News Feed 20130113

Financial Crisis
» Italians’ Spending Power Plummets, -4.1% Compared to 2011
» Italy: ‘Part of the Left Suffocates Growth’, Claims Monti
» Merkel Shepherds us Away From the Fiscal Cliff
» Blame for Gun Grab? Gun Owners Look in the Mirror
» NSA Documents on ‘PerfectCitizen’ Program Raise Many More Questions
» Obamacare is All About Death and Taxes
» The Big Picture on Gun Control
» Visionary Internet Activist Aaron Swartz Found Dead
» What Turned Jaron Lanier Against the Web?
» Why Are We Pretending?
Europe and the EU
» 2013 in Science: Robot Eyes, Comets and Big Discoveries
» Adoptions of Foreign Children Fall 22.8% in Italy
» ‘Bloody Nora!’ Nigel Farage’s Shock at UKIP’s Europe Poll Lead Over Tories
» Flashback: ‘Something May Come Through’ Dimensional ‘Doors’ At LHC
» France: Mystery Biker Named as Prime Suspect After He Was Seen Near Alpine Layby Where Murdered British Family Was Found
» Irish Traveller Gang Linked to Audacious Norway Art Heist
» Italy: Grillo Repeats Won’t Join Forces or Stand for Premier
» Italy: Sports Watchdog: Soccer Federation Devise Antiracism Rules
» Italy: Monti Proposes 16-Mln-Euro Prisoner Work Program
» Italy: Generali Takes Full Control of Gph in Eastern Europe
» Italy: Berlusconi Believes His Party Will Win the Election
» Italy: South Tyrolian Party Joins Centre Left Alliance
» Italy: Party of Doctors to Run in Lazio Regional Elections
» Italy: Casini Calls Berlusconi a Clown
» Ivan Von Birchan Was Approached by CIA to Murder Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme (Video Interview)
» Sweden: Woman Raped by Five Men in Stockholm
» Swedes Eat 70 Tonnes of Fake Beef
» UK: ‘Mosque Buster’ Claims He Can Stop ‘Tide of Islam’ By Giving Free Advice on How to Block Building Plans for New Places of Worship
» UK: Jimmy Savile Was Part of Satanic Ring
» UK: Maths Teacher Whose Wheelie Bin Protrudes Just 12 Inches Outside the Boundary of Her Home is Dragged to Court by Council for Causing a ‘Hazard’
» UK: Parliament to Unleash Barrage of Criticism on Snoopers’ Charter
» UK: Taxi Driver Cheated Blind Woman Out of £300 After She Asked for Help Using Her Cash Card to Pay for Fare
» UK: Widow Leaves £100,000 to Pet Charity — Then it Immediately Puts Down Her Loyal Dog Found Lying Beside Her Body
» We’d be Mad to Leave Europe: David Cameron’s Covert Battle Against the ‘Madness’ of Cutting Ties With EU
Mediterranean Union
» Ports: Italy EU Leader in Maritime Med Trade
North Africa
» French Aircraft Operating in Mali Granted Algeria Flyover
Middle East
» Saudi Criticises World Reaction to Maid’s Beheading
» Syria: Lavrov Believes Removing Assad From Power is “Impossible”
South Asia
» Indonesia: Further Implementation of Sharia in Aceh to Cause Greater Social Tensions
» Road-Side Bomb Kills 14 Pakistan Soldiers on Afghan Border
Far East
» Record Eur 1.34 Mln Paid for 224kg Bluefin Tuna in Japan
Australia — Pacific
» Racial Hatred Bill Offers Open Slather to Obnoxious
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Britain to Send Troops and Two Planes to Mali to Assist French Operation Against Islamist Rebels
» Mali Islamists Stronger Than Believed, Says France
» Nigerian Army Claims Capture of Boko Haram Commander
» South Africa Leads World in Rape Cases
» Italy: Nìguri: Stories of Asylum Seekers in Migrants’ Centre
Culture Wars
» Four Gay Rights Activists Go Topless During Pope’s Angelus
» Italy Reacts to Supreme Court Ruling on Gay Parental Custody

Financial Crisis

Italians’ Spending Power Plummets, -4.1% Compared to 2011

Worst year since WW2, according to retailers’ association

(ANSAmed) — Rome, January 9 — Istat said Wednesday that the spending power of households in recession-hit Italy plummeted last year while the nation’s retailers said 2012 is set to go down as the worst year since World War II for consumer spending.

The national statistics agency said Italians’ spending power fell by a massive 4.1% in the first nine months of 2012 compared to the same period in 2011. A factor is the tax increases that led to Italian disposable incomes being 1.9% lower in the third quarter of last year than in the same three months in 2011, Istat said. Spending power has also been eroded by drops in real incomes caused by inflation outstripping salary increases. Retailers’ association Confcommercio said its consumer spending index continued a downward trend in November, when it registered a 2.9% drop compared to the same month in 2011 and a 0.1% fall with respect to October. “It is clear that 2012 is set to be remembered as the most difficult year for consumer spending in the post-war period,” Confcommercio said. “The continuation of negative year-on-year results (in the index) in the final months of 2012 shows that the crisis is still very much present in the economic system…

“It is unlikely that our economy in general, and consumer spending in specific, will start to show signals of significant improvement in the short term”.

Austerity measures outgoing Premier Mario Monti’s government passed to put Italy on course to balance the national budget in structural terms this year and move the country away from the centre of the eurozone debt crisis are widely seen as having deepened a recession that started in 2011. Wednesday’s negative data will not boost Monti’s bid to stay at the helm of government after he opted to run in next month’s general elections on a reform platform backed by several centrist parties.

On Tuesday Istat said unemployment in Italy remained at a record high of November at 11.1%, while youth unemployment reached an unprecedented level of 37.1%. There was some positive news though. Istat said Wednesday that Italy’s public deficit fell to 3.7% with respect to gross domestic product in the first nine months of 2012, 0.5% lower than in the same period in 2011, thanks to government tax hikes. The national statistics added that the deficit-GDP ratio fell to 1.8% in the third quarter of 2012, 0.7% lower than in the same three months in 2011. Istat said the new and much-criticised IMU property tax, introduced by Monti’s emergency administration of unelected technocrats, was the driving force of the higher tax revenues that have brought down the deficit.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: ‘Part of the Left Suffocates Growth’, Claims Monti

(AGI) Rome — Outgoing prime minister Mario Monti claimed that part of the left is to blame for suffocating growth, saying that it is irresponsible and has pushed Italy towards a precipice .

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

Merkel Shepherds us Away From the Fiscal Cliff

NRC Handelsblad Rotterdam

The last minute negotiations in Washington to avoid a budget shortfall show that short-termism is well grounded in US politics. And by contrast, it shows that despite her controversial handling of the euro crisis, the German chancellor is wise enough to instead push for long-term solutions.

