Gates of Vienna News Feed 4/18/2013

A Salafist mob attacked a women’s cultural center in Tunis, and had to be dispersed by police using tear gas. The rioters were reportedly angry about an “indecent” event that occurred earlier in the week at the center.

In other news, the death toll in the explosion at the fertilizer plant in West, Texas is expected to be in the 30-40 range. A number of people are still missing and may be dead, but it is also possible that some of them are among the gravely injured who are being treated in area hospitals.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Fjordman, Insubria, JD, JP, RR, 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
» Debt/GDP Ratio Will be Stabilised in 2014, Bank of Italy
» EU Budget Fraud May be More Than £4 Billion Which is 12 Times Higher Than Previous Figure
» Finance Police Visit JP Morgan in Milan for MPS Probe
» Germany’s Support for the Euro Wanes
» Italcementi to Close 9 of 17 Italian Plants
» Italy’s Central Bank Says Foreign Capital Returning
» Italy Spent 266 Billion Euros on Pensions in 2011
» Italy Has 71 Retirees for Every 100 Workers, Says ISTAT
» Vitter: Why Do Democrats Get 3 Times as Many Obama Stimulus Grants as Republicans?
» Ben Swann Reality Check: Did the FBI Know About Boston Bombing Beforehand? (Video)
» Boston Bombings ‘A Message’ To West, Muslim Cleric Says
» Boston Runners Were Warned: ‘You’re Going to Die’
» Boston Authorities in Cover-Up of Bombing Drills
» Breaking: Police Confirm Infowars Photos of Boston Suspects
» Chaos Engulfs Boston as Mainstream Media Can’t Get Its Cover Story Straight
» Craft International Private Military Forces at Boston Marathon?
» End the Disgrace of Unprocessed Disability Claims of Veterans
» Exoplanet Atmospheres Reveal ‘Peculiar’ Fingerprints
» FBI Ignores Men With Backpacks at Scene of Boston Bombings
» Guns and Guerrillas
» Help Stop the Internet Tax Mandate
» Interview With Boston Marathon Eyewitness Confirms Bomb Squad Drill
» Navy Seals Spotted at Boston Marathon Wearing Suspicious Backpacks?
» New York Government Confiscates ‘Private’ Records of Psychiatrists in Chilling Orwellian Mental Health Sweep
» Obama Covering Up Saudi Link to Boston Bombing?
» Obama Looking at Executive Actions After Senate Defeats Gun Bill
» Officials: Boston Bombing Likely Carried Out by “Domestic Terrorist”
» Powerful Explosion Rocks Fertilizer Plant in West
» Private Military Operatives Hired to ‘Work’ The Boston Marathon
» Reuters Accidentally Publishes George Soros’s Obituary
» Ricin Arrest: Suspect Appears to be Mentally Unstable
» Salon: ‘Let’s Hope Boston Marathon Bomber is a White American’
» Texas Fertiliser Plant Explosion: Live
» Texas Survivor Tells How Roof Collapsed on His Head Then He Clawed His Way to Safety After Giant Fertilizer Plant Blast
» The Man Who Fired the Shot Heard ‘Round the World
» Who Cares What the Majority Wants on Guns?
» Witnessing the Death of Liberty
Europe and the EU
» Belgium: ‘Islamist Crackdown’
» Credit Suisse Targeted in German Tax Evasion Raids
» Denmark: Professor: Thorning-Schmidt Only Rose to Power Because She is a Woman
» Greece: 20% Increase in Tourism This Summer Foreseen
» Italy: Grillo Denounces Other Parties’ Candidates as ‘Monsters’
» Italy: D’Alema Calls on PD to Unite Behind Marini
» Italy: Berlusconi and Bersani Back Marini in Presidential Vote
» Italy: Renzi Says Marini Worthy of Respect But Not Best Candidate
» Italy: Grillo Says Marini Would be ‘Berlusconi’s President’
» Italy: Telecom Eyes Sale of 10 Percent Stake to HK Firm
» Italy: Grillo Hails Marini Non-Election in 1st Ballot
» Italy: Pranksters Vote Showgirl and Classic Comedy Character
» Italy: Marini ‘Declines Bersani Prod to Pull Out’
» ‘Scouts Seek Models at Swedish Anorexia Clinic’
» Sweden: ‘Mustafa Failed to Heed Warning Last Year’
» UK: Guilty! Teenage Paedophile With Two Convictions Raped an 11-Year-Old Girl in a Park as She Made Her Way Home From School
» UK: Music, Hymns, Poetry and Scripture — The Solemn Majesty of Lady Thatcher’s Funeral
» UK: The Full Text of the Right Rev Richard Chartres’ Address at Margaret Thatcher’s Funeral
» UK: The Lost Tribes of British Politics — Day 4: The High Liberals and the Libertarians
» UK: Vandal Attack on Cambridge Mosque Site
» UK: Whose Britain is it? Yesterday’s Restrained, Dignified Mourners? Or the Outnumbered Protesters?
» UK: Why Wasn’t I Told Man Who Left Me Paralysed Had Been Let Out of Jail? Mother Left Disabled Demands Answers After Thug’s Facebook Boasts About Early Release
» US Aids Spain to Win Back Stolen Tapestry
North Africa
» Tunisia: Salafites Attack University Women’s Centre in Capital
Middle East
» Bahrein: Six ‘Terror Suspects’ Arrested Ahead of Formula 1 Grand Prix
» Kuwait: Citizens More Important Than Expats
» Six Firms Bid for Jordan’s First Oil Shale-Fired Power Plant
» Surreal: US Troops Stage in Jordan to Defend Al Qaeda in Syria
» Syria: Rebels Take Military Airport Near Homs
South Asia
» Pakistan’s Former President Musharraf Flees Court After Arrest Order
» 28 Migrant Workers Wounded in Shooting Over Wages in Greece
» Immigration Bill Contains Free Cell Phones
» Italy: -82% Arrivals in 2012 But Still High Risk
Culture Wars
» Battling Racism: UN Body Reprimands Germany Over Sarrazin Comments
» Fifty Eight Horrific Details From Dr. Gosnell’s Trial That You Don’t Want to Read
» Murder Isn’t Safe, Legal or Rare

Debt/GDP Ratio Will be Stabilised in 2014, Bank of Italy

Even if growth ‘modest’

(ANSA) — Rome, April 17 — The Bank of Italy said Wednesday Italy’s rising primary surplus would enable it to stabilise the ratio between its public debt and GDP next year.

The debt/GDP recently hit a new high of more than 130%, the second-highest in the eurozone after Greece’s.

The central bank said the ratio would be stabilised even if GDP growth is “modest”. The economy is in its worst recession for 20 years and growth projected to fall 1.3% this year and rise 1.3% next year. Italy has been without a government for 50 days since an inconclusive general election.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

EU Budget Fraud May be More Than £4 Billion Which is 12 Times Higher Than Previous Figure

The European Union is being defrauded of more than £4billion a year — 12 times official estimates — a damning parliamentary report claims.

Agriculture subsidies, payments for projects in the poorest countries, bribery, corruption and cigarette smuggling are major reasons for the massive losses, said a House of Lords committee.

In its latest budget report, the European Commission said that £348million a year was going missing, but members of the Lords’ justice, institutions and consumer protection EU sub-committee said this was an unrealistic estimate.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Finance Police Visit JP Morgan in Milan for MPS Probe

Order for documents regarding MPS takeover of Antonveneta

(ANSA) — Siena, April 18 — Italian finance police sought documents from the Milan offices of the American investment bank JP Morgan on Thursday regarding a probe into Italy’s scandal-ridden lender, Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS). The police carried out an order signed by Sienese prosecutors for documents relating to MPS’s 2008 acquisition of rival bank Antonveneta.

“The Guardia di Finanza is in the offices simply to acquire some documents and the bank is giving them to them,” confirmed JP Morgan’s legal representative Giorgio Perroni.

The police left the offices after about three hours. The Milan offices of JP Morgan were also searched in May 2012 along with dozens of other banks, MPS headquarters and MPS Foundation in Siena, as well as the city and provincial government offices of Siena. MPS is at the centre of a series of criminal probes that have come to light after a scandal over shady derivatives operations exploded in January.

It has since emerged that a series of suspect derivative and structured-finance deals left a hole of around 720 million euros in the balance sheet of Italy’s third-biggest lender, and that senior MPS managers and senior managers of Japanese investment bank Nomura are under investigation. In addition, there are also suspicions senior MPS managers were involved bribes and corruption regarding the nine-billion-euro acquisition of Antonveneta from the Spanish bank Santander. The deal was announced in November 2007.

Former MPS chairman Giuseppe Mussari, former general manager Antonio Vigni and former finance chief Gianluca Baldassarri are being probed for crimes including usury, aggravated fraud, obstructing banking watchdogs and issuing false statements. Around 14 million euros belonging to Mussari, Vigni and Baldassarri were seized last Tuesday.

In addition, senior officials from MPS are facing penalties totalling as much as five million euros from the Bank of Italy for alleged fraud and corruption.

Mussari last year resigned from MPS and stepped down from his subsequent post as chairman of the banking association ABI when news of the derivatives deals broke in January.

Baldassarri is under house arrest.

MPS, which is the world’s oldest bank still doing business, revealed losses of more than three billion euros last year.

Before the derivatives scandal broke, the Italian government had approved a 3.9-billion-euro bailout loan to the troubled bank, which may be converted into equity if the bank cannot make its payments to the State.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Germany’s Support for the Euro Wanes

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaueble effectively torpedoed Europe’s plan for joint banking supervision over the weekend, raising further doubts about Germany’s commitment to the euro.

While Chancellor Angela Merkel has called for “more Europe” — the banking union as well as closer fiscal and political integration — her hatchet man Schaueble systematically obstructs progress toward these goals.

At the end of the European Union finance ministers meeting in Dublin this weekend, Schaueble insisted that a revision of the EU treaties would be necessary to proceed with the banking union, which officials had previously agreed was absolutely essential to underpinning the common currency.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Italcementi to Close 9 of 17 Italian Plants

‘Demand has slumped to late ‘70s levels’

(ANSA) — Bergamo, April 17 — Italian cement giant Italcementi said Wednesday it would “shortly” close nine of its 17 plants in Italy because of over-capacity compared to a huge slump in domestic demand.

