Gates of Vienna News Feed 3/18/2013

Protesters clashed with security police in front of the Muslim Brotherhood’s headquarters in Cairo. The demonstrators threw rocks at the police, who responded with teargas.

In other news, Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund is reportedly considering purchasing the venerable British retailer Marks & Spencer, popularly known as “Marks and Sparks”.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Fjordman, Gaia, Insubria, JD, Jerry Gordon, JP, LH, Nick, Steen, 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.

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
» After Banksters Steal Money From Accounts in Cyprus They Will Start Doing it Everywhere
» Banking Chief Calls for 15% Looting of Italians’ Savings
» Cyprus and Europe Drag Asian Markets Down
» Cyprus Government Raids Private Checking and Savings Accounts as Citizens Panic
» Cyprus Government’s ‘Great Bank Robbery’ Of Private Accounts May Set Off Bank Runs Across Europe
» DHS Insider Update: It Has Begun
» EU ‘Ready to be Flexible’ With Italy’s Debt Calculations
» Government Money
» Panicked Europeans Rush ATMs as Leaders Seize Funds Directly From Bank Account Holders
» Saxo Bank CEO: “This is Full-Blown Socialism and I Still Can’t Believe it Happened”
» The Rape of Cyprus by the European Union & the IMF
» The Secret Cabal
» Why the Banking Elite Want Riots in America
» Astronomers Gearing Up for Possible ‘Comet of the Century’
» Birds Evolve Shorter Wings to Survive on Roads
» Local Islamic Community Reacts to New Pope
» Pepsi Replaces Sugar With Mystery Ingredient
» Secretary of State Kerry Backs U.N. Gun Treaty
» Tax Exempt Foundations the Enemy Within (Video)
» The Last Day at CPAC 2013
» New Cemetery Pleases St. Jones Muslims
Europe and the EU
» Anti-Mafia Writer Saviano Visits ‘Friend’ Julian Assange
» Cyprus Called Home by Both Russians and Brits
» Denmark: Party Calling Islam “The Greatest Threat to Our Society” 2nd Biggest
» Germany: Top Prosecutor Takes on Islamist Murder Plot
» Gerstenfeld: Dutch Press Tries to Hide Anti-Semitic Incident
» Holland: Dutch Press Tries to Hide Anti-Semitic Incident
» Ireland: Permission Granted for Local Mosque
» Italy: Grillo Say M5S Was Trapped, Crack Appears in Hard Line
» Italy: Grillo’s Supporters Are Left-Wingers, Says Berlusoni
» Italy: New Movie Casts Church in Bad Light Over Sex Abuse Scandals
» Italy: CONI Will No Longer Grant Italian MPS Special Privileges
» Italy: Berlusconi Vows Street Protests if Leftist President Appointed
» Pope Francis’ Run-in With Benedict XVI Over the Prophet Mohammed
» Scotland: The Church That’s Opened Its Doors to Christians Roll Out Welcome to Muslims Who Were Having to Pray in the Wind and Rain Because Their Mosque Was So Small
» Scotland: Islam Conference Aims to Improve Community Relations
» Twelve Heads Roll in Sweden Democrat Ouster
» UK: Are They or Aren’t They? Qatar Investment Mulls Bid for Britain’s Marks & Spencer
» UK: Are You Being Served Actor Frank Thornton Who Played Captain Peacock Dies Aged 92
» UK: David Cameron Under Threat From Rise of UKIP — Poll
» UK: Here’s a Real Challenge for Theresa May: End Slavery in Britain
» UK: Islam Awareness Week, 20 Years Old and More Needed Than Ever
» UK: Leading Chinese Contemporary Artist Enjoys Ground-Breaking Exhibition at Museum in Britain
» UK: New Free School in Bedford Plans to Teach ‘Islamic’ Studies
» UK: Operation Bullfinch: Bullfinch Trial Day 35
» UK: Qataris ‘Planning to Make £8billion Takeover Bid for Iconic High Street Chain Marks and Spencer’
» UK: Terror Plotter ‘Isn’t a Sinner’
» UK: The BBC and Religion
North Africa
» Anarchy on the Streets of Egypt as Lynch Mob Strip, Beat and Hang Two Men Accused of Stealing Rickshaw in Front of Baying Crowd
» Protesters, Police Clash Outside Muslim Brotherhood HQ in Egyptian Capital
» Securitization or Terrorization?
Israel and the Palestinians
» Palestine’s ‘Mother of Martyrs’ Mariam Farhat Dies in Gaza
» Palestinians’ Despair Grows as Obama Not to Ask Israel to Halt Settlement
Middle East
» Homemade Bomb Wounds Asian in Bahrain
» Iranian President Asks Pope Francis to Push for UN Reforms
» Iraq Invasion Anniversary: The Last Christians in Baghdad
» John Baron MP: Ten Years on From the Invasion of Iraq, The British Electorate Does Not Want War
» Nothing Significant Expected of Obama’s Mideast Trip
» Qatar Challenged by Iran With Film on Prophet, Arab Press
» USA Not Against European Countries Arming Syrian Rebels
» Russia to Send Permanent Navy Fleet to Mediterranean
» Russia Sending Warship Fleet to Mediterranean: Russian Naval Base in Cyprus Coming Next?
South Asia
» Afghan Gov’t Registers Over 6,000 Security Incidents Within Year: Official
» Bangladesh’s Oppositon-Sponsored 48-Hour Non-Stop Hartal Sparks Violence
» Britain Could Offer Asylum to Afghan War Translators
» EU Takes Distance From Italian-Indian Diplomatic Row
» EU: India Urged to Respect Italian Ambassador Immunity Amid Marines Row
» Fury in India as Five Tribesmen Are Arrested for Gang Rape of Swiss Tourist, 39, ‘Attacked in Her Tent as Her Husband Was Tied to a Tree’
» India: ‘Congress Not Against Quota for Backward Muslims’
» Italy Says India Court’s Travel Ban on Ambassador Illegal
» Pakistan Court Attacked by Suicide Bombers and Gunmen
Far East
» Farming Has Deep Roots in Chinese Ice Age
» N. Korea Warns Border Residents to Flee Ahead of “Thunderous Attacks”
» Overproduction and Monetary Distortion: The Crisis of the Chinese “Giant” And Currency Wars
Australia — Pacific
» Deepest Point in the Ocean is Teeming With Life
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Mali: Suspected Jihadist ‘Had Been in the French Police’
» Nigeria: Bull With ‘Prophet’s Name’ on Forehead Draws Crowd
» Rwanda: Young Muslims to the Rescue of Needy Women
» Somalia: Al Shabaab Are Defeated
Latin America
» Argentina’s Kirchner Raises Falklands With Pope Francis
» Vatican: Focus — A Latin Response to Latin America
» Sweden: Billström Sparks ‘Blonde, Blue-Eyed’ Outrage
Culture Wars
» Hillary Clinton Announces Support for Gay Marriage
» UK: Are You Straight, Gay or Bisexual? Council Slammed for Asking Highly Personal Question in Survey About Wheelie Bins

After Banksters Steal Money From Accounts in Cyprus They Will Start Doing it Everywhere

Cyprus is a beta test. The banksters are trying to commit bank robbery in broad daylight, and they are eager to see if the rest of the world will let them get away with it. Cyprus was probably chosen because it is very small (therefore nobody will care too much about it) and because there is a lot of foreign (i.e. Russian) money parked there. The IMF and the EU could have easily bailed out Cyprus without any trouble whatsoever, but they purposely decided not to do that. Instead, they decided that this would be a great time to test the idea of a “wealth tax”. The government of Cyprus was given two options by the IMF and the EU — either they could confiscate money from private bank accounts or they could leave the eurozone. Apparently this was presented as a “take it or leave it” proposition, and many are using the world “blackmail” to describe what has happened. Sadly, this decision is going to set a very ominous precedent for the future and it is going to have ripple effects far beyond Cyprus. After the banksters steal money from bank accounts in Cyprus they will start doing it everywhere. If this “bank robbery” goes well, it will only be a matter of time before depositors in nations such as Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal are asked to take “haircuts” as well. And what will happen one day when the U.S. financial system collapses? Will U.S. bank accounts also be hit with a “one time” wealth tax? That is very frightening to think about.

Cyprus is a very small nation, so it is not the amount of money involved that is such a big deal. Rather, the reason why this is all so troubling is that this “wealth tax” is shattering confidence in the European banking system. Never before have the banksters come directly after bank accounts.

If everything goes according to plan, every bank account in Cyprus will be hit with a “one time fee” this week. Accounts with less than 100,000 euros will be hit with a 6.75% tax, and accounts with more than 100,000 euros will be hit with a 9.9% tax.

How would you feel if something like this happened where you live?

How would you feel if the banksters suddenly demanded that you hand over 10 percent of all the money that you had in the bank?

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Banking Chief Calls for 15% Looting of Italians’ Savings

News that the International Monetary Fund initially demanded to loot a shocking 40% of savings from the private bank accounts of Cypriots underscores how residents of the Mediterranean country could be the latest victims of the infamous “IMF riot,” as the chief economist of the German Commerzbank calls for Italians to be similarly plundered for 15% of their savings.

The government of Cyprus is set to vote tomorrow on enforcing a “tax,” which in reality is nothing less than a confiscation of private wealth, that would hit savers with between 100,000 to 500,000 euros with a levy of 9.9%. Those with over half a million euros will face an even higher rate of 15%.

However, the scale of the robbery could have been far higher. As Zero Hedge reports, “It appears that the settled-upon 9.9% haircut is a ‘good deal’ compared to the stunning 40% of total deposits that Germany’s FinMin Schaeuble and the IMF demanded.”

Now that the dictatorial EU and IMF have simply set about stealing the privately accrued wealth of lifetime savers in Europe, everyone is asking one question — who’s next?


As respected investigative reporter Greg Palast exposed in 2001, the global banking elite, namely the World Bank and the IMF, have honed a technique that has allowed them to asset-strip numerous other countries in the past — that technique has come to be known at the “IMF riot.”

In April 2001, Palast obtained leaked World Bank documents that outlined a four step process on how to loot nations of their wealth and infrastructure, placing control of resources into the hands of the banking elite.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Cyprus and Europe Drag Asian Markets Down

Markets, dropping to almost 3%, fear a worsening of the debt crisis. Tax on bank deposits up to 9.9%. In Cyprus ATMs empty and banks closed. “The same will soon take place in Italy and Europe, then in the United States and the Far East.” According to the BSC, in 2011 the excess of total debt was 20 trillion dollars. Even then a 30% levy on total assets was suggested.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) — All Asian markets are down to almost 3%. Analysts agree that the negative signals depend on the Cyprus bailout, which is to be launched today, and which is causing real concerns about the European debt situation.

The European Union (EU) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are in fact determined to help the island with loans of up to 10 billion Euros if the Cypriot banks tax their customers savings.

The plan must be accepted by the Nicosia parliament today, but the president of the island, Nikos Anastasiades, in a televised speech last night has already tried to explain to the public that the choice is between the plan and an exit from the euro with subsequent bankruptcy.

The Nikkei was down 2.5%, Hong Kong by 2.2, Australia 2%.

This is the first time that the 17 euro zone nations have suggested a levy on a population’s savings to fund bailouts. Under the plan, customers with less than 100 thousand euro deposit will be charged 6.75%, and those with more than 100 thousand Euros will be charged 9.9%.

The Cypriots stormed the ATMs only to realize that they are almost empty and the banks are closed for holidays today and tomorrow by Presidential order.

According to some analysts, “soon the same thing will happen in Italy and in the rest of Europe, then it will be the turn of the U.S. and the Far East.”

The EU and the IMF move on Cyprus, seems to follow the pattern of an analysis first proposed by the Boston Consulting Group (BSC) in September of 2011, that estimated excess of total debt (not just public debt, but also to businesses and households) at 20 thousand billion. The BSC conclusion was that it was necessary to introduce a one-off wealth tax in the western world equal to 30% of total assets. The particularity of Cyprus was and is its role as a tax and banking haven for Russian oligarchs, with a disproportionate amount of deposits in the resident population. The compulsory levy has therefore been “contained” to 10%.