Melvyn Krauss

To hijack a phrase made famous by the US historian Robert Kagan, “Americans are from Mars and Europeans from Venus” when it comes to dealing with questions of long-term fiscal health.

The fact that the best Washington politicians could come up with in the face of the so-called “fiscal cliff” is a stripped-down, minimalist agreement belies a genuine US interest in solving its long-term budget deficit problem.

This is not mainly because of US partisan differences (though it often is portrayed as such). Americans of whatever political stripe simply are not serious about the nation’s long-term fiscal health.

How else could you interpret the fact that the only way Washington politicians could be coaxed into accepting an even modest amount of fiscal austerity in pursuit of long-term fiscal health was to convince them — with gimmicks like the “fiscal cliff” — that greater amounts of austerity awaited had they failed to take at least a minimal dose of fiscal medicine now?

Jumping off the fiscal cliff

If US President Barack Obama and Congress really cared about fixing the country’s budget deficit problem, they would have enthusiastically jumped off the “fiscal cliff” with its mandated spending cuts and tax increases, not endlessly haggled to circumvent it.

This is just the opposite of what is happening in Europe where German Chancellor Angela Merkel is leading the charge for short-term fiscal pain in pursuit of long-term fiscal gain. Keynesians and supply-siders both disagree but Mrs Merkel is sticking to her guns that Europe can not return to sustainable growth and prosperity without first putting its fiscal house in order — and she is creatively using German money to get the German rules she wants for Europe…

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


Blame for Gun Grab? Gun Owners Look in the Mirror

Once again, following yet another school massacre, the rabid dogs in the controlled media, NYC Mayor Fascist Michael Bloomberg and the usual vermin in the Outlaw Congress are pushing for something the global elite have wanted since this republic was founded: disarm everyone except police, military.

Those calling for their own destruction (think Pol Pot, Mao, Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Idi Amin) are so mentally unstable, they can’t even comprehend their own stupidity:

“For 50 years, the left-leaning columnist Donald Kaul has raged against guns, but after the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, he says, it’s time for “anger,” killing gun owners and dragging legislators who disagree with gun control behind pickup trucks until they get the message. The Pulitzer Prize-nominated columnist penned an alarming screed published in the Des Moines Register in which he further suggested the Second Amendment be repealed and the National Rifle Association be declared a terrorist organization.”

Had I penned such a piece, the jack booted thugs at the Department of Fatherland Security who have sold their soul for a paycheck would have kicked down my door, probably shot my dogs and thrown me in some federal jail.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

NSA Documents on ‘PerfectCitizen’ Program Raise Many More Questions

The National Security Agency releases documents about the program to help secure critical infrastructure, but significant redactions leave questions over whether the agency will monitor private networks. More than 30 months after the disclosure of a government program to help secure critical infrastructure, digital rights groups continue to have questions about whether the intent of the system is to monitor private networks. On Jan. 2 the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) published 190 pages of documents released by the National Security Agency under a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. The documents confirm key details of the program, known as PerfectCitizen, which was revealed by The Wall Street Journal in an article published in July 2010. The project, for example, includes a major effort to find and remediate vulnerabilities in sensitive control systems (SCS). Technology giant Raytheon received the contract for the program valued at approximately $100 million. Yet the redacted sections of the documents continue to raise questions. The NSA whited out key parts of three of the five technical requirements that set the scope of the program. In a list of the skills needed by specialized software engineers for PerfectCitizen, many of the descriptions requested by the NSA are similarly redacted.

“There is something going on here, and we need more information to confirm the extent of this program,” said Jeramie Scott, National Security Fellow with the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), which filed the FOIA request for the documents. Scott did not specify what the missing sections may indicate, but said that the information is important for U.S. citizens to know.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Obamacare is All About Death and Taxes

Prior to the November elections, I received an email that was chilling. It was about the new Obamacare rules. Before I discuss the Obamacare taxes that are kicking in this year and next, I want to share excerpts from it.

The email was from an individual whose son-in-law has a brother who is a surgeon at Emory Hospital in Atlanta. It is ranked high among American hospitals. This is what he related:

“A group of non-doctors, from ‘our’ country’s Department of Health arrived last week at Emory for a two day session and is on their rounds around the country to make sure every hospital fully understands the new rules (which start in December (after the elections) concerning treating all patients over 70 years of age.”

“This group informed the staff Emory and all the doctors present that they will very soon not be allowed to operate on anyone over 70 (no matter how urgent or life threatening the situation is), without first having it approved by a board of eight doctors. Failure to comply will result in a huge financial burden to the hospital and more than likely the doctor will lose his/her ability to practice medicine anywhere in the country.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

The Big Picture on Gun Control

C.S. Lewis, writing in his 1947 book The Abolition of Man, reminds us that there truly exists a phenomenon called natural law, or the Tao as Lewis calls it. Natural law has been recognized for as long as history has been written. To deny it takes the conscious effort of a normal human being. The idea of inalienable rights — the foundation upon which the United States Declaration of Independence was written — springs from natural law.

The individuals who have rebelled against the Tao have risen in the ranks of power. They constitute what has been called a pathocracy. These parasitic groups have formed in every civilization that has existed on earth. In the end, they wage war against the people of the host nation. This group feeds the evil side of humanity, and when it is expressed in all its horror it is used to further erode our liberties.

Within the field of political science is a study called political ponerology, the study of evil applied to politics. Every time a society falls into the hands of a brutal dictator, nearly identical patterns can be observed. Andrew M. Lobaczewski’s ground breaking 1998 book entitled Political Ponerology discusses in depth the nature of psychopaths and their exploits when in positions of power.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Visionary Internet Activist Aaron Swartz Found Dead

(NaturalNews) Adding to the list of mysterious deaths that have happened over the last few days, internet visionary and brilliant internet activist Aaron Swartz was found dead yesterday. Swartz, only 26 years old, was the co-founder of, the co-creator of RSS technology, and the key activist who achieved a stunning defeat of the freedom-crushing SOPA / PIPA bills in the U.S. Congress.


Swartz’s death is just one of many mysterious deaths that have recently taken place. Just a few days ago, a celebrated rifle manufacturer named John Noveske was killed in a mysterious car crash — not long after posting details of all the school shooters who were taking psychiatric drugs.

Another prominent internet technology pioneer committed “suicide” just over a year ago. Ilya Zhitomirskiy co-created Diaspora, the so-called ‘Facebook-killer’ technology that created a free, decentralized technology system that posed a severe threat to the data-mining monopoly of Facebook.

It has also been reported and confirmed that radio host Alex Jones was stalked by gun-toting goons while in New York to appear on CNN. They tried to force him into some sort of altercation, but he escaped by hailing a cab and fleeing the area.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

What Turned Jaron Lanier Against the Web?

The digital pioneer and visionary behind virtual reality has turned against the very culture he helped create.