It said the Italian market “continues to be marked by productive over-capacity compared to a demand that has reached the levels of the end of the 1970s”.

Italcementi General Manager Giovanni Ferrario made the shock announcement at the annual general meeting (AGM) of shareholders in the world’s fifth-largest cement producer in Bergamo.

Italcementi posted losses of 362.4 million euros in 2012, most of it due to plummeting Italian demand.

It announced huge layoffs in January. The Bergamo-based multinational produces cement, ready-mix concrete and construction aggregates. It is the biggest cement producer in the Mediterranean.

It employs over 20,000 people in Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, China, Canada, Cyprus, Egypt, France, Gambia, Greece, India, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Morocco, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Turkey and the United States.

Italcementi’s annual sales are over 6 billion euros.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy’s Central Bank Says Foreign Capital Returning

Yield spread lessening, while BTP bond demand increases

(ANSA) — Rome, April 17 — The latest available figures signal an influx of capital into Italy, the country’s central bank said in a bulletin on Wednesday.

The yield spread between 10-year Italian and German bonds has lessened with a booming demand for BTP Italia bonds, the Bank of Italy said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy Spent 266 Billion Euros on Pensions in 2011

47.9% spent in the north, 31.6% in south

(ANSA) — Rome, April 17 — Italian pension spending amounted to 266 billion euros in 2011, up 2.9% over 2010, Istat said on Wednesday.

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.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy Has 71 Retirees for Every 100 Workers, Says ISTAT

Study finds ratio 82 to 100 in southern Italy

(ANSA) — Rome, April 17 — There were 71 retirees for every 100 employed people in Italy in 2011, Istat revealed on Wednesday.

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 the the Italian statistics agency and the national pension body INPS.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Vitter: Why Do Democrats Get 3 Times as Many Obama Stimulus Grants as Republicans?

Sen. David Vitter, R-La., suggested today that Democratic lawmakers get preferential treatment over Republican colleagues when applying for stimulus grants that fund transportation projects, given that almost three-quarters of the grant money has been spent in Democratic districts.

President Obama’s 2009 stimulus bill contained funding for Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program grants. Democratic districts have received $356,109,553 from the program, compared to just $132,272,695 for Republican districts.

“There is a growing need for real improvement in our infrastructure in every corner of this country,” Vitter said in a statement Thursday. “It is essential that grant projects are selected on a transparent, merit-based set of criteria, not the voting trends of the region. I’m concerned that politics have entered into the process with the TIGER grants, which is why I’ll continue advocating for reforms.”

Earlier this month, the senator asked the Government Accountability Office to investigate how grants are awarded.

[Return to headlines]

Ben Swann Reality Check: Did the FBI Know About Boston Bombing Beforehand? (Video)

Fox 19 anchor Ben Swann analyzes the biggest national media event under a different light. Did the FBI have any knowledge of the Boston bombing plot before it happened?

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Boston Bombings ‘A Message’ To West, Muslim Cleric Says

Egyptian Salafi Sheik Murgan Salem warns France that it could be next if it continues to fight its campaign in Mali

While they weren’t up to the standard set by al-Qaeda, the Boston bombings were nevertheless a warning to the US and West — especially France — for waging war against Islam, a Muslim cleric said…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Boston Runners Were Warned: ‘You’re Going to Die’

One of the participants in the Boston Marathon says runners were warned they were “going to die” by a woman in downtown Boston two days before the twin bombings which killed three and injured more than 140 people.

“Mike Heiliger, 59, said a woman holding several bags was telling runners who were picking up their pre-race packages in downtown Boston on Saturday (April 13) that they were going to die if they participated in the event,” reports the[url]

“It was a little creepy because you can identify who the runners are and I heard her say to this runner two feet away from me that, ‘If you run tomorrow you’re going to die,’“ said Heiliger, adding that the woman was holding two bags as if she had just got off a plane.

Heiliger called police to report the incident after the bombings took place.

Authorities in Boston have denied that there was any intelligence beforehand which warned of an attack, despite eyewitness Ali Stevenson insisting that police “must have known” about the bombing based on their behavior throughout the race.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Boston Authorities in Cover-Up of Bombing Drills

Images that show employees of a private security firm involved in what appears to be a bombing drill confirm eyewitness reports that such an exercise was underway in the hours preceding the attack on the Boston Marathon, although authorities continue to deny that any drill took place.

When Infowars reporter Dan Bidondi questioned the Massachusetts Governor, the Mayor of Boston, and the FBI Special Agent in charge of Boston on whether there was a bomb drill taking place on the morning of the attack, he was told that there was “no specific intelligence” regarding an attack and that no drills took place besides the usual precautions taken for a big event.

This contradicts eyewitness testimony from University of Mobile Cross Country Coach Ali Stevenson, who stated, “At the starting line this morning, they had bomb sniffing dogs and the bomb squad out there. They kept announcing to runners not to be alarmed, that they were running a training exercise.”

The subsequent release of photos that placed the official narrative in disarray, images which showed both middle eastern and Caucasian men with large black backpacks behaving suspiciously immediately before and after the blast go to great lengths to confirm Stevenson’s story and suggest that official denials that drills took place are part of a larger cover-up.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Breaking: Police Confirm Infowars Photos of Boston Suspects

Photos of Boston bombing suspects sent to Infowars by Anonymous that caused a huge stir on the Internet yesterday after being posted by the Drudge Report have been confirmed by police to be the two men sought for questioning, but the authorities and the media remain mute on other photos which show what are likely to be employees of a private security firm carrying large black backpacks at the scene of the explosion.

“In the photos being distributed by law-enforcement officials among themselves, one of the men is carrying a blue duffel bag. The other is wearing a black backpack in the first photo, taken at 10:53 a.m., but it is not visible in the second, taken at 12:30 p.m,” reports the New York Post.

The photo is identical to an image we posted yesterday on showing two middle eastern looking individuals, one with a white baseball cap and another wearing a blue jacket.

“The attached photos are being circulated in an attempt to identify the individuals highlighted therein,” said an e-mail obtained by The Post. “Feel free to pass this around to any of your fellow agents elsewhere.”

However, there has been no mention whatsoever in official law enforcement or media circles of separate images taken from the finish line of the Boston Marathon which show one Caucasian and another middle eastern looking individual wearing identical clothing, carrying large black backpacks and speaking into cellphones moments after the bombing.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Chaos Engulfs Boston as Mainstream Media Can’t Get Its Cover Story Straight

(NaturalNews) Boston is now in a state of near-chaos over the Boston marathon bombing investigation. Their story keeps changing, too: first there was a “controlled explosion” planned at the Kennedy Library on the same day as the bombing (Boston Globe), but that was later explained away as a “building fire” that had nothing to do with the bombing.

Then there’s CNN reporting a suspect has been arrested, after which the network was blasted by the FBI for fabricating news. CNN has since retracted its arrest claim.

Today, the Boston federal courthouse was suddenly evacuated over a “code red” bomb threat, causing chaos to reign over planned press conferences and announcements by the FBI.

But the real story — and perhaps the biggest story of all — has been blown wide open, first by researchers at, and then covered by Anthony Gucciardi, Paul Joseph Watson and Alex Jones. It reveals that there were private military contractors with backpacks operating at the scene.

Here’s an image of the private military operatives, snapped on the day of the marathon:

As you can see from the above image, these private military operatives are both wearing the exact same uniforms: tan BDUs, tan military boots, dark jackets, communications gear and black backpacks.

But what gets really interesting is when you look at the symbols on the hat one of them is wearing:


Yet the mainstream media absolutely refuses to mention it at all. Ever wonder why?

Because as usual, you are being spoon-fed a cesspool of lies by the mainstream media — an institution of false information that has already decided to make sure the aftermath of this event follows a predetermined outcome of blaming patriots… even if it means fabricating, ignoring or selectively deleting evidence.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Craft International Private Military Forces at Boston Marathon?

There has been much discussion over the two individuals fitted with earpieces and military-esque gear spotted at the Boston Marathon, but as it turns out they may likely be employees of the Blackwater-style private military/security firm Craft International.

The two can be seen in the photo below with their hands up to their ears in what is later (second photo) confirmed to be a a wired communications device. Originally, it was thought that these men were likely some sort of military or special operations — specifically SEAL team members as indicated by an emblem on one of their black hats. After doing some digging, however, it becomes much more likely that these men are employees of Craft International — a private military/security firm similar in nature to Blackwater (Xe).

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

End the Disgrace of Unprocessed Disability Claims of Veterans

It is a national disgrace that while the Ever-Expanding-Government in Washington, D.C., has built up the most enormous debt per capita in the history of the country, over 900,000 service-connected disability claims of veterans remain unprocessed by the Veterans Administration bureaucracy — with an escalating number of veterans dying with their claims unprocessed. They die not knowing what will become of their families when they are gone.

Meanwhile, the National Government in the Era of Obama churns out billions for pet “social justice” [i.e., socialist] projects; or bankrupt and near bankrupt “green” energy fiascos like Solyndra; or the mammoth private-sector-job destroying government takeover of healthcare by Obamacare; or the myriad of duplicative failed “social justice” programs the Obama administration is spending money on. That is spending not like “drunken sailors,” as that old slur goes, but like what they are — “drunken Democrats,” drunk on power, and Liberal Progressive Neo-Socialist Kool-Aid.

Here’s an irony: While veterans disability claims remain unprocessed, all across the country, due to Obama’s fiscally and medically care-less Obamacare, state, county, and city governments are retraining welfare bureaucracy employees to prepare for the influx of millions of new Medicaid applicants when Obamacare is fully implemented.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Exoplanet Atmospheres Reveal ‘Peculiar’ Fingerprints

The chemical fingerprints of four alien planets have revealed unexpected patterns, new research finds.

According to, scientists were surprised to find that the chemical compositions of four massive planets 128 light-years away weren’t as mixed as expected. At the temperatures of these planets — 1340 degrees Fahrenheit (727 degrees Celsius) — researchers would expect to see atmospheric mixes of ammonia and methane. Instead, each of the four worlds exhibited either ammonia or methane, but not both.

“These warm, red planets are unlike any other known object in our universe,” astronomer Ben Oppenheimer, chair of the astrophysics department at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, said in a statement. “All four planets have different spectra, and all four are peculiar. The theorists have a lot of work to do now.”

