Gates of Vienna News Feed 4/17/2013

No suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings have yet been detained, although photos and videos of “persons of interest” are being circulated widely as the investigation continues. The Federal courthouse in Boston was evacuated today after a bomb threat.

Meanwhile, a man suspected of sending ricin-tainted letters to a Republican senator and President Obama has been arrested in Mississippi.

In other news, 15 people were killed and more than 45 wounded when a suicide bomber blew himself up at a political event in the city of Peshawar in Northwest Pakistan.

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

Thanks to AC, Bewick, C. Cantoni, CSP, DS, Fjordman, Insubria, JD, JP, MC, Steen, TI, 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
» Bond Spread Narrows Between Italian, German Debt
» Credit for Small Businesses in Italy, Spain Contracting Fast
» EU May Hit us for an Extra £2billion to Plug Black Hole in Its Budget, MEPs Warn
» Italy: Pensioners’ Plight Deepens Despite Cost Rise
» Tax Revenue in 2012 48.1% of Italian GDP, New Record
» Bomb Threat Prompts Evacuation at South Boston Courthouse
» Boston Marathon Bombs: Al-Qaeda’s Inspire Magazine Taught Pressure Cooker Bomb-Making Techniques
» Boston-Like Bomb Plans Published by Al Qaeda
» Boston Bomber ‘Is Trapped by His Phone’: FBI ‘Use Phone Records to Identify Suspect After He is Spotted on Store Cameras Talking on His Cell Just Seconds Before Blast’
» Communist “Peace” Movement Uses Their “Friend” Obama’s Economic Crisis to Gut US Military
» Confirmed by Eyewitness: Bomb Squad Drill Was Under Way at Boston Marathon
» Conflicting Reports About Possible Arrest in Boston Bombings
» Demanding the Truth About the Boston Bombings
» Dramatic Images Show a Bag Discarded at Spectators’ Feet as New FBI Crime Scene Pictures Reveal Deadly Metal Shrapnel
» GM Meat and Fish Set to Go on Sale: Scientists to Press Ahead Despite Public Outrage
» History of the Muslim Brotherhood Penetration of the U.S. Government
» Hunt for Mysterious Letter Writer ‘Who Sent Ricin-Tainted Parcels to Obama and Republican Senator With Identical Message ‘To Expose Wrong’
» Inside the Obama Echo Chamber
» Investigators Say They Have Video of Man Believed to Have Planted Bombs in Boston
» Lawmakers Worry About Attacks Against Muslims, Arabs Following Boston Bombing
» Michael Moore Blames Patriots for Boston Terror Attack
» Mississippi Man is Arrested in Sending of Suspicious Letters
» Obama Approves Raising Permissible Levels of Nuclear Radiation in Drinking Water. Civilian Cancer Deaths Expected to Skyrocket
» Obama’s DHS Ignores Security Breaches at Biochemical Laboratories
» Obama Snubs Margaret Thatcher Funeral
» Senate Rejects Background Check Measure, Blocking Drive for Gun Control
» Senator Roger Wicker Tied Into Boston
» Special Report: Inside Boston Marathon Bombing Press Conferences (Video)
» Students Examine History and Evolution of Black Muslims
» Texas Soldier Arrested for ‘Rudely Displaying’ Weapon
» This Dad Wants Guns After Family Massacred (Video)
» Toxic Government by Democrats: Detroit
» ‘We’re Coming to Kill You!’, Death Threats Flood WND Writer
» Who’s Behind the Boston Bombing?
» World’s Biggest Telescope Gets Green Light
Europe and the EU
» Germany Cracks Down on Critics of Mega-Mosque
» Hospital Where Britain’s Most Evil Serial Killers Are Held Has a Catalogue of DVDs With Scenes of Brutal Violence and Kinky Sex
» Italy: Chinese Man Sets Himself on Fire in Front of Shop in Faenza
» Italy: Consumer Group Wants Private Colosseum Restoration Halted
» Italy: Milan-Based Polling and Research Firm Under Investigation
» Sweden: Desperate Homeschooling Parents Plead for Help—hope Court Will Hear Case
» UK: ‘Climbdown’ On Libel Reforms Amid Claims New Laws Are Strangling Free Speech
» UK: Crayford Rally Over ‘Sexist and Offensive Signs’ At Mosque
» UK: Deranged Arsonist Who Came to UK After Being Released From Latvian Mental Hospital Dragged Student, 23, Under a Bridge and Tried to Rape Her
» UK: Five Appear in Court Charged With Election Fraud
» UK: James Harding to be New BBC Director of News
» UK: Leicester Investigates Islamic Society Over Gender Segregation
» UK: Margaret Thatcher: The Funeral Order of Service
» UK: Police Surgery at Southampton Mosque
» UK: The Lost Tribes of British Politics — Day 3: The Labour Left and the Palaeo-Socialists
» UK: Ten Years for ‘Wicked’ Hotel Porter Who Raped a Celebrity Guest After Sneaking Into Her Bedroom While She Slept
» Bosnia: Church Near Srebrenica Mass Grave ‘A Provocation’
» Serbia: Export Weapons Worth 100 Million Dollars to Libya
North Africa
» Egypt: An Islamic Declaration of War on Christianity
» Egypt: Court Sentences Killer of Salafi to 15 Years
» Morocco Cancels Joint Military Drills With U.S. Army
Israel and the Palestinians
» Eilat Rocket Strike: Israeli City Hit From Sinai
» Jihad Terror Group Claims ‘Credit’ For Eilat Rocket Attack
» Sinai Powderkeg, Alarm Over Al Qaeda Infiltration
» Vatican Moves Forward on Family Center in Nazareth
Middle East
» Jordan May Have Also Been Struck in Rocket Attack
» Noble Considers Pipeline From Israel to Turkey
» Syria: Lavrov Cites Concerns Over Al Qaeda-Linked Groups
» Tears Don’t Protect Against Murder
» Three Men Deported From Saudi Arabia for Being ‘Too Irresistible to Women’
» Turkish Police Detain 60 Students in University Clash
South Asia
» 15 Killed, Over 45 Injured in Suicide Blast in NW Pakistan
» 16 Injured in Explosion in Southern India
» Afghanistan: The Soldiers’ View
» Bangladesh Simmers as Islamic Conservatives and Progressives Clash
» Make Way for the Rajasaurus: India Launches Its First Theme Park (With Not a Disney Character in Sight)
» Pakistan: Faisalabad: Muslim Leaders Defend Young Christian Against False Blasphemy Accusations
» Pressure Cookers Have Been Used to Hide IEDs in Afghanistan for Years
» Thai Ranger Wounded in Restive South
Australia — Pacific
» Australia a Target for ‘Ideological Terrorist Attacks’
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Nigeria: Boko Haram — FG Tasks Northern Leaders
» Nigeria: 10 Killed in Clash Between Christians and Muslims in Plateau
» Somalia: PM Says ‘Foreign Involvement’ In Mogadishu Courthouse Massacre
Latin America
» Magnetic Death Leaves Earth-Like Exoplanets Dried Out
» Nancy Menges & Luis Fleischman: Challenges Continue After Maduro’s Election in Venezuela
» Illegal Alien Propaganda: A Critical Lesson in Terminology and Tactics
» We Don’t Need Immigration Reform, We Need Immigration Enforcement
Culture Wars
» Gay Couples Celebrate as New Zealand Says ‘I Do’ To Same-Sex Marriage
» Judges Review Speech Limits on Homosexuality
» ‘Living Fossil’ Genome Unlocked
» Mysterious Energy Bursts May be Death Knell of Gigantic Stars

Bond Spread Narrows Between Italian, German Debt

Investor confidence improving after bond sale

(ANSA) — Rome, April 17 — The spread narrowed during midday trading Wednesday between Italy’s benchmark 10-year bond and its safer German counterpart.

At just 297 points, the spread was tightened despite a successful German bond auction that saw the rate on its 10-year bonds fall to a record low of 1.28%. Meanwhile, the yield on Italy’s 10-year paper also slipped to 4.23%, the lowest level seen since February 25 when the Italian general-election results started coming in.

The spread between lending rates in the two countries is seen as an indication of investor faith in the Italian economy and its ability to cope with a lingering recession.

Investors in Italian debt sent a strong signal of confidence in its economy on Tuesday when, for the second day in a row, they snapped up an entire offer of special bonds worth some eight billion euros.

On Monday, the entire offering of nine billion euros was subscribed, leaving the two-day total for the sale — whose deadline was brought forward one day amid booming demand — at 17 billion euros.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Credit for Small Businesses in Italy, Spain Contracting Fast

IMF sounds ‘alarm’

(ANSA) — Washington, April 17 — The available credit to finance small business in Italy and Spain is rapidly contracting, the International Monetary Fund warned Wednesday.

And that is dangerous for economies that are built on the strength of a small- and mid-sized business sector, the agency said, as it issued “an alarm” for small-business funding.

On the bright side, the Italian government has freed up 40 billion euros to pay off outstanding debts to businesses, the IMF noted.

But finding ways to extend credit and boosting the cash flow to entrepreneurs should be made “a priority,” added the Washington-based agency.

Not only is that important to the economies of the countries, but also to the stability of the financial system, it said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

EU May Hit us for an Extra £2billion to Plug Black Hole in Its Budget, MEPs Warn

Britain needs to stump up an extra £2billion to stop the European Union running out of cash, MEPs have warned.

Brussels has already angered ministers by demanding an extra 11.2 billion euro (£9.3 billion) this year to plug a black hole in its budget — landing Britain with an extra £1.4 billion bill.

But MEPs have now warned that the true hole in the EU budget will hit 16.2 billion euro (£13.5 billion) this year — potentially landing the UK with a demand for another £2billion.

Members of the European Parliament’s powerful budget committee urged the European Commission to come clean about the true scale of the problem, rather than table further demands for cash later this year.

The comments came during a meeting with the Commission’s budget chief Janusz Lewandowski, who said Brussels would run out of money within months unless it received a cash injection from member states.

Ivailo Kalfin, a socialist MEP and member of the Parliament’s negotiating team on the budget, said that ‘we all know that the 11 billion euro will not be enough’.

Dutch liberal Jan Mulder said 16 billion euro was a more realistic estimate of the final shortfall this year.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Italy: Pensioners’ Plight Deepens Despite Cost Rise

Nearly half of retirees get under 1,000 euros per month

(By Kate Carlisle) (ANSA) — Rome, April 17 — Italian pension spending amounted to 266 billion euros in 2011, up 2.9% over 2010, the country’s statistics agency Istat said on Wednesday. In March, a European Commission report said the country’s pension spending is forecast to reach 5.7 billion euros this year, 16.2% of Italy’s GDP, reflecting the country’s ageing population.

That represents a small increase from the 15.9% of GDP in 2012 spending, but the proportion is expected to remain stable in 2014.

The Italian statistics agency said old age pensions absorbed 71.6% and survivors’ benefits took up 14.7%, while disability and welfare payments amounted to 4.2% and 7.9%, respectively. Geographically speaking, 47.9% of pension payments go to northern Italy, 20.5% to the centre, and 31.6% to the south. In 2011, the average annual pension was 11,229 euros, up 352 euros — an increase of 3.2% — over 2010. However, in 2011 nearly half of the 7.4 million pensioners in Italy received monthly benefits under 1,000 euros, Istat said. Approximately 44% of the country’s retirees make due with less than 1,000 euros, while for 2.2 million pensioners (13.3%) their benefits are below 500 euros.

Almost half of Italy’s pensioners in 2011 were between the ages of 65 and 79, while 23% were over 80 years old, the country’s statistics agency said on Wednesday. According to Istat, 27.8% of those who drew retirement benefits in 2011 were under 65 years old.

There were 71 retirees for every 100 employed people in Italy in 2011, Istat said. Southern Italy, with its high unemployment, was hardest hit with a ratio of 82 pensioners for every 100 workers compared to 66 to 100 in the north, according to the study conducted by Istat and the national pension body INPS.