I couldn’t help thinking of John Le Carré’s spy novels as I awaited my rendezvous with Jaron Lanier in a corner of the lobby of the stylish W Hotel just off Union Square in Manhattan. Le Carré’s espionage tales, such as The Spy Who Came In From the Cold, are haunted by the spectre of the mole, the defector, the double agent, who, from a position deep inside, turns against the ideology he once professed fealty to.

And so it is with Jaron Lanier and the ideology he helped create, Web 2.0 futurism, digital utopianism, which he now calls “digital Maoism,” indicting “internet intellectuals,” accusing giants like Facebook and Google of being “spy agencies.” Lanier was one of the creators of our current digital reality and now he wants to subvert the “hive mind,” as the web world’s been called, before it engulfs us all, destroys political discourse, economic stability, the dignity of personhood and leads to “social catastrophe.” Jaron Lanier is the spy who came in from the cold 2.0.

To understand what an important defector Lanier is, you have to know his dossier. As a pioneer and publicizer of virtual-reality technology (computer-simulated experiences) in the ‘80s, he became a Silicon Valley digital-guru rock star, later renowned for his giant bushel-basket-size headful of dreadlocks and Falstaffian belly, his obsession with exotic Asian musical instruments, and even a big-label recording contract for his modernist classical music. (As he later told me, he once “opened for Dylan.” )

The colorful, prodigy-like persona of Jaron Lanier—he was in his early 20s when he helped make virtual reality a reality—was born among a small circle of first-generation Silicon Valley utopians and artificial-intelligence visionaries.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Why Are We Pretending?

Why are we pretending? Pretending that elections in 2014 might change things, that elections in 2016 could too? Even now the Republicans and their talk show supporters are flailing about as if there is some future in electoral politics for them. They discuss strategy as if it mattered, not seeming to get that they have been marginalized. It is over. It is part of the plan.

The template for stealing elections in America at the national level has been set in the 2012 election. Given all the unvetted and demonstrable aberrations in this election, it has become crystal clear that the 2012 Presidential election was illegally determined and, by extension, so will every future election. Without addressing these issues the current president must be considered illegal and a usurper and every effort made to remove him from office.


There is an informative video [see below] created during WWII, directed by Frank Capra, to provide GIs with an understanding of why America was at war, why they were going to fight an enemy on foreign soil. The first episode, Prelude to War, examined, step by step the process by which each of the three Axis nations (Italy, Germany, Japan) rose to be a militaristic power, seeking world domination, each dominated by one man backed by a supporting gang. Each nation followed and ‘freely’ elected a leader. The steps taken by each of the Axis powers were almost identical to each other and remarkably similar to Obama’s tactics. Historically these tactics have been used for the 2,500 years of recorded Western history, WW II simply offers a clear, recent example.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

2013 in Science: Robot Eyes, Comets and Big Discoveries

2012 was a big year in science — but there’s going to be loads of interesting developments this year. We take a look at what we can expect from science in 2013.

The Large Hadron Collider is a 27km-long atom smasher that lies 100m below the ground on the border of Switzerland and France. It crashes proton beams into each other at three times more force than ever before.

2013 is a cliffhanger year. CERN, who run the Collider, has decided to turn it off in February for a couple of years. Just turning it off is kind of a big job, given that it’s a 27km-long circular machine buried 100m under the ground.

You should feel a bit nervous, though, if you’re one of those people who were a little concerned scientists might blow up the world with the machine.

The device is only being switched off just so it can can be super-charged. And then, in 2015, they might even be able to find out if there are other dimensions — with their own galaxies and people and news websites.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Adoptions of Foreign Children Fall 22.8% in Italy

3,106 minors from 55 countries adopted by Italian couples

(ANSA) — Rome, January 9 — The number of foreign children adopted by Italian couples fell 22.8% in 2012 compared to the previous year, the Italian government reported on Wednesday. Entry was granted for 3,106 minors from 55 countries in 2012, according to preliminary findings by the Italian government’s International Adoption Commission in collaboration with the Italian children’s rights organization Istituto degli Innocenti (Institute of the Innocents).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

‘Bloody Nora!’ Nigel Farage’s Shock at UKIP’s Europe Poll Lead Over Tories

UKIP leader turns the air blue, says David Cameron is a fool and claims he would ‘do a deal’ with Labour’s Ed Miliband

The Sunday People has just told the UKIP leader about our poll which puts him ahead of the Tories.

“F****** hell,” he splutters through a mouthful of haddock.

“Bloody Nora,” he adds after a few moments reflection.

Our pollsters ComRes found 23 per cent of voters say they will back UKIP in next year’s European elections, a point ahead of the Tories while the Lib Dems trail on eight per cent.

With 18 months to go, that puts Farage on course for capturing a third of the vote at the elections which would increase his number of MEPs from 12 to more than 30 and could make UKIP the biggest UK group in the EU.

It is a far cry from six years ago when David Cameron dismissed UKIP as “fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists” and most of the public agreed.

“Cameron is a fool,” Farage tells the Sunday People. “When he abuses us he doesn’t just abuse UKIP but most of his own voters.”

The PM needs an electoral pact with UKIP or he risks losing around 40 seats to Labour at the next General Election in 2015 as UKIP fields candidates in every seat to steal his voters.

But Farage isn’t optimistic. He says: “While that man is leader of the Conservatives I can’t see the prospect of a deal.”

Yet he could work with Education Secretary Michael Gove, or Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith were they to replace Cameron as leader.

Should he eventually pick up enough Westminster seats to join a coalition with Labour he could also do business with Ed Miliband. But he would have to promise a Europe referendum first.

And that is what Farage, 48, is trying to force David Cameron to do. The UKIP leader — who survived a plane crash on the day of the General Election in 2010 — revealed he is in talks with up to eight Tory MPs who may defect to him unless that pledge is forthcoming.

He says he will win the argument in the referendum to take Britain out of Europe. But our poll suggests voters are cooling on the idea of pulling out of the EU entirely. Just 33 per cent are now in favour of withdrawing — down four per cent on a poll 15 months ago.

Nigel Farage has become one of the most likeable politicians — though not everyone agrees.

We meet for fish and chips at the 13th-century Turf Tavern pub in Oxford, where landlord Alex Klojevic, 47 — from the former Yugoslavia — was not so pleased to see the UKIP leader.

“I don’t like that man,” he said. “He wants to throw foreigners out of this country.” Our photographer was even refused permission to take pictures until the pub’s parent company had given the go-ahead.

But Farage just shrugs and takes it in his stride. He says he will be always be himself, and happily smokes Rothmans cigarettes publicly — unlike Cameron and Nick Clegg — to show his political incorrectness, even defying a ban in his Brussels and Strasbourg offices.

The authorities threatened to fine him. “I told them they had better set up a standing order,” he jokes.

His tough line on immigration has been branded extreme, but he says it must be part of Britain’s economic recovery.

“Being part of the EU means Eastern Europeans have unlimited access to Britain. If they have skills we need that’s great. But it is wholly irresponsible to have an excess of unskilled labour when youth unemployment is 22 per cent. It means employers are happy to take on a Lithuanian rather than a Briton because it’s cheaper and easier.”

