Gates of Vienna News Feed 1/31/2013

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Worcester in Massachusetts withdrew an invitation for the renowned Islam-critic Robert Spencer to speak at a Catholic men’s conference. The diocese changed its mind after receiving complaints from local Muslims.

In other news, two more demonstrators died of their injuries today in a Cairo hospital, bringing the total number of deaths to 56 for Tuesday’s violent clashes in Tahrir Square.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Fjordman, Insubria, JD, Jerry Gordon, JP, McR, 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.

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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
» Greece: “Worst of Crisis is Over,” Says BOG Governor
» Italy: Fiat Posts Net Profit of 1.4 Billion for 2012
» Italy: Monti Says Parties Should be Kept Far From Banks
» MPS Prosecutors Call Case ‘Explosive, Tension-Filled’
» Campus Event to Promote Islam Awareness
» Catholic Event Cancels Talk by Islam Critic
» Environmentalists Remain Silent on Oil-Rich Climate Change Gurus
» His Real Offenses Are Bad Enough
» Jamil Khader of Stetson University Will Speak on ‘Islam in America’ …
» Judge: U.S. Army Base Shooting Suspect Still Faces Death Penalty
» Members of Glen Ellyn Mosque Spread Message of ‘Love for All, Hatred for None’
» Obama Attacks America’s Military (Video)
» The Least We Can Do
» U.S. Virologists Intentionally Engineer Super-Deadly Pandemic Flu Virus
» Canada’s First Nations Fight for Their Heritage
Europe and the EU
» Contested High-Speed Rail Promises 1000 Direct Jobs in Italy
» Greece: Athenian Muslims Pleased Erdogan’s Mosque Proposal
» Greece: Former Junta Colonel Nikos Dertilis Dies
» Identity of Famous 19th-Century Brain Discovered
» Is This Britain’s Dumbest Burglar? Drunk Thief Caught After Leaving Trail of Footprints in the Snow From the Crime Scene Back to His House
» Italian Cabinet to Review Welfare Screening Plans
» Norwegian Youth Party to Host Summer Camp, Two Years After Anders Breivik
» Rehn Blasted for Saying Berlusconi Didn’t Respect EU Pledges
» RWB Concerned About Italian Press Freedom
» Spain: Noos Case: 8 Mln Bail for Juan Carlos Son-in-Law
» Spain: 25,000 Euros/Yr to Premier Rajoy From PP Slush Fund
» UK: BBC Accused of ‘Extraordinary’ Censorship After Cutting Honour-Killing References From Radio Drama for Fear of Offending Muslims
» UK: BBC ‘Censored’ Play About Honour Killings
» UK: I Wasn’t Looking for a Religion … I Just Fell in Love With Islam
» UK: Make Me a Muslim — BBC Three — Shanna Bukhari Meets Alana, Lisa, Inaya to Find Out Why Women Are Choosing This Path
» UK: Mosque Expansion in Walthamstow Recommended for Approval
» UK: Now Our Taxes Are Going to the Children of Poland
» UK: PCSO Converts to Islam After Helping ‘Honour’ Violence Victim
» UK: Pickles Attacks BBC
North Africa
» Death Toll Rises to 56 in Tahrir Square Clashes
» Top UN Official in Libya Questions the Fact of Libyan Arms Transfers to Terrorists
Israel and the Palestinians
» Israel Boycotts UN ‘Human Rights Council’
Middle East
» Could Israel Have Taken Out a CW/BW Complex in Syria?
» Iran Marks 34th Anniversary of Islamic Revolution
» ‘Panicked’ Iran Makes Power Move After Nuke-Site Loss
» Qatar: 1/3 of Enterprises Violate Safety Regulations
» Secessionist Gunmen Kill 2 Soldiers in Southern Yemen
» Syria: 600 Million Dollars in Aid From Emirates, Kuwait
» Three Policemen Injured in Home-Made Bomb Blast in Bahrain
» Muslims of Moscow Region Want Governor to Support Mosque Construction
South Asia
» 3 Killed, 4 Injured as Blast Hits Karachi, Pakistan
» Being a Muslim Star in India Comes With a Price
» Dutch Marines Use Sri Lanka as a Hub to Fight Piracy
» Monkey Mob Goes on the Rampage in Surprise Attack in Indonesia
» Thailand: Thai Monarchy a Hindrance to Democracy?
Far East
» Japan, Russia Move to Heal 68-Year Territorial Rift
» New York Times Reports China Hacked Their Computer System
» Trapped in China’s Justice System
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Cameron Will Have to Fund His Mali Adventure
» Mali: ‘A Priceless Heritage Destroyed by Islamic Barbarians’: Atheist Professor Dawkins Outrages Muslims With Comments Over Mali Extremists Wrecking Library
» Nigeria: Boko Haram Ceasefire — Military Wants 30-Day Peace Guarantee
» Nigeria: Sultan: FG Should Accept Boko Haram’s Offer for Dialogue
» It’s Still Amnesty!
» The Language Map of England Which Shows Where Up to 40% of People Say English is Not Their Mother Tongue
Culture Wars
» Italy: Puglia Governor Nichi Vendola Wants to Marry Gay Partner
» Jim Nabors Marries Male Partner in Seattle
» Business Opportunities Boom in the Arctic

Greece: “Worst of Crisis is Over,” Says BOG Governor

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, JANUARY 30 — The worst of Greece’s crisis is over, according to Bank of Greece governor, Giorgos Provopoulos, who, speaking to the Financial Times, cited how Greek 10-year government bond yields had dropped under the 10% mark for the first time in over two years. “What is important is that, although GDP continues to contract, confidence is steadily improving,” Provopoulos told the Financial Times, adding that the improved climate was due to the fact that the majority of Greeks now believed that a Greek eurozone exit was no longer an option. While noting that deposits worth 15 billion euros had returned to Greek banks in the second half of 2012, the Bank of Greece governor also referred to improvements in the country’s public finances and competitiveness levels. With the motto “Greece is turning over a new leaf,” members of the Bank of Greece board recently went on an information campaign in major investment firms and banks in London, in an effort to highlight the progress made in Greece over the last few of years. “We have seen the worst in my country. We have turned the corner,” Provopoulos said as Kathimerini online reported.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Fiat Posts Net Profit of 1.4 Billion for 2012

Result better than expected given European troubles

(see related stories) (ANSA) — Turin, January 30 — Fiat said Wednesday that it posted a net profit of over 1.4 billion euros for 2012.

The result was better than analysts had expected, given the company’s recent struggles on the crisis-hit European car market.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Monti Says Parties Should be Kept Far From Banks

MPS problems at centre of political storm

(see related stories) (ANSA) — Rome, January 31 — Outgoing Italian Premier Mario Monti said Thursday that banks and the political world should be kept separate after the financial scandal at Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS) bank became an election issue.

The Democratic Party, which is leading the centre-left coalition that is favourite to win next month’s election, has a big presence in the foundation that controls the Tuscan bank.

