News Feed 20120603

Financial Crisis
» Arab Revolutions: Economic Crisis Quenching Hopes
» Cyprus Seen Close to a Request for Bailout
» France Does Not Dismiss Option of Greece Leaving Eurozone
» Italy: Gelato Consumption Untouched by Economic Crisis
» Obama, Romney Camps Trade Punches Over Latest Dismal Jobs Report
» Spain: Government Preparing Building Amnesty to Make Money
» Tokyo and Beijing to Abandon Dollar and Trade in Yen and Yuan From June
» After Gory Incidents, Online ‘Zombie’ Talk Grows
» Bilderberg Power Masters Meet in the US
» First Super Weeds, Now Super Insects — Thanks to Monsanto
» No to Human Organ Farms!
» Taxpayer-Funded Gun Control Gets Huge Foundation Boost
» ‘We Want This Jew Out of Office’: Islamic Antisemitism Invades New Jersey Congressional Primary Race
» What Obama’s Literary Bio Says About the Media
» Video: Twelve-Year-Old Money Reformer Tops a Million Views
Europe and the EU
» First European Ecological Military Camp in Cyprus
» France: Jew-Haters Attack 3 Near Lyon
» Germany: Victory for Intolerance: How Islamophobes Launched a National Debate
» How Insect-Eyed Cameras Could Change Our Lives
» Italy: Mediobanca Wants to Oust Generali CEO
» Italy: Lega Nord’s Maroni: Open a New Page With Salvini and Tosi
» Tintin Cover Fetches Record-Breaking 1.3m Euros
» UK: Thames Flotilla Celebrates Elizabeth’s 60-Year Reign
» UK: Teenage Girl, 15, Dies ‘After Her Drink Was Spiked With Ecstasy’ At Social Club Party
» UK: Their Dream is a ‘British FBI’ — The Reality May be Our Own KGB
» UK: Woman Prison Officer, 27, ‘Exchanged Sexy Letters and Phone Calls With Seven Inmates’
» Vatican: Lombardi: “Cardinals United in No-Confidence Toward Gotti Tedeschi”
North Africa
» Five Egyptian Secret Police Directors Released
Israel and the Palestinians
» Secret Cooperation: Israel Deploys Nuclear Weapons on German-Built Submarines
Middle East
» Al-Qaida Leader Recalls Bin Laden’s ‘Generosity’
» Assad: International Plot to Destroy Syria
» New Syrian Clashes in North Lebanon, 2 Dead & 12 Injured
» Twenty Years of Illusion About Islamism
» UAE: Pipeline Begins Activity in June to Avoid Hormuz Strait
South Asia
» Di Paola: Bail Not Recognition India’s Right to Try Marines
» Pakistan: Drones Kill 10 Including a Commander
» Two People Dead After Swarms of Venomous Spiders Invade Indian Town
Far East
» Report: Japan Arrests Sarin Attack Cult Member
» U.S. Plans Naval Shift Toward Asia
Australia — Pacific
» New Domestic Violence Laws Target Emotional Abuse
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Bomb Blast Kills 12 in Church in Northern Nigeria
» Horrific Scenes as Plane Crashes Into Neighborhood in Nigeria’s Biggest City, Killing All 153 Passengers on Board
» Nigeria: Experts Call for One World Government
» Denmark: Copenhagen Council Has Asked Copenhagen Police to Remove 11 Iranians
» Greece: Illegals Desperate to Return Home, IOM
» Swedish Army to Jobless Immigrants: We Want You

Financial Crisis

Arab Revolutions: Economic Crisis Quenching Hopes

Italian FM Terzi: Want a shared EuroMed home

(ANSAmed) — ROME, MAY 28 — The hopes raised by the Arab revolutions now risk being snuffed out by the squeeze of the international crisis. So runs the thesis that emerges from today’s conference held by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE): The New Context for Cooperation in the Mediterranean, held at the Italian Foreign Ministry on an initiative by foreign policy studies organizations IPALMO and IAI.

The alarm comes from Tunisia: Chekib Nouira, the chair of a think-tank of Arab entrepreneurs, stressed how unemployment is providing the most fertile ground for the spread of violence and of the new Salafi fundamentalist extremism. A similar warning comes from Morocco, spoken by the country’s Ambassador to Rome, Hassan Abouyoub. Between them, the countries of the northern and southern Mediterranean shores require tens of millions of new jobs, the Ambassador told the conference: just the costs for the infrastructure needed to tackle the rapid urbanisation of the coastal cities would amount to 200 million euros.

But while concerns in the West centre on the rise of political Islam in the wake of the Arab revolutions, “we do not need to fear it: not as long as parliamentary sharing of powers is adhered to”.

But a pessimist riposte comes from Israeli analyst Tommy Steiner, in whose view “the Arab Spring could not have come at a worse time for the United States of Europe,” where the economic crisis renders “resources for development” insufficient.

This is the context in which Europe’s diplomats are seeking ways to base their relations with North Africa and the Middle East on new foundations, noted Gianni De Michelis, Chair of IPALMO.

These relations should be “not bilateral, but multilateral,” but the deal underpinning such cooperation, he added, should be an economic one, with the opportunity to participate in “a European economic space”.

The Italian Foreign Ministry’s Special Envoy for the Mediterranean and the Arab Spring, Maurizio Massari, outlined two models for multilateral Euro-Mediterranean integration. One would accompany the EU’s neighbourhood policy with a further involvement by countries on the Southern Shore on a partnership level, but with conditions written in such as respect for human rights. The other model sees a network being created between the EU, NATO and organisations such as the OCSE on the one hand, and the Arab League, the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Maghreb Union on the other. “We sense a need to strengthen relations between the two Mediterranean shores on the basis of relationships that are authentic, equitable and for the long-term,” the Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi said. The OCSE, “can contribute by putting this long-term approach into practice”. This, Mr Terzi continued, it could do through “developing human capital, sustaining electoral cycles, democratic control of the armed forces and police, capacity-building activities in the judiciary, safeguarding religious minorities and involving civil society in political choices” and in the trade in human beings.

