Gates of Vienna News Feed 10/7/2008

The news feed is being published early tonight because both Dymphna and I are leaving and will be out until very late. Tomorrow night we’ll return to the normal schedule.

USA
Congress Opens Hearings on Financial Meltdown
Jihad Still Threatens United States
Olice Detonate Suspicious Backpack at Mosque
Prophet Bride Novel Published in US
 
Europe and the EU
Banks: Invest in Property in Spain to Avoid Arrearage
Denmark: Gang Leader Calls for Retribution
Denmark Calls for Fight for Freedoms After Cartoons Row
French Authorities Punish Police Officer
No Racism Emergency Says Maroni
 
Balkans
Chinese Muslims Ordered Released From Guantanamo Bay
 
North Africa
Algeria: Ramadan; 6 Guilty of Lack of Respect for Precepts
Egypt: the Dilemma of Being Christian
Oil: Libya Calls on OPEC and Others for Cut in Production
 
Middle East
Britons Accused Over Roadside Bomb Network
Energy: Turkey Fulfils Nuclear Dream, Tender for Plant
Iran Nuclear: Tehran ‘No Longer Trusts’ Europe
Iran: Kurdish Feminist Arrested
Lebanon-Syria: Assad,Increased Border Troops in Line With UN
Mosul, Another “Targeted Murder” Against the Christian Community
Nuclear: East-West Channel Being Planned for UAE Oil Exports
U.S. Says Business Jet Forced Down in Iran
US Military: Mastermind of Baghdad Bombings Killed
 
Russia
Russia to Grant € 4-Bn Loan to Help Iceland Fend Off Financial Crisis
 
South Asia
India: Death Toll Rises in Hindu-Muslim Violence
Pakistan: Afghan Refugees to be Deported From Tribal Region
 
Far East
Beijing, After Milk, Melamine in Soy Milk, Too
Beijing Says Milk is Safe Now, But Contaminated Products Are Still in Stores
 
Australia — Pacific
Customs Takes 14 Illegal Immigrants to Christmas Island
 
Sub-Saharan Africa
Jerome Corsi, Anti-Obama Author, Detained in Kenya
Navy Calls on Industry to Tackle Piracy
 
Immigration
Italy: Over 120 Illegal Immigrants Rescued Off Southern Island
Italy Must Face Legal Action for Anti-Gypsy Measures, Says Soros
Italy Fingers Libya on Immigration
 
Culture Wars
Homosexuals Should Carry Warning Tattoos, Says Chaplain
Teachers Who Have Consensual Sex With Pupils Should Not Face Prosecution, Says Union
 
General
Defending Aisha
Synod: Oullet, Muslims Our Allies in Defence of Human Life
West’s Appetite for Attacking Islam Knows No Bounds

Thanks to AV, Barry Rubin, C. Cantoni, Fjordman, Holger Danske, Insubria, JD, Nilk, no2liberals, TB, and all the other tipsters who sent these in. Details are below the fold.
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USA


Congress Opens Hearings on Financial Meltdown

WASHINGTON — Days from becoming the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history, Lehman Brothers steered millions to departing executives even while pleading for a federal rescue, Congress was told Monday.

As well, executives who feared for their bonuses in the company’s last months were told not to worry, according to documents cited at a congressional hearing. One executive said he was embarrassed when employees suggested that Lehman executives forgo bonuses, and cracked: “I’m not sure what’s in the water.”

The first hearing into what caused the nation’s financial markets to collapse last month, precipitating a $700 billion bailout, opened with finger-pointing and glimpses into internal company documents from Lehman’s chaotic last hours.

Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said the giant investment bank was “a company in which there was no accountability for failure.” Lehman’s collapse set off a panic that within days had President Bush and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson asking Congress to pass the rescue plan for the financial sector.

Richard S. Fuld Jr., chief executive officer of Lehman Brothers, declared to the committee “I take full responsibility for the decisions that I made and for the actions that I took.” He defended his actions as “prudent and appropriate” based on information he had at the time…

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



Jihad Still Threatens United States

The United States continues to remain vulnerable to Islamic radicals and their jihad (holy war) fueled by religious hatred. The world is faced with a global Armageddon like occurred with Nazism in the 1930s. Just as Hitler wrote of world conquest in his book “Mein Kampf,” Islamic radicals write of their struggle for world conquest in jihad writings.

Suicidal actions of Islamic radicals are based upon assumptions that beautiful virgins await them in heaven. These thoughts are promoted in the Muslim Quran and falsely based upon Mohammedan’s studies of the ancient mythologies of Mesopotamian Zoroastrianism. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that the majority of peaceful Muslims will publicly reject these writings.

Like the period preceding World War II, and Nazi rise to power, the rest of the world citizenry and their governments remain aloof, naive and apparently ignorant of the obsessive threats and refuse to recognize the worldwide danger. During the past few years, terrorists’ attacks worldwide have killed and seriously injured hundreds of thousands around the world and have cost the United States, England, France, Spain, Germany, Russia, Africa, and scores of other countries, billions of dollars in damages and lost economic production. These attacks are not isolated but are part of a worldwide war. Free world governments, particularly those of the U.S. Congress, England, and Canada appear impotent and incompetent to address the problem in a timely and aggressive manner.

Just as Hitler took over youth movements, radical Islamic terrorists have taken over Islamic youth organizations around the world are programming Muslim youths under their control to “kill all who do not agree with our teachings in Allah’s name.”…

           — Hat tip: Holger Danske [Return to headlines]



Olice Detonate Suspicious Backpack at Mosque

Austin police detonated a backpack Sunday afternoon after a man left it at the North Austin Muslim Community Center and claimed it contained explosives.

About 2 p.m., Azzam Baytie, 46, broke into the center, at 11900 N. Lamar Blvd., where several volunteers were cleaning up after Saturday’s Eid al-Fitr carnival marking the end of Ramadan, said Majad Ahmad, vice president of the center’s executive committee.

Baytie, a former resident at the mosque who had been issued a criminal trespass warning in the past, started shouting and became violent, Ahmad said.

When he was asked to leave, Ahmad said Baytie refused, dropped a backpack on the ground and held up a copy of the Quran and what he said was a remote that could detonate bombs inside the backpack.

Police arrived soon after and took Baytie into custody without a struggle, Austin police Detective James Mason said.

Mason said Baytie later told police that the backpack contained a laptop computer, but the bomb squad was called out to the scene as a precaution. The squad detonated the backpack safely after police shut down Lamar Boulevard for several blocks north of Braker Lane. Mason said it was unclear whether the backpack contained explosives.

“I’m hoping it was a fake,” Ahmad said.

Baytie was charged with criminal trespass and making a terroristic threat, according to Travis County Jail records. His bail has not been set yet. Mason said Baytie is Lebanese, but his citizenship status was not known Sunday.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



Police: Can of Pepper Spray Was Found Inside Mosque

DAYTON — The can of pepper spray found four days after someone sprayed a 10-year-old girl in the face at a local mosque was discovered inside the mosque, a Dayton police lieutenant said.

The girl said she was sprayed about 9:40 p.m. Sept. 26 through an open basement window of the Islamic Society of Greater Dayton, Lt. John Huber said.

The girl told police one of two men outside the basement window sprayed her with something from a white can with a red top as she watched children whose parents and relatives had gathered at the mosque to celebrate Ramadan.

A can of pepper spray was found Sept. 30 in another room in the basement inside a red and white-striped bag, Huber said. He said it was initially reported to him that the can was found near the mosque, but he later learned it was inside the mosque.

Police have interviewed a 10-year-old boy about the incident. The boy and his family are members of the mosque. Police are not ruling out that someone inside the mosque sprayed the girl, Huber said.

Chief Richard Biehl has said there is no evidence the girl was the victim of a hate crime.

           — Hat tip: Holger Danske [Return to headlines]



Prophet Bride Novel Published in US

The US publication of a controversial book about the child bride of the Prophet Mohammed has been brought forward after its British publisher’s office was bombed.

Beaufort Books went ahead and released The Jewel of Medina by Sherry Jones on Monday, nine days ahead of schedule.

The novel has been described by an American academic as an “anti-Islamic polemic”.

It tells a fictionalised account of the experiences of Aisha, one of the Prophet’s brides. The marketing material reads: “Married at nine to the much-older Mohammed, Aisha uses her wits, her courage, and her sword to defend her first-wife status even as Mohammed marries again and again, taking 12 wives and concubines in all.”

Last month the London office of Gibson Square Books director Martin Rynja was firebombed. It was planning to publish the book in the UK later this month.