“Let’s keep the parties far from the banks,” said Monti, who is running for office on a reform ticket backed by centrist parties.

Monti has been also criticised in the affair by centre-right politicians after his emergency technocrat government authorised a 3.9 billion aid package for MPS.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

MPS Prosecutors Call Case ‘Explosive, Tension-Filled’

Former president, executives probed for fraud at Italian bank

(ANSA) — Siena, January 29 — Prosecutors investigating managers at troubled Italian lender Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS) expressed alarm at their findings but divulged few details Tuesday.

“I can’t say anything, the situation is explosive and tension-filled. We’re talking about the third-largest bank in Italy,” said Siena Prosecutor Tito Salerno. According to judicial sources Tuesday, prosecutors are probing former president Giuseppe Mussari as well as other executives for “fraud with respect to the shareholders of Montepaschi,” as the Siena-based bank — the world’s oldest — is called. The new probe is based on a series of claims presented by some of the bank’s shareholders to Italy’s stock market watchdog, Consob, and to the Bank of Italy, from 2008 to 2011. The claims focus on Montepaschi’s takeover of smaller lender Antonveneta, which, according to investor claims, was carried out with insufficient diligence, without the “necessary authorizations required by banking laws” and for a sum — nine billion euros — which allegedly overvalued it and caused a strain on MPS’s finances.

The Siena-based lender is also embroiled in a crisis over lossmaking derivatives trades which could cost it some 720 million euros. The European Commission recently gave provisional backing to a 3.9-billion-euro Italian government bond issue for the bank “to preserve the stability of the Italian financial system”. The bonds, dubbed ‘Monti-bonds’ after outgoing Premier Mario Monti, must be paid back by MPS at market rates.

If they are not, the State will take out shares in the bank. MPS on Friday approved capital increases to pay back the bonds.

Italian Economy Minister Vittorio Grilli on Tuesday hinted that MPS could face nationalization if it fails to pay the money back, though he ruled out a bailout. Meanwhile, authorities confirmed Monday that the bank faces at least two tax audits.

The scandal has rocked the country’s financial establishment and also renewed criticism of the alleged mingling of banking and politics in Italy.

MPS, through its foundation, has historically been linked to the centre-left Democratic Party (PD), which has long been dominant in Siena and the rest of Tuscany.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Campus Event to Promote Islam Awareness

Follow the footprints on the Reitz Union Colonnade today and Friday to take a journey through Islamic traditions, culture and history during the Islam Awareness Month kick-off fair sponsored by Islam on Campus. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. today and 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Friday, the Islam Fair will feature a photography gallery and ethnic clothes for a photobooth session. People can get their names written in Arabic calligraphy and tie-dye hijabs…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Catholic Event Cancels Talk by Islam Critic

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Worcester rescinded an invitation Wednesday to Robert Spencer, a Catholic whose work depicts Islam as an inherently violent religion, to speak at its annual Catholic Men’s Conference in March. The invitation was withdrawn after Muslims in Massachusetts expressed concerns to the diocese about the appearance of Spencer, scheduled to be a featured speaker at the DCU Center on March 16…

[JP note: For the full story see ]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Environmentalists Remain Silent on Oil-Rich Climate Change Gurus

Former US vice president Al Gore, who sold out to the same Arab oil he made an environmental career out of pretending to fight, may hold first place as the world’s number one environmental snake oil salesman. But his one-time partner in the largely bogus Chicago Climate Exchange, Maurice Strong is a close runner up.


Gore and Strong, the top two hucksters behind the false alarm of man-made global warming, are both environmentalists who used saving the environment to reach multi-millionaire-status.

While Gore sold out to Arab oil, Strong, who got his start in oil, sold out to Communist China where he’s been working feverishly to replace the USA with China as world superpower.

Though it is largely unknown, Strong is second only to President Barack Obama in the planned destruction of America.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

His Real Offenses Are Bad Enough

People believe the most extravagant things about the current occupier of the White House. Newsweek and Jamie Foxx think he’s Jesus Christ. What’s a little blasphemy, more or less? But not all the nonsense is so flattering. In the past few days, I’ve been told stories that raise this Marxist pipsqueak to the level of Paul Bunyan or Theseus, only evil. Here are a few the most fantastic of them:…

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Jamil Khader of Stetson University Will Speak on ‘Islam in America’ …

NEW SMYRNA BEACH — Jamil Khader will speak on the “Profile of Islam in America,” touching on such subjects such as the view of Jesus in Islam, mistrust of Islam in Western nations, and possible avenues to dialogue between Christians and Muslims. Admission is free. The 90-minute event will be held in the Community Hall of the United Church of Christ. An audience question and answer period will follow his talk. Khader teaches in the English Department at Stetson and chairs the Gender Studies Program. A Palestinian Arab from Israel, Khader completed his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English Literature at Haifa University, Israel, and his doctorate on a Fulbright scholarship at Penn State University.

The Stetson professor said that in his youth he was always fascinated by the Quran’s telling of the story of Jesus, or Issa as he is referred to in Arabic. He calls it his “favorite story,” describing it as “full of poetry, wonder, and magic.” Given the elevated place Jesus occupies in Islam, Khader said he came to the US expecting a reverence he did not find toward his own faith, and the Prophet Mohammad. “When I moved to the United States,” he said, “I was surprised that many Americans knew very little about Islam, let alone about the life and teachings of the Prophet Mohammad or about the Islamic view of Jesus.”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Judge: U.S. Army Base Shooting Suspect Still Faces Death Penalty

HOUSTON, Jan. 30 (Xinhua) — A U.S. judge ruled Wednesday that a military psychiatrist accused of killing 13 in a 2009 shooting spree at the U.S. Fort Hood Army base can still face the death penalty. Judge Tara Osborn on Wednesday denied Maj. Nidal Hasan’s request to remove the death penalty as a punishment option, according to The Houston Chronicle.

Defense attorneys argued that Hasan should be spared a possible death penalty because the process of the military justice system for deciding capital cases is inconsistent…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Members of Glen Ellyn Mosque Spread Message of ‘Love for All, Hatred for None’

GLEN ELLYN — Farrah Qazi was born and raised in the U.S., attending high school in the suburbs before heading to Chicago to study political science, English literature and Spanish language and literature at Loyola University. She was in law school at DePaul University when the nation she called home was attacked on Sept. 11, 2001, and while she had never felt different from her peers because she was a practicing Muslim, suddenly she was told she was…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Obama Attacks America’s Military (Video)

“Freedom has a taste to those who fight and almost die, that the protected will never know.” — inscription on the wall of a prison camp for POWs

Since Obama took his oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, he has not only battered the Constitution, but has assaulted America’s armed forces who love America and her laws so much that they lay down their lives to defend her freedoms.