Pensioners living in rural Italy are among the worst hit of the millions of retired citizens living in poverty, the national association of retirees said Wednesday. As many as seven in 10 retired people in rural areas live below the poverty line, reported the National Association of Retirees (ANP) and Italian Farmers Confederation (CIA). Most in the poorest group live in rural areas, where they have been hit hard by higher taxes, cuts to pensions, and reductions to healthcare spending, said the ANP-CIA.

That threatens the dignity of Italian pensioners, said Gigi Bonfanti, past secretary-general of labour union CISL.

“Millions of people every day must deal with the risk of finding themselves out on the streets at any moment,” said Bonfanti.

“It is unacceptable that a pensioner cannot live in dignity and may even be forced to cut spending on basic goods”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Tax Revenue in 2012 48.1% of Italian GDP, New Record

Beats 1997 record by half a percent

(ANSA) — Rome, April 17 — Tax revenue accounted for a record 48.1% of Italian gross domestic product (GDP) in 2012, up from 46.6% in 2011, the Bank of Italy said Wednesday. The previous record, 47.4 %, was reached in 1997.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Bomb Threat Prompts Evacuation at South Boston Courthouse

BOSTON ( — The Moakley Federal Courthouse in South Boston was evacuated Wednesday afternoon for a reported bomb threat.

FOX 25’s Sharman Sacchetti attempted to enter the court and was told she could not enter because the courthouse was being evacuated.

Dept. of Homeland Security and U.S. Marshals could be seen walking around the scene.

Workers could be seen carrying cribs and children from the day care center in the court house.

Boston Police K9 units had arrived at the scene and were examining cars on the outside of the building.

Brigham and Women’s Hospital had also been evacuated, but was later cleared.

           — Hat tip: AC [Return to headlines]

Boston Marathon Bombs: Al-Qaeda’s Inspire Magazine Taught Pressure Cooker Bomb-Making Techniques

A recipe for how to make pressure cooker bombs, which investigators say were used in the Boston Marathon attack, was most notoriously published in the al-Qaeda magazine Inspire.

The recipe — along with a rationale for post-9/11 terror — was printed three years ago in al-Qaeda’s English-language promotional online magazine, Inspire. In an article, it instructed readers on how, as its headline writers put it, to “Make a bomb in the kitchen of your Mom”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Boston-Like Bomb Plans Published by Al Qaeda

A bomb-making manual, written in Arabic and published less than two months ago, made its rounds on sites used by Muslim terrorists worldwide…

The individual behind the independent monitoring of Arabic language websites and turning over such findings to U.S. and other intelligence agencies as such plans are found is an independent undercover operational asset known as “Archangel,” who has a widely known and well respected track record for successful infiltration of “locked” or difficult to find websites and forums.

The intelligence agencies of the U.S. and other countries have been provided with ample material from “Archangel.” Most notable and relevant to the latest bombing is the focus on “sporting events” as potential targets as detailed in the a previous issue of Inspire magazine. Below are two images extracted and appropriately redacted from the latest version of the bomb making manual.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Boston Bomber ‘Is Trapped by His Phone’: FBI ‘Use Phone Records to Identify Suspect After He is Spotted on Store Cameras Talking on His Cell Just Seconds Before Blast’

The FBI said there has been ‘substantial progress’ in the Boston bombing investigation after they analyzed surveillance footage shot from a nearby department store which showed a man planting the second bomb.

Investigators said the individual is seen at the site of the second explosion wearing a black jacket, a grey hooded sweatshirt and a white or off-color-white baseball cap backwards talking on his cellphone.

The video obtained by the FBI captures the man using his cellphone at the moment the first explosion detonated 100 yards away on Boylston Street on Monday and 12 seconds before the second blast close to where he is standing.

Federal agents then focused on the time-frame of that conversation to retrieve cell-phone records to identify potential callers according to CBS News.

Call logs were then obtained through the cell phone masts surrounding the attack zone and using these, investigators matched up the users’ identity with the time specific video and pictures to zero in on the possible suspect.

CBS News senior correspondent John Miller reports that investigators settled on one particular individual late on Tuesday night and are having discussions over whether to go public with identifying the person.

A press conference due to be held at 5 p.m. by Boston police commissioner Ed Davis was postponed — no reason was given for this decision, but officials with said they hoped to re-schedule it later on Wednesday night.

And by late afternoon there were conflicting reports about the color of the man in question — CNN suggested initially that he may be ‘dark skinned’, while CBS News claimed he is white.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Communist “Peace” Movement Uses Their “Friend” Obama’s Economic Crisis to Gut US Military

The US left’s number one goal has long been the destruction of the U.S. military. Which is why the Communist Party USA and their allies have always controlled the major U.S. “peace” movements.

If the US military can be weakened or destroyed, the communist’s friends in Moscow, Beijing, Havana, Caracas, Pyongyang, Hanoi and Tehran will have no significant impediment to world domination.

One of the Communist Party’s key peace activists is Judith LeBlanc.

LeBlanc is also one of the Vice-Chairs of the Communist Party USA and chairs it’s Peace and Solidarity Commission — the body charged with controlling the “peace” movement.

Before her current role with Peace Action, she was the national Co-Chair of United for Peace and Justice, with fellow Marxist and pro-Cuba activist, Leslie Cagan.

LeBlanc has a habit of hobnobbing with tyrants and extremists, as this 2002 photo of LeBlanc with Palestinian terrorist leader Yasser Arafat shows.

[Comment: check out the photo with Yasser.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Confirmed by Eyewitness: Bomb Squad Drill Was Under Way at Boston Marathon

(NaturalNews) If you’re looking for actual journalism surrounding the Boston marathon bombings, don’t bother reading the mainstream media. The real breaking news is found in the alternative media, where Anthony Gucciardi of just nailed an on-the-record interview with Alastair Stevenson, the University of Alabama cross country track coach who heard law enforcement telling the crowd, “It’s just a drill” immediately after the explosions.

The full phone interview is now posted online at both YouTube (where it is likely to be immediately censored):

and (where it will NOT be censored)

Alastair Stevenson is a veteran marathon runner who has competed in dozens of marathons around the world, including the London Marathon. He’s very familiar with the security typically found at marathons, and he immediately noticed something odd about the Boston marathon security.

“They kept making announcements on the loud speaker that it was just a drill and there was nothing to worry about. It seemed like there was some sort of threat, but they kept telling us it was just a drill,” he was quoted as saying by

In the interview, you’ll hear Stevenson say:

“At the start at the event, at the Athlete’s Village, there were people on the roof looking down onto the Village at the start. There were dogs with their handlers going around sniffing for explosives, and we were told on a loud announcement that we shouldn’t be concerned and that it was just a drill. And maybe it was just a drill, but I’ve never seen anything like that — — not at any marathon that I’ve ever been to. You know, that just concerned me that that’s the only race that I’ve seen in my life where they had dogs sniffing for explosions, and that’s the only place where there had been explosions.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Conflicting Reports About Possible Arrest in Boston Bombings

BOSTON (WGGB/AP) — Conflicting reports are now surfacing about whether or not a person is in custody and under arrest for Monday’s bombings in Boston.

Earlier Wednesday afternoon, several sources told media outlets including the Associated Press, the Boston Globe, CNN, and Boston television stations WCVB-TV and WFXT-TV that an arrest had been made.

Security was visibly heavy as reporters from around the world arrived at the John Joseph Moakley Federal Courthouse along Boston’s waterfront shortly after those reports surfaced.

However, about an hour after those reports surfaced, Boston Police tweeted that “Despite reports to the contrary there has not been an arrest in the Marathon attack.”

In addition, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s office also told The Boston Globe that no arrest and nobody has been placed into custody.

CNN’s John King reports that, according to federal law enforcement sources, “significant developments” have been made just since yesterday as it relates to the investigation.

Around 3:00 p.m., the FBI office in Boston released this statement: “Contrary to widespread reporting, no arrest has been made in connection with the Boston Marathon attack. Over the past day and a half, there have been a number of press reports based on information from unofficial sources that has been inaccurate. Since these stories often have unintended consequences, we ask the media, particularly at this early stage of the investigation, to exercise caution and attempt to verify information through appropriate official channels before reporting.”

The blasts killed 8-year-old Martin Richard and 29-year-old Krystle Campbell. The Shenyang Evening News, a state-run Chinese newspaper, identified the third victim as Lu Lingzi. She was a graduate student at Boston University.

           — Hat tip: AC [Return to headlines]

Demanding the Truth About the Boston Bombings

We must demand the truth behind the Boston bombings, absent of political agenda, but will we get it?

Whether it was by design or mere happenstance, the bombings in Boston yesterday will be looked upon as a seminal event in America’s post-9/11 history. At this point, few facts regarding the bombings have been officially disclosed and verified, fueling widespread and rampant speculation about suspects and motive. In real-world scenarios, investigations take time, and certain information, when prematurely or improperly disclosed, create unimaginable difficulties for “boots on the ground investigators” who are actually committed to doing their job.

Those with experience know that the higher one goes in the chain of investigation and investigators, however, the efforts between getting to the actual truth versus satisfying any number of political agendas associated with the event becomes perverted to the point that it often becomes unrecognizable. Experience also confirms that the higher the profile of an event, the more that politics and political agendas play a role. This case is no exception and in the context of history, will be a pivotal event in many areas.

Few will argue that we are at a most vulnerable point in our national history, although many will disagree on the reasons. Our country is currently split along racial and societal lines, and strong ideological differences exist on nearly every important aspect of our culture. We are a country divided and are at a breaking point. This division is based, in large part, on the lack of integrity of our leadership, both past and present, and by our failure to demand truth and accountability.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Dramatic Images Show a Bag Discarded at Spectators’ Feet as New FBI Crime Scene Pictures Reveal Deadly Metal Shrapnel

[WARNING: ** Disturbing Content **]

New crime scene photographs of the remnants of the first bomb which detonated during Monday’s Boston marathon appear to show that a pressure cooker was used in at least one of the deadly charges — as experts described the devices as military-style ‘anti-personnel’ devices.

The exclusive images obtained show the wreckage of a stainless steel pressure cooker with an Underwriters Laboratory safety mark and an imprint that reads gas or electric, with experts describing the devices as military-style ‘anti-personnel’ devices.

And photographs taken by a member of the public of the second bomb site before and after detonation show an orange and grey bag next to the barrier — right where the bomb appears to have gone off.

Detectives are now investigating the possibility that this bag contained the device that exploded with such devastating effect.

Meanwhile, another photograph from the scene of the terror attacks which killed three people and injured 183 shows a shredded black, padded back-pack or duffel bag that would confirm numerous reports that the bomb was carried in a black bag…

Furthermore, it is being claimed the deadly devices used in the Boston bombing were designed to act like ‘homemade claymores’ — powerful, directional anti-personnel devices, sources familiar with the investigation told NBC News.

Described as using a ‘low explosive’, most likely black powder or smokeless powder, the bombs are reported to have exploded outwards with shrapnel at 3,300 feet per second.

In addition, initial examination of the bombs has revealed they appear to utilize battery packs and circuit boards, which indicates a sophisticated triggering mechanism.

‘It appeared to be built from scratch but with a sophisticated triggering mechanism. And frankly, at the end of the day, all bombs are crude devices, and it is the way they are triggered that can be sophisticated,’ said one official with strong knowledge of explosives…

Earlier reports noted that officials had arrested a Saudi national, who is being treated for burns and shrapnel wounds, in connection to the bombings after a civilian saw him acting suspiciously at the scene.

But now officials have revealed the man, Abdulrahman Ali Alharbi, 22, is being regarded as a witness, rather than a suspect, the Washington Post reported.


           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

GM Meat and Fish Set to Go on Sale: Scientists to Press Ahead Despite Public Outrage

The first genetically modified meat and fish could be approved this summer.

Authorities in the US are expected to grant approval to Aquabounty salmon, which has been modified to grow twice as fast as normal salmon.

And experts trying to combat world hunger are calling on the British Government to back the use of GM farm animals on the dinner table here.

