Gates of Vienna News Feed 4/23/2013

An immigrant barber in Qatar has been sentenced to forty lashes for drinking alcohol. Non-Muslims are permitted to drink in Qatar, provided they have a special permit. However, the alleged Asian offender is himself a Muslim, and thus subject to the full sharia penalty.

In other news, more than half a million dollars’ worth of smart phones have been stolen in Dublin since the beginning of this year.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, DarLink, Fjordman, Insubria, JD, Jerry Gordon, JP, Lurker from Tulsa, McR, Steen, Vlad Tepes, 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
» EU Countries Have Less Deficit, But More Debt
» Greece: Current Account Deficit Dropped 36.4% in February
» Italian 10-Year Bond Yield Drops to Lowest Level Since 2010
» Italians Slash Health, Food Spending as Recession Bites
» Italy: Labor Minister Signs Third Decree for Uncovered Pensioners
» ‘Life Good in Italy’ Says German Minister
» Aurora Teen Arrested for Attempting to Join Jihad
» Bloomberg: Constitution Will Have to Change, More Cameras Needed
» Boston Suspect: We Learned How to Make Bombs From Inspire Magazine
» Boston Bomber Exposes Islamist Secret
» Charges Dropped in Poisoned Letters Case, Filing Says
» Cybersecurity Bill CISPA Tramples on Fourth Amendment Rights
» Facebook Shuts Down Gun Shop Owner’s Page
» Good News for Scott Lively Against SMUG: Supreme Court Ejects Foreign Lawsuits From U.S. Courts
» House GOP Concludes Hillary Clinton Blew Benghazi Response
» Is Nevada Putting Psychiatric Patients on the Bus Out of State?
» Make No Mistake, It Was Jihad
» Melissa Harris-Perry: So What if Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev Are Muslims?
» More Evidence at Cambridge Radical Mosque
» NASA Must Pay for Plutonium Production to Fuel Deep-Space Probes
» Obamacare Tax Surprise: Millions of Americans Could Owe Government More Than They Think
» Obama’s Body Language Tells More About Him Than His Lofty Words
» Oklahoma Muslims Fret About Anti-Islamic Rhetoric
» Pot Heads in Denver — The Tote Seen Round the World
» Rep. Peter King Was Right, America Has a Homegrown Muslim Terrorist Problem
» Sen. Chambliss (R-Ga): Intelligence May Have Known About Bombings in Advance
» Senator Max Baucus, Democrat From Montana, Won’t Seek Re-Election
» Student Suspended for Wearing NRA Shirt is Back in School
» The Facts Suggest That the Boston Bombing Suspects Were Driven by Militant Islam. Mr Obama Must Face Up to This
» Time to Stretch Neck of Jihadist Punk
» Tolerance of Radical Islam May be the “Suicide Belt of Political Correctness”
» UN Official Blames Boston Marathon Bombings on American ‘Domination’
» We Can’t Ignore the Foreign Roots of Boston Massacre
» Two Charged in Canada’s ‘First Al Qaeda Terror Plot’
Europe and the EU
» €430,000 ($580,500) Worth of Phones Stolen in Dublin This Year So Far
» Eleven Godolphin Racehorses Test Positive for Steroids in UK