Now Beaufort Books, which has also published OJ Simpson’s hypothetical confessional ‘If I Did It’ about the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown, has gone ahead with publication.

Eric Kampman, the publisher’s president, said he felt it was “better for everybody … to let the conversation switch from a conversation about terrorists and fearful publishers to a conversation about the merits of the book itself.”…

           — Hat tip: Holger Danske [Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU


Banks: Invest in Property in Spain to Avoid Arrearage

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, OCTOBER 6 — The drift of construction companies in Spain has forced banks to invest in the property sector again, to inject cash in the sector, write off debts, that way keeping arrearage from getting our of control. Facing the debt of the property sector, more than 313 billion euros, some institutes, like Banca Sabadell or La Caixa , reactivate their property branches, others, like Banesto, create companies together with a property promoter and the majority, like Santander or Banco Popular, acquire real estate. The biggest capital injection, according to El Pais today, came from Banca Santander, which in the first half year used 1.2 billion euros to buy property. According to sources of the bank it is a strategy against arrearage: before a company approaches bankruptcy, the bank prefers to acquire its assets helping out the property company. A limited risk since, in the case of Santander, ‘‘credits to property promoters make up less than 7pct on of balance sheet’’. But it is not the same for all credit institutes. The director property management of Ahorro Corporacion, Josep Prats, estimates that the volume of property loans makes up between 15 and 20pct of total loans. According to Prats, ‘‘there are around 1.5-2 million unsold houses, half of which owned by investors, the other half by promoters. A supply that is difficult to absorb’’. Banca Santander recently acquired a building in the centre of Barcelona from Fbex for 30 million euros, on the point of negotiating a refinancing of 600 million of its debt of 15 billion. Assets of Fbex have also been acquired by Caixa Catalunya; while Banco Popular and Sabadell acquired 300 million euros worth of assets of Habitat, awaiting a refinancing of its debt. Sabadell , in particular, is re-establishing part of its antique property branch, Landscape, which it had ceded to Astroc. The bank Banesto in joint venture with Royal Urbis, has formed a new company called Promodomus, investing 312 million, which could increase by another 69 million. The company has to participate in the management of Royal Urbis assets, of which losses in the first half year amounted to over 331 million euros. Caixa on the other hand has decided to consolidate its branch Servihabitat, increasing its capital by 500 million euros. Caixa and Banco Popular have taken control of property company Colonial, after the exit of its owner Luis Portillo . Analysts of the sector underline that the banks’ new strategy is to accumulate property and then sell the assets en bloc when the market improves. The acquisition of assets meanwhile mitigates the credit crunch in the property sector. According to sources in the bank sector, the practice of acquiring land or property instead of giving out loans to property companies is spreading. The acquisitions in most cases are used to write off pending debts. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]



Denmark: Gang Leader Calls for Retribution

The head of an immigrant gang calls on a rival gang to hand over three members for punishment

The head of the International Club immigrant gang wants the Hells Angels biker gang to hand over three men he says are responsible for the murder of a young immigrant.

‘Hells Angels must deliver them to the Nørrebro or Tingbjerg gang, where the gang will decide what to do with them,’ said Danny Abdalla from the state prison in Vridsløselille.

Abdalla told B.T. newspaper that the men face punishment for the loss of Osman Nuri Dogan — the 19-year-old who was murdered in Copenhagen on 14 August.

A member of the Hells Angels support group AK-81 has been charged with the shooting.

Abdalla said that the ‘delivery’ of this man, plus the two others responsible for the attack, would lead to a resolution between the gangs.

He also wants the Hells Angels to pay four million kroner in compensation to Dogan’s family. If the Hells Angels do not meet the demands, the immigrant gangs would seek revenge, Abdalla said.

The International Club has been trying to force the Hells Angels out of the illegal drug market in Jutland for years, and Abdalla said that they support their fellow immigrant gangs in Copenhagen. Despite being incarcerated he has been keeping abreast of the ongoing situation.

‘We know that the Hells Angels planned to murder leading immigrants…if they continue with those plans they will be erased from the map within two months.’

           — Hat tip: TB [Return to headlines]



Denmark: Gang Wants Three HA Supporters

The leader of one of the larger groups in gangland demands punishment and blood money to stop the current conflict with the Hells Angels.

The gang warfare between the Hells Angels and immigrant gangs has taken a surprising turn. The leader of Den Internationale Klub (The International Club) has demanded that the Hells Angels hands over three members of its support group, and provides financial compensation.

Den Internationale Klub’s Leader Danny Abdallah has demanded that the three named members of the AK81 group be handed over for punishment, and that the Hells Angels pays four million kroner in blood money for the death of 19-year-old Osman Nuri Dogan who was killed outside a pizza bar in August.

Four million

The killing caused a heated armed conflict to erupt between the Hells Angels and immigrant gangs. A member of the AK81 group, which is a support group for the Hells Angels, has been charged with the killing but police have not had enough evidence to have him jailed.

“What I’m saying is that we can find a solution. The Hells Angels must hand over the three people who were involved in killing Osman. Over and above that they must pay four million kroner in damages to Osmans family. That is hardly a big sum for a club such as Hells Angels,” Danny Abdallah told B.T.

“If you do something like that, you have to pay for it,” he says.

           — Hat tip: TB [Return to headlines]



Denmark Extradites for Hate Music

The Justice Ministry is prepared to extradite two men to Germany for releasing right-wing music.

Denmark is prepared to extradite a German and a Dane to Germany, where they are accused of publishing right-wing texts and symbols that are illegal.

The Justice Ministry has determined that the conditions for extradition have been met.

Ended with extremists

Morten Jakobsen of the Justice Ministry International Office says the two men can now appeal the decision in the Danish courts.

According to the German authorities, music published by the two men has ended up in extremist circles in the country through the Celtic Moon company.

Since the sale of Nazi symbols and effects is illegal in Germany, the Frankfurt Public Prosecutor has applied for their extradition. In August, the two were arrested and remanded in custody in Denmark because the Danish Public Prosecutor determined that their music contravened Danish anti-racism legislation.

           — Hat tip: TB [Return to headlines]



Denmark Calls for Fight for Freedoms After Cartoons Row

Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen called Tuesday on the European Union to strengthen its commitment to basic freedoms, and in particular freedom of expression, saying it remained under threat.

Publication in 2005 in a Danish newspaper of cartoons of the prophet Mohammed, deemed blasphemous in the Islamic world, created outrage in many countries.

“Denmark is working for the EU to step up its fight for the right to basic freedoms, which are universal and inviolable,” Rasmussen told the opening of the 2008-9 parliamentary session in Copenhagen…

           — Hat tip: TB [Return to headlines]



French Authorities Punish Police Officer

An investigation into terrorist activities in the region of Rhône-Alpes has been making headlines. So far, Interior Minister Michèle Alliot-Marie has expressed her righteous indignation, one hapless functionary has been reprimanded and demoted, and the prefect of the Rhône has spewed forth his apologies to the Muslim community lest they be offended.

On September 16 the department of human resources of the region of Rhône-Alpes received an e-mail from the Rhône police asking if among the salaried personnel of the regional council there were “employees belonging to a religion other than Christianity.” The message also inquired if any employees had “requested changes in schedules in order to practice their religion.”

The e-mail came from a police agent in the Division of General Information (SDIG), which is under the departmental Bureau of Public Security of the Rhône (DDSP). These agencies were once called “Renseignements Généraux” (general intelligence), roughly equivalent to the FBI in America.

Minister Alliot-Marie immediately ordered the general director of the national police to conduct an investigation and to turn in a report within 24 hours at the latest. “It is totally inadmissible to ask such questions to a local collectivity, on a subject that has no place in the activities of a departmental bureau of general intelligence.”

As a result of the investigation, the prefect of the Rhône, Jacques Gérault, admitted that he had ordered a “study on the evolution of radical Islamist networks in the Rhône region, but not on Muslims.” He insisted that the functionary who sent the e-mail acted independently, and thought he was doing the right thing, adding that the incriminated police officer had received, until then, good ratings, and that he “regretted his actions.” The man was reprimanded and removed from his mission…

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



No Racism Emergency Says Maroni

Minister’s statement on Somali woman who complained of police maltreatment “I am with the officers. The ministry will seek damages as co-plaintiff”. People of Freedom (PDL) and Democratic Party (PD) clash.

ROME — The interior minister called the episode a “fit-up”, openly taking the side of the police and announcing that he will seek damages “as co-plaintiff because the officers rigorously enforced the law”. Mr Maroni went on: “There is no racism crisis; just incidents that have to, and will be, dealt with in the same way that fit-ups should be dealt with”. Speaking at the PDL festival, Roberto Maroni sided with airport police officers, taking a firm stance after an official complaint was presented by Amina Sheikh Said, the Somali woman who claims that she was manhandled and insulted at Ciampino airport on 21 July.

