Gates of Vienna News Feed 1/9/2010

Gates of Vienna News Feed 1/9/2010The news feed was delayed a while tonight because of our email problem. Late this evening I managed to download our mail, and was able to include most of today’s news stories.

Race riots have intensified in the town of Rosarno, Italy, where locals have attacked and even shot some of the illegal African immigrants in the area. The government blames the events on the excessive “tolerance” of recent years, but the Italian left sees evidence of Mafia control, poverty, intolerance, and racism.

There are a lot of bomb plot stories in the news tonight. The most significant one comes from New York, and involved a high-speed police chase of the suspect, Najibullah Zazi. Other bomb plot reports come from Uganda and London, and bombs were successfully exploded in Pakistan and Athens.

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Fjordman, Frontinus, Gaia, heroyalwhyness, Insubria, JD, JP, Sean O’Brian, Subversive, TB, Vlad Tepes, and all the other tipsters who sent these in. Headlines and articles are below the fold.
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Financial Crisis
Italy: November Unemployment at 8.3%, Highest Since 2004
Unemployment in Euro Zone Hits 10 Per Cent for First Time as Figures Reveal Britain is Still in Recession
A Lesson in a Free Federal Constitutional Republic, Part 1
A New Year, A New Terror
As Yu Sel Yusef, Na So Di Wol Go Bai Yu
Bogus Lawyer, Doctor Tries to Visit Fort Hood Massacre Suspect Nidal Hasan
Bosnian-Born ‘NY Bomb Plotter’ Denies Charges
Family Says Disruptive Plane Suspect Was a Victim
Islamic Group Called a Criminal Front
Judge Rules Against CAIR
Obama’s “Pro-Terror” Security Plan
Socialized Healthcare is Closer to Reality Than You Think
TSA Agent Arrested at Lax
Zazi Associate Charged in New York Bomb Plot
Attack on Canada, U.S. Is Attack on Muslims: Imams
Europe and the EU
Bad Weather: River Floods in Central Italy
Bad Weather: Cold Snap Hits Spain
British Radicalization Studies
Europe’s White Winter Blanket
Greece: Papaconstantinou, Pension Reform Immediately
Italy: Containers on Trains Between Piedmont and Liguria
Netherlands: Publisher Renames Joseph Conrad Classic ‘The N-Word of the Narcissus’
Report: Hizbullah Earning Millions Off European Drug Trade
Small Bomb Explodes Near Greek Parliament in Athens
Spain: Bad Weather, Home Flooded, Elderly Woman Drowns
St. Pius X Brotherhood Attacks Catholic Bishops
UK: [Sikh] Hero Stabbed to Death After Chasing Muggers Who Stole Woman’s Bag
UK: All Rise in Court — or Would the Muslims Like to Sit This One Out?
UK: More Than 230 Schools Have Ditched Christian Assemblies
UK: Passenger Charged Over “Bomb Threat” Which Sparked Terror Alert
Kosovo: Christmas, Message of Peace From Serbian President
North Africa
Egypt: Copts Killed, Press Calls for National Unity
Egypt: Killing of Christians, 3 Arrested
Gaza: Galloway ‘Persona Non Grata’ For Egypt
Vatican Voices Support for Copts
Middle East
Dubai: British Woman Arrested in Dubai After Reporting Rape is Told to Admit Being Drunk and Marry Her Fiancé if She Wants to be Freed
Turkey: CIA Bomber’s Wife Says War Must Go on Against US
Westerwelle Debates Human Rights With Saudis
South Asia
India: Stowaway Habib Released From Jail
Pakistan: Karachi: Good News TV, The First Catholic Channel in Pakistan Goes to Air
Pakistan: Karachi Bomb Victims Were ‘Fugitive Militants’
Pakistan: PM Demands Removal From US Terrorism List
Far East
Corruption Up Among China Government Officials
Sub-Saharan Africa
Premier League Star Tells of Horror as Bus Driver is Shot Dead During Machine-Gun Ambush by Rebels in Angola
US Warns of Attacks on Uganda-Sudan Planes
Latin America
Chavez Devalues Venezuela’s Currency
Immigrants Riot in Italy Amid Racial Unrest
Italy: Immigrants Riots in Southern Town
Italy: Immigrant Riot in Italy Leaves 37 Injured After Series of Beatings by White Youths
Italy: Schools to Place 30 Percent Limit on Foreign Pupils
Italy: Rosarno: Two Immigrants Shot in the Legs With a Pistol
Migrants Evacuated From Southern Italian Town
PvdA in Amsterdam: Exclude Whites From Top City Hall Posts
Violence Escalates in Italian Town After African Workers Shot
2012 an Interesting Observation
Killing Freedom and Cartoonists
Meteorologist Predicts Global Cooling

Financial Crisis

Italy: November Unemployment at 8.3%, Highest Since 2004

(ANSAmed) — ROME, JANUARY 8 — Unemployment in Italy has reached 8.3%, its highest point since April 2004, reports Italy’s national statistics institute ISTAT, noting that in November 2008 the unemployment rate was at 7.1%. ISTAT said employment decreased by 389,000 jobs during the month compared with the same month of 2008 and by 44,000 compared with October: a year-on-year drop of 1.7% and a monthly one of 0.2%. Those looking for work have therefore risen to 2,079,000: 313,000 more than the year before and 30,000 compared with October. The number of jobless between ages 15 and 64 has remained stable overall (0.1%) compared with October 2009, while it rose by 1.8% (+269,000 units) compared with November 2008. Unemployed men number 1,088,000 (+31,000 compared with October and +211,000 compared with November 2008), while women job seekers total 990,000: a decrease of 1,000 units compared with October, in part to those having given up looking, and an increase of 130,000 compared with November 2008. Suffering the effects of the crisis are especially the young, with the unemployment rate of those between 15 and 24 at 26.5%: three times the overall figure of 8.3% seen in the period in question. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Unemployment in Euro Zone Hits 10 Per Cent for First Time as Figures Reveal Britain is Still in Recession

Unemployment in the euro zone has risen to 10 per cent for the first time since the introduction of the single currency.

The figures confirm the dire effects the economic downturn is having on Britain’s main trading partners.

The news will also provoke accusations that the euro is restricting European growth.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]


A Lesson in a Free Federal Constitutional Republic, Part 1

…That is, instead of the “general welfare” clause defining the specific enumerations of Congress’ power, the specific powers actually define what “general welfare” is, just as all of the articles and amendments of the constitution and their limitations on the federal government shed light on what “securing the blessings of liberty” is. This method is literally Contract and Law Interpretation 101, which is well-settled that “specific contract provisions prevail over general provisions” and “the general rule of statutory construction is that a specific provision prevails over a more general one.”


In other words, the purpose, character and nature of the federal government did not change from the Articles to the US Constitution. Of course, this theme of constancy between the Articles of Confederation and the US Constitution is consistent throughout the federalist papers, proving in part that the method for constitutional construction is one of limitation, not expansion of federal power, and is one that maintains the inviolable line of sovereignty between state and federal. While the federal courts have completely twisted this principle of constitutional construction since the early 1800s, starting with John Marshall’s court, many supreme court justices have not bought into the nationalist-interpretation of Congress’ power.


James Madison says in Federalist Paper 39, “the proposed government cannot be deemed a NATIONAL one; since its jurisdiction extends to certain enumerated objects only, and LEAVES TO THE SEVERAL STATES A RESIDUARY AND INVIOLABLE SOVEREIGNTY OVER ALL OTHER OBJECTS.” (Emphasis added) How can an inviolable line of powers be maintained if the federal government can increase its powers at will, or as defined by the most un-democratic office holders in the country: the federal supreme court? Interestingly enough, the federal government, in toto, seems to be doing a great job at drawing and maintaining a “line of separation between church and state.” Why not apply the same strict principle of separation to the sovereignty of federal and state government? Funny how lines all of a sudden get blurry. The fact is: federal government lovers care nothing of the lines of sovereignty, except moving it encroachingly more into the territory and dominion of the states and people respectively, the tenth amendment notwithstanding. This requires the states to defend what is rightfully theirs.


…In fact, George Washington, the father of our country, expressed the fixed meaning of the constitution this way:

“Let the reins of government then be braced and held with a steady hand, and every violation of the constitution be reprehended. If defective, let it be amended, but not suffered to be trampled upon whilst it has an existence.” Albert Bushnell Hart, ed. and Mabel Hill, comp., Liberty Documents: With Contemporary Exposition and Critical Comments Drawn from Various Writers, (New York: Longmans, Green, 1903), 218.

The federal supreme court has recognized the same fixed meaning of the constitution: “We are bound to interpret the Constitution in light of the law as it existed at the time it was adopted.” Mattox v. United States, 156 U.S. 237, 243 (1895).

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

A New Year, A New Terror

Obama media is very predictably redefining patriotism as support for anything Obama does

Barely has 2010 begun and we’ve already had multiple terror arrests, one after another. And then we’ve had multiple arrests that aren’t even being described as terror related.

Just today, we’ve had two more arrests out of New York of friendly religion of peace folks. Only a few days before that, a Palestinian Arab Muslim who owns a mosque was taken off a plane for shouting that he wanted to kill Jews. The media however is dismissing it as nothing more than a drunken incident.

The latest Pentagon report shows that the Gitmo terror returnee rate is up to 20 percent. And again, those are only the ones the Pentagon knows about. Worse yet many of the returnees from Gitmo are actually playing key roles in Al Queda, particularly in Yemen. This is significant because liberal pundits and lawyers often made the argument that these were small fry who just happened to come to Afghanistan and wanted nothing more than to go home.

Well they came home and began the Jihad all over again. Which naturally those same pundits and lawyers claim was only attributable to how much we humiliated them at Gitmo.

Then there was the Westergard ax attack, a shooting in a church in Egypt and all the usual roundup of terrorist attacks in areas in Afghanistan, Russia’s Islamic republics, Israel, Kashmir and all the other parts of the world that Muslims have turned into a war zone.

All in a matter of a few days.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

As Yu Sel Yusef, Na So Di Wol Go Bai Yu

There is a lot of wahala as a result of the foolish attempt of a spoiled Nigerian boy to blow up an airliner on its way to Detroit. This has provoked a serious and sustained effort by the US and European authorities to prevent such a thing from happening again so they have established strict controls over Nigerians travelling through their airports.


When teams of investigators rushed to Nigeria to follow up leads on the bomber’s trail of contacts they were met with hostility and stonewalled by Nigerian security and legal representatives. Now Maduekwe, the Foreign Minister, has read a demarche to Ambassador Robin Sanders complaining that the US actions against Nigerians are too harsh. This is preposterous. However Nigerians may see themselves they are viewed differently abroad. There are few jails anywhere in the world which don’t host Nigerian drug mules. The 419 scandals are indelibly etched on the minds of their potential victims. Yet these same 419ers are invited to Nigerian embassy functions and given the legitimacy afforded by introductions made by Nigerian officials and ambassadors. Just this week the US petitioned the Nigerians for more information on Alhaji Buruji Kashamu who is a drug baron and fugitive from the US as well as being the Godfather of Ogun State. No assistance has yet been given.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Bogus Lawyer, Doctor Tries to Visit Fort Hood Massacre Suspect Nidal Hasan

KILLEEN, Texas — An unarmed man falsely claiming to be an attorney and a doctor has been blocked from visiting the Army psychiatrist charged in the Fort Hood shootings.

Brooke Army Medical Center spokesman Dewey Mitchell said the man asked security at the hospital in San Antonio to escort him to Maj. Nidal Hasan on Wednesday.

Mitchell said he claimed to be Hasan’s attorney, John Galligan, but security personnel know the lawyer. The man, whose name wasn’t released, then said he was a doctor.

Mitchell said investigators spoke to the man but no charges were filed and he was not considered a threat.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Bosnian-Born ‘NY Bomb Plotter’ Denies Charges

A Bosnian-born man arrested in New York in connection with an alleged plot to bomb the city has pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to commit murder abroad.

Adis Medunjanin, 25, who was arrested on Friday by the FBI, also denied being trained by al-Qaeda.

He and a friend are said to be associates of an Afghan-born Colorado man, Najibullah Zazi, accused of planning an attack on city commuters.

Zarein Ahmedzay, of Afghan origin, was also detained on Friday.

He pleaded not guilty to a charge of making a false statement to the FBI about where exactly he had travelled in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

All three men attended high school together in New York and lived for years in the same city neighbourhood of Queens.