How does Obama repay them? He cuts their funding, does nothing when hundreds of thousands of our veterans are still awaiting medical benefits, ignores the wishes of the military branches who desired to keep Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in place, sues states such as Ohio to block military votes, complains about taking pictures with our soldiers and calls the killing of four Americans in Libya (two of them former Navy SEALs) a “bump in the road.”

To add insult to injury, Barack Hussein Obama has now supplied the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, who has declared war on America, with sixteen F-16s and 200 Abrams tanks.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

The Least We Can Do

The one thing that Hagel, Kerry and Brennan all have in common, besides being Washington insiders, is that they all agree that terrorism is basically a misunderstanding. All three fancy themselves men of the world who know more than the peasants back home because they have spent a few days being shepherded through high level meetings in Brussels, Riyadh and Beijing.

They have spent decades marinating in talking points and they know, for example, that terrorism is due to poverty and that Islamic terrorists aren’t really Muslim, they just try to convince us that they are to trick us into going to war with Islam. Most of all they know that we can’t beat the terrorists on the battlefield, all we can hope to do is wage a war for their hearts and minds, empowering moderates by resolving grievances until the extremists are discredited and peace reigns on earth.

Every word of it is nonsense, but national policy runs on nonsense.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

U.S. Virologists Intentionally Engineer Super-Deadly Pandemic Flu Virus

(NaturalNews) Two American researchers whose efforts to deliberately re-engineer the H5N1 avian flu virus to be more virulent and deadly to humans are now asking that a government-advised moratorium on their controversial research be lifted. According to TIME, the duo alleges that precise details about how it developed the deadly flu strain must be made public, and that its controversial research be allowed to continue for the sake of “public health.”


Based on the wording of this petition, you would think that H5N1 is responsible for killing at least tens of thousands of people every year, and that we must take action now to stop its spread. But in reality, H5N1 has only infected about 600 people ever since it was first discovered in Hong Kong back in 1997. And among these 600, only about 350 ended up dying, which means roughly 24 people a year, on average, die from H5N1 infection.

Contrast this with the roughly 5,000 Americans who die every year from food poisoning, for instance, and it becomes abundantly clear that H5N1 is hardly the serious public health threat that Fouchier, Kawaoka, and others continually claim it is. The average person is more likely to die from choking on a piece of lettuce than he or she is of ever contracting H5N1 influenza, let alone dying from it. So why all the focus on deliberately inducing H5N1 to spread among humans and cause a real pandemic?

The real answer to this question is shrouded in mystery. If you believe the official explanation, researchers merely want to anticipate how H5N1 might mutate in the future in order to get a handle early on how to address it. It is a purely hypothetical scenario that may not ever come to pass, of course, but it is the purported reason and justification for such research, even though such research could end up being the cause of a deadly H5N1 outbreak in the very near future.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Canada’s First Nations Fight for Their Heritage

A vocal indigenous movement has burst onto the Canadian political scene. “Idle No More” demands recognition of the land rights of Canada’s First Nations peoples and improved living conditions on their reserves.

Victoria Island lies in the Ottawa River, at the foot of the Chaudiere Falls. The falls were dammed two centuries ago to power a sawmill. As the lumber trade blossomed, it transformed Ottawa into the capital of a new nation, Canada. The city’s name comes from the Algonquin First Nations word adawe, meaning “to trade.”

Trade and human habitation in this area long preceded the arrival of European and American settlers: Victoria Island was a traditional meeting place for First Nations peoples, as well as a place to trade and to pray for safe travel down the tumultuous river.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Contested High-Speed Rail Promises 1000 Direct Jobs in Italy

TAV touted by government, but protested by locals, activists

(ANSA) — Turin, January 30 — Proponents of the controversial TAV high-speed rail project are promising 1,000 new jobs will be created by the project, according to documents made public Wednesday.

The new jobs, which would last 10 years, are expected in the rail yards of the planned TGV rail line running between Italy’s Turin and the city of Lyon in France, says the plan to be presented Thursday in Rome.

Some critics of the rail link, which Italy and France say they will begin building in 2014, have staged violent protests denouncing its high cost and claiming it will cause environmental damage.

Still, last month, Italy’s Senate budget committee approved a 10-year allocation of 2.25 billion euros for the rail project.

Both countries say that the high-speed rail project is a piece of “strategic” and “priority” infrastructure for the entire European Union.

Italy has also said the project is an important driver of economic growth.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Greece: Athenian Muslims Pleased Erdogan’s Mosque Proposal

Hopes high for the Greek capital’s first mosque, but need for a grave yard more pressing.

More than 200,000 Muslims of this EU city, the only European capital that has no mosque, are hopeful now thanks to Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish prime minister who has recently suggested his Greek counterpart to fund the construction of the first Islamic prayer house in Athens — if the Greek government sanctioned it — but they say need for a grave yard to bury their dead is even more pressing…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Greece: Former Junta Colonel Nikos Dertilis Dies

The sole surviving imprisoned member of military dictatorship

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS — Nikos Dertilis, the sole surviving member of the 1967-74 military dictatorship’s imprisoned top officials, died of an acute ischaemic cerebral episode in an Athens hospital on Monday as daily Kathimerini reports. He was 92. The ex-colonel had spent the last 37 years in prison after receiving a life sentence for the murder of 20-year-old student Michalis Myroyiannis during the Athens Polytechnic uprising in November 1973. In December, Dertilis had turned down permission to attend the funeral of his son, Vassilis.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Identity of Famous 19th-Century Brain Discovered

The identity of a mysterious patient who helped scientists pinpoint the brain region responsible for language has been discovered, researchers report.

The new finding, detailed in the January issue of the Journal of the History of the Neurosciences, identifies the famous patient as Monsieur Louis Leborgne, a French craftsman who battled epilepsy his entire life.

Shortly after the meeting, Leborgne died, and Broca performed his autopsy. During the autopsy, Broca found a lesion in a region of the brain tucked back and up behind the eyes.

After doing a detailed examination, Broca concluded that Tan’s aphasia was caused by damage to this region, and that the particular brain region controlled speech. That region of the brain was later renamed Broca’s area in honor of the doctor.

At the time, scientists were debating whether specific areas of the brain performed specific functions, or whether it was an undifferentiated lump that did one task, like the liver, said Marjorie Lorch, a neurolinguist at Birkbeck, University of London, who was not involved in the study.

“Tan was the first patient whose case proved that damage to a specific part of the brain causes specific speech disorders,” said study author Cezary Domanski, a medical historian at the Maria Curie-Sklodowska University in Poland.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Is This Britain’s Dumbest Burglar? Drunk Thief Caught After Leaving Trail of Footprints in the Snow From the Crime Scene Back to His House

A bungling burglar led police from the crime scene all the way to his front door with a trail of footprints in the snow.

Officers spent an hour and a half following the mile-long trail of Lewis Ward, who had stolen an iPad from a house on the other side of town.