In recent weeks, there have been many episodes of intolerance, assault and even murder in which the victims were non-Italians. Nevertheless, the interior minister stressed that “Italy is the precise opposite of a racist country and has very high levels of integration. We bear the brunt more than any other nation in Europe”. The leader of the Senate, Renato Schifani, agreed: “Racism is not part of our DNA but hospitality and solidarity are”. Mr Schifani made no attempt to deny that “dormant fringes have been roused by serious incidents like the murder of Mrs Reggiani. The healthy part of the country has reacted positively while extremist elements have reacted xenophobically”…

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Balkans


Chinese Muslims Ordered Released From Guantanamo Bay

WASHINGTON — A U.S. federal judge on Tuesday ordered the release into the United States of a group of Chinese Muslims once suspected of terrorism who are being held in Guantanamo Bay prison, a court official told Agence France-Presse.

The U.S. government declared the group of 17 Uighurs to no longer be “enemy combatants” this year but had maintained it could continue to hold them in Guantanamo if no other country accepted them.

China has urged the U.S. to repatriate the “terrorist suspects,” but Washington has resisted due to fears the group would be tortured upon return.

For several years, the United States has attempted to persuade other countries to resettle the Uighurs, part of an ethnic group which populates much of western China that Beijing considers seditious.

Only Albania has agreed to do so, offering to take five of them in 2006.

Most of the Uighurs were turned over to the United States from Pakistan in late 2001 in exchange for bounties.

           — Hat tip: Holger Danske [Return to headlines]

North Africa


Algeria: Ramadan; 6 Guilty of Lack of Respect for Precepts

(ANSAmed) — ALGIERS, OCTOBER 6 — Six people have been sentenced to four years in prison and a fine of 100 thousand dinars (about 1,200 euro) by the court in Bistra, 400 km south-west of Algiers, for “not showing respect for Ramadan, one of the principles of Islam.” According to the daily El Watan, quoting a specialist in Algerian law, “this type of crime does not exist in Algerian law, in fact it guarantees freedom of conscience and opinion”. The only law, introduced by the head of the government Ahmed Ouyahia in 2001, concerns journalistic crimes: “there is a punishment of 3 to 5 years imprisonment and fines between 50 and 100 thousand dinars for whoever offends the Prophet or one of God’s messengers , or denigrates the teachings and precepts of Islam with written words or images.” The six, found guilty at the first hearing, were arrested while playing cards and eating in the middle of the day in the centre of Diskra. Another 27 people, 2 of them minors, were arrested, again in Biskra, and then released after signing a document apologising. Fasting from dawn to sunset during Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam, along with profession of faith, prayer, Zakat (giving of alms) and pilgrimage to Mecca.(ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]



Egypt: the Dilemma of Being Christian

Following the recent ruling by the Alexandria Court of Appeals that the 13-year-old twins Andrew and Mario Medhat Ramsis should be moved from the custody of their Christian mother Kamilia Lutfi to the custody of their Muslim convert father, ++Watani++ talked to Ms Lutfi. Ramsis was born a Christian, converted to Islam in 2000, reverted to Christianity in 2002, then back to Islam in 2005. His divorced wife Lutfi alleged he had resorted to “manipulating religions to his own ends”.

Motivated as a mother+Lutfi said the recent ruling came as no surprise. “Ever since the previous ruling in February 2006, which I appealed in the present case,” she said, “I have not been optimistic. I see both rulings as flagrant contradictions to the Egyptian law, to sharia or Islamic law, and to the Constitution.”

Lutfi told Watani that she had made it her business to review all relevant legal precedents, articles of the Egyptian law, as well as all relevant fatwas. Egyptian law grants a mother—regardless of her religion—custody of children until the age of 15, following which the children are given the choice of remaining with the mother or moving with the father. The ruling against the Christian-born twins has disregarded the law and has also gone against the twin’s wish to remain in their mother’s custody and be free to practice their Christian faith.

Lutfi told Watani that she was holding on to her children and her religion. Bitterly, she asked: “Can you believe that the court has favoured the children’s stepmother with their custody instead of their real mother? Simply because she is Muslim.

“My sense of motherhood will motivate me to exhaust every possible legal means to protect my children,” Lutfi determinedly said.

Dilemma

In the Egyptian media, Lutfi reminded, a number of learned scholars of Islamic Fiqh, including Suad Saleh and Sheikh Youssef al-Badry, repeatedly confirmed that a mother—regardless of her religion—has the right of custody of children until the age of 15.

Lutfi said: “All these principles were sacrificed on the ground of fanaticism.” Lutfi, who was fined EGP10,000 for libelling her husband, a charge she vehemently denies, claiming she was misquoted in an Egyptian newspaper, remarked: “Were the charge true, why were the editor and editor-in-chief who printed my alleged words not charged with libel as the law stipulates? Why did I have to be alone accused of the charge? Again, justice appears to have been sacrificed for fanaticism.”

The twins, Andrew and Mario, voiced their anguish at the ruling. “No matter the court ruling,” they said, “We are still Christian and wish to remain with our mother.” The twins face the dilemma of being considered Muslim by law, since they are required to follow the ‘better religion’—that being Islam in the sight of the law—in the event that their parents belong to different religions. The right of non-Muslim children of Muslim convert parents to remain Christian, however, and the right of converts to revert to their original Christianity, are being contested before the Constitutional Court. A ruling is expected once a report is issued on the matter by the court commision.

Defiant

Andrew’s and Mario’s story caught the attention of the media when, obliged to sit for the Islamic religion test at school in May 2007—students have to pass Religion exams to be promoted to a higher class—the boys answered none of the questions. On his answer sheet Andrew wrote “I am Christian” and Mario wrote: “My religion is Christianity”. They failed the exam and had to re-take it, but again insisted on writing these single phrases. But the Education Minister Yusri al-Gamal issued an exceptional decree that both children would be promoted to the higher class.

This year the twins will be required to attend Islamic religion lessons and sit for the exam. Watani found them defiant. “We will not take the Islamic religion test, even if we fail to pass the school year. We will not go to our father, even by force. We will run away.”

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]



Oil: Libya Calls on OPEC and Others for Cut in Production

(ANSAmed) — ROME, October 7 — A cut in the daily production of oil to put a brake on the fall in the price of crude: this is the request made by Libya to OPEC, according to Bloomberg. “With oil prices collapsing and international banks under pressure, it is better to keep the crude underground” said Shokri Ghanem, CEO of Libyàs National Oil. The next OPEC meeting is due in December. The request was also addressed to non-OPEC producers, Shokri told AFP. The price of oil fell on Monday to its lowest point in eight months: 87.56 dollars in New York and 83.36 in London, down by almost 40 pct on July’s record highs. (ANSAmed).

2008-10-07 20:22

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Middle East


Britons Accused Over Roadside Bomb Network

Two Iranian-born British men are accused of being part of a network supplying components for the roadside bombs which are killing coalition soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The network, uncovered by American investigators, is alleged to have illegally shipped more than 30,000 electronic components from the United States to Iran via other countries.

The components are said to be identical to those used in some of the hidden bombs which have killed 2,000 coalition soldiers, including more than 200 British servicemen.

One of the accused is Farshid Gillardian, a 39-year-old whose family was given refuge in Britain after the 1979 Iranian revolution. He was arrested in his mother’s north London home two weeks ago.

His fellow accused, Ali Akbar Yahya, a 48-year-old businessman, disappeared from his flat in Dubai last month and neighbours say they know nothing of his whereabouts.

Both men are named in a 45-page United States grand jury indictment which draws on a three-year investigation into the smuggling of dual-use components.

It is understood the inquiries were prompted by the discovery of American-made electronics in an unexploded roadside bomb in Iraq.

The US authorities allege the British nationals are part of a network which breached export rules and embargoes to supply this type of equipment to Iran. Officials say the Iranians have supplied the components for many of the Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) used against coalition troops.

Mario Mancuso, the US undersecretary of commerce for industry and security, described the network as a “lethal international ring seeking to harm American and allied forces . . . by acquiring sensitive US technology capable of producing IEDs similar to those being used in Iraq and Afghanistan”.

This weekend Gillardian’s friends and family described the allegations as “preposterous”. Karen Todner, his lawyer, said: “This man is no terrorist. As a devout Jew he is horrified he has been linked with Islamic terror in Iraq or Afghanistan. He categorically denies these charges.”