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

Cyprus Government Raids Private Checking and Savings Accounts as Citizens Panic

(NaturalNews) The day is coming when the U.S. government will claim it “owns” a portion of all our bank accounts, and it will electronically drain our accounts of money in a grand theft scheme designed to pay off the banksters while decimating private savings.

Don’t believe it? That day has already arrived in the European nation of Cyprus, where the government made a secret deal with the IMF to loot private bank accounts of up to 10% of current deposits. Banks went along with the theft, sealing off the funds from account holders. The government now plans to initiate millions of funds transfers as early as Tuesday, draining private accounts of the money the government now claims it owns…

Now it’s clear why DHS needs 1.6 billion bullets and armored assault vehicles

If you’ve been wondering why DHS thinks it needs 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition, 7,000+ full-auto assault rifles, and 2,700+ armored assault vehicles, all for use on the streets of America, the answer is now clear:

The U.S. government is going to loot private bank accounts when the global debt collapse strikes, stealing everybody’s money and setting off nationwide riots that will be held in check using armored assault vehicles and automatic weapons fire.

This is what the government sees coming: A global collapse of the 1+ quadrillion dollars in derivatives debt, causing a runaway cascade of wealth destruction and bank failures. No nation on the planet carries more debt than the U.S. government, making it more vulnerable to a debt collapse than any other nation.

Once a global debt collapse spreads to America, the U.S. government will be unable to sell new debt, meaning it will have no choice but to print currency and start looting private bank accounts just to stay afloat. The value of the currency will be rapidly eroded, causing dollars that people have saved in bank accounts to plummet in value by the day. When the government loots private bank accounts, all hell will break loose in the streets, and a national state of Martial Law will be declared to try to stop the violent riots that will be unleashed in every major city.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Cyprus Government’s ‘Great Bank Robbery’ Of Private Accounts May Set Off Bank Runs Across Europe

There’s only one reason people leave money in a bank: because they think it’s safe there. They think they can get their money back out when they ask for it. This trust is what makes bank accounts possible, and without this trust, there is no longer any reason to put money in any bank. The government of Cyprus just destroyed that trust across the entire EU. How did it accomplish this feat of destruction? By raiding the private bank accounts of everyone with a checking or savings account. In a surprise act of nationwide government theft, the government of Cyprus — under orders from the IMF and German bureaucrats — simply looted private bank accounts, stealing up to 10% of private account deposits.

It’s being called “the great EU bank robbery.”

Let it be known that governments can now directly loot your checking accounts without permission

This act should not necessarily surprise us. We all know that governments are voracious thieves that steal savings and wealth from the productive working class of society. But what’s really shocking here is the wave of distrust now being set off across the Eurozone.

If Cyprus can suddenly and without any warning loot private bank accounts and steal money away from people who have rightly earned it, then what’s to stop the same thing from happening in Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal or any other country?

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

DHS Insider Update: It Has Begun

Our current financial situation was not bred out of incompetence, but by design.

Much like my high-level source within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security outlined in a series of interviews beginning last year, the orchestrated collapse of the U.S. dollar and the entire world’s economic system has begun. The first shots in a global economic take-over were fired in Cyprus as my esteemed colleague and founding editor of Canada Free Press, Judi McLeod laid out in frank detail in her column yesterday and her follow up today.

Please read it and heed her advice, or suffer the consequences of your own normalcy bias that such an event will not happen in the United States, Canada, or from wherever you might be reading this. It will, and the plan appears to be on schedule for a shot across the bow later this spring here in the West, with a more aggressive take-over starting sometime this fall, according to my source.

The Plan: To those needing a quick refresher, the plan is quite simple and can be summarized by the Clinton-era quip attributed to political strategist James Carville, “the economy, stupid” and the June 9, 2010 statement by former Obama czar Van Jones, Socialist extraordinaire, “top down, bottom up, inside out.” It is a plan for a one world Communist economy where the “middle class” will be wiped out through a series of events that will have the same ultimate effect as we are seeing in present day Cyprus.

Based on the events in Cyprus, it should be quite clear to even the most vocal critic of the legitimacy of the information provided to me by my source within the DHS as published on this web site is no longer at issue. The U.S. dollar, the backbone of world currencies and the proverbial firewall preventing the erosion of our national sovereignty, is the ultimate target of a takedown by the global banking interests controlled by a handful of banks and families of the “royal elite.”

The plan for a global currency or a one world economic order is a matter that transcends political parties. Those who continue to argue in the Republican-Democrat meme are doing nothing more than providing entertainment to distract people from the real issue, that of the global elite versus the rest of us. The top of the pyramid in this Ponzi scheme is filled with members of both U.S. political parties who are systematically pillaging us and our future generations into financial debt, bondage and slavery. It is a plan that has been in the works for centuries. The problem, however, is that we have been conditioned not to think that big. Yet, the lie is that big.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

EU ‘Ready to be Flexible’ With Italy’s Debt Calculations

Deal reached over public sector

(ANSA) — Brussels, March 18 — The European Commission (EC) on Monday said it was willing to show a degree of flexibility in the weight late payments by Italy’s public sector have on calculations of the national debt. This should allow some extra leeway for Italy, which faces major challenges in meeting the deficit and debt targets set by the European Stability Pact.

Last week outgoing Italian Premier Mario Monti sent a letter to European leaders at an EU summit in Brussels saying that Italy should be able to use “every possible ulterior margin” within the European Stability Pact to be able to boost growth and employment.

Monti’s emergency administration implemented austerity measures to comply with European budget commitments but these policies deepened Italy’s recession and caused unemployment to rise above 11%. The approach seemed to be rejected by Italian voters in last month’s election.

Pier Luigi Bersani’s centre-left alliance came first in the elections, but failed to win a working majority in the Senate because of votes pulled in by three-time premier Silvio Berlusconi’s centre right and Beppe Grillo’s anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S).

Both Berlusconi and comedian-turned-politician Grillo were accused of using Euroskeptic, populist rhetoric in the election campaign.

Monti’s reform platform backed by centrist parties, meanwhile, did less well than expected.

The EC outlined its position on Italy’s public sector debts in a joint statement by vice presidents Antonio Tajani and Olli Rehn, respectively the industry commissioner and economic and monetary affairs commissioner. “The excessively tight financing conditions, especially in southern European countries like Spain, Portugal and Italy, are hindering the flow of credit to households and businesses. This is holding back export growth and economic activity,” read the statement.

It went on to talk about the Late Payments Directive, which came into force last week and aims to ensure public sector contractors are paid promptly and prevent the further accumulation of commercial debt by public administrations.

“However, the Directive does not necessarily apply to the outstanding stock of commercial debt,” it said.

“In the case of Italy, the authorities have decided that the new rules will apply only to contracts signed since 1 January 2013. “A realistic solution to the commercial debt overhang — which is estimated to be sizeable — is likely to involve a liquidation plan with the objective of bringing such debt to levels not related to payment delays within a relatively short timeframe. The plan should include adequate safeguards against moral hazard by the administrations responsible for the debt overhang.

“While the existing EU framework for budgetary surveillance does not envisage a special treatment for specific debt and deficit increasing items, the Stability and Growth Pact allows taking into account relevant factors in the assessment of compliance with the deficit and debt criteria. “In this context, the liquidation of overdue commercial debt would represent a mitigating factor.

“The Commission is ready to cooperate with the Italian authorities to help with the technical implementation of the liquidation plan and would welcome the provision of more detailed and timely information on the current stock of debt by level of government”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Government Money

Time and time again, the liberal defenders of government power have attacked any call for reform as a plot by the wealthy. Even now New York Times editorialists pound their keys about the “Concentration of Wealth”, invoking presidents from Andrew Jackson to Theodore Roosevelt. But in our America, the “Concentration of Wealth” is not found in the hands of a few billionaires. It is found in the hands of the government.

The editorialists talk about the income gap and how much wealth is held by the top 1 percent of the country, but they are leaving something out. Their statistics deal with individuals, not institutions. And it is institutions which threaten our liberties, not individuals.

The top 10 wealthiest men and women in America barely have 250 billion dollars between them. That sounds like a lot of money, until you look at annual Federal budgets which run into the trillions of dollars, and the country’s national debt which approaches 15 trillion dollars. And that’s not taking into account state budgets. Even Rhode Island, the smallest state in the union, with a population of barely a million, has a multi-billion dollar budget.

As the 10th richest man in America, Michael Bloomberg wields a personal fortune of a mere 18 billion dollars, but as the Mayor of the City of New York, he disposes of an annual budget of 63 billion dollars. In a single year, he disposes of three times his own net worth. A sum that would wipe out the net worth of any billionaire in America. That is the difference between the wealth wielded by the 10th wealthiest man in America, and the mayor of a single city. And that is the real concentration of wealth. Not in the hands of individuals, but at every level of government, from the municipal to the state houses to the White House.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Panicked Europeans Rush ATMs as Leaders Seize Funds Directly From Bank Account Holders

As of right now, citizens of Cyprus are scrambling to withdraw funds from their bank accounts after the EU, with agreement from the Cypriot government, announced they will decimate funds held in personal bank accounts to the tune of up to 10% of existing deposits.

You read that right.

The European Union has made the determination that the people of Cyprus are now responsible for the hundreds of billions of dollars in bad bets made by their government and bank financiers, and they are moving to confiscate money directly from the bank accounts of every citizen in the country.

Restrictions have been imposed to stop people emptying their accounts or moving their money out the country after the Cypriot government announced that up to ten per cent of deposits will be seized and used to bailout the island’s crisis-hit banking system.

The deal with other eurozone finance ministers is the first time that ordinary citizens’ deposits have been directly raided in this way.


One furious expat said: ‘This is plain theft. I’d love to hear someone explain to me why it isn’t.’

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Saxo Bank CEO: “This is Full-Blown Socialism and I Still Can’t Believe it Happened”

Authored by Lars Seier Christensen, CEO Saxo Bank; originally posted at his blog at

It is difficult to describe the weekend bailout package to Cyprus in any other way. The confiscation of 6.75 percent of small depositors’ money and 9.9 percent of big depositors’ funds is without precedence that I can think of in a supposedly civilised and democratic society. But maybe the European Union (EU) is no longer a civilised democracy?

I heard rumours about this when I visited Limassol last week, but dismissed them as completely outlandish. And yet, here we are. The consequences are unpredictable, but we are clearly looking at a significant paradigm shift.

This is a breach of fundamental property rights, dictated to a small country by foreign powers and it must make every bank depositor in Europe shiver. Although the representatives at the bailout press conference tried to present this as a one-off, they were not willing to rule out similar measures elsewhere — not that it would have mattered much as the trust is gone anyway. It is now difficult to expect any kind of limitation to what measures the Troika and EU might take when the crisis really starts to bite.

If you can do this once, you can do it again. if you can confiscate 10 percent of a bank customer’s money, you can confiscate 25, 50 or even 100 percent. I now believe we will see worse as the panic increases, with politicians desperately trying to keep the EUR alive.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

The Rape of Cyprus by the European Union & the IMF

I have been watching articles pour forth about Cyprus all weekend. I am almost as aggravated with the majority of them as I am with what took place. People are dancing around the edges while the propaganda machines of Europe are churning out the usual bunk.

Let’s get some things straight and look what has happened directly in the face. There was no tax on the bank accounts in Cyprus. There still is no tax; the Cyprus Parliament has not passed it and will not vote on it until tomorrow so whatever action takes place it is retroactive. Next, this was not enacted by Cyprus. The people from Nicosia did not go to the Summit and ask to have the bank accounts in their country minimized to help pay the bills. Far from it; the nations of Europe, Germany, France, the Netherlands and the rest, demanded that this take place, a “fait accompli,” the President of Cyprus said and Europe annexes Cyprus. Let’s be quite clear; the European Union has confiscated the private property of the citizens in Cyprus without debate, legislation or Parliamentary agreement.