The latter is a theme, Mr Terzi announced, that will be the focus of a conference in Rome this autumn. The target remains that of “building a shared Euro-Mediterranean home”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Cyprus Seen Close to a Request for Bailout

Cyprus looks increasingly set to become the fourth euro-zone country to seek financial aid under Europe’s temporary bailout fund, as early as this month, as it scrambles to protect its banking system from Greece’s widening financial crisis that is threatening to engulf its tiny island neighbor.

The fallout from the Athens crisis already has forced Cyprus’s second biggest bank to seek government support for a planned multibillion euro recapitalization, something that will push the island’s public finances deep into the red and cause it to miss this year’s budget targets.

Late last year, the country negotiated a €2.5 billion ($3.1 billion) bilateral loan from Russia. Now, Cyprus is in talks with China for another bilateral loan, of an undisclosed amount, that looks unlikely to materialize in time.

In the past few days, Cypriot officials have been preparing public opinion by hinting that a bailout from the European Financial Stability Facility may be imminent, but without saying so directly. Finance Minister Vasos Shiarly told state-owned radio last week that “avoiding the EFSF is our No. 1 priority.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

France Does Not Dismiss Option of Greece Leaving Eurozone

(AGI) Paris — Two weeks from the much awaited Greek elections,France does not dismiss the option of Athens leaving Eurozone. France still believes in Greek possibly leaving Eurozone should radical leftists (Syriza) win and the new government does not comply with the new austerity measures of the 130 billion Euro bailout designed by EU-IMF, said Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici. “The problem might arise if Athens does not comply with comittments, but we still want Greece to stay in Eurozone, “ he added. .

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

Italy: Gelato Consumption Untouched by Economic Crisis

Ice cream for dogs to hit the market

(ANSA) — Rome, June 1 — Crisis or not, there is one thing Italians are not willing to give up — ice cream.

Despite the economic downturn, the Italian Institute of Ice Cream (IGI) said on Friday that the total industry turnover for pre-packaged ice cream was up 2.2% in 2011, reaching approximately two billion euros.

Not only that, according to IGI gelato is consumed all year long, not just in the hotter months, and more frequently at home with retail sales up 3.9%.

And for families with four-legged friends, an ice cream for man’s best friend, IceBau, was released at the gelato festival in Ancona on Friday, ready to hit the retail market this summer.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Obama, Romney Camps Trade Punches Over Latest Dismal Jobs Report

Advisers for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama sparred Sunday over who was to blame for the latest grim unemployment rate and how it will impact November’s election.

The latest employment report out Friday shows only 69,000 jobs were added during May — the fewest in a year, as the unemployment rate increased to 8.2 percent from 8.1 percent in April.

Romney’s senior campaign advisor, Ed Gillespie, speaking on Fox News Sunday, called the policies created under Obama “hostile to job creators” and said he is confident Romney will win the election.

In particular, Gillespie pointed to what he called a “job-killing mandate” within Obama’s sweeping healthcare bill — a mandate he said was estimated by the Congressional Budget Office to cost the economy 850,000 jobs.

“This is a hostile environment for job creation in our economy,” said Gillespie, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee. “And that’s why, frankly, it adds a sense of urgency in terms of this year’s election to be able to turn things around because the only thing that’s going to change it are changing the policies and that means changing the person in the White House.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Spain: Government Preparing Building Amnesty to Make Money

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, MAY 31 — The Spanish government is studying an amnesty on infringements of construction regulations, a move that would bring money in to the coffers, and allow breathing space to a property sector paralysed by the financial crisis and avoid dozens of demolitions of unauthorised buildings, which have been ordered in definitive judicial rulings. The measure is part of the draft bill on city planning legislation sent by the Ministry of Infrastructure to regional and local authorities, who in turn will be asked to make their own contributions. The bill was quoted today by El Pais. The amnesty is thought to concern thousands of illegal buildings, many of them on Spain’s southern coasts, in Marbella, Malaga and Almeria, but also in the north-west of the country and in Cantabria. A census is not currently possible, as in some cases the buildings are entire urban complexes. It is estimated that in the town of La Axaquia (province of Malaga ) alone, some 10,000 buildings have been erected on rural land without planning permission. In Andalusia, meanwhile, there are between 300,000 and 350,000 illegal houses, which can be neither demolished nor legalised, according to a bill approved in January by the regional PSOE government, which grants them “legal recognition”.

The draft bill also includes changes to the laws on land and sustainable economy and modifications to property regulations. The text states that “there is currently only space for further urban growth for the next 45 years”, while the “stock of homes already built, which remain unsold and empty” is considered “over-estimated to the point that there has been an 88% fall in the construction of new homes”. The reform also introduces measures to avoid overcrowding in homes by immigrants, with a measure forcing towns to deny housing in homes where the ratio of residents to square metres (20 square metres per person) does not guarantee “adequate living conditions”.

The amnesty does not stretch to illegal buildings constructed on the beach, for which the Environment Ministry is preparing a change to the coastal law, which is opposed by environmental associations, who fear that the amnesty could lead to a new plundering of the Spanish coast.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Tokyo and Beijing to Abandon Dollar and Trade in Yen and Yuan From June

The announcement came from the Central Bank of China and the Japanese Ministry of Finance. The benefits: lower transaction costs and lower risks for financial institutions. Beijing tries to break away from the increasingly inflated dollar; Tokyo tries to save its exports, which if traded in dollars, have very high prices.

Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) — China and Japan have announced that from June 1 they will allow a direct trade between the two countries using the yuan and yen, surpassing the use of the U.S. dollar as the main currency. The decision should promote even more trade between the second and the third world economy.

The Central Bank of China said that this type of exchange will reduce the costs associated with currency conversions and facilitate bilateral trade and investment between the two countries, former enemies.