» Italy: Extremists Mark Birthday of Adolf Hitler in Varese
» Italy: Parmalat Withdraws Balance Sheet After Milk-Company Ruling
» Italy: Napolitano Wiretaps Destroyed
» Italy: President Stresses Keeping EU Commitments at Swearing-in
» Italy: Renzi Primed for Centre-Left Leadership Challenge
» Italy: Prostitute’s Purse Robbed by Soccer Player on Bike
» Italy: SEL to Oppose Left-Right Govt
» Italy: Grillo Says He’d Like to See Gemany Invade and Rule
» Merkel to Europe: “Prepare to Cede Sovereignty”
» Spanish Police Detain Al-Qaeda Terror Suspects
» Sweden: Party Crumbled Under Pressure: Mustafa
» UK: Kris Hopkins Opposes Sharia Law Plan
» UK: MP: Justice Secretary Should Curb Influence of Sharia Courts
» UK: Panorama: Inside Britain’s Sharia Courts, BBC One, Review
» UK: St George 4 All! Statement From Leading Faith Groups
» UK: The Growing Cry for England and St George
» UK: Western Europe’s Largest Mosque and Silver Star Promote Health and Wellbeing for Local Community
North Africa
» Car Bomb Explodes Outside French Embassy in Libya
» Egyptian Judge Suspended for Imposing 80 Lashes on a Drunken Man
» Egypt: Ex-Finance Minister Boutros Ghali Jailed for 25 Years
» Libya: French Embassy in Tripoli Hit by Car Bomb
Israel and the Palestinians
» Erdogan Confirms Gaza Visit, Ignores US Request
» In the Service of the Palestinians
Middle East
» Armed Men Snatch Two Syrian Bishops Near Aleppo City
» Greece Pulls Statues From Qatar Exhibit Over Nudity Dispute
» Iraq: At Least 26 Killed as Iraqi Forces Raid Sunni Protest Camp
» Qatar: Asian ‘Condemned to 40 Lashes for Drinking Alcohol’
» Saudi Women Don’t Want to Drive, Justice Minister
» Syria: Two Orthodox Bishops Abducted by an Armed Group on the Road to Aleppo
» Top Muslim Cleric Boycotts Qatar Meet Attended by ‘Jews’
» UAE: Western Bathing Suits Banned on Tourist Beaches
South Asia
» Indonesian Teenage Girls Accused of Blasphemy
» Pakistan: Taliban ‘Little Commandos’ In Terror Camp Training Video
Far East
» Muslim Rebel Group, Philippine Gov’t Ink Pact to Ensure Peaceful Elections
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Ban ‘Shocked and Saddened’ By Civilian Deaths in Nigeria Violence
» Nigeria Accused of Killing 185 During Assault
» 99.5% of Illegal Immigrants Get Approval for Legal Status; High Number Raises Concerns About Fraud
» Former 9/11 Commission Counsel Told US Senate Hearing Terrorists Manipulate Asylum System
» Immigration Reform Could be Bonanza for Democrats
» The Deportation Lie: The Obama Administration Cooks the Enforcement Books.
» Thieves and Accomplices
Culture Wars
» A Prison for Your Mind, Part 5
» Furor Over Gay Teacher’s Firing May Pit City of Columbus Against Roman Catholic Diocese
» UK: Richard Dawkins’ Latest Anti-Muslim Twitter Spat Lays Bare His Hypocrisy
» Life on Mars? Finding it May Require Humans on Red Planet
» Mysterious Water on Jupiter Came From Comet Smash