To fingerprint the atmosphere of planets orbiting a distant star, the researchers had to filter out the light of that star, known as HR 8799. They did so using advanced imaging at the Palomar Observatory in California.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

FBI Ignores Men With Backpacks at Scene of Boston Bombings

The FBI has attempted to blacklist photos which show men working for a private military organization wearing heavy backpacks and appearing to take part in a drill at the Boston Marathon, instead focusing on two other individuals while proclaiming, “other photos will not be deemed credible.”

As Infowars has documented over the last two days, photos taken from the scene of the blast show numerous individuals wearing identical clothing while carrying heavy black backpacks, talking into cellphones and in one case placing one of the backpacks on the ground.

Infowars reporter Dan Bidondi was at the FBI press conference and attempted to get questions answered about bomb drills that eyewitnesses said were taking place on the morning of the marathon, but was ignored and subsequently confronted by two large men at the end of the conference.

In not only ignoring but aggressively attempting to discredit the photos showing men who are likely employees of the private security firm Craft International on the scene of the bombings engaged in some kind of drill, the FBI has signaled its intention to continue the cover-up of what really happened.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Guns and Guerrillas

Law abiding U.S. citizens are looking up the barrel of a gun as their rights are shattered in front of their eyes. Some of the most vocal proponents for gun control are the radical home-grown terrorists still enchanted with the gangrenous rot of guerrillas and genocidal murderers. The war against guns is being waged on the battlefield of propaganda and Hollywood. That’s why it’s critical, in the discussion on gun control, to go back to “the sixties,” not to 2012 in Newtown.

Bill Ayers In his 2001 memoir Fugitive Days, boasting of his life as a Sixties radical, admitted his role in “bombings of New York City Police Headquarters in 1970, of the Capitol building in 1971, and the Pentagon in 1972.” He was a leader of the Weather Underground (WU), an offshoot of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) which he characterized as “an American Red Army,” whose ideology was: “Kill all the rich people. Break up their cars and apartments. Bring the revolution home, Kill your parents.”

The goal of the SDS was the collapse of the United States to create a new communist society. For resistors who refused to embrace communism, the comrades proposed that they be sent to reeducation camps and killed, estimating 25 million people would be eliminated. In 1974 he co-authored Prairie Fire: The Politics of Revolutionary Anti-Imperialism, which functioned as the Weather Underground’s ideological manifesto.

A few juicy quotes:…

[Comment: Informative article. Well worth reading.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Help Stop the Internet Tax Mandate

(NaturalNews) If it seems like you’re constantly being hit in your pocketbook by taxes and tax increases, you’re right. Tax revenues are at all-time highs, but it’s not enough: The president, joined by an increasing number in Congress, are seeking even more taxes, this time in the form of a new Internet tax that you should vehemently oppose.

According to the Campaign for Liberty, a Springfield, Va.-based group seeking a restoration of the founders’ original constitutional intent in public policymaking, lawmakers are currently considering a new Internet tax mandate that it says “would turn online retailers into tax collectors for the state and could have a devastating, stifling impact on innovation, jobs, and online entrepreneurship.”

Tate explained that under current federal law, as upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Quill v. North Dakota, any business that doesn’t have a “physical presence” in a state can’t be forced to collect that state’s sales tax on purchases made by customers. The decision was based on the realization that it would be highly impractical and, for some businesses prohibitively expensive, to become tax collectors for all 50 U.S. states. Also, the ruling prevented companies from being forced to pay taxes to states where they had no representation.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Interview With Boston Marathon Eyewitness Confirms Bomb Squad Drill

In an exclusive interview, I just finished speaking with key Boston Marathon eyewitness and running participant Alastair Stevenson, who has confirmed to me that drills were taking place the morning of the Boston Marathon complete with bomb squads and rooftop snipers.

Alastair’s initial statements towards the Alabama news publication regarding the Boston Marathon training exercises ignited a firestorm within the alternative media, despite being only around two sentences in length. Now, Alastair has been given a forum to voice the entirety of what he saw as a participant and coach during the Boston Marathon — something that Alastair says he has never seen before despite participating in much larger races around the world.

As you can watch in the video above, Alastair detailed what went on before the race began:

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Navy Seals Spotted at Boston Marathon Wearing Suspicious Backpacks?

Savvy Internet sleuths have found images taken from surveillance cameras of members of the crowd gathered at the Boston Marathon that appear to identify Navy SEALs.

A video on Youtube also appears to capture a member wearing similar garb walking around the marathon post-explosion with something that looks like a detonator, but in actuality could be a radiation detector.

The reason this is important is because the Boston Police Commissioner is on record stating that they had “no specific intelligence” that there was a drill, while University of Mobile coach and marathon participant Alastair Stevenson has publicly stated that there was announcements telling people to stay calm and not be alarmed because beefed-up security was part of a “training exercise.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

New York Government Confiscates ‘Private’ Records of Psychiatrists in Chilling Orwellian Mental Health Sweep

(NaturalNews) The march to tyranny has picked up fierce momentum in the state of New York, where the criminal Cuomo administration is now issuing subpoenas that demand psychiatrists turn over ALL their records to the state, reports

This is just the first step for the New York government’s “HIPAA” committee, whose sole purpose is to “illegally obtain and access the private medical records of potentially millions of NY State Residents.”

Regardless of your views on firearms ownership, such actions are absolutely chilling. It puts the government in the position of violating doctor-patient confidentiality for the purpose of the state determining who suffers from “mental health” problems that the state uses to justify almost any action it wishes to take.

This is not a gun rights issue, this is a patient rights issue. If a state government can simply seize all records from all psychiatrists, then it can also use that information to decide whose children to have taken away by CPS… or who to deny the right to vote by having them labeled “mentally incompetent.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Obama Covering Up Saudi Link to Boston Bombing?

“Person of interest” to be deported after Obama had unscheduled meeting with Saudi Foreign Minister.

The Saudi “person of interest” suspected of being involved in the Boston Marathon bombings is being deported from the United States next week on “national security grounds,” according to a terrorism expert, who notes that the move is “very unusual,” especially given an unscheduled meeting yesterday between President Obama and Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal.

The attempt to cover up a possible Saudi connection to the Boston attack could explain why authorities are scrambling to get their official narrative straight after photos emerged yesterday on the Internet showing numerous suspects carrying large backpacks, some of them middle eastern in appearance and two of the individuals having been almost certainly identified as employees of private military/security firm Craft International.

The FBI had set a press conference for 5pm EST yesterday afternoon but the event was cancelled hours after the photos were seen by millions of people online. The federal agency blamed the media for erroneous reporting, stating, “these stories often have unintended consequences.”

CNN also had to backtrack after they announced that a suspect had been arrested, a report that was subsequently denied by authorities. Reports of a “dark skinned man” being arrested were later mothballed.

According to terrorism expert Steve Emerson, 20-year-old Abdul Rahman Ali Alharbi, the Saudi national first suspected of being involved in Monday’s twin bomb attack, is being hastily deported. Alharbi was put under armed guard in hospital after the bombing, was visited by Saudi diplomat Azzam bin Abdel Karim, and later had his apartment raided by federal and state law enforcement agents.

“I just learned from my own sources that he is now going to be deported on national security grounds next Tuesday, which is very unusual,” Emerson told Fox News last night…

As World Net Daily’s Joe Kovacs documents[url], “Saudi student Alharbi shares the same last name as a major Saudi clan that includes scores of al-Qaida operatives.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Obama Looking at Executive Actions After Senate Defeats Gun Bill

Obama and his coterie of anti-Second Amendment advocates are not willing to accept the Senate’s rejection of gun legislation. According to BuzzFeed, Obama will force his will on the American people through unconstitutional executive actions.

According to a BuzzFeed source, Joe Biden told gun control “stakeholders” via conference call on Thursday that the fight against the Second Amendment is not over and additional laws will be imposed on firearms owners.

“Look, I know you’re going to say that I’m just being an optimist and I’m trying to put a good face on this. But, you know, I’ve been around here a long time and we’ve already done, because of you, some really good things,” Biden said. “Number one, the president is already lining up some additional executive actions he’s going to be taking later this week.”

Biden said the Obama administration is also looking at ways to increase the number of Americans denied the use of firearms.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Officials: Boston Bombing Likely Carried Out by “Domestic Terrorist”

Officials investigating the Boston Marathon attack say early evidence suggests the culprit is likely to be a homegrown “domestic extremist,” leaving the path clear for the Obama administration’s political adversaries to be demonized as extremists.

If the bomber turns out to be a stereotypical “right-wing extremist,” President Obama will likely follow the advice of a number of Democratic strategists who have openly invited acts of violence that Obama can exploit to push his big government agenda.

Despite zero tangible evidence so far indicating that the attack was carried out by an anti-tax protester or a “right-winger,” numerous personalities on the left have made the connection anyway…

This kind of rhetoric led statewide organizer for the Massachusetts Tea Party Carlos Hernandez to express his anger at opportunists milking the tragedy for political points scoring. Hernandez lost his 8-year-old nephew Martin Richard, who was the youngest victim of the bombing.

“I just hope the politicians don’t try to show up at the funeral,” said Hernandez. “If these guys try to use it as political crap, I might get arrested.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Powerful Explosion Rocks Fertilizer Plant in West

As many as 75 buildings confirmed to have serious damage

A massive explosion at a fertilizer plant ripped through a small Texas town, creating a powerful shock wave that flattened homes, smashed windows and could be felt as far as 80 miles away.

The explosion at the West Fertilizer Co. in the town of West exploded Wednesday night after the plant caught fire.

In a phone interview with NBC News on Thursday, West Mayor Tommy Muska said there are “30 to 40 missing people,” including five firefighters. Muska said one fatality had been confirmed, but he could not say if it was a firefighter.

Muska told NBC News it’s possible some of the missing “could be in a hospital, but the death toll “figure will be in that area” of 30 to 40.

The blast injured more than 160 people.

“[There was] just fire everywhere — bodies on the ground, bloody bodies, people in panic,” witness Sammy Chavez said. “ Firemen, firetrucks, police cars filled the town.”