Investigators allege that they travelled to Pakistan together in August 2008 and attended an al-Qaeda training camp.

Both men arrested on Friday were reported to have been questioned by investigators last year.

           — Hat tip: Sean O’Brian [Return to headlines]

Family Says Disruptive Plane Suspect Was a Victim

[CBS4 news video report at link]

The family of an Ohio man kicked off a plane at Miami International Airport for allegedly making anti-semitic remarks believes he was targeted because of his race.

Melissa Asad and her niece Gina were on board a Northwest Airlines flight with 43-year-old Mansor Mohammad Asad at Miami-International Airport bound for Detroit Wednesday night. The plane returned to the gate and they were kicked off.

“We did nothing wrong to be treated like we were treated; we were treated like animals basically,” said Melissa Asad Mansor’s sister. “They over exaggerated the whole situation, which she got away with it obviously,” Melissa Asad said. She is referring to an off-duty flight attendant that overheard a conversation between her brother and another passenger talking about Palestinians and Jews.

She says the woman then ran to get security. “I think it was US Marshals, the guys with the guns came in there and was like you guys have to get off the plane.”

Police say Mansor Mohammad Asad became disruptive, saying “I’m Palestinian, Jews should be killed.”

But his sister says she and Asad’s daughter witnessed something totally different.

“My brother didn’t get into a scuffle, they got into a scuffle with him. They slammed him on the ground, he was faced down on the ground,” said Asad.

She says her brother never tried to charge at them or fight back. But officers still shot him twice with a Taser. “How can you be fighting or anything with your head face down on the ground with somebody’s knee in your back with guns over your head.”

Mansor Asad went before a judge for a bond hearing Friday claiming his innocence. But the judge wasn’t easy on him setting bond at $210-thousand.

This is excessive to family members who believe they did nothing wrong.

“It made me feel like we were mistreated, all of us,” said Asad’s daughter Gina.

Melissa Asad is upset and said, “Just because we’re Arabic, I feel they’re very, very, very racist against us.”

Asad’s attorney’s said the whole incident was a misunderstanding, and if he posts the bond, he will be under house arrest with a relative in Fort Lauderdale.

           — Hat tip: heroyalwhyness [Return to headlines]

Islamic Group Called a Criminal Front

WASHINGTON (CN) — The Council on American-Islamic Relations Action Network, or CAIR, employed a “resident attorney” to help Muslims in America deal with legal issues, but he is not licensed to practice law, according to two federal complaints. The plaintiffs claim that CAIR is “a criminal organization” posing as a civil liberties legal service, but it actually is a “covert front group for Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, organizations with a long history of terrorism through jihad.”

CAIR, which describes itself as “America’s largest Muslim civil liberties group,” allowed Morris J. Days III to pose as a licensed attorney and fraudulently collect legal fees from CAIR’s clients, according to the complaints.

When the clients found that Days not an attorney, and had never even attended law school, CAIR covered up its actions by claiming that Days did not actually work for it, but was an “independent contractor,” according to the complaints.

The plaintiffs are Muslims of various backgrounds from Virginia. They say they went to CAIR for help for a range of legal issues, including employment discrimination, immigration problems and divorce proceedings.

The plaintiffs say CAIR made public representations through mail and on its Web site that “Days, as an attorney employed by CAIR, represented well over 100 individual clients.”

But the plaintiffs say CAIR knew as early as November 2007 that Days was not an attorney, but did not fire him until February 2008, when complaints from its clients became more vocal and threatening.

The plaintiffs say CAIR management made no effort to inform them of the problem, nor did they contact authorities. Instead, they say, CAIR told its clients, “Days was never an employee of CAIR … rather that he was an independent contractor … and the victims had to take up their complaints with Days.”

Plaintiffs, who include Rene Arturo Lopez, Aquilla A.D. Turner, Mohammed Barakatullah Abdussalaam, and Bayenah Nur, allege violations of the Consumer Protection Act, emotional distress, and breach of fiduciary duties. They seek punitive damages and are represented by David Yerushalmi of Chandler, Ariz.

           — Hat tip: Frontinus [Return to headlines]

Judge Rules Against CAIR

D.C.-based Islamic group trying to quash book exposing terror ties

A federal judge ruled against the Council on American-Islamic Relations today in its lawsuit against a father and son who carried out a six-month undercover investigation of the D.C.-based Muslim group, denying a request to conduct discovery — an examination of its opponent’s witnesses, facts and documents — prior to hearing a motion to dismiss the case.

CAIR is suing P. David Gaubatz and his son, Chris Gaubatz, for allegedly stealing sensitive internal documents and making recordings of officials without consent. Chris Gaubatz, who posed as a Muslim in an internship with CAIR’s national office in Washington, took some 12,000 pages of documents destined for a shredder in an attempt, he said, to expose the group’s ties to Islamic jihad and terrorism. His father is a former Air Force special agent with extensive Middle East experience who researches the spread of radical Islam in the U.S. and its threat to national security.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Obama’s “Pro-Terror” Security Plan

Obama: Soft on Islamic terrorists, tough on domestic terrorists

So as not to offend any of his Muslim brethren who paid for his college education and much of his presidential campaign, Obama rejects “terror profiling” the very common traits of Middle Eastern men most likely to travel with a bomb in their shorts in favor of the TSA treating everyone at an airport like a potential terrorist.

And although the intelligence community did its job, and the fact is, it was Hillary Clinton’s State Department, which sat on the knowledge that a Yemen member of Al Qaeda was about to board a commercial flight for Detroit with a bomb in his underwear, Obama uses the Christmas Bomber opportunity to take another swipe at the CIA — a swipe that Leon Panetta was fast to rebuff.

Despite the fact that Abdulmutallab climbed aboard a US bound plane at a foreign airport, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano sees placing 300 new imaging machines at US airports as the solution. 300 imaging machines at US airports would not have stopped Abdulmutallab, who didn’t climb aboard that plane at a US airport. But Janet’s agency is far more concerned with “potential domestic terrorist” (aka, those opposed to Obama’s Marxism) than folks like Abdulmutallab. Hence, 300 new scanners for US airports.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Socialized Healthcare is Closer to Reality Than You Think

The United States’ nightmare of Obama-Reid-Pelosi socialized medicine will just be beginning

In an article for the Heritage Foundation entitled “Congress’s Secret Plan to pass Obamacare” authored by Brian Darling layout a four step plan for Obamacare to hitch a ride on an existing piece of Legislation which has originated in the House using a rare parliamentary procedure.

Steps one and Two have been completed.

Mr. Darling’s scenario for Step Three was to attach Obamacare to an unrelated bill — H.R 1586, a bill to impose a tax on bonuses received by certain TARP recipients. Mr. Reid has instead attached the bill to H.R. 3590, which is entitled: “An Act to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to modify the first-time homebuyers credit in the case of members of the Armed Forces and certain other Federal employees, and for other purposes.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

TSA Agent Arrested at Lax

They are the first line of defense in airport security but two troubling incidents involving TSA agents at LAX are raising concerns.

A TSA agent was arrested on January 3rd in Terminal One at LAX, a source told NBCLA. He had just gotten off duty and was behaving erratically, saying, “I am god, I’m in charge.” Meanwhile, a TSA Internal Affairs investigation turned up evidence of LAX TSA agents using drugs at an after-hours party.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Zazi Associate Charged in New York Bomb Plot

NEW YORK, Jan 9 (Reuters) — A former high school classmate of a man accused of plotting an al Qaeda-inspired bomb attack in New York pleaded not guilty on Saturday to charges of murder conspiracy and receiving training by a terrorist organization.

Adis Medunjanin, 25, a U.S. citizen of Bosnian origin, had been arrested after a car chase that ended in a collision on a New York City bridge.

At a Saturday arraignment at Brooklyn federal court, Medunjanin was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit murder in a foreign country, Pakistan, and one count of getting military-style training from al Qaeda.

Medunjanin, a building superintendent, appeared wearing a black hooded jacket and blue warm-up pants. He is being held without bond and U.S. District Judge Viktor Pohorelsky scheduled a detention hearing for Jan. 14. Assistant U.S. Attorney James Loonam said he would seek a permanent order of detention.

Zarein Ahmedzay, a 24-year-old man of Afghani origin, also was arrested on Friday and pleaded not guilty to a charge of making false statements to the FBI — specifically, that he lied about where he had visited in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Medunjanin and Ahmedzay attended high school in New York City with Afghan-born Najibullah Zazi, 24, who was arrested in September and accused of plotting a bomb attack in New York City on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. Zazi has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Investigators allege the three men traveled to Pakistan together in 2008 and attended an al Qaeda training camp.

Speaking to reporters after the arraignment, Medunjanin’s lawyer, Robert Gottlieb, declined to comment on Medunjanin’s relationship with Zazi or the circumstances of his arrest.

“We entered an emphatic not guilty,” Gottlieb said.

Gottlieb said Medunjanin had illegally been denied access to his attorney while in custody and said he would seek to have any statements made to investigators thrown out as inadmissible.

Medunjanin and Ahmedzay have been under surveillance since Zazi’s arrest.

Authorities searched Medunjanin’s home on Thursday afternoon and seized his U.S. passport. Medunjanin then got in his car and began racing through the streets of New York at speeds of up to 90 mph/(145 kph), according to a law-enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“He called 911 (the emergency response line) and invoked the name of Allah. He said, ‘We love death more than you love life!’ and rammed the car in front of him,” the law enforcement official said.

He was detained by New York police and handed over to federal authorities, providing them with information that led to the arrest of Ahmedzay, the source said.

Ahmedzay, a taxi driver, was arrested in Manhattan while on duty, his lawyer said.

Security experts had considered the case of Zazi, a former coffee vendor from New York who had moved to Colorado, among the most serious within U.S. borders since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. In recent weeks, however, the case has been overshadowed by the attempted Christmas Day bombing of a Detroit-bound airliner.

[Return to headlines]


Attack on Canada, U.S. Is Attack on Muslims: Imams

A group of Canadian and U.S. Islamic leaders on Friday issued a fatwa, or religious edict, declaring that an attack by extremists on the two countries would constitute an attack on the 10 million Muslims living in North America.

The 20 imams associated with the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada said this marked the first fatwa by the Muslim clergy declaring attacks on Canada and the U.S. to be attacks on Muslims.

“In our view, these attacks are evil, and Islam requires Muslims to stand up against this evil,” the imams said in their fatwa.

Calgary Imam Syed Soharwardy, founder of the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada, said attacks on Canadian or U.S. soil are essentially attacks on Muslims.

“We are part of this society,” he said. “This is my home, and if anybody attacks on Canada, in fact, attacks on my home.”

The imams said it is a duty of every Muslim in Canada and the U.S. to safeguard the two countries.

“They must expose any person, Muslim or non-Muslim, who would cause harm to fellow Canadians or Americans,” they said.

“It is religious obligation upon Muslims, based upon the Qur’anic teachings, that we have to be loyal to the country where we live,” said Soharwardy. “We have no problems in Canada; we can practise our religion freely.”

In Montreal, one of the signatories of the edict, Imam Nasir Qadri of the Anwar Musallah Mosque, said he spoke to his followers at his mosque about the issue Friday.

Most of them call Canada home and feel personally threatened by the attempted attacks, he said.

The 20 imams who signed the fatwa come from British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and Houston.

The fatwa comes just weeks after an attempted bombing on Christmas Day of a U.S. jet bound for Detroit from Amsterdam.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a 23-year-old Nigerian man, has been indicted on six charges, which include attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and attempted murder.