EU Countries Have Less Deficit, But More Debt

EU countries’ public deficit is shrinking, but the countries are piling more debt instead, fresh statistics from Eurostat show. Eurozone deficit fell from 4.2% of GDP in 2011 to 3.7% last year, while debt rose to 90% of GDP. Germany was the only country with a budget surplus.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Greece: Current Account Deficit Dropped 36.4% in February

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, APRIL 22 — Greece’s current account deficit fell to 716 million euros in February, which marked a 410-million-euro or 36.4% drop from a year earlier, Kathimerini online reports citing Bank of Greece data released on Monday. In the January-February 2013 period, the current account deficit narrowed by 1.5 billion euros or 59% year-on-year, to 1.1 billion euros.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italian 10-Year Bond Yield Drops to Lowest Level Since 2010

Interest rate falls below 4% to 3.98%, spread down to 277

(ANSA) — Rome, April 23 — The yield on the 10-year Italian bond dropped to its lowest level since November 2010 on Tuesday when it fell below 4% to descend to 3.98%.

The drop made it possible for the spread between the bond and the German benchmark, a key measure of investor confident and of Italy’s borrowing costs, to drop below the 280-basis-points mark to 277.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italians Slash Health, Food Spending as Recession Bites

Seven out of 10 cutting quantity and quality of products bought

(By Paul Virgo) (ANSA) — Rome, April 23 — More than seven out of 10 households have reduced the quantity and quality of products purchased during Italy’s long recession, the president of the Italian statistical agency Istat said on Tuesday. Enrico Giovannini said 71% of Italian families had cut household consumption, as they try to grapple with the ongoing economic crisis. He added that many Italians had virtually cut out certain types of health expenditure, like examinations with specialists and tests, although spending on prescription medicines was unchanged.

Giovannini said that between 2007 and 2013 “the share of families which has made purchases at discount food stores has almost doubled, reaching more than 21% in 2011”.

Italy is enduring its longest recession in 20 years and some experts have said the economy is so weak that forecasts a recovery will start in the second half of the year may be proved wrong.

Tax hikes and spending cuts adopted by outgoing Premier Mario Monti’s emergency technocrat government eased concerns on the international money markets about Italy’s ability to weather the eurozone crisis but they also deepened the recession and pushed unemployment up to record highs of well over 11%.

“Istat’s snapshot of Italians’ consumption is truly alarming,” said Loredana De Petris, the Senate whip for the Left, Ecology and Freedom (SEL) party. “It’s the inevitable result of the wrong economic policies that have only worsened the crisis.

“Families have been forced to tighten their belts, to have less medical attention and change their food habits out of necessity, certainly not out of choice.

“The Italian people cannot spend money that they haven’t got”. Tuesday’s data were the latest in a long series of figures Istat has presented recently showing how hard the recession is biting. Earlier this month Istat said households’ spending power fell 4.8% in 2012 with respect to 2011, adding that the decline was even worse in the last quarter, when it was down 5.4% on the same period in the previous year.

Factors include government tax hikes eating into disposal income and price rises outstripping increases in salaries to cause real incomes to fall.

The statistics agency also said Italy’s tax burden hit a record high of 52% in the fourth quarter of 2012, up 1.5% on the same period in 2011.

The average burden for the whole of 2012 also reached a record of 44%, up 1.4% on 2011. Close to three million people are out of work and the jobless levels for the young are particularly alarming.

Istat said 37.8% of young people were jobless in February.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Labor Minister Signs Third Decree for Uncovered Pensioners

Funds for further 10,130 earmarked

(ANSA) — Rome, April 23 — Outgoing Labour Minister Elsa Fornero on Tuesday signed a decree created to help compensate retirees bereft of their pension payments due to changes in the country’s retirement rules under the technocrat administration of Premier Mario Monti.

The so-called ‘esodati’ or ‘exiled ones’ who took early retirement but have so far received no benefits were numbered at 390,000 last year by the pension agency INPS, although the labor minister hotly disputed that figure.

Part of the November House budget committee amendment, the decree provides for another 10,130 people on top of the Labor Ministry’s previously foreseen 120,000.

The amendments were tacked onto the 2013 budget.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

‘Life Good in Italy’ Says German Minister

Schaeuble suggests reforms not so hard on Southern Europe

(ANSA) — Berlin, April 23 — Despite the continuing crisis in Italy and Europe-wide austerity measures, Italy still enjoys a high standard of living, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said Tuesday.

“In Italy life is still good, which is why we Germans also like to go there on vacation so much,” Schaeuble said in an interview with business publication Wirtschaftswoche online.

Referring to a much-publicized, recent study by the European Central Bank which showed that southern European countries are by some measures wealthier than northern European ones, Schaeuble said the study “contradicts a widely held impression according to which the necessary reform process will reduce southern Europe to grave poverty”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Aurora Teen Arrested for Attempting to Join Jihad

Abdella Ahmad Tounisi, an 18 year-old from Aurora, Illinois, was intercepted at O’Hare Airport on his way to Syria in an attempt to join a terrorist group and commit acts of terror on American soil. Tounisi was under surveillance by the FBI and had allegedly been in contact with an undercover FBI agent who was posing as a recruiter for a Syria-based terrorist group…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Bloomberg: Constitution Will Have to Change, More Cameras Needed

“You’re going to have to have a level of security greater than you did back in the olden days”

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has said that the interpretation of the US Constitution will “have to change” in the wake of the Boston terrorist bombing in order to allow for greater security to prevent more attacks.