The push into GM meat could see the production of giant pigs, hens that have only female chicks and cattle made disease resistant using genes from baboons.

But the move will alarm critics of the use of GM technology who are still battling to block the expansion of genetically modified crops.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

History of the Muslim Brotherhood Penetration of the U.S. Government

by Clare M. Lopez

“Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. The Qur’an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest aspiration.”

— Motto of the Muslim Brotherhood

The upheavals of 2011-2012 across the Middle East and North Africa swept aside secular rulers and the established political order with startling speed, and continue to focus world attention on the revolutionary forces driving these far-reaching events. Poverty, oppression, inequality, and lack of individual freedom are all hallmarks of the societal stagnation that has gripped the Islamic world for the better part of fourteen centuries, but the driving force of the so-called “Arab Spring” is a resurgent Islam, dominated by the forces of al-Qa’eda and the Muslim Brotherhood. Energized as Islam may be at this time, however, without the active involvement of the United States to help arm[1], fund[2], support[3], and train[4] the region’s Islamic rebels, it is questionable whether they could have gotten this far, this fast. This report describes how the Muslim Brotherhood infiltrated and suborned the U.S. government to actively assist, whether knowingly or not, the mission of its grand jihad…

In June 2012, five courageous U.S. Congressional representatives (Michele Bachmann, Trent Franks, Louie Gohmert, Tom Rooney, and Lynn Westmoreland) sent letters to the Inspectors General of the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Justice, and State as well as the Office of the Director of National Security, requesting an investigation of Muslim Brotherhood influence within those agencies. That their patriotic initiative in defense of the security of U.S. policymaking should have been met only with an overwhelming barrage of criticism is tragic testament to the extent of success the Muslim Brotherhood has achieved in suppressing even the duty to counterintelligence awareness that is the first defense of a free people.[94] Given the long history of Muslim Brotherhood activity in this country, its declared objective to “destroy the Western civilization from within,” and the extensive evidence of successful influence operations at the highest levels of the U.S. government, it is urgent that we recognize this clear and present danger that threatens not only our Republic but the values of Western civilization.

Clare M. Lopez, a strategic policy and intelligence expert, is a senior fellow at the Center for Security Policy and the Clarion Fund. She was formerly a career operations officer with the Central Intelligence Agency.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Hunt for Mysterious Letter Writer ‘Who Sent Ricin-Tainted Parcels to Obama and Republican Senator With Identical Message ‘To Expose Wrong’

The FBI has launched a hunt for the person responsible for sending letters laced with the deadly poison ricin to President Obama and a Mississippi senator, it was revealed today.

The Secret Service said that the letters, which were both intercepted at a mail screening facility in Maryland on Tuesday, contained a ‘suspicious substance’ which was later confirmed to be ricin, a toxic component derived from castor beans and can be fatal when ingested.

According to an FBI memo obtained by the Associated Press, both letters sent to Obama and Sen. Wicker, a Republican, contained the following message: ‘To see a wrong and not expose it, is to become a silent partner to its continuance.’

Both letters were then signed, ‘I am KC and I approve this message.’

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Inside the Obama Echo Chamber

Enemy has concluded that Obama really doesn’t care. Has a far greater agenda to wrap up, fundamental transformation of America.

Listening to President Obama respond after a terrorist attack takes the lives of innocent Americans is like being trapped in an echo chamber. The words all sound too familiar.

This is what he initially said after the Boston Marathon bombings. “We still do not know who did this, or why, and people shouldn’t jump to conclusions before we have all the facts, but make no mistake: We will get to the bottom of this. And we will find out who did this, we’ll find out why they did this. Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups will feel the full weight of justice,”

The day following the November 5, 2009, shootings that killed thirteen and wounded many others at Fort Hood, Texas, the President held a press conference. He began his remarks with a two-minute “shout out” to members of the Tribal Nations Conference who were in attendance. He then proceeded to warn Americans against “jumping to conclusions” regarding the motives of the shooter.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Investigators Say They Have Video of Man Believed to Have Planted Bombs in Boston

Investigators have found video footage of a man that they believe may have planted the deadly bombs at the Boston Marathon, a person briefed on the matter said Wednesday, saying that they had pinpointed the image on video that was captured shortly before the blast.

The possible break in the case came as investigators have pored over scores of videos and photographs that they solicited from surveillance cameras from nearby businesses, smartphone wielding marathon spectators, and television crews who were filming there filming the Boston Marathon when the deadly blasts went off on Monday near the finish line. The revelation of the video footage was the first sign that the authorities might be moving closer to discovering who was behind the attacks, which killed three people and injured more than 170.

[Return to headlines]

Lawmakers Worry About Attacks Against Muslims, Arabs Following Boston Bombing

“It’s something that I face all the time, certainly as a Muslim but also as an African-American,” Rep. Andre Carson said.

WASHINGTON — Lawmakers Tuesday said they worry Monday’s terrorist bombing in Boston will unleash a fresh round of attacks on Muslims, Arabs and other minorities across the country — though there hasn’t been any evidence of a violent backlash so far. Law enforcement officials still don’t know whether the attack, which left three dead and more than 100 injured, was committed by domestic or foreign terrorists. But that hasn’t stopped some from lashing out at the Muslim community and other minorities — including Arabs, Persians and Sikhs. “I’m always concerned,” said Rep. Andre Carson, one of two Muslim members of the House…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Michael Moore Blames Patriots for Boston Terror Attack

Filmmaker Michael Moore and the socialist intelligentsia will not rest until they have eliminated the opposition. On Monday, a few hours after the terrorist attack in Boston, Moore went on his Twitter account and posted a couple tweets blaming the patriot movement for the attack.

2+2 =

— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) April 15, 2013

Followed by:

Tax Day. Patriots Day.

— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) April 15, 2013

“The filmmaker was not giving us a math lesson, but rather insinuating to his 1.5 million followers that they should put two and two together to figure out who was behind the bombings,”writes Red Alert Politics.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Mississippi Man is Arrested in Sending of Suspicious Letters

Federal agents arrested a man on Monday suspected of sending letters feared contaminated with the poison ricin to President Obama and a Mississippi senator, according to two officials with knowledge of the case. The suspect was identified as Paul Kevin Curtis of Tupelo, Miss.

The arrest, two days after the letters were intercepted in mail-sorting facilities for the White House and the Capitol, was based on information collected “very early on” about who had sent the letters, said one of the officials. The letters contained a postmark from Memphis but no return address, Senate officials said.

Tupelo is the hometown of Senator Roger Wicker, the Republican senator to whom one of the letters was addressed. The letters were signed: “I am KC, and I approve this message.”

[Return to headlines]

Obama Approves Raising Permissible Levels of Nuclear Radiation in Drinking Water. Civilian Cancer Deaths Expected to Skyrocket

The White House has given final approval for dramatically raising permissible radioactive levels in drinking water and soil following “radiological incidents,” such as nuclear power-plant accidents and dirty bombs. The final version, slated for Federal Register publication as soon as today, is a win for the nuclear industry which seeks what its proponents call a “new normal” for radiation exposure among the U.S population, according Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).

Issued by the Environmental Protection Agency, the radiation guides (called Protective Action Guides or PAGs) allow cleanup many times more lax than anything EPA has ever before accepted. These guides govern evacuations, shelter-in-place orders, food restrictions and other actions following a wide range of “radiological emergencies.” The Obama administration blocked a version of these PAGs from going into effect during its first days in office. The version given approval late last Friday is substantially similar to those proposed under Bush but duck some of the most controversial aspects:

In soil, the PAGs allow long-term public exposure to radiation in amounts as high as 2,000 millirems. This would, in effect, increase a longstanding 1 in 10,000 person cancer rate to a rate of 1 in 23 persons exposed over a 30-year period;

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Obama’s DHS Ignores Security Breaches at Biochemical Laboratories

While President Barack Obama and his minions continue their relentless push to control firearms owned by law-abiding American citizens in the name of protecting men, women and children from killers, this same president is allowing thousands of facilities that house ultra-toxic substances to go unprotected, according to experts.

“A weapon of mass destruction (WMD) will kill far more innocent people than a firearm with a magazine containing a thousand rounds,” said former editor of Shotgun News, John Snyder. “Yet, Obama and the Beltway elite couldn’t care less.”

The U.S has been at risk of a WMD attack for years because the government bureaucrats responsible for the security and safety at thousands of laboratories that conduct research with deadly chemicals and bacteria fail to perform their duties, according to a report released by non-partisan watchdog group that investigates and exposes government corruption and abuse.

“Apparently too busy targeting patriots, DHS ignores security lapses At biochemical labs, putting America at risk of a bioterrorism attack,” said investigative journalist Pat Dollard.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Obama Snubs Margaret Thatcher Funeral

Sends delegation with no serving politicians to ceremony

(GUARDIAN) — The U.S. is to send distinctly low-key official representation to Lady Thatcher’s funeral on Wednesday, with a delegation led by George Shultz and James Baker, who both served as U.S. secretary of state while Thatcher was in power.

While Barack Obama was invited, he has opted to send a presidential delegation comprising no serving politicians.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Senate Rejects Background Check Measure, Blocking Drive for Gun Control

A wrenching national search for solutions to the violence that left 20 children dead in Newtown, Conn., in December looked close to collapse on Wednesday after the Senate defeated a bipartisan amendment to gun safety legislation that would expand background checks for gun buyers, and appeared poised to reject a slew of measures to expand gun control.

The victims and survivors of recent mass shootings looked on from the gallery above.

In the first vote, the measure drafted by Senators Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and Patrick Toomey of Pennsylvania fell short of the 60-vote threshold it needed in a 54-to-46 vote.

[Return to headlines]

Senator Roger Wicker Tied Into Boston

The communists have come full circle and are plugging in the final elements designed to accomplish the takeover of the US via the overthrow of the US Bill of Rights.

As previously mentioned, the emphases is being directed toward connecting the bombing with US national patriots, and another little bit of sleaze has now been injected.

News is just breaking that contends that an envelope sent to Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) contained ricin, a deadly poison. Now one might ask how the Senator, the ricin, and the bombing are connected.

Senator Roger Wicker is one of the sixteen GOP Senators who voted to stop the filibuster which would have shut down the 2nd Article infringement debate which is going on this week in the US Senate. Wicker has been named as a traitor to the Republic by the patriot community, as he and the other fifteen Senators voted for the debate in spite of the fact that they had previously identified the gun legislation as an infringement upon our Bill of Rights, making the act one with knowledge and forethought.

The communists who monitor the internet are not ignorant to the fact that many patriots have called for the arrest and trial of all sixteen of these wanton traitors. Could it be that the communist insurgency is planning more such incidents in an effort to create an illusion wherein American patriots are committing terrorist acts in an effort to … what, provide an excuse to institute full martial law?

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Special Report: Inside Boston Marathon Bombing Press Conferences (Video)

Infowars reporter Dan Bidondi was on location at the Boston Marathon explosion press conferences minutes after the event and managed to get in some hard-ball questions for Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick.

Dan specifically asks whether or not Boston PD had info about a drill taking place, to which the Police Commissioner replies they had “no specific intelligence” regarding a drill.

Contrast the commissioner’s statements with University of Alabama cross country track coach Alastair Stevenson’s testimony that there were announcements telling people there was a “training exercise” in progress prior to the race.

In the video below, Anthony Gucciardi of was able to get an exclusive interview with coach Stevenson, who says, “There was absolutely a drill going on outside the athlete’s village before the race.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Students Examine History and Evolution of Black Muslims

The USF student body is composed of nearly 10,000 students from about 80 countries around the world. Despite the vast diversity, many students often find their ethnic identity lost in a sea of culture. The USF Muslim Student Association (MSA) sought to help fellow students of all backgrounds conceptualize the history of black Muslims by hosting a discussion on their presence in Western society last Wednesday.