           — Hat tip: Subversive [Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Bad Weather: River Floods in Central Italy

(ANSAmed) — ROME, JANUARY 6 — Bad weather conditions and heavy downpours in recent days have caused some rivers to overflow, especially in Italy’s central regions. Last night, the Tiber overflew in region Umbria, near Città di Castello and between Perugia and Pontenuovo di Torgiano. Earlier this morning, after two days of torrential rains, river Fiora burst its banks near Montalto di Castro (Viterbo), cutting off parts of state road Aurelia. Landslides and mudslides have been reported in the Tuscia area. The waters of river Esimo, which overflew this morning in Fabriano, flooding an approximately 100 metre long stretch of state road, are already flowing away. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Bad Weather: Cold Snap Hits Spain

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, JANUARY 8 — A cold snap with subzero temperatures, ice, and snow, is hitting Spain and the civil protection agency has alerted all of the autonomous communities except for Estremadura, Andalusia, and the Canary Islands. Snow, cold winds, and low temperatures, which could drop to -7 degrees in the central zone of Meseta, were predicted by the State Weather Agency (AMET) from now until Sunday, when thermometer will hit -15 degrees in some areas on the peninsula. Snow at low altitudes, starting at 100m, struck yesterday in the northern and eastern regions of Spain, with frost in many inland areas and strong wind gusts in the Ebro Valley in the province of Girona (Catalonia), but also in Menorca (Balearic Islands) and Melilla, the Spanish enclave in Morocco. In Catalonia, the civil protection of the Generalitat confirmed the state of emergency, with more snow expected after abundant snowfall crippled transport in the provinces of Girona and Tarragona, where a regional train was stuck for hours with about 50 passengers onboard. Temperatures forced the Traffic Office to close 15 roads in the region, and limit traffic to cars on another 11, as well as ordering the use of tire chains on another 50. Problems were also experienced on La Jonquera on the French border, after lorries were temporarily blocked and long lines of traffic were created on icy roads. In Santiago di Compostela and Lugo in Galicia, the wave of extreme cold resulted in chaos, sending essential services into haywire such as urban transport, which was suspended due to danger caused by an almost uniform coat of ice. In Catalonia many schools were closed. Government officials advised citizens to limit the use of private vehicles; many newsstands were not delivered newspapers and deliveries were not made to some supermarkets, in an emergency that has not been seen for at least 50 years. The three airports in the region racked up delays and some domestic flights were forced to turn back or were rerouted to other airports. High speed trains between Madrid and Barcelona were delayed by 45 minutes on average. In the south rainstorms caused serious damage to the provinces of Malaga and Granada. In Velderrubio (Granada), a 76-year-old woman drowned when her ground-floor home was flooded with over three metres of water. The Escoznar torrent flooded, turning the roads of the historic centre into rivers, and forcing the evacuation of the two schools in the small town. The threat of snowfall has been present in the Valencian Community since the early morning. According to forecasts, snow will also fall tomorrow, precipitation also at sea level in the Cantabrian area, the Levante, and the southwest. In the rest of the provinces of Andalusia, Aragon, Castilla-La Mancha, Castilla y Leon, La Rioja, Galicia, Navarra, Madrid, Catalonia, and Melilla, there is a risk of strong winds and low temperatures. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

British Radicalization Studies

The U.K.’s universities offer the most conducive environment an Islamic extremist could inhabit outside Waziristan.

Shortly after he tried to bring down flight 253 to Detroit on Christmas Day, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab became the fourth former head of a British university Islamic Society (ISOC) to have been charged with a serious terrorism offense. This is only the tip of the problem. Shaming as it is, during his time studying at University College London (UCL), Abdulmutallab was in the most conducive environment an Islamic extremist could inhabit outside Waziristan.

It is a situation that has come about despite repeated warnings. And I should know, because I’ve been one of the people trying to do the warning.

The results are often surreal. Just before Christmas, the al Qaeda preacher Anwar al-Awlaki was the subject of an airstrike on his Yemen home that killed many al Qaeda operatives. Only last April my organization was trying to explain to London’s City University why he was not a suitable person to address, by video-link, their Islamic Society. Despite already having been known to be spiritual mentor to two of the 9/11 hijackers, he has been advertised as the “distinguished guest” speaker at the U.K.’s Federation of Student Islamic Societies’ (FOSIS) annual dinner in 2003, and at Westminster University in 2006. Awlaki is now thought to be the connection between Abdumutallab and the people who gave him the bomb with which he intended to bring down the Detroit flight.

A year and a half ago the think tank I head in London released “Islam on Campus.” The reasons for commissioning the report struck me as obvious: The list of Muslim students from the U.K. who had become active in Islamist terrorism was substantial and growing.

It was a graduate of the London School of Economics who kidnapped and beheaded Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in 2002. It was two undergraduates from Kings College London who carried out a suicide bombing in a bar in Tel Aviv the following year.

But as the list of British students turning to terrorism grew, so did the denial that there was anything wrong.

Our report, published in the summer of 2008, uncovered routine extremist preaching on U.K. campuses as well as the propagation of extremist texts. In conjunction with the polling company YouGov, we also carried out and published what remains the only major survey to date of Muslim student opinions in the U.K. The results were deeply disturbing.

The poll showed that one in three Muslim students believed that killing in the name of their religion could be justified. That figure almost doubled to 60% among respondents who were active members of their universities’ ISOCs. Other results included the discovery that 40% of Muslim students polled supported the introduction of sharia law into British law, and that 58% of students active in their ISOC supported the idea of the introduction of a worldwide Caliphate.

These horrifying opinions rightly shocked the newspaper-reading public. But the response from government and the university authorities was not to tackle the problem, but rather to attack the messengers.

FOSIS, which had been heavily criticized in the report, “rejected the conclusions utterly.” The National Union of Students followed suit.

Then Higher Education minister, Bill Rammell, entered the debate—and studiously stepped onto the wrong side. Mr. Rammell congratulated FOSIS and the National Union of Students, expressing himself “pleased at the speed with which [they] have dismissed the findings.” I hope those words don’t come back to haunt him.

Mr. Rammell’s reaction epitomizes the problem.

           — Hat tip: Gaia [Return to headlines]

Europe’s White Winter Blanket

Storms Threaten Weekend Havoc

As Europe struggles amid the heaviest snowfall seen in decades, yet more snow-induced chaos is in store. The low pressure front “Daisy” is expected to unleash storms and heavy snow across Germany over the weekend. Officials are urging people to stock up on food and avoid driving.

Even more snow is on its way across Germany and much of Europe, weather forecasters predicted on Friday. The German Meteorological Service (DWD) put out a weather warning, saying the low pressure front “Daisy” would bring gale force winds and up to 50 centimeters of snow and could trigger road chaos and power outages over the weekend.

The storm is expected to bring heavy snow to parts of Switzerland, Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic, DWD predicted. The heavy snow was set to arrive over the Alps and gradually sweep northwards.

Germany’s Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance (BBK) on Friday advised people to stock up on basic supplies ahead of the plunging temperatures. Emergency services, meanwhile, were also placed on high alert. Flight cancellations, train delays and traffic problems are expected.


20 PhotosPhoto Gallery: Cold Snap Puts Europe in a Pinch

News agencies reported that the Red Cross has delivered heated tents to some cities to provide temporary shelter for the homeless. In Germany alone this week, at least 10 homeless people have frozen to death.

France, Spain At Risk

Meanwhile, France and northern Spain have also put out alerts that more heavy snowfalls are likely. Provence, in southwestern France, and other regions have suffered power cuts and traffic delays. A number of airports across Europe have been beset by delays and cancellations while the Eurostar high-speed train service on Friday cancelled half of its train services through the Channel Tunnel from Paris to London due to the extreme weather.

Weather experts said on Friday that the initial effects of “Daisy” had already hit Germany, with snow drifts and gale-force winds striking the Fehmarn Belt along the Baltic Sea. DWD forcasted that the storm is set to spread across the country over the weekend.

Among the recommendations from the head of the Federal Office of Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance, is that people should ensure they have enough drinking water, candles and medicines at home.

“Given that there is a shortage of salt, road travel maybe impeded by ice,” the organization wrote in a message posted on its Web site. In many parts of Europe this week, both gravel and salt have been in short supply because of an unusual cold spell that has lasted longer than two weeks.

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

Greece: Papaconstantinou, Pension Reform Immediately

(ANSAmed) — ROME, JANUARY 8 — In April pension reform will be presented, and afterwards it will be the turn of tax reform and that of the autonomy of the statistics institute, according to Greek Finance Minister George Papacostantinou, who said in a Sole 24 Ore interview that the aim is to “solve our problems alone. We have neither requested nor expect any help from the ECB or any EU member state. The government is involved in an ambitious effort for fiscal consolidation to reduce the deficit by 4 percentage points by 2010 and get it under 3 per cent of GDP by 2012, a year ahead of schedule.” The Greek government’s programme, said Papaconstantinou, “is supported by strong political will”, to which the social aspect is added. “Greek society has understood the need for reform,” he concluded. “Greeks will support us as long as they feel that the changes are fair and the reforms useful.”(ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Containers on Trains Between Piedmont and Liguria

(ANSAmed) — ALESSANDRIA — The institutional understanding and the articles of establishment of the company assigned to plan and build an FS area were signed today in the city of Alessandria, in Piedmont. The investment in the area, named long port Transport, amounts to 58 million euros, and will create at least 350 jobs, calculating direct employment only. Thanks to the structure every year some 340,000 containers will be transported from Liguria to Piedmont on 10,000 shuttle trains, with the consequent removal of 300,000 articulated lorries from the roads. For now the company established today in the presence of Transport undersecretary Mino Giachino comprises the Port Authorities of Genoa (35%) and Savona (10%), Finpiemonte Partecipazioni (35%), Slala (Sistema logistico del Nord Ovest d’Italia, 10%) and FS Logistica, but membership access has been provided for the entry of other local bodies within January 31 of 2010. These will include the Municipality of Alessandria, which has already announced its participation. The first stage of the long port, dedicated to the processing of the business plan and the final project, will be achieved in 2010, followed by the creation of the infrastructure and the connecting road between the location and the existing road network. The start of activities in the port is planned for 2012, and it is expected to become fully operational by 2014.(ANSAmed)

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Netherlands: Publisher Renames Joseph Conrad Classic ‘The N-Word of the Narcissus’

A classic turn-of-the-century English novelist whose works have been read by countless millions of people is having his work sanitized for a new generation of readers.

Joseph Conrad, whose “Heart of Darkness” and “Lord Jim” have been scrutinized by English students on multiple continents for decades, wrote a lesser known novel in 1897 called “The Nigger of the Narcissus.”

Now, in what critics are calling a blatant act of politically correct censorship, a Netherlands-based publisher has reprinted the novel under a new name: “The N-word of the Narcissus.”

The new version is the first installment of WordBridge Publishing’s classic texts series, featuring “texts with a message for moderns, made accessible to moderns.”

But some critics say updating a Conrad novel by replacing all mentions of the offensive term “nigger” with “n-word” is just as offensive as the word itself.

“It’s outrageous,” said Niger Innis, spokesman for the Congress of Racial Equality, a New York-based civil rights organization. “Are they going to go to Mark Twain as well and take out all of those references?

“It’s censorship, and to blacken over a word does not mean that you can blacken over the history.”

Innis said it would be equally inappropriate for Alex Haley’s “Roots” to be re-released with instances of the racial slur replaced with a more innocuous term.

“It’s one thing if you were writing that book today, but it is quite something different to rewind history,” Innis said. “It undermines the real history.”

“I’m not going so far as to call the people who are doing this racist,” Innis said. “But I will say that whites have to be very careful in being so sensitive to blacks or other minorities to not be guilty of paternalism and treating us like children. That would be tragic.”

But Hilary Shelton, director of the NAACP’s Washington bureau and senior vice president for advocacy and policy, said he found the new version of Conrad’s novel appropriate for readers.

“It offers an option,” Shelton told “Keep in mind you can still buy the original.”

He said the latest version of Conrad’s classic is not an example of censorship because its original intent remains intact.

“You and I know what that means,” said Shelton. “The word really is still there but it takes into consideration those who would rather not read such derogatory language.”

In any form, however, Shelton said the offensive term has no place in modern society.

“It belongs in our history, it is part of our history,” he said. “But it should be dead and gone.”

           — Hat tip: Sean O’Brian [Return to headlines]

Report: Hizbullah Earning Millions Off European Drug Trade

A report in the German magazine Der Spiegel over the weekend says that one way Hizbullah has been earning money for its terror activities is by selling drugs in Europe. The report says that German police have arrested members of a Lebanese family that illegally transferred millions of euros from Germany to known Hizbullah terrorists, including Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrallah, in Lebanon.

According to the report, German customs officials arrested four Lebanese nationals — all members of the same family — at Frankfurt Airport who were found to be carrying nine million euros in their carry-on bags in May 2008. The money was seized, and an analysis showed traces of cocaine on the bills. A search of the homes of one of the suspects in the German town of Speyer yielded another 500,000 euros.

Later on, two other members of the same family known to be engaged in the drug trade throughout Europe were arrested — and under questioning, they admitted that they had sent money to family members in Beirut, and that they were closely connected to the Hizbullah leadership. The report went on to say that German police suspect that the two had been trained in Hizbullah training camps in Lebanon.

