Gates of Vienna News Feed 1/26/2013

A young African migrant in the UK who sexually abused a 13-year-old girl cannot be sent back to his native Sudan because his tribe suffers from persecution in his homeland. In possibly unrelated news, a culturally-enriched registrar in Britain used faked birth certificates to facilitate the immigration of African benefits scammers who subsequently defrauded the government of millions of pounds.

In other news, the health minister of the Czech Republic has provoked controversy by attempting to increase the price of beer — which is now cheaper than water — in an attempt to improve the health of his countrymen.

To see the headlines and the articles, Click “Continue reading” below.

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Fjordman, Insubria, JD, JP, Takuan Seiyo, and all the other tipsters who sent these in.

Notice to tipsters: Please don’t submit extensive excerpts from articles that have been posted behind a subscription firewall, or are otherwise under copyright protection.

Commenters are advised to leave their comments at this post (rather than with the news articles) so that they are more easily accessible.

Caveat: Articles in the news feed are posted “as is”. Gates of Vienna cannot vouch for the authenticity or accuracy of the contents of any individual item posted here. We check each entry to make sure it is relatively interesting, not patently offensive, and at least superficially plausible. The link to the original is included with each item’s title. Further research and verification are left to the reader.

Financial Crisis
» British Economy is Worse Than During the Great Depression
» Italian Navy to Effect 7,000 ‘Gradual’ Personnel Cuts
» It’s Official: Worst. Recovery. Ever
» Switzerland: Euro Central Banker Defends Austerity Steps
» A One-Party System?
» Big Government is Bad Government Because Power Attracts the Corrupt
» Breaking Down the Feinstein AWB
» Brothers Charged in Violent Raleigh Home Invasion
» CNN Protects Obama From the “Fascist” Label
» Enslave America … Disarm the People! Punish Law Abiding Citizens
» Feinstein Gun Control Bill to Exempt Government Officials
» Holder Begins Gun-Control Push
» Joe Biden and the Big Lie: Cops Are “Outgunned”
» Obama’s Tyranny Takes Well-Deserved, Long-Overdue, Hit From Courts!
» Progressive Congressmen Gather to Plot Agenda: Alinsky Invoked
» Record Line Outside Austin Gun Show
» September 11 Trial Threatened by Legal Dispute
» U.S. Brands Saudi National Terrorist
» US Military Building Space Robot to Recycle Satellites (Video)
» World Interfaith Harmony Week Welcomed to Toronto This Year
Europe and the EU
» Brewing Controversy Over Proposal to Make Water Cheaper Than Beer
» France: Zahia Dehar: From Call Girl to Fashion Princess
» France: Islam at the Louvre
» Germans Say They Are Tired of Badly Behaved Cyclists
» Germany: Al-Qaeda Members Jailed
» Holocaust Victims Paid Back by Swiss Banks
» Italy: Naples Eyes Geothermal Energy, Power Plant Soon
» Italy’s Age Gap Second Only to Germany’s, ISTAT Says
» Italy: Rumored McDonald’s Opening in Urbino Causes Controversy
» Italy: Alitalia Ordered to Sell Parts of Milan-Rome Air Route
» Italy: Prosecutor Charged With Trading Favours for Sex Suspended
» Italy: Berlusconi Calls His Ex-Wife’s Alimony ‘Unrealistic’
» Italy: ‘Oltre Il Velo’, on 2nd Generation Immigrant Women
» Italy: Rise and Fall of the World’s Oldest Bank
» Italy: Centre-Left Up to Its Neck in MPS Bank Scandal, Says Right
» Kidnapped Italian Tourists May Have to Reimburse Govt
» Spying a Flaw in the Scots Going it Alone
» Sweden: Man Critical After Malmö Street Shooting
» Sweden: Man Charged as Woman Dies After S&M Sex Game
» Switzerland: Internet Pioneer Warns of Government Meddling
» Tina Turner ‘To Become Swiss, Give Up US Passport’
» UK May Now Have to Reset Its Relationship With Israel
» UK: ‘Uproar’ Over Plans for Islamic Centre in Stoke Road
» UK: Claims of ‘Disorder and Noise’ At Mosque
» UK: David Cameron’s European Referendum Speech Was Hailed as a Masterstroke, But We’ve Been Here Before
» UK: Desperate Mother’s Global Appeal for Safe Return of Five-Year-Old Daughter Who Was Snatched by Father in Egypt
» UK: Forty Primary School Pupils Expelled for Violence Every Day
» UK: Gavin Barwell MP: The Holocaust Teaches US What Educated People Are Capable of Doing in Certain Circumstances — and Just How Many People Will ‘Follow Orders’
» UK: Hundreds Brave the Cold to Celebrate Prophet Muhammad’s Birthday
» UK: Human Rights Laws Stop Algerian Terror Suspect With Links to Gas Plant Massacre Group Being Deported Because He is Suicidal
» UK: Isolation Leads British Muslims to Act Like ‘Idiots’
» UK: It’s Not Misogyny, Professor Beard. It’s You
» UK: Judge Lets Ricin Plot Terrorist Stay in the UK
» UK: Lib Dem MP David Ward Could be Kicked Out of Party After Suggesting ‘The Jews’ Had Not Learned the Lessons of the Holocaust
» UK: Muslim Abuser Who ‘Didn’t Know’ That Sex With a Girl of 13 Was Illegal is Spared Jail
» UK: Terrorism Suspect Treatment of Mahdi Hashi is ‘A National Disgrace’, Claims Camden Solicitor Who Fought for Release of Guildford Four
» UK: Workers Should Not Have to Reveal Previous Convictions to Employers Because it Breaches Their Human Rights, Warns Judge
» Zurich Resident Tina Turner Becomes Swiss
North Africa
» Egyptian Army Deployed in Suez After Anniversary Unrest
» Muslim Brotherhood’s Headquarters in Egypt’s Ismailia Torched by Protesters
» Obama Backs France in Battle Against Extremists
» Tunisia: Gabes — Mausoleum of Sidi Ali Ben Salem Set Aflame
» Young Egyptian Leader Calls on West to Back Anti-Islamist Struggle
Israel and the Palestinians
» Britain Lists Israel Next to Iran as Nation With Human Rights Record ‘Of Concern’
» Israeli Elections: Geography of Voting Trends by City
» Lib Dem MP David Ward’s Grotesque Caricature of Israel and ‘The Jews’ Is All Too Common on the Liberal Left
Middle East
» Qatar: Cheetahs New Status Symbol for Sheiks
» Qatar: Former Saudi Diplomat’s Extradition Suspended
South Asia
» India Remembers the Missionary Graham Staines on Martyrs’ Day
» India: Muslims Pledge Participation in Rally for Clean River Yamuna
Far East
» China’s Advanced AWACS Aircraft to Hunt US F-22
» Japan: 3D Printing Makes Chocolate Heads of Lovers
» Philippines: Mayor’s Alleged Killer Caught Sniffing Shabu
Australia — Pacific
» Australians Drive Bored Muslim Men to Violence
» Islamic Professor Keen to Boost Interfaith Dialogue
» Les Murray Slams Australian Citizenship Oath He Penned as ‘Farting With Sincerity’
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Nigeria: Boko Haram: Last Gasps of a Killer Group
» Uganda: Northern Region Fails Islamic Examinations
» ‘Too Many Foreigners in France’, French Say
» UK: Child-Sex Attacker Can’t be Deported Because His African Tribe is ‘Persecuted’
» UK: Registrar Forged Birth Certificates for African Gang in £4m Benefits Fraud
Culture Wars
» Colonel Gordon Batcheller on “Women in Combat”
» Is France Right to Make Twitter ID Racist Users?
» UK: Registrars Could be Sued if They Defy Gay Marriage Law With Teachers and Hospital Chaplains Also Facing Claims
» Deadly GM Flu Research That Could ‘Wipe Out Significant Portion of Humanity’ Set to Restart

British Economy is Worse Than During the Great Depression

Leading British newspaper the Telegraph reports [2] today:

Ministers today admitted Britain is facing “very, very grave difficulties” after figures showed the economy did not grow at all in 2012.

Economists from the Royal Bank of Scotland said the last four years have produced the worst economic performance in a non post-war period since records started being collected in the 1830s.


Velocity of money is the frequency with which a unit of money is spent on new goods and services. It is a far better indicator of economic activity than GDP, consumer prices, the stock market, or sales of men’s underwear (which Greenspan was fond of ogling). In a healthy economy, the same dollar is collected as payment and subsequently spent many times over. In a depression, the velocity of money goes catatonic. Velocity of money is calculated by simply dividing GDP by a given money supply. This VoM chart using monetary base should end any discussion of what “this” is and whether or not anybody should be using the word “recovery” with a straight face: [chart]

In just four short years, our “enlightened” policy-makers have slowed money velocity to depths never seen in the Great Depression.

(As we’ve previously explained, the Fed has intentionally squashed [15] money multipliers and money velocity [16] as a way to battle inflation. And see this [17])


An economics professor says we’ll have “a never-ending depression unless we repudiate the debt, which never should have been extended in the first place” [41]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Italian Navy to Effect 7,000 ‘Gradual’ Personnel Cuts

(AGI) — Rome, Jan 25 — The Italian Navy’s 2012 “Operations Report”, published on Friday heralds a downsizing in personnel, from 34,000 to 27,000. The downscaling fits recent Defence Ministry provisions and government efforts to rationalise outlay. The report clarifies that the reduction in Navy personnel will have to take place gradually in order to avoid “drastic imbalances.” As part of the process the Navy says it will be pressing ahead with a rebalancing of the ratios between officers, warrant officers and sailors, adapting enrolment requirements accordingly.

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

It’s Official: Worst. Recovery. Ever

If there was any debate whether the Fed’s policies have helped the economy or just the market (and specifically the Bernanke-targeted Russell 2000 [2]), the following two charts will end any and all debate. As the following chart from the St Louis Fed [3]shows, as of the just completed quarter, US GDP “growth” since the “recovery” is now the worst in US history, having just dipped below the heretofore lowest on record.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Switzerland: Euro Central Banker Defends Austerity Steps

The head of the European Central Bank said in Davos on Friday that the embattled euro had been relaunched but that more had to be done to boost the eurozone’s recession-wracked economy.

Governments have pushed through structural reforms with “urgency” and these are “now bearing fruit,” said the ECB boss.

