A couple of our tipsters returned from vacation today, so we have a lot of tips. The list below is only a sample. See the full post for everything.
- Swedish Poll: Government Falls Further Behind
- Why Did Israel Do It?
- Afghanistan: Taliban Release Photos of Beheaded ‘Prostitutes’ On Internet
- Islam: Muslims ‘Islamize and Arabize’ the IPhone
- France: Boom of Islamic Fast Foods in Parisian Outskirts
- France: Vandalism On Eve of July 14 Celebrations
- Scholar Steps Down After Comparing Turks to Jews
- Imam Warns Minaret Ban Will Fuel Extremism
- Burqa is Like a Prison: French-Muslim Minister
- MPs Warn of ‘Disturbances’ Over Migrants
- The Cost of Europe
The Alliance government has fallen further behind the three-party opposition, a new voter survey shows.
The right-wing Sweden Democrats increased strongly and polled 4 percent, sufficient to claims seats in the parliament at a general election.
The Social Democrats, Left party and Green party gained a total of 51.7 percent while the four-party Alliance government dropped 2.8 percentage points to 42.9 percent in a new voter survey by Skop.
Fredrik Reinfeldt’s Moderate party fell 3.2 points to 23 percent in comparison with Skop’s May poll. Mona Sahlin’s Social Democrats gained 2.1 points to 38.9 percent.
The Liberal party (Folkpartiet) remained unchanged at 7.5 percent, as did the Green party at 7.2 percent. The Centre party gained 0.4 points to 6.9 percent, the Left party dropped 1.2 points to 5.6 percent and the Christian Democrats remained unchanged at 5.5 percent.
Why did Israel do it?
As most of you will undoubtedly have heard by the time you read this post, Israel received two black coffins on Wednesday morning that likely (and at this writing it’s not yet confirmed) contain the bodies of Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev HY”D (may God avenge their blood). Israel Radio has just reported that there are celebrations and candy distribution in the Gaza Strip — which pales by comparison to what will happen in Beirut later Wednesday. Hamas released a statement Wednesday morning that said that Hezbullah has proven that Israel will release ‘prisoners’ with blood on their hands, and that Hezbullah and Hamas have succeeded in bringing Israel to its knees.
Many of you have asked how Israel could be going ahead with this ‘trade.’
Haaretz pundit Shmuel Rosner, who is definitely on the left of the political map, thinks he knows why this happened. He argues that the ‘trade’ is the result of Israel’s ‘national psyche.’
“For better or for worse, this is mostly a product of the Israeli psyche. Its force was too strong for Olmert, the struggling, soon-to-be-ousted, leader to resist—but it was also stronger than popular, commanding Ariel Sharon. Sharon once agreed to an outrageous deal in which an Israeli colonel, who also happened to be a drug dealer, returned home in exchange for the release of 450 Lebanese prisoners…”
King Abdullah: Dialogue will remove mistrust
JEDDAH: Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah yesterday hoped that the interfaith dialogue would help remove mistrust and suspicions from the minds of believers of different religions and boost world peace and unity. “A dialogue which emphasizes what we hold in common as human beings… will make us realize that values and principles uniting us are more than those dividing us,” he told Italy’s La Repubblica daily on the eve of the World Conference on Dialogue in Madrid.
Mu’ammar Al-Qadhafi: Libyans Cannot Form a Union with Europeans Who Walk around Naked
(Video in Arabic, subtitled in English)
Italy: UN criticism of Gypsy fingerprinting plan rattles Foreign Ministry
Italy’s Foreign Ministry has reacted angrily to comments on Tuesday by three independent United Nations human rights experts criticising the Italian government’s fingerprinting of Roma Gypsies and planned measures against migrants in Italy.
Afghanistan: Taliban release photos of beheaded ‘prostitutes’ on Internet
Kabul, 15 July (AKI) — The Taliban are believed to have released photos of two beheaded Afghan women on al-Qaeda-linked websites on the Internet on Tuesday.
The women were allegedly decapitated two days ago in the Afghan province of Ghazni after the Taliban had accused them of being prostitutes whose clients included American soldiers and foreign contractors present in Afghanistan.
Italy: Former leader renews attack on Palestinian militant group
A war of words has broken out between former Italian President and Life Senator Francesco Cossiga and one of the largest Palestinian militant political groups.