The 28-year-old thief sneaked along a string of back alleys and roads to get home — not realising he was leaving clues every step of the way.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Italian Cabinet to Review Welfare Screening Plans

Plan to crackdown on handout cheats

(ANSA) — Rome, January 30 — Italy’s cabinet will review its reform of welfare screening during a meeting Thursday, officials said late Wednesday.

So far, reforms designed to toughen up the ISEE — a measure that includes income, assets, and family size in considering social benefits — have come under scrutiny and criticism by the regions and courts.

A review is now planned to reconsider ways of tightening the measure to better control public spending and prevent people from taking advantage of the system.

The government may introduce measures that will take account of property values, luxury cars, powerful motorcycles and boats, as well as the value of a family’s savings and investments.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Norwegian Youth Party to Host Summer Camp, Two Years After Anders Breivik

The youth wing of the Norwegian Labour party will organise a summer camp in July, the first since the gun rampage by right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik.

Unlike previous years, the popular gathering will not be held on the island of Utoeya since the facilities where the attack took place are being renovated, but in a village on the banks of the same lake. Accusing the movement of facilitating multiculturalism, Breivik opened fire on the summer camp of the Labour party’s youth wing on July 22, 2011, killing 69 people, most of whom were teenagers.

His attack began in Oslo, where he set off a massive bomb outside the main government building, killing eight, before travelling to the island to carry out his shooting spree.

He was in August 2012 found sane and sentenced to Norway’s maximum sentence of 21 years in prison, a sentence that can be extended indefinitely if he is deemed a continued threat to society.

“This year’s summer camp is the first since 2011, and we fully understand that there are many who have questions,” Eskil Pedersen, president of the Labour party’s youth wing, said in a statement…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Rehn Blasted for Saying Berlusconi Didn’t Respect EU Pledges

European commissioner accused of interfering in election

(see related story) (ANSA) — Brussels, January 29 — European Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn was blasted by Italy’s centre right Tuesday for accusing ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi of deliberately ignoring the country’s commitments to the EU when he was still at the helm of government in autumn 2011.

Berlusconi resigned as prime minister in November 2011 when Italy’s debt crisis threatened to spiral out of control, making way for outgoing Premier Mario Monti’s emergency technocrat administration.

In the months leading up to his resignation, Berlusconi’s government was involved in tense negotiations with the European Commission over the measures Italy needed to take to emerge from the crisis. Rehn said the demise of Berlusconi’s third government showed looser fiscal policy would not help countries embroiled in the eurozone crisis.

“Italy made some promises of fiscal consolidation in the middle of the summer (of 2011), in part to facilitate the European Central Bank’s intervention with its programme of buying bonds on the secondary market,” Rehn said.

“The commitment started, the ECB intervened and for a brief period, the situation improved.

“But in the autumn (of 2011) Berlusconi’s government decided not to respect Italy’s commitments any more and the result was the drying up of loans, which suffocated growth…

“This situation led to the political crisis and the Monti government”.

The commissioner added that since then Italy has regained the confidence of the money markets, following austerity measures and economic reforms introduced by Monti, and borrowing costs have come down.

“This is an example of the effect of confidence in action,” said Rehn.

Berlusconi is leading the centre right’s campaign for next month’s Italian election, although he has said he will not be premier if his coalition wins.

Rehn’s comments provoked an angry reaction from Berlusconi’s People of Freedom (PdL) party.

“It’s unacceptable that Olli Rehn, the vice-president of an independent institution like the European Commission, should intervene in the election campaign of a member state, and should do so with false, technically incorrect statements that are easy to refute,” said PdL Secretary Angelino Alfano. “Such clear interference undermines the image of the European Commission and encourages populism and anti-European feelings at a delicate time for relations between the EU and the public of the individual countries”. Industry Commissioner Antonio Tajani, an Italian who is a member of the PdL and one of the five EC vice-presidents, like Rehn, was angry too. “I disassociate myself from the statement about Italy by my colleague Olli Rehn, which threatens to make the European Commission appear not to be independent, and I am sorry about it,” said Tajani. Renato Brunetta, the civil service minister in Berlusconi’s 2008-2011 government, said Rehn’s comments defamed Italy and called for a European Parliament inquiry.

The centre right is second in the polls behind Pier Luigi Bersani’s centre-left coalition, although a media blitz by Berlusconi in recent weeks has narrowed the gap considerably.

Monti is also standing on a reform ticket backed by centrist parties that is vying for third place in the polls at the moment with comedian Beppe Grillo’s anti-establishment Five Star Movement.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

RWB Concerned About Italian Press Freedom

Situation cited as representing problem for ‘European model’

(ANSA) — Rome, January 30 — Italy has climbed four places in the Reporters Without Borders’ (RWB) 2013 World Press Freedom Index compared to last year, but it is still a lowly 54th in the ranking. The French-based NGO said on Monday that the situation in Italy exemplified problems in other parts of Europe.

“The situation is unchanged for much of the European Union.

Sixteen of its members are still in the top 30. But the European model is unravelling,” RWB said.

“The bad legislation seen in 2011 continued, especially in Italy (57th, +4), where defamation has yet to be decriminalized and state agencies make dangerous use of gag laws”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Spain: Noos Case: 8 Mln Bail for Juan Carlos Son-in-Law

And ex business partner Diego Torres

(ANSAmed) -MADRID, JANUARY 30 — A judge in the ‘Noos case’, Jose’ Castro, ruled on a 8.1 million euro bail for the two main defendants in the trial, Iaki Urdargarin, husband of one of the daughters of King Juan Carlos, and his former business partner Diego Torres. Judicial sources said the sum equals the revenues obtained by the Noos foundation chaired by Urdargarin, with Torres as vice president, from the organization of sports and tourism events for the regional administration of the Balearic islands and the Valenciana community. The judge in charge of the case ruled in favour of a request by anti-corruption prosecutors to impose bail for the alleged responsibility and damage caused by the defendants to public coffers. The defendants have five days to deposit the sum or their properties will be seized by judicial authorities.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Spain: 25,000 Euros/Yr to Premier Rajoy From PP Slush Fund

PP denies all wrongdoing

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, JANUARY 31 — From 1990-2009, two treasurers from the now ruling People’s Party (PP) set up a slush fund that periodically paid large sums to party leaders, including 25,000 euros a year to Premier Mariano Rajoy, Spanish daily El Pais said in a front-page investigative report on Thursday. Also on Thursday, the PP issued a communique denying the existence of any secret accounts.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

UK: BBC Accused of ‘Extraordinary’ Censorship After Cutting Honour-Killing References From Radio Drama for Fear of Offending Muslims

The BBC has been accused of ‘extraordinary’ censorship by a leading playwright after dialogue was cut from her hard-hitting drama in case it offended Muslims. Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti, whose 2004 play Behzti was pulled from a Birmingham theatre after it sparked Sikh protests, says the Corporation tampered with her work because it involved an honour killing…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: BBC ‘Censored’ Play About Honour Killings

The BBC has been accused of an “extraordinary” act of censorship after ordering a playwright to axe certain lines from a Radio 4 drama about honour killings.