Volunteer firemen from the West Fire Department initially responded to a fire at 7:30 p.m. at West Fertilizer Company. Six volunteer firemen responded to the fire, recognized the potential for an explosion and began evacuating nearby homes and businesses, Waco police Sgt. William Patrick Swanton said.

At about 7:53 p.m., the explosion ripped through the plant…

[Return to headlines]

Private Military Operatives Hired to ‘Work’ The Boston Marathon

Natural News has now confirmed that at least five private military contractors were operating on scene at the Boston marathon, and that they all carried black backpacks which look very similar to the backpack carrying the pressure cooker bomb (see pictures below).

The mainstream media is completely censoring any mention of these “Craft” operatives, pretending they don’t even exist. Only the alternative media is conducting real investigative journalism on these bombings. The mainstream media isn’t interested in the truth; they only want to spin the attack into a new way to somehow blame conservative Americans for something they had no part in.

Thanks to the help of researchers posting on 4Chan, plus a bit of our own analysis, we’ve been able to bring new research to light as you’ll see in the photos below.

Who is this guy and what is he holding in his hand?

The following photo was snapped mere moments after the first bomb detonation. Many people are asking, “Who is this guy?” and why is he dressed in combat boots and military BDUs (pants)? More importantly, what is he carrying in his hand?

We were able to get a close-up of the object in his hand:

With a bit of research, we were able to confirm this object is an “Inspector Radiation Alert” device that detects the kind of radiation which would be produced in a dirty bomb attack or a nuclear attack:


As we browsed through the photos, we located four more private military operatives with the exact same dress: Tan combat boots, tan BDUs, black jackets, black backpacks and tactical communications gear.

Here’s a picture of three of these men reacting to the explosion. The one in the middle is the same guy in the radiation detector photo, above:

There are several things worth noting in this image:

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Reuters Accidentally Publishes George Soros’s Obituary


“While Soros’ life has been marked by remarkable success in his far-flung endeavors, it has not been without defeat. His investment in France’s Societe Generale following Jacques Chirac’s aggressive program of privatization led to charges of insider trading, which he disputed, and eventual conviction and the payment of a small penalty,” the piece reads.

“And he was a minority partner in a group that failed to acquire the Washington Nationals Major League baseball team.

“But these failings stand out in the life of this remarkably successful Hungarian-American financier, philanthropist and thinker, in contrast to his stubborn refusal to fail in virtually every other venture.”

[Return to headlines]

Ricin Arrest: Suspect Appears to be Mentally Unstable

Police in Mississippi have arrested a man in connection with the ricin letters that were intercepted earlier this week before reaching their intended targets; the President, and a Republican Senator, also from Mississippi. Initial research suggests that the man is a Democratic supporter, a fact skipped over by much of the mainstream media.

The New York Times reported the arrest of Paul Kevin Curtis of Tupelo, Miss. late yesterday, but provided scant detail on the man believed to have sent the deadly substance intended for Obama and Senator Roger Wicker…

In several instances on his Facebook page and elsewhere online, Curtis states that he has previously written letters to both President Obama and Senator Wicker.

In one post on the RipoffReport website, Curtis writes:

I sent letters to State Representative Roger Wicker, Senator Trent Lott and Thad Cochran. I never heard a word from anyone. I even ran into Roger Wicker several different times while performing at special banquets and fundraisers in northeast, Mississippi but he seemed very nervous while speaking with me and would make a fast exit to the door when I engaged in conversation leading up to my case against NMMC.

This is where it gets slightly weird, as Curtis’ letters are mainly in reference to what he describes as “a secret war… that is making Billions of dollars for corrupt mafia related organizations and people.” Curtis claims that he was fired from a janitorial job at North Mississippi Medical Center some years ago after he discovered “dismembered body parts” and a “severed head” backing up the hospital’s drainage system.

He claims that the hospital is engaged in an organ harvesting conspiracy and that he was hounded and threatened during a lengthy legal battle in court over the incident.

“3 Years of research lead to countless court battles, cops harassing me weekly, death threats, personal & financial losses, several thefts, my home burned down, car exploded, marriage dissolved & bankruptcy,” Curtis writes on the website.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Salon: ‘Let’s Hope Boston Marathon Bomber is a White American’

The liberal online magazine Salon published an opinion piece Tuesday evening by columnist David Sirota entitled, “Let’s hope the Boston Marathon bomber is a white American,” in which Sirota argued that if the perpetrator of Monday’s bombing attack, which left at least three people dead, is identified as a Muslim then conservative Republicans will use the tragedy to block Obama administration policy goals like immigration reform.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Texas Fertiliser Plant Explosion: Live

Up to 70 people are feared dead after a massive explosion likened to a nuclear blast ripped through a fertiliser plant in West, near Waco, Texas.

9.15 (3.15) Texas’s department of public safety says it will be “some time” before the number of deaths is known.

Officials say ammonia at theplant may have caused the explosion.

8.42 (2.42) Police have said that they do not know what the cause of the fire was at the plant, but say they cannot rule out criminal activity.

8.27 (2.27) April 16 coincidentally marks the anniversary of the Texas City Disaster, when a large cargo ship being loaded with tons of ammonium nitrate caught fire and exploded. In all, 576 people died in Texas City over April 16 and 17, 1947…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Texas Survivor Tells How Roof Collapsed on His Head Then He Clawed His Way to Safety After Giant Fertilizer Plant Blast

[WARNING: ** Disturbing Content **]

A bloodied survivor of the Texas fertilizer plant blast has told how the explosion destroyed an entire street.

Speaking next to an emergency triage station that has been hastily set up in a football field, Dr George Smith described the apocalyptic scenes around the town of West.

‘The windows came in on me, the roof came in on me, the ceiling came in and I worked my way out to go get some more help,’ he explained.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

The Man Who Fired the Shot Heard ‘Round the World

Today, I’m going to tell you about a very great man. In fact, I’m going to talk about several great men.

I am reminded of these men, because tomorrow I have the distinct honor of speaking at a giant freedom rally on Lexington Green, Massachusetts, on the occasion of the 238th anniversary of the famous Battle of Lexington and Concord. If you live within driving distance, please come and join us. Oath Keepers founder, Stewart Rhodes, will also be speaking at this event. I believe the rally begins at 2pm local time.

In truth, April 19, 1775, should be regarded as important a date to Americans as July 4, 1776. It’s a shame that we don’t celebrate it as enthusiastically as we do Independence Day. It’s even more shameful that many Americans don’t even remember what happened on this day back in 1775. For the record, historians call this day, “Patriot’s Day.” More specifically, it was the day that the shot heard ‘round the world was fired. It was the day America’s War for Independence began.

Being warned of approaching British troops by Dr. Joseph Warren and Paul Revere, Pastor Jonas Clark and his male congregants of the Church of Lexington (numbering 60-70) were the ones that stood with their muskets in front of the Crown’s troops (numbering over 800), who were on orders to seize a cache of arms which were stored at Concord and arrest Sam Adams and John Hancock (who were known to be in the area, and who had actually taken refuge in Pastor Clark’s home).

According to eyewitnesses, the king’s troops opened fire on the militiamen without warning, immediately killing eight of Pastor Clark’s parishioners. In self defense, the Minutemen returned fire. These were the first shots of the Revolutionary War. This took place on Lexington Green, which was located directly beside the church-house where those men worshipped each Sunday.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Who Cares What the Majority Wants on Guns?

President Barack Obama has been struggling to wrap his head around the “unimaginable” idea that Congress may “defy” the American people and stop a vote on a gun control package compromise. The notion, he says, resists the “overwhelming instinct of the American people” after the massacre in Newtown, Conn., to pass gun control legislation.

Well, the unthinkable happened. The Senate’s sweeping gun legislation came up short on the votes required to move forward. And despite all the idealistic calls for passage and despite the fact that many pundits and advocates seem to believe that something should be law simply because “the vast majority of Americans” support it, not every issue deserves a majoritarian decision.

To begin with, whether Democrats like it or not, this issue concerns the Constitution — where stuff was written down for a reason. That’s not to say that expanding background checks or banning “assault rifles” would be unconstitutional (though you may believe they both should be). It’s to say that when you begin meddling with protections explicitly laid out in the founding document, a 60-vote threshold that slows down stampeding legislators is the least we deserve.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Witnessing the Death of Liberty

“A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves.” — Edward R. Murrow

Benjamin Franklin warned that a people preferring security over liberty deserves neither. In the aftermath of each attack upon our nation, we have seen this maxim play out with growing restrictions on our God-given constitutional freedoms.

There was the USA Patriot Act, passed in the wake of 9/11, followed by the creation of a massive bureaucratic agency known as the Department of Homeland Security. Personally, I have never felt uncomfortable with that word — homeland — which I found to be reminiscent of “motherland” or “fatherland,” terms too often utilized by tyrants who wish to stir their people to fanatical nationalism without regard to personal liberty. We have submitted to indignities at airports, surveillance of our movements in public places, and intrusions into our private lives that would never have been tolerated by previous generations.

With each mass shooting, the clamor for more gun control has become louder. For those who have not yet given up on the folly of revoking the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, with President Barack Obama and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg leading the parade, the murder of 20 innocent first-graders at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, afforded them the perfect opportunity to further their agenda.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Belgium: ‘Islamist Crackdown’

La Libre Belgique, 17 April 2013

Special units of the Belgian federal police launched a vast operation on April 16 targeting radical Islamists, notably in Brussels, Antwerp and Vilvoorde.

Police organised a total of 48 raids at the homes people believed to be involved in terrorist activity. The suspects are allegedly responsible for sending young Belgians to Syria, where they provide support for Islamic militias fighting the Bashar al-Assad regime.

Six people, including Fouad Belkacem, a former spokesperson for radical Islamist group Sharia4Belgium were arrested.

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

Credit Suisse Targeted in German Tax Evasion Raids

German prosecutors have conducted hundreds of raids against suspected tax dodgers and Credit Suisse employees believed to have helped them, a news report said.

More than 200 raids on homes of suspected tax cheats were conducted on Tuesday and Wednesday, the German news agency DPA reported, citing prosecutors in the western city of Koblenz.

Employees of Credit Suisse and its Clariden Leu and Neue Aargauer Bank subsidiaries were also probed for aiding tax fraud, according to the prosecutors.

The raids follow the purchase of a CD containing 40,000 data sets on suspected tax-dodgers in Swiss banks.