For those who are unfamiliar with the Muslim religion, the concept of black Muslims may be somewhat vague. “We have to understand race as a social construct before we can understand the concept of a black Muslim,” said Abdullah bin Hamid Ali, professor of Islamic Law and Hadith Science at Zaytuna College in Berkeley. Ali argued that race is a societal development rather than a biological fact, which speaks to the notion that Muslims are not solely tied to the religion of Islam, but can be defined based on a number of factors — some not so good…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Texas Soldier Arrested for ‘Rudely Displaying’ Weapon

By Charles C. W. Cooke

I just got off the phone with Army Master Sergeant. C. J. Grisham, a serving American soldier and veteran of the the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, who recently was illegally disarmed by the Temple Police Department while out for a walk with his son.

“We live out in the country in Texas, near Temple,” he told me. “My son and I were on a ten-mile hike so that he could earn his hiking merit badge — it’s the last badge he needs to become an Eagle Scout.” But half way into the hike, Grisham said, “a police officer pulled up.” Initially, he was “cordial” and he “asked what we were doing.” Grisham told him. “Then he looked at my rifle. I carry a rifle any time I walk around because there are feral hogs and cougars and things like that.”

From here, things took a turn for the worse.

“‘Where you going with that rifle?’ he asked me. I said, ‘does it matter? Am I breaking any laws?’“ Then, he says, the officer “grabbed the rifle without telling me — but it was attached to me. My immediate reaction as a combat veteran was to grab it back and then take a step back. I asked him what he was doing. So he pulled his gun on me. Then I thought about my son, so I put my hands off my gun and he told me to move over to the car. Luckily my son had the video camera to document the hike for his merit badge. I told him to turn it on.”

The video of the incident is below. I’d recommend you watch the whole thing. Note the officers’ ignorance of the rules they are there to uphold, the suggestion that the law doesn’t apply in this “day and age,” and the persistent claim that American citzens are presumed to have their weapons illegally unless otherwise demonstrated. Note the officer’s claim that merely owning a gun makes someone dangerous. Note the conflation of a soldier in a war zone with a citizen in rural Texas. Note the presistent refusal to explain what law Grisham has broken…

           — Hat tip: DS [Return to headlines]

This Dad Wants Guns After Family Massacred (Video)

‘I’ve lost 1 little girl and I’m not going to lose another’

[WARNING: ** Disturbing Content **]

It was a Thanksgiving Day that forever changed one family.

Paul Michael Merhige finished his dinner, left his cousin’s home, returned with a handgun and executed five of his own family members in Jupiter, Fla., including an unborn baby and a 6-year-old girl asleep in her bed.

The 35-year-old, mentally ill shooter didn’t say a word as he mercilessly pulled the trigger.

Merhige shot and killed his twin sisters, one of whom was pregnant. He fired a bullet into his brother-in-law’s head. He shot his aunt and tried to shoot his uncle, but the gun jammed.

And then the cold-blooded killer did something even more unthinkable…

Now, a little more than three years after his tragic loss, Sitton, a photojournalist for WPTV-TV, the NBC affiliate in West Palm Beach, Fla., has a powerful message for lawmakers and citizens who advocate restricting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans:

“[I understand] what it’s like to be completely helpless and powerless when someone attacks your family with a gun.

“For me, it comes down very simply to, when someone bursts into your home with murderous intent in their heart, wanting to kill you and your family, you have a choice: You either choose to be armed and trained to protect yourself — or you choose not to arm and protect yourself and your family.”

However, Sitton condemns attempts to prevent other Americans from arming and protecting themselves.

“When it comes down to it, everything happened so fast,” he said. “The only thing that will stop a bad man with a gun is a good guy with a gun. Unfortunately, none of the good guys had guns that night.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Toxic Government by Democrats: Detroit

Editor’s note: The following is the fourth in a series of articles that will expose the misery of life in America’s poorest cities, all of which have one thing in common: they are controlled exclusively by Democrats. Each article presented by FrontPage will reveal how the production of mass urban poverty is much more than just a failure of leadership, but a means of political survival for the Left. To read the background pamphlet by David Horowitz and John Perazzo, “Government Versus The People,” click here.

Perhaps no other city in America illuminates the failure of Democratic Party policies more brightly than Detroit. Two stories, separated by only four, days are emblematic. On March 11, former Mayor Kwame Kilpatick was found guilty of 24 of 30 charges leveled against him, including fraud, racketeering and extortion. Four days later, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder appointed attorney Kevyn Orr as the city’s emergency financial manager, in a last ditch effort to avoid what would be the largest municipal bankruptcy in the nation’s history. From 1961 to the present, the tragic history of Detroit itself has been written entirely by Democrats such as these individuals.

It was 1961 when Louis C. Miriani, Detroit’s last Republican Mayor, lost his re-election bid. It was a well-deserved loss. Miriani was a criminal who served 10 years in prison for tax evasion. The victor in the race was Democrat James Jerome Cavanagh, the only elected official to serve on LBJ’s Model Cities task force, a program that emulated Soviet efforts to reconstruct entire urban areas in Eastern European cities. Cavanagh decided that a nine-square mile section of Detroit should follow suit, and he got a new income tax, as well as a commuter tax, through the state legislature to pay for Detroit’s very own “Model City.”…

Considering the quality of leaders running the city, Detroit’s descent into ruination should surprise no one. From 1974 to 1993, Coleman Young was mayor. Young may have run as a Democrat, but he was subsequently revealed to be a member of the Communist Party. His brand of “us against them” politics, essentially branding anyone who disagreed with him as “racist,” exacerbated Detroit’s descent into chaos. In 1992, his police chief was convicted of stealing $2.6 million from city taxpayers, even as Young defended him. Michigan’s hard-left U.S. Senator Carl Levin was Young’s chief supporter, serving as Detroit City Council president.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

‘We’re Coming to Kill You!’, Death Threats Flood WND Writer

WND columnist and nationally known conservative pundit Erik Rush has come under fire and is facing an onslaught of death threats for suggesting Islamic extremists were likely behind the Boston Marathon bombings and tweeting a sarcastic commentabout killing “evil” Muslims.

After the bombing Monday, Rush tweeted, “Everybody do the National Security Ankle Grabs! Let’s bring Saudis in without screening them! C’mon!”

Rush’s comment was in response to early reports from United Press International that a 20-year-old Saudi Arabian national had been a potential suspect in the double bombings. The Boston police later said the man wasn’t a suspect.

Rush told WND he received some hostile tweets following his initial speculation about the identity of the bomber.

“This was speculation, which everyone is doing,” Rush said. “That’s when the tweets started: ‘You’re blaming Muslims already? You scumbag!’

“After several of those, that’s when I was like, ‘Yeah, that’s right, they’re evil. Kill ‘em all.’

“And that’s all they needed.”

Rush said RightWingWatch and the Huffington Post ran stories about his comments, suggesting Rush actually wanted to kill Muslims.

“I was being sarcastic,” he said. “It was promoted, or covered, by RightWingWatch and Huffington Post as if I had said it and meant it — which is what they do. Then all hell broke loose.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Who’s Behind the Boston Bombing?

by Rob Crilly

It’s still early days and very difficult to know who might be behind the attack in Boston. It is entirely possible that the bomber was an American extremist in the mould of Timothy McVeigh, who detonated a truck bomb in Oklahoma City in 1995. Suspicion will also fall on jihadi groups. A spokesman for the Pakistan Taliban, which claimed responsibility for the botched bombing of Times Square almost three years ago, has already told me it was not involved.

The style and target of the attack may offer some intriguing clues, and point the figure at al-Qaeda’s Middle Eastern offshoot. Recent issues of Inspire, a magazine published by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, have carried advice and guidance for “lone wolf” attackers already in the US.

These come in the form of excerpts from a book by Abu Mus’ab Al-Suri, a prominent theologian and strategist within the al-Qaeda movement, who clashed with Osama bin Laden over his preference for complex, high-profile spectaculars which had become too easy for Western intelligence agencies to spot. Instead he has promoted the idea of using isolated cells made up of American Muslims already inside the country. Most tellingly, in issue IX published last year, he even suggests targeting sports events (analysis of the magazine is provided by Memri here)

The type of attack, which repels states and topples governments, is mass slaughter of the population. This is done by targeting human crowds in order to inflict maximum human losses. This is very easy since there are numerous such targets such as crowded sports arenas, annual social events, large international exhibitions, crowded marketplaces, sky-scrapers, crowded buildings… etc.

With the core leadership of al-Qaeda battered by drones in Pakistan, struggling to stay alive much less plan attacks on the US, it may be that these less sophisticated, rather home-made attacks — inspired rather than controlled by al-Qaeda — could emerge as the biggest threat. For the time being, however, we must await details of the unfolding FBI investigation in Boston.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

World’s Biggest Telescope Gets Green Light

The Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) — due to be the world’s widest eye on space — has got the go-ahead for construction on the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii.

TMT will join 13 others on the extinct volcano but will dwarf them all: the biggest now are the twin 10-metre Keck telescopes. The summit is a perfect location as it offers clear skies for 300 days of the year.

If all goes well, observations will start in earnest in 2021. TMT may soon have to cede its size record, though: the European Southern Observatory is planning to have the 39-metre European Extremely Large Telescope on the mountain Cerro Armazones in Chile working early next decade.

Not everyone in Hawaii is celebrating: the TMT site is being subleased from the University of Hawaii, but some Native Hawaiian groups are opposing the project, as the land is sacred to them.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Germany Cracks Down on Critics of Mega-Mosque

by Soeren Kern

The Bavarian branch of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, the Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz (BfV), has placed under state surveillance German activists accused of fomenting hate against Muslims due to their opposition to the construction of a mega-mosque in Munich. The move to silence critics of the mosque for being “unconstitutional” was announced by Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann in a press conference on April 12, and represents an unprecedented threat to the exercise of free speech in post-reunification Germany…

According to PI: “Our work of information is not oriented against Muslims, but against the political ideology of Islam. Muslims are its first victims, most of all women. We want to liberate them from the shackles of this ideology so that they can integrate in our free democratic society…One thing is clear: We will maintain our way consistently and continue unswervingly.”

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Hospital Where Britain’s Most Evil Serial Killers Are Held Has a Catalogue of DVDs With Scenes of Brutal Violence and Kinky Sex

[WARNING: ** Disturbing Content **]

A top-security psychiatric hospital where Britain’s most evil serial killers contains hundreds of graphic movies showing sickening violence and kinky sex scenes, it can be revealed today.

Broadmoor Hospital — which houses the Yorkshire Ripper and cannibal killer Peter Bryan — has a catalogue of more than 200 DVDs, including films showing twisted scenes of murder and sex attacks.

The revelation was today branded ‘astounding’ by a leading psychologist as the NHS Trust which runs the hospital defended the policy, claiming the films prepared patients for the outside world.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Italy: Chinese Man Sets Himself on Fire in Front of Shop in Faenza

Police believe act may have been economically driven

(ANSA) — Faenza, April 15 — A Chinese man was hospitalized in serious condition on Monday after he set himself on fire in front of the clothing store Germano Zama in the town of Faenza in Emilia Romagna.

Passersby put out flames with an extinguisher from a local shop and called emergency medical workers, who transported the injured man in a helicopter to a nearby hospital burn unit in Cesena.

The man’s motives are still not clear, but police believe the act may be related to the economic crisis that has struck the clothing industry.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Consumer Group Wants Private Colosseum Restoration Halted

Codacons returns to administrative court to stop Tod’s

(ANSA) — Rome, April 16 — Consumer group Codacons on Tuesday turned once again to Italy’s top administrative court in an attempt to block privately-sponsored restoration works on the country’s world-famous monument the Colosseum.

Codacons has an on going legal complaint against the 25-million-euro renovation plan by shoe giant Tod’s, claiming that the bidding process lacked transparency and yielded too many concessions to the company owned by Diego Della Valle.

The consumer group asked the court to provide previously deposited acts on sponsorship rights for verification. Codacons is also asking that the exclusive sponsorship contract be cancelled and new legal proceedings be opened, claiming that advertising rights were increased ten-fold over the original agreement.

The regional administrative court ruled against Codacons’ complaint last summer, but Codacons filed an appeal, which was also overturned in February.