Farage’s strategy is to capture more seats in this year’s county council elections to build a firm base in local government. He will then try to consolidate in Europe next year.

He accepts the first-past-the-post voting system for General Elections is brutal to smaller parties, though Farage has no ambitions to be Prime Minister.

“There are two sorts of politician,” he adds. “Those who want to be something and those who want to do something.

“I’m the campaigning sort. And as I’m not going to win the 2015 General Election the question isn’t relevant. Even if it was, I still don’t think I would want the job.”

           — Hat tip: Steen [Return to headlines]

Flashback: ‘Something May Come Through’ Dimensional ‘Doors’ At LHC

A top boffin at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) says that the titanic machine may possibly create or discover previously unimagined scientific phenomena, or “unknown unknowns” — for instance “an extra dimension”.

“Out of this door might come something, or we might send something through it,” said Sergio Bertolucci, who is Director for Research and Scientific Computing at CERN, briefing reporters including the Reg at CERN HQ earlier this week.

The LHC, built inside a 27-km circular subterranean tunnel deep beneath the Franco-Swiss border outside Geneva, functions like a sort of orbital motorway for extremely high-speed hadrons — typically either protons or lead ions.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

France: Mystery Biker Named as Prime Suspect After He Was Seen Near Alpine Layby Where Murdered British Family Was Found

A mystery motorcyclist seen around the Alpine beauty spot where four people were blasted to death is now the prime suspect for the murders, it emerged today.

The breakthrough in the baffling case came thanks to Brett Martin, a British cyclist who discovered the bodies close to Lake Annecy, in eastern France.

The 53-year-old ex RAF serviceman has told French police that he passed a motorbike driving away from the isolated lay-by where the slaughter took place on September 5th last year.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Irish Traveller Gang Linked to Audacious Norway Art Heist

AN Irish Traveller gang has been linked to an audacious art theft from a museum in Norway last weekend.

Two thieves broke into the Museum of Decorative Arts in Bergen early last Saturday morning and escaped with a valuable haul of Chinese artifacts.

The thieves were caught on security camera, wearing head-lights and using crowbars to smash the glass cases in which the treasures were displayed.

Norwegian police suspect the same gang of Irish Travellers who have already been linked by Europol to a string of robberies, money laundering, and counterfeit goods.

Gardai expect a formal request for Irish assistance from Norwegian police to follow, according to sources.

The gang is suspected of carrying out a string of robberies from small galleries and museums in provincial cities and towns across the UK and on the Continent. There have been robberies in Belgium, France and Germany.

Europol, the international police agency, issued a statement last year claiming that the gang operated as part of a criminal network that spanned America, Europe and China. The group, known as the Rathkeale Rovers, has been linked to the illegal trade in rhino horns which can fetch up to €200,000. They are believed to have stolen horns from a natural history museum in Brussels and from a collection in a small town in western France last year.

The Criminal Assets Bureau is investigating the finances of some of the principal gang members. However, many of them are resident abroad, beyond the reach of the bureau’s asset-seizing powers.

The haul of artifacts stolen from the museum in Bergen included Chinese “objets d’art” in jade, porcelain, bronze and paper.

A director of the museum, quoted in a local newspaper, said that the thieves were professional, knew what they were after, and were most likely hired to carry out the theft to order. Some of the pieces are more than 4,000 years old.

           — Hat tip: McR [Return to headlines]

Italy: Grillo Repeats Won’t Join Forces or Stand for Premier

‘System is rotten,’ Five Star Movement leader says

(ANSA) — Rome, January 11 — Comedian-turned-politician Beppe Grillo reiterated Friday he would not join forces with anyone after next month’s general election and would not bid for the premiership.

“We won’t be part of this rotten system,” said the 61-year-old leader of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) at a rally outside the interior ministry in Rome.

Grillo has slipped from second to fourth in the election race amid claims of an autocratic leadership style.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Sports Watchdog: Soccer Federation Devise Antiracism Rules

Referees could request halt to matches due to fan intolerance

(ANSA) — Rome, January 9 — A specially designated public-order officer will be given the authority to halt soccer games in cases of racism and other forms of fan intolerance, Italy’s sports governing body said Wednesday.

It set out new rules governing how it will handle incidents such as a match last week when AC Milan soccer players walked off the field amid racist chants during an exhibition game with fourth-division club Pro Patria.

The sports governing body met Wednesday with Antonello Valentini, director of the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) and unanimously approved the new protocol.

In the future, referees will need to contact the designated public-order officer, who can then decide how to handle the incident.

Options will include suspending the match temporarily, with warnings to misbehaving fans over the public address system; or definitively suspending the game.

The Football Federation is expected to distribute information and training on the new protocol.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Monti Proposes 16-Mln-Euro Prisoner Work Program

Measure responds to prison overcrowding

(ANSA) — Rome, January 11 — Outgoing Premier Mario Monti on Friday proposed a measure allocating 16 million euros for prisoner work programs that should relieve overcrowding in Italian prisons.

“We need structural reforms to solve the issue of prison overcrowding, which has recently been condemned by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg,” Monti said in a note, pointing to the government’s December 2011 decree making house arrest an option for prisoners serving their last 18 months.

A bill on alternatives to incarceration has yet to be passed, he said. “Meanwhile, we must give prisoners some hope, because several studies show the rate of repeat offences is significantly lowered when they have been given alternative measures or been allowed to work,” the premier said.

Justice Minister Paola Severino and Economy Minister Vittorio Grilli submitted the measure, which is to be financed under the so-called Stability Law, according to the note.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Generali Takes Full Control of Gph in Eastern Europe

Insurer also to get stake in Russian Ingosstrakh in equity swap

(ANSA) — Milan, January 8 — Italy-based global insurance and financial products company Generali said Tuesday it had reached a deal to purchase the remaining stake in General PPF Holding (GPH) to take full ownership and management control of one of the largest insurers in the Central and East European market.

Generali is to buy the 49% of share capital in GPH currently held by PPF Group for just over 2.5 billion euros, the company said in a statement.

The transaction is to be made in two stages, with 25% of the shares being acquired by March 28 and the remaining 24% by the end of 2014. The deal includes a no-cash equity swap, with Generali acquiring from PPF Investments its stake in PPF Beta, which indirectly holds a 38.46% interest in the Russian insurer Ingosstrakh and PPF Group acquiring the 27.5% interest held by the Generali Group in the PPF Partners fund manager, run by PPF, and the PPF Partners 1 Fund L.P. shares held by the Generali Group.

“This transaction eliminates all uncertainty over our development strategy in Central and Eastern Europe and the resources required from the Group to put it in place,” said Generali Group CEO Mario Greco.