Although this is the first time a report links Hizbullah with the European drug trade, Israeli authorities have long said that the terror group was involved in growing and selling drugs — both for profit, and as a way to attempt to corrupt Israeli society. Farmers in the Bekaa Valley, once the center of the Middle East’s largest hashish industry, have once again begun growing hashish, as well as other drugs. A 2009 UN report by the international organization’s Office on Drugs and Crime says “farmers appear to be resuming cannabis cultivation.”

In an interview with the Associated Press in December, Shamai Golan, a spokesman for Israel’s Anti-Drug Authority, said that “there are dozens of documented cases” implicating Hizbullah and its patron Syria, in growing and selling drugs, and in smuggling them into Israel. Last week, Arutz 7 reported that Israeli security officials had arrested four residents of the border village of Ghajar on suspicion of trying to smuggle drugs into Israel. The four were caught hiding 5.5 kilograms (about 12 pounds) of a substance believed to be heroin.

           — Hat tip: Sean O’Brian [Return to headlines]

Small Bomb Explodes Near Greek Parliament in Athens

A small bomb has exploded outside the Greek parliament in one of the busiest areas of the capital, Athens.

The blast blew out some of the parliament building’s windows but no-one was injured in the attack, blamed on left-wing militant groups.

Police were able to clear the area around the building after receiving a 15-minute warning ahead of the blast.

The bomb was placed in a rubbish bin close to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, in Constitution Square.

Ceremonial guards protecting the tomb refused to leave their posts.

Austerity measures

The attack is likely to be the work of one of a number of domestic militant groups, spawned after the riots of December 2008.

Their anti-establishment campaign has recently changed direction to retaliate against the socialist government’s austerity measures, aimed at resolving Greece’s economic crisis.

Though the attack may have caused little physical damage, it will trouble international financial experts monitoring Greece.

Ratings agencies have warned they will downgrade the country’s credit-worthiness again if there is social unrest or if the government fails to persuade the country to accept a programme of cuts.

The bombers’ message could not have been clearer — especially as parliament was sitting at the time — they were saying they could strike with impunity against one of the most heavily guarded buildings in the country.

           — Hat tip: Sean O’Brian [Return to headlines]

Spain: Bad Weather, Home Flooded, Elderly Woman Drowns

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, JANUARY 8 — A 76-year-old woman died after drowning in her home, which was flooded by torrential rainfall yesterday in Valderrubio, a small town in the province of Granada, in Andalusia. According to sources from emergency services, cited by the media, the home where 76-year-old Magdalena P.M. lived along with her 80-year-old husband, on the ground floor of a building near the Church Square, was flooded with three metres of water. Rescued along with her husband by fire-fighters, the woman died on the way to the hospital, while her husband is currently no longer in danger. Over 500 buildings in the small town were flooded. In the same zone, the Escoznar torrent flooded, sweeping away cars, trees, and garbage bins. The two schools in the small village were evacuated and closed. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

St. Pius X Brotherhood Attacks Catholic Bishops

A priest from the controversial Catholic splinter group the Society of St. Pius X on Friday attacked several German bishops for allegedly betraying Pope Benedict XVI and the Church.

Father Franz Schmidberger said members of country’s clergy had called into question Catholicism as the only true faith — which indirectly cast doubt on Christ’s divinity.

“A certain group of bishops isn’t primarily opposed to or critical of the priest brotherhood of St. Pius X — they actually have a disturbed relationship with the pope and the theology of the Church over the centuries,” Schmidberger said.

He pointed specifically to past statements by the head of the German Bishops’ Conference Archbishop Robert Zollitsch and his predecessor Karl Lehmann to back up his claims.

The verbal broadside comes shortly before discussions between the Vatican and Society of St. Pius X, which was stripped of ordination rights by Rome after they refused to recognise a raft of modernising changes to the church in the late 1960s.

But the pope caused concern and outrage earlier last year when he lifted the excommunication of four Pius brotherhood bishops including Richard Williamson — a Holocaust denier — who had been thrown out of the church in 1988 for being ordained without Papal approval.

Since then, more moderate Catholics have called upon the Pius Brotherhood to come into line with the Vatican, but they continue to stick to their fundamentalist approach, which, among other things, calls for the conversion of Jews and supports mass in Latin.

Spokesman for the Central Committee of German Catholics, Theodor Bolzenius, vehemently rejected Schmidberger’s criticism.

“Both Cardinal Lehmann and Archbishop Zollitsch stand in great unity with the Holy Father and the Catholic bishops of the Church around the world,” he said. “And firmly on the foundation of Catholic teachings as determined by the Second Vatican Council.”

But Schmidberger said Catholicism had to overcome the spirit of the Second Vatican Council in order to “heal the Church’s gaping, bleeding wound.”

He furthermore added the Society of St. Pius X would stick to its uncompromising positions despite widespread criticism so as “to expose the anti-faith zeitgeist, the dictatorship of relativism, and permissive morals” that allow “such undignified spectacles like the gay parade in Stuttgart.”

           — Hat tip: TB [Return to headlines]

UK: [Sikh] Hero Stabbed to Death After Chasing Muggers Who Stole Woman’s Bag

Sukhwinder Singh chased the thieves who robbed a 28-year-old woman near Barking station in east London yesterday evening.

When he caught up with the pair a fight broke out and the 31-year-old was stabbed.

Mr Singh chased the robbers along Victoria Road into Uphall Road before he was attacked just before 7pm.


The two robbers were both black men in their 20s or 30s and 5ft 7in to 6ft.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: All Rise in Court — or Would the Muslims Like to Sit This One Out?

Faced with seven men in full Muslim dress, a District Judge bravely changed the rules to accommodate the accused, says Gill Hornby.

Fascinating legal developments in Luton this week, where District Judge Carolyn Mellanby has created important judicial precedents — without receiving sufficient attention for her pioneering work.

You may know that Mrs Mellanby has been hearing the case of the seven Muslim men who are accused of disrupting the homecoming parade of the 2nd Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment last March. As the soldiers paraded through the town, the men were allegedly heard to shout: “British soldiers go to hell” and “They are killing babies”. They were also allegedly seen to display placards with slogans such as “Butchers of Basra” and “Cowards, Killers, Extremists”, and so face charges under the Public Order Act.

When the case opened, the accused refused to stand for Miss Mellanby. Their religion, they argued, forbids them to stand for anybody except Allah, and they were therefore unable to show their respect for the court’s officers in the customary manner.

Faced with seven men in full Muslim dress, the District Judge bravely changed the rules to accommodate the accused. She did not — as others might have — suggest they might be in contempt, but instead arranged that, thenceforth, the men would enter the court after her, so that the sticky issue of respect would not have to be dealt with again.

It’s up to District Judge Mellanby to decide whether these men are guilty of “threatening abusive or insulting behaviour”, and we, of course, expect that she will do so in a fair and proper manner. But we should keep an eye on the case, to see if she brings in any other radical legal innovations, overturning centuries of common law, in the process.

           — Hat tip: Gaia [Return to headlines]

UK: More Than 230 Schools Have Ditched Christian Assemblies

Almost 100,000 pupils are being taught in schools which have dropped Christian assemblies in favour of Islamic or multi-faith worship.

More than 230 schools have applied to councils for exemption from the legal requirement to hold a daily act of collective worship of a “wholly or mainly of a broadly Christian character”.

In some of these schools, Islamic assemblies are held instead, with readings from the Koran. Other schools run secular or multi-faith assemblies where Christianity is avoided or relegated to just one example of a faith among many.

Religious organisations said Christianity in schools was being marginalised and accused schools of failing children.

“The worst thing of all that schools can do, whether they have a determination or not, is a multi-faith mish mash,” said Colin Hart, the director of the Christian Institute.

“The British Social Attitudes survey found that 69 per cent of parents backed daily prayers in schools. Yet Christianity in schools is being marginalised. Parents do not want assemblies to be either secular or a confusing amalgam of faiths. Look at the massive number of parents of other faiths who apply to Church schools. They don’t like the secularism that is pervading community schools.”

The scale of the opt-out can be revealed for the first time after 105 councils in England responded to a Freedom of Information request from The Sunday Telegraph.

Between them, the local authorities had granted “determinations” to 185 primaries and 45 secondaries, teaching an estimated 96,000 pupils.

In most schools with opt-outs, the vast majority of pupils were from ethnic minorities. However, in some, white British pupils formed a sizeable minority.

Inner city authorities, such as Birmingham, Bradford, Leicester and the London boroughs of Brent, Hounslow and Ealing, had dozens of schools which had dropped Christian assemblies. Government figures show that the number of ethnic minority pupils in English schools is growing. One in four primary schoolchildren is from an ethnic minority — double the figure a decade ago.

A number of councils with high numbers of ethnic minority pupils, such as Tower Hamlets and Hackney, in London, had no exemptions. But religious experts said this did not necessarily mean that Christian worship was taking place.

The Church of England said the law was flexible enough to cater for mixed school intakes, without the need for opt-outs.

“Collective worship within a broadly Christian framework rarely poses an issue for students of other faith backgrounds, which tend to share the same core values,” said a spokesman.

“The law is sufficient flexibility for schools to be able to reflect the nature of a multicultural intake without needing a determination. For instance, almost half of the content could be from a non-Christian faith. If parents are uncomfortable with what is on offer, they have the legal right to withdraw their child from what is provided by the school.”

The duty on schools to provide a daily act of Christian worship dates back to 1944 but was strengthened in the 1988 education act.

Schools can apply to the local authority Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (SACRE), made up of school and faith representatives, for an exemption from the “broadly Christian” requirement for some or all of their pupils. If this “determination” is granted, the school must provide alternative worship for these pupils.

In 2007, sixth forms were given the right to opt-out of collective worship and in 2008, a committee of MPs recommended that under-16s should also be given the choice.

Many head teachers and their staff object to the requirement and bend or break the rules, particularly in secondary schools. Ofsed is supposed to check that schools do comply but some critics said inspectors took too broad a view. In 2004, David Bell, the then chief inspector and now the permanent secretary of the Department of Children, Schools and Families, suggested that the law on Christian worship be repealed.

John Dunford, the general secretary of the Association of School and College leaders, said: “The concept of compulsory worship has always been a nonsense. Schools have long wanted the government to take on the bishops in the House of Lords and change the law. School assemblies are a valuable way to reinforce the ethos of the school. They often contain the spiritual element that is missing in many children’s lives but having a law which imposes Christian collective worship is nonsense.”

Terry Sanderson, the president of the National Secular Society, said: “Requiring children to worship, as our law does, is a breach of their human rights. In many schools, children from other creeds and none are in the majority and the proportion is rising. Enforced Christian Collective worship has therefore gone beyond being an embarrassment to becoming a needless source of conflict.”

Bordesley Green Girls’ Specialist and Enterprise School, in Birmingham, was granted a determination in 2004 which allows it to hold a daily act of worship which is Islamic in character.

Nearly all the pupils at the smaller than average secondary are from minority ethnic groups, the vast majority are Muslim.

Girls at the school, rated “outstanding” by Ofsted, receive a five minute broadcast each morning from the public address system in the head teacher’s office. The broadcasts include readings from the Koran and presentations on moral, religious and ethical issues from the pupils themselves. The scripts are agreed in advance by the head teacher. In one broadcast for instance, girls discussed bullying: “Please Allah, we should not bully as this is not following the prophet’s way of life,” said one.

Clare Considine, the head teacher, said: “We have a system in school which works really well and which has the full support of parents.”

Taylor Road School, in Leicester, has not applied for an opt-out from Christian worship, despite an intake which is 85 per cent Muslim. About 5 per cent of the 550 pupils are Christians.

Collective worship involves a theme that runs through the week, based on the moral and spiritual precepts that underpin Christianity and other major religions, such as helping your neighbour, telling the truth and forgiveness.

Chris Hassall, the head teacher, said: “All these themes can be described as “broadly Christian” and we do mention God, as children from all the major religions believe in God. We don’t sing hymns or religious songs or read from specific religious texts. A teacher might read out an inspirational or moral story or fable and children are given a chance to reflect on what they have heard.”

The school also celebrates major religious festivals in its collective worship, such as Christmas, Easter, Diwali and Eid-ul-Adha. Some parents withdraw their children from these sessions.