The Sunday Times has obtained a copy of the indictment filed to the Florida southern district court in Miami earlier this month.

It claims that eight men and eight related companies were part of a conspiracy to “illegally enrich” themselves by “unlawfully exporting electronic components and other commodities from the United States to Iran”…

           — Hat tip: no2liberals [Return to headlines]



Energy: Turkey Fulfils Nuclear Dream, Tender for Plant

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, SEPTEMBER 23 — The Turkish nuclear dream, which began in 1960 with the construction of a research centre in a suburb of Istanbul and continued with alternate stages during a period of nearly 40 years, might start to become a reality in the next few days, when some ten international and local companies will take part in the tender for the construction of a 4,000 MW power station in Akkuyu, a location not far from Mersin, on the Mediterranean coast, which will cost between USD 8.0 billion and USD 10 billion. Among the companies which bought the documents to take part in the tender, there are Vinci (France), Aecl (Canada), Itochu (Japan), RWE (Germany), Suez-Tractebel (France-Belgium), Atostroyexport (Russia), Kepco (South Korea), Ccpc (China), Unit Inv. (Netherlands), Sabanci Holding (Turkey) with, most probably, GE (USA) and Iberdrola (Spain), and the Turkish Alsim-Alarko, Hattat Holding, Ak Enerji. The government of Ankara plans to satisfy through nuclear energy at least 8.0% of the country’s requirements of electricity by 2020 (20% by 2030) and, in order to reach this target, envisages the construction of a further two nuclear plants. Another aspect of the project, related to the enrichment of uranium, will not be carried out in Turkey, as local authorities repeated several times. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]



Exposed: Iran Nukes Take Damascus Road

Channel seen as way to bypass United Nations sanctions

Those worried about Iran’s nuclear capabilities and intentions perhaps should be watching Syria more closely, as that nation may be acting as a covert channel for Iran’s program, and it may be getting help from North Korea and elements of Paksitan’s A.Q. Khan nuclear network, according to a report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

Syria also is being eyed as a storage area for North Korea’s nuclear weapons development program as the government there tries to bypass requirements that its components are dismantled in order to qualify for increased U.S. economic aid…

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



Giving Until it Hurts

by Barry Rubin

In response to a casual question, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates dropped a historical bombshell, an offhand remark telling more about how the Middle East works than 100 books. And a former Marine commander adds an equally big revelation about long-ago events quite relevant for today.

Almost thirty years ago, President Jimmy Carter tried to show what a nice guy he was by pressing the Shah not to crush the revolutionaries. After the monarch fell, National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski met top officials of the new Islamist regime to pledge U.S. friendship to the government controlled by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. At the time, I wrote that by approaching some of the milder radicals, the administration frightened the more militant ones. U.S.-Iran relations must be smashed, they concluded, lest Washington back their rivals. In fact, as we’ll see in a moment, the Carter administration offered to back Khomeini himself.

Three days after the Brzezinski meeting, in November 1979, the Islamist regime’s cadre seized the U.S. embassy and its staff as hostages, holding them until January 1981. This was our introduction to the new Middle East of radical Islamism. Carter continued his weak stance, persuading the Tehran regime that it could get away with anything.

So we’ve long known that undermining U.S. allies, passivity toward anti-American radicals, and inaction after a massive terrorist act against Americans didn’t work. The hostages were only released because Iran was suffering desperately from an Iraqi invasion and feared Carter’s successor, Ronald Reagan, as someone likely to be tougher.

The lesson of being strong in defending interests and combating enemies has not quite been learned. Today, the opposite is the mainstream prescription for success and the United States may be about to elect a president whose world view parallels the way Carter worked.

Here’s where Gates comes in. On September 29, while giving a lecture at the National Defense University in Washington DC, someone asked him how the next president might improve relations with Iran. Gates responded:

“I have been involved in the search for the elusive Iranian moderate for 30 years.” Then Gates revealed what was actually said at Brzezinski’s meeting, in which he participated, summarizing Brzezinski’s position as follows:

“We will accept your revolution….We will recognize your government. We will sell you all the weapons that we had contracted to sell the Shah….We can work together in the future.”…

           — Hat tip: Barry Rubin [Return to headlines]



Iran Nuclear: Tehran ‘No Longer Trusts’ Europe

Tehran, 6 Oct. (AKI) — Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, has said his country no longer trusts Europe.

“Based on our past experiences, we no longer believe in its promises and no longer have faith in the commitments made by European countries,” Soltanieh told satellite Arabic TV channel Al Alam in an interview.

“The Germans had undertaken to build the nuclear plant at Bushehr, but after money exchanged hands they pulled out and never finished the job,” he claimed.

Soltanieh was referring to an agreement with Germany before the Iranian Revolution to construct the Bushehr nuclear plant. The deal was cancelled after the fall of the Shah in 1979 and the start of the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war.

“Iran does not intend under any circumstances to stop enriching uranium,” Soltanieh reiterated.

The UN Security Council in late September unanimously adopted a resolution urging Iran once again to suspend its sensitive nuclear fuel work.

The resolution offered no new sanctions but merely reaffirmed the three rounds of sanctions the UN Security Council has already imposed on Iran for refusing to halt its uranium enrichment programme.

Iran could end its cooperation with the IAEA over its atomic programme, MP Mousa Ghorbani told the country’s official news agency IRNA last week.

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



Iran: Kurdish Feminist Arrested

Tehran, 7 Oct. (AKI) — Kurdish feminist and journalist, Neghin Sheikholeslami, has been arrested and detained in the capital Tehran’s notorious Evin prison (photo).

Sheikholeslami is the fourth Kurdish female activist to be imprisoned in Iran. No charges have yet been made against her.

She is one of the founders of the Azar Mehr feminist association, which is especially active in Iranian Kurdistan in northwest Iran.

In a separate development, police on Monday arrested 44 people at a private party in Mashad, in eastern Iran. Women police officers for the first time took part in the operation.

The 27 female and 17 male partygoers are accused of ‘promiscuity’, ‘consumption of alcohol’ and listening to ‘obscene music’.

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



Lebanon-Syria: Assad,Increased Border Troops in Line With UN

(ANSAmed) — BEIRUT, OCTOBER 6 — The deployment of Syrian troops at the northern border with Lebanon is “in harmony” with UN resolution 1701, which in August of 2006 put an end to the war between Israel and the Lebanese Shiite movement, Hezbollah. This was stated by the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, cited today by the press in Beirut. During a telephone interview yesterday with his Lebanese colleague Michel Suleiman, Assad said that “military activity and the deploying of Syrian troops along the northern border is in conformity of the measures adopted to impede contraband” and that these “have been approved in the last meeting of the mixed Syrian-Lebanese committee and are in harmony with the clauses of UN resolution 1701”. Two weeks ago, news was diffused according to which Syria had deployed “10000 special forces soldiers near the northern border”. The number followed a reduction made by Lebanese military authorities. The Syrian army was in Lebanon for 29 years until 2005 when it was forced to withdraw following international pressure as well as popular Lebanese pressure after the murdering in Beirut of ex premier Rafik Hariri. Syria was indicated by both sides as involved in the assassination of Hariri, but Damascus has always rejected accusations. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]



Lebanon: Israel Caught Up in Food Row

Beirut, 6 Oct. (AKI) — Israel might find itself fighting yet another war — one for the ‘sovereignty’ of traditional Arab dishes.

The president of the Lebanese Industrialists Association (ALI) Fadi Abboud, is planning to file an international lawsuit against Israel for allegedly violating a food copyright, according to Arabic satellite TV channel Al-Arabiya.

The Lebanese organisation claims that it is losing ‘tens of millions of dollars annually’ because Israel is selling and marketing traditional Lebanese dishes such as Falafel, Hummus, Tabouleh and Fattoush among others.

Abboud is basing his claim on the designation by the European Union in 2005 of Greek ‘feta’ cheese as a traditional Greek product whose names deserves legal protection.

Israel allegedly uses the name of Lebanese foods and also markets them in ready-to-eat plastic boxes bound for European and US consumers as if they were Israeli dishes, said Abboud.

Abboud also said that ALI is working on registering all the foods and ingredients which will be submitted to the Lebanese government so it can appeal to the international courts against Israel.

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



Mosul, Another “Targeted Murder” Against the Christian Community

A disabled 25-year-old shopkeeper was killed yesterday, not far from the shop that he owned. The objective of the fundamentalists is to shut down the activities of Christians and force them to flee. A source for AsiaNews denounces the “complicity” of the police, and the “curtain of silence” that has fallen across the slaughter.