“Today we are one of the leading players in a high-growth area. With full control of GPH, we shall be able to take full advantage of our investment and focus on developing our core insurance business while improving competitiveness and profitability”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Berlusconi Believes His Party Will Win the Election

(AGI) Rome, Jan 12 — Silvio Berlusconi has told a ‘Studio Aperto’ broadcast that he believes his centre left People of Liberty (PDL) party is in line to win the upcoming election.

“We defied predictions in both 1994 and 2006. We were 7 points behind prior to the televised debates anchored by Bruno Vespa and Michele Santoro. It’s not an insurmountable gap. We are convinced we will win,” he said.

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

Italy: South Tyrolian Party Joins Centre Left Alliance

(AGI) Rome, Jan 12 — Italy’s Centre Left has revealed that the coalition will consist of the centre left Democratic Party (PD), the leftist Left, Ecology and Freedom Party (SEL), the Italian Socialist Party (PSI), the regionalist catch-all South Tyrolean People’s Party (SVP), the Centre Democrats (CD), the democratic Lista Crocetta and the centre left Moderati. Luigi Bersani is to spearhead the coalition. The party representatives are lodging the necessary papers with the Ministry of the Interior. The fact that the SVP is part of the coalition behind Bersani is of significance, particularly in view of the seven available senators from the Trentino Alto Adige region.

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

Italy: Party of Doctors to Run in Lazio Regional Elections

(AGI) — Rome, Jan 13 — A well-known doctor, Severino Antinori, will be a presidential candidate for the Lazio region leading the Moti Democratici (democratic movements) party composed almost entirely of doctors. Antinori, who presented his party at the interior ministry for the upcoming elections, said, “My party will be 90 percent doctors. Our slogan is ‘get politicians out of healthcare and out of the health of our citizens’. We’re aiming for a healthcare revolution.” .

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

Italy: Casini Calls Berlusconi a Clown

(AGI) Rome — Speaking about Berlusconi, Casini said: “Berlusconi is a clown and I’m his obsession” .

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

Ivan Von Birchan Was Approached by CIA to Murder Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme (Video Interview)

The CIA offered Ivan two million U.S dollars cash, in early 1986, to murder Swedens prime minister Olof Palme. With Ivan’s background in the military and as a contractor in Lybia, South Rhodesia, they thought that Ivan was the perfect man for the job.

But he said “thanks, but no thanks” and went to the Swedish secret police SÄPO (säkerhetspolisen) and told that Palme’s life was in danger. They didn’t listen or want to do anything about it, so Ivan later went to people in Palme’s cabinet to warn them. Inger Bövner was one of them. Bövner has later also confirmed that Ivan had warned her prior to the murder of the prime minister.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Sweden: Woman Raped by Five Men in Stockholm

Police are searching for five men who attacked and raped a young woman near the Sundbyberg train station in Stockholm in the early hours of Sunday morning.

The attack occurred at 4am on Sunday.

It was around minus 10 degrees Celsius outside and the woman, who is in her twenties, was walking home from the train station in Sundbyberg, a northern Stockholm suburb.

According to the police, five men attacked the woman from behind in the intersection of the Tulegatan and Fredsgatan streets.

She was then raped on the footpath.

“All five men were involved but it is not yet clear whether they all abused her sexually,” Stefan Larsson of the Stockholm police told news agency TT.

The Aftonbladet newspaper reports that the attack lasted for one hour.

When the men ran away from the rape scene, the woman managed to call a friend who in turn called the police.

The police only have vague descriptions of the men and said they are “more likely to be in their twenties than in their forties”.

“We have some leads and are working on collecting footage from surveillance cameras,” Larsson said on Sunday afternoon.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Swedes Eat 70 Tonnes of Fake Beef

Nearly 70 out of the 100 tonnes of pork fillets that were dyed and labelled as beef tenderloin have ended up in Swedes’ stomachs.

The fake beef was imported to Sweden over a two-year-period and sold in grocery stores, regional newspaper Nya Werlmands Tidningen (NWT) reports.

It was Tomas Narving of food wholesaler Svensk Cater who first discovered the scam.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: ‘Mosque Buster’ Claims He Can Stop ‘Tide of Islam’ By Giving Free Advice on How to Block Building Plans for New Places of Worship

Gavin Boby, once linked to EDL, calls for people to come to him for help

A planning lawyer and self-styled ‘mosque buster’ claims he is fighting to stop the ‘tide of Islam’ by successfully blocking plans for the building of mosques across the UK.

Gavin Boby, once linked to the far-right English Defence League, boasts he has already blocked plans for 16 out of 17 mosques being built.

Under the banner of the Law and Freedom Foundation, he calls for people to come to him for free professional legal help in opposing mosque proposals and claims that Islam encourages paedophilia, sexual abuse and pimping.

He claims to help followers resist planing applications for mosque developments by raising opposition with councils.

The 48-year-old says in a video posted online: ‘If anyone out there knows of an application for a new mosque, a cultural centre for some phoney community centre or some multi-faith inter-faith harmony institute then let me know.’

Mr Boby, from Bristol, runs a planning consultancy but also provides legal assistant for those who oppose mosque developments, according to the Sunday Times.

On the foundation website he claims to have stopped the construction of 16 out of 17 mosques in total.

These include mosques in York, Blackpool, Bolton, Ealing and one in Kirklees, West Yorkshire, which was to replace ‘the beautiful old Jolly Sailor Pub’, according to the site.

Mr Boby reportedly launched the service with a mock-up of the Ghostbusters logo — swapped for Mosquebusters — in which the ghost was replaced by hate preacher Abu Hamza.

Vacancies for volunteers were posted on the EDL website.

In the website’s ‘about section’ it explains the three threats to the survival of state authority in Britain and Europe.

The third, it reads, is : ‘Ethnic division, particularly between Islamic and non-Islamic society, and the violence at the heart of Islamic doctrine. This is the most visible problem, and the one that people will blame.

‘Political and intellectual elites are undermining law or freedom. So we need to take what action we can to preserve them ourselves.’

Mr Boby has written an online guide that show how local citizens can make a legal case against mosques.

In the guide it reads: ‘Let councils know that they’re on the hook for their decisions. Be relentless. Push.’

He also suggests opposing an Islamic centre on the grounds of ‘parking congestion’, ‘disturbance’ and ‘community relations’.

His advice is rooted in legal arguments, as he continues to suggest emphasising the proposed project will ‘cause unacceptable pollution’ from traffic and is a hazard to schoolchildren as it will ‘bring outsiders with no connection to the area’.

He appears to be driven by an apparent ideological hatred of Islam, referring in a video posted on YouTube to recent sex abuse cases, and claims mosques are ‘not like churches’ and are instead used to instruct followers to commit acts of paedophilia, sexual abuse and pimping.

He says: ‘Islamic doctrine permits, encourages and to a certain extent mandates Muslim men to take non-Muslim women as slaves to be used for sex.

‘In order to stop the Islamic doctrine, which is the root of this problem, you have to prevent further mosques from being built.’

Councils contacted by the Sunday Times said Mr Boby had not been instrumental in blocking the development of local mosques.