European leaders had recognised structural flaws inherent in the single currency and were now pushing for greater integration.

And finally, his own institution had undertaken actions that broke the monetary policy mould, including providing one trillion euros ($1.33 trillion) in liquidity for banks.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

A One-Party System?

A number of progressive pundits have been urging Obama and the Democrats to sweep aside all opposition to their ultra-leftist agenda by destroying the Republican Party.


What the liberal media seems to be advocating at this point is that Obama turn the United States into a one party state and seize this moment to ram through a plethora of programs that may or may not be beneficial to the nation. To date there is no evidence that anything this president has done has had any positive benefit on the lives of most Americans. On the contrary, Americans are a lot poorer today than they were when George W. Bush left office, and I suspect they will be poorer yet by the end of Obama’s second term.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Big Government is Bad Government Because Power Attracts the Corrupt

It’s a good bet that no matter where you are on the political spectrum-liberal, conservative, libertarian or something else-you want men and women in government to be honest, humble, fair, wise, independent, responsible, incorruptible, mindful of the future and respectful of others.

But you may be holding profoundly contradictory views without realizing it. This is the bottom line: The bigger government gets, the less likely it will attract men and women who possess those traits we all say we want.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Breaking Down the Feinstein AWB

Well, as of Friday, January 25th, 2013, Diane Feinstein has released her unconstitutional, freedom-suppressing, firearms restricting bill, officially known as S.150. There is a lot to discuss with this bill, so I’m going to break this up into, for now, a two part series. I say for now to give me the option of expanding this series in the future.

Part 1, which is this article, shall be a straightforward analysis. No commentary, just the straightforward presentation of the facts of the bill. Part 2 shall contain my comments on this bill. There is a lot to discuss here, so let’s jump in.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Brothers Charged in Violent Raleigh Home Invasion

Raleigh, N.C. — Two brothers face multiple charges, including first-degree burglary and attempted murder, in connection with an early-morning violent home invasion in Raleigh’s Oakwood neighborhood in which a man was shot and his wife sexually assaulted.

Police found the man in his home in the 500 block of East Lane Street around 3:15 a.m. after receiving a 911 call from his wife who was able to escape to a neighbor’s house for help.

“We woke up, and there were these men in our bedroom, and they wanted money. We gave them everything we had, and we didn’t have enough,” the wife said in the frantic call, released Monday evening.

She said the men were masked and were wearing black. At some point, she was able to get away.

“I ran out of the house screaming, and then I heard them shoot him,” she said.

“We heard a blood-curdling scream and then pounding on our front door,” neighbor Terry Iverson told WRAL News Monday. “She said someone had broken in and there were a couple of guys, and her husband had been shot.”

Both victims were taken to WakeMed, where the wife was treated and later released. The extent of her husband’s injuries and whether he was still at the hospital Monday evening were unclear. He is expected to survive…

           — Hat tip: Takuan Seiyo [Return to headlines]

CNN Protects Obama From the “Fascist” Label

Fred Barnes wrote in The Wall Street Journal that Obama’s inauguration speech proves that he is an “ideologically committed liberal” and not a “pragmatist and a centrist.” Professor Paul Kengor is far more accurate when he describes Obama as a “hardcore leftist,” a polite way of saying “Marxist.” Kengor fully understands the nature of Obama’s Marxism because he wrote a book about Obama’s mentor, Communist Party member Frank Marshall Davis, which the major media did their best to ignore during the 2012 campaign.

It is to Obama’s benefit to be thought of merely as a “liberal,” even though the more popular term these days is “progressive.” But it is not “liberalism” that we are seeing out of Obama and his White House.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Enslave America … Disarm the People! Punish Law Abiding Citizens

Watching the gun debate proliferate across the nation, functionaries and politicians weep from podiums erected on the graves of children asserting that law abiding citizens be punished along with lawbreakers. Is this not a tawdry abuse of their office?

The Second Amendment does not grant a new right for the citizens, rather it recognizes and provides in writing ‘a new security’, as Justice Wilson stated, to the existing rights God had already conferred on His creation and confirmed in legal commentaries that undergird American law.

Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Law, a highly influential legal commentary at the time of Second Amendments framing, was the standard for American attorneys and judges. Concerning the right of citizens to own and use arms, Blackstone declared: “The…right of the [citizens] that I shall at present mention, is that of having arms for their defense…[This is] the natural right of resistance and self-preservation when the sanctions of society and laws are found insufficient to restrain the violence of oppression…[T]o vindicate these rights when actually violated or attacked, the [citizens] are entitled, in the first place, to the regular administration and free course of justice in the courts of law; next, to the right of petitioning the [government] for redress of grievances; and lastly, to the right of having and using arms for self-preservation and defense.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Feinstein Gun Control Bill to Exempt Government Officials

Not everyone will have to abide by Senator Dianne Feinstein’s gun control bill. If the proposed legislation becomes law, government officials and others will be exempt.

“Mrs. Feinstein’s measure would exempt more than 2,200 types of hunting and sporting rifles; guns manually operated by bolt, pump, lever or slide action; and weapons used by government officials, law enforcement and retired law enforcement personnel,” the Washington Times [2] reports.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Holder Begins Gun-Control Push

The Justice Department is taking the first steps toward carrying out President Obama’s executive actions on gun control.

Attorney General Eric Holder on Friday released three proposals to strengthen the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), which was one of the 23 actions ordered by Obama last week to tackle gun violence.

The proposed regulations would give local law-enforcement agencies access to the gun-sale database that is maintained by the FBI. The rules would also preserve records of denied weapons sales indefinitely.

The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act already requires federal background checks for gun purchases, but not every firearm sale is covered under the law.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Joe Biden and the Big Lie: Cops Are “Outgunned”

Vice President Joe Biden recently declared at a recent PBS event that Congress needs to outlaw “assault weapons” because the police are overwhelmed by heavily-armed criminals. Declared the Veep:

One of the reasons the assault weapons ban makes sense, even though it accounts for a small percentage of gun deaths, is because police organizationsoverwhelmingly support it because they are outgunned on the street by the bad guys and the proliferation of these weapons.

There is only one problem with Biden’s statement: it isn’t true, or it isn’t true unless criminals are regularly using machine guns, flash-bang grenades, troop carriers, tanks, and other combat material. The following link [url] shows photos of a small cross-section of the military gear the American police are using on a regular basis. Just who is “outgunned” in America these days? It certainly is not the police.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Obama’s Tyranny Takes Well-Deserved, Long-Overdue, Hit From Courts!

Barack Obama is NOT a king nor is he above the law

In an important court ruling which may signal that Barack Obama’s insufferable acts of tyranny shall not go unchecked for another four dreary years, a federal appeals court has ruled that The One abused his powers when making Recess Appointments to the National Labor Relations Board.

Thus, the man who Obama himself and fellow Democrats revere as a Constitutional scholar is, after all is said and done, still subject to the rule of law and the US Constitution, and must heel to the principal of separation of powers just like any other mortal, non-deity figure.

As reported, this upbraiding of The One may (with any luck!) be a major impediment to the president’s plans to transform America from Democratic Republic into a dysfunctional dictatorship run at the behest of an in-over-his-head community organizer:

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Progressive Congressmen Gather to Plot Agenda: Alinsky Invoked

A major focus of this blog is to expose how radical and Marxist groups have huge influence on Democratic Party policy.

One key transmission belt for socialist policy, from the Marxist left, to the floor of the US Congress, is Progressive Democrats of America — a tool of the notorious Institute for Policy Studies and the US’ largest Marxist organization, Democratic Socialists of America.

Tim Carpenter, PDA’s National Director, for example, is a former leader of Orange County Democratic Socialists of America.

According to PDA’s website:

Since its founding in Roxbury, Massachusetts, in July 2004, PDA has aggressively worked an “inside/outside” strategy, networking progressive Democratic elected officials inside the Beltway with grassroots Democrats and progressive movement activists across the country.

By using this “inside-outside” strategy, the Democrat Party hard left, conspire with their Marxist allies to organize marches and demonstrations in the streets to create the illusion of widespread public support for the “progressive” Congress members own radical agenda.

By using the confrontational tactics of legendary Chicago radical Saul Alinsky, congressional far leftists, mostly from the Congressional Progressive Caucus, are able to bully their few remaining moderate Democrat colleagues into toeing the “Party Line.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Record Line Outside Austin Gun Show

With gun shows across the country drawing record crowds, it’s no surprise to find lines of 500 people plus at a time waiting to get inside with thousands more at the Saxet Gun Show, taking place this January 26 & 27 at the Travis County Expo Center in Austin, Texas.

This despite the fact that the Austin City Council, along with various county entities, have moved to try to shut down gun shows and even ban them from taking place on private property.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

September 11 Trial Threatened by Legal Dispute

The trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has been thrown into turmoil by a legal dispute that could hand the alleged mastermind of the September 11 attacks and his alleged co-conspirators strong grounds for appeal.

The US defence department is at loggerheads with the chief prosecutor at Guantánamo Bay over what the charges should be. The five men, whose pretrial hearings reconvene at the naval base next week, face eight different charges. However, Brig Gen Mark Martins, the chief prosecutor, said the charge of conspiracy should be dropped because it was no longer “legally viable” following a court ruling that conspiracy — a charge that seeks to punish suspects for association with al-Qaeda — was not a recognised war crime under international law. This meant it could not legitimately be brought before a war-crimes tribunal such as Guantánamo. The ruling by an appeals court in Washington DC overturned the conviction against Osama bin Laden’s driver, Salim Hamdan, and has also undermined the conviction of Ali Hamza al-Bahlul, who made al-Qaeda propaganda films…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

U.S. Brands Saudi National Terrorist

WASHINGTON, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) — The Obama administration on Thursday branded a Saudi national as a specially designated global terrorist, a move that entailed sanctions on him.

The State Department blacklisted Ahmed Abdullah Saleh al-Khazmari al-Zahrani, better known as Abu Maryam al-Zahrani, calling him a senior member of al-Qaida. The agency said al-Zahrani is wanted for extradition by Saudi Arabia for participating in terrorist activities and for his ties to al-Qaida, which made him the subject of Interpol Red and Orange Notices as well. Citing open sources, the department said al-Zahrani has been in Pakistan since at least 2009. Under the sanctions put on him, al-Zahrani’s property under U.S. jurisdiction is frozen and American citizens are barred from doing business with him. “The action taken against this individual demonstrates the United States’ resolve in eliminating al-Qaida’s ability to execute violent attacks,” the department said in a statement.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

US Military Building Space Robot to Recycle Satellites (Video)

A Pentagon project to harvest and reuse parts from dead satellites is gaining steam, and a new video shows how the far the military program has come in its first few months.