Mosul (AsiaNews) — There is no end to the slaughter of Christians in Mosul: yesterday, Monday, October 6, Ziad Kamal, a disabled 25-year-old shopkeeper in the city, was shot to death. The young man’s store was in the neighborhood of Karama, but some time ago he had bought a home in Bartella, a Christian majority town not far from Mosul, for reasons of safety.

Ziad Kamal was taken by an armed group from inside his shop and brought to a spot not far away, where he was shot to death. Yesterday’s murder, against a member of the Christian community, is only the latest in a long series of killings that have taken place in Mosul. On Saturday, October 4, two men were barbarously killed in two different areas of the city: Hazim Thomaso Youssif, 40, was killed in front of the clothing store he owned, while 15-year-old Ivan Nuwya was shot to death in the neighborhood of Tahrir, outside of his home in front of the local mosque of Alzhara.

The fundamentalists therefore seem to have taken aim at a precise segment of the Christian community: two of the three latest murders have struck shopkeepers in Mosul. It is a clear sign that the terrorists are seeking to uproot the Christian community, wipe out its economic activity, and force the population to leave.

A source for AsiaNews says that “the situation is becoming increasingly difficult for Christians,” while the rest of the world seems to have “forgotten our sufferings,” allowing a “curtain of silence” to fall over them. The source specifically accuses “the Iraqi government,” which “has done nothing” so far to “stop the slaughter,” and accuses the security forces, the “accomplices” of criminal groups that kill Christians.

Yesterday in the capital, a demonstration was held (in the photo), organized by Shlemon Warduni, archbishop of the Chaldean Catholics in Baghdad, to call for the reintroduction of article 50 of the electoral law, which guarantees a proportion of seats to ethnic and religious minorities, ahead of the upcoming elections for the provincial councils. “We do not understand,” says Archbishop Warduni, “why the article was not included in the law, but we intend to defend our rights, and we call upon the authorities to ensure that the Christian community is not discriminated against.” The prelate concludes by launching an appeal that “article 50 be restored,” and the “religious minorities” be protected. (DS)

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



Nuclear: East-West Channel Being Planned for UAE Oil Exports

(ANSAmed) — DUBAI, SEPTEMBER 23 — Oil supplies from the Gulf will not be interrupted even in case the conflict between Iran and the US becomes a full scale confrontation, Dubai Police chief Lieutenant General Dahi Khalfan Tamim said as reported by Gulf News. The UAE is considering a safe route for its oil exports in case the Arabian Gulf becomes too dangerous for tankers, he added. The rough details of the project were revealed at an informal Ramadan gathering at Tamim’s majlis, which was attended also by prominent UAE economic expert Mohammad Al Asoomi. Tamim said Iran cannot hold the region hostage to its confrontation with the West, and that the authorities in the UAE are seriously considering the expansion of export terminals on the east coast with a possibility of creating a channel between the east and west coasts to divert shipping away from the Straits of Hormuz. President Ahmadinejad threatened in July the block of the strait in retaliation to the further tightening of the sanctions against the nuclear programme he is developing: for peaceful purposes, Tehran assures, for possible purposes of war, the Western capitals insist. “Iran cannot cut the vital artery of its neighbours if it cannot face directly the USA,” commented Tamimi reminding that the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) — Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, UAE and Oman — “is a united front in guaranteeing that the oil and gas supplies will not be interrupted.” (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]



U.S. Says Business Jet Forced Down in Iran

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) — The U.S. military coalition in Iraq confirmed Tuesday that a business jet — not a U.S. military aircraft — was recently forced down in Iran due to an airspace violation.

“The airplane is now being confirmed as a light transport plane with no Americans onboard,” Multi-National Forces-Iraq said in a statement issued Tuesday. “From what we have been seeing, it was a Falcon business jet. We have accounted for all our aircraft and none are missing.”

The U.S. coalition in Iraq had no information on who owned the aircraft, stressing that it was not a registered American plane.

Iran’s semi-official Fars News Agency initially reported that five American military officials were on board the U.S. aircraft. But other Iranian media reports — quoting Iranian officials — said the aircraft was Hungarian and no Americans were on the plane.

Iranian officials told Iran’s state-run Arabic language channel Al-Alam that the incident happened a week ago and that the plane was carrying humanitarian workers.

           — Hat tip: Holger Danske [Return to headlines]



UN Criticises Iraq’s New Election Law

UN special envoy hopes for the return of Article 50 which guarantees seats to ethnic and religious minorities in upcoming provincial council elections. Muslim community shows its solidarity to Kirkuk’s Christian community.

Baghdad (AsiaNews) — The UN special representative for Iraq Staffan de Mistura said he was “surprised and disappointed” that Iraq’s parliament dropped Article 50 when it approved a new provincial election law, a clause which was designed to protect minority rights by guaranteeing minorities a certain number of seats on provincial councils. In the first version of the bill 15 seats were set aside in six provinces for minorities, 13 for Christians and one each for Shabaks and Yazidis.

When the proposal came to a vote the article was left out because it was argued that it was impossible to determine the number of seats to be set aside for minorities since no census had been taken place to know their number.

Article 50 is fundamental for democracy and “should now be reinstated into the legislation as soon as possible so minorities can participate in the upcoming elections to be held sometime before 31 January 2009,” said the UN envoy.

“Article 50 is a strong indication Iraq is a nation ready to protect the political rights of minorities as founded in the constitution,” he added.

The UN envoy promised to continue consultations with Iraqi political leaders to ensure that the clause was reinserted into the election law by the Council of Representatives before 15 October, when the electoral commission opens nominations for candidates.

“Upbeat” about the country’s future, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani responded right away, saying that the election law will be changed to guarantee minority representation.

Talabani, an ethnic Kurd, said that the law “is not consistent with the constitution [which protects minorities], nor with what we feel is needed for Iraq.”

The president said the flow of refugees fleeing violence must be stopped and their “return home” guaranteed.

“We need to protect our minorities,” he added. “As president I have the right to amend what parliament passes and I can assure you that we will be amending the change in the law immediately.”

Elsewhere a delegation that included Arab, Kurdish, Turkmen, Sunni and Shia representatives visited Kirkuk’s Chaldean Archbishop to express their solidarity to the Christian community, which has been targeted again for violence in Mosul and excluded from the country’s political process by the new election law. They met the archbishop of Kirkuk, Mgr Louis Sako, to whom they extended their support.

As political and religious leaders they reiterated that “Christians are a fundamental part of the country” and that their presence is necessary to the process of reconstruction if it is to bring “stable and lasting peace.”

Archbishop Sako thanked the delegates, expressing “his sincere gratitude” for the solidarity, adding that their gesture was “a token of the generosity of the Iraqi people” who are against divisions, conflicts and any new violence by Islamic fundamentalists.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]



US Military: Mastermind of Baghdad Bombings Killed

BAGHDAD (AP) — The U.S. military said Saturday it has killed an al-Qaida in Iraq leader suspected of masterminding one of the deadliest attacks in Baghdad as well as recent bombings and the 2006 videotaped execution of a Russian official.

American troops also killed the man’s wife in a firefight as they tried to capture him Friday in the northern neighborhood of Azamiyah in Baghdad, the military said.

Mahir Ahmad Mahmud al-Zubaydi, also known as Abu Assad or Abu Rami, allegedly directed the insurgent cell believed to be responsible for nearly simultaneous car bomb and suicide attacks Thursday, according to the statement.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Russia


Russia to Grant € 4-Bn Loan to Help Iceland Fend Off Financial Crisis

REYKJAVIK: Russia will grant Iceland’s central bank a loan of four billion euros (5.4 billion dollars) to help the Nordic country fend off the raging financial turmoil, the Icelandic bank said Tuesday.

“The Russian ambassador to Iceland, Victor I. Tatarintsev, informed the chairman of the board of governors of the central bank of Iceland this morning that Russia would grant the central bank a loan in the amount of four billion euros,” the bank said in a statement.

“The maturity is three to four years,” it said, adding that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin had confirmed Moscow’s decision.

“The Icelandic prime minister initiated contacts concerning this agreement some months ago. Representatives from the central bank of Iceland and the government will finalise the agreement in Moscow,” the statement said.

“This loan significantly bolsters the foreign exchange reserves of the central bank of Iceland and thus underpins the stability of the exchange rate of the krona,” it added.

The announcement came as Iceland’s Fiancial Supervisory Authority announced it would take control of the country’s second largest bank, Landsbanki, after Prime Minister Geir Haarde said Monday his government was ready to take over all the island’s banks to ward off the prospect of national bankruptcy.

