnic Albanians declared independence from Serbia, their co-nationals in other Balkan countries have stepped up a drive for unification with Albania proper, local media reported on Tuesday.

Kosovo prime minister Hashim Thaci said last week “it would be the best for Albanians to live in one state, if there were any border changes in the Balkans”. He was reacting to the demands by Serbs in northern Kosovo, who oppose independence, to remain a part of Serbia.

Over the past four years, Pristina and Tirana have practically eliminated border between Albania and Kosovo, issued joint school textbooks and agreed and joint consular representation abroad “to cut down costs”.

“Albanians should feel the same in Tirana and Pristina,” Albanian prime minister Sali Berisha told media. On Tuesday, Menduh Thaci, a leader of ethnic Albanians in Macedonia, who make 25 per cent of the country’s two million population, joined the call for unification with Tirana and the creation of “Greater Albania”, which would be a home to all Albanians living in the Balkans.

“Macedonia is an artificial creation” and all Albanians, living in Kosovo, Montenegro, Macedonia and Greece should have the right to live in one state and unite with Tirana, Thaci told Tirana television “Ora news”.

Western powers, which were instrumental in supporting Kosovo’s secession from Serbia, oppose the creation of “Greater Albania” and local Balkan leaders have warned the move would destabilize the entire region.

But the latest surveys showed that 63 per cent of Albanian citizens favored unification, as well as 81 per cent of Albanians in Kosovo and 53 per cent in Macedonia.

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

Bosnia: President Izetbegovic: EU Accession Request in June

Agreement in country over European integration

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, MARCH 21 — Bosnia Herzegovina will officially ask to enter the European Union “in June this year”, the leader of the tripartite Bosnian presidency, Bakir Izetbegovic, has said in Brussels today. The President was speaking after his meeting with the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz.

“We would like to present a credible request in June this year,” Izetbegovic said. “In the next three months, the issue will be resolved politically, and perhaps six months of parliamentary procedures will follow, but I hope that the EU’s leaders will not await these procedures”. Speaking on his first official visit to Brussels, Izetbegovic was keen to send out a message. “This is the most important place for Bosnia Herzegovina,” he said.

After 15 months of political stagnation, the country “for the first time has an internal agreement that is not the result of international pressure,” the President commented. “There is agreement in Bosnia on the importance of integrating the EU and I believe that in 10 years we will be part of this process”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

North Africa

Abducted Eritreans Held in Sinai as Relatives Scramble to Find Ransom

Hostages from Eritrea and other countries are being held for ransom in the Sinai desert. The European parliament has called on Egypt to stamp out the practice and investigate ‘murders, tortures and rapes.’

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Donors Urged to Help Palestinians

(BRUSSELS) — Donor nations were under new pressure Wednesday to honour a $1 billion aid pledge to the Palestinians, as the prime minister warned that a fiscal crisis was threatening the government. Salam Fayyad called for a “greater effort” to help the Palestinian Authority bridge a budget gap, stressing that its ability to provide services to its people and “continue to function… has been impaired already.”

“The viability of the Palestinian Authority before we even become a state is really at stake, and it’s in a great deal of jeopardy,” Fayyad told reporters after a meeting of donor countries in Brussels.

Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store, who chairs the so-called Ad Hoc Liaison Committee of donor nations, called on countries to redouble their efforts.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Fears of Anti-Semitism: More and More French Jews Emigrating to Israel

More and more French Jews are buying homes in Israel amid fears of rising anti-Semitism in France. Many complain of being harrassed in public and feel the country is no longer a safe place to raise their children. In the wake of the Toulouse attacks, the wave of emigration is only likely to increase.