A bank account is not a bond or a stock or any sort of investment. This seems to be lost on many people. A bank account is the private property of a citizen or a corporation and does not belong to the government or at least that was the supposition up until now in Europe.

Next there is deposit insurance in Europe. Every country has its own version but it is there. It guaranteed the bank accounts of citizens up to one hundred thousand Euros. So much for the meaning of any guarantee in Cyprus or any other country in Europe. Null and Void! If the European Union can dismantle deposit insurance in Cyprus they can damn well do it in whatever country they please and at any time.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

The Secret Cabal

David Rockefeller, the founder and honorary Chairman of the Trilateral Commission, has written,

“Some even believe we are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as ‘internationalists’ and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure — one world, if you will. If that’s the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it.” (italics and underline added — ed)

Most people know something is seriously wrong in our country, but they don’t understand the cause of the problem or what can be done to remedy the situation. Why are there 20-25 million unemployed people in the United States? Why isn’t the federal government enforcing our immigration laws? Why does the federal government give tax incentives to manufacturers who offshore their production and outsource their jobs? Who is responsible for the economic recession that is crippling our nation?

I will address those questions in this and several subsequent Radio Liberty articles, here at News With Views. When you read them you will discover:

I. The U.S. is controlled by a secret cabal. II. The cabal is transferring U.S. jobs, factories, and wealth to other nations. III. The cabal is implementing provision 10A of the Earth Charter.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Why the Banking Elite Want Riots in America

Every indication clearly suggests that authorities in the United States are preparing for widespread civil unrest. This trend has not emerged by accident — it is part of a tried and tested method used by the banking elite to seize control of nations, strip them of their assets, and absorb them into the new world order.

There is a crucial economic imperative as to why the elite is seeking to engineer and exploit social unrest.

As respected investigative reporter Greg Palast exposed in 2001, the global banking elite, namely the World Bank and the IMF, have honed a technique that has allowed them to asset-strip numerous other countries in the past — that technique has come to be known at the “IMF riot.”

In April 2001, Palast obtained leaked World Bank documents that outlined a four step process on how to loot nations of their wealth and infrastructure, placing control of resources into the hands of the banking elite.

One of the final steps of the process, the “IMF riot,” detailed how the elite would plan for mass civil unrest ahead of time that would have the effect of scaring off investors and causing government bankruptcies.

“This economic arson has its bright side — for foreigners, who can then pick off remaining assets at fire sale prices,” writes Palast, adding, “A pattern emerges. There are lots of losers but the clear winners seem to be the western banks and US Treasury.”

In other words, the banking elite creates the very economic environment — soaring interest rates, spiraling food prices, poverty, lower standards of living — that precipitates civil unrest — and then like a vulture swoops down to devour what remains of the country’s assets on the cheap.


A leaked U.S. Army manual also reveals plans for the military to carry out “Civil Disturbance Operations” during which troops will be used domestically to quell riots, confiscate firearms and even kill Americans on U.S. soil during mass civil unrest.

The Department of Homeland Security’s ‘See Something, Say Something’ program habitually portrays middle class Americans as terrorists. In addition, numerous DHS-funded reports have characterized “liberty lovers” and other constitutionalists as domestic terrorists.

[Comment: In a sense, the US Revolution was really a revolution against Banksters (same kind looking to loot Cyprus today). The British army was just the enforcement stick of the banksters.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Astronomers Gearing Up for Possible ‘Comet of the Century’

Astronomers are already getting set for the arrival of Comet ISON, which may become one of the brightest comets ever seen when it cruises through the inner solar system this fall.

NASA has brought together a small team of experts to organize an observing campaign for Comet ISON, which could potentially shine as brightly as the moon when it makes its closest pass by the sun in late November if the most optimistic scenarios play out.

Coordinating the efforts of observatories on the ground and in space should help wring as much quality science as possible out of the comet’s solar flyby, Comet ISON Observing Campaign (CIOC) officials said.

“It’s a rare opportunity that we’ve got such a long heads-up time, so we actually have time to organize a campaign like this,” said Karl Battams, a scientist at the U.S. Naval Research Lab in Washington and a member of the eight-person CIOC Team. “There’s a lot of new science that we could get from this.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Birds Evolve Shorter Wings to Survive on Roads

Nature, red in wheel and fender. Birds in Nebraska have evolved shorter wings, which may help them avoid dying on roads by taking off quickly and darting away from cars.

Eighty million US birds are killed by traffic each year. Cliff swallows (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota) have taken to nesting on road bridges, so may be especially vulnerable.

Charles Brown of the University of Tulsa in Oklahoma has been picking up dead swallows for 30 years. Roadkill numbers have steadily declined since the 1980s, even as the number of roadside nests has risen. The killed birds have longer wings than birds caught in mist nets for research, and on average the caught birds’ wings have got shorter.

It makes sense: shorter wings are better for a quick vertical take-off, and improve manoeuvrability.

“Everything fits with the idea that it’s vehicular selection,” says Ronald Mumme of Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Local Islamic Community Reacts to New Pope

Religious leaders in Rochester’s Muslim community are putting their stamp of approval on the election of Pope Francis.

“The most two defining principles of both the Muslims and the Catholics are love God, love your neighbor,” said Islamic Center of Rochester Board Chairman Mohammed Rumi.

“It’s very, very important for our peaceful coexistence,” said Rauf Bawany of Catholic-Muslim Alliance Member…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Pepsi Replaces Sugar With Mystery Ingredient

So what exactly is this magic ingredient that will be appearing in a new version of Pepsi, and how is it made? Unfortunately, those questions are hard to answer. Senomyx… refers to them only as ‘enhancers’ or ‘ingredients’… The products work by triggering receptors on the tongue and tricking your taste buds into sensing sweetness — or saltiness or coolness, in the case of the company’s other programs…

So are Senomyx’s covert ingredients safe? That, too, is anyone’s guess… many of its enhancers have ‘been granted’GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) status, but all that means is that the company did its own assessment and then concluded everything was fine. We don’t know whether Senomyx did any testing since the company isn’t required to submit anything to the FDA.14

[Comment: Google Senomyx, see what is used in the development of these flavour enhancers.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Secretary of State Kerry Backs U.N. Gun Treaty

Obama’s new Secretary of State, the blue-blood CFR globalist and bonesman John Kerry, says that while he supports the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty, he is also supports the Second Amendment…

According to the NRA, as of 2004 Kerry was the most anti-gun presidential nominee in United States history. He has voted to ban guns outright, impose waiting periods on firearms buyers, financially punish gun manufacturers, and restrict the free speech of Second Amendment advocates.

[Comment: International communism/globalist modus operandi. Deny, deny deny, then do it anyway.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Tax Exempt Foundations the Enemy Within (Video)

Tax Exempt Foundations The Enemy Within 1 (

Tax Exempt Foundations The Enemy Within 2 (

Tax Exempt Foundations The Enemy Within 3 (

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

The Last Day at CPAC 2013

The third and last day at the Conservative Political Action Conference 2013 had not lost any of the initial steam and enthusiasm. The music, the robust energy, the youthful excitement were vibrant and bursting at the seams. The speeches were fiery and motivating.

The leitmotif of every speech was the loss of the GOP’s core principles of conservatism in the eager race to pander to and win the hearts and minds of various voting blocs that self-segregated a long time ago from the population at large. Orators agreed that the GOP has become a miniature Democrat party in their haste to please and earn the trust of voters who are now used to the Democrat promise of more government dependency and helplessness.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

New Cemetery Pleases St. Jones Muslims

ST. JONES (Ahlul Bayt News Agency) — After quarter a century, the Muslim community in the northeastern Canadian city of St. Jones is preparing to establish their first cemetery, concluding years of preparation and fundraising. “We have people moving here from the United States, from across Canada and from all over the world,” Syed Pirzada, president of the local Muslim association, told CBC News. Coming to St. Jones 30 years ago, the first Muslim families could not find a suitable place to bury their dead…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Anti-Mafia Writer Saviano Visits ‘Friend’ Julian Assange

‘In spite of everything, we can’t stop laughing’

(ANSA) — Rome, March 18 — Italian writer and anti-mafia campaigner Roberto Saviano was in London this weekend spending time with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at the Ecuadorean embassy. “In London, I went to visit a friend of mine,” said Saviano on Twitter on Saturday. “With Julian…in spite of everything, we can’t stop laughing,” he tweeted again on Sunday along with a picture of the two smiling and embracing. Assange was granted asylum at the embassy while he faces extradition to Sweden for rape charges. He has said he fears being subsequently extradited to the U.S., where he could be prosecuted for a series of embarrassing diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks in 2010. Saviano is best known for his 2006 best-seller Gomorrah, which led to death threats and round-the-clock police protection.

It was turned into a critically acclaimed film which won second prize at Cannes and five European Film Awards in 2008.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Cyprus Called Home by Both Russians and Brits

Island offers sun, sea and a tax haven to tens of thousands

(ANSAmed) — NICOSIA, MARCH 18 — A four-hour flight from Moscow and London, Cyprus offers a great deal more than the Russian or British capitals can: 340 days of sun every year, beautiful beaches, villas with pools and, pointedly, easy tax terms for foreigners.

It is for all these reasons — and especially its relaxed taxation regulations — that the Mediterranean island has seen an increase over the past few years in the presence of both British nationals, which number over 80,000 and are for the most part retirees, and Russian ones, some 50,000 mostly businessmen who have taken up residence in the coastal cities of Limassol, Larnaca and Paphos.

There are so many Russians living in Limassol that the city has been dubbed Limassolgrad. Two daily papers and a weekly one are printed in Russian, there are two Russian schools and a Russian radio station, the restaurants have menus in both Greek and Cyrillic and even the conspicuous prostitutes awaiting clients in the seafront bars hail from Ukraine, Moldavia and Belorussia.

However, the economy that revolves around these two communities is entirely different. The first, that of British residents — including about 3,500 soldiers stationed in the two main British bases on the island — consists almost entirely of salaries and pensions arriving monthly from London and in life savings invested in the purchase of a house in which to spend their golden years.

The economy of Russians living on the island, instead, is based on trade and investments, much of which prey to speculation on alleged money laundering.

Whatever the case may be, the money still ends up in Cypriot bank deposits and accounts for some 20 billion euros of a total of almost 69 billion. Another approximately 5.5 billion is reportedly in non-resident deposits of other nationalities.

The 10% bank levy the EU wants in exchange for 10 billion euros in aid to bail out Cyprus’s economy would therefore hit the interests of Russian nationals living on Cyprus hardest. The reason behind Russian President Vladimir Putin’s calling the tax “unjust, unprofessional and dangerous” on Monday is therefore clear.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Denmark: Party Calling Islam “The Greatest Threat to Our Society” 2nd Biggest

af Nicolai Sennels

I two subsequent surveys, Danish People’s Party has come out as the second biggest party in Denmark — bigger than the Social Democrats and only surpassed by the Liberal-Conservative party called Left (even though it is slightly Right). We have quoted Danish People’s Party spokes man on foreign affairs and member of the party’s core group, Søren Espersen, for saying: “Islam is the greatest threat to our society … Many countries have already fallen to Islam, or is about to. In many of these countries democracy has already disappeared or is seriously ailing. And with this in mind, I ask: Why should an experiment in Denmark show different results? Why should we make such an experiment with our good old Danish society, when the sad experiment have already been made in several countries”

Now, in two seperate surveys in a row, Danish Peoples’ Party is the 2nd biggest in Denmark:

“Party leader Kristian Thulesen Dahl (Danish Peoples’ Party) and his party gets 17.4 percent of the votes, while PM Helle Thorning-Schmidts governing party (Social Democrats) gets 17.2 percent. This is the result of a survey made by YouGov for MetroXpress.”

Source: Avisen, February 27th 2013 — Chock survey: DPP as big as the Social Democrats

“A new survey from YouGov, published by MetroXpress on Wednesday, gives only 16.5 percent of the votes to the main party in the Government, the Social Democrats. … It is also note worthy that 17.8 of the voters sayt they will vote for Danish Peoples’ Party. DPP is thus increasing the distance down to the Social Democrats.”