[Return to headlines]

South Asia


India: Death Toll Rises in Hindu-Muslim Violence

Assam, 7 Oct. (AKI) — Sectarian clashes between Muslims and Hindus in north east India has killed 47 and left 100 others injured.

The latest figures were released on Tuesday after Muslim Bangladeshi settlers and indigenous Hindu tribesmen clashed in the northeastern state of Assam.

More than 85,000 people were left homeless during the clashes after villages were set on fire. They have now been taken to makeshift government camps.

The violence broke out last Friday in India’s troubled northeast region of Assam, involving Bodo rebels and Bangladeshi migrants. On Tuesday, police used helicopters to spot armed mobs attacking Muslims.

Indian media said that over 8,000 police, army and paramilitary troops have been deployed in four districts in Assam. A police curfew has also been put imposed in the region.

Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi, speaking to the media from his residence on Monday, said helicopters were being used to rush security personnel to the affected areas.

The indigenous ‘Bodos’ have been targeting settlers of Bangladeshi origin, who claim that they came to Assam before Bangladesh’s independence in 1971, thus obtaining Indian citizenship.

However, a rebel separatist group known as the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) took advantage of the clashes and resorted to large-scale arson and killings, said Indian daily the Economic Times.

The NDFB is fighting for an independent tribal homeland but signed a ceasefire agreement with the Indian government in 2005, but never renounced its independence struggle.

The violence is some of the worst since 1983, when over 2,000 people, most of them Bangladeshi immigrants were killed in clashes with tribal peoples in central Assam.

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



Pakistan: Afghan Refugees to be Deported From Tribal Region

Khar, 7 Oct. (AKI) — The Pakistani government has ordered the deportation of 50,000 Afghan refugees from its war-torn tribal region, as part of a major offensive against Al-Qaeda.

Pakistan said it would expel all Afghan refugees in the Bajaur tribal region in the north-west of the country, bordering Afghanistan. It claims that many of the refugees have links to Al-Qaeda.

A local government official said that the refugees’ homes would be razed to prevent them from returning home and to force them to leave.

Government officials started the drive against Afghan nationals in the region after a deadline expired on Sunday, said Pakistani daily, Dawn.

An unnamed official said 25 Afghans were arrested during the crackdown and sealed off their stores on Monday, after the Interior Ministry gave orders not to extend the deadline.

At the end of September, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said about 20,000 people had fled fighting in Pakistan’s tribal areas and sought refuge in eastern Afghanistan in recent months.

Aid agencies have estimated up to 400,000 people have been displaced in Bajaur after months of intense conflict between government security forces and militants.

While some have returned, many are still housed in camps in the adjacent district of Lower Dir or in other parts of the North West Frontier Province.

Efforts by the Pakistan government and international agencies to provide food to displaced people and improve housing conditions have been stepped up in the past two weeks.

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

Far East


Beijing, After Milk, Melamine in Soy Milk, Too

Recalls of Chinese products around the world are expanding. The Chinese government admits errors and lack of respect for the rules. The nation’s dairy industry is at risk.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) — After poisoned powdered milk, there is a new alarm today over soy milk: the authorities of Guangzhou have ordered the recall of the product under the brand name Bingquan, because it could contain traces of melamine. This is another source of concern for Chinese consumers, who in recent weeks have used more soy products because they thought they were immune from the scandal.

Meanwhile, the Chinese government admits that there have been “loopholes in the law” exploited by producers, who “have not observed the norms” of food safety. Chinese industry minister Li Yizhong says that this attitude has contributed to “worsening the extent of the scandal” of contaminated milk, which risks “bringing the national dairy industry to its knees”.

In the face of a partial admission of responsibility on the part of Beijing authorities, recalls of Chinese products contaminated with melamine are expanding around the world. Today, the Korean food safety agency said it had found traces of melamine in candy products from giants in the sector, including Nestle and Mars, produced in China and marketed in South Korea. The candies implicated include M&Ms and Snickers bars produced by Mars Korea, and Kit Kat bars marketed by Nestle Korea, in which melamine has been found in concentrations of 2.89 parts per million. This brings to ten the number of products recalled in South Korea, but a new and deeper investigation has been opened by the food safety agency. It will examine the production procedures for 428 foods from China, to evaluate their level of safety.

From Holland comes the news that cookies and candies of the Chinese brand Koala have been withdrawn from the shelves, following similar provisions enacted yesterday. The sale of White Rabbit products has also been banned, even though food safety authorities are trying to dampen the alarm, saying that minimal consumption does not create “problems”, and that the products implicated “are found only in the Chinese supermarkets”, while they are not present in the major chain stores in Holland.

Finally, there is the island of Malta, where inspectors of the health ministry have ordered the recall of 257 packages of cookies produced in China and containing the chemical substance; Koala and White Rabbit products have also been recalled, believed to have been imported through Holland. The ministry has also ordered a thorough investigation of the Chinese restaurants of the island, which so far have given “negative” results.

The American food and drug administration is seeking to put the general panic into context. According to the FDA, there are no serious dangers connected to the presence of “trace amounts of melamine” in foods (2.5 parts per million), with the exception of “baby food and powdered milk”, in which the results can be deadly.

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



Beijing Says Milk is Safe Now, But Contaminated Products Are Still in Stores

China repeats that new analyses show that the melamine is gone, and the Chinese can buy milk again. But recalled products are still being sold in stores, and melamine has been found in other goods from China, including major brands.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) — China guarantees that its milk is safe now, and has arrested six more people for adulteration. But in the meantime, contaminated products are still being sold, and in South Korea, melamine has been found in other products from Western brands.

The general administration for the supervision of quality, inspection, and quarantine has announced that new inspections of 609 batches of fresh milk from 75 companies in 27 cities, including some of the most incriminated, have not revealed the presence of melamine. To restore trust among consumers, it has also been announced that more than 5,000 inspectors will check the factories, while the agriculture ministry has sent 152,000 officials to inspect milk storage stations.

Meanwhile, the police have arrested six people accused of producing and selling melamine, in Hohhot, capital of inner Mongolia, a leading dairy producing region where the China Mengniu Dairy Co. and the Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group Co. are based. The two companies are among those most embroiled in the scandal, and together produce more than 70% of Chinese milk. In recent days, the two companies have also launched a “buy one get one free” promotional campaign, which has sent the product flying off the shelves in cities like Shenzhen and Guangzhou.

The state media are reporting the comments from citizens who have started consuming the incriminated brands again, after assurances from Beijing. Today, shares in Mengniu and Yili rose on the Hong Kong stock market after plunging In the wake of the scandal.

But in the meantime, the South Korean food and drug administration announced today that it has found melamine in 10 Chinese dairy products, although “in quantities that are not very dangerous to the health,” including M&M’s and Peanut Snickers Fun Size bars from Mars Korea, and Kit Kat bars from Nestlé Korea, in addition to rice cookies and cheese crackers produced by Korean companies that use Chinese ingredients. People in the country still remember that 1,637 tons of Chinese kimchi (a cabbage-based staple of Korean cuisine) were recalled in 2007, and 282 tons in 2006, because they contained additives and coloring agents unsuitable for human consumption, with the potential to cause tumors.

In Hong Kong, excessive quantities of the substance have been found in two types of chocolate from Cadbury, which the company has already withdrawn from the market in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Australia, as a precautionary measure.

In Chinese supermarkets, consumers are denouncing that even yesterday, recalled products containing melamine were still being sold. The media report that, in stores in Guangzhou, banned products from Mengniu were on sale on October 3, and even yesterday. Some of these are “mixed” with the more recent products maintained to be safe, during the “ two for one” sale. “The most ridiculous part,” one person tells the South China Morning Post, “is that right next to the shelf of these milk products, there is a government notice warning people not to buy them.” Another person, in resignation, observes that “too many foods have been found to be contaminated. I’ve decided not to think about it. We’re buying milk, at least as long as it’s cheap.”

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

Australia — Pacific


Customs Takes 14 Illegal Immigrants to Christmas Island

AN Australian Customs vessel has offloaded 14 people on Christmas Island after intercepting a boat off Australia’s northwest coast last week.

The 13 males and one woman, suspected of being from the Middle East but whose nationalities are still to be confirmed, were picked up by a naval patrol boat near the Ashmore Islands, 320km off the West Australian coast, on Monday.

The boat is the first carrying unauthorised arrivals to be intercepted off the coast of Australia this year.

Immigration Minister Chris Evans said the 12 passengers and two crew were transferred from a Customs vessel yesterday and taken into immigration detention. He said it could be a number of weeks before background checks were done.