Many must have been reminded of the treatment of Jews under the Third Reich. Shortly after the attack on a Jewish school in the southern French city of Toulouse on Monday, school principals in the city walked into classrooms and asked the Jewish pupils to come forward. “We ask you to leave the class and join the other Jewish children, who are in a locked and safe location.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Middle East

Alevi Turks Concerned for Alawi ‘Cousins’ In Syria

While the Turkish government is at the forefront of condemning the brutal crackdown on dissent in Damascus, a different perspective can be found among the nation’s large Alevi minority. It feels ties to Syria’s Alawites.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Saudi Arabia: Grand Mufti: All Churches on the Arabian Peninsula Should be Destroyed

Sheikf Abdul responds to an organization on the Kuwaiti ban on building new churches in the country. For the religious leaders only one religion on the Arabian Peninsula. The fear of the Christians and the silence of Western countries.

Riyadh (AsiaNews / Agencies) — All the churches located on the Arabian Peninsula must be destroyed. This is the opinion expressed by Saudi Arabia’s highest religious authority, Grand Mufti, Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah, in response to the request of the delegation of a Kuwaiti nongovernmental organization, the Society of the Revival of Islamic Heritage. The delegation wanted a clarification on the basis of Islamic law with regard to the proposal made by the Parliamentary Assembly of Kuwait, to prohibit the construction of new churches in the country. A proposal not accepted by Parliament.

The Grand Mufti, who is also head of the Saudi Supreme Council of Islamic Scholars replied by quoting the prophet Mohammed, according to which only one religion should exist on the Arabian Peninsula. As part of the Peninsula, the conclusion of the Grand Mufti Kuwait must destroy all the churches in its territory.

The response of the highest religious authority in Saudi Arabia — where there are no churches, although there are at least a million Christians — supersedes the proposal of the Kuwaiti parliamentarian, Osama al-Munawar, according to whom existing churches could stay, but the construction of new buildings of religions other than Muslim should be prohibited.

The statement of the Saudi Grand Mufti was greeted with concern by Christians living in Arab countries and has caused mixed reactions in the media of the Middle East. But it has practically been ignored in Europe where March 19 a report on intolerance and discrimination against Christians in Europe was released, which certifies hundreds of cases on the Old Continent in 2011.

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

Stakelbeck: Real Roots of Iranian Regime’s Israel Hatred/Analysis

My new report examines the roots of the Iranian regime’s genocidal push to wipe Israel from the map. Why do Ahmadenijad and the mullahs believe what they believe? Needless to say, it goes much deeper than the conventional, mainstream media reasoning.

Click the link above to watch my report and learn more.

           — Hat tip: Erick Stakelbeck [Return to headlines]

South Asia

Emerging India Has More Cell Phones Than Toilets

Recent census data in India revealed that more homes have telephones than toilets. The figures shed light on the contradictions in a country that is experiencing an economic boom while struggling with poverty.

For the past seven years, Malika Behan, a domestic help in Delhi, and her relatives have lined up religiously in front of a crowded public toilet next to their one-room structure to perform their morning ablutions. She is one of the lucky ones.

There are thousands of others who have no option but to head out to the open fields or alongside the railway tracks to relieve themselves. Even in the capital New Delhi, it is common to see people squatting by roads and openly defecating because there are simply no adequate public toilet facilities.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

India Bans Its Airlines From Paying EU Carbon Tax

India has barred its airlines from complying with the European Union carbon tax scheme, joining China in resistance to plans that have caused a backlash among the EU’s trade partners.

The European Union imposed a carbon levy on air travel with effect from January 1, but no airline will face a bill until 2013 after this year’s carbon emissions have been tallied.

Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh told parliament on Thursday that “the imposition of carbon tax does not arise” because Indian airlines would simply refuse to hand over their emissions data.

“Though the European Union has directed Indian carriers to submit emission details of their aircraft by March 31, 2012, no Indian carrier is submitting them in view of the position of the government,” he said.

India’s resolution to boycott the scheme follows China’s decision last month to prevent its airlines from complying with the EU directive. The two Asian giants have attacked the EU scheme, calling it a unilateral trade levy disguised as an attempt to fight climate change.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Women in Pakistan Face the Brunt of Honor Killings

According to a centuries-old custom in Pakistan, men and women are killed with a sense of righteous pride for allegedly establishing “illicit” relationships.