Restoration work on one of Rome’s most important historical landmarks is set to begin on May 20.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Milan-Based Polling and Research Firm Under Investigation

Finance police examining transactions dating back years

(ANSA) — Milan, April 17 — Italy’s financial police raided the offices of a major polling firm Wednesday as part of a fraud investigation.

Renato Mannehimer, president of the Ispo research firm, denied any wrongdoing even as Milan prosecutors said they were investigating invoices allegedly issued for work that wasn’t completed.

Mannehimer and several other associates are being investigated for financial transactions dating back several years.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Sweden: Desperate Homeschooling Parents Plead for Help—hope Court Will Hear Case

Family’s Attorney Says: “Let Them Know the World is Watching.”

Annie and Christer Johansson’s appeal to the Supreme Court of Sweden may be their last hope to see their son again. They haven’t seen him in nearly three years.

The family was on board Turkish Air Flight 990 on June 25, 2009 when their 7-year-old son Domenic was snatched from them by armed Swedish police. The police were ordered to seize the boy based on the fact that he had been homeschooled, even though school had already ended for the year. The family was moving permanently to India, Annie’s home country.

In December 2012, a Swedish appeals court overturned a lower court ruling in favor of the parents and ordered the guardianship of Domenic transferred to an appointed third party. The ruling effectively terminated Annie and Christer’s parental rights over Domenic, who has now been in a foster home for nearly four years. The strain of the forced separation is inflicting unbearable pain and pressure on the family who still live on the same island just miles from where their son lives—yet they are not permitted to have any contact with him whatsoever.

Plead with the Court

HSLDA is asking homeschooling and concerned parents from all over the world to join in a letter-writing campaign to plead with the Swedish Supreme Court to take the case and to return Domenic to his parents.

Ruby Harrold-Claesson, the attorney for the family, told HSLDA that it is important that the Swedish government know that they are being watched.

“Let them know the world is watching,” Harrold-Claesson told HSLDA. “I think that it is positive that the Justices at the Supreme Court should know that the world is watching them. Shower them with emails, inundate their fax with letters. Everything—email or fax—that is sent to the court has to be registered and made available for public scrutiny.”

Michael Donnelly, HSLDA’s director for international affairs, has been working with the family since 2009 and says this may be their last hope.

“If the Swedish Supreme Court does not intervene it is likely they will never see their son again. It is like a death sentence, except that Domenic is alive and just a few miles away from his mother. The strain on her is becoming unbearable. She is having increasingly frequent physical and mental breakdowns. I fear for her life,” Donnelly said.

“Brutal” Case

Michael Farris, HSLDA’s chairman and an international human rights attorney, says the case is among the most brutal he has ever seen.

“Sweden’s actions in this case are inexplicable,” said Farris. “The taking of this child for homeschooling and while the family was moving out of the country is an egregious violation of basic human rights and international law standards. Sweden is a party to numerous treaties that require them to respect the rights of parents to make education decisions and to leave the country if they choose. This is a dangerous precedent if permitted to stand.”

HSLDA’s President J. Michael Smith said that there is no known reason for Sweden’s behavior in the case.

“Based on the review of available documentation of this case, we don’t know of anything that would justify either the long-term separation of the family or the termination of their parental rights. There is no doubt that this family needs help,” he said.

Ruby Harrold-Claesson is a noted international human rights attorney who has dedicated her life to fighting what she describes as the brutal Swedish social services system.

“These are Good Parents”

“The evidence was overwhelming in favor of the Johanssons, and that is why the district court found in their favor,” she said. “These are good parents who were taking good care of their son. This is an unbelievable case of overreaching on the part of Gotland’s politicians. It is despicable that the Swedish courts—with the exception of the district court—have been willing to back up the social workers in this case.”

Harrold-Claesson said that the system contains perverse financial incentives for foster parents and social authorities which have resulted in Sweden having among the highest rate of child removals in Europe. Harrold-Claesson heads the Nordic Committee for Human Rights and together with 31 law professionals, she has submitted a report to the Council of Europe and the United Nations Child Committee asking for an investigation into these human rights abuses.

“Sweden has a horrible system. They take children to feed a bureaucratic machine of foster homes based on subsidies. They impose their will on vulnerable families who don’t have the resources to fight back, and most lawyers don’t dare to challenge the system for fear of their career. Even the Swedish so-called justice system is stacked against the families, since they can’t even choose their own lawyer but have to accept one who is paid by the state and has no incentive whatsoever to fight aggressively on their behalf. It is absolute madness and injustice,” she said.

HSLDA hopes a letter-writing campaign will get the court’s attention and help them distinguish this case from the thousands they receive. A letter-writing campaign will encourage the court to pay closer attention to this case. Courts are busy, and so often cases like this to the Supreme Court are dismissed without a thorough evaluation.

           — Hat tip: TI [Return to headlines]

UK: ‘Climbdown’ On Libel Reforms Amid Claims New Laws Are Strangling Free Speech

Ministers engineered a partial climbdown over plans to reform Britain’s libel laws last night amid claims that they are strangling free speech.

The Ministry of Justice said it would listen to complaints that the plans will allow big companies to silence their critics.

MPs rejected plans passed by the House of Lords which would have made it impossible for a company to sue unless they could show that they have suffered significant financial loss.

But Justice Minister Helen Grant last night offered to look again at the issue of financial losses — hinting that the government would bring in a fresh amendment in the House of Lords next week to strengthen the safeguards.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Crayford Rally Over ‘Sexist and Offensive Signs’ At Mosque

A PROTEST date has been fixed by a new right-wing organisation over “sexist and offensive” signs at a Crayford mosque.

Members of the England National Resistance (ENR) are angry the North West Kent Muslim Association’s mosque in Crayford High Street has separate entrances for men and women. The rally, arranged by former BNP councillor for Swanley Paul Golding, was due to take place on April 6. However it was postponed due to the lack of notice and it clashing with a march in Brighton…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Deranged Arsonist Who Came to UK After Being Released From Latvian Mental Hospital Dragged Student, 23, Under a Bridge and Tried to Rape Her

[WARNING: ** Disturbing Content **]

A dangerous arsonist left his mental institution in Latvia and travelled to Britain where he carried out a terrifying sex attack on a student.

Deranged Rolands Brize, 25, dragged his terrified victim under a bridge where he tried to rape her as she walked home from a nightclub, a court heard.

Police responding to a frantic 999 call from the 23-year-old found Brize still trying to have sex with her and dragged the Latvian off her, in Hull, East Yorkshire.

Hull Crown Court heard Brize was a long-term patient in a mental health institute in the Baltic state after burning down his family home. He came to England but re-entered the institute when he went back to Latvia. On his release, he returned and settled in Hull.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Five Appear in Court Charged With Election Fraud

FOUR women and a man have appeared in court as part of an investigation into allegations of fraud during elections in Derby last year.

Cousins Tameena Ali, 27, and Samra Ali, 28, their aunt, Nasreen Akhtar, 46, and Noshiela Maqsood, 23, who is no relation, appeared at Southern Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court.

With them yesterday was Mohammed Akbar, 69.

Tameena Ali and Samra Ali, both of St Chad’s Road, have been charged with personation, and Akhtar, of Rosehill Street, with misconduct in a public office.

Maqsood, of Holcombe Street, was charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice and Akbar, of Rosehill Street, with perverting the course of justice.

The women were seen wrapping head scarves around their faces before they left court so their features could not be seen as they did so.

A police spokesman previously said the alleged fraud had taken place in the Arboretum Ward.

It is alleged to have taken place during the local elections, which were held across the city on May 3.

The spokeswoman said it was alleged that “three of the women, the two Alis and Akhtar, had worked together to cast fraudulent votes at the polling station in Rosehill Street, Normanton”.

She said the force was unable to say whether the arrest of Akbar, on Friday, marked the end of their investigations.

All five accused will appear at Derby Crown Court on Monday, April 29.

District Judge Joanne Alderson imposed two bail conditions on the accused.

She said they should not “contact directly or indirectly any of the prosecution witnesses in this case”, and that they must “surrender their passports to a police station and not apply for any travel documents”.

The judge pointed out that personation was an either-way offence, meaning that it could be dealt with at a magistrates’ or Crown court.

But she added that all the charges were “intrinsically linked” and should be dealt with at the same time and place.

At last year’s elections, the Arboretum ward was a gain for Labour as Gulfraz Nawaz received 1,757 votes.

Tullah Khan, of the Liberal Democrats, received 1,743; Simon Hales, of the Green Party, 248; and Ross McCristal, from the Conservatives, 186.


1. “personation” , legally, is pretending to be someone else at an election. I once encountered that ..

2. One of the defendants, Akhtar, apparently worked for Derby City Council and was officially involved in the election. This article doesn’t make that clear.

Mohammed co-efficient of 20% (perhaps 40%?) ]

           — Hat tip: Bewick [Return to headlines]

UK: James Harding to be New BBC Director of News

A BBC source tells me that James Harding is the BBC’s new Director of News. There is no official confirmation yet, but it makes sense. Just a few months ago, he quit as editor of The Times — with the praise of Fleet St ringing in his ears and a £1.3 million payout in his pocket…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Leicester Investigates Islamic Society Over Gender Segregation

The University of Leicester has launched an investigation into a public lecture held by its student Islamic society after pictures of signs at the event suggested that men and women were encouraged to sit separately.

More than 100 students attended the sold out event about the existence of God. The talk — which took place in February — was led by Islamic speaker Hamza Tzortzis, who tours and speaks at many universities. Photographs have appeared on the internet showing the signs at the entrance of the event. Somebody had attached two sheets of A4 paper to a door — one read “Brothers (males)” and the other “Sisters (females)”, with arrows pointing in opposite directions.

On their website, the University of Leicester Islamic Society states: “All our lectures are, as we believe should be, free and open to the public (with segregated seating for brothers and sisters at all co-attended events).” The university said in a statement it was not aware of people being forced to sit in any particular seats but would “investigate whether entrances to the hall for this event were segregated by the society and will ensure there is no recurrence of this”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Margaret Thatcher: The Funeral Order of Service

The ceremonial funeral for Lady Thatcher at St Paul’s Cathedral on Wednesday will be a momentous occasion attended by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh

The Funeral Service of The Right Honourable The Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven LG, OM, FRS

Wednesday 17 April 2013, 11am at St Paul’s Cathedral

What we call the beginning is often the end
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from.
We die with the dying:
See, they depart, and we go with them.
We are born with the dead:
See, they return, and bring us with them.
The moment of the rose and the moment of the yew-tree
Are of equal duration. A people without history
Is not redeemed from time, for history is a pattern
Of timeless moments. So, while the light fails
On a winter’s afternoon, in a secluded chapel
History is now and England.
With the drawing of this Love and the voice of this Calling
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

‘Little Gidding’ (1942) from Four Quartets – T. S. Eliot (1888-1965)


           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Police Surgery at Southampton Mosque

POLICE made history when they opening their first neighbourhood surgery — at one of Southampton’s mosques.

PC Keith Burgess will provide a listening ear once a month at Abu Bakr Masjid in Argyle Road where 1,200 Muslims worship. The Newtown and Nichols Town neighbourhood area bobby launched the initiative at last week’s Friday prayers before setting up base in an office upstairs for people to discuss crime, security and community matters in confidence…

[JP note: Slowly but surely, the British police force is morphing into our very own Sharia-Protective and Keepers-of-Holy-Peace Corps.]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: The Lost Tribes of British Politics — Day 3: The Labour Left and the Palaeo-Socialists

Just because New Labour is done for it doesn’t mean that Old Labour is back in the game. That much was made clear when the Labour left tried to organise a challenge to Gordon Brown’s coronation in 2007 — but couldn’t even get enough nominations to force an election. You might think that Labour doesn’t need a left: it’s mainstream is quite capable of bankrupting Britain on its own. But, to be fair, there is a sizeable chunk of non-totalitarian territory between, say, Ed Balls and outright Communism…

[JP note: See also ]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Ten Years for ‘Wicked’ Hotel Porter Who Raped a Celebrity Guest After Sneaking Into Her Bedroom While She Slept

[WARNING: ** Disturbing Content **]

A television star was raped in her hotel room by an Indian porter who was awaiting deportation, a court heard yesterday.