The Japanese Minister of Finance, Jun Azumi, told reporters that the new trade regime will be launched on 1 June.

“Making transactions without the currency of a third country, may reduce transaction costs and lower financial risks.”

The decision shows a greater confidence in China to liberalize its currency, but also a distrust of the dollar, increasingly subject to inflation. Tokyo also approves of the direct use of its currency without going through the U.S. dollar, the low value of which in international markets increases the prices of Japanese exports.

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


After Gory Incidents, Online ‘Zombie’ Talk Grows

First came Miami: the case of a naked man eating most of another man’s face. Then Texas: a mother accused of killing her newborn, eating part of his brain and biting off three of his toes. Then Maryland, a college student telling police he killed a man, then ate his heart and part of his brain.

It was different in New Jersey, where a man stabbed himself 50 times and threw bits of his own intestines at police. They pepper-sprayed him, but he was not easily subdued.

He was, people started saying, acting like a zombie. And the whole discussion just kept growing, becoming a topic that the Internet couldn’t seem to stop talking about.

The actual incidents are horrifying — and, if how people are talking about them is any indication, fascinating. In an America where zombie imagery is used to peddle everything from tools and weapons to garden gnomes, they all but beg the comparison.

Violence, we’re used to. Cannibalism and people who should fall down but don’t? That feels like something else entirely.

So many strange things have made headlines in recent days that The Daily Beast assembled a Google Map tracking “instances that may be the precursor to a zombie apocalypse.” And the federal agency that tracks diseases weighed in as well, insisting it had no evidence that any zombie-linked health crisis was unfolding.

The cases themselves are anything but funny. Each involved real people either suspected of committing unspeakable acts or having those acts visited upon them for reasons that have yet to be figured out. Maybe it’s nothing new, either; people do horrible things to each other on a daily basis.

But what, then, made search terms like “zombie apocalypse” trend day after day last week in multiple corners of the Internet, fueled by discussions and postings that were often framed as humor?

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Bilderberg Power Masters Meet in the US

Although most Bilderberg annual meetings are held in Europe — France, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Denmark, England, Scotland, Norway — this US election year they’re again gathering at the Westfield Marriott Hotel in Virginia from May 30 to June 3. Either they’re very fond of that place… or of US elections… or both…!

A favorite Bilderberg method consists of inviting wannabe future heads of state to their meetings to determine whether they will go along with their agenda. We thus saw George H. W. Bush attend their 1985 meeting, Bill Clinton attend their 1991 meeting, Tony Blair in 1993, and Romano Prodi, former head of the EU Commission, in 1999.

So what exactly is Bilderberg? It’s neither an organization nor a lobby. The “Bilderberg Meetings,” as they dub themselves in their (apparently) official website, is a “by-invitation-only” club of around 140 very high-power people from business, finance, oil, politics, media, industry, academia and nobility who come together in a very private no-media / no cameras / extremely-tight-security surroundings to discuss… Well… there’s the rub: what exactly do they discuss?

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

First Super Weeds, Now Super Insects — Thanks to Monsanto

A new generation of insect larvae is eating the roots of genetically engineered corn intended to be resistant to such pests. The failure of Monsanto’s genetically modified Bt corn could be the most serious threat ever to a genetically modified crop in the U.S.

And the economic impact could be huge. Billions of dollars are at stake, as Bt corn accounts for 65 percent of all corn grown in the US.

The strain of corn, engineered to kill the larvae of beetles, such as the corn rootworm, contains a gene copied from an insect-killing bacterium called Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt.

But even though a scientific advisory panel warned the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that the threat of insects developing resistance was high, Monsanto argued that the steps necessary to prevent such an occurrence — which would have entailed less of the corn being planted — were an unnecessary precaution, and the EPA naively agreed.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

No to Human Organ Farms!

Here we go again! The push to transform the most ill and disabled living human bodies into so many organ farms continues among some bioethicists and within organ transplant ethical discourse. Now, an article in the American Journal of Bioethics, written by organ surgeon and medical professor Paul E Morrissey, urges that patients who are going to have life support removed and then become organ donors after death, instead have their kidneys harvested while still alive.

Allow me to translate: The author is discussing organ procurement from what is known as “non heart-beating cadaver donors,” under what I call “heart death” ethical protocols. Done properly, I support the approach. But the temptation to cut corners is very strong.


More importantly, Morrissey’s benighted idea would destroy medical ethics by treating the living patients as organ farms rather than persons. Under current protocols, the treatment of the patient is supposed to be the same regardless of whether organs will be procured after death. That is why even providing a non therapeutic administration of an organ preserving drug is controversial.

But bringing the organ team in while the patient was still alive would shatter the brick wall that separates patient care from cadaver organ procurement like an 8.2 on the Richter Scale earthquake. It would turn patients into things. And in the doing, it would destroy not only medical ethics—the proper care of the individual patient—but trust in the organ donation system generally.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Taxpayer-Funded Gun Control Gets Huge Foundation Boost

Gun rights advocates recently discovered that the gun control group Mayors Against Illegal Guns has burrowed its “gun violence prevention coordinators” (read “anti-gun lobbyists”) into city payrolls from Augusta, Maine to Seattle, Washington, at taxpayer expense.

MAIG is the brainchild of New York City’s zealous anti-gun billionaire mayor, Michael Bloomberg, who formed the group at a 2006 gun control summit held in Gracie Mansion and co-hosted by Boston Mayor Thomas Menino. MAIG touts an agenda of “commonsense reforms” that gun rights advocates see as being somewhere on the far side of repealing the Second Amendment.

With a membership that started at 15 and now approaches 600 mayors, MAIG’s agenda has expanded from tracking “illegal” guns used in crimes to promoting outright gun bans in Congress. But the tactic of slipping anti-gun operatives into municipal governments looks like something new.