In an episode for the broadcaster’s DCI Stone series, Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti told the story of an investigation into the killing of a 16-year-old Asian girl. When it turns out the teenager had been the victim of a so-called honour killing, the fictional detective is advised to handle the case “sensitively” because the family is Muslim. At the end of the episode, called Heart Of Darkness and due to be broadcast in the Afternoon Drama slot this week, a character says: “There is so much pressure in our community, to look right and to behave right.”

Bhatti said: “A week before recording I got an email from the producer saying the BBC compliance department had asked them to take lines out. It’s an extraordinary and awful situation. They said the lines were offensive but they absolutely were not. We live in a fear-ridden culture.”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: I Wasn’t Looking for a Religion … I Just Fell in Love With Islam

Meet four of the 5,000 Brits who become Muslims each year

EVERY year, more than 5,000 Brits convert to Islam.

More than half of those who make the switch are white — and 75 per cent are women. But what would make someone want to change their lifestyle so dramatically? Police Community Support Officer Jayne Kemp left her Catholic roots behind after “falling in love” with Islam while helping victims of so-called honour violence. Here EMILY FOSTER, JENNA SLOAN and EMILY FAIRBAIRN speak to Jayne and three other women about why they decided to become Muslim…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Make Me a Muslim — BBC Three — Shanna Bukhari Meets Alana, Lisa, Inaya to Find Out Why Women Are Choosing This Path

Shanna Bukhari steps into the spotlight tonight, to investigate why more and more young British women are converting to Islam. The 26 year old former model and beauty queen calls herself a ‘Modern British Muslim’ and wants to find out why so many females are choosing the religion and lifestyle…

[JP note: Screened on BBC Three on 30 January 2013.]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Mosque Expansion in Walthamstow Recommended for Approval

A mosque expansion has been recommended for approval. The International Muslim Movement (IMM) is seeking permission to add an extra floor to its two-storey building on the corner of East Avenue and St Mary Road in Walthamstow Village. Plans for an extension at the site, to accommodate a cultural centre, were originally approved in 2008…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Now Our Taxes Are Going to the Children of Poland

by Jake Wallis Simons

As a headline, it is a Eurosceptic’s dream. “Children living abroad get benefits”, screams the Daily Star. “50,000 living overseas get child benefit”, chimes the Metro. This is just the sort of thing that puts voters right off the European project. To put it mildly. The details are pretty galling. According to figures released by the Treasury minister Sajid Javid in response to a request from Keith Vaz, chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, nearly 50,000 children living outside Britain but within the EU are being granted benefits and tax credits claimed by immigrant families living in Britain. More than half this number — 25,659 — live in Poland. The rest live in Iceland, Liechtenstein and the well-to-do Norway. There are also concerns that this figure will balloon once Romanian and Bulgarian immigrants arrive in Britain when temporary controls lapse at the end of the year…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: PCSO Converts to Islam After Helping ‘Honour’ Violence Victim

Police Community Support Officer Jayne Kemp, 28, decided to find out about the faith while helping a Muslim woman suffering domestic abuse

A mum-of-two has told how she was inspired to convert to Islam — after helping a victim of honour-based violence as part of her job in the police. Police Community Support Officer Jayne Kemp, 28, decided to find out about the faith while helping a Muslim woman suffering domestic abuse. After speaking to other Muslims on Twitter, she was inspired to give up her Catholic faith to fully convert last year and now lives a completely Islamic lifestyle. She now goes out on her PCSO patrols in?Eccles, Salford, wearing the traditional hijab headscarf and makes time up at the end of her shift to attend Friday prayers…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Pickles Attacks BBC

A splendid speech from the Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles today to the Local Government Network’s annual conference. Mr Pickles said

A number of Labour councils have given way to temptation of reliving the past in an 80’s tribute band, maximising the cuts to the most political damaging. With a backing group of gullible and unquestioning BBC Regional reporting this has led to a heady mix.

This is an important point. It may not be entirely left wing bias. There is also the journalistic temptation to sensationalise. There is the sense that good news isn’t news. “Why don’t we do a story about a Council having its budget fall by 12% but managing to maintain services through finding efficiency savings in back office administration,” might not be the most exciting pitch a reporter can offer his editor.


           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Death Toll Rises to 56 in Tahrir Square Clashes

(AGI) Cairo — Two of the protesters injured in Tuesday’s clashes against the police in Tahrir Square died on Thursday in Cairo .

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

Top UN Official in Libya Questions the Fact of Libyan Arms Transfers to Terrorists

Although Mitri said that security along Libya’s porous borders also remains a key concern, he refused to acknowledge under reporters’ questioning, including from this correspondent, that there was any real “proof” of arms shipments from Libya to neighboring countries including Syria, Algeria and Mali. Such shipments are “possible,” he said, but mere “speculation” at this time.

In downplaying the reality of arms shipments out of Libya, Mitri sharply undermined his credibility. The proof of arms transfers is palpable.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Israel Boycotts UN ‘Human Rights Council’

In Geneva on Tuesday, the UN Human Rights Council convened to examine Israel’s human rights record. It did so under a mechanism called the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), supposed to apply to all UN member states. One country, though, failed to show up for the proceedings—Israel (reports here, here, and here; op-ed by Anne Bayefsky here). It thereby became the first country ever to boycott its UPR…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Could Israel Have Taken Out a CW/BW Complex in Syria?

Yesterday when we posted about an IAF attack on a convoy along the Syrian Lebanese border we did not known why that attack occurred. There were speculations that Syria may have been caught transferring to Hezbollah unconventional or advanced weapons which might have prompted immediate Israeli action. From both news reports and statements by Hezbollah that attack may have destroyed parts of a Russian made SA-17 “Buk” M2E Mobile anti-aircraft defense system. The deployment of the SA-17 in the hands of Hezbollah would have seriously dented the IAF’s capabilities to undertake sorties over Lebanon and Syria. Hence the raison d’etre for Israel undertaking the mission to interdict such game changing air defense systems from delivery to Hezbolleh. Hezbollah is now , the most powerful military force in Lebanon. Overnight there appears to have been a second and more strategic strike by the IAF at a research facility near Damascus. This raises questions about Syria’s vast CW/BW programs and possible transfer to terrorist proxy Hezbollah. Further, Sunni supremacist rebels affiliated with Al-Qaeda have tried to seize the facility.Doubtless, there are more Israel military actions to come focused on reduce unconventional CW/BW and advanced weapons threats from Syria. We expect there will be more reports of IAF sorties coming across the newswires. All while Israel military officials continue to brief their Pentagon counterparts on target intelligence inside Syria. This is notwithstanding Russian objections fearing collateral damage to its citizens in the country.