Soby John, 25, was jailed for ten years after admitting breaking into the victim’s room at a top London hotel and forcing himself on her as she slept, in what the judge described as a ‘wicked’ attack.

The star had been drinking heavily in a West End club with friends that evening and was ‘unable to defend herself’.

John, who was living in Wembley, had entered the UK on a student visa but it had expired and he was due to be deported back to India.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Bosnia: Church Near Srebrenica Mass Grave ‘A Provocation’

US calls on Serbs to desist from building church near Potocari

(ANSAmed) — SARAJEVO, APRIL 16 — The US Embassy in Sarajevo on Tuesday called on authorities from the Republika Srpska (RS — a Serbian-majority enclave in Bosnia) and from the Serbian Orthodox church to desist from building a church next to a recently excavated mass grave and in close proximity to the Potocari cemetery and memorial to the 8,000 Bosnian Muslim victims of a 1995 massacre carried out by Serbian forces in Srebrenica.

“Building a church far from residential areas but close to a mass grave and to a memorial to the victims of genocide in Srebrenica, is a provocation and does not serve to satisfy the legitimate needs of the faithful”, the US embassy said in a communique.

Srebrenica municipality had extended an offer for other plots of land for the church that were closer to the Orthodox community of Dugo Polje village, the communique pointed out.

The Muslim mayor of Srebrenica, Camil Durakovic, said the town had stopped construction of the church, but the decision was annulled by the RS authorities, of which Srebenica is now part. Construction resumed this morning, the mayor said, undermining the last years’ efforts at reconciliation.

“This is an attempt to create the impression that we are against churches, which is not true. In spite of everything, the Orthodox church in the middle of Srebenica was not touched once, even during the war”, Durakovic said.

Several Muslim donors have offered to contribute funds to the building of the church if it is built near where Serbs live, and where it is actually needed, the mayor pointed out.

The Potocari cemetery houses 5,693 tombs of genocide victims, exhumed from 74 mass graves that have been found so far, and identified through DNA testing. Another 188 identified victims have been buried elsewhere on the families’ request.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Serbia: Export Weapons Worth 100 Million Dollars to Libya

(ANSAmed) — BELGRADE, APRIL 17 — The Zastava Arms Company from Kragujevac is preparing a major business arrangement with Libya, within which it should export infantry weapons to this country over the next two to three years in the value of 100 million dollars. Kragujevac has already received confirmation that the state will, through the SDPR Jugoimport Company, soon sign a contract with the Libyan Defense Ministry on the export. The well informed sources say that large contingents of snipers M-84, automatic rifles M-21, grenade launchers and far-range snipers “Black Arrow” and other infantry weapons will be exported to Libya. It is possible for the weapons to be a compensation for a part of the oil debt which Serbia has towards Libya, states the Belgrade daily “Danas”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Egypt: An Islamic Declaration of War on Christianity

by Raymond Ibrahim

While it is easy to confuse the recent jihadi attack on Egypt’s St. Mark Cathedral in Cairo as just more of the usual, this attack has great symbolic significance, and in many ways bodes great evil for Egypt’s millions of Christians.

Consider some facts: St. Mark Cathedral—named after the author of the Gospel of the same name who brought Christianity to Egypt some 600 years before Amr bin al-As brought Islam with the sword—is not simply “just another” Coptic church to be attacked and/or set aflame by a Muslim mob (see my forthcoming book, Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians, for a comprehensive idea of past and present Muslim attacks on Coptic churches). Instead, it is considered the most sacred building for millions of Christians around the world—above and beyond the many millions of Copts in and out of Egypt. As the only apostolic see in the entire continent of Africa, its significance and evangelizing mission extends to the entire continent, including nations such as Sudan, Ethiopia, Libya, Tunisia, Morocco, and Algeria, to name just a few. As an apostolic see—the actual seat of an apostle of Christ—the cathedral further possesses historical significance for Christianity in general…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Egypt: Court Sentences Killer of Salafi to 15 Years

An Alexandria criminal court ruled on Tuesday to sentence police officer Osama al-Kneesy, who was charged with killing al-Sayed Bilal, to 15 years in prison. Kneesy had asked the court for a retrial after being sentenced, in absentia, to life-imprisonment over his complicity, along with a number of other police officers, in the killing of Bilal. Bilal, a Salafi (ultraconservative), who was arrested following a church explosion that left over 20 people killed at the beginning of 2011 (before an uprising toppled Hosni Mubarak), was tortured to death during his detention…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Morocco Cancels Joint Military Drills With U.S. Army

RABAT, April 17 (Xinhua) — Morocco cancelled a joint military exercise with the United States, the local press reported on Wednesday. Dubbed “African Lion” and scheduled starting on Wednesday, the drills, with participation of 1,400 U.S. Marines and 900 Moroccan soldiers, was designed to improve interoperability and mutual understanding of each nation’s military tactics, techniques and procedures.

According to Akhbare Alyoum newspaper and Lakome website, Morocco canceled the drills in retaliation to U.S. intention to present into vote at the UN next Wednesday a proposal to expand the mandate of the UN Mission in western Sahara MINURSO to monitoring human rights issues. “Morocco rejects any proposals to expand the mandate of the MINURSO or establish an alternative international mechanism for monitoring human rights in the southern provinces,” Moroccan Foreign Minister Saad Dine El Otmani said on Tuesday. The maneuvers have been a part of an annual joint exercise carried out since the 1990s.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Eilat Rocket Strike: Israeli City Hit From Sinai

At least two rockets have hit the southern Israeli city of Eilat.

Police said the rockets had landed in open areas, without causing damage or injury. The Israeli military said they were fired from Sinai in Egypt.

Warning sirens went off just before the rockets hit. The city’s airport has been closed and security tightened.

Eilat, a popular tourist destination on the Red Sea, has previously been hit by rockets fired by militants in neighbouring Egypt and Jordan.

The Egyptian military said it was investigating the incident.

Hours after the attack, a small militant Salafi group, the Mujahedeen Shura Council, said it had fired two Grad rockets at “occupied Eilat”, in a statement carried on jihadist websites.

About 50,000 people live in Eilat, and tens of thousands of holidaymakers visit every year.

The Israeli military said an Iron Dome anti-rocket battery — designed to intercept short-range missiles — which was positioned near Eilat earlier this month was not deployed in the latest attack.

There were several rocket attacks on the city last year, though no injuries were caused.

Most of the rockets were fired from Sinai, which has become increasingly lawless since the revolution which toppled former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

Islamic militant groups have grown in strength there and have used it as a base from which to target Israel across the lengthy shared border.

           — Hat tip: MC [Return to headlines]

Jihad Terror Group Claims ‘Credit’ For Eilat Rocket Attack

A Salafi Muslim jihadist group has claimed responsibility for Wednesday morning’s rocket attack on the Israeli Red Sea resort city of Eilat.

“The lions of the Mujahedeen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem managed to target occupied Eilat with two Grad rockets on the morning of April 17, and withdrew safely,” a statement posted on jihadist web sites said. There were no details indicating the site from where the rockets had been launched, AFP reported.

However, a spokesperson for the Israel Defense Force said the rocket fire had been traced to Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, a region which has become a hotbed of terrorist activity since the fall in 2011 of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Egyptian military said it was still checking the source of the rocket fire. “We are still investigating to see if they were delivered from Egyptian territories but nothing is confirmed yet,” a senior military official told AFP.

The two rockets slammed into the city of Eilat at about 9:00 a.m. Wednesday, one exploding in the back yard of a private home, the other landing in an open area.

Although a number of people suffered severe anxiety and shock as a result of the attack, no one was physically injured and no property damage was reported…

           — Hat tip: MC [Return to headlines]

Sinai Powderkeg, Alarm Over Al Qaeda Infiltration

Rockets hit Eilat, Egypt seeks to reassure Israel

(ANSAmed) — CAIRO, APRIL 17 — Rocket launching at the Israeli city of Eilat by a Sinai-based jihadist group indicates the situation in the Egyptian peninsula bordering the two countries is becoming ever more explosive. The Sinai has gained a reputation for being a no-man’s land, subject to raids by Salafi cells and jihadists in the north and Bedouin tribes involved in trafficking in the south. There are six main extremist organizations operating in the Sinai, including the Partisans of Jerusalem, whose armed wing Majlis Shura al Mujahideen (Consultative Council of the Mujahideen) has said it was behind the attacks on Eilat, a popular Israeli seaside resort town on the Red Sea. The groups are linked with Palestinian Salafis in the Gaza Strip. Jihadist cells — including ones linked to Al Qaeda — have gained an ever larger foothold in northern Sinai since Egypt’s January 25, 2011 uprising, which coincided with a collapse of security across the entire country. Local sources say that many of the jihadists now in the Sinai escaped from Egyptian prisons in the tumultuous days of the uprising which put an end to the thirty-year rule of Hosni Mubarak. Security in the Sinai has been made even more fragile by clauses in the country’s peace treaty with Israel, which calls for partial demilitarization of the zone. Despite these limitations and after a temporary exception approved by Israel, the Egyptian armed forces have stepped up their presence and their numbers in the zone since August 2012, after an attack on a border post in which 16 Egyptian border guards lost their lives. Worsening the situation is weapons trafficking from Libya, which crosses through Egypt and is directed towards the Gaza Strip, where Hamas is in power.

Southern Sinai instead has some of Egypt’s most well-known beach resorts. Bedouins have for some time been known to kidnap foreigners and tourists for ransom money or to exchange them for relatives and friends being held in Egyptian jails (often on drug trafficking charges). The dangerous direction in the Sinai seems to be taking is sparking ever greater alarm in Israel. Netanyahu’s government opted to build a ‘security barrier’ along the Egyptian border months ago. After the Wednesday attack, President Morsi and the Egyptian armed forces sought to quell the concerns of their ‘neighbors’, stressing that Israel should not see Egypt as a threat.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Vatican Moves Forward on Family Center in Nazareth

Multi-million-euro project the brainchild of John Paul II

(ANSA) — Vatican City, April 16 — John Paul II’s long-awaited family center in Nazareth is about to get off the ground, according to the Vatican on Tuesday. The 12-million-euro structure has been on paper since the late pope first announced his plan to build it in 1997 at World Family Day in Rio de Janeiro. But flare-ups in regional violence around the town Jesus called home forced organizers to suspend their efforts. Now the Vatican says the International Family Center of Nazareth should be built in two and a half years.

“It will be a center for family spirituality, a permanent observatory for pastoring families and offering material support to families in need,” said Bishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the pontifical council for the family. The bishop of Nazareth, Giacinto Marcuzzo, said the project could be an instrument for peace in the region. “Peace between states, peoples and religions begins with peace within the individual and the family,” he said. (photo: John Paul II in Rio de Janeiro, 1997)

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Jordan May Have Also Been Struck in Rocket Attack

The Jordanian port city of Aqaba may also have been struck Wednesday morning in a rocket attack launched from Sinai.

Security personnel in the Jordanian city, which faces its Israeli counterpart, Eilat, said on condition of anonymity that two rockets exploded in the city, according to a report broadcast on Israel’s Army Radio.

Official Jordanian sources denied the report. “All military and security services in Aqaba have confirmed that nothing happened in Aqaba,” Amer Sartawi, spokesman for the Public Security Department, told AFP. “It was only on the other side.”

The attack came at about the same time two rockets slammed into Israel’s Red Sea resort town. One of the rockets landed in the back yard of a private home.

The second rocket exploded in an open area, authorities said. A number of residents and others suffered shock following the sound of multiple explosions, which came at about 9:00 a.m.

No physical injuries or property damage were reported.

An Iron Dome anti-missile battery deployed on the outskirts of the city did not activate, though it is not clear why.

“Due to operational circumstances the battery located in the area did not intercept the incoming rockets,” a source told AFP, but gave no further explanation.