Authorities in the southwestern state of Rhineland-Palatinate announced Tuesday they had bought the data for four million euros ($5.3 million) and hope to recover tax revenues worth 500 million euros nationwide.

Credit Suisse said it has been urging its German clients to settle their tax situation.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Denmark: Professor: Thorning-Schmidt Only Rose to Power Because She is a Woman

Other female ministers also only reached the political top due to their gender, University of Copenhagen professor says

Helle Thorning-Schmidt only became the leader of Socialdemokraterne (S) because she is a woman. Her gender is also the only reason that she is Denmark’s prime minister.

That’s the conclusion drawn by a University of Copenhagen professor in a new book entitled ‘Fordi du fortjener det’ (Because you deserve it).

“It is completely impossible to imagine that a man with such weak experience and so few trials by fire could be prime minister,” the professor, Hans Bonde, told Berlingske newspaper.

But it’s not just Thorning-Schmidt, Bonde contends. The health minister, Astrid Krag (Socialistisk Folkeparti), the environment minister, Ida Auken (Socialistisk Folkeparti), and the social minister, Karen Hækkerup (S), also only landed in their positions because of their gender, the 55-year-old professor at the university’s sport and nutrition department said.

The female ministers all refused to comment on Bonde’s hypothesis, but Kristian Jensen of opposition party Venstre came to the prime minister’s deafens.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Greece: 20% Increase in Tourism This Summer Foreseen

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, APRIL 17 — Tourism market estimates for a significant growth in tourist arrivals in Greece for 2013 seem to be very optimistic as GreekReporter writes. Arrivals are said to reach 20%, as conveyed by the Secretary of GNTO, Panos Livadas. According to, the increasing rate of tourists in Western Greece and the Ionian Islands is expected to be equal or slightly higher than average. It is continuously being repeated around the country that “we are going to have a double-digit increase”, while those who are more optimistic speak of a 20% increase in tourism reservations for the summer 2013”, Livadas noted after his international contacts during these two crucial months for tourism (March and April). “This increase is something really positive to our industry. This gives us optimism and a sense of responsibility,” Secretary General of GNTO added, saying: “We need to understand, to treat them (the visitors of the country) with a sense of responsibility, the simple things, starting from the simple things such as our smile, and then with the more multiplex things such as our investment policy, which should be a long run.”

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Grillo Denounces Other Parties’ Candidates as ‘Monsters’

M5S nominates 82-year-old Rodota’ to replace Napolitano

(ANSA) — Rome, April 17 — Beppe Grillo, leader of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S), denounced two potential presidential candidates from other parties as “monsters” on Wednesday.

Grillo said that former centre-left premiers Giuliano Amato and Massimo D’Alema, who are rumoured to be possible candidates as president of Italy, would abuse the position.

“If the Left votes D’Alema or Amato, it chooses monsters,” he said.

Amato and D’Alema, as well as former centre-left Senate Speaker Franco Marini, are rumoured to be under consideration in a possible deal between the two old-line political parties that emerged almost neck-and-neck in the general election 50 days ago.

Centre-left leader Pier Luigi Bersani, who won the House but not the Senate in February, reportedly handed centre-right leader Silvio Berlusconi, who came a close second, a shortlist of candidates to replace Giorgio Napolitano, sources close to the negotiations said. Three-time premier and media magnate Berlusconi is said to be considering the list.

Grillo’s M5S nominated its own president candidate Wednesday, Stefano Rodota, a constitutional lawyer, former head of Italy’s privacy authority and former Communist and centre-left MP. Parliament and regional representatives will start voting for the next president Thursday.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: D’Alema Calls on PD to Unite Behind Marini

Centre-left party divided over presidential candidate

(see related stories) (ANSA) — Rome, April 18 — Former centre-left premier Massimo D’Alema on Thursday called on the Democratic Party (PD) to unite behind its candidate to be Italy’s next president, ex-Senate speaker Franco Marini.

While Marini has won the backing of Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Freedom (PdL) party, the PD itself is deeply divided over the 80-year-old, who is seen by some as representing the tired old guard of Italian politics.

Florence Mayor Matteo Renzi, the rising star of the PD, said parliamentarians loyal to him will not vote for Marini in the first ballot to elect President Giorgio Napolitano’s successor on Thursday. At a meeting of PD lawmakers on Wednesday, 222 voted in favour of backing Marini, who was proposed by centre-left leader Pier Luigi Bersani, while 90 voted against and 30 abstained. “The result of a tough debate was convergence around Marini,” D’Alema, who was also touted as one of the candidates the PD might propose, said in a statement.

“This decision was discussed and approved by our parliamentarians. A serious party must show it is such in the validity of its choices and in its reliability. So it can only act with coherence.

“I’m convinced that Marini would be a good president, above all, because of his background as a trade unionists and a politician who has always been close to ordinary people and the world of work”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Berlusconi and Bersani Back Marini in Presidential Vote

But centre left split over former Senate speaker

(By Paul Virgo) (ANSA) — Rome, April 18 — Lawmakers from the Upper and Lower House of parliament and representatives of Italy’s regional governments on Thursday’s started the first ballot to elect a new president, with the two biggest parties backing former Senate Speaker Franco Marini.

Pier Luigi Bersani, the head of the biggest group in parliament, the centre-left Democratic Party (PD), proposed Marini as a candidate who could win cross-party support and represent national unity.

Ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi has said his centre-right People of Freedom party will vote for Marini, who is from the ex-Christian Democrat wing of the PD and a former chief of Catholic trade union CISL. “Franco Marini is a positive, serious person and this is not a defeat for us,” Berlusconi told a meeting of lawmakers from the PdL, which came second in February’s inconclusive general election.

The regionalist Northern League, which is allied with the PdL, and outgoing Premier Mario Monti’s Civic Choice party also said the would back Marini.

But Bersani’s decision to opt for Marini, a 80-year-old who failed to win re-election to parliament in February, risks splitting the centre-left.

Puglia Governor Nichi Vendola’s left-wing SEL party, which ran on the same ticket as the PD in February, has said it will vote for Stefano Rodota’, the candidate of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S).

Florence Mayor Matteo Renzi, the rising star of the PD who came second in December’s primary to select the centre-left’s premier candidate, has said the 50-odd parliamentarians loyal to him will not vote for Marini.

Renzi said Wednesday that voting for Marini would be like playing a “prank” on the nation, adding that Rodota’ would be a better candidate, along with several other figures from the centre left and the centre right.

“Can you imagine him on the phone with (US President Barack) Obama?,” said Renzi, who accused Bersani of letting Berlusconi pick the candidate and admitted he had considered leaving the PD, while stressing he would not. The situation means that Marini is far from certain of gaining the two-thirds majority needed in the first ballot.

Marini said Thursday that he hoped the PD would find “strong unity today” and ruled out speculation that the divisions over his candidacy would cause a split within the party.

“What split are you talking about?” he told Mediaset television Thursday. The M5S, which won about a quarter of the vote in February after tapping into widespread disenchantment with the established political class, picked Rodota’ after two other presidential candidates, journalist Milena Gabanelli and war-zone doctor Gino Strada, declined. Rodota’, 82, is a constitutional lawyer, former head of Italy’s privacy authority and former Communist and centre-left MP. He came third in an online vote of M5S members staged Monday behind Gabanelli and Strada. A majority of two thirds of the 1007 voters is needed for a candidate be elected head of state in the first three ballots, which are held in the House.

After that a simple majority of over half is required.

Each ballot is expected to take four or five hours.

There will be two ballots per day until a successor to President Giorgio Napolitano is elected.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Renzi Says Marini Worthy of Respect But Not Best Candidate

Florence mayor says his loyalists not voting for PD man

(see related stories) (ANSA) — Rome, April 18 — Florence Mayor Matteo Renzi reiterated on Thursday that did not think his Democratic Party’s (PD) candidate to be Italy’s next president, Franco Marini, is the best person for the vote.

“Marini is a person worthy of our respect, but he isn’t the best candidate to be the president of the republic,” said the PD’s outspoken rising star Renzi, who has said lawmakers loyal to him will not vote for Marini in Thursday’s first ballot.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Grillo Says Marini Would be ‘Berlusconi’s President’

M5S leader says PD-PdL taking Italy back to ‘Mussolini’s day’

(see related stories on presidential ballot) (ANSA) — Rome, April 18 — 5-Star Movement leader Beppe Grillo on Thursday blasted the two biggest parties in parliament, the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) and the centre-right People of Freedom (PdL), after they both said they would vote for former Senate Speaker Franco Marini in Thursday’s first ballot to elect Italy’s next president.

Comedian-turned-politician Grillo accused ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi and PD chief Pier Luigi Bersani of selecting Marini after meeting in a hotel to “decide the destiny of 60 million Italians”.

He added that this meant Marini would be “Berlusconi’s president” if he is elected.

The M5S chose its presidential candidate, former Communist party MP and privacy authority chief Stefano Rodotà, after an online vote of its members.

“The choice is between the president of the Italian people, who is Rodota’, and Berlusconi’s president, who is Marini,” Grillo said at a rally. “It seems like we’re in the times of Mussolini’s (last) speech (in 1944) at (Milan’s Teatro) Lirico.

“It’s the stuff of science fiction. They have not understood that that history has moved on from there”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Telecom Eyes Sale of 10 Percent Stake to HK Firm

Milan, 18 April (AKI/Bloomberg) — Telecom Italia is in favor of letting Hong Kong company Hutchison Whampoa acquire no more than 10 percent of a combined carrier, far less than Hutchison wants, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Hutchison’s 3 Italia has a so-called fair value of 1.5 billion euros ($2 billion) and Milan-based Telecom Italia is unlikely to accept a deal that would give billionaire Li Ka- shing’s Hutchison the 29.9 percent it sought, said the person, asking not to be identified because the deliberations are private.

No decision has been made and Telecom Italia is open to negotiations, the person added.

Telecom Italia’s board last week asked Chairman Franco Bernabe (BNBC) to lead a panel to explore the feasibility of a business combination with Hutchison. An entry by Hutchison as shareholder could unravel a six-year pact at Telco, whose investors Telefonica SA (TEF), Intesa Sanpaolo SpA (ISP), Assicurazioni Generali SpA (G) and Mediobanca SpA (MB) together hold 22.4 percent of Italy’s former phone monopoly.