The new video serves as a progress report through last November for the Phoenix program, a project by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to recycle space junk back into valuable satellite parts, or even completely new spacecraft. DARPA scientists began the project in July and are working toward launching the first demonstration mission in two years or so.

“Today, satellites are not built to be modified or repaired in space,” Phoenix program manager Dave Barnhart said in a statement unveiling the video Tuesday (Jan. 22). “Therefore, to enable an architecture that can reuse or repurpose on-orbit components requires us to create new technologies and new capabilities. This progress report gives the community a better sense of how we are doing on the challenges we may face and the technologies needed to help us meet our goals.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

World Interfaith Harmony Week Welcomed to Toronto This Year

Week promotes tolerance and peace among religions

TORONTO — World Interfaith Harmony Week is coming to Toronto for the first time. The United Nations Initiative, which originated in 2010 and is meant to promote peace, love, tolerance and understanding among followers of all religions, will run Feb. 1-7 at various Toronto locations. The theme for Toronto will be looking for ways to work together. “It’s an important thing, not only for Catholics, but for all Christians to be exposed to and to become more aware of the importance of other religions in the world,” said Fr. Damian MacPherson, director of the Office of Ecumenical and Interfaith Affairs for the archdiocese of Toronto. “In the absence of not knowing, generally suspicion arises.”


           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Brewing Controversy Over Proposal to Make Water Cheaper Than Beer

In Czech Republic, Idea Taps Strong Feelings; Birthplace of Pilsner

PRAGUE—In most restaurants and taverns across the Czech Republic, a mug of beer is, literally, cheaper than water. The country’s health minister wants to change that as he tries to put Czechs on a lower-hops diet.

It won’t be easy. Here in the birthplace of pilsner, beer is known as “liquid bread.” Czechs drink an average of 37 gallons of the stuff per person per year, the highest per capita consumption in the world and more than double U.S. levels.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

France: Zahia Dehar: From Call Girl to Fashion Princess

She was the underage call girl in an explosive sex scandal involving footballer Franck Ribery. Now, aided by Karl Lagerfeld, she’s launched her comeback as a lingerie designer and would-be fashion icon. Meet Zahia Dehar, our French Face of the Week.

Who’s Zahia Dehar?

She’s the 20-year-old former call girl who has reinvented herself as a stylist and lingerie designer. She just goes by ‘Zahia’, and despite her efforts, is still best known as the then 17-year-old girl who claimed she was paid to fly from Paris to Munich to have sex with French football star Franck Ribery, as a special 26th ‘birthday present’ for him.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

France: Islam at the Louvre

by Lee Lawrence

The roof of the Louvre’s new Islamic art department undulates like golden fabric gently lifted by the wind—a feat, considering it is made of steel and glass and weighs almost 150 tons. Filling a neoclassical courtyard, the addition that opened last fall tripled the space devoted to Islamic art and more than doubled the number of objects on view to almost 3,000, or about a sixth of the museum’s works from the Islamic world…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Germans Say They Are Tired of Badly Behaved Cyclists

(AGI) Berlin — A majority of Germans have asked for zero tolerance for bad behaviour from cyclists.

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

Germany: Al-Qaeda Members Jailed

Two suspected Al-Qaeda members were on Friday handed lengthy prison sentences by a Berlin court. One had released a video during the 2007 election campaign threatening a holy war on Germany.

The court gave one of the pair, a 27-year-old German, nine years in prison. His 23-year-old Austrian partner was handed six years and nine months.

The German was founding member of terrorist organisation the German Taliban Mudschaheddin (DTM), and, according to the federal prosecutor’s office, the two met in Afghanistan before both partaking in military training on the Pakistani-Afghan border.

In 2007, the older suspect published during the election campaign a video threatening to launch a holy war on Germany.

He was arrested in Vienna in March 2011 and two months later the Austrian was arrested in Berlin, the prosecutor’s office said. During the year long trial, both men remained silent.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Holocaust Victims Paid Back by Swiss Banks

All of the $1.3 billion Holocaust restitution fund created by Swiss banks in 1998 has been returned to victims, a judge involved in the case said in an interview published on Thursday.

Fifteen years after Swiss banks UBS and Credit Suisse agreed to return assets from dormant bank accounts belonging to Holocaust victims, US judge Edward Korman, who oversaw the lawsuits that led to the massive $1.25-billion settlement, said the entire amount, plus interest, had been doled out.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Italy: Naples Eyes Geothermal Energy, Power Plant Soon

Campi Flegrei boasts energy equivalent of 4 nuclear plants

(ANSAmed) — NAPLES — Volcanoes not only frighten but can also bring wealth: this is the theory behind Naples’ aim to use geothermal energy. The city at the foot of Vesuvius also has another volcano to its west, that of the Campi Flegrei, and by the end of the year a project for a geothermal power plant will get underway in the area to take advantage of its subterranean temperatures, both for household heating and for power production. The announcement was made at a conference on “The Environment, Peace, Geothermal Energy, Development and Labour” held today in Naples. “We are aiming to set up a trigenerative pilot plant integrated with other sources, which in this case will be solar thermodynamic energy and liquid biomass, such as recycled vegetable oils and algae. All the elements will be natural ones,” said Antonio Luongo, city councillor tasked with energy affairs by Mayor De Magistris. “Geothermal energy is one of the sustainable type that we have the most of. Experts say that the geothermal potential in the Campi Flegrei is equal to the energy produced by four large nuclear power plants,” Luongo said in illustrating the town council’s decision to focus on geothermal energy. “In line with the PAES (the action plan for sustainable energy approved by the town council in August, Ed.),” Luongo went on to say, “the Town Council is taking serious action on these issues, in compliance with European directives and the Horizon 2020 as concerns the implementation of sustainable energies. Initially we will focus on heating and then on power production.” The plant will be the largest of a number of “small ones located throughout the city”, Luongo said, and will be built with private funding. He said that “there is already a group that took part in the Smart City competition, including research institutes, universities and several private companies. Private capital will then be put into the project with a contribution from the EU, as provided for by the Smart City project.” The construction of the geothermal plant is expected to take about six months. Luongo concluded by saying that “I am convinced that with a ‘democratic’, non invasive geothermal energy of the surface and with reinjection, new generation plants, we will be able to open up a new future for the city of Naples. I am certain that on this matter we will receive the support of environmental associations.” Osservatorio Vesuviano director Marcello Martini also commented on geothermal energy development, saying that it “has developed a great deal over the past few years. From huge plants we have now moved to the development of systems with intermediate outputs, sometimes even at the household level, and it has been developed even in areas in which there aren’t any volcanoes, simply by using the earth’s gradient.” On potential risks connected with the use of this type of energy, Martini said that “it is necessary to look at them alongside the use made of them. We study the geothermal system from a volcanic point of view, but also for the possible use of this energy. Obviously, like everything human, how it is used also determines the safety of it.”

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy’s Age Gap Second Only to Germany’s, ISTAT Says

147 seniors for every 100 youth

(ANSA) — Rome, January 22 — There are 147.2 seniors for every 100 young people in Italy, giving Italy the second-biggest age gap in Europe, Istat said Tuesday. According to the national statistics agency, only Germany has a higher disparity between old and young.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Rumored McDonald’s Opening in Urbino Causes Controversy

Golden arches could open in a church-owned building in center

(ANSA) — Urbino, January 22 — The possible opening of a McDonald’s fast-food restaurant in the historic center of Urbino is stirring up lots of controversy in this Italian town.

While not yet official, rumor has it that the golden arches will soon be opening a location on the city’s Piazza Duomo, a few meters from the historic Palazzo Ducale.

While some local officials have howled in disgust at the prospects of burghers and fries being made and sold in the city center, others — notably the owner of the building which might host the restaurant — are more interested in the economic benefits.

In a somewhat ironic twist, the location of the future McDonald’s — until recently a branch office of a bank — is owned by the church. McDonald’s has already successfully found home in other elite, historic Italian locations, like Rome’s Piazza di Spagna and near Florence’s Santa Maria Novella church.

While realizing the potential economic benefits a McDonald’s restaurant could bring to the city, Federico Scaramucci, the president of the city government’s culture, tourism and productive activities office, says: “Urbino is an international city whose architectural, cultural and artistic characteristics have made its inclusion (UNESCO’s) list of world heritage cities possible… The presence of a McDonald’s in the center would be inappropriate. There are many other suitable locations”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Alitalia Ordered to Sell Parts of Milan-Rome Air Route

Airline loses appeal of antitrust ruling

(ANSA) — Rome, January 23 — Alitalia must sell some of the slots on its Milan-Rome route, the Council of State said Wednesday. It dismissed an appeal by Italy’s flagship air carrier of an antitrust ruling made last spring, and said its written reasons would be released later.

That ruling overturned an ad hoc legislative decree from 2008 that gave Alitalia, then struggling financially, a boost as it attempted to salvage itself.

But in the past year, probes carried out by the antitrust authorities concluded that there was a “a lack of proper competition between rail and air transport” and that Alitalia, along with its unit AirOne, was running a monopoly.

At the time, citizens’ rights organisation Cittadinanzattiva said that the antitrust ruling shook the “absolute dominance of Alitalia on one of the most popular Italian routes” and was a step forward in protecting citizens’ rights to choose.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Prosecutor Charged With Trading Favours for Sex Suspended

‘A gentleman who always put duty first’ says lawyer

(ANSA) — Rome, January 23 — A Rome prosecutor has been suspended from his job after his arrest on Wednesday for allegedly trading favours for sex.

Roberto Staffa faces charges of extortion, bribery and disclosing secret information under an order issued by the investigating magistrate of Perugia, brought in to head the Rome inquiry.

It is alleged that Staffa traded information and favours in exchange for sex.

Staffa’s suspension from work was automatic, and the ministry of justice has also asked the magistrate from Perugia to consider other disciplinary actions.