[Return to headlines]

‘We Want This Jew Out of Office’: Islamic Antisemitism Invades New Jersey Congressional Primary Race

An ugly new development in American politics: Muslim voters lining up to defeat a Jewish candidate. “Jersey Roar: Democratic House primary turns into ethnic proxy war over Israel,” by Adam Kredo in the Washington Free Beacon, June 1 (thanks to Pamela Geller):

A Democratic primary race in northern New Jersey has devolved into a highly competitive proxy war over Israel, pitting the state’s pro-Israel community against a growing constituency of Arab voters who have accused a sitting congressman of putting Israel’s interests before America’s.

As the race between Democratic Reps. Steve Rothman and Bill Pascrell nears its Tuesday finish, veteran political observers on the ground have expressed concern at the way the battle between the two veteran lawmakers has transformed into a troubling ethnic brawl.

“One side says, ‘We want this Jew out of office’ and, frankly, it’s pretty unsettling,” Ben Chouake, president of NORPAC, a pro-Israel political action committee based in Englewood Cliffs, told the Free Beacon. “They emphasized [Rothman] is a Jewish congressman.”

Others say they simply cannot recall a congressional race becoming a referendum on a candidate’s religion…

           — Hat tip: TV [Return to headlines]

What Obama’s Literary Bio Says About the Media

Imagine if from 1991 to 2007 (sixteen years), Sarah Palin’s own agent repeatedly published a biography for her that stated her origin of birth as being Canada.

When she joined the Republican presidential ticket in 2008, does anyone honestly believe that the media wouldn’t have discovered this information and wondered what the heck was going on? As everyone knows, only individuals born in the United States can hold the office of the president.

Now, let’s talk about presidential candidate, Barack Obama from 2008.

We know all about the media’s laziness and neglect when it came to their investigating of the person Obama described as his “mentor” and “spiritual leader”, Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Wright’s numerous racist and anti-American rants during his sermons were completely ignored by news outlets until his church started selling a DVD compilation of them in their lobby. Only then, when it was clear the videos would inevitably go public, did the media bother to report on Wright.

As the good folks at reported on Thursday, the media’s disinterest in vetting candidate Obama was even worse than we thought.

From 1991 to 2007, Acton & Dystel who was Barack Obama’s literary agency during that time, published a brief biography on the future president, stating in the very first sentence that he was born in Kenya, and was raised in Indonesia and Hawaii.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]


Video: Twelve-Year-Old Money Reformer Tops a Million Views

The youtube video of 12 year old Victoria Grant speaking at the Public Banking in America conference last month has gone viral, topping a million views on various websites.

Monetary reform—the contention that governments, not banks, should create and lend a nation’s money—has rarely even made the news, so this is a first. Either the times they are a-changin’, or Victoria managed to frame the message in a way that was so simple and clear that even a child could understand it.

Basically, her message was that banks create money “out of thin air” and lend it to people and governments at interest. If governments borrowed from their own banks, they could keep the interest and save a lot of money for the taxpayers.

She said her own country of Canada actually did this, from 1939 to 1974. During that time, the government’s debt was low and sustainable, and it funded all sorts of remarkable things. Only when the government switched to borrowing privately did it acquire a crippling national debt.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

First European Ecological Military Camp in Cyprus

(ANSAmed) — NICOSIA, MAY 30 — An ecological military camp, the only one which exists in Europe, was inaugurated yesterday in Cyprus with the participation of Defence Minister Demetris Eliades and Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Sophocles Aletraris, as CNA reports. The camp is situated at Delikipos, in Larnaka district. It has photovoltaic systems, is irrigated with the use of a biological sewage treatment plant, while soldiers separate waste for recycling.

This is the first time at European level that an EU member state military camp implements an environmental management system and this is the first certified green military map. Eliades said that “we are trying to create environmental friendly premises”, adding that this project raises environmental awareness among soldiers who will soon undertake their responsibilities as citizens. On his part, Aletraris noted that there are plans for implementing such environmental awareness projects in all military camps. There are plans for installing such comprehensive environmental management systems in all camps, he added, noting that this was the first pilot project and that it has been very successful.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

France: Jew-Haters Attack 3 Near Lyon

Ten people with hammer, iron bar, brutalize Jews. Officials confirm motive is anti-Semitism.

Three people were brutalized in an anti-Semitic attack Saturday at Villeurbaine, near Lyon in southeast France. Two of the victims were hospitalized: one suffered an open head wound and the other was injured in the neck.

The attackers numbered about ten and were armed with a hammer and an iron bar.

The victims wore skullcaps.

The office of Interior Minister Manuel Valls said Sunday that the attack was anti-Semitic and said police forces had been mobilized to find the assailants.

In March, a Muslim gunman murdered a rabbi and three Jewish children at pointblank range in Toulouse.

           — Hat tip: Steen [Return to headlines]

Germany: Victory for Intolerance: How Islamophobes Launched a National Debate

For weeks, German politicians and media outlets alike have been focusing their attention on the country’s Salafist Muslims. The reason, however, can be found far away from the halls of power in Berlin. A regional anti-Islam party known as Pro-NRW staged a cartoon contest ahead of a state election last month — and pulled off an extraordinary coup.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

How Insect-Eyed Cameras Could Change Our Lives

New cameras with hundreds of tiny lenses have recently been overcoming obstacles that have frustrated shutterbugs since the dawn of photography. German researchers are now working to find new applications that could make these mini-cameras an almost omnipresent part of our lives.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Italy: Mediobanca Wants to Oust Generali CEO

Milan, 1 June (AKI/Bloomberg) — Mediobanca is seeking to remove Assicurazioni Generali Chief Executive Officer Giovanni Perissinotto because the investment bank wants to improve the performance of Italy’s biggest insurer, two people familiar with the situation said.

Perissinotto was summoned to Mediobanca’s Milan headquarters and asked to resign by Alberto Nagel, CEO of Milan- based Mediobanca, and Chairman Renato Pagliaro, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter isn’t public.