Mr Hassall said: “We have not requested a determination because we have interpreted the phrase “broadly Christian” to cover what I’ve described. A bishop might not think that it adheres to the letter of the 1988 law but you have to be pragmatic.

“Schools should be reflective of society and the community they serve but also need to bear in mind the needs of minorities. Sometimes, if you adopt a blanket approach, that may fit in with the majority but you are not taking account of the minority. We could ask for a determination and concentrate more on Islam but what about the two Christians in the class, for instance.”

Priestmead Middle School, in Harrow, Middlesex, consulted parents about how best to provide broadly Christian assemblies yet remain sensitive to the school’s multi-faith intake. The majority of pupils are of Asian origin but a total of 20 ethnic groups are represented at the school.

Parents who responded accepted that most of the assemblies would have some sort of Christian bias and said they wanted their children to learn about Christianity and the Bible as this was the culture of Britain. One Muslim parent commented that the content of the assemblies, held at the end of the school day, helped her children see the links between Islam and Christianity.

The collective worship policy that emerged ensures that children appreciate different approaches to faith. The words “Lord” or “God” are sometimes used to acknowledge a deity. A record of topics covered in collective worship is kept to ensure the majority are “broadly Christian”.

Alison Stowe, a teacher at the school and chair of Harrow SACRE, said: “This week for instance we covered the story of the three wise men. We read a bit from the Bible, then we discussed how the wise men could have been Zoroastrians and we looked at the Farsi bible version.”

Shaw Hill Primary School, in Birmingham, runs one Islamic assembly and four multi-faith assemblies each week. The school, where the vast majority of the pupils are of Pakistani background, was granted a “part” determination in 2003 which allows it to offer alternative collective worship to a group of pupils.

Margaret Barnfield, the head teacher said: “The school had a greater mix of pupils when we originally applied for the Determination, hence the multi-faith element but we feel that all the children, whatever their heritage, benefit from a broad outlook on all the faiths.”

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes [Return to headlines]

UK: Passenger Charged Over “Bomb Threat” Which Sparked Terror Alert

An air passenger has been charged with making a bomb threat which sparked a terror alert and grounded a packed jet at Heathrow Airport.

Robert Fowles, 58, from Dover, Kent, is accused of making a bomb hoax and being drunk on the Dubai-bound Emirates flight on Friday night, the Metropolitan Police said.

Another man on the plane, Alexander McGinn, 48, also from Dover, has also been charged with being drunk on an aircraft.

Armed police boarded the Boeing 777 at around 9.15pm on Friday, moments before take off, after remarks made to cabin crew prompted passengers to raise the alarm.

Fowles has been remanded in custody and will now appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.

McGinn has been bailed and will appear at the same court on January 22, also charged with being drunk on an aircraft.

A third passenger on board the plane who was arrested at the time — a man aged 36 — was released without charge.

More than 330 passengers were on the flight at the time of the alert. They had to leave the aircraft while officers carried out a search.

Police later said they did not find any dangerous substances onboard.

Emirates arranged hotel accommodation for stranded travellers overnight and they were allowed to depart on the aircraft on Saturday.

The incident came amid heightened tension at airports following the botched Christmas Day bombings.

Former London student Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab faces charges of trying to ignite a chemical-laden explosive on a US airliner over Detroit. He has pleaded not guilty to six charges.

[Return to headlines]


Kosovo: Christmas, Message of Peace From Serbian President

(ANSAmed) — BELGRADE, JANUARY 7 — Serbian president Boris Tadic, currently visiting Kosovo for the Orthodox Christmas (which falls on January 7), has sent a message of peace from the Visoki Decani monastery. Serbia has not recognised the Kosovo’s declaration of independence (as it considers the area still a part of Serbian territory) and the Pristina government authorised Tadic’s visit to the country exclusively for religious reasons, while prohibiting him from engaging in any sort of political rallies. “Christmas is a time for all of us to make peace,” he said, according to the media in Belgrade. “By celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, we sent a message of peace to all, regardless of their identity.. this is a chance for those who have experienced misunderstandings to make peace, to shake hands and to understand each other better.” The Serbian president spent yesterday evening (Christmas Eve for Orthodox Christians) and will be spending today (Christmas Day) with the monks in the monastery. Tadic said that the condition of Serbian monasteries and monuments in Kosovo played a fundamental role in the safeguarding of Serbian identity. The Visoki Decani monastery is the largest and the most beautiful Kosovar monastery from the Middle Ages, and is well-known for its XIV century frescoes. The surrounding villages are almost entirely inhabited by Albanians from Kosovo. About a hundred Albanians have engaged in protests against the Serbian president’s visit. Italian soldiers involved in the KFOR mission are in charge of watching over the monastery as well as it monks and religious artifacts and property. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

North Africa

Egypt: Copts Killed, Press Calls for National Unity

(ANSAmed) — CAIRO, JANUARY 8 — The massacre of Coptic Christians in Egypt was not a result of a inter-religious conflict. This was the official line of security officials, reported today in pro-government dailies, Al Ahram and Al Hayat. On the same pro-government front, French language newspaper, Progress Egypten, did not feature the story, and stressed the sacred nature of Coptic Christmas for all of Egypt, while the Egyptian Gazette chose a low profile, leading with the title: “Copts protest, while police hunt attackers”. In an editorial, pro-government daily, Al Ahram, stressed that “this detestable crime will not damage our national unity,” and compared the “barbaric episode” to other “extremist” and “criminal” acts that aim at sparking “unrest”. Independent newspaper, Al Masri Al Yom reported the story along the same lines: “The Egyptian people will remain one body, which will not be altered by individual attempts by those who want to create unrest.” The daily made an appeal to all citizens of Nag Hammadi to “maintain the principle of citizenship” and to “demonstrate wisdom”, defining the event as an isolated act. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Egypt: Killing of Christians, 3 Arrested

(ANSAmed) — CAIRO, JANUARY 8 — Three people have been arrested in connection with the killing of Christians on the Coptic Christmas Eve in a village in Upper Egypt. AFP quotes security sources as saying that the three suspects were caught as they were trying to hide in a sugar cane plantation. According to witnesses, there were three people who opened fire from a car on the night of January 6 in Nagaa Hamadi, in the Qana governorate, shooting wildly at those exiting a church after the Christmas mass. An overall nine people lost their lives, including a police officer. The car in which the attackers escaped has been found, reports the news agency MENA. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Gaza: Galloway ‘Persona Non Grata’ For Egypt

(ANSAmed) — CAIRO, JANUARY 8 — Egypt has officially declared British MP George Galloway “persona non grata” after the incidents with police that occurred before the entrance of his convoy of humanitarian aid into Gaza. Galloway, explained an official statement from the Foreign Ministry, will no longer have permission to enter into Egypt. According to various media outlets, specified MENA news agency, Galloway reportedly said in his speech in Gaza that he would not be happy to return to Egypt. The MP, who was granted a 48 hour stay permit in Gaza, already left the country from the Cairo airport. According to the website of the MP’s organisation, Viva Palestina, Galloway was “officially expelled from Egypt” and several plain clothes police officers “put him” on an airplane for London. The MP reportedly wanted to return to Rafah after hearing that 7 members of his convoy were arrested. Reports indicate that they are the same members for which the public prosecutor issued an arrest warrant, for violations and damages after the clashes with police in the night between January 5 and 6 at the port of al-Arish. The seven individuals, specified the site, were released after an agreement was made with officials by Galloway and a Turkish MP. As soon as he returned to the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing, reports Viva Palestina, the British politician and his colleague Ron McKay were forcefully pushed into a van and taken away. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Vatican Voices Support for Copts

Situation for Christians in Egypt said to be ‘difficult’

(ANSA) — Vatican City, January 8 — The Vatican on Friday voiced its support for the Coptic Christian community in Egypt following an attack on a church while a mass was being celebrated to mark the Orthodox Christmas on Wednesday.

Eight Copts and a policeman were killed in what appeared to have been a drive-by shooting after a midnight mass in Upper Egypt.

In a letter to the Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the Holy See of St. Mark the Apostle, Shenouda III, Cardinal Walter Kaspar, chairman of the Pontifical Council for Unity Among Christians, wrote that “it is with great sadness that I learned of the tragic deaths of Coptic Christians after a Christmas Mass”.

“Every time we Christians suffer unjustly it represents a wound to the Body of Christ whom we all believe in. We share with you this sadness and pray with you for reconciliation, peace and justice. “All Christians must be united to oppose oppression and together seek the peace which only Christ can give”. The attack took place in Nag Hammadi, some 65km from the Temple of Luxor in Upper Egypt. The town has been the scene of violence between Muslims and Christians which began with the alleged rape of a 12-year-old Muslim girl by a Christian man in November.

There were reports on Friday that Egyptian police had detained three men in connection with the shooting.


The bloody attack on Coptic Christians in Egypt was evidence of a “difficult situation” for Christians in that country, according to the Vatican’s chief envoy there. “Tensions exist and these acts of violence occur with a certain frequency and this would indicate that the situation there is not as rosy as authorities there would have you believe,” Msgr Michael Fitzgerald, the papal nuncio to Egypt and the Holy See’s representative to the Arab League, told the Catholic news agency SIR on Friday. Although the exact motive for the attack is still not known, Fitzgerald indicated that he tended to agree with the Coptic bishop of Luxor, Msgr Youhannes Zakaria, that it may have been part of “a plan to promote political Islam by certain forces”. “I would have nothing to add to his words. He is there on the ground and knows the situation better than I do,” the Vatican diplomat said. “More than focusing on dialogue, what needs to be done is improve conditions for peaceful coexistence and build mutual trust. These conditions are a prerequisite for any dialogue,” Fitzgerald observed. Christians make up some 10% of Egypt’s population and the vast majority of them are Orthodox Copts, the Middle East’s largest and oldest Christian community.

The Coptic Orthodox Church broke with the Roman Catholic Church in 451 AD apparently over theological differences regarding the nature of Christ. It later moved closer to the Eastern Orthodox Church after it split from Rome in the 11th century.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Middle East

Dubai: British Woman Arrested in Dubai After Reporting Rape is Told to Admit Being Drunk and Marry Her Fiancé if She Wants to be Freed

A British woman arrested in Dubai after reporting a rape to police has been told that she must marry her fiancé and drop the allegation if she wants to return home.

The 23-year-old holidaymaker said she was attacked by a waiter working at her hotel.

But when she reported the attack to police she was arrested for drinking in an unlicensed premises and for having sex outside marriage with her 44-year-old British boyfriend.

The couple, who are Muslim and from London, spent the next two days in the cells of a police station.

They have been released but their passports were confiscated so they cannot leave the Gulf state until their case is heard in court.

Today it was revealed that the woman has been told that she must drop the rape allegation, admit she was drunk at the time and marry her fiancee if she wants to return to Britain.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Turkey: CIA Bomber’s Wife Says War Must Go on Against US

ISTANBUL — The Turkish wife of a Jordanian doctor who killed seven CIA employees in a suicide attack in Afghanistan says her husband was outraged over the treatment of Iraqis at Abu Ghraib prison and the U.S.-led invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Defne Bayrak, the wife of bomber Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi, said in an interview with The Associated Press that his hatred of the United States had motivated her husband to sacrifice his life on Dec. 30 in what he regarded as a holy war against the U.S.

Bayrak also said Friday, “I think the war against the United States must go on.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Westerwelle Debates Human Rights With Saudis

Guido Westerwelle, Germany’s first openly gay foreign minister, said he fully aired Berlin’s differences with Saudia Arabia over human rights issues during a visit to the country on Saturday.

“We had an extensive discussion about the issue of human rights, right through to the discussion of religious plurality,” he told reporters after talks with his Saudi counterpart Prince Saud al-Faisal.

“The government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is aware that the European Union has a clear position on the issue of the death penalty: we are convinced that the death penalty should be abolished around the world.”

Prince Saud told the same news conference that during their discussion, he had made clear to Westerwelle that regional, cultural and religious traditions must be respected.

“I would like to stress that we talked about human rights and that includes different criteria between countries,” Saud said. “We reached the conclusion that these matters cannot be imposed by either side summarily and a change cannot come unless is it by conviction.”

Human rights activists in Germany had called on Westerwelle to take up the issue of gay rights during his one-day visit to Saudi Arabia, where Islamic sharia law permits the imposition of the death penalty for a range of “crimes” including homosexual relations.