Charges came after investigators placed listening devices in Staffa’s office where sexual activity was recorded. Meanwhile, his lawyer Salvatore Volpe said he has not yet viewed all the paperwork in the case, but said his client was “an absolute gentleman”. “I must…point out that Staffa is an absolute gentleman, a magistrate who has consistently put duty and professional commitments ahead of personal needs”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Berlusconi Calls His Ex-Wife’s Alimony ‘Unrealistic’

Former premier to pay 36 million euros a year

(ANSA) Rome, January 24 — Former Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi on Thursday called a sentence that forces him to pay his ex-wife Veronica Lario 36 million euros a year in alimony “unrealistic”, adding that it was “detached from reality”. Berlusconi said the verdict was “unexpected” to the point he was now considering meeting with his wife to discuss the measures.

“Before, I used to let the lawyers handle it, and I would stay out of it, but I will shortly be meeting directly with my wife”, he said to Radio due in an interview. Earlier this month Berlusconi blasted the three women judges who ordered him to pay his ex-wife Veronica Lario 36 million euros a year in alimony as feminists and communists.

In 2009 Lario filed for divorce from the 76-year-old media magnate, who has been at the centre of a series of sex scandals and is on trial in Milan for allegedly paying for sex with an underage prostitute.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: ‘Oltre Il Velo’, on 2nd Generation Immigrant Women

Passions and battles of immigrants’ daughters in Italy

(ANSAmed) — ROME, JANUARY 25 — After her book on the silent revolution of women in the Arab and Muslim world in “Il Paradiso ai Piedi delle Donne” (“Paradise at Women’s Feet”, published by Mondadori in 2012), Francesca Caferri has now shifted her focus to the daughters of immigrants to Italy, the so-called second generation, in a slim e-book by the same publisher.

“Oltre il Velo” (“Beyond the Veil”) starts off with a criticism of that world of the media which the Repubblica journalist herself belongs to, a world too often drawn to such facile dichotomies as oppression/freedom, veiled/unveiled, and arranged marriage/true love. But she also begins with the story of Khalida, a young mother of Moroccan origins who spoke at Rome demonstrations organised by the group Se Non Ora Quando (SNOQ), in order to demand the right to citizenship for second generation immigrants — a right repeatedly supported by Italian president Napolitano. A member of the Filomena association, Khalida shows up in that day’s photos as one of the “women of Italy”, whose blue headscarf is in no way different from the red scarf worn by others. “An accessory, nothing more,” writes the author. In reality, Khalida opted to put it on only after September 11, 2001, when the Twin Towers attack led her to rediscover her religion in meanings that the Islam-equals-terrorism equation seemed to have eliminated. One of the “new Italians” included in the book is Sumaya Abdel Qader, author of the book “Porto il Velo, Adoro i Queen” (“I Wear a Headscarf, and I Adore Queen”, published by Sonzogno, 2008), which focuses on young women like herself, as full of energy as second generation immigrant males but often more ambitious and open-minded. They are young women who instead of feeling divided between two worlds prefer to feel as if they belong to both, as one loves both one’s father and one’s mother — as Sumaya puts it — without having to choose between them. Then there is also Maya Homsi, “the closest thing to an Arab Uprising blogger Italy has produced”. Of Syrian origins and living in Bologna, in 2011 she created the Facebook group “Vogliamo la Siria LIBERA” (“We want a FREE Syria”) and became an anti-Assad activist (receiving both insults and threats as a result), but not for this reason does she feel any less Italian.

She now wonders why other Italians don’t wake up to the fact that “democracy is a value that must be safeguarded, and some Italians don’t seem to realise this.” Perfectly integrated in Italy and socially active is also Oujedane Mejri, a young Tunisian teacher at Milan’s Polytechnic.

In order to bring together two universes both near and far at the same time (Italy and Tunisia), she founded the Pontes association to tell others like herself that integration is possible — and to tell Italians the same thing.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Rise and Fall of the World’s Oldest Bank

La Stampa Turin

The 14th Century Palazzo Salimbeni, headquarters of Monte dei Paschi bank in Siena, Italy

Jacqueline Poggi

Founded in 1472, the bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena has helped raise Siena’s quality of life and governance to the top tier. The political and economic scandal that has erupted around the “MPS”, however, could mark the end of a system — and of an era.

Gianluca Paolucci

“Siena is in the red, and with shame,” remarks a keen observer of Siena affairs sitting outside a café, responding to the latest news of abysmal losses by the bank. The mood of the city today, it must be said, has been captured for almost seven hundred years in the cycle of frescoes by Ambrogio Lorenzetti hanging on the walls of the Palazzo pubblico, today’s City Hall: the Effects of Good and Bad Government, which shows the city of the Sienese ruined and the countryside abandoned, should it ever suffer the ills of “bad government.”

Roberto Barzanti, grand old man of the local left and Communist Party (PCI) Mayor when Monte Paschi celebrated the 500th anniversary of its founding, attributes the ills of today to the “Sienese superstition” that the embrace between the bank and local political life would never be dissolved. “The transformation, in 1995, of the old institution of public law into a joint stock company was felt more painfully here than anywhere else,” said the former MEP.

“The Sienese have struggled to accept the split between the philanthropic activities of the ‘Monte’ and those of the bank proper, which should have been achieved by the creating, on the one hand, of a foundation, and on the other, of a publicly traded bank. When that finally did go through, things did certainly change — but everything has been tried to make sure that nothing really changes.”

Milking the cash cow

From that was born the “harmonious tangle”, these indissoluble links between the old Christian Democrats and the old Communist Party, the Church and Freemasonry, trade unionists and the bankers.

Appointments to the bank were decided at the meetings of the parties, and appointments to the town hall were decided at the bank. For the past 25 years, all the mayors of Siena have begun their careers at the Monte dei Paschi, except the last, Franco Ceccuzzi, who stayed in office just over a year and was also ushered out of it by the “Monte” crisis. The locals call the bank “Father Monte”, shrewd tongues the “milk cow”, and everyone tries to ensure that, when they pass by it, the bank does not deprive them of a little milk.

There used to a lot of milk, and for everyone: from 1995 to 2010, the Foundation handed out nearly €2bn “in the territory” for roads, heritage restorations, sports facilities, and for associations and their volunteers. All this was according to a fixed pay-out scheme, so that no one, whatever their political colour, could really have much to complain about.

Everything takes a tumble

The game was up a year ago, when the Foundation discovered that it was headed for a cliff edge. And from there, everything took a tumble. The local Democratic Party [inheritor of the PCI] fell apart during the budget presentation, when part of the mayor’s coalition challenged the distribution of grants awarded by the Foundation and refused a vote of confidence in the (now former) mayor, Franco Ceccuzzi.

While the local political scene is being ripped apart by the debris of the “Siena system”, which is today in tatters, civil society is questioning its own future. The austerity imposed by the red ink in the accounts has led recently to drastic cuts in funding and sponsorships.

The first to pay the price has been the Siena Calcio football club, whose grants have been rudely cut, according to leaks, from €4m to €2m, and the basketball team, Mens Sana, the great passion of the Sienese, which has seen its grant slashed from €12m to €4m. But that’s not all. Subsidies for the famous palio have been squeezed from €250,000 to less than €15,000 for each contrada [neighbourhood] competing. It may seem a minor thing, but it has a strong symbolic value.

“Paradoxically, the end of the era of largesse could have at least one silver lining,” blogs the “Heretic of Siena”, a valued and much-followed commentator on life in the city. “Everyone has to grasp now that an era is over, and for good.”

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

Italy: Centre-Left Up to Its Neck in MPS Bank Scandal, Says Right

(AGI) Palermo, Jan 26 — The centre-left Democratic Party is “up to its neck” in the Monti dei Paschi di Siena bank scandal and Prime Minister Mario Monti started kicking up a fuss about it too late, said the leader of the centre-right People of Freedom, Angelino Alfano.

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

Kidnapped Italian Tourists May Have to Reimburse Govt

(AGI) Roma — COPASIR said money to free kidnapped Italian tourists will have to be reimbursed if the tourists did not heed official warnings.

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

Spying a Flaw in the Scots Going it Alone

Scottish independence could make it easier for Russian submarines to loiter off the north British coast, eavesdropping on our security services, says a Whitehall expert.

Lord Hennessy, a Crossbench peer who is a historian and former journalist, knows more about the country’s secret cubby-holes than most people.

This week he made a little-noticed parliamentary speech that urged politicians to wake up to the spy-world implications of an independent Scotland.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Sweden: Man Critical After Malmö Street Shooting

A 31-year-old man remains in critical condition after he was shot in broad daylight near Möllevångstorget in central Malmö on Friday afternoon.

The man was rushed to hospital after sustaining gunshot wounds to the stomach and face in a shooting on Bergsgatan shortly before 3pm on Friday afternoon.

According to staff at Skåne University Hospital, the man underwent an operation on Friday night but his injuries remain life-threatening.

According to several witnesses, several shots were fired in the attack near the busy Malmö market place and residential neighbourhood.

“I saw how a man lay on the street and bled from the face. He was surrounded by people and someone was pressing against his stomach,” a witness told the local Sydsvenskan daily.

According to a study by the National Crime Prevention Council (Brottsförebyggande rådet — Brå) published in September 2012, daytime shootings are becoming more common within criminal circles in Sweden.

In the month prior to the report, some ten outdoor shootings were reported with police officers in Swedish cities identifying a change in criminal behaviour.

“The impression police have is that shootings are far more reckless than previously,” Brå researcher Danial Vesterhav told the TT news agency at the time.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Sweden: Man Charged as Woman Dies After S&M Sex Game

A man from Umeå in northern Sweden has been charged with aggravated assault and manslaughter after the death of 28-year-old German woman during a violent S&M sex game.

The woman died in October and came to the attention of the authorities when the man called the emergency services, according to a report in the local Västerbottens-Kuriren newspaper.

When the ambulance arrived they found the woman unconscious and unable to breathe by herself. She was rushed to hospital where she was kept in intensive care for a couple of days before she was declared dead.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Switzerland: Internet Pioneer Warns of Government Meddling

The inventor of the World Wide Web warns that government control is limiting the possibilities of the internet, as dozens of countries and businesses sign a cyber-security deal at the Davos forum.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Tina Turner ‘To Become Swiss, Give Up US Passport’

US pop legend Tina Turner, who has been living in Switzerland since 1995, will soon receive Swiss citizenship and will give up her US passport, Swiss media reported Friday.

“I’m very happy in Switzerland and I feel at home here. … I cannot imagine a better place to live,” Turner told German language daily Blick.