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

Iran Marks 34th Anniversary of Islamic Revolution

TEHRAN, Jan. 31 (Xinhua) — Iran started Thursday to celebrate the 34th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution. Ceremonies started across the country at 9:33 a.m. local time ( 0603 GMT) Thursday, marking the time when Iran’s late Islamic revolution leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini returned to Tehran on Jan. 31, 1979, from 14 years of exile in Paris…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

‘Panicked’ Iran Makes Power Move After Nuke-Site Loss

Two days after WND’s exclusive report on the devastating explosions at Iran’s Fordow nuclear site, Tehran informed the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog it was going to install thousands of modern centrifuges at another of its nuclear facilities in an apparent move to restore its bargaining position.

In a Jan. 23 letter to the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency, the IAEA, Iran said it plans to install thousands of its upgraded centrifuges at the Natanz facility.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Qatar: 1/3 of Enterprises Violate Safety Regulations

Labour Ministry speaks out; trial on shopping centre fire

(ANSAmed) — DOHA, JANUARY 31 — One in every three enterprises in Qatar violated safety regulations in 2012, according to the inspections department of the emirate’s labour ministry.

The Doha daily Gulf Times reports that of the 46,624 enterprises were inspected in 2012, 30% had violated safety regulations, including as concerns hygienic conditions.

According to the Labour Ministry regulations, more than four workers should not be confined to the same room in employer-provided accommodation, but several reports broadcast on the Doha-based Al Jazeera network show up to ten workers per room in non-standard hygienic conditions.

Safety regulations are also at the centre of a legal battle underway in Doha to ascertain responsibility for the fire in the Villaggio shopping centre last year, an incident in which 19 people lost their lives (including 13 children). According to witness statements in the last hearing by a forensic expert from Qatar’s Interior Ministry, the fire was caused by malfunctioning of the electricity system. Experts say that this is the main cause of many fires in the emirate.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Secessionist Gunmen Kill 2 Soldiers in Southern Yemen

ADEN, Yemen, Jan. 30 (Xinhua) — At least two army soldiers were killed by secessionist gunmen in Yemen’s southern province of al-Dhalea on Wednesday, a security official told Xinhua. The two soldiers were gunned down by militants riding a motorcycle near a public market in central al-Dhalea province, the local official said on condition of anonymity…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Syria: 600 Million Dollars in Aid From Emirates, Kuwait

Donors’ conference calls on UN for joint position

(ANSAmed) — DUBAI, JANUARY 30 — A donors’ conference for Syria which kicked off on Wednesday morning in Kuwait opened with the announcement of a first tranche of aid totalling 600 million dollars and a call on the UN to overcome divergences and reach a common position.

Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates have each promised 300 million dollars in aid, the news agencies of the two emirates announced. The conference’s objective is to raise at least 1.5 billion dollars for humanitarian aid for the five million Syrians trapped in the 22-month-long conflict.

Kuwait’s Emir Sabah Al-Hahmad Al-Jabar Al-Sabah stressed that failing the conference’s fundraising goal would worsen a situation already rendered the dramatic by its death toll — 60,000 victims — and warned the UN. ‘UN members and the Security Council must hurry and reach a common position in order to find a quick solution to this tragedy’, said Al Sabah.

The conflict has degenerated in a situation which UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon defined as catastrophic.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Three Policemen Injured in Home-Made Bomb Blast in Bahrain

MANAMA, Jan. 30 (Xinhua) — Three policemen were injured Wednesday after a home-made bomb detonated in one of Bahrain’s clash-hit areas. Police officials confirmed the incident that happened in Jidhafs, with witnesses frequent violent clashes between anti- government protestors and police…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Muslims of Moscow Region Want Governor to Support Mosque Construction

Muslim communities of the Moscow Region have asked acting Governor Andrei Vorobyov to help build mosques in eight cities of the region by providing land, Deputy Chairman of the Russian Council of Muftis and head of its office Rushan Abbyasov announced, RIA Novosti reports. He expressed the need for mosques in Podolsk, Kolomna, Balashikha, Pushkino, Narofominsk, Zheleznodorozhny and Lyubertsy. No problems occurred at Elektrostal, all construction procedures had been fulfilled. Abbyasov expressed hope that the successor to Governor Sergey Shoigu would continue fruitful cooperation for the sake of peace and accord. The Moscow Region has 34 Muslim communities. Muslim religious organizations may appear in 10 more cities of the region.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

3 Killed, 4 Injured as Blast Hits Karachi, Pakistan

ISLAMABAD, Jan. 30 (Xinhua) — At least three people were killed and four others injured when a bomb exploded outside a commercial plaza in Pakistan’s southern port city of Karachi on Wednesday night, local media reported. Local Urdu TV channel Dunya quoted unknown police sources as saying that the bomb was detonated by a remote control outside a commercial plaza in Sohrab Goth area of Karachi, the largest commercial hub of the country. The explosive materials were fixed at a motorbike…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Being a Muslim Star in India Comes With a Price

Indian film actor Shah Rukh Khan says he does not need ‘unsolicited advice’ from Pakistan on his security after his recent magazine article led to heated verbal exchanges between New Delhi and Islamabad.

Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan has insisted that he feels “safe and happy” after his article about being a Muslim in Hindu-majority India sparked a heated debate in the country and abroad.

In an article for The New York Times’ Outlook Magazine, Khan wrote that sometimes he became “the inadvertent object of political leaders who choose to make me a symbol of all that they think is wrong and unpatriotic about Muslims in India.” He further said that he had occasionally been accused of having a soft spot for the neighboring Islamic country Pakistan and had been urged by some Indian leaders to leave India and return to what they referred to as his “original homeland.”

Khan, like some other famous Muslim Bollywood actors, has family roots in Pakistan’s northwestern city of Peshawar. Another Bollywood legend Yousuf Khan, who is popularly known as Dilip Kumar, was born in Peshawar.

Khan, who is considered India’s biggest film star, is immensely popular among Hindus and Muslims alike. He has acted in around 75 feature films, including India’s biggest box-office hits. Khan is arguably India’s most popular actor overseas.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Dutch Marines Use Sri Lanka as a Hub to Fight Piracy

COLOMBO, Jan. 31 (Xinhua) — Selected Sri Lankan harbors are being used by Dutch Special Forces to provide security against pirates in the Indian Ocean, a statement released by the Netherlands embassy said here on Thursday. On Thursday morning the first team of Dutch marines departed from Bandaranaike Colombo International Airport to return to the Netherlands after disembarking from a Dutch vessel in the Colombo harbor the day before…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Monkey Mob Goes on the Rampage in Surprise Attack in Indonesia

Seven people have been injured, one critically, after a mob of wild monkeys went on a rampage in a village in eastern Indonesia, entering houses and attacking panicking residents.

Ambo Ella, a spokesman for Sidendeng Rappang District in South Sulawesi province, said the surprise attack by about 10 monkeys happened in Toddang Pulu village…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Thailand: Thai Monarchy a Hindrance to Democracy?