Generali’s CEO refused to step down and investors led by Mediobanca, the insurer’s biggest investor with a 13.2 percent stake, plan to push for his ouster at a board meeting the insurer has called for tomorrow, one of the people said. Mediobanca declined to comment on the matter, as did a spokesman for Generali.

“The problem with Generali is governance, which needs to be improved,” said Emanuele Vizzini, who oversees about 800 million euros ($990 million) as chief investment officer for Investitori Sgr in Milan. “Removing a CEO doesn’t bring about the necessary changes. You need to remove the interference of investors that have direct and conflicting interests.”

Mario Greco, an executive at Zurich Insurance Group AG, will be proposed as a replacement for Perissinotto, one of the people said. Greco is a former CEO of Italian insurer Riunione Adriatica di Sicurta SpA.

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

Italy: Lega Nord’s Maroni: Open a New Page With Salvini and Tosi

(AGI) Padoa — “With Matteo Salvini in Lombardy and Flavio Tosi in Veneto, the Lega starts anew with young and skilled leaders”. The comment was posted by Roberto Maroni on Facebook when referring to the outcome of the National Congress of the Lega Nord. “Let us now put a stop to divisions and controversies, let’s turn the ugly page of the last few months’ history and start writing a new one: all together, standing up-right, let us once again launch our challenge to the stars”, continued the Lega Nord’s candidate Federal Secretary. “Lega forever!”, he concluded.

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

Tintin Cover Fetches Record-Breaking 1.3m Euros

A rare 1932 cover drawing of a Tintin comic book has fetched a record 1.3m euros (£1m; $1.6m) at auction in Paris. The Tintin in America cover, hand-drawn by Belgian writer and illustrator Herge, broke the record — set by the same item in 2008, when it sold for 764,000 euros. It shows the young adventurer Tintin, dressed as a cowboy and sitting with his dog, Snowy, as axe-wielding American Indians creep up on them. It was bought by a private collector.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UK: Thames Flotilla Celebrates Elizabeth’s 60-Year Reign

On a luxury barge festooned with flowers, Queen Elizabeth II sailed down the River Thames on Sunday amid a motley but majestic flotilla of 1,000 vessels mustered to mark her 60 years on the British throne.

Hundreds of thousands of Union Jack-waving spectators formed a red, white and blue wave along London’s riverbanks and bridges, cheering the 86-year-old monarch and her armada of motorboats, rowboats and sailboats of all shapes and sizes. The pageant was a nod to Britain’s maritime heritage and one of the biggest events on the river for centuries.

The queen wore a silver-and-white dress and matching coat — embroidered with gold, silver and ivory spots and embellished with Swarovski crystals to evoke the river — for her trip aboard the barge Spirit of Chartwell, decorated for the occasion in rich red, gold and purple velvet.

The queen’s grandson, Prince William, and his wife, Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge — he in his Royal Air Force uniform, she in a red Alexander McQueen dress — and William’s brother, Prince Harry, were among senior royals who joined the queen and her husband, Prince Philip.

After a celebratory peal of bells, the boat set off downstream at a stately 4 knots, accompanied by skiffs, barges, narrow boats, kayaks, gondolas, dragon boats and even a replica Viking longboat.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UK: Teenage Girl, 15, Dies ‘After Her Drink Was Spiked With Ecstasy’ At Social Club Party

A 15-year-old girl who died after a night out had her drink spiked with ecstasy, friends have claimed.

Rose Farley collapsed in the early hours at her parents’ home in Liverpool after spending the evening at a social club party.

Emergency services took the teenager from her home to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital but she died shortly afterwards at 5am.

Her death comes just days after Merseyside Police issued a warning about a dangerous strain of ecstasy known as ‘Dr Death’ being sold on the streets of the North West.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Their Dream is a ‘British FBI’ — The Reality May be Our Own KGB

From time to time the British media completely miss a story of huge significance. This is one of those times.

We are about to get a national police force under direct government control. They like to call it ‘Britain’s FBI’. But Britain is not the USA and does not need an FBI.

For the sort of crime that concerns most people is small and local — burglary, gangs of menacing youths in the street, shoplifting and vandalism. This does not need some posturing agency, just a few thousand plods on foot patrol with the freedom to use their own initiative.


It is, in short, the very thing that, since the days of Sir Robert Peel, Parliament has striven to prevent — a national police force under the direct control of the government.

In Peel’s time, MPs understood that such a force, if it fell into the wrong hands, would be a terrible engine of oppression. That is why police forces in this country have always been local (by the way, an equally worrying scheme to centralise all Scottish forces under the Justice Minister is well advanced).

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Woman Prison Officer, 27, ‘Exchanged Sexy Letters and Phone Calls With Seven Inmates’

A shamed prison officer who swapped sexy letters and phone calls with inmates could end up behind bars.

A court heard Zanib Khan had ‘inappropriate relationships’ with three prisoners — thought to include drug dealers — in their late 20s.

The 27-year-old shared intimate calls with male inmates on mobile phones smuggled into Brixton prison in London.

Police also found sexy love letters from prisoners at Khan’s home in Ilford, east London.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Vatican: Lombardi: “Cardinals United in No-Confidence Toward Gotti Tedeschi”

The Holy See’s official position given by the spokesman of the Vatican Press Office in Milan during a press conference

“The statements published by some newspapers about a division among the cardinals of the Supervisory Commission on the IOR are absolutely unfounded,” said Press Office Director Fr Federico Lombardi at a press briefing in Milan.

“There is no division within the Commission of Cardinals,” said Father Lombardi.

The Commission, headed by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, “noted the decision of the board and communicated in writing to Mr Gotti Tedeschi that the functions of the president had been assigned ad interim, per statute, to vice president Ronaldo Hermann Schmitz.”

The Vatican spokesman explained that this was equivalent to a unanimous vote of no-confidence by the board of lay people.

Father Lombardi also explained that the Commission had “contacted” Gotti Tedeschi “as an act of courtesy” and “to end the relationship,” including economically, and with the hope “that a climate of fairness will prevail in communications as well.”