Turner, 73, who was born Anna Mae Bullock, lives in picturesque town of Kuesnacht, on the shores of Lake Zurich in northern Switzerland, and has passed a local civics test and interview, according to an official announcement published in the Zuerichsee-Zeitung daily.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK May Now Have to Reset Its Relationship With Israel

by Martin Bright

The much-predicted hysterical lurch to the right turned out to be a sober march to the centre ground. Israeli elections often produce surprises, but the results this week will have led to an unprecedented collective sigh of relief in Whitehall. Ministers will wait until the post-election horse-trading is over before passing definitive judgment. But the fact that Benjamin Netanyahu used his first speech on Tuesday night to pledge that he will seek to build a broad-based coalition will give comfort to those in the British government who feared a hardening of the Israeli position…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: ‘Uproar’ Over Plans for Islamic Centre in Stoke Road

SHOCKED business owners are in ‘uproar’ as plans to build an Islamic culture and education community centre — just minutes from the high street — are set to be passed ‘without any consultation’. Plans to convert Bridge House at 1a Stoke Road into a community centre for use by around 400 Muslim Sri Lankan families will be given the go ahead — providing a Section 106 agreement is signed. Business owners in the area claim they know nothing about the plans — with many unaware until The Observer contacted them yesterday morning (Thursday). Peter Mills, director of scrap metal merchants W N Thomas And Sons, in Stoke Gardens, which is directly behind Bridge House, said: “Everyone is in uproar.”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Claims of ‘Disorder and Noise’ At Mosque

Neighbours of Cambridge’s main mosque claim they have been threatened by worshippers when they complain about noise and illegal parking. Residents said the impact of the Mawson Road mosque had become “intolerable” and warned large crowds that gathered outside were “intimidating”, calling on Islamic leaders to police their congregation. The two sides went head-to-head at a summit at the Guildhall yesterday over the future of an assembly room at the back of the mosque, which has been operating without planning permission for a year…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: David Cameron’s European Referendum Speech Was Hailed as a Masterstroke, But We’ve Been Here Before

As the past few days have reminded us, political leadership is all too often an exercise in smoke and mirrors.

For years, David Cameron’s activists have been badgering him to call a referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union.

On Wednesday, at long last, they got what they wanted, with Mr Cameron pledging to call an in-out referendum by 2017 after renegotiating the terms of British membership.

By any standards, his long-awaited speech was a masterful performance: clever, assured and plausible. For once, even the Prime Minister’s critics hailed him as statesmanlike and decisive; by contrast, his Labour and Lib Dem rivals looked bewildered, confused and weak.

But when you look more closely at the fine print of Mr Cameron’s words, the doubts begin to grow.

The Eurosceptics may have begun cracking open the champagne, but I suspect they would be very premature to drink it.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Desperate Mother’s Global Appeal for Safe Return of Five-Year-Old Daughter Who Was Snatched by Father in Egypt

A distraught mother has made an international appeal for the return of her five-year-old daughter who was snatched in Egypt.

Naomi Button, 39, has not seen Elsa since she was abducted by her father during a holiday over a year ago.

Her estranged Egyptian husband Tamer Salama, 35, is in prison in Britain for refusing to say where he has hidden the little girl.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Forty Primary School Pupils Expelled for Violence Every Day

Forty primary school pupils are expelled every day for attacking their teachers as levels of violence among under-11s reaches a record high, officials figures disclose.

The latest data from the Department for Education reveals that exclusions for assaulting teachers are now more common among primary school children than in secondary schools.

The statistics showed that 8,030 primary school pupils aged five to 11 were expelled in the 2010/11 teaching year — a rise of 15 per cent over four years. Unions have warned that this figure may not even represent the truth of the endemic violence as staff are warned not to report incidents to protect the reputation of their schools. The South East has seen the sharpest rise in violence in this age group, increasing by 41 per cent from 2006/7 to 2010/11. Philip Davies, MP for Shipley, told the Daily Mail that the “extraordinary” figures were a “sad indictment on the state of our society, the lack of discipline, the lack of respect for authority, and some pretty bad parenting”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Gavin Barwell MP: The Holocaust Teaches US What Educated People Are Capable of Doing in Certain Circumstances — and Just How Many People Will ‘Follow Orders’

Gavin Barwell is Member of Parliament for Croydon Central. Follow Gavin on Twitter.

Each year, on the 27th January — the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau by the Red Army — we mark Holocaust Memorial Day (tomorrow). It is an opportunity to remember the victims of this and subsequent genocides and to learn the appropriate lessons so that we can try to ensure it doesn’t happen again…

Such attitudes towards ethnic or religious minorities persist today around the world, including in the UK. Don’t believe me? There are people who are happy to tell pollsters that non-white British citizens who were born in this country aren’t British. And a significant minority of the electorate believes there will be a clash of civilisations between Muslims and native white Britons.

If we want to live in a strong, cohesive society, these attitudes must be challenged. There are extremists in every community, but the vast majority of Britain’s black and minority are patriotic (indeed, research suggests they are more optimistic about Britain than those who were born here) and have exactly the same concerns — jobs, the cost of living, crime, good healthcare and good schools for their kids — as everyone else. Anyone who has friends from minority communities knows this. Prejudice is the preserve of the ignorant.

This fundamental truth was beautifully illustrated by Mo Farah, a British Muslim and now Olympic legend born in Somalia who, when asked if he would rather have run for Somalia, replied: “Not at all mate. This is my country”. I particularly love his use of the word “mate” in response to this offensive question — quintessentially British…

[Reader comment by colliemum on 26 January 2013 at about 9:30 am.]

Yes, lets water down the Holocaust to include everything the PC brigade now labels genocide, and throw in a pinch of ‘we’re all guilty’ anti-racism.

How anybody can try and find parallels between the literally industrialised killings of six million Jews with even such shocking crimes as Darfur, and then throw in remarks about how we must be nice to minorities — that is beyond understanding. Or, rather, not: anything is better than actually talking about Jews, and if one has to, then only with a huge portion of Zionism-critique thrown in, not to forget mentioning the Palestinians for good measure, as the unappetising spectacle of David Ward showed yesterday. He is not alone. The renowned columnist Caroline Glick wrote a column about her recent visit to London, titled ‘Bye-bye London’:… Her experience shows why this post by Mr Barwell is the new ‘normal’: it’s no longer “don’t talk about the war” — it’s “don’t talk about the Jews”.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Hundreds Brave the Cold to Celebrate Prophet Muhammad’s Birthday

Hundreds of memders of the Muslim community didn’t let the cold weather get in the way of a procession to celebrate Muhammad’s birthday. The annual procession organised by the Central Jamia Mosque, Rhodes Street, Halifax, brought together members of the community of all ages with prayer, songs and exchanging sweets and food. Amjid Mahmood, spokesperson for the mosque, said: “It is about gathering of people, reciting parts of the Qu’ran, narrating the history of the Prophet’s birth and signs that accompanied it. To celebrate the day, food and sweets are served and people are taught that the good practice is to emulate the teachings of the prophet and the one who practices them gets rewarded, because it involves elevating the status of the Prophet and expressing joy for his honourable birth. We would like to thank the Police and the Calderdale Council for their cooperation in helping us to organise this successful event.” The procession made its way along Hanson lane, Queens Road, Parkinson Lane, Hopwood Lane and then back to the Central Jamia Mosque where prayers and supplications were offered by the congregation.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Human Rights Laws Stop Algerian Terror Suspect With Links to Gas Plant Massacre Group Being Deported Because He is Suicidal

An Algerian terror suspect has been allowed to stay in Britain because a judge believes he may commit suicide if he is forced to go back home.

The 43-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, does not dispute he is a risk to Britain’s national security and is believed to support one of the terrorist groups which carried out the deadly attack on an Algerian gas plant earlier this month which claimed the lives of 39 hostages including six Britons.

He is also suspected of providing fake passports and travel arrangements to terrorists.

But in another blow for the Home Office, the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (Siac) has allowed the married man to remain on British soil today because deporting him would breach his human rights.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Isolation Leads British Muslims to Act Like ‘Idiots’

LONDON (RNS) The increasing isolation of Britain’s Muslim community is leading to stepped-up attacks against Muslims and a sense that Muslims can act like “idiots” against outsiders in some parts of the city, British government and Muslim leaders say. Parts of London’s East End have turned into Muslims-only zones, they say, where gays and lesbians are harassed, men are forced to pour alcoholic drinks down the gutter and women have been ordered to cover their bare skin. That has helped widen the gap between Muslims and non-Muslims, said Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, Britain’s Minister for Faith and Communities, and led to a “slippery slope” that enables extremists on both sides to advance “their twisted interests unchecked. I believe an attack on a Muslim is an attack on a Christian, a Jew, a Hindu or a Sikh,” she said Thursday (Jan. 24)

Muslim religious leaders, too, are concerned about the fundamentalists who have carved out Muslims-only ghettos. “They’re idiots and they must be stopped now,” said Fiyaz Mughal, director of the London-based Faith Matters organization. “This helps fuel anger and racial and religious prejudice. You can also call them fascists.” Warsi called for updated statistics on anti-Muslim hate crimes, and endorsed a new “Anti-Muslim Attacks” campaign organized by Mughal. Posters telling Muslims to report hate crimes to the police are going up in all of Britain’s main towns and cities…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: It’s Not Misogyny, Professor Beard. It’s You

by Rod Liddle

Oh, this age! How tasteless and ill-bred it is.’

— Gaius Valerius Catullus

‘I do not know whom Mary Beard is but wyth a name lyke that she surely has a third teat and a hairy clopper.’

— Internet posting following Professor Mary Beard’s appearance on Question Time

So Catullus, mate — things have not got much better over the last two thousand years. People, it seems, are still ill-bred and tasteless, as that second quote up there would suggest. It was not the most tasteless comment on the internet over the last week or so, or even the most tasteless to be directed at Mary Beard, Professor of Classics at Newnham College, Cambridge. There are others, most so vulgar even I wouldn’t repeat them, from quite the most ghastly ill-bred people. I suppose it is shocking that someone of Professor Beard’s standing and breeding is forced to suffer its hideous manifestations. What happened was this. Professor Beard was invited to take part on the BBC’s Question Time programme, where she made what can be politely described as an utter fool of herself…

Anyway, having performed with stumbling vapidity in her earlier answers, she turned to the question of immigration and the influx of Bulgarians and Romanians we are all looking forward to welcoming to our shores next January. Mary managed to appear smug, patrician and fabulously ill-informed in her answer, which was to the effect that a study in Lincolnshire had suggested that immigration had caused nary a problem at all but had added immeasurably to the rich diversity of the area — and so, she concluded, there would be no problems at all from this next wave. Unfortunately, she was speaking in Lincolnshire at the time and the lowly born, perhaps ill-bred audience quickly disabused her of this ludicrous notion with multiple descriptions of what it was like to live in a place which has been swamped with eastern European workers; their lack of homes, the crime, the antisocial behaviour, the pressure on local resources and so on…

[Reader comment by vieuxceps on 25 January 2012.]