Senator Cossiga provoked a controversial debate a week ago when he accused the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine of masterminding the 1980 bombing of the Bologna railway station, known as the Bologna massacre.
The PFLP immediately rejected the claim, but a spokesman for Cossiga launched a fresh attack on the group on Monday on behalf of the senator who was also Italy’s prime minister from 1979 to 1980.
“I will not respond to a gang of terrorists. They are not combatants, but vulgar killers and assassins of children, old people, women and the disabled,” the spokesman said in a statement.
Islam: Muslims ‘Islamize and Arabize’ the iPhone
Apple’s new iPhone 3G is ready for the Muslim and Arabic speaking world even though it isn’t available in those countries yet.
A US-based website in Arabic and English has already developed Islamic-themed software for the new iPhone.
This includes providing Muslim prayer timings as well as the iQuran [software that allows you to read the Koran or the Muslim holy book on the iPhone], as well as the iMoon, which will provide the approximate moon phases for any given date — information that can be useful during Ramadan or the Muslim fasting month.
ISLAM: SPAIN, MUSLIMS, RAILWAY ARM-WRESTLE ON MENUS
(By Paola Del Vecchio) (ANSAmed) — MADRID, JULY 15 — The Islamic communities in Spain accused state owned railway RENFE of discriminating Muslims in the catering services offered onboard the high speed and long distance trains. They have demanded that the railway “withdraws immediately the so called menus for Muslims”, calling them “misleading”, and have threatened to turn to the court. The protest is led by the consumers and users association Vida Halal, the Institute of the Islamic Junta in Spain, the Federation of Muslims in Spain and the Halal Institute, based in Cordoba, which deals with the certification of Halal products, conforming to the Islamic law Sharia in accordance with international standards.
Outlawed couples returning
Married couples who have been forced to live abroad after being given the run around by Immigration Services are returning after news of a loophole in Danish law
Recent news of a loophole in the immigration laws has given new hope to Danish citizens with spouses from outside the European Union, who will now return to the country to challenge their residency statuses, according to Politiken newspaper.
Help organisation Marriage Without Borders has indicated that more than 2000 couples currently living Sweden due to the strict Danish immigration laws are preparing to return to Denmark, after several media reported that the 24-year rule instituted in 2002 goes against EU law.
Sweden’s welfare programmes hinder Iraqi integration
By emphasizing welfare programmes over work and entrepreneurship, Sweden makes it harder for Iraqi immigrants to achieve success in their new country, argues Nima Sanandaji of the Captus think tank.
FRANCE: BOOM OF ISLAMIC FAST FOODS IN PARISIAN OUTSKIRTS
(ANSAmed) — PARIS, JULY 16 — In Saint-Denis or in Clichy-sous-Bois the ‘‘Bacon d’hal’’ and the ‘‘Double chicken d’hal’’ deposed the ‘‘Big Mac’’. In the outskirts of Paris, the easiest to be inflamed, the Islamic fast foods are created within the blocks of flats and the court. And the boom is in these suburbs of northern and eastern Paris, where there are many Muslims and the ever-present McDonald’s offers them at most the Filet-O-Fish. Different types of hamburger, nugget, French fries and ice-crime could be ordered there, but in these fast foods only apparently similar to McDonald’s the difference is that behind the bar the girls are allowed to wear the Islamic headscarf and the meat is strictly halal, or prepared according to a religious rite.
MIDEAST: BLAIR’S VISIT TO GAZA PUT OFF
(By Safwat al-Kahlout and Aldo Baquis) (ANSAmed) — GAZA/TEL AVIV, JULY 15 — There was “a specific and concrete threat” of being killed if he entered Gaza. That is why today the envoy of the Mideast Quartet (and former British Prime Minister) Tony Blair decided not to enter Gaza from Israel at the last minute, when the Erez crossing was already visible, and returned to his office in Jerusalem. The visit was only put off, not cancelled, Blair said.