Source: BT, March 13 2013 — New chock survey for PM Thorning: Danish Peoples’ Party is bigger than the Social Democrats

           — Hat tip: Steen [Return to headlines]

Germany: Top Prosecutor Takes on Islamist Murder Plot

Germany’s top state prosecutor on Monday took control of an investigation into a suspected plot to assassinate a xenophobic politician by Islamist extremists.

Police last Wednesday foiled an attempt to murder Markus Beisicht, head of the anti-Muslim far-right Pro NRW party by arresting four suspects from across the state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW).

Due to the politically charged nature of the case, Germany’s federal prosecutors on Monday said they would be leading the probe into what they called “a homegrown terrorist group with radical-Islamist leanings.”

The regional prosecutor in Dortmund had been handling the case since the plot was uncovered last week.

The police apprehended two of the suspects in Leverkusen near Cologne, where they were apparently observing Beisicht. Two others were arrested in Essen and Bonn, where the police discovered ingredients to make explosives and a gun.

One of the arrested men was reportedly involved in a failed bomb attack at Bonn’s main train station on December 10. Although the explosive device was detonated, it did not go off.

Beisicht and Pro NRW have been involved in violent clashes with Salafists over the past year.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Gerstenfeld: Dutch Press Tries to Hide Anti-Semitic Incident

In Gerstenfeld’s Jerusalem Post Op ed he lascerates the Dutch ruling coaltion in the Hague Parliament for not addressing the problem. He notes in conclusion: The Arnhem youths affair is just the tip of the Dutch anti-Semitic iceberg. Any investigator will quickly find that there is widespread anti-Semitism among Dutch Muslims. It is far from limited to what white-washers are wont to say about street youth, because it can also be found among many adults and university students. Anti-Semitism should also be investigated in detail in the native Dutch community. This would include studying how major problems are hidden by the media, deficiencies in appropriate action taken on issues which have been known for many years already and the Dutch authorities’ politically hollow rhetoric. [ . . .] The more Dutch authorities shirk their responsibilities, the worse these problems will become. Time, we believe, for Geert Wilders of the PVV excoriate the myopia of the ruling coalition who have swept Islamic and native Dutch Antisemitism into the dustbin of history prematurely. He and the PVV have brought to the public’s attention Islamic violence towards women. Now it is time for Wilders to expose the rampant disease of Islamic Judenhass festering shamelessly in public. It is a national embarrasment to The Netherlands and the country’s leaders

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

Holland: Dutch Press Tries to Hide Anti-Semitic Incident

The anti-Semitic youths affair initially got more international attention on global websites than in the Netherlands’ media.

Iam satisfied with what Hitler did with the Jews” and “Hitler should have killed all Jews.” These, plus killing all Jewish babies, were the essence of remarks made by four Dutch-Turkish youths from the town of Arnhem during a Dutch television interview on February 17. Their interviewer was a young Turkish neighborhood volunteer, Mehmet Sahin. The program was broadcast on a mainstream network, yet only a few Internet blogs commented on it. Freedom of speech is a highly protected right in the Netherlands. Hardly any attention is given to another “right” of the media, namely the freedom to conceal the news…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Ireland: Permission Granted for Local Mosque

DUBLIN City Council has given the green light for a massive €40 million development on the Northside which will see the construction of one of Europe’s largest mosques. As well as a three-storey domed mosque, the development at Clongriffin will also include the construction of a primary and secondary school, a 600-seater conference centre, mortuary, library and fitness centre. Permission for the development was approved subject to a number of conditions.

The mosque, a key element of the plans submitted by the Dublin Welfare Society, will cater for the growing number of Muslims living in Dublin. The mosque element of the development will include a main prayer hall, prayer rooms, meeting rooms, general purpose room, crèche, bookshop, library and mortuary. The two-storey conference centre part of the development includes a reception foyer, 600-seat conference room, 130 seat-restaurant and 200-seat banquet hall…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Italy: Grillo Say M5S Was Trapped, Crack Appears in Hard Line

Grillo furious after centre-left man elected Senate speaker

(By Paul Virgo) (ANSA) — Rome, March 18 — Cracks have appeared in the 5-Star Movement’s (M5S) hard line after a handful of the anti-establishment group’s lawmakers defied orders and voted for the centre-left’s candidate to be Senate speaker at the weekend.

M5S leader Beppe Grillo, who is hostile to the established parties and had ordered his movement’s Senators to abstain, was furious, saying there would be consequences for the rebels who had fallen into a “trap”.

After inconclusive votes on Friday, Pier Luigi Bersani’s centre-left alliance managed to get both of its candidates elected as Speakers for the House and Senate, Italy’s third- and second-highest institutional roles respectively behind the president.

Having failed to reach an agreement for a consensus candidate, the centre-left had no trouble getting Laura Boldrini, a former spokeswoman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, elected into the key position in the House.

However, the centre-left, which came first in last month’s general election but failed to win a working majority in the Senate, was not sure of being able to carry the day in the Upper House.

In the first rounds of voting the Senators belonging to the M5S, which holds the balance of power in the Upper House after capturing a massive protest vote last month, backed their own candidate.

But when it came to Saturday’s run-off between the two frontrunners, a few M5S Senators opted to back the centre-left’s man, former chief anti-Mafia judge Pietro Grasso, rather than run the risk of seeing Renato Schifani, the candidate of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi’s centre right, keeping the job he held in the previous parliamentary term.

Three M5S Senators have admitted voting for Grasso.

The outcome shows comedian-turned-politician Grillo, who has not been elected himself, may have problems imposing discipline on his novice lawmakers.

Nevertheless, experts say it is still unlikely that Bersani will manage to convince enough M5S Senators to win a confidence vote in a government led by him and break the political deadlock the country is currently embroiled in.

When Grillo berated the rebel Senators at the weekend, it revived claims that the 64-year-old from Genoa runs the movement like a dictatorship. Bersani said he was using “Leninist” methods.

That criticism did not stop Grillo hitting out again on Monday, saying the M5S rebels had broken the movement’s rule to stick with the line agreed by the majority and shown political immaturity.

“The choice between Schifani and Grasso was an impossible one,” Grillo wrote on his long-standing blog, which gave life to the Internet-based M5S in 2009.

“It was a question of deciding between the bubonic plague and a bad cold… “The game had already been organised to put the 5-Star Movement in trouble. Some people, in good faith, fell into it.

“The same pattern will be repeated in the future. Berlusconi will propose unacceptable people, the (centre-left) PD (Democratic Party) will give a fig leaf.

“The M5S must not fall into these traps. Anyway the problem isn’t Grasso. If, for example, the majority of the M5S Senators had decided to vote for Grasso and everyone had stuck by the decision, there wouldn’t be any case to answer. “What’s at stake isn’t Grasso, but the respect of the M5S’s rules”.

Bersani has tried to win the M5S over with an eight-point platform reflecting many of the movement’s policies, including cuts to the number of parliamentarians and other measures to reduce the cost of politics.

Grillo, who says Bersani’s Democratic Party (PD) is part of a corrupt, malfunctioning system that he wants to revolutionise, has responded with insults, which have included him describing Bersani as a “dead man talking”.

With Bersani ruling out the hypothesis of forming a grand coalition with Berlusconi’s People of Freedom (PdL) party, the prospect of Italy having to return to the polls later this year seems likely.

President Giorgio Napolitano is set to start consultations with party leaders on Wednesday, after which he will ask one of them, probably Bersani, to try to form a government.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Grillo’s Supporters Are Left-Wingers, Says Berlusoni

(AGI) — Rome, Mar 18 — Beppe Grillo’s Five Star Movement proved it was an extreme left-wing party, said Silvio Berlusconi.

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

Italy: New Movie Casts Church in Bad Light Over Sex Abuse Scandals

Hits Italian cinemas Wednesday

(ANSA) — Rome, March 18 — The Catholic Church, Pope Emeritus Benedict and former Pope John Paul II see their reputations attacked in the documentary “Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God” by Alex Gibney on the various sexual abuse scandals which the church did its best to cover up.

In the movie, which hits Italian cinemas Wednesday, the Church appears to do nothing other than attempt to deny, minimize and censure the various scandals of pedophilia within its ranks, beginning with the case of four deaf children sexually abused by a priest in Milwaukee.

The film recounts the stories of Terry Kohut, Gary Smith, Pat Kuehn and Arthur Budzinksi, now adults, victims in their childhood years of sexual abuse by Father Lawrence Murphy, director of the St. John’s School in Milwaukee, in the U.S.

state of Wisconsin.

Between 1950 and 1974 Murphy sexually abused some 200 deaf-mute children, without the church taking any remedial action and letting him continue in his position until his death.

The film begins with the case of the four then covers other cases of child sex abuse in the United States and Europe, including those of Father Walsh in Ireland and Marcial Maciel — a friend of John Paul’s — in Mexico. Underlining how the Church’s highest ranks were complicit in the scandals, Gibney points out how Cardinal Josef Ratzinger, the future Pope Benedict, was for 25 years the head of the Church’s Confederation of Faith, and as such was aware of the events taking place. As Pope Benedict, Ratzinger then reiterated the need to maintain secrecy during the ensuing investigations and trials. Meanwhile Ratzinger’s predecessor John Paul is accused of both knowing about the abuse crimes and of maintaining his friendship with Maciel despite the latter’s criminal actions.

Maciel was deprived only in 2006 of all Church office responsibilities for sexually abusing underage seminarians in his congregations.

Then pope Benedict approved the decision to strip Maciel of his duties.

According to Vatican expert Marco Politi, “Pope Ratzinger did a lot of work on these pedophilia cases, but he didn’t create real transparency and he didn’t open the Diocesan archives, something which happened in Germany, Belgium and the United States.” “The new pope will also have to deal with this problem. In Italy you can count some 3,000 hidden cases considering there are around 200 dioceses and no one ever carried out an investigation, aside from the one in Bressanone, which led to 15 charges,” Politi says.

Reflecting on Benedict’s surprise resignation from the papacy, Gibney said it is “the most important act of his Pontificate. In this manner he showed he was unable to deal with these things, (that he is) really a man. Let’s hope Pope Francis is the right one.”

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: CONI Will No Longer Grant Italian MPS Special Privileges

(AGI) Rome, Mar 18 — The Italian National Olympic Committee, CONI, decided no longer to give MPs special cards granting them access to sporting events in Italy. The decision was taken “so as to avoid misrepresentation over the favours and privileges to which Italian MPs are entitled”, said a CONI statement.

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

Italy: Berlusconi Vows Street Protests if Leftist President Appointed

Rome, 18 March (AKI) — Former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi said on Monday members and supporters of his People of Freedom (PdL) party would take to the streets if the centre-left picked Italy’s next president.

The billionaire media tycoon vowed “battle” against a leftist president “in parliament” and “on the streets”, according to comments he made to lawmakers from his party on Monday, according to unnamed sources.

Italy’s president Giorgio Napolitano, a former communist, is due to step down in mid-May, and the Italian parliament must elect his successor before Napolitano’s seven-year mandate ends.

The centre left, which controls the lower house of parliament but lacks a majority in the upper house Senate, on Saturday managed to get its candidates elected speaker in both chambers.

The new speakers of both houses, the top institutional roles in Italy after the president, are both are staunch opponents of Berlusconi.

Pietro Grasso, a former anti-mafia investigator, was elected speaker of the Senate, while Laura Boldrini, a respected former spokeswoman for the United Nations refugee agency, was chosen as the speaker of the lower house.

Grasso and Boldrini were elected after weeks of political deadlock, following an inconclusive election result in February in which no party won a clear enough majority to form a government.

PdL secretary Angelino Alfano on Sunday said in a TV interview that the centre-right might back government helmed by centre-left leader Pier Luigi Bersani if the parliament elected a “moderate” Italian president.

Bersani’s centre-left Democratic Party rejected Alfano’s proposal out of hand as “indecent vote-buying”.