Mr Boby has not been available for comment.

           — Hat tip: Steen [Return to headlines]

UK: Jimmy Savile Was Part of Satanic Ring

JIMMY SAVILE beat and raped a 12-year-old girl during a secret satanic ritual in a hospital.

The perverted star wore a hooded robe and mask as he abused the terrifi ed victim in a candle-lit basement.

He also chanted “Hail Satan” in Latin as other paedophile devil worshippers joined in and assaulted the girl at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Buckinghamshire. The attack, which happened in 1975, shines a sinister new light on the former DJ’s 54-year reign of terror.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

UK: Maths Teacher Whose Wheelie Bin Protrudes Just 12 Inches Outside the Boundary of Her Home is Dragged to Court by Council for Causing a ‘Hazard’

A teacher has been summoned to court and faces a £1,000 fine because her wheelie bin juts out just 12 inches beyond the boundary of her home.

Alex Young, 47, is to appear at Stevenage Magistrates’ Court after her local council said the grey plastic bin could present a hazard to drivers and disabled people.

It said the bin could prevent grass from being cut — even though there is not a patch of green in sight around the rear of her three-bedroom home.

Ms Young was also told that the bin’s appearance could ‘negatively impact on the street scene environment’.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Parliament to Unleash Barrage of Criticism on Snoopers’ Charter

The joint parliamentary committee scrutinising the government’s Communications Data Bill — universally dubbed the “Snoopers’ Charter” — is set to slate the draft law in its official report published tomorrow.

Most of the committee members felt the Home Office had failed to make a convincing case for the scale of requested powers required to monitor British citizens’ activities online, The Register has learnt. Home Secretary Theresa May said the proposed surveillance law would “save lives” and help cops catch more paedophiles and terrorists.


The report will be another setback for the Home Secretary: in 2010 the former Director of Public Prosecutions Lord Macdonald was asked to review her plan to monitor citizens online. He previously called the project to mine the UK internet:

“A paranoid fantasy which would destroy everything that makes living worthwhile. This database would be an unimaginable hellhouse of personal private information. It would be a complete readout of every citizen’s life in the most intimate and demeaning detail.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Taxi Driver Cheated Blind Woman Out of £300 After She Asked for Help Using Her Cash Card to Pay for Fare

A callous taxi driver stole £300 from a blind woman after she asked him to help get money from a cash machine to pay the fare.

Shafak Hussain, 36, had picked Jill Holland, 52, up from Manchester Royal Infirmary and was taking her back to her home in Oldham when she asked to stop at a cashpoint.

When she asked him to key in £30 Hussain pressed £300 instead — giving Mrs Holland only the money she asked for and pocketing the rest, a court heard.

Dominic Geelan, prosecuting, said: ‘When arrested he was uncooperative and aggressive and accused the police of being racist.’

The court heard that following the offence, on August 5, Hussain had been shunned by colleagues at Motown cars who were disgusted by his actions. He has since had his licence revoked.

[Return to headlines]

UK: Widow Leaves £100,000 to Pet Charity — Then it Immediately Puts Down Her Loyal Dog Found Lying Beside Her Body

When widow Lynda Hill drew up her will, she left £100,000 to her favourite animal charity and expressed a hope that its staff would find a new home for her faithful dog, Henry.

But just hours after Mrs Hill’s body was discovered in her home, a vet from the charity recommended that the golden retriever be put down, and he was destroyed the following day.

Friends of Mrs Hill say she would have been ‘devastated’ by the actions.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

We’d be Mad to Leave Europe: David Cameron’s Covert Battle Against the ‘Madness’ of Cutting Ties With EU

David Cameron thinks it would be ‘mad’ for Britain to leave the EU and is secretly backing a move by Tory MPs to warn of the perils of cutting all our ties with Brussels.

The Prime Minister was also ‘pleased’ at US President Barack Obama sending a clear signal that the White House is opposed to the UK leaving the European Union.

The disclosures signal a key softening in tone in Mr Cameron’s rhetoric on Europe, and come a week ahead of his keynote speech on plans for an EU referendum after the next Election.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Mediterranean Union

Ports: Italy EU Leader in Maritime Med Trade

But loses ground on deep sea shipping

(ANSAmed) — NAPLES, JANUARY 7 — Italy is the leading EU country in terms of trade with the Mediterranean, but has lost ground to south-eastern ports in terms of maritime transport over the past five years, according to a biannual newsletter published jointly by Italian ports association Assoporti and the Southern Research Center (SRM), a think tank funded by Intesa Sanpaolo bank. Italy leads in the EU, posting trading volume of goods worth 57.7 billion euros with Mediterranean countries, 70.4% of them transported via sea shipping, according to the ‘Ports and Mediterranean’ newsletter. Italy is also the EU leader in Mediterranean Short Sea Shipping, moving 223.2 million tons of goods, or 39.2% of goods transported from Europe in this way. In 2011, overall volume of goods moved via short sea shipping was 570 million tons (+0.6% over the previous year), thanks in part to economic growth in southern Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries, the newsletter showed.

Italy’s sea trade totals 242 billion euros, 17% of which is exchanged with Mediterranean countries. As of August 2012, Italy’s largest sea trading volume was with Libya (8.3 billion euros, or 35% of all EU trade with that country), followed by Turkey (7.6 billion euros, or 21% of all EU trade) and Tunisia (3.5 billion euros, or 32% of all EU trade).

The newsletter data also showed there was an increase in shipping through the Suez Canal, with fewer but bigger ships bringing more volume of goods into the Mediterranean. Also in 2011, world commercial sea shipping rose by 4% to a record 8.7 billion tons, while the number of ships rose by 10%.

This pushed charter rates lower as operation costs rose and sector profits fell.

Between 2001-2011, the Italian shipowners invested 37 billion euros in fleet upgrades. The Italian commercial fleet is now the fourth largest in the EU and 14th worldwide.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

North Africa

French Aircraft Operating in Mali Granted Algeria Flyover

(AGI) — Paris, Jan 13 — The Algerian government has granted the French air force permission to fly through domestic airspace.

Algiers’ decision allows French strike aircraft — now running into day 3 of northern Mali raids — to cut strike turnaround times. The Algerian government’s concession was announced on Sunday by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.

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

Middle East

Saudi Criticises World Reaction to Maid’s Beheading

AFP — Saudi Arabia on Sunday criticised world reaction to its beheading a Sri Lankan maid convicted of killing her employer’s baby, the official SPA news agency reported.

Riyadh “deplores the statements made… over the execution of a Sri Lankan maid who had plotted and killed an infant by suffocating him to death, one week after she arrived in the kingdom,” the government spokesman said.

Rizana Nafeek was beheaded on Wednesday in a case that sparked widespread international condemnation, including from rights groups which said she was just 17 when she was charged with murdering the baby in 2005.

Nafeek was found guilty of smothering the infant after an argument with the child’s mother.