FRANCE: VANDALISM ON EVE OF JULY 14 CELEBRATIONS
(ANSAmed) — PARIS, JULY 14 — As many as 297 vehicles set on fire, a high school in Val d’Oise (north of Paris) destroyed by ‘arson’, tens of acts of vandalism and 121 people arrested by the police: this is the toll for last night, the eve of the national holiday of July 14, compiled by the French Interior Ministry. The most serious damages — nowadays the riots during the night of July 14 are a kind of tradition — were registered in the Paris region of Ile-de-France: the cars set on fire were 211 and the people arrested by the police 102. For 72 of them the arrest was confirmed. Last year a similar bulletin mentioned 266 vehicles on fire and 100 people arrested. (ANSAmed).
Being a woman, journalist, and Christian in a Baghdad returning to life
by Layla Yousif Rahema
Under pressure from Islamic fundamentalists trying to force them to convert, with the additional risks of the journalistic profession, in exile from one country to another: the Calvary of two Iraqi women from the fall of Saddam to the present.
Scholar Steps Down after Comparing Turks to Jews
A leading expert on Turkish-German relations, Faruk Sen, has resigned from his post at an institute he helped create. His misstep was comparing the status of Turkish immigrants in Europe to the plight of the Jews before the Holocaust.
Faruk Sen, Germany’s leading expert on Turkish life in Europe, has resigned from the Essen Center for Turkish Studies in the wake of controversy over an article arguing that Turks were “Europe’s new Jews.”
Sen, 60, was suspended by the Center’s board after his remarks were reported by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in June. He responded with threats of a lawsuit, and the current arrangement — a resignation effective at the end of 2008 — appears to be a compromise.
Through the end of his contract he’s free to work in the Turkish city of Izmir, where he will help found a German-Turkish university.
Imam warns minaret ban will fuel extremism
A Muslim leader in Zurich says the proposed ban on the construction of minarets will have a negative impact on Muslims and on Switzerland. Imam Sakib Halilovic tells swissinfo that the supporters of the initiative are playing with fire and the move could endanger cherished Swiss values, the image of the country and integration efforts.
Burqa is like a prison: French-Muslim minister
Women who wear burqas live in a prison, a French minister said in an interview Wednesday, after a Moroccan woman who wears the head-to-toe Islamic veil was denied French citizenship.
“The burqa is a prison, it’s a straightjacket,” urban affairs minister Fadela Amara, herself a practicing Muslim who was born in France to Algerian parents, said in an interview to Le Parisien newspaper.
“It is not a religious insignia but the insignia of a totalitarian political project that advocates inequality between the sexes and which is totally devoid of democracy.”
SPAIN: SIT-IN IN FRONT OF SAUDI CONSULATE OVER MOSQUE DEBT
(ANSAmed) — MADRID, JULY 16 — The employees of some 15 companies which have funded the mosque built two years ago by Saudi Arabia in Malaga staged a sit-in today in front of the Saudi Arabian Consulate in Andalusia’s city in order to claim the payment of the due arrears.
MPs warn of ‘disturbances’ over migrants
Community tensions over immigration levels could escalate into disturbances without urgent Government action, say MPs. They protested that schools, hospital, police and social services in some areas had not been given enough money to cope with the rapid influx. The pace of change had also produced resentment in some parts of England — particularly those that were less prosperous and had little previous experience of immigration. The Commons Communities and Local Government Select Committee said different ethnic groups integrated well in many districts. But it also pointed to research that showed migration had overtaken crime and terrorism as the public’s biggest worry. It said: “The Government needs to take immediate action to address public concerns about migration and to defuse tensions before they lead to disturbances.” The MPs called for more English lessons to be provided for newcomers, ensuring employers picked up the bills. They also backed a review into the impact of migration on housing. They said flawed population data meant town halls did not receive enough money to cope, suggesting that a contingency fund be set up to help. “The Government needs to ensure that local organisations, particularly local authorities, are adequately resourced,” it concluded.
The Cost of Europe
A citizens’ organization called Contribuables Associés (associated tax-payers) is active in promoting awareness of where the money collected by the French government from its tax-burdened citizens actually goes. Here is part of their statement:
In France politicians do not listen to taxpayers who find that their taxes are excessive and that they are not put to good use.
And it is precisely so that the voice of the taxpayer may be heard and that taxpayers may become stronger against the government that Contribuables Associés was created in 1990. For the government will not defend the taxpayers unless they are organized to put pressure on elected officials.