In my opinion Professor Beard should not be criticised for her appearance or her gender but for her views on immigration, the point of the original question. If you recall her programme on the Romans you will have noticed that scarcely any Romans appeared in it, the main attention being given to those who had immigrated into Rome and, in the Professor’s view, were patently the ones who had made Rome great. I commented on this at the time. I thought then, and think now, that a programme on history should not be used as a propaganda vehicle for present-day political views. It seems that the Professor is now intent on bringing her agenda up-to-date. I suggest her opinions are bizarre enough without needing to remark on her looks.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Judge Lets Ricin Plot Terrorist Stay in the UK

Al-Qaeda fanatic ‘at risk of suicide if booted out’

A SOFT judge who allowed an al-Qaeda terrorist to stay in Britain over fears he might kill himself faced calls to quit last night.

Mr Justice Mitting — who recently upheld hate preacher Abu Qatada’s appeal to stay here — ruled the Algerian zealot’s human rights would be breached if he was booted out.

Incredibly the fanatic, who was part of a plot to poison Tube passengers with highly toxic ricin in 2003, is out on BAIL — despite admitting he is a threat to the UK. The married man, known only as ‘G’, is believed to have provided fake passports to other terrorists. Patricia Bingley, 78, of Clacton-on-Sea, Essex — who lost her son Kevin in the 9/11 attacks in the US — said: “This judge must resign immediately. “We should put this terrorist on the first plane to Algeria and if we can’t, send him to America. They’ll know what to do with him.”

The Algerian, 46, claimed asylum when he was caught entering the UK in 1995 on a fake passport. He tried to hang himself in his prison cell in September 2005. Mr Justice Mitting said: “We are persuaded the risk G would commit suicide, especially after arrival in Algiers, is high.” But he told six other Algerian terror suspects they must leave the country…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Lib Dem MP David Ward Could be Kicked Out of Party After Suggesting ‘The Jews’ Had Not Learned the Lessons of the Holocaust

A Liberal Democrat MP faces expulsion from the party for saying ‘the Jews’ had not learned from the murder of six million in the Holocaust, in their treatment of the Palestinian people. David Ward, MP for Bradford East, wrote on his own website that he was ‘saddened’ that they ‘could within a few years of liberation from the death camps be inflicting atrocities on Palestinians…on a daily basis.’


           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Muslim Abuser Who ‘Didn’t Know’ That Sex With a Girl of 13 Was Illegal is Spared Jail

A muslim who raped a 13-year-old girl he groomed on Facebook has been spared a prison sentence after a judge heard he went to an Islamic faith school where he was taught that women are worthless. Adil Rashid, 18, claimed he was not aware that it was illegal for him to have sex with the girl because his education left him ignorant of British law. Yesterday Judge Michael Stokes handed Rashid a suspended sentence, saying: ‘Although chronologically 18, it is quite clear from the reports that you are very naive and immature when it comes to sexual matters.’

Earlier Nottingham Crown Court heard that such crimes usually result in a four to seven-year prison sentence. But the judge said that because Rashid was ‘passive’ and ‘lacking assertiveness’, sending him to jail might cause him ‘more damage than good’. Rashid, from Birmingham, admitted he had sex with the girl, saying he had been ‘tempted by her’ after they met online…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Terrorism Suspect Treatment of Mahdi Hashi is ‘A National Disgrace’, Claims Camden Solicitor Who Fought for Release of Guildford Four

THE state-sponsored blackmail and harassment of a former Haverstock schoolboy and other Somalis living in Camden by MI5 is a “national disgrace”, according to one of the country’s leading miscarriage-of-justice campaigners. Solicitor Gareth Peirce — who has represented the Guildford Four, Birmingham Six, the family of Jean Charles de Menezes and Guantanamo Bay detainee Moazzam Begg — spoke in support of Mahdi Hashi at a packed public meeting inside the Town Hall on Friday night…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Workers Should Not Have to Reveal Previous Convictions to Employers Because it Breaches Their Human Rights, Warns Judge

Workers who have committed minor offences should not have to admit their wrongdoing to employers, according a senior judge.

In a landmark case, Lord Dyson is expected to rule that it is unlawful to make job applicants disclose minor crimes that were carried out when they were young.

Despite Home Office concerns that changing the terms of disclosure could cause systematic chaos, the Master of Rolls is expected to say that the current system breaches the right to family and private life under the Human Rights Act.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Zurich Resident Tina Turner Becomes Swiss

American rock singer Tina Turner has become a Swiss citizen. The news was trumpeted by Blick and other Swiss-German newspapers on Friday. Turner, 73, has lived near Zurich since 1995, making a mansion in Küsnacht, overlooking Lake Zurich, her principal residence. “I am very happy in Switzerland and I feel at home here,” she told Blick. “I could not imagine a better place to live.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Egyptian Army Deployed in Suez After Anniversary Unrest

Egyptian troops have been deployed in Suez and President Mohammed Morsi has appealed for calm after at least seven people died in protests marking the second anniversary of Egypt’s uprising.

Six people were killed in Suez and one in Ismailia as police clashed with protesters in several towns and cities. Critics accuse Mr Morsi of betraying the revolution that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak. The Islamist president has dismissed the opposition’s claims as unfair. Instead, he has called for a national dialogue, and on Saturday he urged his opponents to refrain from violence…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Muslim Brotherhood’s Headquarters in Egypt’s Ismailia Torched by Protesters

CAIRO, Jan. 25 (Xinhua) — Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood’s (MB) headquarters in Ismailia governorate was torched Friday as massive demonstrations were held nationwide to mark the second anniversary of the 2011 unrest that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak, state TV reported. In Egyptian governorates like Ismailia, Suez, Alexandria, Bani Swaif and others, hundreds of thousands of protesters gathered since early Friday, calling for the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi and the current government…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Obama Backs France in Battle Against Extremists

US President Barack Obama voiced support Friday for France’s military intervention in Mali and vowed to work with French counterpart Francois Hollande to tackle extremism across North Africa.

The two presidents discussed other “shared security concerns,” including Algeria, Libya and Syria, during telephone talks, the White House said in a statement.

“The president expressed his support for France’s leadership of the international community’s efforts to deny terrorists a safe haven in Mali,” it added. Hollande thanked Obama for his “significant support” of the effort.

The US Air Force has deployed C-17 cargo planes to ferry French troops and equipment to northern Mali, where they are trying to help flush out radical Islamist fighters.

The United States also was providing intelligence to Paris, drawing on its network of satellites and surveillance drones.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Tunisia: Gabes — Mausoleum of Sidi Ali Ben Salem Set Aflame

Tunis — The Mausoleum of Ali Ben Salem, in the delegation of Hamma-Governorate of Gabes, was set aflame Thursday. The fire had ravaged the whole Mausoleum from the inside and its dome was heavily damaged, TAP local correspondent reported.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Young Egyptian Leader Calls on West to Back Anti-Islamist Struggle

On the second anniversary of the Jasmine Revolution, millions of young people demonstrate across the country against the government led by the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists. Since the fall of the Mubarak regime, nothing has changed. For Nagui Damian, a young Coptic leader, people are ready for anything to make their voice heard. There are fears that people might clash, even violently, with police.

Cairo (AsiaNews) — “Western nations must back our demands and support our struggle against Islamists,” said Nagui Damian, a young Coptic Catholic leader of the Revolution, who spoke to AsiaNews about Egypt’s tense situation.

“The Muslim Brotherhood does not care about the common good, only about power. Millions of Egyptians are protesting today across the country to show the world that the Jasmine Revolution is alive, that it did not end with Mubarak’s fall.”

Indeed, “People want real democratic change in the country and are willing to do anything to get it,” he explained, but “We are afraid of clashes, even violent ones, with police.”

In fact, elections and two referendums characterised by vote rigging and discrimination are not enough to make Egypt a democratic country.

For that goal, thousands of people have gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square and in Heliopolis, where the presidential palace is located. Other demonstrations are expected in other parts of the city like Helwan, Shubra, al-Zawaya, Imbaba and Mostafa Mahmoud Square.

More demonstrations are also planned for Alexandria, Assuit, Port Saud, Suez, Sharqiya, Kafr al-Sheikh, he added.

To avoid tensions, the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists will not hold back their members. Instead, they have decided to mark the anniversary with a populist action, launching a campaign to promote health, offering people free hospital checkups.

For the young Copt, Islamists are aware that they are losing popular appeal. “In two years, our demands have been unheeded,” he said. “In the media, Islamists describe Egypt as a democratic country, but in reality they silence anyone who tries to criticise them.”

A case in point is the Sharia-based constitution, approved in a “phoney” referendum that Islamists won thanks to clerical propaganda in rural mosques where more than half of the population is illiterate.

For Nagui Damian, “Islamists fear culture. For this reason, they are trying to discredit young revolutionaries.”

What is more, “They have deliberately obfuscated the real content of the constitution, which still cannot be found in print in bookstores and libraries. Anyone who wants to buy a copy must rely on unofficial editions without the government seal.” For the young man, this is one of the many examples of bad governance by the Muslim Brotherhood.

On the one hand, they want to be everything to everybody. On the other, “During the trials of those responsible for the massacres at the Maspero building and Mohammed Mahmoud Street, none of the accused, mostly military, has been convicted. Meanwhile, Salafists who continue to attack Christian villages in Upper Egypt enjoy impunity.”

In light of the situation, Nagui Damian wants Western democracies to remain engaged in Egypt and help the thousands of young Egyptians willing to sacrifice their life to achieve a country that respects human rights and religious freedom and pays attention to the needs of the people.