“All members of the group appeared to be in good health on arrival to Christmas Island,” he said. “They will be held in the secure, supervised Phosphate Hill detention facility while they undergo health, security, identity and other checks . . . and reasons for travelling to Australia.”

He said three of the group — two males and a male crew member — claim to be juveniles aged 16 or 17.

Senator Evans said the group would be in supervised accommodation and not a detention centre. He said it was yet to be determined if any of them were asylum-seekers.

Amnesty International is deeply concerned with the government policy of taking boatpeople to Christmas Island.

           — Hat tip: Nilk [Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa


Jerome Corsi, Anti-Obama Author, Detained in Kenya

A leading American neo-Conservative author has been detained by immigration authorities in Kenya as he tried to launch a book smearing Barack Obama.

Jerome Corsi, of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth fame, was this morning being held after failing to reckon with Obamamania.

He had been planning to launch his book, entitled The Obama Nation Leftist Politics and the Cult of Personality, before travelling to one of Nairobi’s slums to donate money to the Senator’s half-brother George, who was found living in squalid conditions two months ago.

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But officers swooped hours after Dr Corsi was described as “author of a smear crusade” by local newspapers.

“He has not been arrested. He is just answering some questions about what he is doing here in Kenya,” said an assistant to Dr Corsi. “We have been given water and are very comfortable.”

Journalists were turned away from the hotel suite where the launch was due to be held. “He shouldn’t have had anything in the paper this morning,” said one. “That was his mistake. He should have kept it secret.”

Dr Corsi said he had a $1,000 cheque for George Obama, seen as part of a stunt to suggest that the Senator was not taking care of his Kenyan-based relative.

A source at Nyayo House, where Dr Corsi was being held, said the author had been detained for references made to Raila Odinga, the Kenyan prime minister, and allegations that his Muslim supporters had engaged in a wave of violence that rocked the country after December’s disputed elections.

The allegations are not taken seriously in Kenya, were Mr Odinga is widely seen to have been cheated out of a legitimate victory.

However, in his promotional literature, Dr Corsi promised to reveal sinister links between Kenyan politicians and Mr Obama.

“Dr Corsi will also expose details of deep secret ties between US Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and a section of Kenya government leaders, their connection to certain sectoral groups in Kenya and subsequent plot to be executed in Kenya should Sen Obama win the American presidency,” it said.

Mr Obama, whose father was a well-known Kenyan economist, is hugely popular across Africa…

           — Hat tip: AV [Return to headlines]



Navy Calls on Industry to Tackle Piracy

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The international shipping industry must take on more responsibility to protect vessels against pirate attacks and kidnappings in the dangerous Gulf waters rather than rely on the U.S. Navy, the commander of the 5th Fleet warned on Monday.

Vice Adm. Bill Gortney said the U.S.-led coalition patrolling the Gulf waters simply doesn’t “have the resources to provide 24-hour protection” for hundreds of commercial vessels passing daily through the dangerous Gulf of Aden.

Gortney’s comments come as heavily armed pirates increasingly stalk the seas off the coast of Somalia. Drug smuggling and kidnappings for ransom have increased despite heavy presence of U.S. warships and patrol boats in the area.

A statement Monday from the 5th Fleet headquarters in Bahrain quotes Gortney as saying that shipping companies “must take measures to defend their vessels and crews.” Gortney also suggested they consider hiring security teams for ships.

So far this year, 57 ships have been attacked in the area, mostly in the Gulf of Aden. The surge prompted the U.S. Naval Central Command last month to establish a security corridor patrolled by an international coalition of warships…

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Immigration


Italy: Over 120 Illegal Immigrants Rescued Off Southern Island

Palermo, 7 Oct. (AKI) — Italian tax police on Tuesday rescued a boat with over 120 illegal immigrants on board which was adrift off the southern island of Lampedusa.

The illegal immigrants, who included many women and children, were transferred to an Italian tax police vessel and taken to Lampedusa for identification and health checks.

Almost 20,000 illegal immigrants have landed on Lampedusa so far this year — twice the number that arrived over the same period of 2007, according to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

The number of illegal migrants heading for southern Mediterranean countries such as Italy aboard people traffickers’ boats surges during the warmer months from April to October.

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



Italy Must Face Legal Action for Anti-Gypsy Measures, Says Soros

Billionaire philanthropist and financier George Soros has said at a top-level EU conference on the problems facing Roma people in Europe that he supports legal action against Italy over recent anti-Gypsy measures, particularly the fingerprinting of adults and children. “Certainly, fingerprinting, racial profiling and so on is unacceptable and, I believe, illegal, and I hope that the European Court of Justice will take up the case and declare it illegal,” the Hungarian-born founder of the Open Society Institute said on Tuesday (16 September) in a press conference at the first “European Roma Summit” in Brussels, an event jointly organised by the European Commission and the Soros foundation. “I am worried that this could become a de facto European standard,” Mr Soros added.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]



Italy Fingers Libya on Immigration

Tripoli failing to keep its end of bilateral deal

(ANSA) — Milan, October 7 — Italian Interior Minister Roberto Maroni on Tuesday condemned Libya for failing to keep its end of a bilateral deal, as dozens more migrants arrived by sea from north Africa. Three boats carrying 149 people were stopped near the southernmost Italian island of Lampedusa in the early hours of Tuesday, prompting angry comments from Maroni over an accord signed in August.

‘‘Around 99.9% of illegals who arrive in Lampedusa set out from Libya,’’ he said in a radio interview. ‘‘Libya promised more controls but these are not being carried out effectively as we requested’’. Rome pledged to fund medical and infrastructure projects under August’s five-billion-dollar colonial compensation deal in exchange for Libya implementing previously agreed measures aimed at reducing migrant arrivals in Italy, such as joint patrols of the Libyan coast.

But three weeks after the agreement was signed, it seemed headed for trouble, when Maroni announced there had been no drop in the number of migrants arriving from Libya and threatened to block certain projects.

Tripoli issued an angry reply via the Libyan ambassador to Rome, saying Libya ‘‘had never asked Italy for help’’ in dealing with migrants.

On Tuesday, Maroni accused Tripoli of refusing to accept the delivery of six high-speed motorboats for joint patrols off the Libyan coast. ‘‘We are waiting hopefully for the Libyan government to give us clearance,’’ he said.

‘‘Saving a sinking boat in international waters is clearly an obligation but if boats carrying illegals were stopped at the departure point then this problem wouldn’t arise’’. Three boats were brought safely to Lampedusa on Tuesday morning although coast guards said others had also been sighted, probably as a result of the sudden improvement in weather. There were 61 women and 41 children among the 149 foreigners brought to the island’s reception centre for processing. Hundreds of migrants are stopped in Italian waters each year en route to Europe. Lampedusa, which is closer to Africa than Italy, is the first port of call for most of these migrants, and facilities on the tiny island are often strained to breaking point. AGREEMENT SIGNED AT THE END OF AUGUST.

The agreement Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi signed with Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi at the end of August has not yet been published or ratified in Italy. On Tuesday, Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said the full text of the measure would be put to parliament within two weeks, along with a ratification bill. A deal to compensate Libya for Italy’s colonial occupation has been the subject of sporadic negotiations for over a decade. In 2004, Libya promised to stem the flow of migrants leaving its shores under a separate agreement.

Although hailed as a victory by the Berlusconi government of the day, it made no impact on the number of arrivals. The new compensation deal requires Libya to implement its 2004 promises, which includes patrols of Libya’s southern borders to prevent migrants from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan and Chad from crossing the country to arrive at the coast.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Culture Wars


Homosexuals Should Carry Warning Tattoos, Says Chaplain

A Church of England clergyman has said that homosexuals should be tattooed with health warnings similar to those seen on cigarette packets.

The Rev Dr Peter Mullen, who is rector of St Michael’s Cornhill and St Sepulchre without Newgate in the City, said in an internet blog that homosexuality was “clearly unnatural, a perversion and corruption of natural instincts and affections, and because it is a cause of fatal disease”.

He wrote: “Let us make it obligatory for homosexuals to have their backsides tattooed with the slogan SODOMY CAN SERIOUSLY DAMAGE YOUR HEALTH and their chins with FELLATIO KILLS.”

The Bishop of London, the Rt Rev Richard Chartres, said the posting, which has since been taken down, was “highly offensive”. The Rev Mullen, 66, was told on Friday that he could face disciplinary action.

Peter Tatchell of gay rights group OutRage! said he should resign.