Eilat was also struck by rocket fire a number of times last year in attacks launched from Sinai, at least one of which was claimed by an Islamist group calling itself Ansar Jerusalem.

Authorities ordered a temporary closure of the local Eilat airport as a safety precaution, and a flight to the area from Ben Gurion International Airport was canceled.

However, schools in Israel’s southernmost Negev city remained opened despite the rocket fire.

The Iron Dome battery has been in place on the outskirts of Eilat since the beginning of the month in anticipation of exactly such an attack.

Military sources said the growing lawlessness and increase of terrorist bases in the Sinai Peninsula all pointed to the need for deployment of an anti-missile system in the area.

           — Hat tip: MC [Return to headlines]

Noble Considers Pipeline From Israel to Turkey

(ANSAmed) — ISTANBUL, APRIL 15 — US energy firm Noble Energy has stated that the company has already started to work on possibilities to launch an energy project between Turkey and Israel, regional powers who have recently normalized their ties, as Today’s Zaman reported. The Texas-based Noble Energy owns 36% share of the natural gas discovered in the Tamar field off Israel’s Mediterranean shores in 2009. Company CEO Charles Davidson has said that the possibilities are being elaborated by the company to pipe the newly discovered Israeli gas to Turkey. “We are targeting two-fold growth in the upcoming five years. We are planning to double our production as well as our reserves and cash flow,” Davidson said during a trip to Israel, while commenting on the company’s outlook. Prior to his visit to Israel, Davidson traveled to teh Republic of Cyprus and said the company prefers first to liquefy the natural gas in plants on the island and then export it as liquefied natural gas (LNG). The Cyprus’ government stated in late March that they are seeking financial support to build energy infrastructure such as the facilities to convert the gas into LNG. Israel has suggested that Nicosia build such a plant to process both Cypriot and Israeli natural gas, the latter of which has been discovered in even bigger quantities in nearby waters. Cyprus reported its first natural gas discovery in December, when Noble Energy said it had discovered an estimated 5 to 8 trillion cubic feet in a block south of the island. Davidson said that the discovered gas reserves go beyond the needs of both Israel and Cyprus and estimated that initial drilling, scheduled to begin in June, will last 75-90 days. He also said that economic difficulties in Cyprus have not hurt gas operations on the island, and if anything, have even accelerated them. Cyprus signed a deal with Noble Energy in 2008 offering the US-based firm a right to explore the offshore block.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Syria: Lavrov Cites Concerns Over Al Qaeda-Linked Groups

Ahead of Saturday’s Friends of Syria meeting in Istanbul

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, APRIL 17 — Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, said on Wednesday that he is “very concerned” over the role that jihadist groups linked to Al Qaeda play in the anti-Assad uprising in Syria. Lavrov, who took part in a Turkey-Russia cooperation summit in Istanbul and had talks with his Turkish counterpart, Ahmet Davutoglu, on the issue of Syria, warned against greater external military involvement in the Syrian crisis, saying it would strengthen the jihadist groups further. Last week Jahbat Al Nusra publicly stated their affiliation with Al Qaeda. Jihadist groups are believed to have been behind the kidnapping of four Italian journalists in early April in northern Syria.

On Saturday a meeting will be held in Istanbul of the Friends of Syria group, which is made up of 10 Arab and Western nations, including Italy, that support the uprising. U.S.

Secretary of State John Kerry will also be taking part. Lavrov once again criticized the “negative” role played by the Friends of Syria group on Wednesday.

“Right now we see this process is making a negative contribution to the [Geneva] decisions,” Lavrov told reporters after meeting with Davutoglu, referring to a 2012 accord among world powers in Geneva aimed at solving the Syria conflict through talks involving all parties. He said that dialogue is impossible “when one party is isolated in any mechanism set up to deal with a conflict”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Tears Don’t Protect Against Murder

After serving a few years in prison for his role in the Munich Massacre, Willi Pohl moved to Beirut. The brief sentence was a slap in the wrist, but Pohl had still served more time in prison than the Muslim gunmen who had murdered eleven Israeli athletes and coaches during the 1972 Summer Olympics. Mohammed Safady and the Al-Gashey cousins were released after a few months by the German authorities.

They went back to Lebanon and so did he.

A decade after the attack, Willi Pohl had begun making a name for himself as a crime novelist. His first novel was Tränen Schützen Nicht vor Mord or Tears Do Not Protect Against Murder.

While Pohl was penning crime novels, Israeli operatives had already absorbed the lessons of his first title. Tears, whether in 1939 or 1972, had not done anything to prevent the murder of Jews. Bullets were another matter.

The head of Black September in Rome was the first to die, followed by a string of PLO leaders across Europe. Those attacks were followed by raids on the mansions and apartments of top Fatah officials in the same city where Pohl had found temporary refuge. By the time his first book was published, hundreds of PLO terrorists and officials were dead.

European law enforcement had failed to hold even the actual perpetrators of the Munich Massacre responsible, never mind the representatives of the PLO who openly mingled with red radicals in its capitals. Israeli operatives did what the German judicial system had failed to do, putting down Safady and one of the Al-Gasheys, while the other one hid out with Colonel Gaddafi in Libya.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Three Men Deported From Saudi Arabia for Being ‘Too Irresistible to Women’

Three men were forcibly ejected from a cultural festival in Saudi Arabia amid concerns they were ‘too handsome’ for women to resist.

Religious police in the conservative Islamic kingdom removed the trio, all from the United Arab Emirates, from the Jenadrivah Heritage and Culture Festival in Riyadh on Sunday.

The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vices in Saudi — where there are strict rules governing interaction between men and women who aren’t related — had the men deported back to Abu Dhabi in case women should ‘fall for them’.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Turkish Police Detain 60 Students in University Clash

ISTANBUL, April 16 (Xinhua) — Turkish police detained 60 students involved in a fight at Istanbul University, local media Today’s Zaman reported Tuesday. The report said the fight broke out at the university’s Beyazt Campus between two groups of students with opposing ideological views. They attacked each other with stones and sticks…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

15 Killed, Over 45 Injured in Suicide Blast in NW Pakistan

ISLAMABAD, April 16 (Xinhua) — At least 15 people were killed and over 45 others injured in a suicide blast that targeted a political gathering of Awami National Party (ANP) in Pakistan’s northwest Peshawar city on Tuesday night, local media reported. Local Urdu TV channel Geo TV said that a suicide bomber blew up himself near the car of ANP’s leader Haroon Bilaur as soon as he left it to address the public…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

16 Injured in Explosion in Southern India

NEW DELHI, Apr. 17 (Xinhua) — At least 16 people were injured in an explosion near India’s main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party’s office in the southern state of Karnataka’s capital Bengaluru Wednesday, a senior police official said.

“The explosion shook the office of the party, in power in Karnataka, in Malleshwaram area. Half of the injured were policemen deployed in the area. All those hurt have been admitted to a local hospital where the condition of some are said to be serious. Several vehicles have been damaged in the explosion,” he said, on condition of anonymity.

Though the exact cause of the explosion is yet to be determined, the police have ruled out any terror angle. “This was an explosion. Investigations have begun. It is an explosion. There was a motorcycle next to the van. It seems to be an incendiary bomb which was placed on the motorcycle,” Bengaluru Police chief Raghavendra H. Auradkar told the media.

Meanwhile, a forensic team and sleuths from the newly formed National Investigative Authority have rushed to the spot.

The explosion came just days before the state is to go for assembly polls slated for May 5.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Afghanistan: The Soldiers’ View

By the end of 2014 most British and American troops will have left Afghanistan. Since the start of operations there in 2001,441 British and at least 2,070 US Military personnel have lost their lives. The original war aims were to remove the Talibanand stop Al Qaeda using Afghanistan as a base. Did they succeed? Has it been worth it? Here’s what soldiers themselves had to say to a journalist from Esquire magazine (UK edition, February 2013)…

           — Hat tip: Steen [Return to headlines]

Bangladesh Simmers as Islamic Conservatives and Progressives Clash

As popularity of rightwing party Hefazat-e-Islam grows, millions of female garment workers increasingly fear for their jobs

Six mornings a week, Tania Akhter leaves her home in the Banasri Ullah Para neighbourhood in the north of Dhaka, the Bangladeshi capital, for the garments factory where she stitches jackets and trousers to be sold on western high streets. The journey takes the 23-year-old through a simmering city. Protests and clashes in Dhaka and elsewhere in the country have diminished in recent weeks but with about 100 dead and thousands injured, tensions remain high. A series of “shutdowns” have been enforced by political groups, more are threatened and many fear violence will flare again…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Make Way for the Rajasaurus: India Launches Its First Theme Park (With Not a Disney Character in Sight)

India’s first entertainment theme park will be launched on Thursday near Mumbai with a series of rides based on Bollywood films, Hindu Gods, Mughal forts and a dubious subcontinental dinosaur — and not a single Hollywood cartoon character in sight.

Adlabs Imagica, spread over 300 acres on a site between India’s film and commerce capital and the retirement town of Pune, is India’s answer to Disney’s recent statement that the iconic Hollywood brand would never build a theme park in India because the country’s infrastructure was not yet ready to meet its standards…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Pakistan: Faisalabad: Muslim Leaders Defend Young Christian Against False Blasphemy Accusations

Philip Masih was accused of removing a poster on a shop wall by a Muslim neighbour who got armed men together to punish the alleged blasphemer. The police and the authorities successfully prevented a violent escalation. The two had argued before and the Muslim man wanted revenge.

Faisalabad (AsiaNews) — Philips Masih, a 19-year-old Christian man, and his family are still in hiding at a safe house, following blasphemy charges brought against him, but his case appears to be ending on a positive note thanks to the intervention of police and some Muslim leaders. The Masihs will remain in hiding since Islamic extremist groups vowed reprisals until the situation has calmed down. Based on past experiences with the ‘black’ law, security forces have increased controls and deployed agents in riot gear to prevent possible attacks or anti-Christian pogroms.

The case in question began last Saturday in Daudnagar, Faisalabad (Punjab), scene of a serious anti-Christian incident in 2010 in which two Protestant clergymen, Revs Rashid Emmanuel and Sajid Emmanuel, were shot dead by extremist gunmen outside a courthouse where they were on trial for blasphemy.

This time, the victim of the ‘black law’ was a shopkeeper, Philip Masih, who sells electric material. He was accused of blasphemy by one of his neighbours, Muhammad Jameel, because he had tried to remove the poster (pictured) of a Muslim conference from a wall in his store. When the Christian man began to take the notice down, Jameel told him to stop and went out to get some armed Muslims to strike at him.

Only the timely intervention of the police prevented a mass attack against the Christian minority. Agents in fact took Masih and his family to a safe place where they have been hiding for the past four days.

Meanwhile, Muhammad Jameel and his acolytes tried to file a complaint against the young Christian man based on Article 295 B of the Pakistan Penal Code.

However, as a result of the testimony of some local residents and the decisive intervention of Islamic religious leaders, including Muhammad Rehan, who is a member of the local Committee for Interfaith Dialogue, and Mufti Muhammad Zia Madni, the charges were dropped.

From the investigation, it appears that Philips Masih and Muhammad Jameel had had a disagreement. The Christian man was renting commercial space owned by the Muslim man, which he used his store. However, he was forced to close because he was late in paying the rent.

When he finally came up with the rent money, he took all his stuff from the store and complained to the owner for loss business. The latter did not take it very well and an argument broke out between the two.

Jeol Aamir Sahotra, a Christian and a former member of the Provincial Assembly, spoke to AsiaNews about the incident, condemning it and all those “who use the blasphemy law for personal gain.”

At the same time, he wanted to thank “Muslim religious leaders, the local administration and police for settling the matter in a peaceful manner.”

Remembering Shahbaz Bhatti’s sacrifice and the fate of Asia Bibi, who is still in jail pending appeal, the Christian politician noted that he is still the object of death threats because of his fight against the ‘black law’. Despite it though, the government has recently decided to take away his escort.