“The merger under study, if carried out at ratios which represent the actual contribution of the two companies properly, presents industrial synergies that involve cost savings” as well as “benefits from having two complementary customer bases,” Bernabe told shareholders at an annual meeting near Milan on Wednesday.

Telecom Italia fell 0.5 percent to 59.2 cents in Milan at 10:02 a.m., giving it a market value of 11 billion euros. Hutchison dropped 1.4 percent to HK$79.65 on the Hong Kong exchange.

In a statement, Hutchison reiterated that “contacts between Telecom Italia SpA and 3 Italia on possible business combinations are still very preliminary and of an exploratory nature. There is no agreement with respect to a possible transaction.”

While Bernabe said Thursday he was in favor of continuing discussions about a possible merger, he also said a decision is up to the panel, which includes Telefonica’s Julio Linares, Elio Cosimo Catania from Intesa Sanpaolo, Gabriele Galateri from Generali and independent director Luigi Zingales.

Intesa CEO Enrico Cucchiani said on 13 April that the possibility of a Telecom Italia-3 Italia merger must be “examined carefully,” adding that it’s positive that international investors are interested in Italian businesses.

A deal would combine Italy’s biggest wireless carrier with the No. 4. Telecom Italia said April 11 that Hutchison wants to become a leading shareholder in the carrier in any deal.

For Hutchison, Asia’s biggest investor in European wireless networks, Telecom Italia’s high net debt — which reached 28.3 billion euros at the end of 2012 adjusted for some items — is a concern, a person familiar with the matter has said.

“While a deal between Telecom Italia and H3G has a strong industrial logic in our view, control issues look intractable because we don’t believe Italy or Telefonica would want to give up ultimate control,” said Hannes Wittig, an analyst at JPMorgan Chase & Co. “At up to 10 percent, Hutchison’s exposure to the upside seems limited.”

It’s not the first time Bernabe held talks with Hutchison. In 2000, Hutchison bought a 51 percent stake in Andala, which was founded and led by Bernabe, as its first step to build a mobile phone company in Italy that later became H3G, as 3 Italia is also known.

Then in 2010, Hutchison held discussions over a sale of its wireless business to Telecom Italia and the talks didn’t result in a deal because of differences in valuation, people with knowledge of the matter said at the time.

Telecom Italia plans to present to its board at an 8 May meeting a proposal to spin off the company’s fixed-line network, which is seen as a prerequisite to carry out any deal with Hutchison, another person said.

The plan envisages a two-step process, where Telecom Italia’s Open Access unit will be carved out into a separate business, followed by a spinoff of the access network and state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti acquiring a stake after a new government is in place, the person said.

The network has a value of at least 13 billion euros, according to Findim Group, Telecom Italia’s second-largest shareholder.

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

Italy: Grillo Hails Marini Non-Election in 1st Ballot

Shows political changes in Italy, says M5S leader

(see related stories on presidential ballot). (ANSA) — Rome, April 18 — Franco Marini’s failure to become Italian president in the first ballot in Thursday’s presidential election shows Italians are saying no to backroom political deals, says ani-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) leader Beppe Grillo.

“Italy does not want backroom deals,” Grillo wrote Thursday on his blog after the results of the first vote came in.

“The war is over”.

Grillo had publicly blasted the two biggest parties in parliament, the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) and the centre-right People of Freedom (PdL), after both said they would vote for Marini.

He accused them of making private political deals that would “decide the destiny of 60 million Italians”.

The M5S chose its presidential candidate, former Communist party MP and privacy authority chief Stefano Rodota’, after an online vote of its members.

On his blog, Grillo blasted PD leader Pier Luigi Bersani, who he has called “a dead man talking”, for cooperating with the PdL and its leader Silvio Berlusconi, who Grillo calls a “psycho-dwarf”.

“No one has explained to Bersani that Italy has changed, it does not want more backroom deals with the psycho-dwarf,” wrote Grillo. “The war is over, give up”, he added.

“Deliver us forever from your presence, we are exhausted”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Pranksters Vote Showgirl and Classic Comedy Character

Valeria Marini, Amici Miei gagster, Veronica Lario backed by 1

(ANSA) — Rome, April 18 — A parliamentary prankster didn’t take Thursday’s first vote for Italian president seriously, nominating a showgirl who shares the surname of the pre-ballot favourite, ex-Senate Speaker Franco Marini.

Voluptuous TV and movie star Valeria Marini got one vote, as did a well-loved character in Mario Monicelli’s classic 1975 movie comedy Amici Miei (My Friends), fictional practical joker ‘Count’ Raffaello Mascetti.

Marini joined a past group of celebrity hoax nominees including Sophia Loren who garnered one vote in 1992. Others to gain a joke vote Thursday included the estranged wife of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi, Veronica Lario, and former showgirl and ex-equal opportunities minister Mara Carfagna.

The ballot for the former Berlusconi minister was scrapped, however, because she did not meet the required age of 50.

The first round of voting produced a shock as Franco Marini was not elected because of a split in his centre-left Democratic Party.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Marini ‘Declines Bersani Prod to Pull Out’

‘Marsican Wolf’ counting on simple majority in fourth ballot

(ANSA) — Rome, April 18 — Ex-Senate Speaker Franco Marini has declined a suggestion from his Democratic Party (PD) leader Pier Luigi Bersani to pull out of the race for Italian president after he failed to win in the first ballot, sources close to the PD said Thursday.

The PD leader, who is trying to quell a party rebellion sparked by the candidacy of 80-year-old Marini, seen as a representative of a discredited old guard, reportedly sounded out the former Senator and ex-union leader after he did not reach an expected two-thirds majority in the first vote.

Marini, who earned the nickname ‘Marsican Wolf’, a tough symbol of his native Abruzzo highlands, for his tenacity in his union days, was said to have responded that he was confident of success in the fourth ballot Friday afternoon, when a simple majority will suffice.

He was reportedly banking on the solid support of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Freedom (PdL) party, which helped him to 521 votes in the first round of voting.

The majority required in the fourth ballot is 504

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

‘Scouts Seek Models at Swedish Anorexia Clinic’

Talent scouts have been looking for Sweden’s next top model outside the country’s largest eating disorders clinic in Stockholm, outraged doctors have revealed.

“We think this is repugnant. People have stood outside our clinic and tried to pick up our girls because they know they are very thin,” chief doctor Anna-Maria af Sandeberg told the Metro newspaper.

“It sends the wrong signals when the girls are being treated for eating disorders.”

The last incident took place a year ago, when the clinic was forced to change its procedures for the walks that its patients take. One of the patients who was approached by a scout was so ill she was sitting in a wheelchair at the time.

Many of the girls who were approached last year were in their teens. Some patients have a body mass index as low as 14. A healthy BMI for adult women is considered to lie between 18.5 and 24.9 on the scale, which is a measurement of a person’s height-to-weight ratio.

The clinic has room for 1,700 patients at any one time. The Stockholm Center for Eating Disorders cares for out and in patients with facilities to care for whole families and admit day patients.

The clinic, the biggest of its kind in Sweden, focuses at first on getting starvation, binge-eating and vomiting under control, before moving onto psychological care.

“Co-operation with the family and the social network is an important part of the treatment,” the clinic writes in a statement online.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Sweden: ‘Mustafa Failed to Heed Warning Last Year’

Social Democrats in Stockholm say they did not follow up after telling Omar Mustafa a year ago to purge intolerant speakers from Islamic Association (Islamiska föreningen) meetings, before nominating him to the opposition party’s governing board.

“We were certain that he had understood how serious the situation was last time and that he wouldn’t repeat this mistake,” said the party’s Stockholm district (arbetarekommun) secretary Olle Burell to the TT new agency.

Burell admitted that he and his colleagues had not made sure a year later that Mustafa had followed through and purged the list of invited speakers of speakers known for intolerant views.

“It’s one of the points that we’ve criticized ourselves about, we should have (checked up),” said Burell.

Mustafa landed at the centre of the Social Democrats’ latest controversy just days after being elected to the party’s governing board when reports emerged that the Islamic Association invited people with known anti-Semitic views to speak in Sweden.

On Saturday, party leader Stefan Löfven issued an ultimatum. Mustafa resigned from the party later the same day, less than a week after his election to the governing board, saying he was “forced out”.

Burell, who took questions from the media instead of Stockholm district chair Veronica Palm who is also an MP, said the fault lay with the party’s municipal district and not the party at large.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UK: Guilty! Teenage Paedophile With Two Convictions Raped an 11-Year-Old Girl in a Park as She Made Her Way Home From School

[WARNING: ** Disturbing Content **]

A teenage rapist who stalked schoolgirls in uniform from bus stops is facing a life sentence today for attacking an 11-year-old girl.

Opemipo Jaji, 18, was under a supervision order for having child porn and had just finished an appointment with the Probation Service when he followed the victim as she took a bus home from school.

Jaji stalked the girl who repeatedly crossed the road to try and avoid him before she broke into a run in an attempt to get away.

He then dragged her into a park where she underwent a horrifying three-hour ordeal.

Jaji was arrested two days later, after a local PCSO realised he matched the description given to police by the victim.

He cracked his knuckles repeatedly when he was arrested outside his home in Edmonton.

In his bedroom police found an open book, called ‘Nobody Cares’, about a little girl being sexually abused and cuttings about the April Jones case.

On his bed there were also circled newspaper adverts for apprenticeships in child care.

The jury were not allowed to know that just six months before the attack, Nigerian-born Jaji had downloaded child porn exclusively featuring young white girls for which he had been handed an 18 month supervision order.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Music, Hymns, Poetry and Scripture — The Solemn Majesty of Lady Thatcher’s Funeral

Adrian Hilton is a conservative academic, theologian and educationalist. He writes a Daily Mail blog and is still agitating for Ann Widdecombe’s peerage.