In turn, Bersani’s attempts to court the grassroots Five Star Movement have been rebuffed by its fiery leader, Beppe Grillo, who rejects any deal with the established parties and holds the balance of power in the new parliament.

In his blog on Sunday, Grillo warned that the Five Star Senators who voted for Grasso must be unmasked and must “take the consequences”.

The outcome of the Senate speaker election underlined that Bersani would not be able to win a confidence vote in parliament. Grasso was elected with 137 votes, 21 short of a majority in the 315-seat upper house.

Napolitano is due to begin consultations with political leaders Wednesday on forming a government but many observers see fresh polls looming, possibly as early as June.

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

Pope Francis’ Run-in With Benedict XVI Over the Prophet Mohammed

Pope Francis came close to losing his position within the Catholic Church after he criticised his predecessor seven years ago.

In 2005, then Pope Benedict quoted from an obscure medieval text which declared that the Prophet Mohammed, founder of the Islamic faith, was “evil and inhuman”, enraging the Muslim population and causing attacks on churches throughout the world before an apology was issued.

Reacting within days to the statements, speaking through a spokesman to Newsweek Argentina, then Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio declared his “unhappiness” with the statements, made at the University of Regensburg in Germany, and encouraged many of his subordinates with the Church to do the same.

“Pope Benedict’s statement don’t reflect my own opinions”, the then Archbishop of Buenos Aires declared. “These statements will serve to destroy in 20 seconds the careful construction of a relationship with Islam that Pope John Paul II built over the last twenty years”.

The Vatican reacted quickly, removing one subordinate, Joaquín Piña the Archbishop of Puerto Iguazú from his post within four days of his making similar statements to the Argentine national media, sending a clear statement to Cardinal Bergoglio that he would be next should he choose to persist.

Reacting to the threats from Rome, Cardinal Bergoglio cancelled his plans to fly to Rome, choosing to boycott the second synod that Pope Benedict had called during his tenure as pontiff…

           — Hat tip: Nick [Return to headlines]

Scotland: The Church That’s Opened Its Doors to Christians Roll Out Welcome to Muslims Who Were Having to Pray in the Wind and Rain Because Their Mosque Was So Small

A Scottish church has become the first in the UK to share its premises with Muslim worshippers.

St John’s Episcopal Church in Aberdeen now welcomes hundreds of Muslims praying five times a day in their building as the nearby mosque was so small that they were forced to worship outside.

The minister of St John’s, Rev Isaac Poobalan, has handed over part of the church hall to Chief Imam Ahmed Megharbi and the imam has led prayers in the main chapel.

Rev Poobalan said today that he would not be true to his faith if he did not offer to help.

He said: ‘Praying is never wrong. My job is to encourage people to pray.

‘The mosque was so full at times, there would be people outside in the wind and rain praying.

‘I knew I couldn’t just let this happen — because I would be abandoning what the Bible teaches us about how we should treat our neighbours.

‘When I spoke to people at the church about the situation, someone actually said to me this was not our problem, but I had seen it with my own eyes, so it was a problem.

Rev Poobalan said: ‘They were out there praying and the snow came on for the first time in winter, it was really hard to watch.

‘When they were doing the prayer they had their hands and feet exposed and they were sitting on on the pavement, which is very rough.

‘You could even see them breathing because it was so cold and I think when I saw that, the visual impact was such that I just couldn’t walk past.

‘It felt wrong, mainly because the church is next door, it’s a big building and it remains empty on a Friday lunchtime which is when they need the place most as that’s when they are at their busiest.

‘We had something we could offer and they were just standing out in the cold and I said to my congregation “we need to do something”.’

Rev Poobalan said he wanted the move to help build bridges between Christians and Muslims after some initial resistance from his congregation about the move…

           — Hat tip: Gaia [Return to headlines]

Scotland: Islam Conference Aims to Improve Community Relations

MUSLIM leaders have called for better understanding of Islam, amid concerns terrorist attacks and fundamentalism are warping opinions of the religion. More than 800 people turned up at an event held to discuss all aspects of the religion and listen to a host of high-profile speakers at Edinburgh’s Corn Exchange yesterday afternoon. The event, called “Hope Conference; Islam is not what you think”, was designed to bring Muslims and non-Muslims together to break down barriers.

Zahid Ali, a spokesman for the group organising the event, Vision Islam, said the aim was to encourage dialogue. “The problem we have is this — there are people who have a view of what Islam is, but most people don’t interact with Muslims, and if they do it is generally in a shop, so they don’t have a chance to interact on a social level and exchange views.”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Twelve Heads Roll in Sweden Democrat Ouster

The Sweden Democrats on Monday announced they were kicking twelve members out of the party, including a prominent Gothenburg politician with strong ties to Sweden’s neo-Nazi movement.

“I’m surprised that the party made such an unwise and unfounded decision,” Patrik Ehn, who was forced out of the party following a 14-3 vote, told the TT news agency.

The announcement comes following an extra meeting of the party’s governing board as part of an initiative launched in October by party leader Jimmie Åkesson to “clean up” the party’s image.

“We have to put our foot down and state that enough is enough. We need a major clear out,” Åkesson told the TT news agency at the time, explaining the party was launching a policy of “zero tolerance”.

Following a day of closed-door meetings, the party revealed on Monday afternoon that twelve people had been asked to leave the party, including Ehn, a high-profile politician from Gothenburg who last week told the Expressen newspaper there was “not a chance” he would be dismissed.

But the Sweden Democrat leadership explained that Ehn, who according to the anti-racist magazine Expo was an active member of the neo-Nazi Nordic Nationalist Party (Nordiska rikspartiet) in the 1980s, remained too close to the neo-Nazi movement and its views.

“After careful consideration, the party’s governing board has concluded that Patrik Ehn’s ideological home isn’t with the Sweden Democrats and that he therefore can’t continue to be a member,” the party said in a statement, adding that Ehn’s efforts to abandon extremism lacked credibility.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UK: Are They or Aren’t They? Qatar Investment Mulls Bid for Britain’s Marks & Spencer

London, March 17: Qatar is considering a $12.1 billion bid for British retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S), Britain’s Sunday Times newspaper reported.

The Gulf state’s sovereign wealth fund, the Qatar Investment Authority, has approached leading banks and private equity houses ahead of a potential move on the high street chain, senior sources in London’s financial industry told the broadsheet.

M&S, which sells clothes, food and homeware, founded in 1884 was once one of the world’s most profitable retailing company [sic]. But it has struggled from poor clothing sales in recent years.


Marks & Spencer has more than 700 stores across Britain as well as over 400 stores in 44 countries across the world.


Qatar has a growing commercial and property empire in Britain.

Its government bought luxury retailer Harrods in 2010 and it owns a 26 percent stake in Britain’s third-largest supermarket chain, Sainsbury’s.

Qatar also financed 95 percent of the construction of the Shard, western Europe’s tallest skyscraper and has a stake in Barclays bank.

[However, reports (e.g. on Monday 18 March 2013 deny that Qatar is planning to bid for Marks and Sparks. Nevertheless an interesting story, as it is a reminder of how much influence Qatar has in the UK.]

[Return to headlines]

UK: Are You Being Served Actor Frank Thornton Who Played Captain Peacock Dies Aged 92

Are You Being Served? actor Frank Thornton has died aged 92, it emerged today.

Thornton, who played Captain Peacock in the BBC comedy and also starred as Truly in Last Of The Summer Wine, died peacefully in his sleep on Saturday, his agent David Daly said.

He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Beryl, his daughter Jane and their three grandchildren.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: David Cameron Under Threat From Rise of UKIP — Poll

A new opinion poll dramatically lays bare the threat to David Cameron and the Conservatives from the rise of the United Kingdom Independence Party (Ukip).

The ICM survey for The Sunday Telegraph shows that Ukip’s policies are favoured over the Tories’ among key right-of-centre voters — particularly on immigration, government spending and same-sex marriage. The right-of-centre group, identified in the poll and dubbed Conservative-Ukip “switchers”, are those who say they have yet to decide which of the two parties to vote for. They represent around one in ten of all voters and their support will be crucial to Mr Cameron’s general election hopes. However, the survey found that they rate Ukip’s Nigel Farage as a better party leader than the Prime Minister by 37 per cent to 32 per cent.

The Conservative-Ukip switchers would prefer Boris Johnson to Mr Cameron as a Conservative leader now, although the Prime Minister is overwhelmingly ahead among definite Tory voters. Both groups place Theresa May, the Home Secretary, whose colleagues believe is “on manoeuvres” to succeed Mr Cameron, in a clear third place in a further sign of her rising political profile…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Here’s a Real Challenge for Theresa May: End Slavery in Britain

Most of the attention surrounding Theresa May last week had little to do with her responsibilities as Home Secretary. Indeed, when a report was published detailing a series of horrendous crimes, she wasn’t in the story at all. The report, It happens here, was published by the Centre for Social Justice, and the criminal activity it documents is the practice of modern-day slavery on British soil…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Islam Awareness Week, 20 Years Old and More Needed Than Ever

11th — 17th March 2013

National Islam Awareness Week is 20 years old this year and its work is needed more than ever before. That is, if the alarming level in anti-Muslim politics across Western Europe is anything to go by. We can’t afford to ignore it. What began in 1994 by the Islamic Society of Britain as a positive social project to raise awareness of Britain’s second largest faith group, was highlighted in 1997 by the report Islamophobia, A Challenge For Us All by the Runnymede Trust. It shed light on a prejudice existing within Britain that challenged our very British sense of fairness…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Leading Chinese Contemporary Artist Enjoys Ground-Breaking Exhibition at Museum in Britain

LONDON, March 17 (Xinhua) — A leading Chinese artist has been heralded as “hugely important for contemporary Chinese art,” in the wake of a new exhibition of his work at one of Britain’s major museums. Xu Bing, aged 58, is the vice president of the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, and is one of China’s most acclaimed living artists. In “Landscape/Landscript” at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, several new pieces by Xu Bing are displayed, in the first exhibition anywhere of his landscape works, which includes works from throughout his career. Xu Bing addresses the Chinese language through its pictorial qualities and its relationship with the tradition of Chinese landscape painting…

[JP note: See also and ]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: New Free School in Bedford Plans to Teach ‘Islamic’ Studies

(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) — Plans for an Islamic free school in Bedford are underway after a group of parents and teachers submitted an application to the government.The primary facility, which would be called Bedford Excellence School teaching 4-11 year-olds, will have an ‘Islamic ethos’ and teach Arabic as a foreign language. The proposal was handed over to the Department for Education (DfE) in January with the hope of opening in September next year…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Operation Bullfinch: Bullfinch Trial Day 35

Trial of nine men accused of being part of a child sex ring in Oxfordshire

Mohamed Hussain said he “assumed” Girl 5 was over 16 as her parents never stopped her from staying out late and she never went to school…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Qataris ‘Planning to Make £8billion Takeover Bid for Iconic High Street Chain Marks and Spencer’

A fabulously wealthy Qatari investment fund is plotting an £8billion takeover bid for Marks & Spencer.

Shares in the much-loved store rose sharply at the end of last week due to City speculation that the Qatar Investment Authority, which manages the Gulf state’s wealth, is about to launch a bid.

The Qataris have been sounding out several private equity firms about forming a consortium to make a bid for M&S and have spoken to banks about loan finance.

A takeover of M&S would mean yet another high-profile British company being surrendered to foreign ownership following the sale of a list of historic business names including Cadbury’s and ICI to overseas buyers.

It would also be the boldest move yet in Qatar’s multi-billion-pound UK shopping spree. The emirate recently bought the Olympic Village in East London. In 2010 it bought Harrods from Mohamed Al-Fayed.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Terror Plotter ‘Isn’t a Sinner’

A FORMER BBC security guard who plotted a terror attack on military honours town Royal Wootton Bassett had committed “no sin”, says his hate cleric mentor.