“The people who are worried about privacy have a legitimate worry,” Bloomberg said during a press conference in Midtown.

“But we live in a complex word where you’re going to have to have a level of security greater than you did back in the olden days, if you will. And our laws and our interpretation of the Constitution, I think, have to change.”…

Bloomberg also once again attacked the Second Amendment, noting “Clearly the Supreme Court has recognized that you have to have different interpretations of the Second Amendment and what it applies to and reasonable gun laws … Here we’re going to to have to live with reasonable levels of security.”

Bloomberg has spent over $12 million dollars in TV ads alone this year to campaign for strict gun control legislation.

He envisages military style surveillance drones hovering over New York, fitted with facial recognition software. He described opposition to the idea as “it’s this craziness — oh, it’s big brother,” and said people should just “Get used to it.”…

Benjamin Franklin warned Americans that they should never trade liberty for greater security. No matter, as far as Bloomberg is concerned, because Franklin and the Founding Fathers lived in the “olden days”.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Boston Suspect: We Learned How to Make Bombs From Inspire Magazine

The surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon attack has told investigators that he and his brother got instructions on building bombs from an online magazine published by al Qaeda, federal law enforcement officials told NBC News.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Boston Bomber Exposes Islamist Secret

by Steven Emerson

Now he’s in trouble. It is one thing for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to be seen on security camera videos placing one of the bombs that killed three people at last week’s Boston Marathon. But now he’s really crossed a line.

Tsarnaev is telling investigators he and his brother were motivated by religion to plot their carnage, media reports citing anonymous federal sources say.

Radical Islam. It’s a label banned by the Obama administration. National Islamic groups say it doesn’t belong in conversations about terrorism.

Tsarnaev didn’t get the memo.

Recovering from multiple gunshot wounds, Dzhokhar told investigators from his hospital bed that he and his brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev were driven by religious fervor and took their instructions from al-Qaida’s Inspire magazine, NBC News reports. Anger at the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan fueled their rage, the Washington Post reports.

That motivation echoes justifications offered by Army psychiatrist Nidal Hasan for the Fort Hood shooting spree that killed 13 people and Faisal Shahzad’s sentencing rant about his attempt to bomb Times Square in 2010.

“The crusading U.S. and NATO forces who have occupied the Muslim lands under the pretext of democracy and freedom for the last nine years and are saying with their mouths that they are fighting terrorism, I say to them, we don’t accept your democracy nor your freedom, because we already have Sharia law and freedom,” Shahzad told the court. “Furthermore, brace yourselves, because the war with Muslims has just begun. Consider me only a first droplet of the flood that will follow me.”

Despite this candor from terrorists, the Obama administration and Islamic groups have argued that referring to terrorists’ religious motivations somehow grants them religious legitimacy.


[Return to headlines]

Charges Dropped in Poisoned Letters Case, Filing Says

A court filing said charges have been dropped against a Mississippi man accused of sending ricin-laced letters to President Obama and others.

The one-sentence document was filed Tuesday, hours after Paul Kevin Curtis was released from custody. The document says the continuing investigation has revealed new but unspecified information.

An F.B.I. agent had testified in court that no evidence of ricin was found at Mr. Curtis’s home.

Meanwhile, authorities on Tuesday searched the home of another Mississippi man in connection with the case.

[Return to headlines]

Cybersecurity Bill CISPA Tramples on Fourth Amendment Rights

Silicon Valley’s members of Congress know that cybersecurity can be accomplished without destroying Americans’ online privacy. It’s too bad that the House of Representatives didn’t listen to them.

Now it’s up to the Senate or, if it fails, a presidential veto to stop the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, known as CISPA, in its current form.

The House last week voted 287-127 for this legislation, which gives the government easier access to data from Internet companies. The intent is to help protect tech firms such as Facebook and Google and financial institutions from cyberattacks and theft of intellectual property; sharing information with the federal government will help to identify sophisticated hackers and allow companies to react quickly to attacks. But CISPA takes government access too far.