Sources who took part in the talks said Westerwelle directly addressed the issue of human rights and the death penalty in his talks with Prince Saud, and asked about the work of the government-created Saudi Human Rights Commission.

Prince Saud described the efforts of a so-called national dialogue taking place between traditionalists and modernisers, as well as Sunni and Shiite clerics, the sources said.

Westerwelle, who arrived in Riyadh late Friday with a business delegation, also held talks with the country’s finance minister. He was also due to meet King Abdullah before flying to Qatar for talks on Sunday.

           — Hat tip: Sean O’Brian [Return to headlines]

South Asia

India: Stowaway Habib Released From Jail

AIPUR: Stowaway Habib Husain, who hid in a toilet on an Air India Haj charter flight from Saudi Arabia to return home, was on Saturday released from the central jail in Jaipur after authorities executed the bail order. A local court had on Thursday granted bail to Habib but he could not be released the same day following non-execution of the order from the court of Judicial Magistrate, Sanganer. The order could not be executed by the jail authorities on Friday as it came late. After his release, Habib told reporters that he will never think about Saudi Arabia again and thanked God for his homecoming. Later, he left for his home in Uttar Pradesh along with his relatives. Habib, who was working as a cleaner at Medina airport with a Saudi Ground handling company, was arrested here last month and booked under Passport Act for boarding the flight on December 25 without ticket and valid travel documents.

           — Hat tip: heroyalwhyness [Return to headlines]

Pakistan: Karachi: Good News TV, The First Catholic Channel in Pakistan Goes to Air

On schedule daily Mass, rosaries, but also information, news and entertainment. Archbishop of Karachi, a historic day for the Catholic Church in Pakistan. The channel, cable and satellite, visible in Asia, Africa, Oceania and Europe.

Karachi (AsiaNews) — With the first pilot programs at Christmas, the first Catholic Pakistani satellite TV began broadcasting. On the day of celebration, the channel “in clear” based in Karachi spread the message of Christmas greetings to the Catholic, Muslim and Protestant faithful. Presiding over the inauguration ceremony of Mgr. Evaristo Pinto, archbishop of the diocese, who blessed Good News TV and its offices.

A simple ceremony in the production centre in Karachi, marked the start of work. Archbishop Pinto called the launch of Catholic TV “a historic day for the Catholic Church in Pakistan.” “Television — adds the prelate — will truly herald the Good News, it will be a source of harmony and a bridge to shorten distances between people”. Concurrently, a group of Muslims and Protestants have sent a congratulatory message, hoping that it “will bring a positive change in society.”

Fr. Charles Arthur, director of the channel, hopes that Good News will become “the most watched channel in the country.” The schedules provided for daily Mass, the recitation of the Rosary, programs on the lives of saints, information, current affairs and education, along with the music, entertainment and comedy-drama.

The stated aim is “to transform the information landscape of Pakistan”, through “high quality” programs “designed for the public”. It has a team of experienced reporters and television presenters which adds Fr. Charles, “will be able to make a difference” compared to what other channels offer the country.

Owned by the Archdiocese of Karachi, who also edit The Christian Voice and Agah, the Catholic network is led by Fr. Charles, who holds the post of director general. Good News TV with cable or satellite is visible, not only throughout Asia but also in Africa, Oceania and Europe.

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

Pakistan: Karachi Bomb Victims Were ‘Fugitive Militants’

Karachi, 8 Jan. (AKI) — By Syed Saleem Shahzad — Pakistan’s interior minister Rehman Malik said on Friday the seven people killed in a house explosion in Karachi were fugitive militants from the northwestern Swat region, a Taliban stronghold. The blast occurred in a house Baldia Town, a poor neighbourhood in Pakistan’s financial capital.

Police said explosives stored at the house may have gone off accidentally and that all the victims were believed to be militants.

Gun, grenades and suicide vests were recovered from the house, and police said they were working to determine the precise cause.

The Friday blast once again put Karachi in the international spotlight and confirmed that militants had established sanctuaries around the city for planning strikes on NATO supply routes to Afghanistan and attempts to cripple the domestic and international trade.

Baldia Town is situated on the outskirts of Karachi, bordering south western Baluchistan province, which neighbours Afghanistan.

Recently, militants have carried out frequent attacks on the NATO supply convoys in Baluchistan bound for the Afghan city of Kandahar.

Police officials said that the house had been completely destroyed in the blast and seven bodies have been recovered from the blast site.

Six suspects were arrested and transferred to an undisclosed location for interrogation.

AKI learned that house was rented on a guarantee given by a local prayer leader at a neighbourhood mosque.

Twenty-one grenades, five Kalashnikovs, three suicide jackets, 17 Kalashnikov magazines, four motorbikes, one computer and books were recovered from the house.

A police source told AKI that this kind of blast exposed the sanctuary and enabled police to penetrate the local community and get inside the neighbourhood.

“This kind of a situation exists all over the city. The Sohrab Goth area situated near the superway (an intercity highway) is a known sanctuary for Afghan militants,” the source said.

“But police cannot carry out operations in those localities because the local Afghan population creates a nuisance in the city and can cripple the entire business and trading routine of the city.”

After Friday’s blast, Rehman Malik gave illegal foreigners , in particular Afghans, 15 days to leave Karachi or face a severe crackdown against them.

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

Pakistan: PM Demands Removal From US Terrorism List

Islamabad, 8 Jan. (AKI) — Pakistani prime minister Yousaf Raza Gillani on Friday urged the US government to remove his country from a list of 14 countries whose citizens will be targeted for enhanced security checks. Speaking to a US Congressional delegation led by veteran Senator John McCain, the prime minister expressed serious reservations about the new security measures introduced by the US government for Pakistani nationals and called them discriminatory.

President Barack Obama has announced new terrorist watch list guidelines and other security upgrades after a Nigerian man allegedly attempted to detonate a bomb on a Detroit-bound plane on Christmas Day.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was expected to make his first court appearance in the US on Friday, charged with the attempted murder of 290 people and five other counts.

The 14 countries include the four on the US state department’s terrorism list — Cuba, Iran, Syria and Sudan — and 10 “countries of interest” including Pakistan, Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and Yemen.

Gillani said such policies cause consternation and anxiety among the people of Pakistan and that they could negatively impact bilateral ties.

The prime minister also expressed concern over a delay in coalition funding to Pakistan and said it was affecting its campaign against terrorism.

Gillani said the cost of fighting terrorism had surpassed 35 billion dollars in the past eight years.

He reiterated his government’s disappointment over the continuing drone attacks and persisting reluctance of the US to share drone technology with Pakistan.

Senator John McCain paid tribute to the prime minister and the government for their commitment to defeat terrorism and lauded Pakistan Armed Forces’ successes in the Malakand and South Waziristan operations on the border of Afghanistan.

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

Far East

Corruption Up Among China Government Officials

China’s anti-corruption watchdog has said that 106,000 officials were found guilty of corruption in 2009, an increase of 2.5% on the year before.

The number of government officials caught embezzling more than one million yuan ($146,000; £91,000) jumped by 19% over the year.

The government says the increase is due to better supervision of the problem.

But corruption is consistently rated the number one concern by Chinese, ahead of pirated goods and pollution.

There is widespread anger at the ostentatious lifestyle enjoyed by some Communist Party officials, police chiefs and bosses of state-owned companies, says the BBC’s Quentin Sommerville in Beijing.

With no independent oversight of the ruling communists, corruption has bloomed, our correspondent adds.

Executives targeted

The results of a survey published in the state-run China Daily indicated nearly 60% of respondents thought corruption was doing the most damage to China’s reputation abroad, ahead of counterfeit and shoddy products and pollution.

The Communist Party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection — the anti-corruption watchdog — said on Thursday it would target corrupt executives of state-owned enterprises.

A number of senior executives are already being investigated or have been convicted for taking bribes or other charges, such as falsifying accounts.

One, the former head of oil giant Sinopec, Chen Tonghai, was sentenced to death last year for taking nearly $30m in bribes. His sentence has been suspended for two years, which means it is likely to be commuted to life in prison.

The head of the China National Nuclear Corporation — overseeing the country’s nuclear industry — was dismissed and is under investigation over allegations of bid rigging in nuclear power plant construction worth $260m.

Analysts say the system of the government appointing executives to state-owned corporations and a lack of subsequent supervision allows corruption to flourish.

           — Hat tip: Sean O’Brian [Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Premier League Star Tells of Horror as Bus Driver is Shot Dead During Machine-Gun Ambush by Rebels in Angola

Premier League striker Emmanuel Adebayor has spoken of his terror after the bus he was on was ambushed by terrorists in a 30-minute hail of bullets which left the driver dead.

Gunmen in Angola fired on the bus carrying the Togo national football team, including the Manchester City star, as they headed to the Africa Cup of Nations.

The attack happened as the Togo team bus crossed the border heading for Cabinda where they were due to play Ghana on Monday. The event kicks off tomorrow.

Adebayor said that he believes that many teams will now pull out of the tournament in the wake of the shooting.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

US Warns of Attacks on Uganda-Sudan Planes

The US embassy in the Sudanese capital Khartoum has warned of a possible attack on Air Uganda planes.

The embassy said it had information that US travellers faced a potential threat between Juba in Sudan and the Ugandan capital, Kampala.

But the Sudanese foreign ministry said the threat was “not serious”.

Sudan is on a list of 14 countries where US-bound passengers will be subjected to extra searches following the attempted plane bombing last month.

Other Sudanese officials said they had known of a potential threat for some time.

The AFP news agency reported that one plane en route to Juba was diverted as a precaution.

In a statement, the US embassy said it had “received information indicating a desire by regional extremists to conduct a deadly attack on board Air Uganda aircraft” on the Juba to Kampala route.

The embassy said the “capacity of these extremists to carry out such an attack is unknown” but that the threat was “of sufficient seriousness that all American air travellers should be made aware”.

AFP said an Air Uganda flight was returned to Entebbe airport in Kampala when it was ordered to return.

‘No alarm’

Ignie Igunduura, a spokesman for Uganda’s Civil Aviation Authority, said the information was not new and the authorities had “been aware of this threat for some time”.

“But any time there is renewed information, and this renewed information came from the US but also others, you don’t start taking chances,” he said.

A spokesman for the Ugandan army, Lt Col Felix Kulayigye, also said he was surprised the US had issued the warning as the intelligence had been known since early December.

He said the country was “a constant target of these extremists” and was always on the alert, so there was “no cause for alarm”.

But Foreign Ministry spokesman Moawiya Osman Khalid said there was nothing to support the allegations of a planned attack and criticised the US for the manner of the warning.

“They did not inform us of this security threat, we learnt about it from the embassy’s website,” AFP quoted him as saying.

“They did not ask for our cooperation, which they should have done before notifying the media.”

           — Hat tip: Sean O’Brian [Return to headlines]

Latin America

Chavez Devalues Venezuela’s Currency

CARACAS — President Hugo Chavez, harried by recession and declining popularity, announced a major currency devaluation late Friday to shore up government finances and stimulate economic growth before key elections this year.

The move cuts Mr. Chavez’s two-year-old “strong bolivar” currency by half — to 4.3 per dollar from 2.15 per dollar — for most imports and transactions. The central bank will also subsidize a stronger 2.6-per-dollar rate for imports of food, medicine and other essential items, Mr. Chavez said.

The move reflects the increasingly difficult economic and political trade-offs faced by Mr. Chavez, who has been in power for more than a decade and veered the country’s economy sharply to the left through steps like nationalization of key industries, rampant government spending, and currency and price controls.

While those unorthodox policies can work for a few years, they usually set the stage for deeper problems down the road — troubles which have started to surface and which led to the currency devaluation. The move is also a humiliating turn for a currency renamed the “strong bolivar” two years ago, when Mr. Chavez chopped three zeros off the old currency and declared the beginning of an era of monetary fortitude.

The staunchly anti-U.S. leader is gambling that the benefits of a weaker currency will offset faster inflation, which threatens the purchasing power of his mostly poor backers. Finance Minister Ali Rodriguez said devaluation, which makes the price of imported goods more expensive in local currency terms, may add 5 percentage points to the 27% inflation rate — already among the fastest in the world.

In Mr. Chavez’s favor, the measure helps narrow a growing budget shortfall, could provide limited relief to a moribund local industry, and instantly gives his oil-rich government more local currency to spend per barrel of oil exported by the state petroleum company, PDVSA. That’s a key consideration with Congressional elections looming in September.