White Muslim convert Richard Dart, 29, also planned to wipe out the heads of “MI5 or MI6”. Dart, who converted to Islam after being indoctrinated by cleric Anjem Choudary, was arrested after police seized computers from his home in Ealing, west London…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: The BBC and Religion

by Fraser Nelson

It is to David Lammy’s credit that he hasn’t deleted what my Spectator colleague, Hugo Rifkind, describes as his new all-time favourite tweet. For those who haven’t come across it yet, this is how the Tottenham MP responded to the BBC’s coverage of the papal election:-

David Lammy @DavidLammy: This tweet from the BBC is crass and unnecessary. Do we really need silly innuendo about the race of the next Pope?


           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Anarchy on the Streets of Egypt as Lynch Mob Strip, Beat and Hang Two Men Accused of Stealing Rickshaw in Front of Baying Crowd

[WARNING: *** EXTREMELY Disturbing Content *** ]

They are horrific pictures which highlight the worrying deterioration in Egypt’s security.

Two men — accused of stealing a motorised rickshaw — were badly beaten by vigilantes, stripped half-naked and hung by their feet in a crowded bus station in the Nile Delta.

A baying crowd of 3,000 people watched, with some shouting ‘kill them’. Both men died.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Protesters, Police Clash Outside Muslim Brotherhood HQ in Egyptian Capital

CAIRO, March 17 (Xinhua) — Clashes erupted between protesters and security forces outside the headquarters of Muslim Brotherhood (MB) in Mouqatam district, near central Egypt’s capital Cairo, state-run Ahram online reported Sunday. Dozens of protesters hurled rocks at the security forces guarding the MB headquarters, who responded with teargas to disperse them…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Securitization or Terrorization?

by Jacob Mundy

US counterterrorism policy and the crisis in the Sahara-Sahel

In a number of ways, the American counterterrorism doctrine, which is a part of a long-time transnational destabilization of the Sahara-Sahel, has helped create the current conflict in the region

‘All that we have to do is to send two mujahidin to the furthest point east to raise a piece of cloth on which is written al-Qaida, in order to make the generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic, and political losses without their achieving for it anything of note other than some benefits for their private companies.’

Scenes of a hostage crisis at a natural gas installation in eastern Algeria likely came as a shock to many longtime observers of the region. During the last two decades of armed violence in Algeria, very rarely did Islamists groups attack energy infrastructure, and almost never in the Sahara. Yet the ease with which it seems that a small group of Algerian and internationalist fighters were able to seize the energy facilities in In Amenas raises several difficult questions. Why has the Achilles heel of the Algerian state never been targeted by groups allegedly bent on its overthrow? Groups, that is, who seem to have absolute freedom of movement across vast stretches of the Sahara, picking and choosing targets at will?…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Palestine’s ‘Mother of Martyrs’ Mariam Farhat Dies in Gaza

A Palestinian lawmaker known as the “mother of martyrs” who praised and supported three of her sons who were killed while carrying out deadly attacks against Israelis has died.

Mariam Farhat, who said she wished she had 100 sons to die while attacking Israelis, died in a Gaza city hospital of health complications including lung ailments and kidney failure, health official Ashraf Al-Kidra said. She was 64. The mother of 10 first came to attention in 2002 when she recorded a farewell video with her 19-year-old son, Mohammed, giving him her blessing the night before he undertook a shooting attack in a Jewish settlement in the Gaza Strip…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Palestinians’ Despair Grows as Obama Not to Ask Israel to Halt Settlement

RAMALLAH, March 17 (Xinhua) — One Palestinian official said Sunday that they are more despaired after U.S. President Barack Obama said that he would not present a new Mideast peace initiative or request Israel to halt settlement activities in the Palestinian territories. Wassel Abu Yousef, an official in Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), told Xinhua on Sunday that “everyone should notice that the vows and stances of President Obama concerning Israeli settlement, which is the most pressing issue concerning the future of the conflict, had gone in vain.”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Homemade Bomb Wounds Asian in Bahrain

MANAMA, March 17 (Xinhua) — A homemade bomb went off early Sunday in Bahrain’s disturbed village Diar, leaving an Asian injured, official at Interior Ministry said. The bomb exploded near Al Dair Primary Boys’ School near a bicycle repair shop, an hour before the students go to school, general director of Muharraq governorate police at the Interior Ministry said in a statement, adding that the Asian sustained injuries in his hand. The bomb squad and crime scene teams were immediately dispatched to the scene. On Nov. 5 last year, two Asians were killed and another one wounded in five explosions that targeted Manama.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Iranian President Asks Pope Francis to Push for UN Reforms

In a message congratulating the new pope on his election, Ahmadinejad said international institutions need to be reformed in order to guarantee global peace and justice, Iranian news agency Fars wrote Sunday.

In his letter, the Iranian president made reference to the current international crisis and said the world had a desperate need for reform of its current, unjust structures.

Ahmadinejad also reminded the pope how the common mission of all religious prophets is to invite oppressed peoples to fight and seek justice

           — Hat tip: LH [Return to headlines]

Iraq Invasion Anniversary: The Last Christians in Baghdad

A stone’s throw from the River Tigris, in the heart of Baghdad, stands an Anglican church with an immaculate green lawn and an English vicar, the Revd Canon Andrew White.

This tiny church now has the biggest congregation of any in Iraq. Until the Anglo-US invasion 10 years ago, Iraq had about 1.5 million Christians. Today, Canon White believes that only 200,000 are left, meaning that about 85 per cent have fled. “A lot of them have run away,” he said. “They won’t come back. I had some Iraqis working for me in England. Can I get them to come back? They won’t even come back here to visit.”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

John Baron MP: Ten Years on From the Invasion of Iraq, The British Electorate Does Not Want War

This week’s foreign policy column is by John Baron MP, who resigned from the Front Bench to vote against the Iraq war. He believes valuable lessons from this foreign policy experiment still have bearing today.

Today marks the tenth anniversary of the debate in the House of Commons which sanctioned the invasion of Iraq. I was fairly new to Parliament, having joined with the 2001 intake, and was a shadow health minister. However, I could not support the war, and resigned from the Front Bench to vote against my Party. At the time, I did not believe Saddam Hussein possessed the Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) that were at the heart of the case against him. I, and many others, wholly supported the desire of Hans Blix and his team to have more time to verify this fact. No-one could or would answer my questions. We now know we went to war on a false premise — there were no WMD…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Nothing Significant Expected of Obama’s Mideast Trip

WASHINGTON, March 17 (Xinhua) — U.S. President Barack Obama is set to start a three-day visit to Israel, the Palestinian West Bank and Jordan on Tuesday night. It will be Obama’s first trip abroad after he assumed the office of U.S. president for the second four-year term in January. However, no tangible results are likely to be achieved from the visit as Obama has ruled out any new Israeli-Palestinian peace initiative, and remained reluctant in committing any direct American military involvement in Syria’s conflict and Iran’s nuclear program…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Qatar Challenged by Iran With Film on Prophet, Arab Press

30-mln-dollar Shiite response to Sunni Qatar project

(ANSAmed) — DOHA, MARCH 18 — A cinematic stand-off is in the making between Iran and Qatar over the Prophet Mohammad’s life. Doctrinal differences between Shiite and Sunni Islam are playing a central role against a backdrop of political tensions between Tehran and Gulf nations over regional control and the Syrian crisis.

The pan-Arab press reports that an Iranian director is shooting a film on the life of Mohammad, an initiative Doha considers a challenge to its own film-in-the-making on the same issue. Directing the Iranian film is Majid Majidi, who is creating a trilogy starting from Mohammad’s childhood and who has enlisted the support of photography director Vittorio Storaro, along with a sizable Italian technical-artistic team.

The project, Storaro told ANSA during a December 2011 interview, is part of the “battle for knowledge” of the Other and against the “extremisms” that would like to prevent such knowledge. Majidi’s initiative, reports the pan-Arab press, enjoys 30 million dollars in investment, compared with Qatar’s alleged billion dollars put into its film series on the Prophet’s life. Qatar’s project had been in the works since 2009 and was announced in 2012 by AlNoor Holdings after the Youtube incident involving the film The Innocence of Muslims, which sparked violent reactions throughout the Muslim world. The project was announced as an initiative to present the true face of Islam to the West.

Hollywood producer Barrie Osborne is involved in the Qatar film project, known for his work on the Lord of the Rings and The Matrix, as is the Sunni religious figure Yusuf Al-Qaradawi in the role of historical consultant.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

USA Not Against European Countries Arming Syrian Rebels

(AGI) Washington, Mar 18 — The United States “does not stand in the way” of those European countries which advocate arming Syrian rebels, said Secretary of State John Kerry. Mr Kerry’s statement came as pressure mounted on the part of France and Britain to ease an EU arms embargo.

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

Russia to Send Permanent Navy Fleet to Mediterranean

MOSCOW, March 17 (Xinhua) — The Russian Navy would station a permanent task force in the Mediterranean Sea, Admiral Viktor Chirkov said here Sunday. “Up to five or six warships must be present in the Mediterranean Sea on a permanent basis,” Chirkov said in an interview with a TV station run by the Defense Ministry, adding the squadron would be made up of frigates, cruisers and support vessels. The task force would be under the command of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, he said…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Russia Sending Warship Fleet to Mediterranean: Russian Naval Base in Cyprus Coming Next?

That Russia has previously threatened, and followed through with, sending ships to the Mediterranean is nothing new. In the past, every such episode was related to the protection of what Putin considered vital geopolitical interests in the region: whether defending the Syrian port of Tartus, various crude and natural gas pipelines in the region threatened by NATO expansion in Turkey, or offsetting heightened US presence around Gaza and Israel (and of course Iran). Which is why with the legacy conflicts in the region dormant, and the only news of any relevance being the European intervention in Cyprus against Russian oligarch interests, it is surprising we learn today that the Russian Navy will dispatch a permanent fleet of five or six combat ships to the Mediterranean Sea, with frigates and cruisers making up the core of the fleet.

How far into the Mediterranean one wonders? It wouldn’t be too difficult to put two and two together and assume that with Cyprus just a few hundreds kilometers away from Syria, Lebanon, Gaza and Israel, Russia may have not only a new geopolitical target, namely the now pseudo-insolvent Russian protectorate of Cyprus, but a perfect alibi to be in the region as well, and more importantly, have a Plan B to the Syrian port of Tartus which is Russia’s only naval base in the region.

How soon until we read that Russia is willing to invest even more unguaranteed loans into the Cypriot financial system… in exchange for one tiny little naval and/or military base?

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Afghan Gov’t Registers Over 6,000 Security Incidents Within Year: Official

KABUL, March 18 (Xinhua) — The Afghan Interior Ministry has registered more than 6,000 insurgent attacks and terrorist activities during the current Afghan calendar year (from March 20, 2012 to March 20, 2013), a spokesman for the ministry said on Monday. “Up to 6,300 terrorist attacks and anti-government activities have been registered in year 1391 of Afghan calendar ending on Wednesday,” Siddiq Seddiqi told a joint press briefing. He said the attacks mostly took place in the shapes of suicide bombings, ambushes, roadside bombings and armed attacks…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Bangladesh’s Oppositon-Sponsored 48-Hour Non-Stop Hartal Sparks Violence

DHAKA, March 18 (Xinhua) — Some 100 vehicles across Bangladesh were smashed or set on fire in the early hours of a non-stop 48 hour hartal Monday demanding release of opposition men detained in a recent police raid on their party headquarters. In capital Dhaka and elsewhere in the South Asian country, where hartal has become a very common phenomenon in the recent months, scores of cocktails and handmade bombs were exploded, leaving dozens of people including opposition men and law enforcers injured, some critically…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Britain Could Offer Asylum to Afghan War Translators

The Government may offer 650 Afghan translators working for the British military the chance of sanctuary in Britain, officials have revealed.

With British and Nato troops due to leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014, clamour is growing to make an across-the-board offer to interpreters, who have not only risked their lives but are regarded as traitors by the Taliban…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

EU Takes Distance From Italian-Indian Diplomatic Row

(see related) (ANSA) — Brussels, March 18 — The European Union distanced itself on Monday from the festering diplomatic row between Italy and India, which worsened last week when Italy announced two Italian marines visiting home would not be returned to India to face trial when their leave expired in late March.