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

Pressure Cookers Have Been Used to Hide IEDs in Afghanistan for Years

With news that the bombs used in yesterday’s attack on the Boston Marathon were encased in six-liter pressure cookers, we’ve got our first clue about the tech that played a role in this attack. Reports of pressure cookers being used as bombs go back to at least the 1990s when they were first used by Maoists in Nepal during the civil war there, and they are still used in the mountain nation with alarming frequency. (In fact, do a quick Google search and you’ll see that pressure cooker bombs are found all the time in South Asia from Nepal to Malaysia.)

By the 2000s, such weapons were being found across the region at terrorist camps on the frontier of Afghanistan and Pakistan. This 2004 warning from the Department of Homeland Security says that “a technique commonly taught in Afghan terrorist training camps is the use/conversion of pressure cookers into IEDs…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Thai Ranger Wounded in Restive South

BANGKOK, April 17 (Xinhua) — One paramilitary ranger was critically injured when gunmen attacked a security checkpoint in restive southern province of Narathiwat’s Si Sakhon district, Bangkok Post online reported on Wednesday. Pol Col Payong Sanukul, chief of Si Sakhon police station, said gunmen opened fire on the checkpoint in Si Sakhon late Tuesday night while 12 police, rangers and defence volunteers were on duty. The security team fired back and the attackers threw four M19A1 grenades at them before withdrawing. Only three of the grenades exploded…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Australia a Target for ‘Ideological Terrorist Attacks’

Australia’s new ambassador for counter-terrorism says the country remains a significant target for terrorists motivated by ideology, simply because it is a liberal Western country.

In an interview conducted before today’s fatal events in Boston, Bill Fisher said while the intelligence community was certainly focused on potential threats at home, it was increasingly concerned about the targeting of Australians and Australian companies operating overseas…

[JP note: See also ]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Nigeria: Boko Haram — FG Tasks Northern Leaders

The Federal Government, Tuesday, asked Northern leaders to take a cue from the Niger Delta leaders who went to the creeks at the height of insecurity in the region to persuade militants to drop their arms and accept the amnesty programme. Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mr. Labaru Maku, gave this challenge at a briefing on the forthcoming stakeholders’ conference and maiden meeting of the council on Niger Delta in Uyo, adding that northern leaders have vital roles to play in halting insecurity occasioned by activities of Boko Haram in the region…

[JP note: Up a creek without a paddle.]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Nigeria: 10 Killed in Clash Between Christians and Muslims in Plateau

Leaders in two villages in Plateau State say at least 10 people have been killed in attacks between the Christians and Muslims living there.

The killings began over the weekend between the Jukun people of Plateau state, a Muslim ethnic group, and the Tarok people, who are Christian. A community leader for the Junkun, Jawka Baba, said late Monday the Tarok burned down homes in his village and killed six people. Jongle Lohbut, a Tarok community leader, said four people were killed by the Jukun. A military spokesman said he was aware of the fighting between the two groups…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Somalia: PM Says ‘Foreign Involvement’ In Mogadishu Courthouse Massacre

Mogadishu — Security sources in Mogadishu stated that among the dead Al Shabaab fighters who laid siege to a Mogadishu courthouse that left more than 30 dead on Sunday, was a Canadian national, Garowe Online reports…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Magnetic Death Leaves Earth-Like Exoplanets Dried Out

Seemingly habitable exoplanets may be missing their magnetic shielding, leaving them exposed to damaging radiation.

To support life as we know it, planets need thick, water-rich atmospheres and liquid surface water. These conditions have so far only been hinted at, based mostly on a planet’s distance from its star.

But water can get blasted away by stellar winds unless the planet has a strong magnetic field, point out Jorge Zuluaga at the University of Antioquia in Colombia and colleagues. Mars and Venus do not have magnetic fields, and it is thought that stellar winds stripped away the bulk of Mars’s atmosphere, while Venus’s was left with mostly carbon dioxide, making it toxic.

A magnetic field would also protect a planet’s surface inhabitants from dangerous stellar radiation.

Cooling period

A churning molten core helps to generate a magnetic field, so the team calculated how long it would take a rocky planet to cool so much that this magnetic dynamo stopped working.

They then checked three well-known exoplanets thought to be potentially habitable: Gliese 581dMovie Camera, HD 40307g and GJ 667Cc. The first two might have magnetic fields just barely strong enough, they found, but the third is doomed.

Zuluaga therefore stresses the importance of considering magnetic fields when thinking about whether a planet would be a good place to live. “If we want to evaluate as well as possible the habitability of a planet, we need that information, not only the distance to the star.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Nancy Menges & Luis Fleischman: Challenges Continue After Maduro’s Election in Venezuela

According to results reported by the national Elections Committee of Venezuela (CNE), Nicolas Maduro, Chavez’s chosen successor and protege, won the Venezuelan presidential election by a skimpy margin of less than 2%. Once again the Chavistas won because they took advantage of huge state resources that include mass media, intimidation of public employees and the use of the oil giant, PDVSA, to fund their political campaign.

Irregularities include claims that on Election Day about 535 voting machines were damaged and they affected almost 190,000 voters. Henrique Capriles refused to recognize the results, demanded a recount and mobilized his supporters to bang pots and pans. Protesters also burned trash and blocked highways but were chased by the Venezuelan national guard. Maduro reacted negatively by accusing Capriles of carrying a coup d’etat and called out his followers to defend the government. In this way, Maduro was indirectly inciting violence…

           — Hat tip: CSP [Return to headlines]

Illegal Alien Propaganda: A Critical Lesson in Terminology and Tactics

As we once again face the specter of illegal alien amnesty, and the permanent Democratic majority it will guarantee, it is critical to understand how the Left plays. They are unethical to the core, but we are so frequently deluded by their tactical use of language and emotion, that we are unequipped to deal with them effectively. The result: they win. This cannot happen again, unless we are all willing to start calling Obama “President for Life,” and Democrats, the “Commissars.”


Changes in public perception happen gradually. This is a natural human survival strategy that mistrusts the unfamiliar. A campaign of public education has become necessary to help convince a wary public to accept new ideas or policies that might otherwise take too much time. But there is a difference between education and propaganda.

Our society relies for its security, stability and prosperity, indeed, its survival, on the rule of law. So the idea of giving special privileges to individuals whose very presence is prima facie evidence of lawbreaking, is instinctively rejected. It cannot be otherwise. To grant special privileges to criminals upends and subverts the rule of law on which we depend.

Our nation’s laws constitute a contract that every citizen implicitly agrees to respect. Those who violate it face sanctions of corresponding severity. If certain individuals can avoid sanction and gain special privilege through political power — despite their blatant violations — then the rule of law becomes meaningless, and is replaced by a society based on political power alone. That is called dictatorship. Yet this is what the illegal immigration lobby wants us to accept.

When individuals or organizations attempt to introduce ideas that are self-evidently destructive, like Nazism or communism, for example, a campaign based on propaganda is necessary. Unlike factual information, propaganda manipulates, using fear and instinct in combination with known psychological reactions. It is evident that the illegal alien lobby uses these methods.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

We Don’t Need Immigration Reform, We Need Immigration Enforcement

Don’t Let Socialist Democrats Fool You.

The clamor and call heard all across the country from socialist-communist led liberal Democrats is that America needs reform in our immigration laws. Naturally the new reforms these traitorous former loyal Americans seek are new regulations which would allow, in fact, encourage wild and uncontrolled open borders and safe passageways for illegal aliens from any source to walk right in uncontested and stake out territories for themselves even if owned by legal citizen Americans.

Socialist-communist liberal Democrats call this “reform”. Merriam-Webster Dictionary (MWD) defines reform as an action to “put or change into an improved form or condition.” Opening our borders to free and open passage for any and all foreign and illegal alien incursions without restrictions can in no way be interpreted as MWD states above “change into an improved form or condition.” It is giving unimpaired permission to take possession of land that does not belong to persons with no authority or stake of ownership in that land at the violation of a legally entitled registered citizen who pays taxes on that land.

Our communistic Democrats, and believe me, I’m beginning to believe that there are no patriotic Americans left in that political party who believe in our Constitution and the laws created thereunder. The high echelons of the Communist Party, led here in America by billionaire George Soros and his followers like Barack Obama have made the Democrat Party into minions of the corrupt and One World group that infest the United Nations. Each day finds our president pledging his loyalties to that devastatingly anti-American organization in ways that are geared to the ruination of our country.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Gay Couples Celebrate as New Zealand Says ‘I Do’ To Same-Sex Marriage

New Zealand’s parliament voted in favour of allowing same-sex marriage on Wednesday, prompting cheers, applause and the singing of a traditional Maori celebratory song from the public gallery.

Seventy-seven of 121 members of parliament voted in favour of amending the current 1955 Marriage Act to allow same-sex couples to marry, making New Zealand the first country in the Asia-Pacific region to do so.

‘Two-thirds of parliament have endorsed marriage equality,’ Louisa Wall, the openly gay opposition Labour Party MP who promoted the bill, told reporters after the vote. ‘It shows that we are building on our human rights as a country.’

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Judges Review Speech Limits on Homosexuality

Government determined ‘what the client may hear’

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco tomorrow will hear oral arguments in a case challenging California’s ban on therapies for “gay” young people who want to be heterosexual.

Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, will represent children, their parents and counselors in Pickup v. Brown.

The case is a response to SB 1172, which bans any counseling to minors seeking to diminish or eliminate unwanted same-sexual attractions, behavior or identity.

On Dec. 21, 2012, the court granted Liberty Counsel an emergency motion to temporarily block the law from going into effect Jan. 1. Liberty Counsel argues that the legislation interferes with counselors’ treatment of patients in an unprecedented way.

“This is the first time in history that a state has burst into a counseling room and told the counselor what may be said and what the client may hear,” said Staver.

“You can talk about same-sex attractions as long as you affirm them as good, natural and normal. But under no circumstances may a counselor offer, or a minor receive, counsel to change sexual orientation, same-sex romantic feelings, behavior or identity,” Staver said.

The court will determine whether or not the law will continue to be blocked or go into effect…

Others [bills] cited by include:

* SB 543, signed by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2010, “allows school staff to remove children ages 12 and up from government schools and taken off-campus for counseling sessions, without parental permission or involvement.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

‘Living Fossil’ Genome Unlocked

The genes of an ancient fish, the coelacanth, have much to reveal about our distant past.

The South African fisherman who pulled a prehistoric-looking blue creature out of his net in 1938 had unwittingly snagged one of the zoological finds of the century: a 1.5-metre-long coelacanth, a type of fish that had been thought to have become extinct 70 million years earlier.

Since then, scientists have identified two species of coelacanth, one African and one Indonesian. With their fleshy, lobed fins — complete with bones and joints — and round, paddle-like tails, they look strikingly similar to the coelacanths that lived during the Cretaceous period, when dinosaurs still roamed Earth.

Now, an international team of scientists has sequenced and analysed the genome of the African coelacanth, Latimeria chalumnae; the findings are reported on page 311.

Like lungfish, the other surviving lineage of lobe-finned fishes, coelacanths are actually more closely related to humans and other mammals than to ray-finned fishes such as tuna and trout. Ancient lobe fins were the first vertebrates to brave the land, and the coelacanth genome is expected to reveal much about the origins of tetrapods, the evolutionary line that gave rise to amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals, says lead author Chris Amemiya, a biologist at the University of Washington in Seattle. “The coelacanth is a cornerstone for our attempt to understand tetrapod evolution,” he says.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Mysterious Energy Bursts May be Death Knell of Gigantic Stars

A new type of powerful, long-lasting explosion deep in space may be the death knell of gigantic stars, scientists say.

Star explosions (called supernovas) can give off high-powered flashes of radiation known as gamma-ray bursts. These bursts usually fall into two categories: ones that last less than two seconds, and ones that last for several minutes. But this new type of explosion can create a gamma-ray burst that goes on for much longer — up to several hours.

“These events are amongst the biggest explosions in nature, yet we’re only just beginning to find them,” astronomer Andrew Levan of the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom said in a statement. “It really shows us that the universe is a much more violent and varied place than we’d imagined.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]