Silicon Valley Reps. Zoe Lofgren, Anna Eshoo, Jackie Speier and Mike Honda still are fighting to safeguard consumers’ most sensitive data.

Lofgren supports President Obama’s threat to veto the act if it isn’t significantly amended. She is particularly concerned that it would override all existing state and federal privacy laws — an appalling overreach.

The law removes tech firms’ liability — eliminating a potentially huge, costly risk — if they turn over users’ private emails, their browsing history and even medical and financial records whenever the government broadly defines them to be related to a cyberthreat. The law could give the military and the National Security Agency direct access to virtually all information about Internet users if firms allow it, as they’re encouraged to.

Congress goes to extremes to guard Americans’ Second Amendment right to own guns, but it’s all too willing to trample Fourth Amendment rights to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures. Lofgren says the current version of CISPA threatens to throw out the Constitution “whenever something bad happens.”

Valley companies are largely in favor of the bill. Sharing information about cyberattacks has significant value to them, and freeing them from liability is a bonus. Proponents say companies will be guarded about turning over information because they have an interest in protecting consumers’ privacy rights, but the risk is far too high.

The California Legislature is examining a bill, AB1291, that would increase consumer protection online, requiring companies to fully inform them of any personal data that’s being collected and shared for business purposes. But it wouldn’t offer protections from CISPA if the feds claimed there was a cyber threat, unless the Senate or Obama acts.

Online commerce is a huge part of our economy. Users should have a reasonable expectation that government won’t trample their rights. CISPA is weighted in favor of government spying with little Fourth Amendment protection. It has to be amended or stopped.

[Return to headlines]

Facebook Shuts Down Gun Shop Owner’s Page

Late last week, a Pennsylvania-based gun store had its Facebook page suddenly deactivated after administrators at the social media giant reportedly learned the shop’s proprietor was using the store’s Facebook presence as a way to raffle off semiautomatic firearms.

In talking with The, Erik Lowry, who owns Pittsburgh Tactical Firearms in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, explained the situation, although even he is a little unclear about why exactly his store’s fan page, which had over 27,000 friends, was shut down.

On Sunday, he had plans to run a huge giveaway that would have included an AR-15 as the main prize, but close to the eve of the giveaway he awoke to calls and emails from concerned customers wondering what happen to PTF’s Facebook page.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Good News for Scott Lively Against SMUG: Supreme Court Ejects Foreign Lawsuits From U.S. Courts

The decision is a severe blow to foreign entities and individuals that have sought to use the ATS — with alarming success in the last three decades — to bring foreign disputes in U.S.courts. Liberty Counsel currently represents Pastor Scott Lively [founder of Abiding Truth Ministries] in one such case brought against him by Sexual Minorities Uganda, which calls itself “SMUG.” In its lawsuit, filed in federal court in Massachusetts, SMUG claims that Mr. Lively violated”international law” when he criticized homosexual conduct while visiting Uganda.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

House GOP Concludes Hillary Clinton Blew Benghazi Response

House Republicans have concluded that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was responsible for cutting security at the consulate in Benghazi ahead of last year’s attack there, and that the administration lied about why it downplayed terrorism as the cause of the assault.

A new report — the result of months of investigation by five different House committees — says there was plenty of intelligence that presaged the attack, but the State Department and President Obama failed to heed the warnings or give the Defense Department the authority to respond to such an attack.

The report exonerates the Pentagon itself, saying the military did what it could to respond once the attack began, but “was hindered on account of U.S. military forces not being properly postured” beforehand.

In the most damning finding, House Republicans said Mr. Obama and his team lied about the attacks afterward, first by blaming mob violence spawned by an anti-Muslim video, and then wrongly saying it had misled the public because it was trying to protect an FBI investigation.

“This progress report reveals a fundamental lack of understanding at the highest levels of the State Department as to the dangers presented in Benghazi, Libya, as well as a concerted attempt to insulate the Department of State from blame following the terrorist attacks,” the GOP investigation concluded in its 46-page report.