Sadly, “The West believes in a process of change that does not fit reality,” he laments. “Morsi’s speeches on working with the opposition are pure propaganda meant to deceive Europe and the United States in order to get money from them.” (S.C.)

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

Britain Lists Israel Next to Iran as Nation With Human Rights Record ‘Of Concern’

Britain has included Israel on a list of 28 countries whose human rights record is of ‘concern’ to the government.

The criticism will unsettle the Jewish State, which proudly boasts it is the only democracy in the Middle East, and considers the UK an ally amid an increasingly critical Europe. In the quarterly report published on Thursday, which considers the period between October and December 2012, Israel sits in the company of Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Zimbabwe — countries the foreign office considers to have a human rights record ‘of particular concern’. The Palestinian Authority is also included, although it is noted that Israel’s refusal to deliver Palestinian customs revenue has undermined the leadership’s capacity to enforce law and order…

[JP note: Not to mention Tommy Robinson.]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Israeli Elections: Geography of Voting Trends by City

Jerusalem backs Orthobox Jews, Lapid chosen by secular Tel Aviv

An Ultra-Orthodox Jewish man kicks a burning box with leaflets outside a Yeshiva (religious school) on election day in Bnei Brak, outside Tel Aviv

(ANSAmed) — TEL AVIV, JANUARY 23 — The day after parliamentary elections, a look at voting trends by area gives a clear view of Israel and the general profile of its cities.

Different universes often live side by side, expressions of political cultures that have no intention of overlapping or amalgamating. This, at times, leads to a number of surprises. In line with its image as a libertarian city open to the winds of changes, Tel Aviv welcomed the secular messiah Yair Lapid with open arms, the leader of the centrist party Yesh Atid (‘There is a Future’). In his debut on the political scene, the former television host seduced the city-symbol of secularism, getting the absolute highest percentage of votes at 20.7. In Tel Aviv, Likud-Beitenu (the list under Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu and his former foreign minister, the hawkish Avigdor Lieberman) struggled tooth and nail to get the better of the Labour Party under Shelly Yahimovic (17.5 % and 16.8% are the respective figures). As final proof of the triumph of secular parties in the city, coming next in line were Meretz (Zionist left, 14.3%) and Ha-Tnua’, under Tzipi Livni (7.2). Sixty kilometres away in the rocky Jerusalem, one seems to be in a different country entirely. The party raking in the most votes was the Torah Front (Orthodox Ashkenazis), with 22%. Despite the polemical tones on the “indivisibility of Jerusalem” with which Netanyahu challenged international public opinion, the city’s inhabitants gave him only second place with 20%.

Following were Shas’s Orthodox Jews (15.8%) and the Jewish Home religious nationalists (11.8%). One in every two voters chose a confessional party. Known for its history as a stronghold of the Marxist working class employed at the city’s port and industrial zone, Haifa “The Red” has taken on much more bourgeois tones over the years and did not hesitate to opt for Likud-Beitenu (26.1%). Yair Lapid’s party did, however gain some support among the local middle classes (18%). In the proletarian tradition of the city, there was at least some support for the Labour Party (15.2%) and the Hadash communists (4.8%). Halfway between Tel Aviv and Haifa, there is the largest Arab agglomerate in Israel: Um El-Fahem. The local, very influential Islamic movement, boycotted the elections. As a consequence, the communists got the lion’s share of the votes (49.7%), followed by the two Arab nationalist lists (Raam-Taal, 23.7%, and Balad, 22%). In this part of the country, the top Zionist party was Meretz, which took in just over one percent.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Lib Dem MP David Ward’s Grotesque Caricature of Israel and ‘The Jews’ Is All Too Common on the Liberal Left

by Toby Young

The Liberal Democrats are considering whether to withdraw the whip from David Ward, MP for Bradford East, after he seemed to compare the murder of six million Jews to the treatment of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza in the run up to Holocaust Memorial Day. He made the comparison on his website yesterday:

Having visited Auschwitz twice — once with my family and once with local schools — I am saddened that the Jews, who suffered unbelievable levels of persecution during the Holocaust, could within a few years of liberation from the death camps be inflicting atrocities on Palestinians in the new State of Israel and continue to do so on a daily basis in the West Bank and Gaza.

He later issued a statement in which he attempted to “clarify” this:

The Holocaust was one of the worst examples in history of man’s inhumanity to man. When faced with examples of atrocious behaviour, we must learn from them. It appears that the suffering by the Jews has not transformed their views on how others should be treated.

Both of these statements are so offensive I hope he does lose the whip. But had Ward expressed himself more delicately and confined his remarks to Israel rather than “the Jews”, I doubt his career would be in any danger. The truth is that many people on the liberal Left believe there’s something morally abhorrent about the state of Israel and often draw parallels between Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians and the Nazis’ treatment of the Jews…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Qatar: Cheetahs New Status Symbol for Sheiks

Law bans wildlife but authorities close eye

(ANSAmed) — DOHA, JANUARY 25 — Cheetah puppies can be bought for around 8,000 euros in Qatar although a law makes owning wild animals illegal, Doha News reports. According to the report, a four-month cheetah was recently sold for 7,000 euros though he had initially been placed on sale for 8,000. The puppy was reportedly first bought in Africa and will now travel to the United States while other puppies are on the market. Lions, tigers and cheetahs are becoming popular in the Emirates as a social status for the rich. In the past few years papers have been publishing photos of cheetahs and monkeys on cars or boats, treated like regular pets. Cheetahs are a protected species as they are at risk of extinction. According to the WWF, one of the main causes is hunting by poachers and the fact that their natural environment is being destroyed.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Qatar: Former Saudi Diplomat’s Extradition Suspended

Al-Mutiry denounced Riyadh’s alleged funding of terrorists

(ANSAmed) — DOHA, JANUARY 25 — Qatari authorities have suspended the extradition of former Saudi diplomat Zaar Hamad Al-Mutiry, who fled to the emirate in 2011 after reporting Riyadh’s suspected financing of terrorist groups.

“Qatari authorities have suspended his extradition and — thanks to the help of the National Human Rights Committee in Qatar — Al-Mutiry has managed to leave the country and go to Morocco,” reports the Amnesty International website. “We are happy about this outcome, which was helped by pressure from human rights organisations. We will continue to follow the case.

Al-Mutiry must be ensured of his personal safety, with access to stable, lasting protection,” ANSA was told by Riccardo Noury, the spokesman for the Italian branch of Amnesty International.

Al-Mutiry, who previously worked at the Saudi embassy, had publicly said that the diplomatic office was suspected of funding terrorist groups. As an initial step, Al-Mutiry had told his government, which proceeded to fire him. The Dutch government granted him political asylum, but he claims that he was taken hostage, first to Belgium and then to Saudi Arabia, where he was allegedly imprisoned and tortured for six months.

Released but banned from leaving the country, he fled to Qatar.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

India Remembers the Missionary Graham Staines on Martyrs’ Day

The Global Council of Indian Christians organised a meeting during which the latest figures on anti-Christian persecution were presented. In 2012, 135 attacks were recorded across the country. The Australian missionary and his two sons died at the hands of Hindu extremists on 23 January 1999.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) — More than 600 people, including Christian and Catholic leaders from across India, celebrated Martyrs Day, which is dedicated to the memory of Rev Graham Staines, an Australian missionary killed with two of his children on 23 January 1999. Organised by the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), the event was held at the Campus Crusade for Christ in Bangalore (Karnataka). During the meeting, GCIC president Sajan K George presented figures related to incidents of anti-Christian persecution in 2012. Altogether, 135 attacks occurred across the country, a “stain on secular India”.

Overnight on 22-23 January 1999, Hindu extremists set fire to the station wagon in which Rev Staines and his sons Philip and Timothy (9 and 7) were asleep in the village of Manoharpur (Keonjhar District, Orissa).

In 2006, the reverend’s widow Gladys and her surviving daughter, Esther, went back to live in Orissa. She forgave Dara Singh, the man responsible for the murders, “because there is no bitterness in forgiving, only hope”.

Babu K. Verghese, author of Burnt Alive, a book dedicated to the life and work of Rev Staines, was present at the meeting. “The aim of my book,” Verghese said, “was to spread a message of forgiveness, first shown by Mrs Gladys Staines and her daughter”.

In his address, Sajan George said he was worried by the growing intolerance shown by fundamentalists, especially Hindu nationalists.

The GCIC president also spoke about the so-called anti-conversions laws, which bar people from changing religion when “it is done through force, coercion or fraud”, but are used de facto to persecute Christians.

“Although the right to religious conversion is guaranteed by our constitution, seven Indian states have laws known as Freedom of Religion Acts” that prevent it, he said.

What follows is a list of anti-Christian incidents and their number per state:

Andhra Pradesh — 6
Arunachal Pradesh — 1
Assam — 4
Chhattisgarh — 7
Delhi — 3
Goa — 2
Haryana — 1
Jharkhand — 1
Karnataka — 41
Kashmir — 5
Kerala — 5
Madhya Pradesh — 14
Maharashtra — 4
Manipur — 1
Orissa — 16
Punjab — 1
Rajasthan — 1
Tamil Nadu — 15
Uttar Pradesh — 4
West Bengal — 3

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

India: Muslims Pledge Participation in Rally for Clean River Yamuna

Several Muslims on the occassion of Eid Milad-Un-Nabi, the birth anniversary of Prophet Mohammed, today pledged to participate in a rally to Delhi on March 1 to demand river Yamuna to be cleaned. Several Muslim leaders, in a joint statement during a procession to mark the occasion, said they would be taking part in the march to Delhi called by Yamuna Rakshak Dal. Five lakh people are expected to take part in the march, National President of Yamuna Rakshak Dal Jaikrishna Das said.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

China’s Advanced AWACS Aircraft to Hunt US F-22

To counter the F-22 stealth fighter in a potential air war against the United States, China is developing third-generation early warning aircraft, according to our sister paper Want Daily.

Reports published by the Jamestown Foundation, a Washington-based thinktank, have noted that the phased array radar technology of the KJ-2000 and KJ-200 AWACS systems of the PLA Air Force is already one full generation ahead of the E-3C and E-2C early warning aircraft of the US. China is also currently one of the only four nations in the world to export its airborne early warning systems technology to foreign market after the United States, Sweden and Israel.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Japan: 3D Printing Makes Chocolate Heads of Lovers

Eat, print, love? A 3D-printing company is planning a Valentine’s Day workshop for Japanese women to make chocolates shaped like their heads.