The chimes of Big Ben did not strike 10am. For three whole hours they were silenced in reverence, as London paused and the flags of England bowed. Draped in the red, white and blue of the country she loved, the coffin carrying the body of the late Margaret Thatcher made its way out of the Crypt of St Mary Undercroft, past the statue of Richard Coeur de Lion, the kingly symbol of England’s enduring Christian faith; and then past Cromwell, sword in one hand and Bible in the other, forever reminding us that the people are sovereign, Parliament is supreme, and God makes the law. And then she passed by Churchill, the last prime minister to defend these islands against invasion and the indignity of surrender to a foreign power…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: The Full Text of the Right Rev Richard Chartres’ Address at Margaret Thatcher’s Funeral

Here is the full text of the Right Rev Richard Chartres’ address at Margaret Thatcher’s funeral: “After the storm of a life lived in the heat of political controversy, there is a great calm. The storm of conflicting opinions centres on the Mrs Thatcher who became a symbolic figure — even an ‘ism’. Today the remains of the real Margaret Hilda Thatcher are here at her funeral service. Lying here, she is one of us, subject to the common destiny of all human beings…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: The Lost Tribes of British Politics — Day 4: The High Liberals and the Libertarians

Having looked at the left yesterday, let’s head back towards the right; but not too far right, if you please — we’re now in the refined company of the high liberals. This is a term coined for the purposes of this guide, because these guys don’t really have a name for themselves, as that would look factional and therefore vulgar. Few in number, but great in influence, they’re best known for two publications you may have heard of — the Financial Times and the Economist.

Non-socialist and non-conservative you’d think they’d be happy in the Liberal Democrats. However, Lib Dem rank-and-file are a little too leftwing for high liberal tastes — not that this is the main problem: You see, what the high liberals really believe in being rational — and there’s just too much that’s irrational about joining a third party…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Vandal Attack on Cambridge Mosque Site

Anti-Islamic vandals have targeted the site of Cambridge’s planned new mosque. The graffiti artists daubed offensive messages on the hoardings of the Mill Road building site including “terrorist scumbags”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Whose Britain is it? Yesterday’s Restrained, Dignified Mourners? Or the Outnumbered Protesters?

By Paul Goodman

As the coffin was carried out of St Paul’s — the great west door having been flung open — a sound made its way inside, faint but persistent: the noise of applause. The effect in the immense spaces of the cathedral was haunting. For those of us who campaigned for the Conservative Party during the momentous years of the 1980s, many of whom turned out yesterday, it was as though the whole country had gathered to honour her life and work — not only the millions of voters who returned her to office three times, but millions of others: “the people of England, who never have spoken yet”.

The moment was an illusion. But just as dreams can yield insights into our lives, so it suggests a question about our country: whose is it? Whose is the majority? Did the tiny minority of protestors, who gained media attention out of all proportion to their size, speak for Britain? Or is its true voice, rather, that of the outnumbering mass of dignified, restrained mourners, who packed the Strand and Fleet Street and Ludgate Hill in numbers far greater that commentary in advance of the service suggested? Opinion polls and yesterday’s service come together to give an answer…

[Reader comment by MalcolmDunn on 18 April 2013 at about 8 am.]

I was very proud to be British yesterday. The people I saw in Fleet Street was middle England at its best. Decent and respectful. I didn’t see any protesters but understand there were a few nearby, I can only assume they were drowned out.

I did hear that Gordon Brown was booed walking into St. Pauls. If that’s true then I’m sorry that it happened. He may have been a very poor Chancellor and an even worse Prime Minister but nobody should be booed going into a funeral.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Why Wasn’t I Told Man Who Left Me Paralysed Had Been Let Out of Jail? Mother Left Disabled Demands Answers After Thug’s Facebook Boasts About Early Release

[WARNING: ** Disturbing Content **]

A young mother left paralysed by a drunken thug only discovered her attacker had been let out of prison early when she saw gloating photos on Facebook.

Claire Hilton was sickened to find pictures of Christopher Towers having fun after serving only a third of his sentence for breaking her neck.

The snaps are thought to have been posted by his girlfriend, who wrote underneath, ‘finally with my boy’.

Towers, 25, was jailed for three and a half years in January last year for punching Miss Hilton, in the face after a row over a spilt drink.

Just 15 months after he was put behind bars, he is out on weekend licence, allowing him to spend time with girlfriend Kelly McKone.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

US Aids Spain to Win Back Stolen Tapestry

A 16th century religious tapestry stolen from a Spanish cathedral in 1979 and sold at auction three years ago for $369,000 was returned to Spain on Wednesday by the US customs service.

In a statement, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said special agents from its Homeland Security Investigations unit seized the artifact last November from the unidentified Texas business that had bought it.

The wool and silk tapestry, depicting the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus, had been stolen in December 1979 from the Cathedral of Saint Vincent, Martyr of Roda de Isabena in the Aragon region of northeastern Spain.

After it turned up in a Brussels art fair catalog in 2010, Belgian, Spanish and US investigators established it had been acquired in 2008 by a gallery owner in Belgium along with two partners from Milan and Paris.

“Today’s repatriation is an example of what can be accomplished when law enforcement partners from around the world work together in the effort to ensure that stolen and looted priceless cultural objects like this are returned to their rightful owner,” said ICE director John Morton.

Madrid’s ambassador to Washington Ramon Gil-Casares accepted the tapestry on behalf of his nation at a ceremony at his residence.

Since 2007 more than 6,600 artifacts — including paintings from Europe, manuscripts from Peru and cultural artifacts from China, Cambodia and Iraq — have been returned by the United States to 24 countries, according to the ICE.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Tunisia: Salafites Attack University Women’s Centre in Capital

Tunis, 18 April (AKI) — Police in the Tunisian capital used tear gas to disperse hardline Islamists who raided a women’s cultural centre at the university on Wednesday, the Tunisie Numerique website reported.

An “indecent” event held at centre on Tuesday had sparked the Salafites’ ire, according to the website.

The report did not state if there had been any casualties during the attack or arrests made but hardliners have recently staged a number of attacks in Tunis and elswhere in the country, underlining rising Islamist-secularist tensions.

Radical Muslims burst into a school last week and assaulted its headmaster after he barred entry to a teenage girl wearing a niqab, teachers said.

Salafists have attacked alcohol sellers in several Tunisian cities in recent months, prompting secularists to accuse them of having formed a religious police and threatening the state.

Last year, Muslim hardliners prevented concerts and plays from being staged in several Tunisian cities.

Tunisia was for decades was considered one of the most secular countries in the Arab world, but Islamists’ influence has been increasing since dictator Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali was was ousted two years ago in the first ‘Arab Spring’ uprising.

The ruling moderate Islamic Ennahda Movement won Tunisia’s first elections in October 2011 after Ben Ali fled. The government also includes two secular parties.

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

Bahrein: Six ‘Terror Suspects’ Arrested Ahead of Formula 1 Grand Prix

Manama, 18 April (AKI) — Police in Bahrein arrested six ‘suspected terrorists’ as security was ramped up ahead of the Formula 1 Grand Prix taking place there this weekend, the official Al-Ayyam daily reported.

The suspects are accused of setting vehicles on fire and obstructing the traffic, the daily said.

News of their arrest came the day after opposition forces in the Gulf state said they planned to hold a series of protests during the race including road blocks.

Rights groups have accused Bahrein’s authorities of cracking down on any form of dissent ahead of the Grand Prix as opposition groups have stepped up protests in and around the capital Manama.

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

Kuwait: Citizens More Important Than Expats

Economics says people migrate from one place to another to seek a better-paying job. For instance, a Greek or a Turkish man may go to Germany, France or Sweden where he could earn three times of what he earns in his own country. Similarly, an African may try to illegally sneak into Europe, using small fishing boats, through the Mediterranean. The expats in the Gulf, be them Asians or Arabs, also went there because they knew for sure that they would be better paid.

Some Kuwaiti officials discuss economic issues without thinking of the consequences. For instance, the Ministry of Education recently announced its intention to increase the salaries of some of its expat employees. Such a proposal might encourage others also -though I do not intend to name anyone but the readers may as well read between the lines to understand whom I am referring to — to demand the same.

Moreover, on Feb 2, MP Kamel Al-Awadhi suggested granting expats working in other GCC states visitors’ visas to come to Kuwait. I wrote about this proposal at the time and stressed that we, in Kuwait, can hardly breathe because of the traffic jams. Besides, violence has become rampant. In addition, such a proposal would only encourage visa trafficking. Al-Awadhi also made another proposal on April 6, suggesting allowing expats in Kuwait to purchase real estate and claimed that this would ‘positively affect Kuwait’s economy.’ Dear MP, the mere decision to grant Kuwaiti widows or divorced women loans, sent the prices of flats skyrocketing in Kuwait. What would be the effect if expats were given a chance and they started crowding out young Kuwaitis while seeking proper accommodation? Charity begins at home.

I know that such an opinion would offend the expats but our country is small and many of our own youth cannot find work or accommodation. Expats’ salaries are more than enough for the time being. The fact that many of them send monthly payments home proves this, as per the central bank statistics.

So, if life was becoming expensive for the expats in the Ministry of Education or any other government establishment, let them exercise their right and leave for other countries. Who says that increase in population is good for any country? On the contrary, overpopulation is the hallmark of backward states that have too many people and export only one national product, such as cotton, cocoa or oil.

Why open new doors for problems we can as well do without at this particular juncture in Kuwait’s history? Kuwait has never witnessed such dangerous behavioral phenomena like we are witnessing nowadays. Fires, traffic congestion, crimes, robberies abound. In such circumstances, why should we keep telling others to come and visit us because we will pay them more? Why should our government yield to political pressure from other underdeveloped or non-developed countries which do not care about Kuwait’s interests and give more priority to their subjects’ salaries? Why should we go out seeking new problems domestically, like the one that hit Khaitan when expats reacted to political changes taking place in their countries and led to fracas like the recent scuffle between groups of Syrians at the Ogaila beach where they used knives and other objects? I know that many expats will not like my words. I am even sure that some of them will write very scathing comments in response to my article, but that is how they are and this is how far their intellectual levels have reached.

Kuwait’s interest calls for washing our hands of the excessive number of expats. Socioeconomically, reducing the number of immigrants could help any country as it helps reduce traffic congestion, high consumption of water and electricity, crimes and violations of law.

So, dear MPs and officials, please do not come up with any such proposals concerning the expats and, instead, focus on the citizens alone because charity begins at home. We have to fix our domestic problems first.