The 55-year-old former soldier’s popularity has slid amid corruption scandals, a shrinking economy, rising crime and shortages of food and electricity. Increased spending could paper over some of these problems and boost Mr. Chavez’s popularity.

Devaluation brings “more room to increase public spending as way to spur economic activity,” says Maikel Bello, an analyst with the Caracas-based research firm Ecoanalitica.

This year’s congressional elections are especially important because, after previously boycotting some elections to protest Mr. Chavez’s growing power over democratic institutions in Venezuela, traditionally fragmented opposition parties are making a push to dramatically improve their representation in Congress.

For years, Venezuela has been able to defend an overvalued currency thanks to currency controls. Venezuelan citizens and companies can get dollars at the official rate only with government permission. That has led to a thriving black market, where those who don’t get government permission buy the U.S. currency. Even the Venezuelan government uses the black market to some degree, economists say.

On Friday, that black market rate stood at about 6.25 per dollar — well below the former official rate of 2.15 and still below the new rate of 4.30. Economists say one of the reasons for the move was an attempt to deflate the black market, a catalyst for inflation that has also spawned a frenzy of schemes to defraud the central bank of dollars…

[Return to headlines]


Immigrants Riot in Italy Amid Racial Unrest

ROSARNO, Italy, Jan 8 (Reuters) — Clashes between immigrants and locals in a southern Italian town entered a second day on Friday, with the government rushing extra police to try to stem one of the worst episodes of racial unrest in years.

The violence inflamed a long-running political debate on immigration, with the interior minister saying years of excessive “tolerance” were behind the violence, and the opposition accusing the government of fuelling xenophobia.

President Giorgio Napolitano called for an immediate end to the unrest, during which at least 37 people, including 18 policemen, have been injured.

Some 8,000 illegal immigrants work in the southern Calabria region where the clashes have erupted, most as day labourers picking fruit and vegetables. Many live in abandoned factories with no running water or electricity and human rights groups say they are exploited by organised crime.

The clashes started on Thursday, when a gang of white youths in a car fired air rifles at a group of African immigrants returning from work on farms, injuring two of them.

The attack set off a night of rioting by dozens of Africans, who smashed car windows with steel bars and stones and set cars and rubbish bins on fire.

“Those guys were firing at us as if it were a fair ground, they were laughing. I was screaming and there were other cars passing by but nobody stopped, nobody called the police,” Kamal, a Moroccan, told La Repubblica newspaper.

On Friday, the violence continued. Police said two immigrants were shot at with air rifles and suffered leg wounds, while two others were attacked with iron bars and were said to be in serious condition.


Earlier, about 2,000 immigrants demonstrated against what they said was racist treatment by many locals. Some shouted “we are not animals” and carried signs reading “Italians here are racist”.

Scattered acts of vandalism by immigrants continued throughout the day as some smashed store windows. Police said that in two separate incidents locals had tried to run over immigrants with their cars. Schools and many shops were closed.

Hundreds of local residents gathered outside the town hall on Friday evening, many of them asking that the government intervene against the immigrants.

“They are the ones who should be afraid now, they should go away,” one resident told Sky Italia television.

The national police chief ordered additional security forces to the area.

Interior Minister Roberto Maroni, from the far-right Northern League party that is a junior partner in Silvio Berlusconi’s government, set up a task force to look into what caused the violence.

Maroni sparked controversy when he said one of the reasons for the violence was that illegal immigration had been “tolerated all these years”.

Opposition leader Pierluigi Bersani and several centre-left politicians accused Maroni of fuelling the tension.

“Maroni is passing the buck … we have to go to the roots of the problem: Mafia, exploitation, xenophobia and racism,” Bersani said.

Italy has taken a hard line against illegal immigration and has moved to stem a tide of immigrants who board boats in Africa to try to reach its southern shores. Some boats have been turned back on the open seas. (additional reporting by Antonella Cinelli; Writing by Silvia Aloisi and Philip Pullella; editing by Noah Barkin)

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Italy: Immigrants Riots in Southern Town

Second day of protests after air-rifle shooting

(ANSA) — Rosarno, January 8 — African immigrants stormed through a southern Italian town for the second time Friday morning, smashing shop windows and overturning rubbish in a second protest after a group of farm workers were hit by air rifles Thursday.

Friday morning’s incidents in the Calabrian town of Rosarno were less severe than Thursday night when hundreds of cars were damaged, several people injured, and some immigrants detained after clashes with police.

Immigrants shouted “we are not animals and waved placards saying “Italians here are racist”.

For fear of further attacks, shops and schools in Rosarno did not open and many residents stayed home.

But some locals ventured out and protested against the immigrants in the central square where they had to be held back from an approaching immigrant march.

A group of residents clashed with police.

Some 2,000 immigrants gathered to protest outside city hall where they demanded to see a government representative.

Meanwhile, 200 co-workers put up road blocks on the main northern and southern roads leading into the town.

The crowd eventually dispersed after a delegation had talks with the government commissioner in the town, Francesco Bagnato.

Some immigrants threw stones at a film crew as they walked back to their makeshift lodgings.

Bagnato, appointed after the city council was dissolved last year because of mafia infiltration, told reporters: “The situation is serious”.

He said he had told the immigrants that police would do everything possible to protect them but “they must not confuse attacks by individuals with the attitude of the citizenry as a whole”. He said “just one more incident” might set off other riots and he was worried about the “immigrants’ violent reaction”.

Bagnato stressed that the town had done “everything possible to improve living conditions over the last few months by supplying chemical toilets and containers linked to the water mains”.

“But the tension with the town population remains very high”.

The town’s ex-civil defence councillor, Domenico Ventre, said: “What is happening in Rosarno is intolerable and the citizens won’t stand for it any more”.

He said the immigrant protests over the “isolated” shooting incident had been “absolutely disproportionate”.

“We cannot tolerate these people devastating our town,” he said.

“I hope all this ends as soon as possible and people realise that citizens have the same rights as immigrants”. Earlier, two separate incidents sparked fears the protest might turn uglier than Thursday night.

In the first, a local man shot a rifle from his balcony to try to scare off the protesters gathered underneath.

Instead they climbed the stairs and a verbal exchange ensued but no violence. In the second, locals protested strongly when a youth was arrested after arguing with one of the immigrants.

Police had to hold several people back but the situation was defused when the youth was released.


Interior Minister Roberto Maroni commented that such incidents showed that Italy’s immigration policy had been too lenient for too long.

“In all these years illegal immigration has been tolerated without doing anything effective, an immigration that on the one hand has fed crime and on the other has led to situations of extreme squalor such as that at Rosarno”.

About 1,500 immigrant day labourers keep farms running in the area by picking fruit and vegetables.

They say they are essential for the economy and angry at living in abandoned factories without running water or electricity.

Human rights groups also claim they are exploited by organised crime.

Silvio Berlusconi’s centre-right government, in which Maroni’s Northern League plays a key role, has moved strongly to stem immigration from north Africa and especially Libya.

Under a recent accord with Tripoli, criticised by human rights groups, immigrants are turned back in the open seas before they reach Italian waters.

Maroni said Friday the policy had been a success, stopping arrivals on the Sicilian island of Lampedusa, and vowed to bring situations such as those Rosarno under control.

“We’ve stopped illegals getting to Lampedusa and we’ll gradually get the situations back to normal,” he said.

But the leader of the largest opposition party, Democratic Party (PD) chief Piero Bersani, accused Maroni of blaming illegal immigration and said Italy’s recent clampdown had exacerbated some problems by forcing immigrants underground.

“I say what is needed now is to calm the situation in Rosarno. There is mafia, exploitation, xenophobia and racism there. You have to go to the roots”.

“But I’m very sorry Maroni did not miss a chance to pin the blame on illegal immigration,” Bersani said.

In September 2008 the town of Castel Volturno near Naples saw similar scenes after six men were killed by the mafia.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Immigrant Riot in Italy Leaves 37 Injured After Series of Beatings by White Youths

Violence broke out in southern Italy yesterday as hundreds of migrant workers, most of them Africans, went on a rampage in retaliation to two of their number being shot and three more beaten with iron bars by white youths.

Authorities reporting at least 37 were wounded in the ensuing clashes, including 18 police officers and five migrants, as the violence reached its second day in the coastal town of Rosarno in Calabria.

The riots in the region were sparked off when when two migrants were wounded by pellet fire two days ago, starting the cycle of violence, said a top police official, Renato Cortese, in the regional capital.


Agazio Loiero, the governor of the Calabria region, told Sky TV said that the violence was ‘unacceptable’ but the migrants had been ‘strongly provoked’.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Italy: Schools to Place 30 Percent Limit on Foreign Pupils

Rome, 8 Jan. (AKI) — Italian education minister Mariastella Gelmini has provoked a fierce debate by announcing a 30 percent limit on the number of foreign students allowed to enrol in the country’s schools and universities. Unveiling the new guidelines for the 2010-2011 school year, Gelmini said the limit was essential for the integration of foreign students.

“Establishing a 30 percent ceiling on foreign students per class is a useful way to promote integration, because with this limit we can avoid the creation of ‘ghetto classes’ with only foreign students,” Gelmini said.

The education minister added that schools had discretionary power to adjust the limits depending on how well their immigrant students spoke Italian language.

“School should be a place for integration,” she said. “Our institutions are ready to welcome all cultures and children from around the world.

“At the same time, Italian schools should maintain their own historical traditions with pride and teach the culture of our country.

“We’re ready to welcome children of different cultures from all over the world,” she said.

“But they’ve got to learn about Italian language and culture and the best place for them to do that is in an Italian classroom environment”.

The proposal was first floated in March in response to growing concern among parents over the growing number of foreign students in Italian classrooms.

Gelmini noted that classes composed entirely of children born abroad or to immigrant parents were becoming increasingly common to the detriment of Italian and foreign students.

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

Italy: Rosarno: Two Immigrants Shot in the Legs With a Pistol

(AGI) — Rosarno (Reggio Calabria), 8 Jan. — According to reports two immigrants have been shot in the legs and lightly wounded on the provincial road between Rosarno and Laureana di Borrello, in the Reggino. Carabinieri are on the scene. It appears that the attack is connected both to the events of last night in Rosarno, when immigrants protested violently after the injuring of two non-EU citizens and to this afternoon’s counter demonstration by local citizens.

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

Migrants Evacuated From Southern Italian Town

Italian authorities have evacuated hundreds of migrants from a southern town and brought in extra police after violent protests broke out.

Some 320 African migrants, many of whom work as fruit-pickers in Calabria, were taken by bus to an emergency centre.

Extra police were deployed after two days of riots, during which 37 people were injured and cars were set alight.

The violence broke out after two migrants were shot at with pellet guns by a group of local youths.

‘Difficult situation’

Italy’s Interior Minister Roberto Maroni prompted a storm of criticism from the leftist opposition by suggesting that the violence was the result of not addressing the issue of illegal workers in the country.

“There’s a difficult situation in Rosarno, like in other places, because for years illegal immigration — which feeds criminal activities — has been tolerated and nothing effective has ever been done about it,” he said according to Italy’s La Repubblica newspaper.

Opposition leader Pierluigi Bersani said: “Maroni is passing the buck … We have to go to the root of the problem: mafia, exploitation, xenophobia and racism.”

Some 320 African migrants — mainly from Ghana and Nigeria — were taken by bus from the southern town of Rosarno to a reception centre at Crotone, some 170km (105 miles) away.

Local residents applauded as the eight buses carrying the migrant workers left the town, AFP reports.

Police said reinforcements had been called in at intersections and squares in the town to keep order on Saturday.

Many of the migrants, most of whom work as fruit-pickers in the region’s citrus farms, live in difficult conditions — camped in abandoned factories and buildings with no running water or electricity, and paid as little as 20 euros ($30) per day.

           — Hat tip: Sean O’Brian [Return to headlines]

PvdA in Amsterdam: Exclude Whites From Top City Hall Posts

AMSTERDAM, 08/01/10 — Labour (PvdA) and the leftwing Greens (GroenLinks), who form the ruling coalition in Amsterdam, want the capital city to introduce a preferential policy for ethnic minorities, under which the higher posts in the administrative apparatus would only still be available for non-Western immigrants.

The municipality wants to have 27 percent of immigrants in service before 2011. This is currently about 21 percent. To achieve this, PvdA, with the backing of GroenLinks, is urging a ‘reservation policy’ for immigrants, meaning that no more whites can be taken on for top posts at the city hall.