The EU’s high representative for foreign affairs Catherine Ashton told ANSA in a note that European Union is not part of the legal dispute between Italy and India and thus can not take a position with respect to the legal arguments on the substance of the case.

Ashton encouraged Italy and India to find a “mutually satisfactory” and “friendly solution” based on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas and international law.

The Supreme Court in New Delhi on Monday extended its order for Italian Ambassador Daniele Mancini to stay in Indian territory, and said Mancini had “automatically lost” his diplomatic immunity by signing a guarantee that the marines, Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, would return to India to face charges including killing two Indian fishermen off the coast of Kerala during an anti-priacy mission last year.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

EU: India Urged to Respect Italian Ambassador Immunity Amid Marines Row

Brussels, 18 March (AKI) — Indian authorities should respect the Italian ambassador’s diplomatic immunity in an escalating dispute over two marines wanted for trial on murder charges, the European Union said Monday.

“It is imperative that all sides fully respect the Vienna Convention [on Diplomatic Relations]” EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton’s spokesman said.

The EU was said it was aware of the Indian Supreme Court’s ruling on Monday that ambassador Daniele Mancini had waived his immunity after Italy reneged on a promise to return the marines after they were allowed home to vote last month.

“A person who comes to court and gives an undertaking has no immunity,” Chief Justice Kabir said. The court said Mancini, who on 9 February submitted a sworn declaration that the marines would be sent back, had lost its trust.

Monday’s ruling also extended the ban on Mancini leaving the country “until further orders” and set 2 April as the date of the next of hearing.

Ashton’s spokesman said the EU would encourage Italy and India to “find a mutually satisfactory solution to the crisis based on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and on international law and to explore every possibility of an amicable solution to the dispute,” its spokesman said on Monday.

There was no immediate comment from the Italian embassy in Delhi or Mancini. Rome said on Friday said it was seeking a “friendly agreement” with India to resolve the row.

The two marines, Massimilian Latorre and Salvatore Girone, shot dead two Indian fishermen, Ajesh Binki and Jelestine Valentine, off India’s southwest coast on 15 February last year, allegedly mistaking them for pirates.

The marines were guarding the Italian oil tanker Enrica Lexie when the incident happened.

The Italian government claimed India does not have jurisdiction in the case as the incident took place in international waters off the Kerala coast. It wants the marines to be tried in Italy, while India intends to try them on its soil.

Italy has expressed its openness to a third-party arbitrator in the dispute.

The 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations forms the basis for diplomatic immunity. Article 29 of the treaty states that diplomats must not be liable to any form of arrest or detention and are immune from civil or criminal prosecution, though the sending country may waive this right under Article 32.

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

Fury in India as Five Tribesmen Are Arrested for Gang Rape of Swiss Tourist, 39, ‘Attacked in Her Tent as Her Husband Was Tied to a Tree’

[WARNING: *** EXTREMELY Disturbing Content ***]

Police have arrested five men accused of the gang-rape of a Swiss tourist who was camping with her husband in an Indian forest in the central state of Madhya Pradesh.

All of the accused will go before a magistrate on Monday, Dilip Arya, deputy inspector general of police, told Reuters. Police have also recovered the couple’s valuables.

The assault on the 39-year-old Swiss woman on Friday night came three months after a 23-year-old physiotherapy student was gang-raped and beaten in a moving bus and thrown bleeding on to the street in a case that sparked outrage in the country. She died later in hospital in Singapore.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

India: ‘Congress Not Against Quota for Backward Muslims’

External affairs minister Salman Khurshid on Sunday said the Congress was not opposed to the idea of reservation for backward Muslims, but those jittery about letting the party get the credit for implementing it were creating hurdles…

[JP note: A tall order even for King.]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Italy Says India Court’s Travel Ban on Ambassador Illegal

Decision is ‘evident violation of Vienna Conventions’

(see related) (ANSA) — Rome, March 18 — Italy’s foreign ministry on Monday said the travel ban imposed on its ambassador to India by that country’s Supreme Court violates international law.

In a statement, the foreign ministry said: “The decision by the Supreme Court to bar our ambassador from leaving the country without the court’s permission constitutes an evident violation of the Vienna Conventions on diplomatic relations which codifies universally accepted principals”. In the same statement, the ministry also said: “Italy continues to believe that the case of its two marines has to be resolved according to international law. “In this sense we have proposed to subject to arbitration or other juridical mechanism the solution of the case”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Pakistan Court Attacked by Suicide Bombers and Gunmen

Three dead in Peshawar as militants battle with security forces in suspected attempt to break cohorts free from jail

Suspected suicide bombers attacked a court compound in the the Pakistani city of Peshawar on Monday, killing three people and taking hostages, officials said. The provincial information minister, Mian Iftikhar Hussain, said 10 gunmen had made their way into the complex and exchanged fire with security forces in an apparent bid to break into a jail holding their comrades. A suicide bomber who was part of the attack detonated his explosives, said Hussain, killing at least three people and wounding 27 others, he said…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Farming Has Deep Roots in Chinese Ice Age

Some ideas need time to take root. A new analysis suggests it took up to 12,000 years for people in what is now China to go from eating wild plants to farming them. Agriculture elsewhere also took time to flower.

Li Liu of Stanford University and colleagues studied three grinding stones from China’s Yellow River region. They bear residues showing that they were used to process millet and other grains, as well as yams, beans and roots.

The stones date from 23,000 to 19,500 years ago, late in the last ice age. But the earliest archaeological evidence for crop cultivation in China is 11,000 years old, suggesting that farming was slow to emerge from ancient traditions of plant use.

That fits with a wider pattern, says Robin Allaby of the University of Warwick, UK. In the Middle East “we also have evidence of cereals at that 23,000-year point”, he says — which is long before people were farming them. “Although this period is around the late glacial maximum, there is a blip at 23,000 years during which time it was milder.” Millet and the other food plants could have flourished in the warmth, tempting people to start exploiting them.

Some of the plants, like the snakegourd root, are still used in traditional medicines. Karen Hardy at the Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies in Barcelona, Spain, says she would not be surprised if ancient peoples “knew how to select plant food that benefited their health”. Last year she reported evidence that Neanderthals used medicinal plants.

“We can never know for certain why a plant was ingested, but I think these early people probably had a detailed knowledge of the plants they selected and used,” Hardy says. “This is likely to have included their medicinal as well as their nutritional qualities.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

N. Korea Warns Border Residents to Flee Ahead of “Thunderous Attacks”

Residents of a South Korean island closest to the tense sea border with North Korea have shrugged off a warning from Pyongyang urging them to flee ahead of “thunderous attacks”, an official said on Sunday.

The North’s official website, Uriminzokkiri, told residents of five islands south of the border to leave, warning of “devastating consequences” if recent cross-border tension escalates into a full-scale conflict.

“The wisest choice when the fire of thunder rains down on you is running afar,” it said in an editorial published late Friday.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Overproduction and Monetary Distortion: The Crisis of the Chinese “Giant” And Currency Wars

Beijing begins to acknowledge the failings of its economic model. Its steel sector is in trouble because of overcapacity and a drop in profits -98 per cent). As the economy’s main engine, exports, stutters, fears are growing of economic and social implosion. Currency wars in the Far East could threaten the peace.

Milan (AsiaNews) — China’s steel sector is suffering from an acute case of overcapacity. Profits dropped by 98 per cent last year,[1] this according to the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post. The mainland has at least 900 million tonnes of crude steel production capacity, far higher than its official total output of 716 million tonnes last year, this out of a total world production of 1,548 megatonnes (Mt).[2]

Until a few decades ago, steel output was a measure of national economies (unfiltered by variable and sometimes arbitrary exchange rates). Once upon a time, the Soviet Union showed off its steel production as a measure of its economic progress. Today, although relevant from an economic point of view, steel production has lost its old lustre. In many fields, other basic materials have replaced steel (for example, plastic in car production).

Yet, steel remains a key component in the construction industry, which is a key sector of the economy. This mean that trends in steel sales are a good measure to understand what is going on in the real economy.

Steel sales and the real economy

However important, steel would not be that significant for AsiaNews, which is after all a missionary publication and not industry newsletter, were it not for what it says about the real economy. Indeed, even though the South China Morning Post may be concerned by steel overproduction in China, the situation is worse in the rest of the world. In 2012, the mainland’s average capacity utilisation ratio stood at 79.55 per cent in China against 78.8 per cent in the rest of the world.[3] This is an interesting because it lets us look at how monetary distortion[4] impacts on the real economy.

We must start with the fact that China’s crude steel production in 2012 represented 46.25 per cent of world output even though its population constituted only 19.2 per cent of the total. In per capita terms, Chinese production is thus 240 per cent higher than average. To achieve this, China has to import iron ore as well as coal. At the same time, since most of its plants are obsolete, technology plays little in its comparative advantage compared to more technologically advanced nations. What is more, even if wages are generally low, labour costs generally play a minor role in the overall picture.

One major factor that partially explains China’s lead in steel is the absence of an adequate legal framework to regulate pollution. However, even the “freedom” Chinese steel plants have to pollute, which everyone can see, does not explain the mainland’s bloated steel industry.

The main factor is the exchange rate policy China has maintained for the past 20 years, since 1994 to be more precise, when the value of the yuan was arbitrarily set at 45 per cent of the Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) of the average of foreign currencies.

From production overcapacity to export crisis

Under a trading regime established by the World Trade Organisation based on international accords aimed at eliminating tariffs, the monetary distortion imposed by China on the rest of the world was the price to pay for its gradual implementation of an open market (today we would call it globalised) economy in replacement of its old Maoist centrally-planned economy.

Yet, labels aside (turbo capitalism, hyper-liberalism or capitalist communism), China is anything but a market economy since its exports, thanks to the exchange rate, benefit from a 45 per cent subsidy (plus other administrative incentives).

This also applies to the rest of the economy, not only the steel industry, but is especially true for industrial minerals, metals, raw materials and basic industrial products. Hence, China’s economic success in the last two decades is not due to increased efficiency but to currency distortion.

The logical consequence of export subsidies on China’s development has been the growth, like some cancer, of an economy based on the intensive and abnormal use of resources. In plain English, we call such inefficiency waste. One of its effects has been on the cost of raw materials, something that we at AsiaNews have often written about in the past ten years.[5]

What is new this time is that a large mainstream paper has acknowledged the problem of production overcapacity. The admission that there is a problem in overcapacity is very significant because it amounts to acknowledging indirectly, and this for the first time, that China’s export-driven model is linked to the outside world.

With China’s steel production at almost 50 per cent of world output, with highs of 70 per cent and more in other industrial sectors, it is clear that the margin for growth is currently nil. As exports stall, China’s growth stutters.

Risk of implosion for China’s steel industry

For Chinese leaders, this is serious problem. High rates of economic growth must be maintained if they want to avoid further alienating their people, turning what is now localised unrest into a nation-wide movement that could overthrow the ruling clique.

With world demand in the doldrums, the link between the outside world and the mainland becomes more clearly recognisable. Under the circumstances, the Chinese regime can no longer export the effects of its internal contradictions.

So far, Beijing has met popular unrest with high levels of growth. Until 2008, this was made possible by booming exports. After that, the construction of ghost towns picked up the slack, adding further production capacity to an already existing overcapacity.

Even though it had a distorted financial and monetary system, China’s real economy could function but up to a point. Now the underlying contradictions are getting to the point where they are likely to burst one way or the other.

All this highlights the theoretical mistakes of the past 50 years made in China and the world.

Under Keynesianism, governments make people dig ditches and then fill them up so that they can have an income and generate growth.

This error is not only based on a lie-that any job is good job, a value that can be appreciated and used-but is also a recipe for a disaster of greater proportions.

To build in order to “create” jobs out of nothing, employing people to make goods that no one wants or needs, especially build flats for China’s real estate market, is a poor way of allocating resources, a waste, a bad investment that has a price in social terms, one that can lead to military conflict.