It would have been much better to suggest solutions to citizens’ problems and leave innovations to experts. — Al-Watan

           — Hat tip: RR [Return to headlines]

Six Firms Bid for Jordan’s First Oil Shale-Fired Power Plant

(ANSAmed) — Amman, APRIL 18 — Jordan’s ambition to build its first oil shale-fired power plant is in progress after six internationally firms submitted proposals to implement the project, according to the Attarat Power Company (APCO). APCO, would start negotiating terms of proposals with the firms in the near future to move forward, said a company statement.

The six companies are: Alstom/Daewoo E&C (France/Korea), Hyundai E&C/LG International (Korea), Samsung Engineering (Korea), Posco/Daewoo International (Korea), China Machinery Engineering Corporation (China), and Guangdong Power (China).

“This is as step in our steady progress towards establishing a source of power generation for Jordan that will be wholly reliant on the Kingdom’s own abundant deposits of oil shale,” said Andres Anijalg, Project Director for APCO. When implemented, the project would be the first of its kind in the Middle East region, according to Jordanian officials, who hope to provide an answer to the country’s chronic power shortage.

Jordan is said to possess one of the largest oil shale reserves in the world with total deposits estimated at 40 to 70 billion tonnes, the statement said. According to APCO, the power plant is scheduled to start generating electricity for local consumption by 2017. It will have a capacity of approximately 500 megawatts and is expected to reduce the Kingdom’s expenditure on the import of oil products for power generation by more than JD350 million a year, in addition to creating thousands of jobs and providing wider economic benefits, according to the statement.

Jordan imports more than 90 percent of its fuel from the international market, causing massive pressure on the under-performing local economy.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Surreal: US Troops Stage in Jordan to Defend Al Qaeda in Syria

CNN reports that some 200 US troops are staging along Syria’s border, this as reports reveal huge amounts of US-provided flour smuggled into Syria have formed the foundation of Al Qaeda’s public relations strategy. Together with huge amounts of US-provided weapons, the aid is fueling Al Qaeda’s continued operations and atrocities inside Syria. The addition of US troops along Syria’s border appears to be a response to recent and significant gains made by the Syrian government in stamping out terrorist operations nationwide.

Syria’s “Rebels” are Same Terrorists US Fought for Last 10 Years

As reported in October 2012, the networks used to flood Iraq with weapons and Al Qaeda militants during the US occupation, had been positively identified by the extensive academic efforts of the US Army’s own West Point Combating Terrorism Center (CTC). Two reports were published between 2007 and 2008 revealing a global network of Al Qaeda affiliated terror organizations, and how they mobilized to send a large influx of foreign fighters into Iraq.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Syria: Rebels Take Military Airport Near Homs

(ANSAmed) — BEIRUT, APRIL 18 — Rebel forces on Thursday captured a military airport south west of Homs, close to the Lebanese border. Rebel sources in Qasry, in the centre of the region, confirmed the news to ANSA following press reports Wednesday night. Over Skype rebels told how Dbaa airport, near Qusayr and about 20 km south of Homs, was finally captured in the night after a siege that has raged for the best part of a month. Amateur videos on the net show rebels storming the airport after a coordinated attack by different insurgent groups in the Homs region.

“We killed Assad’s commander of the forces and many other members of his army”, sources said, adding that during the siege government troops trapped inside the building received food rations thrown over the walls because the “airport was totally surrounded”. Dbaa airport is around 15 km from the Lebanese border, close to the heart of the battle between Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah militia, Assad loyalists and Sunni insurgents from Qusayr.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Pakistan’s Former President Musharraf Flees Court After Arrest Order

Former military dictator Pervez Musharraf escapes to luxury villa in Islamabad after judges reject bail extension request

Pakistan’s former military dictator has fled to his heavily secured luxury villa after a court ordered his arrest over charges that he illegally arrested top judges in 2007…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

28 Migrant Workers Wounded in Shooting Over Wages in Greece

Athens (CNN) — Nearly 30 migrant workers in Nea Manolada, Greece, were wounded Wednesday after an apparent argument with their foremen over wages, police said Thursday.

“Police are looking for three Greek nationals aged 39, 27 and 21, who … fired against approximately 200 foreign workers, 28 of whom were injured as a result,” a police statement said.

The owner of the strawberry farm where the shooting occurred has been arrested.

Seven of the workers, who were mostly from Bangladesh, remained hospitalized Thursday, none in critical condition, according to police.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Immigration Bill Contains Free Cell Phones

The 844-page immigration reform bill the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” dropped in the dead of night contains a lucrative handout that would give taxpayer-funded free cell phones to some people who live or work near the U.S. border with Mexico.

Pages 43 and 44 of the bill detail what one conservative blogger, Javier Manjarres of Shark Tank, has already described as the “ObamaPhone” from Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL). That section reads:

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Italy: -82% Arrivals in 2012 But Still High Risk

Drastic drop after post Arab-Spring wave in 2011

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS — Immigration through the central Mediterranean ‘route’ that comprises Italy and Malta dropped drastically in 2012 after a huge initial wave of arrivals following the 2011 Arab Spring. Some 82% less immigrants arrived last year bringing figures down from 59,000 in 2011 to 10,380 in 2012, according to data from the Frontex annual report. Despite this the EU Border Control agency says that in 2013 the area is still considered “high risk”. According to the report so called ‘secondary arrivals’, who hop from one Schengen country to another, are most likely to head to the Western Balkans and Italy. Some 4772 Afghan, Pakistani and Bangladeshi nationals arrived in Calabria and Puglia in 2012, a -9.3% dip on 2011. According to data-gathering interviews most of these first entered through Greece, via the Turkish border.

Overall the number of illegal migrants at EU borders in 2012 fell 49% from 141,060 in 2011 to 72,430.

This isn’t only down to a sharp drop in arrivals via the Italy-Malta Mediterranean route, which accounts for 14% of all illegal arrivals to the EU, but also to Greece and Turkey who have strengthened their borders. In August 2012 1,800 police units were deployed along the borders.

While “it’s the first time the overall figure has dropped below 100 thousand” said Frontex chief Ilkka Laitinen, the guard remains high.

Central, Eastern and Western Mediterranean routes remain “high risk”, in particular Turkey’s borders: in 2012 the Eastern European Mediterranean route shouldered 55% of total arrivals.

Meanwhile routes in the Black Sea and Baltic Sea are “medium risk” while the Canary Islands are considered “low risk”. The amount of people using false documents to arrive by plane rose 49% from 5,288 in 2011 to 7,888 in 2012.

Most migrants who land in Italy and Malta come from the Horn of Africa. The number of immigrants from Somalia rose to 3,400 in 2012 versus 1,400 in 2011 but by contrast the amount of Tunisian arrivals dropped off sharply from 28,000 in 2011 to 2,250 in 2012.

Most arrivals to the EU are of Afghan origin, although this number has fallen since 2011 and the number of Syrian arrivals has gone up.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Battling Racism: UN Body Reprimands Germany Over Sarrazin Comments

When former Berlin politician Thilo Sarrazin made critical remarks about Muslim immigrants four years ago, many found them offensive, though prosecutors rejected complaints, citing free speech laws. A UN committee disagrees, however, and has accused Germany of violating an anti-racism convention.

A United Nations committee has reprimanded Germany in strong language, saying that the country had violated an international anti-racism convention.

At issue are controversial statements made in 2009 by Thilo Sarrazin, a former finance senator for the city-state of Berlin, about Turks and Arabs, who he said sponged off the state and were incapable of integrating, among other things. But a complaint submitted to public prosecutors in Berlin was rejected on grounds that the comments were permissible under Germany’s freedom of expression law. An appeal to the decision was rejected as well.

According to the UN’s Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), however, this constituted a violation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, because it failed to conduct an “effective investigation” into the matter.

“This is a historic decision,” said the TBB Turkish Union, the cultural organization that submitted the case to the committee, in a statment on Thursday. “CERD has determined that Mr. Sarrazin’s comments touch on a feeling of racist superiority or racial hatred and contain elements of incitement to racial discrimination.”

CERD also issued an ultimatum to Germany, giving the country 90 days to inform the committee of the measures it will take to address the committee’s opinion. It also recommended that the country “review its policies and procedures in cases of alleged racial discrimination” and widely distribute this information to prosecutors and judicial bodies.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Fifty Eight Horrific Details From Dr. Gosnell’s Trial That You Don’t Want to Read

Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell, 72, is now facing trial and is charged with eight counts of murder. The trial is now in its fifth week and could last another month.

Gosnell is accused of first-degree murder in the deaths of seven newborns and third-degree murder for the death of one of his patients.

Investigators of his Philadelphia abortion clinic described it as a “house of horrors.”

“My grasp of the English language doesn’t really allow me to fully describe how horrific this clinic was —


[NOTE: The Grand Jury Indictment was published in 2011. A cordon sanitaire of silence was erected by the MSM. Their excuse was that this was a “local story” and they don’t ‘do’ local stories. They do now. -D]

[Return to headlines]

Murder Isn’t Safe, Legal or Rare

[WARNING: ** Disturbing Content **]

For those of you who may be in the dark regarding the happenings in Philadelphia permit me to shine some light on the activities that have been found to be taking place inside this “women’s health clinic.” Glenn Beck has done a masterful job of explaining it here[url]. For those who will not take the time to watch Beck’s GRAPHIC show, witnesses, primarily “clinic workers,” have testified that:

1. For 30 years Gosnell has operated his “clinic” making millions killing minority children. 2. He regularly permitted late term babies to be born and then snipped their spinal cords. 3. He kept a collection of dead-baby parts in jars in his “clinic.” 4. Born babies regularly screeched, squirmed, and wriggled after the “abortion.” 5. Gosnell convinced his “health-workers” to complete the abortion on born babies. 6. He regularly “aborted” babies as viable as 71/2 months gestation… mostly minorities. 7. He killed the biggest babies on Sundays…when he and his wife could do it secretly. 8. Gosnell kept the remains of 47 babies in cat-food containers. 9. He stored baby remains throughout the clinic. “it was a charnel house.” 10. He killed more babies in a month than all the school shootings combined… 15 per day.

No coverage. Do you remember the Casey Anthony trial and the recent Jodi Arias round-the-clock coverage? Kermit Gosnell was a high priest to the death-loving American Left. He is the largest mass-murderer in the history of America…thousands of “after-birth aborted” babies butchered by his scissors. Yet, his murders were not worthy of attention.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]