The recent jailing of a reporter in Thailand has once again illustrated that the country’s monarchy is not only restricting press freedom and democracy, but actively endangering it.

The sentencing in Bangkok last Wednesday, January 23, of the journalist and activist Somyot Pruksakasemsuk to 11 years in prison is a slap in the face for democracy and freedom of the press. The judge in the case sided with the prosecution that the publication of two articles in 2009 by the journalist in the magazine “Voice of Thaksin” was a violation of Thailand’s lese majeste law prohibiting the defamation of the monarchy.

For years, human rights groups have criticized the law, which was first introduced in 1908 and has since been used repeatedly to quash political debate and muzzle opponents.

“It would seem that the courts are increasingly becoming the supreme protectors of the monarchy at the expense of freedom of opinion,” said Brad Adams, Asia director of Human Rights Watch.

The anti-defamation law is only the visible expression of a much more deep-rooted problem: the sweeping powers of the monarchy beyond the reach of any controls.

Officially, Thailand has been a constitutional monarchy since 1932, a form of government that limits the powers of a ruler through a constitution. In Thailand, however, the limitations on royal powers are not very transparent, according to Jost Pachaly from the Heinrich-Boll-Foundation in Bangkok.

“The monarchy plays an important role behind the scenes. But the role is difficult to assess because nothing is reported about it and no one really knows anything specific,” he said.

The diffuse powers of the monarchy contribute to the ongoing power struggles inside the country. Asia expert, Marco Bünte, of the German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA), described Thailand’s history as a “vicious circle of military coups, constitutions, crises and renewed military coups.” The monarchy’s involvement was considerable, he added.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Japan, Russia Move to Heal 68-Year Territorial Rift

With Russia looking to build new economic ties in Asia and Japan in need of stable energy supplies, the two governments are inching towards an agreement over the future of a chain of tiny islands off northern Japan.

Yoshiro Mori, the former Japanese prime minister, is scheduled to travel to Moscow later in February for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The two men have a long friendship, in part based on their shared love of judo, and Mr. Mori will be acting as the special envoy of the current prime minister of Japan.

There will be several issues on the agenda for the talks, including exchanges in the areas of the sciences, education and parliamentary officials, but the biggest goal for both sides will be the thorny issue of the barren islands off Hokkaido that the Red Army occupied just days before Japan’s surrender in 1945.

Nearly 70 years after the Soviet Union seized the chain of islets off northern Japan in the dying days of World War II, Moscow and Tokyo have still not signed a peace treaty to draw a line under the conflict.

It has dogged diplomatic relations ever since, but there is a genuine sense that both sides are close to the Etorofu, Kunashiri, Shikotan and the Habomai islets, which are marked on Japanese maps as the Northern Territories but are known in Russia as the Southern Kurils.

“Japan is our neighbor and we have a long and historic relationship that has not always been easy, but there have been periods of good relations between our two countries,” Evgeny Afanasiev, the Russian ambassador to Tokyo, said this week.

Echoing comments made during a visit to Japan in September by the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill, Ambassador Afanasiev said, “Political relations are important, economic ties are important, but what is most important is what is in the minds of the people, how we see each other and how we can change any negative feelings about each other.”

Many of those negative feelings revolve around the disputed islands — just one of three major bilateral territorial rows Japan finds itself embroiled in, the others being with China and South Korea — but President Putin himself expressed hope in March last year that the dispute might be settled in a manner that is acceptable to both sides, giving new hope to Japan’s ambitions.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

New York Times Reports China Hacked Their Computer System

The New York Times has reported that their computer systems were repeatedly attacked by Chinese hackers. The US newspaper linked the hacking to its investigation into Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao’s family wealth.

The US daily paper the New York Times on Thursday said hackers, possibly connected to China’s military, stole their reporters’ email passwords, alleging it was linked to an earlier feature article exploring Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s amassed wealth.

The computer security firm Mandiant, which was hired to investigate and block the breach, found that the attacks used strategies similar to ones used in previous hacking incidents traced to China, the New York Times report said.

The Chinese government responded that it was “irresponsible” to jump to unproven conlusions.

Accordin to Mandiant’s report, the hackers routed the attacks through computers at US universities and installed a strain of malicious software, or malware, to gain access to The Times’s network. The attacks reportedly started from the same university computers that, in the past, had been used by the Chinese military to attack US military contractors.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Trapped in China’s Justice System

A young German has spent nearly a year in China locked in an obscure justice system. His lawyers and the German Embassy have been unable to help him.

The art logistics manager Nils Jennrich has been accused of tax invasion by Chinese authorities who refuse to let him leave the country.

There is also talk in diplomatic circles of “deep concern” about a case where “both the rule of law and the principle of proportionality seem to be absent.” Since petitions to the authorities in Beijing have so far been unfruitful, Nils Jennrich has again turned to the German Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger asking for help.

Meanwhile at their apartment in Beijing, Jennrich and Dam prepare for the next lawyer’s appointment. The couple appears to be at the mercy of “higher interests” of the state. Insiders hint at the possibility that the Chinese simply want to edge the Germans out of the art market. After all, the shipping company Jennrich worked for was forced to abandon a special warehouse set up at Beijing airport, thus leaving the field to Chinese competitors.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Cameron Will Have to Fund His Mali Adventure

by James Forsyth

‘This is the hour of Europe, not the hour of the Americans,’ Jacques Poos, foreign minister of Luxembourg, declared in 1991. Yugoslavia, he said, was a problem in Europe’s neighbourhood and Europeans would solve it. In the end, a decade of genocidal ethnic conflict was only ended thanks to substantial US involvement. The hour of Europe has arrived again with the conflict in Mali. This time, though, it is the Americans telling the Europeans that it is up to them to solve the problem. The Obama administration has wasted no time in making clear that it thinks France’s aims in Mali are overly ambitious. It is also dragging its feet in terms of offering assistance, complaining about the cost and publicly wondering what the exit strategy is. This is all quite a turnaround from the debate over Iraq a decade ago. But, as with Iraq, it raises profound questions for British foreign policy.

In Brussels, the American position is causing almost as much anger as the European one did in Washington ten years ago. One senior figure complains that ‘it scrambles longstanding trans-Atlantic relationships.’ This is part of Obama’s Pacific pivot, which Freddy Gray chronicled in this magazine a fortnight ago. A British minister involved in the discussions over Mali says, with a mixture of concern and surprise in his voice, ‘Obama just has far less appetite for intervention than any of his predecessors.’


           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Mali: ‘A Priceless Heritage Destroyed by Islamic Barbarians’: Atheist Professor Dawkins Outrages Muslims With Comments Over Mali Extremists Wrecking Library

Atheist Richard Dawkins has outraged Muslims after describing looters who destroyed manuscripts in Mali as ‘Islamic barbarians’. The 71-year-old author of The God Delusion was referring to the severe damage caused by Islamist extremists to a sacred library in Timbuktu but his remarks were seen as insulting to all Muslims. Oxford University academic Professor Dawkins told his 600,000 Twitter followers on Tuesday: ‘Like Alexandria, like Bamiyan, Timbuktu’s priceless manuscript heritage destroyed by Islamic barbarians.’