Women pay 6,000 yen ($66) to undergo 3D digital scans that will allow a 3D printer to make a plastic model of their heads, according to The Guardian. The plastic model becomes the template for a silicon mould capable of creating chocolate versions of the women’s heads — an edible surprise that significant others will likely find either endearing or completely creepy.

The two-day workshop offered by FabCafe in Tokyo’s Shibuya district has already sold out, according to the website. But men looking to do reciprocate can start planning ahead for Japan’s “White Day” holiday, because FabCafe plans to offer a similar workshop to mark that occasion.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Philippines: Mayor’s Alleged Killer Caught Sniffing Shabu

MANILA, Philippines—After three days of evading the law, the alleged gunman in the murder of Mayor Erlinda Domingo of Maconacon, Isabela, was captured while sniffing illegal drugs night inside the Salaam Mosque compound in Quezon City late Friday night. It took 200 policemen and one-and-a-half hours of scouring the dark inner alleys of the compound, located in Barangay Culiat, to find Marsibal Indaman “Bagwis” Abduhadi, 39, inside a small shanty. The alleged gunman was caught during a pot session with a woman, but still on the lookout for policemen hunting for him. “He had a submachine gun by his side when we got him. That means he was alert even if he was using illegal drugs,” said Quezon City Police District director Senior Superintendent Richard Albano in an interview…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Australians Drive Bored Muslim Men to Violence

An astonishing spate of shootings in Sydney seems largely the work of one ethnic group, identified only deep in this Sydney Morning Herald report. Yet the only culture blamed is the Australian one:


“Their parents’ generation lived with strict family hierarchies yet many of these men have been “Australianised,” Darwiche says, “and have lost the custom of listening to and respecting their parents…” “

So the more “Australian” they become, the more likely they are to shoot -= as few Australian men actually do? This is actually an Australian thing?

[Comment: Remembers Australian authorities are now going after bolt-action firearms. This is part of the demonization of guns, “what does a good, sensible Australian need a gun for?”]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Islamic Professor Keen to Boost Interfaith Dialogue

COURSES on Islamic studies are now commonplace at Australian universities, but Melbourne University Professor Abdullah Saeed recalls it was not always thus. ‘‘Most universities in Australia started taking an interest in Islamic studies after 9/11,’’ he said. Their task was to build a program focused on contemporary Islam, yet with a solid grasp of its historical roots. Professor Saeed has been made a member of the Order of Australia for ‘‘significant service to tertiary education in the field of Islamic studies, and to the community, especially through promotion of interfaith dialogue’’…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Les Murray Slams Australian Citizenship Oath He Penned as ‘Farting With Sincerity’

Australia’s most acclaimed poet and the author of the country’s citizenship pledge, Les Murray, has slammed the oath as overly sincere rubbish and says forcing it on new citizens is “akin to Nazi Germany”.

Mr Murray said the pledge, adopted in 1994, is “farting with sincerity” and should be either abandoned or changed to “Ha, ha, ha, ha” or “Not a bad place”. “What is the nation feeling guilty about to force this rubbish on us?” he told The Sydney Morning Herald. “Why should I, the citizen, have to affirm any bloody thing towards the nation?… Everybody now feels like a provisional citizen; you haven’t got any rights any more, only affirmations.” Mr Murray, winner of numerous awards and occasionally touted as a Nobel Prize contender, said the pledge had been ruined by bureaucrats who changed his wording and removed one of his favourite lines, which stated: “And I expect Australia to be loyal to me”. The pledge is sworn by new citizens at a citizenship ceremony and includes two versions, one which mentions God and another which does not. “It’s heavy and pompous and sort of farting with sincerity,” Mr Murray said…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Nigeria: Boko Haram: Last Gasps of a Killer Group

By Abdulrazaq Magaji

Over the years, Nigerian forces seem to have succeeded in containing Boko Haram terror group. In disarray and having realised they cannot win their war, the group has grown desperate and resorted to attacks on traditional rulers to try and rally locals

The terror group Boko Haram would have been history by now had its bandits been operating in Niger or Chad. This is for the simple reason that security agents in those countries are abreast with terror groups and their antics and could have easily routed them. The troops in Niger and Chad are battle tested in the real sense of the word. This explains why Ansar-u-Deen chose Mali, not Chad or Niger, two places where it would have been easier for them to converge. Of course, Al Qae’da clearly avoided Nigeria for very tactical reasons: they would have had no hiding place as the skin colour of most of their fighters would easily give them away. So it was convenient to train local, dark-skinned Nigerians to do the dirty work of the predominantly fair-skinned Al Qa’eda fighters…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Uganda: Northern Region Fails Islamic Examinations

After two decades of insurgency which affected northern Uganda with education being hit hard, it is not surprising that many students in the north continue to fail national examinations, including the Islamic Primary Leaving Examinations (IPLE), as results released recently show. The results were released at Tagy Hotel in Kampala by the Uganda Qur’an Schools Association (UQSA).The subjects include Arabic language and grammar (Lughatul Arabiyya), memorizing and learning the meaning of the holy Qur’an, Islamic jurisprudence (Fikihi) and Islamic history and the traditions of the prophet (Tarubiya)…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

‘Too Many Foreigners in France’, French Say

A survey in France published this week revealed 70 percent of the population believe there are too many foreigners living in the country and 74 percent believe Islam is not compatible with French society.

Some of the stand-out stats include:

  • According to the survey, only 29 percent of French people believe the “vast majority of immigrants who have settled in France are well-integrated”.
  • 46 percent believe unemployment levels can only be cut by reducing immigration.
  • 57 percent believe anti-white racism is quite common in France
  • 77 percent believe religious fundamentalism in France is a concern.
  • 62 percent say they no longer feel at home in France.

Studying the results of the survey for Le Monde, French historian Michel Wincock concluded that “the ingredients for populism are there and not just in the ranks of Marine Le Pen’s Front National party”.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UK: Child-Sex Attacker Can’t be Deported Because His African Tribe is ‘Persecuted’

[WARNING: Disturbing content.]

An African migrant who lured a vulnerable schoolgirl to a house for sex cannot be deported — because he is a member of a ‘persecuted tribe’.

Jumaa Kater Saleh, 24, was convicted as part of a predatory sex gang for the ‘deliberate, targeted abuse of a young and vulnerable girl’, who was aged 13 at the time.

But he was allowed to remain in Britain under human rights law because he faced mistreatment if sent back to Sudan.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Registrar Forged Birth Certificates for African Gang in £4m Benefits Fraud

A crooked registrar faces a lengthy jail sentence after being found guilty of issuing false birth certificates to a gang of African fraudsters who stole at least £4million from taxpayers over 20 years.

Azu Akpom provided fake certificates to the ringleader of the gang who went on to create false identities for up to 100 children to milk the benefits system.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Colonel Gordon Batcheller on “Women in Combat”

This is excellent.

From the conservative Catholics of Tradition, Family and Property:


Crusade: Back in 1993, surveys showed that an overwhelming majority of women said they did not want to be in a combat unit. Is there a purpose for women to be placed in infantry positions? The military is created and structured to win wars, and its personnel policies are crafted to serve that end, not satisfy vocational whims.

Colonel Batcheller: Not on the basis of military merit. Militant feminists and diversity worshipers have their fatuous “purposes,” but no positive purpose motivates the military to put women in foxholes.

While some seek to radically change the United States by destroying our current values, others seek to weaken the military and humble our nation. One does not have to be a conspiracy nut to acknowledge that such people exist and are active, and that this destructive initiative fits their purposes.

Some advocates also insist it is a woman’s right to serve in the military if she wants. That, of course, is nonsense. The military is created and structured to win wars, and its personnel policies are crafted to serve that end, not satisfy vocational whims.


Crusade: Do mixed units favor the enemy when it comes to combat?

Colonel Batcheller: Yes. By weakening our side we help the enemies. You will hear of the success other countries have had with coed forces, with Israel usually mentioned as the ultimate proof. But it is my understanding that the Israelis have found the concept doesn’t work and have abandoned it. The male soldiers became too concerned, protective and distracted. Women help defend their kibbutz just like American women helped defend their wagon train or homestead; and they serve in the military, but not in coed combat formations.

Crusade: People have made this issue one about gender equality. How would you answer those who subscribe to this ideological egalitarianism?

Colonel Batcheller: Men and women may be equal in the Declaration of Independence, but how many women play in the National Football League? College football? High School football? Last time I looked, men and women are different. And even if the differences created no performance advantages, the inescapable sexual dynamics inflict seriously disruptive forces on our coed organizations. The military exists to win wars, not to serve as an equal opportunity employer.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Is France Right to Make Twitter ID Racist Users?

A French court made a landmark ruling this week, forcing Twitter to hand over data to help authorities identify the authors of racist tweets. Anti-racism campaigner Philippe Schmidt and internet rights activist Rick Falkvinge have given The Local their opposing views on this controversial ruling.

On Thursday a French court ruled that Twitter must release details of anyone found to be posting racist or anti-Semitic messages on its social networking site.

The ruling follows a legal complaint lodged in October by France’s Union of Jewish Students (UEJF) which argued that numerous tweets had breached French law, which prohibits incitement to racial hatred.

The decision marked a victory for several anti-racism campaign groups but some internet rights activists say it was a dark day for freedom of speech.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UK: Registrars Could be Sued if They Defy Gay Marriage Law With Teachers and Hospital Chaplains Also Facing Claims

The gay marriage Bill was launched yesterday amid fears that it fails to protect registrars, hospital chaplains and even teachers from being sued if they reject same-sex unions.

David Cameron is pressing ahead with the draft law despite fierce opposition from within his own ranks.

Several cabinet ministers have already indicated they would vote against the Bill and Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has raised concerns about the ‘robustness’ of protection for faiths.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Deadly GM Flu Research That Could ‘Wipe Out Significant Portion of Humanity’ Set to Restart

Scientists last night ended a voluntary ban on creating mutant forms of bird flu, despite warnings that an accidental release could kill millions of people.

Research into H5N1 transmission stopped a year ago amid fears information about how to create potentially dangerous viruses could be used for bioterrorism.

The self-imposed moratorium came after two teams independently discovered how to mutate the virus so that it could be transmitted through the air between humans.

However, other leading scientists condemned the decision to go ahead with the research, with one warning an ‘accidental release could wipe out a significant portion of humanity.’

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]