On his visit to Milan, Lombardi said Benedict XVI was in “good condition” and seems “serene and impressed by the quality of hospitality and warmth shown by the Ambrosian community, and by the high level of the events and the beauty of the area.” “I would say he is doing well,” said the Jesuit priest. “Just this morning he joyfully handled three hours of commitments, with travel, crowds, and loud noise as well.”

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

North Africa

Five Egyptian Secret Police Directors Released

(AGI) Cairo — Five former Egyptian security chiefs who were acquitted yesterday of having ordered the shootings of hundreds of demonstrators will be released today, the official Egyptian news agency Mena reports, emphasizing that Hassan Abdel Rahman, who ran the now-dissolved state security service is still in prison and under investigation for having destroyed secret documents relevant to the charges.

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

Israel and the Palestinians

Secret Cooperation: Israel Deploys Nuclear Weapons on German-Built Submarines

A German shipyard has already built three submarines for Israel, and three more are planned. Now SPIEGEL has learned that Israel is arming the submarines with nuclear-tipped cruise missiles. The German government has known about Israel’s nuclear weapons program for decades, despite its official denials.

Germany is helping Israel to develop its military nuclear capabilities, SPIEGEL has learned. According to extensive research carried out by the magazine, Israel is equipping submarines that were built in the northern German city of Kiel and largely paid for by the German government with nuclear-tipped cruise missiles. The missiles can be launched using a previously secret hydraulic ejection system. Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak told SPIEGEL that Germans should be “proud” that they have secured the existence of the state of Israel “for many years.”

In the past, the German government has always stuck to the position that it is unaware of nuclear weapons being deployed on the vessels. Now, however, former high-ranking officials from the German Defense Ministry, including former State Secretary Lothar Rühl and former chief of the planning staff Hans Rühle, have told SPIEGEL that they had always assumed that Israel would deploy nuclear weapons on the submarines. Rühl had even discussed the issue with the military in Tel Aviv.

Israel has a policy of not commenting officially on its nuclear weapons program. Documents from the archives of the German Foreign Ministry make it clear, however, that the German government has known about the program since 1961. The last discussion for which there is evidence took place in 1977, when then-Chancellor Helmut Schmidt spoke to then-Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan about the issue.

The submarines are built by the German shipyard HDW in Kiel. Three submarines have already been delivered to Israel, and three more will be delivered by 2017.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Middle East

Al-Qaida Leader Recalls Bin Laden’s ‘Generosity’

Osama bin Laden spent all his personal wealth on jihad, considering meat and electricity as luxuries so he could save his money to help fund terror attacks, according to recollections from his deputy and successor posted online late Saturday

Al-Qaida’s new leader Ayman al-Zawahri, in the second of his “Days with the Imam” series of videos, said that bin Laden would however pay readily for hospitality for his guests — although he lived mostly on bread and vegetables, he once invested in an entire herd of sheep to slaughter in case visitors came by.

Al-Zawahri, who became head of al-Qaida after bin Laden was killed in a U.S. raid last year, spoke conversationally while dressed in a white Arab robe and turban.

He is believed to lack his predecessor’s personal authority within the far-flung terror network, and may be trying to boost his own popularity by emphasizing his closeness to the more charismatic bin Laden.

Bin Laden was born to a wealthy family, but ran into financial troubles after he was pushed out of Sudan in 1996, al-Zawahri said.

Shortly thereafter, he said, Bin Laden spent $50,000 to help finance 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania at a time when he only had $55,000 to his name. Those bombings killed 224 people. Bin Laden’s personal wealth also helped finance the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

“He is well-known for living austerely but he spent all his money for jihad,” al-Zawahri said “If you enter his house you would find simple furniture .. and if we were invited to eat, he offered us what was available in his house, bread and vegetables.”

But the terror leader was “generous to his guests by slaughtering sheep for them and because of continuous visitors, he once bought a herd of sheep so that he would be always ready for them.”

Al-Zawahri said bin Laden used to encourage the mujahideen — “holy warriors” — to live without electricity which he considered as luxury.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Assad: International Plot to Destroy Syria

(AGI) Damascus — Syria is faced with a “plot aimed at destroying the country,” said president Bashar el Assad. In his first speech to the new parliament elected in early May, the Syrian president launched accusations at the international community over the conflict his country. “The international role — in the Syrian crisis — is now clear.” He said that the country is dealing with a “war waged from the outside.” “There has been an escalation of terrorism despite the reforms,” said Assad.

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

New Syrian Clashes in North Lebanon, 2 Dead & 12 Injured

(AGI) Beirut — A new bout of clashes is under way between Syrian loyalists and rebels in Tripoli in North Lebanon despite the Army. The news was reported by a source of the security forces. 2 persons have died and 12 were injured in the shootout that occurred during the night, thus bringing the casualty toll to 14 dead and 48 injured since yesterday, when the clashes began.

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

Twenty Years of Illusion About Islamism

The broad lines of U.S. government, other government, and generally establishment policy toward Islamism were laid down on June 2, 1992, when Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs Edward P. Djerejian delivered a major speech, “The U.S. and the Middle East In a Changing World,” at Meridian House International, in Washington, DC. After some throat clearing about the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Kuwait War, and the Arab-Israeli conflict, Djerejian gave what has been called “the first major U.S. government statement on fundamentalist Islam” and, in just over 400 words, sketched out a policy that has been held to with remarkable consistency over the subsequent 20 years.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UAE: Pipeline Begins Activity in June to Avoid Hormuz Strait

70% crude oil to travel on land from Abu Dhabi to Fujhairah

(ANSAmed) — DUBAI, MAY 28 — As scheduled, the pipeline which will allow transport of most of the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) crude oil towards the ocean without going through the Hormuz straight at the entrance to the Gulf of Arabia, will be operative within June.