[Reader comment by Dave, EUSSR on 31 January 2013 at 8:44 am.]

He’s not wrong.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Nigeria: Boko Haram Ceasefire — Military Wants 30-Day Peace Guarantee

Abuja, Kaduna — Military authorities are subjecting the ceasefire declared by Boko Haram to a one-month test to see if there is no attack within the period, Chief of Defence Staff Admiral Ola Sa’ad Ibrahim has said. Ibrahim, who spoke to journalists in Abuja, said if the sect could give a one-month guarantee of peace then authorities would consider talking to them…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Nigeria: Sultan: FG Should Accept Boko Haram’s Offer for Dialogue

The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, Wednesday day urged the Federal Government to expedite action in taking up the offer of dialogue from Boko Haram, following Monday’s declaration of ceasefire by a faction of the terrorist group. The monarch, while receiving the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika, who paid him a courtesy call in his palace in Sokoto, also expressed his belief that Nigeria would not break up, adding those calling for its breakup are just seeking for relevance…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

It’s Still Amnesty!

It matters not a whit what you call it — it still amounts to amnesty for eleven million illegal aliens in America.

This “new” immigration reform from both the US Senate and the US President is utterly ridiculous. But in the end, it will be rammed down the throats of the American public simply because the US government has gone rogue and is no longer responsive — nor responsible — the US citizenry.


Look. The poor hapless dumb republicans cannot, for whatever reason, understand that the GOP has lost (if they ever really had) the Hispanic vote. Heck, the Hispanic vote is a “natural” for the Democrat/socialists, anyway … always has been. The republicans cannot get it through their heads that agreeing to and passing this comprehensive immigration reform simply adds eleven million NEW VOTERS to the democratic side of the tally sheet. It is lose lose for the republicans. And it is lose lose for America as that will place the democrat/socialists in a position to rule America in perpetuity… forever!


My friend and fellow blogger, Alan Caruba, recently said in his piece entitled “A Crisis of Governors:” “What, in fact, Americans are witnessing is a failure of government at both the state and federal level. The nation has managed to elect too many people to public office that are so clearly inept, incompetent, and untrustworthy, it poses a threat to the republic.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

The Language Map of England Which Shows Where Up to 40% of People Say English is Not Their Mother Tongue

This is the language map of England which reveals the parts of the country where as many as two in five people do not have English as their mother tongue.

New data shows the proportion of people across who say English is not their main language ranging from 0.7 per cent in Redcar and Cleveland to 41.4 per cent in Newham in London.

The breakdown from the 2011 national census also revealed the second most commonly spoken language in the country is now Polish.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Italy: Puglia Governor Nichi Vendola Wants to Marry Gay Partner

‘I’d like to have the right to a ceremony’

(ANSA) — Rome, January 31 — Puglia Governor Nichi Vendola wants to marry his gay partner in ceremony in Italy. “I’m still in love with my companion and I’m thinking of crowning my love for him in a ceremony in front of my community and family,” he told Italian radio. “I’m in love with him and I’d like to have the right to a ceremony”. In the past he has said he wants to adopt a child. Same-sex marriage and adoption are both illegal in Italy. Vendola, who has lived with his Canadian partner for years, is a potent gay-rights leader in Italy and leads the leftist SEL party.

He is the chief ally of the centre-left Democratic Party (PD), which leads in polls ahead of elections next month.

None of the main contenders in the elections has come out in favour of gay marriage or gay adoption rights, although PD leader Pier Luigi Bersani is in favour of bringing in Germany-style civil unions.

Outgoing Premier Mario Monti, who is leading a centrist coalition in elections, sparked criticism earlier this month when he said “the family should be made up of one man and one woman,” and “children should grow up with a mother and a father”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Jim Nabors Marries Male Partner in Seattle

HONOLULU (AP) — Jim Nabors, the actor best known for playing “Gomer Pyle” on TV in the 1960s, has married his longtime male partner.

Hawaii News Now reports Nabors, 82, and Stan Cadwallader, 64, traveled from their Honolulu home to Seattle to be married Jan. 15. Gay marriage became legal in Washington State last month.

The couple met in 1975 when Cadwallader was a Honolulu firefighter.

“I’m 82 and he’s in his 60s and so we’ve been together for 38 years and I’m not ashamed of people knowing, it’s just that it was such a personal thing, I didn’t tell anybody,” Nabors said. “I’m very happy that I’ve had a partner of 38 years and I feel very blessed. And, what can I tell you, I’m just very happy.”

Nabors said he’s been open about his homosexuality to co-workers and friends but never acknowledged it to the media before. He doesn’t plan to get involved in the issue politically.

“I’m not a debater. And everybody has their own opinion about this and actually I’m not an activist, so I’ve never gotten involved in any of this,” Nabors told Hawaii News Now.

Nabors became an instant success when he joined “The Andy Griffith Show” in spring 1963. The character of Gomer Pyle — the unworldly, lovable gas pumper who would exclaim “Gollllll-ly!” — proved so popular that in 1964 CBS starred him in “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.”

In the spinoff, which lasted five seasons, Gomer left his hometown of Mayberry to become a Marine recruit. His innocence confounded his sergeant, the irascible Frank Sutton.

           — Hat tip: McR [Return to headlines]

Business Opportunities Boom in the Arctic

Interest in the economic potential of the Arctic is on the rise. Oil, gas and polar shipping lanes were high on the agenda at the annual Arctic Frontiers conference recently in Tromsö in Norway.

When a Russian research submarine put a Russian flag on the seabed 4,200 meters below the North Pole in 2007, the message was clear. Political and economic interest in the “high north” of the planet is growing, as the changing climate makes the Arctic more easily accessible.

The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the earth. 2012 saw a record melt of the summer sea ice. While concern about the effects of the continually warming world are growing, businesses and governments in the Arctic region are hoping to profit from easier access to the natural resources locked below the ice.

Valuable minerals and around a quarter of the world’s still undiscovered reserves of oil and gas are thought to lie in the Arctic. New northern shipping routes becoming navigable in summer could drastically reduce transport time between the world’s commercial hubs.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

One thought on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 1/31/2013

  1. I sent a respectful email to the Bishop in Worcester deploring the fact that Robert Spencer had been denied a chance to speak, but apparently dhimmis blocked it.

    I had cited 6 historical saints (St Demetrius, St Adjutor, St James the Greater, St John of Capistrano, and St Flora of Cordoba) who had bravely stood up for what’s right in opposition to Islam (or, in one case, against some bandits whose behavior mirrored that of Muslims. I’m referring here to St. Gabriel Possenti, Patron saint of Marksmen, Gunowners, Handgunners, Self-Defense, and the Right of Private Citizens to Own Firearms. For his story, go to

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