Waste and bad resource allocation can cause to tensions among nations vying for control over them. This happened in the 1930s, when Nazi Germany rearmed. Government expenditures on weapons and public works initially allowed the German economy to recover. However, greater demands for food and raw materials by German industry sparked by an arbitrary rise in public spending led to a policy of territorial expansion. Hitler’s goal of lebensraum or living space was aimed at giving Germany privileged access to resources. The war that followed is a well-known chapter in history.

A (currency) war in the Far East

Japan’s recent decision to devalue the yen by about 28 per cent has in a few months led to the devaluation of China’s yuan and South Korea’s won. The currency wars that preceded last century’s wars appear to be back.

Those who rationalise that the evil and suffering of WWII at least allowed us to emerge from the crisis of 1929 are wrong. The United States recovered from its pre-war economic crisis because it was the only industrial economy that was able to avoid extensive destruction. The rest of the world had to wait until the early 1960s to see high levels of growth after two decades of relative peace. For this reason, we in AsiaNews now fear for peace in the Far East.

[1] “Mainland China steel sector facing closures,” in South China Morning Post, 13 March 2013.

[2], “World crude steel output increases by 1.2 per cent in 2012,” in World Steel Association, 22 January 2013, retrieved on 18 March 2013.

[3] Ibid.

[4] D’Orlando, Maurizio, “Bernanke’s choices, no help for the real economy of emerging nations,” in AsiaNews, 4 March /2013.

[5] See for example, ibid, “Greater conflict in Gulf would spark economic and social crisis,” in AsiaNews, 24 April 2004, and ibid, “Chinese yuan set to replace dollar,” AsiaNews, 3 January 2009.

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

Deepest Point in the Ocean is Teeming With Life

Hollywood director James Cameron found little evidence of life when he descended nearly 11,000 metres to the deepest point in the world’s oceans last year. If only he had taken a microscope and looked just a few centimetres deeper.

Ronnie Glud at the University of Southern Denmark in Odense, and his colleagues, have discovered unusually high levels of microbial activity in the sediments at the site of Cameron’s dive — Challenger Deep at the bottom of the western Pacific’s Mariana Trench.

Glud’s team dispatched autonomous sensors and sample collectors into the trench to measure microbial activity in the top 20 centimetres of sediment on the sea bed. The pressure there is almost 1100 times greater than at the surface. Finding food, however, is an even greater challenge than surviving high pressures for anything calling the trench home.

Any nourishment must come in the form of detritus falling from the surface ocean, most of which is consumed by other organisms on the way down. Only 1 per cent of the organic matter generated at the surface reaches the sea floor’s abyssal plains, 3000 to 6000 metres below sea level. So what are the chances of organic matter making it even deeper, into the trenches that form when one tectonic plate ploughs beneath another?

Abundant microbes

Surprisingly, the odds seem high. Glud’s team compared sediment samples taken from Challenger Deep and a reference site on the nearby abyssal plain. The bacteria at Challenger Deep were around 10 times as abundant as those on the abyssal plain, with every cubic centimetre of sediment containing 10 million microbes. The deep microbes were also twice as active as their shallower kin.

These figures make sense, says Glud, because ocean trenches are particularly good at capturing sediment.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Mali: Suspected Jihadist ‘Had Been in the French Police’

A French-Algerian man arrested in Mali on suspicion of taking part in armed jihad had previously been a member of France’s police force, it was claimed on Monday. His shocked and angry sister has declared “he must pay” for “betraying” France.

The 37-year-old man, named as ‘Djamel’ by Le Parisien, was arrested in northern Mali earlier this month, according to the French daily, for allegedly being a member of a jihadist group fighting against French and Malian government soldiers. He is awaiting extradition back to France.

Recent revelations that French citizens were among Islamist militants fighting in Mali have caused concern throughout France and in particular among a government increasingly wary of the threat posed by homegrown terrorists.

The idea that a former policeman could turn against his country will only serve to increase anxiety.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Nigeria: Bull With ‘Prophet’s Name’ on Forehead Draws Crowd

Damaturu — A black bull with what looked like the name of Prophet Muhammad (SAW), formed by white skin, inscribed on its forehead is attracting a lot of people to Nguru, Yobe State, all trooping to catch a glimpse of the animal. Weekly Trust gathered that the Yobe State government had to intervene and bought the bull after people have turned the house of its owner in Nguru into a Mecca of sorts…

[JP note: Cock and bull story, no doubt.]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Rwanda: Young Muslims to the Rescue of Needy Women

For most people, youth is about getting an education in order to secure a job that enables them to support parents and siblings and improve their livelihood. Few would think of trying to have a real impact on society as a whole. Yet a group of young Muslims grouped in the Association des Jeunes Musulmans pour le Développement (Association of Young Muslims for Development, AJMD) is trying to do exactly that, by bringing a smile to less privileged women. To say the least, its president Ismail Hakizimana and vice-president Josiane Uwineza aka Jojo are inspirational youth who show that even young people with little means can make a difference.

Their most recent exploit was the Modesty Mode fashion show, a charity event organized at the occasion of International Women’s Day. Uwineza explains that since the association pays particular attention to disadvantaged women, it was important that on International Women’s Day their plight would be remembered, which is why they decided to hold a fashion show and donate the proceeds to women in need…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Somalia: Al Shabaab Are Defeated

Mogadishu — Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamed said after defeat Al shabaab militia have resorted to guerrilla warfare targeting civilians, Garowe online reported.

Addressing the press, the president said that it will not be long before rooting out Alshabaab altogether from the country…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Argentina’s Kirchner Raises Falklands With Pope Francis

(AGI) — Rome, Mar 18 — President Cristina Kirchner of Argentina has asked for the Pope’s intervention in the Falkland islands dispute between her country and Britain. “I asked for his intervention to avoid problems that could emerge from the militarization of Great Britain in the south Atlantic,” Mrs Kirchner told reporters after meeting with Pope Francis.

Argentina continues to claim the islands for itself after the short war it fought and lost against Britain in 1982.

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

Vatican: Focus — A Latin Response to Latin America

New Delhi, 18 March — By M.J. Akbar — Karol Jozef Wojtyla, the first non-Italian Pope in more than four centuries, did not get elected to the throne in 1978 merely through a throw of electoral dice. The central purpose of his papacy was not advertised when he became John Paul II, but has become a proud part of the official narrative today.

He rose to prominence in 1964, when he was named Archbishop of Krakow: three years after the Berlin Wall cemented the partition of Germany and two years after the Cuban missile crisis brought the world as close as it has come, before or after, to nuclear devastation. It was the coldest period of the cold war, and John Paul II was assigned the most difficult job of his era; as shepherd to his Catholic country, Poland, through the dictatorship and depression of Communist rule. His mission was upgraded when he reached Rome: to destroy the Soviet Union from within, through the subversive influence of the church and its allies.

Through an exquisite paradox, the workers’ paradise of Lenin and Stalin was blown apart by men like Lech Walesa and their trade unions. Even the normally discreet CIA has let it be known through friendly authors that it worked in partnership with the papacy against the Soviet empire. John Paul lived on till 2 April 2005 but his principal mission was complete when the Soviet Union lay in smithereens by 1992.

The Vatican did not wait for the minimum five years to begin the process of his beatification, which took only a fast four years. One requirement is performing a miracle. Officially, John Paul is said to have cured a French nun of Parkinson’s disease. This does seem a bit far-fetched given that the saintly Pope could not cure his own Parkinson’s; but John Paul’s real miracle was to help bring down the seemingly impregnable Soviet dispensation.

Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina has not become the first non-European Pope in 12 centuries through accident either; or indeed because his genetic origins are Italian. The most powerful religious order in the world has not survived by being sentimental.

The 115 cardinals of this year’s electoral college displayed a sharp understanding of geopolitics and assessment of where they believe lies their true challenge in the foreseeable future. Observers, including sympathetic ones, tend to transfer their own concerns to the Vatican. It was thus widely inferred by the commentariat after the sudden abdication of Benedict that the new Pope would be chosen on the basis of his ability to address contemporary concerns like the ban on abortion, or gender equality in the clergy, or the horrifying abuse of children by priests who are required to be celibate.

Instead, we have a Pope who is deeply conservative on such social issues. The Vatican views child abuse as a problem, not a plague. As defenders of the status quo point out, this crime is limited at best to just 4 percent of the priesthood. It is therefore something that the church can deal with without upgrading a dilemma to a crisis.

The Vatican, in my view, sees the coming decade as a historic opportunity to negate a far greater threat.

Latin America is home not only to the largest bloc of Roman Catholics, but has also seen the rise of a radical New Left. The old Left has been in retreat after the Soviet Union’s collapse. China has preserved some important elements of traditional doctrine, principally atheism, but has escaped economic implosion by converting state socialism into state capitalism. China is a story that awaits denouement.

But, quite surprisingly, Cuba defies the odds, and shows no signs of changing its colour. It has discovered strong allies like Venezuela, whose pugnacious Hugo Chavez has been transformed into some sort of secular saint after his recent death. A subcontinent tortured by vicious military dictatorships continues to nourish leftists through democracy. Would it be a stretch to assume that the first Latin American Pope’s true calling is to destabilise Cuba and challenge the Left in Latin America?

The Vatican does not camouflage antagonism. When critics questioned the new Pope’s record during the junta days in Argentina, Federico Lombardi, its spokesman, said, “There has never been a credible, concrete accusation against [Francis I. His accusers are] anti-clerical left-wing elements that are used to attack the church.” The church has fashioned its response. If Cuba crumbles, then the barricades are breached…

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

Sweden: Billström Sparks ‘Blonde, Blue-Eyed’ Outrage

Migration Minister Tobias Billström unleashed a storm of criticism on Monday with comments that people who help illegal immigrants in Sweden are rarely “blonde and blue-eyed”.

In an interview published in the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper, Billström offered his comments about people who help those who’ve had their asylum requests rejected stay in Sweden.

“Sometimes we have this image that people in hiding live with a nice Swedish lady in her fifties or sixties who wants to help,” Billström told DN.

“But that’s not how it is. Most of them live with their countrymen who aren’t at all blonde and blue-eyed.”

The comments, published as part of a wider interview about rejected asylum seekers who remain in Sweden illegally, were quick to prompt harsh criticism from several quarters.

Göran Hägglund, leader of the Christian Democrats called the statements “inappropriate”, while Social Democrat MP and integration policy spokeswoman Ylva Johansson took to Twitter to describe Billström’s formulation as “unpleasant and dangerous”.

Hägglund’s colleague, Christian Democrat migration policy spokeswoman Caroline Szyber, also expressed her concern about Billström’s statements.

“Migration minister: ‘blonde and blue-eyed don’t hide refugees’. What sort of view of humanity is that?” she wrote on Twitter.

Green Party migration policy spokeswoman Maria Ferm told Svergies Television (SVT) that Billström’s comments were “alarming”.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Hillary Clinton Announces Support for Gay Marriage

(AG) — Washington, Mar 18 — In a video for the Human Rights Campaign, Hillary Clinton came out in support of same-sex marriage. “I support [marriage for lesbian and gay couples] personally and as a matter of policy and law,” she said in the video.

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

UK: Are You Straight, Gay or Bisexual? Council Slammed for Asking Highly Personal Question in Survey About Wheelie Bins

Thousands of homeowners were left stunned after being quizzed about their sexuality in a council survey on rubbish disposal.

Residents in Birmingham were asked to state whether they were straight, gay or bisexual after answering a series of questions about recycling reward schemes and wheelie bin sizes in an online form.

One shocked homeowner said Birmingham City Council should ‘mind its own business’, while another questioned whether wheelie bins would be colour-coded to reflect the sexuality of their owner.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

One thought on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 3/18/2013

  1. Hm. Potentially anti-semitic Muslims from Qatar possibly going to purchase Marks and Spencers. There’s a turn-up for the books. Mr Marks was, of course, a 19th century Jewish immigrant to Leeds in Yorkshire which to this day has a fairly large Jewish community. It is just down the road from Pakistani-muslim dominated Bradford. Perhaps they will welcome the purchase.

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