Honor killings in Pakistan are known as “Karo Kari” in Sindh province, “Kala Kali” in the Punjab, “Tor Tora” in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and “Siyahkari” in Balochistan. The terms are used for persons accused of indulging in adulterous or “immoral” behavior.

Traditionally, honor killings in Pakistan are not considered murder. They are accepted and recognized as a way of protecting family honor. Members of a certain clan or a family consciously decide to kill an allegedly adulterous or guilty individual and the perpetrators are backed by their families.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Far East

Boom in Asian Patent Filings Continues

The European Patent Office announced Friday a new all-time record of 244,000 patent filings in 2011 (+3.7%). While 38% of patent filings came from EU companies, Asian companies continued to gain ground, with their share rising to 33%, the US alone accounted for 24% and Germany for 14% of applications.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

China’s Monopoly on Rare Earths May Soon be Broken

It’s a rare fight. The US, Europe and Japan have lodged a formal complaint with the World Trade Organization over China’s export of rare earths — or lack of it. China produces 95 per cent of the global supply of the 17 metals, which are used in technologies from cellphones to wind turbines, but it has set up quotas restricting exports.

Despite their name, rare earths can be mined on most continents, although the cost of extraction has been too high to be economical. China’s quotas may have helped push up demand — and prices — enough to make extraction cost-effective. Several companies are now starting to extract rare earths outside China.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Africa’s Belt of Misery: Religion and Climate Change Fuel Chaos in Sahel

Bloody conflicts in a band of Africa stretching from Senegal to Somalia are hampering efforts to bring progress to the troubled region. Muslims are increasingly pitted against Christians, and nomads against sedentary farmers. Matters are made worse by climate change and a flood of weapons.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

First Madagascar Settlers May Have Been Indonesian

Madagascar is a country of paradoxes. It lies just 400 kilometres off the coast of Africa yet appears to have been colonised only within the last 1500 years. Stranger still, it now looks as if most of the women in that first population came from Indonesia rather than Africa.

We know from language and culture that modern Malagasy have African and Indonesian ties. To identify Madagascar’s “founding mothers”, Murray Cox of Massey University in Palmerston North, New Zealand, and colleagues analysed mitochondrial DNA from 266 Malagasy and 2745 Indonesians. This mtDNA is inherited from mothers.

Their results suggest Madagascar’s initial population contained around 30 women of reproductive age, with roughly 93 per cent of their genes indicating ties to Indonesia. Such a small population suggests they may have colonised Madagascar after crossing the ocean by accident.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

Dutch Group Pioneers Mobile Euthanasia

A pro-euthanasia lobbying group in the Netherlands has set up a suicide clinic and formed teams of doctors that make house calls to people who wish to die. Although euthanasia is legal in the country if certain conditions are met, critics say mobile suicide teams go too far.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]


Mercury Surprises: Tiny Planet Has Strange Innards and Active Past

The small, sun-scorched planet Mercury has an interior unlike that of any other rocky planet in our solar system and a surprisingly dynamic history, two new studies suggest.

Using observations from NASA’s Messenger spacecraft in orbit around Mercury, researchers have found that the planet’s huge iron core is even larger than they had thought, and it’s likely overlain with a solid shell of iron and sulfur — a layered structure not known to exist on Earth, Venus or Mars. And there’s more: Mercury appears to have remained geologically active for a surprisingly large chunk of its evolutionary history, researchers said.

“Many scientists expected Mercury, being a small planet only slightly larger than the moon, to have cooled off not long after it formed and to be essentially ‘dead’ for most of its evolution,” said Maria Zuber of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, lead author of one of the new studies and a co-author on the other. “But it appears that Mercury had an exciting and active middle age.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]