The rector, who has written for The Daily Telegraph, insisted that he meant no harm: “I wrote some satirical things on my blog and anybody with an ounce of sense of humour or any understanding of the tradition of English satire would immediately assume that they’re light-hearted jokes.”

Mr Mullen is also listed as the chaplain to the London Stock Exchange. However, an LSE spokesman said it was a historical title. “There are no formal links between us and him in any way.”

           — Hat tip: TB [Return to headlines]



Teachers Who Have Consensual Sex With Pupils Should Not Face Prosecution, Says Union

Child protection experts last night condemned a teachers’ leader for saying that staff who have affairs with pupils over 16 should escape prosecution.

Chris Keates, general secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, said teachers should not face jail for having sex with pupils who are over the age of consent.

Her comments, due to be broadcast tonight, have outraged child protection and parenting experts who accused her of disregarding the protection of children.

Miss Keates said: ‘There is a real anomaly in the law that we are concerned about.

‘If a teacher has a relationship with a pupil at the school at which they teach — it could be an 18-year-old pupil in the sixth form — then the teacher can be prosecuted and end up on the sex offenders’ register.’

Teachers who have sex with sixth form pupils are only guilty of an ‘error of professional judgement’ and it is unfair to put them on the sex offenders’ register, she insists.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

General


Defending Aisha

The Current Discussion: A London publishing house was firebombed for agreeing to publish ‘The Jewel of Medina’, a controversial novel about Muhammad’s wife, which Random House dropped earlier this year because it feared terrorist threats. In hindsight, was Random House in the right? Does this justify censorship of this kind in the future?

[…]

The death of Palestinians is certainly more important to Muslims (or should be) than what an obscure Danish newspaper publishes, or the views of an until-now-unknown script by a forgotten Byzantine emperor, or an obsecure Mrs Jones. I am not saying that one should ignore the cartoons, novel, and the pope, but rather that one should only give them the attention they deserve, with no exaggerations, and concentrate on more concrete issues relating to the Arab and Muslim worlds.

The Prophet is one of the greatest names in history. He is too great to be affected by these ugly cartoons or the remarks of the pope. To quote Lawrence of Arabia, it is time for us to stop acting like a small people, a silly people, and start living up to our duties before history and mankind. After all, we in the Muslim world have not contributed anything to human progress in the past 500 years. We should write and promote our history, then concentrate on science, arts, literature, and freedom of the mind. We should learn to talk to, rather than demonstrate against, those who think and act differently, and those who wrong us.

           — Hat tip: TB [Return to headlines]



Synod: Oullet, Muslims Our Allies in Defence of Human Life

(ANSAmed) — VATICAN CITY, OCTOBER 6 — In the inter-religious dialogue the Catholic Church considers “followers of the Muslim faith” “allies in the defence of human life”: dialogue with them is “more important than ever in the present situation” said Cardinal Marc Oullet in his report to the bishops’ synod. “Facing secularization and liberalism” he said in the meeting of 253 synodal fathers on the word of God “ they are allies in the defence of human life and the statement of the social importance of religion. Dialogue with them is more important than ever in the present situation” he added “to promote, together, social justice, moral values, peace and freedom for all mankind”. “The testimony of the martyrs of Tiberine in Algeria in 1996” Oullet continued “raises this dialogue to possibly the highest level ever in history, regarding the service of mankind and the reconciliation of people”. “The audacious initiatives of Pope Benedict XVI” he concludes “support the persevering continuation of dialogue with the Islam”. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]



West’s Appetite for Attacking Islam Knows No Bounds

by Abid Mustafa

“Western governments use religious freedom or freedom of expression to pry open societies closed to western values or totally ignore freedom when it does not concur with their interests. In the case of Karimov’s massacre of Muslims in Andijon, the West has chosen to dilute its response, as the protesters were avid practitioners of Islam and not democracy. Such hypocrisy only serves to underscore the perception amongst Muslims that the America and Europe are solely interested in the utter destruction of Islamic values and practices.”

In the latest bout of West’s defamation of Islam, an obscure writer Sherry Jones succeeded in the publication of her book Jewel of Medina, despite vehement protests from Muslim groups around the world. Once again Muslims are expected to subscribe to West’s notion of freedom of expression and respect Sherry’s offensive portrayal of messenger (s.a.w) of Allah with his youngest wife Aisha.Earlier in this year, at least seventeen Danish newspapers vowed to defend freedom of expression and reprinted a cartoon of Prophet Mohammed. The conservative broadsheet Berlingske Tidende wrote in an editorial: “Freedom of expression gives you the right to think, to speak and to draw what you like… no matter how many terrorist plots there are…” It is evident that both Europe and America did not learn anything from the outcry of Muslims that accompanied the newspaper Jyllands-Posten decision to publish the original cartoons in 2005.

In Europe Islam bashing is an epidemic that infected the whole continent. The Dutch government refused to take action against Dutch Member of Parliament Geert Wilders who made a derogatory movie about the Quran. The government defended Wilders’s actions by citing freedom of expression. France and Germany have imposed a ban on the wearing of hijabs. European security forces routinely harass, arrest and torture Muslims for simply being Muslims. Writers and journalists are free to insult Islam and their right to do so is passionately defended by politicians. Take Oriana Fallaci, the Italian war correspondent wrote a book entitled ‘Anger and Pride’ in which she described Muslims as ‘vile creatures who urinate in baptisteries’ and ‘multiply like rats’. To the horror of Muslims, Italy’s Defence Minister, Antonio Martino, praised Fallaci for having the courage to write the book. In Britain under the guise of freedom and tolerance, government ministers routinely denigrate Islam and set new benchmarks for British Muslims to pledge their loyalty to the state….

           — Hat tip: TB [Return to headlines]

2 thoughts on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 10/7/2008

  1. Beijing Says Milk is Safe Now, But Contaminated Products Are Still in Stores

    This ongoing milk contamination scandal represents one of the first times that China’s population has had to confront the implications of institutionalized and culturally accepted commercial piracy. No longer is the production of knock-off designer label goods or illicit copying of major motion pictures and software merely a free ride on the coattails of running-dog capitalists. As always with communist kleptocracies, when the chickens come home to roost, they do it with a vengeance.

    China’s “one family, one child” policy is still firmly in place and the injury of an only child carries with it truly dire issues. How many parents must now make the agonizing decision to forego government benefits by having a second baby in order to counteract the possibility of their current child developing health complications at a later date? How many parents, forced by economic constraints, must resign themselves to gamble upon the dubious future health of their one child when the time comes for that only offspring to support his aging mother and father?

    In reality, with some 50 to 60 infants dead, there has been a much greater death toll from the sale of almost nutrient-free counterfeit baby formula. However, the downstream implications of this latest melamine adulteration promise far more devastating consequences for the Chinese people at large. The handful of infant deaths resulting from this latest round of almost-routine product contamination foreshadows a hidden and much more significant issue. While the infant deaths make for dramatic headlines, of greater concern is the long range health complications for those who ingested intermediate but sufficient quantities of melamine to cause impaired renal function. Only after one or two decades will the true scope of this criminal enterprise finally manifest itself. An exponential spike in the need for costly dialysis treatment and astronomically expensive kidney transplants looms large on China’s horizon.

    The Politburo’s deafening silence regarding the issue of creating an insurance bond for all the lingering medical issues speaks volumes about who matters and who cares in China’s mercenary economic environment. Lest anyone be inclined to think that all of this is a byproduct of endemic corruption, the Chinese government bears direct responsibility for these persistent scandals. While political corruption certainly plays a distinct part in all this, there is a deeper and far more fundamental malaise involved.

    The autocratic nature of Chinese communism manifests itself in arbitrary and unilateral policies that often conflict with the public’s overall interests. It is this atmosphere of uncertainty and financial instability that breeds up the very worst forms of opportunism and criminal negligence. Unsure of exactly how long existing legal condisitons will prevail, even honest business people are driven to maximize profits and untilize dubious practices. This is only hammered home all the harder when such legitimate enterprises are forced to compete against those who protect themselves from prosection through bribery of inspectors and officials.

    Sadly, this probably will be but one in a series of major crimes needed to shake the Chinese people out of their complacency. In the decades to come, far too few will harken back to this mass poisoning when the epidemic of kidney failures finally manifests. China continues to incubate conditions that are leading to a “perfect storm” of financial, medical, environmental and political wildfires. Beset by the world’s largest medically caused AIDS epidemic, a massive bubble economy, intensely polluted cities and waterways plus some one trillion dollars in bad bank debt, non-military solutions to these issues are few and far between. This is what lends such an ominous cast to China’s continued arms buildup and the prospect of military conflict in the East Asian quadrant.

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