The news is confirmed by the Sheik of Fujairah, Hamad bin Mohammad Al Sharqi, in an interview on the Emirates’ newspaper Gulf News in which he also minimizes the fear of a war with Iran in the event that Teheran, as they have often threatened, might block the Hormuz straight in response to further sanctions directed to them due to their nuclear programme.

“It is a cloud which will pass,” the Emir said. About 40% of the world’s crude oil, and almost all of the regional produce, travels through the oil rigs which from the single terminals of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, UAE and Iraq, make their way to reach their final destinations, especially in direction of the Asian markets, crossing the strategic spot, a stretch of water just over 30km wide between the coasts of Iran and Oman.

The pipeline, 380km long, running from Habshan in the Abu Dhabi region until Fujhairah, the only Emirate of the seven in the UAE which is actually on the Arab Sea, will have an initial capacity of 1.5 million barrels per day, Sheik Hamad stated.

This potential will eventually reach 1.8 million barrels a day, about 70% of the average production in the UAE.

The Emirates’ alternative is not the only one. The region’s biggest economy, Saudi Arabia, already has a opening towards the Red Sea.

The East-West pipeline, which runs from Abqaiq, south of Dahran and Yanbu, on the shores of the Red Sea, has a transport capacity of 4.8 million bpd, around half of the kingdom’s oil production. In the event of a crisis it can be increased to guarantee a major flow.

Despite the reassuring tone held by Sheik Hamas, the Emirate of Fujhairah has initiated a series of investments to increase its energy plan: Fujhairah is a very important centre for depositing and refuelling oil, second only to Singapore, and is to double the number of its cisterns and storage spots along its coasts in the next ten years.

It also has a new project for a new terminal for the export of GPL whereas an industrial-petrol area has been inaugurated, in line with the policy of ensuring security on travel routes and on oil rigs, hence the building of a new naval army base.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

South Asia

Di Paola: Bail Not Recognition India’s Right to Try Marines

(AGI) Rome — Defense Minister Giampaolo Di Paola spoke to Skytg24 today. He stated that the bail paid to free the 2 Italian marines accused of homicide in India is “not a recognition of India’s right to try the two Marine Corps riflemen.” .

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

Pakistan: Drones Kill 10 Including a Commander

(AGI) Peshawar — Ten Islamic militants have been killed in their South Waziristan hideout by two US drones. According to Fox News two drones hit with four bombs the village of Mana Raghzai, near Wacha Dana, ten km west of Wana. The house in which the militants were hiding has been completely destroyed.

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

Two People Dead After Swarms of Venomous Spiders Invade Indian Town

A town in India has suddenly been overrun by swarms of venomous spiders, leaving two people dead after being bitten.

It may sound like a B-grade horror movie, but residents of the town of Sadiya, in Assam state, say that on the evening of May 8 as they were celebrating a Hindu festival swarms of spiders suddenly appeared and attacked them, The Times of India reported.

Over the next few days two people — a man, Purnakanta Buragohain, and an unnamed school boy — died after being bitten by the spiders. Scores more turned up at the town’s hospital with spider bites.

Local resident Jintu Gogoi spent a day in the hospital complaining of excruciating pain and nausea after being bitten. He said weeks later his finger was still blackened and swollen.

District authorities are also panicking — and they are considering spraying the town with the insecticide DDT. Locals say the most terrifying aspect is that spiders appear in swarms and their behavior is highly aggressive.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Far East

Report: Japan Arrests Sarin Attack Cult Member

One of the two remaining fugitive members of the doomsday cult behind the 1995 nerve gas attack on Tokyo subways was arrested Sunday, Japanese media reports said.

Former senior Aum Shinrikyo cult member Naoko Kikuchi, 40, had been spotted in Sagamihara city, 30 kilometers (20 miles) southwest of Tokyo, and acknowledged who she was when approached by police, according to NHK TV and other media reports, citing investigative sources. She was wanted on charges of murder in the 1995 attack.

Police declined to confirm the reports.

Cult members, who had amassed an arsenal of chemical, biological and conventional weapons in anticipation of an apocalyptic showdown with the government, released the nerve gas sarin in Tokyo’s subways, killing 13 people and injuring more than 6,000.

Nearly 200 members of the cult have been convicted in the gas attack and dozens of other crimes. Cult guru Shoko Asahara is still on death row.

Makoto Hirata, suspected of involvement in a 1995 cult-related kidnapping-murder, surrendered to police on New Year’s Eve, stunning Japan. Ten days later, Akemi Saito, also a member of Aum Shinrikyo, who had lived with Hirata, gave herself up.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

U.S. Plans Naval Shift Toward Asia

Pacific to Host 60% of Navy by 2020, Defense Secretary Says, Rejecting View That Move Is Designed to Contain China

The Pentagon will shift the bulk of its naval assets to Asia within the next decade and increase the number of military exercises it conducts in the region, according to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, in the most tangible sign yet of the renewed U.S. emphasis on Asia.

Under the plan, the U.S. would shift cruisers, destroyers, submarines and other warships so that 60% of them will be based in the Pacific by 2020. Currently, the U.S. Navy fleet of 285 ships is evenly split between the Atlantic and the Pacific.

The announcement comes after an agreement to rotate U.S. Marines through Australia and amid talks with the Philippines regarding a similar arrangement there.

Mr. Panetta, who disclosed the naval plans in an address to an annual international security conference here, stressed that the rising U.S. force levels shouldn’t be seen as a threat to China but as a stabilizing influence in a rapidly developing region.

Nonetheless, the step to globally reposition the U.S. Navy would represent a substantial peacetime military shift that is likely to be favored by Asian countries that are nervous as China increasingly flexes its economic and territorial muscle.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Australia — Pacific

New Domestic Violence Laws Target Emotional Abuse

New domestic violence laws will make it an offence to harm pets, cut people off from their family or withhold financial support.

The changes to the Family Law Act were passed in December but come into effect this week.