PvdA council member Peggy Burke defended this form of discrimination by saying that the effort to make the administrative apparatus a mirror of the ethnic composition of the population of Amsterdam would otherwise not be achieved. The Christian democratic (CDA), conservative (VVD) and centre-left D66 opposition parties indicated their opposition.

Although PvdA and GroenLinks have a majority in Amsterdam, the PvdA-GroenLinks city administrators also expressed criticism. Alderman Marijke Vos (GroenLinks) considers the reservation policy sympathetic, but believes the constitutional ban on discrimination will not allow it. It is however possible, she said, to maintain the principle that only in case of equal suitability, someone of immigrant origin is hired. This already occurs at all kinds of levels in the Netherlands.

CDA, VVD and D66 were mild in their rejection. VVD council member Robert Flos commented that his party does not reject the PvdA plan in principle as discriminatory or racist. “But at the moment there is insufficient reason for it.”

D66’s Ivar Manuel said the proposal “gives the impression” that “people have only got a post due to their origin” which he considers “pretty much the same” as “positive discrimination.”

CDA did not want to speak overtly of discrimination against whites either, but said that “reservation policy in principle is a step too far for us, as it excludes the indigenous from posts.”

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

Violence Escalates in Italian Town After African Workers Shot

RESIDENTS of an Italian town have shot at immigrants, beaten them with iron bars and run over them, in a second night of racially charged violence.

The clashes in the southern town of Rosarno, which erupted during a protest by mainly African farm labourers, have injured 18 police officers and 19 foreigners.

About 100 locals armed with batons and metal bars, and some carrying clubs and cans of petrol, have set up a barricade near a place where many immigrants meet. Others earlier occupied the town hall to demand immigrants be removed, Italian media reported.

In separate attacks on Friday in the town in Reggio di Calabria, two immigrants were beaten and seriously wounded with iron bars. One of the wounded was admitted to hospital for brain surgery.

Two other immigrants were shot in the legs with shotguns and five more were deliberately run over by vehicles driven by locals. They were lightly hurt. Police arrested the occupants of one of the vehicles.

Police reinforcements were sent to the area as Italian President Giorgio Napolitano called for “an immediate end to the violence”. Buses arrived on Friday evening to ferry out 150 immigrants.

The violence flared on Thursday when hundreds of immigrants, most of them Africans employed illegally as farm labourers, demonstrated after some of them had been shot at with an air rifle. The disturbances continued on Friday with about 2000 immigrants holding a sit-in in the centre of Rosarno.

The United Nations refugee agency’s spokeswoman in Italy Laura Boldrini said the agency feared an “immigrant hunt” in Rosarno. She said many of the immigrants included political refugees and asylum seekers.

According to Italy’s main trade union CGIL, about 50,000 immigrant workers in Italy live in poor conditions similar to those in Rosarno. It said immigrants employed as farm labourers earned low wages of about €25 ($39) a day.

The union accused the Mafia of controlling the sector, with workers enduring long hours and being treated like “slaves”.

           — Hat tip: TB [Return to headlines]


2012 an Interesting Observation

I recently watched the American movie, 2012. While over all it was heavy on special effects, thin on plot, making me wonder if the 150 rubles I paid for it on disc was worth it, I did notice a rather very interesting observation, which, from the lack of comment on any blogs or papers, and no out rage from the hyper sensitives in the West, leads me to believe, few others noticed it.

Now for those not familiar with the movie, it is loosely based around the Mayan calendar ending in 2012 AD and the concept that this is the end of the world. Personally, I believe that after putting out a calendar 2,000 years into the future, they simply got sick and tired and stopped.

Anyways, the world is ending or rather going into deep rince to get rid of humanity, and all terrestrial life along with it. Huge earthquakes and volcanoes rock the earth and thus creating giant tidal waves to sweep it clean. I shudder to think of the size of the quakes that can spawn waves that are 10-15,000 METERS tall! And these waves retain their strength as they move thousands of kilometers in land, flooding every mountain and desert. In other words, put your scientific know how aside, it is another American movie.

To save humanity, the world leaders gear up with the Chinese to build giant water tight ships in the side of a Himalayan mountain. Now the fact that the Chinese build these in 4 years…the Chinese…the makers of poisonous plastics and porous steel, would leave me less than thrilled. Boarding these arcs, besides the top government officials of all the nations and royalty and top minds, are paying passangers, all who spent a billion USD, assuming the cash is still worth even nearly that value in the near future.

Now, the three arcs of the movie, full of survivors are, at the end of the movie, heading towards what is now the closest and largest continent, as all the plates have shifted too: Africa. That is correct, a nice back to Africa, the cradle moment.

Well, here is the point everyone seems to have missed: most of the people on board are the world’s rich and some Chinese workers. Most of those rich are either Caucasian or East Asian: thus the Caucasian and Asian man are going to colonize Africa, now washed clean of all the black Africans. Wow. Now that is one hell of a hidden message. Wonder how so many missed it totally.

           — Hat tip: Sean O’Brian [Return to headlines]

Killing Freedom and Cartoonists

By Christopher Caldwell

A 28-year-old Somali Islamist allegedly tried to murder the Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard with an axe on New Year’s night. It was Mr Westergaard who drew the most controversial of the 12 cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad commissioned by the Arhus-based daily Jyllands-Posten in 2005. His was the one showing a bearded man in a turban shaped like a bomb. Publication of the cartoons led, months later, to riots across the Muslim world. Danish embassies were burned in Iran, Syria and Lebanon. More than 200 people died.

The threats against Mr Westergaard, who is 74, have not abated since. He has had to move house nine times. In October, US authorities arrested two Muslim radicals in Chicago who had allegedly planned to kill him and Flemming Rose, the Jyllands-Posten editor who commissioned the cartoons. The suspects had already travelled to Denmark, allegedly to case the newspaper’s offices. Danish authorities have acted to protect Mr Westergaard from other credible death threats. They fitted out his bathroom as a fortified bunker, complete with steel door and a panic-button connection to the local police, a detail that probably saved his life last week. The assailant hacked at the door to no avail as Mr Westergaard’s five-year-old granddaughter looked on. Mr Westergaard expects the threats to persist for the rest of his life. That doesn’t seem to have dented his forthright disposition. “What will happen in the long run,” he told a radio interviewer last year, “is that our culture — the materialistic, superior culture — will of course win out.”

But the constancy of the threats against Mr Westergaard points to a serious challenge to free societies, and shows that we may still underestimate the significance of the Danish cartoon crisis. Mere criminals are not, as a rule, bent on harrying their victims to the grave. The man who attacked Mr Westergaard at New Year also seems to be in it for the long haul. He is a father of three who holds a Danish residence permit and has been in the country for 12 years. But he has been linked by Denmark’s intelligence service to both the East African branch of al-Qaeda and the violent Somali youth movement al-Shabaab. The attack on Mr Westergaard was not primarily a crime. It was an act of political violence. The aim, as best we can tell, was not to take Mr Westergaard’s money but to enforce “justice” in a way that would alter society’s rules and people’s behaviour.

A state’s authority rests, as Max Weber said, on a monopoly of violence. In matters of free speech about religion in Denmark, the government monopoly on violence has been broken. There is another player in the market, declaring that cartoons perceived as anti-Islamic are punishable by death. A pattern of political violence against ordinary citizens is something western Europe has not experienced in more than half a century. Some people describe radical Islam as a kind of totalitarianism, or “Islamofascism”. That is an oversimplification. Even if he had contact with al-Qaeda, Mr Westergaard’s would-be assassin was probably working as an individual.

But this power to intimidate, though informal, is potentially decisive. It is the same power exercised by those who threaten journalists in Russia, those who kill policemen in Mexico, or the Ku Klux Klan in the US south of a century ago. Such acts make law. It is remarkable how few people they have to harm to do so. Lars Løkke Rasmussen, the Danish prime minister, was not just mouthing a cliché when he described the attack on Mr Westergaard as “an attack on our open society”. Once a competing source of predictable violence emerges in an open society, government must do something to stop it.

The concepts of “minority” and “majority”, which have for decades provided well-meaning western governments with their main way of understanding justice, are of no help in such a task. Obviously, only a minority of Danish Muslims, and an even smaller minority of Danes as a whole, are violent radical Islamists. But even if that minority is infinitesimal, it is big enough. As long as it can make a credible threat to deal out death to those who disrespect Islam, it can give Islam a privileged status among Denmark’s religions.

For all the mayhem and controversy it has occasioned, publication of the Danish cartoons has turned out to be as revealing an exercise as Mr Rose said it would be. Artists talk about “testing the boundaries” of expression, but they are often fake or obsolete boundaries, things that people wanted passionately to keep hushed up, say, 50 years ago, but don’t really care much about now, such as sex.

But Mr Rose hit a real taboo, one backed up by violence. He thus revealed a terrible problem. Political violence is aimed at promoting a cause — in this case, special consideration for Islam. If a country cannot stop the violence directly, then the public will demand that it stop the violence indirectly, by thwarting the cause the violence serves. The rise of Geert Wilders’s party in the Netherlands, the referendum to ban minarets in Switzerland, the proposed ban on burkas in France — these are all desperate measures to declare that Islam is not the first religion of Europe. “This is a war,” the mainstream French weekly L’Express editorialised in the wake of the attempt on Mr Westergaard’s life. “To flee this conflict would be to buy tranquillity today at an exorbitant price in blood tomorrow.” It concluded: “Banning every kind of full-body cover [the burka] in our public spaces is a necessity.” This is not the non-sequitur it appears to be.

The writer is a senior editor at The Weekly Standard

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Meteorologist Predicts Global Cooling

Fears of imminent ice age to replace warming alarm?

Fears of a new ice age not seen since the 1970s are arising in the aftermath of the “Climategate” scandal that has cast doubt on the legitimacy of scientific research forming the basis for the theory that mankind is causing an ultimately catastrophic rise in temperatures worldwide.

Accuweather meteorologist Joe Bastardi has produced a video suggesting the current frigid conditions in North America, Europe and Asia are very similar to the weather patterns in the 1970s that produced fears a new ice age was imminent.

In the video, Bastardi explains his theory that “weather goes in a lot of cycles, and we’re going to see a lot more of the cold trending here over the next 20 or 30 years.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

3 thoughts on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 1/9/2010

  1. Towards a Single European Sky
    “Moving away from national boundaries, the Single European Sky intitiative is expected to bring greater efficiency, capacity and flexibility to European air traffic. . .”

    look at map in video @3:44 and consider the security stops of yesteryear’s state sovereign sky limitations which will be bypassed to accomodate the coming EuroMed nightmare.

  2. UK: All Rise in Court — or Would the Muslims Like to Sit This One Out?

    When the case opened, the accused refused to stand for [Judge] Miss Mellanby. Their religion, they argued, forbids them to stand for anybody except Allah, and they were therefore unable to show their respect for the court’s officers in the customary manner.

    Faced with seven men in full Muslim dress, the District Judge bravely changed the rules to accommodate the accused. She did not — as others might have — suggest they might be in contempt, but instead arranged that, thenceforth, the men would enter the court after her, so that the sticky issue of respect would not have to be dealt with again.

    Attempts to sweep under the rug such nettlesome issues as routine Muslim disregard for Western legal traditions−even as these selfsame defendants avail themselves of every best opportunity afforded by those legalities−is a matter of great importance.

    It would seem likely that many other judges might take umbrage at Miss Mellanby’s dismissal of her own bench-related rights. If that is indeed the case, these other judges might wish to institute proceedings against Miss Mellanby for her unilateral erosion of the respect that should necessarily be shown to occupants of the bench.

    It is typically required of immigrants that they swear to respect and uphold the laws of whatever country they settle in. Right then and there was the time for these fastidious Muslim purists to raise any objections about being forced to recognize the supremacy of filthy kaffir man-made laws over those conjured up by their oh-so precious Allah.

    Miss Mellanby’s inability or refusal to uphold the primacy of Britain’s own legal system would seem to be sufficient grounds for investigate her for dereliction regarding this failure to uphold or command the respect due her position of legal authority.

  3. “The bomb was placed in a rubbish bin close to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, in Constitution Square.”

    “Ceremonial guards protecting the tomb refused to leave their posts.”

    That’s Greeks.

    Before that, we had the Swiss. And some Italians. And a few noteworthy and popular minds in Denmark and the Netherlands.

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