The Obama administration has acknowledged providing an inaccurate explanation for the attacks early on — even though officials at the Defense Department said they knew it was a terrorist assault from the beginning.



[Return to headlines]

Is Nevada Putting Psychiatric Patients on the Bus Out of State?

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS / AP) — The city attorney said Monday he’s launching an investigation into whether Nevada health officials are systemically sending psychiatric patients to San Francisco and other cities.

City Attorney Dennis Herrera sent a letter to Nevada’s Department of Health and Human Services demanding to see documents related to what he termed “patient dumping” — the alleged practice of discharging psychiatric patients and busing them to other places.

“Assuming the reports are true, Nevada’s practice of psychiatric

In his letter to the director of Nevada’s Department of Health and Human Services, with copies sent to Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval and other officials, Herrera cites articles in The Sacramento Bee detailing how Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Las Vegas transported more than 1,500 psychiatric patients by Greyhound bus nationwide between 2008 and last March.

Rawson-Neal is Nevada’s primary state psychiatric hospital.

Sandoval, a Republican midway through his first term, met Monday afternoon with GOP and Democratic legislative leaders to brief them on how Nevada is responding.

Sen. Ben Kieckhefer, R-Reno, said the state is “in the process of completing a comprehensive review and that’s the right thing to do.”

Herrera said San Francisco will seek compensation from Nevada if it determines patient dumping has resulted in the improper transfer of patients to the city.

“We’re prepared to litigate aggressively on behalf of San Francisco and its taxpayers to recover whatever costs or damages we’re able to identify,” the city attorney said.

The issue has been under scrutiny since February, when one patient at Rawson-Neal was given a bus ticket and turned up suicidal and confused at a homeless complex in Sacramento, where he knew no one and had never been before.

Several other agencies are also examining Rawson-Neal’s transfer policies.

The Joint Commission, which evaluates and certifies hospitals across the country, said last week it’s aware of complaints and is gathering information to determine if a special on-site survey is warranted.

The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a federal watchdog agency, also is reviewing the hospital’s discharge practices. Jack Cheevers, a spokesman, said the agency asked Nevada’s health division to assist in a probe.


[Return to headlines]

Make No Mistake, It Was Jihad

If your concern about the threat posed by the Tsarnaev brothers is limited to assuring that they will never be in a position to repeat their grisly acts, rest easy.

The elder, Tamerlan — apparently named for the 14th-century Muslim conqueror famous for building pyramids of his victims’ skulls to commemorate his triumphs over infidels — is dead. The younger, Dzhokhar, will stand trial when his wounds heal, in a proceeding where the most likely uncertainty will be the penalty…

But if your concern is over the larger threat that inheres in who the Tsarnaev brothers were and are, what they did, and what they represent, then worry — a lot…

At the behest of such Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated groups as the Council on American Islamic Relations and the Islamic Society of North America, and other self-proclaimed spokesmen for American Muslims, the FBI has bowdlerized its training materials to exclude references to militant Islamism. Does this delicacy infect the FBI’s interrogation group as well?

Will we see another performance like the Army’s after-action report following Maj. Nidal Hasan’s rampage at Fort Hood in November 2009, preceded by his shout “allahu akhbar” — a report that spoke nothing of militant Islam but referred to the incident as “workplace violence”? If tone is set at the top, recall that the Army chief of staff at the time said the most tragic result of Fort Hood would be if it interfered with the Army’s diversity program.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Melissa Harris-Perry: So What if Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev Are Muslims?

by Alex Groberman

The revelation that last week’s Boston Marathon bombing was allegedly carried out by Muslims has created a noticeable divide amongst people on the left. While most liberals made it no secret that they were hoping that the suspects would turn out to be white, when it was reported that these guys were in fact Muslims, the way the information was interpreted varied. Host of HBO’s Real Time, Bill Maher, held nothing back this past Friday when he criticized the Islamic faith for promoting violence. Conversely, MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry, the right’s favorite new left-wing punching bag, argued that Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev being Muslim is irrelevant to this case right now…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