They expand the definition of domestic violence to more than just physical harm, such as denying a family member financial autonomy or the money required to meet reasonable living expenses.

The changes also include emotional abuse and preventing a person from maintaining contact with family, friends or their culture.

The Salvation Army’s Major Andrew Craib says the changes recognise that it is not just physical acts of violence that can harm children.

“They might see a perpetrator constantly putting people down. Often people hear that enough and they begin to believe that for themselves and that’s unacceptable in our society,” he said.

Mr Craib also says the changes are a reflection of society’s rejection of domestic violence.

He hopes the changes will encourage more victims to seek help.

“They’re more likely to feel now that somebody has an understanding of the circumstances that they’re putting up with,” he said.

“I would hope that that gives them a bit of confidence and reassurance that people are actually going to hear them and believe them and that some action is going to come about that’s going to bring both their safety and that of their children.”

           — Hat tip: Nilk [Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Bomb Blast Kills 12 in Church in Northern Nigeria

(AGI) Bauchi — At least twelve people were killed when a bomb exploded in a church on the outskirts of Bauchi, northern Nigeria. There have been several attacks in the area this year by the Boko Haram Islamic fundamentalist group.

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

Horrific Scenes as Plane Crashes Into Neighborhood in Nigeria’s Biggest City, Killing All 153 Passengers on Board

[WARNING: Disturbing content.]

A commercial airliner crashed into a densely populated neighborhood in Nigeria’s largest city on Sunday, killing all 153 people on board and others on the ground in the worst air disaster in nearly two decades for the troubled nation.

The cause of the Dana Air crash remained unknown Sunday night, as firefighters and police struggled to put out the flames around the wreckage of the Boeing MD83 aircraft.

Authorities could not control the crowd of thousands gathered around to see the crash site, with some crawling over the plane’s broken wings and standing on a still-smoldering landing gear.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Nigeria: Experts Call for One World Government

Lagos — Speakers at a public symposium, “Advancing a New World Order for the progress of the Human Race,” organised by the Lagos Zone of the Rosicrucian Order, AMORC, at Lagos Airport Hotel, Ikeja, have urged world leaders to evolve new ways of pursuing the collective destiny of humanity by the creation of one world government.

The speakers included the Grand Administrator and Director, Supreme Board, AMORC, Dr. Kenneth Idiodi; Mr. Ekanem Kofi-Ekanem; Professor T. A.T. Wahua of University of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt; Professor M.Y. Nabofa, Niger Delta University, Bayelsa State; Prof. John Idiodi, University of Benin and Johnson Ikube, Managing Consultant/CEO, JI Global Solutions Limited.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]


Denmark: Copenhagen Council Has Asked Copenhagen Police to Remove 11 Iranians

Copenhagen Police are in the process of moving a group of 11 Iranian hunger-strikers out of the Democracy House in Vesterbro after Copenhagen Council has reported the lie-in to be illegal entry.

The group f 11 Iranians, whose asylum applications have been denied, have been on hunger strike for two weeks to highlight conditions at the Danish asylum centres, where several of them have spent up to eight years.

The group began their hunger strike at the St. Stephen’s Church in Nørrebro, but moved to the Democracy House after St. Stephen’s Parish Council asked them to vacate the church.

Despite having had their asylum requests denied, conditions in Iran are such that Denmark cannot repatriate them to Iran.

Police officers are currently discussing with the group as to what is to happen.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Greece: Illegals Desperate to Return Home, IOM

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, JUNE 1 — The Greek office of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) is struggling to handle a barrage of applications from undocumented immigrants who want to be included in its repatriation scheme, with 6,000 requests lodged so far this year — more than double the total of applications made in the whole of 2011. As daily Kathimerini reports, the head of the Athens office of IOM, Daniel Esdras, said that around half of the 6,000 applications will have been approved by the end of June, when the program, which is 75% subsidized by the EU, is due to end. Esdras proposed that Greek authorities ask Bruxelles for the cash-strapped country’s financial contribution in future repatriation programs to be reduced. Meanwhile authorities are struggling with the processing of asylum claims lodged by migrants remaining in Greece. The head of the Citizens’ Protection Ministry’s asylum service, Maria Stavropoulou, said understaffing was a major obstacle. For his part, the head of the Athens office of the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR), Giorgos Tsarbopoulos, noted that only 30 or 40 of the hundreds of migrants who line up outside the capital’s Aliens Bureau on Petrou Ralli Street every week manage to submit asylum applications. In a related development, a delegation of 17 European Commission officials, dispatched to Greece to determine whether the country is implementing the terms of the open-border Schengen agreement, completed their mission “satisfied,” police sources told Kathimerini.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Swedish Army to Jobless Immigrants: We Want You

Tweet The Swedish Armed Forces is hoping the prospect of free food and lodging will help entice young, unemployed immigrants to join the military as part of an effort to increase diversity.

The military is offering ten weeks living like a conscript on a military base with free food and lodging, as well as the possibility to complete a high school degree as part of an effort to boost enlistment and diversity within the ranks of the Swedish Armed Forces (Försvarsmakten).

“I sort of want to get away from the daily grind. And I’m also somewhat interested in the military,” Tatiana Caicedo, 21, who has parents from Colombia and England, told the TT news agency.

The goal is to attract 500 participants in a new labour policy programme which is being carried out in cooperation with Sweden’s National Public Employment Agency (Arbetsförmedlingen).

Plans call for half of the new “recruits” to be men, and half women.

“The partnership is unique,” the employment agency’s Soledad Grafeuille told TT.

The idea is to target unemployed youth with immigrant backgrounds and have them spend ten weeks in the autumn and winter living at military bases across the country.

They would spend half their time becoming familiarized with the Swedish military and half their time working to complete their high school degrees.

After ten weeks, the participants would have the option of applying to basic military training in order to obtain a job within the Armed Forces.

Grafeuille emphasized that the programme is totally voluntary and can be abandoned at any point without the risk of penalties.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]