The case soured diplomatic relations with Sri Lanka which on Thursday recalled its ambassador to Saudi Arabia in protest.

The government spokesman condemned what he called “wrong information on the case,” and denied that the maid was a minor when she committed the crime.

“As per her passport, she was 21 years old when she committed the crime,” he said, adding that “the kingdom does not allow minors to be brought as workers.”

He said the authorities had tried hard to convince the baby’s family to accept “blood money,” but they rejected any amnesty and insisted that the maid be executed.

Saudi Arabia “respects… all rules and laws and protects the rights of its people and residents, and completely rejects any intervention in its affairs and judicial verdicts, whatever the excuse,” the spokesman said.

The UN’s human rights body on Friday expressed “deep dismay” at the beheading, and the European Union said it had asked the Saudi authorities to commute the death penalty.

Human Rights Watch said Nafeek had retracted “a confession” that she said was made under duress. She said the baby accidentally choked to death while drinking from a bottle.

Rape, murder, apostasy, armed robbery and drug trafficking are all punishable by death under Saudi Arabia’s strict version of sharia, or Islamic law.

Last year the ultra-conservative Muslim kingdom beheaded 76 people, according to an AFP tally based on official figures, while HRW put the number at 69.

So far this year, three people have been executed.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Syria: Lavrov Believes Removing Assad From Power is “Impossible”

(AGI) Moscow, Jan 13 — Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said he believes removing Bashar Assad from power will prove “impossible” thereby rejecting the West’s plans for a transition government..”This precondition was not included in the Geneva agreements,” said Lavrov, “and it is impossible to implement since it does not depend on anyone.” .

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

South Asia

Indonesia: Further Implementation of Sharia in Aceh to Cause Greater Social Tensions

Many fear a split between fundamentalist and moderate Muslims. Political expediency and poor governance are the driving force behind the province’s islamisation. Critics slam the province’s morality police for its crackdown on deviant behaviour. In 2012, 50 cases of Sharia-related violence were recorded.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) — Increasingly, Sharia will be enforced ever more forcefully in Aceh province, the only jurisdiction in Indonesia (the world’s most populous Muslim nation) where Islamic law is in place, this according to experts and representatives of civil society groups, informed by recent reports by independent bodies and statements by the province’s new governor Zaini Abdullah, who is more inflexible than his predecessor Irwandy Jusuf,

After spending many years in exile in Sweden, Abdullah made the introduction of Sharia a key element in his election campaign. The imposition of Islamic law was also one of the main demands made by the separatist movement to end its war with the central government.

Some of the measures of Islamisation of the province include a ban on women straddling two-wheeled vehicles in the District of Lhokseumawe and a dress code that bars women from wearing jeans and miniskirts.

Some experts warn that this trend might lead to a divided society with a widening gap between moderate Muslims and fundamentalist groups, backed by local administrators interested in “power games”. In fact, many moral and related controversies are only attempts to cover up incompetence and poor governance and distract public opinion from the real economic and social problems.

Speaking to AsiaNews, anthropologist Teuku Kemal Fasya, who teaches at the Malikussaleh University in Lhokseumawe, said that enforcing Sharia is fraught with dangers and could lead to further violence.

For the scholar, who is involved in inter-faith dialogue, a disparity is emerging between the way Islamic law is being enforced and the importance people give to it in everyday life.

Many Acehnese object to the way ‘cultural identity’ is being manipulated and turned into a ‘political icon’. This could lead to abuses in the future.

“People are happy to see women wear the veil (jilbad) in public, but they resent the morality police’s heavy handedness,” he explained.

There is also some exasperation with the way the rules are unfairly imposed in matters of morality and behaviour, especially when the women involved are poor and living on the margins of society. Too often, suspected offenders are subjected to corporal punishment “without a trial or legal representation”.

Students at Qur’anic schools and middle class people without adequate religious training are the most favourable to a total application of Sharia.

In addition to the physical violence, verbal abuse and threats of violence are up. Attacks against people who oppose Aceh’s cultural traits are also rising, Prof Teuku said.

Destika Gilang Lestari, a provincial coordinator with the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), agrees. In 2012, she said, there were 50 Sharia-related cases of violence, up from 47 in 2011.

On moral issues, tolerance of violence remains strong in Aceh. “There were 16 cases in which people accused of unlawful sexual relations were assaulted,” she noted, mostly by “mobs of local residents who had reportedly caught the couples engaged in sex acts,” which under Sharia “are unlawful”.

Members of the Wilayatul Hisbah are among the worst perpetrators of violence. When it comes to women riding motorcycles, these self-styled guardians of Islamic law show no mercy.

Kontras recorded 23 cases of violence related to illegal sex acts, 11 cases during Wilayatul Hisbah raids and six cases of caning of Sharia offenders.

“What is certain,” Destika Gilang Lestari said, “is that the acts of violence related to Sharia will increase.”

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

Road-Side Bomb Kills 14 Pakistan Soldiers on Afghan Border

(AGI) — Miranshah, Jan 13 — Taliban guerrillas killed 14 Pakistani soldiers and injured 25 others when a road-side bomb hit a military convoy at Dosali, in North Waziristan on the Afghan border, army sources report. The wounded soldiers were in the following vehicle. The area is considered a Taliban stronghold.

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

Far East

Record Eur 1.34 Mln Paid for 224kg Bluefin Tuna in Japan

(AGI) — Tokyo, Jan 5 — The record sum of 155.4 million yen (1.34 MLN euros) has been paid for a 224 kilo specimen of the increasingly rare bluefin tuna. The sum is three times the previous record, set by the same legendary Tokyo fish market, Tsukiji. The Japanese, lovers of raw fish for sushi, take 80 percent of the global bluefin tuna catch every year, the population of which dropped 60 percent between 1997 and 2007.

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

Australia — Pacific

Racial Hatred Bill Offers Open Slather to Obnoxious

by Paul Sheehan

‘Vermin n.1.noxious, troublesome, or objectionable animals collectively, especially troublesome or disgusting insects …3. obnoxious persons collectively.’

Several years ago I wrote a book about vermin, the kind defined by the third meaning in the Macquarie Concise Dictionary. Researching the book required me to sit in courts for months and go out and interview dozens of people. The heroine of the book was a teenager named Tegan Wagner who had been gang-raped by a group of young Muslim men. She came from the Shire and as her case was nearing an end, and I was nearing completion of Girls Like You, the notorious Cronulla riot took place.

It was December 11, 2005. Wagner was there. “When I heard about it, I wanted to go,” she told me at the time.

“I’m a Shire girl. I’ve been going to Cronulla for years. I’d seen first-hand how people get treated, not by the local Lebanese, but by the Lebanese Muslims that come in from places like Bankstown and Riverwood. They treat our beaches like a sleazy nightclub. They treat young women like garbage. And as soon as you say anything, they are on their mobile phones, to 50 of their closest friends, and their mates come down and outnumber people. If it’s guys, they will beat them up. If it’s girls, they will terrorise them.”