More Evidence at Cambridge Radical Mosque

USA Today had more evidence of how radical the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center (ISBCC) Cambridge Mosque that the Tsarnaeva brothers attended, “Mosque that Boston suspects attended has radical ties” . In our earlier post, Dr. Charles Jacobs and Ilya Feoktistov of Americans for Peace and Tolerance had given evidence of the radical Imams and trustees and control by a Muslim Brotherhood front group, the Muslim American Society. According to the USA Today report,: The Cambridge mosque was founded in 1982 by students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard and several other Boston-area schools, according to a profile by the Pluralism Project at Harvard University. Its members founded the sister mosque in Boston in 2009. APT colleagues Jacobs Feoktistov and Mansour cite further evidence the radical underpinnings of the Cambridge ISBCC Mosque: The leadership of the two mosques is intertwined and the ideology they teach is the same, Jacobs says. Ilya Feoktistov, director of research at Americans for Peace and Tolerance, says much of the money to create the Boston mosque came not from local Muslims but from foreign sources. More than half of the $15.5 million used to found the Boston mosque came from Saudi sources, Feoktistov said, who cites financial documents that Jacobs’ group obtained when the mosque sued it for defamation. The lawsuit was later dropped. Looks to us that the Tsarnaeva brothers, Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, Tarek Mahenna and others who have attended or presented at the ISBCC Mosques in Boston and Cambridge have violated Islamic doctrine and been praised for it by their brothers in the Umma. Jihad trumps all, as it is the way of Allah.

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

NASA Must Pay for Plutonium Production to Fuel Deep-Space Probes

NASA will now foot the entire bill for the United States’ production of plutonium-238 spacecraft fuel, which recently started up again for the first time in a quarter-century.

The space agency had been splitting costs for the reboot with the U.S. Department of Energy, which actually produces plutonium-238. But NASA is the only projected user of the stuff, so the arrangement changed in the White House’s federal budget request for 2014, which was unveiled earlier this month.

“Since the (Obama) Administration has a ‘user pays’ philosophy, we are now in a position to pay for basically the entire enterprise, including the base infrastructure at DOE,” NASA chief financial officer Beth Robinson said in an April 10 press conference. “We’ll be partnering with DOE in the next couple of months to figure out how to best do this, and how to streamline the program to produce plutonium-238.”

Plutonium-238 is not a bombmaking material, but it is radioactive, emitting heat that can be converted to electricity using a device called a radioisotope thermoelectric generator. For decades, RTGs have powered NASA probes to destinations in deep space, where sunlight is too weak and dispersed to be of much use to a robot.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Obamacare Tax Surprise: Millions of Americans Could Owe Government More Than They Think

(NaturalNews) This fall, millions of already cash-strapped Americans will apply for taxpayer-funded government subsidies to help pay for their mandatory Obamacare coverage, which is set to begin next year. But according to new reports, individuals who incorrectly predict their future income on the subsidy forms, or who end up having lower income in 2012 than in 2013, will end up having to pay back some or all of the subsidy money back to the government, which could come as a major surprise for many people.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Obama’s Body Language Tells More About Him Than His Lofty Words

Obama spite continues as the main underlying trademark of his destructive presidency.

With the horrific Boston Marathon terrorist attack, less than two weeks old, and at the very same time defense lawyers for abortion practitioner Kermit Gosnell defend him from murder charges in court, Obama will attend a Planned Parenthood fundraising gala on Thursday.

Obama, Champion of Partial Birth Abortions of Record, is as lukewarm in his criticism of the House of Horrors run by Gosnell as he was in his criticism of the suspects following the Boston Marathon bombing.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Oklahoma Muslims Fret About Anti-Islamic Rhetoric

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Some Oklahoma Muslims have expressed concern about anti-Islamic rhetoric mounting at the state Capitol after the creation of a counter-terrorism legislative caucus whose members have focused on the activities of a Muslim civil rights group. Spearheaded by Rep. John Bennett, a Marine Corps veteran who served three combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and is a fierce critic of Sharia Law, the caucus has fewer than a dozen “core” members. It meets informally mostly to educate other lawmakers, Bennett said…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Pot Heads in Denver — The Tote Seen Round the World

Just when Muslim nations get on your nerves by accusing America of being the most degenerate nation on earth, you pick up the morning paper to see that in Denver, 80,000 pot heads exhaled together creating the biggest cloud of pot smoke in the history of the world.