Advertisement After the riot, and the following violent rampage by Muslim men in convoys of cars, I interviewed dozens of people from the Shire and they all gave me variations of what a teacher at Cronulla High School told me: “It’s so disturbing that the images [of the riot] distributed around Australia and the world never mentioned the beatings, the provocations, the filth. They were not even discussed.

“Every girl I know has either been harassed or knows someone who’s been harassed. It’s not just young girls. I’ve been followed on numerous occasions. It’s just constant harassment. The word ‘slut’ gets used all the time.”

None of this was aired at the time. The media’s story had one theme, the Shire’s white racism. A deafening silence about the real cause of the tension came from the feminists, much the same people now so indignant about white male misogyny.

Seven years later, nothing has changed. Now Fairfax Media is supporting the complaint by the NSW Premier, Barry O’Farrell, that nobody is being jailed for hate speech, which means the anti-discrimination laws should be toughened. The prime example used by Fairfax Media in its coverage was Alan Jones.

In the week before the Cronulla riot, Jones described the young Muslim men who for years had been sexually harassing women on the beach as “vermin” and “mongrels” who “rape and pillage”. That was the context of his comments, a context which dropped away entirely as a prosecution for hate speech by the Administrative Decisions Tribunal dragged on for seven years. No mention was made in Sunday’s news reports of the far more sinister and contemporaneous example of public hate speech on September 15 last year…

           — Hat tip: DS [Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Britain to Send Troops and Two Planes to Mali to Assist French Operation Against Islamist Rebels

Britain will assist France in its attempt to stop the advancement of al-Qaeda rebels in Mali, it has been revealed.

The UK will transport troops and specialist equipment to the West African country after France launched an operation in conjunction with the Malian Government to halt Islamic extremists.

Assistance was agreed in a phone call between David Cameron and French President Francois Hollande.

The Prime Minister earlier expressed his ‘deep concern’ about the advancement of rebels in the country.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Mali Islamists Stronger Than Believed, Says France

(AGI) Paris — The French government says the Islamic militants in Mali are better equipped and trained than previously supposed.

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

Nigerian Army Claims Capture of Boko Haram Commander

(AGI) Kano, Jan 13 — The Nigerian armed forces claim to have captured Mohammed Zangini, one of the leaders of Boko Haram.

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

South Africa Leads World in Rape Cases

JOHANNESBURG — South Africa is often called the “rape capital of the world,” and it is estimated that more than 70 percent of women have experienced sexual abuse. On Tuesday, five men attacked and gang-raped a young woman in the capital, Pretoria. In the shadow of a similar attack in India that mobilized millions to protest, activists in Johannesburg say they do not understand why more South Africans are not outraged.

Police say the young woman was waiting overnight Tuesday in line to register at the Tshwane University of Technology.

Five men dragged her into the bushes, raped her and stole her phone and money. Police say no suspect has been been arrested.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]


Italy: Nìguri: Stories of Asylum Seekers in Migrants’ Centre

(ANSAmed) — ROME, JANUARY — Between the African coasts, orange-picking in Rosarno and organised crime, there is S. Anna, a town with a few hundred inhabitants in the Crotone province.

It is here that Italy’s largest centre for asylum seekers is located, and it is also the birthplace of Antonio Martino, the director of “Nìguri”, a documentary on the conflict between migrants and residents which was screened today in Rome as part of the Doc Africa-Italia film festival. “Three years ago,” Martino told ANSAmed, “I wanted to make a film in Libya on immigration. In the end, though, I changed my mind: daily phone calls from my mother telling me about the explosive situation in S. Anna convinced me to film there instead.” The centre for migrants has a total of 1,500 places available, most of which are reserved for asylum seekers waiting to go before a commission which will decide whether or not they have the right to be considered refugees.

“Until 2007,” Martino said, “the camp was closed, a sort of lager. The problems began when the migrants were allowed to spend the days outside. S. Anna’s inhabitants suddenly, unexpectedly, came face to face with globalisation, through the faces of these people. They were in no way prepared or assisted in the discovery of this different reality. Until two years ago there wasn’t even internet in S. Anna.” The emergency situation has two sides to it. One is the unease felt by the residents, while the other is the vulnerability of the migrants, especially women (but not only).

“In the streets of S. Anna, where sex has always been a taboo, you can easily run into half-naked Nigerians who sell their bodies. This is a violation of behavioral codes that the town’s citizens are not comfortable with at all.” What’s more, “an asylum seeker who does not meet the commission’s requirements becomes an unskilled worker for organised crime groups or ends up picking oranges in Rosarno or tomatoes in Puglia.” This is another source of friction with the local population. “Immigrants lower labour costs drastically. And Italian workers end up having to adapt to the new standards as well. In Calabria it doesn’t take much to recruit agricultural workers illegally for very low wages…”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

Four Gay Rights Activists Go Topless During Pope’s Angelus

(AGI) Vatican City, Jan 13 — Four Ukrainian activists went topless during the Pope’s Angelus to raise awareness for gay rights.

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

Italy Reacts to Supreme Court Ruling on Gay Parental Custody

‘Courts don’t know what’s best for child’ say Catholic bishops

(ANSA) — Rome, January 11 — Italy’s supreme Court of Cassation ruled on Friday that there is no reason why gay people cannot have custody of children, eliciting reactions from across the political spectrum.

“This is a historic ruling, giving the future government a formidable assist to finally legislate in favor of same-sex marriage and full equality for all families,” said Italian gay and lesbian association Arcigay President Flavio Romani. “The Cassation Court today reaffirmed what we’ve been saying for a long time. Love is what makes children grow, and not the sexual orientation of their parents”.

Former Veneto governor and minister Giancarlo Galan, who is from ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Freedom (PdL) party, hailed the ruling as “a significant step forward for civil rights in our country. I hope political rhetoric will not take a step back. The duty of a secular state is to listen to its citizens and no one else”.

Democratic Party (PD) Senator Ignazio Marino concurred. “We should stop looking at such important matters as civil rights through a 19th-century lens,” he said. “I believe people who love one another should have the same rights, no matter their sexual orientation. The ability to raise a child is not the exclusive prerogative of heterosexual couples. This has been scientifically confirmed”.

Members of the Catholic Church did not support the ruling. “You can’t build a civilization through court rulings,” Father Domenico Sigalini, a member of the influential Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI), told ANSA. “If most people have the sense to object to adoptions by gay couples, it’s because they know intuitively that the child will have difficulties in a family made up of two parents who are both women or both men. It is not up to a court of law to say what the best situation is for a child”. “Clearly the magistrates are anticipating the next Bersani government’s agenda,” commented Northern League MP Massimo Polledri, an avowed Catholic, adding that while there is no scientific evidence that gay parents make good parents, “nature and 200 years of psychoanalysis tell us that the correct upbringing of the individual happens by having different-gendered parents”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]