It was the puff that could be seen around the city and the cheers of the crowd of cannabis craving compulsives rose to the air along with their smoke.

In 2012 elections Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize pot for recreational use for anyone over 21 years of age. The glitch that the voters left behind is that federal law still holds marijuana use and distribution as illegal.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Rep. Peter King Was Right, America Has a Homegrown Muslim Terrorist Problem

by Crystal Wright

Remember when Republican Rep. Peter King, Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, held hearings in 2011 and 2012 on the radicalization of Muslims here at home? “Today, we must be fully aware that homegrown radicalization is part of Al Qaeda’s strategy to continue attacking the United States,” King said. “Al Qaeda is actively targeting the American Muslim community for recruitment. Today’s hearing will address this dangerous trend.”

Democrats stopped short of calling King a racist publically but howled, “How dare he stereotype Muslims?” Well, the Boston marathon terrorist attack suggests King was right and Democrats were wrong. The left leaning news media was wrong too. Moments after the attack many in the mainstream media suggested the bombings looked like the work of “right wing radicals,” even though the pressure cooker bombs used in the Boston attack are a trademark of al Qaeda…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Sen. Chambliss (R-Ga): Intelligence May Have Known About Bombings in Advance

Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) said on Tuesday that law enforcement may have known in advance about the Boston Marathon suspects’ bombing plans. Speaking to local Atlanta Channel 2 Action News, Chambliss said, “There now appears that may have been some evidence that was obtained by one of the law enforcement agencies that did not get shared in a way that it could have been. If that turns out to be the case, then we have to determine whether or not that would have made a difference.”

If information existed that could have prevented the bombing but was held up by communications gaps between intelligence agencies, that would be a strong case against the growth of the Department of Homeland Security, which was specifically created to facilitate intelligence sharing between intelligence agencies in the aftermath of September 11, 2001.


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Senator Max Baucus, Democrat From Montana, Won’t Seek Re-Election

Senator Max Baucus of Montana, the chairman of the powerful Finance Committee, will retire from the Senate after 36 years, the sixth Senate Democrat to head to the exits in 2014, according to Democratic officials close to the senator.

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Student Suspended for Wearing NRA Shirt is Back in School

The fight continues. That’s what the father of a Logan County middle school in West Virginia is vowing after his son was arrested and suspended. Was the child caught cheating? Was he vandalizing school property? Was he fighting? Nope… none of the above. The student’s “offense” was wearing an NRA shirt to school.

As reported by WOWK TV 13, the issue occurred late last week when the boy, Jared Marcum, wore an NRA shirt with the image of a gun on it. One of Jared’s teachers told Jared he would have to take off the shirt, but Jared refused. He was then arrested and told not to come back to school the next day…

In a follow-up story, Fox News reports that the school says that Jared was arrested for “disrupting the educational process.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

The Facts Suggest That the Boston Bombing Suspects Were Driven by Militant Islam. Mr Obama Must Face Up to This

by Peter Foster

If you want to understand why the American Right is fuming about the Left’s attitudes to the Boston bombings, look no further than this stunningly one-eyed article by Glenn Greenwald, The Guardian’s “security and liberty” correspondent.

“Why is Boston ‘terrorism’ but not Aurora, Sandy Hook, Tucson and Columbine?” he asks rhetorically, before asserting that “there is no known evidence, at least not publicly available, about their [the bombers’] alleged motives”. “Even those assuming the guilt of the Tsarnaev brothers,” he adds, “seem to have no basis at all for claiming that this was an act of ‘terrorism’ in a way that would meaningfully distinguish it from Aurora, Sandy Hook, Tucson and Columbine.”

No basis? I’m not for trial by media, or for wild speculation — you’ll note that the Telegraph has not jumped to conclusions this last week when other media outlets have — but it simply flies in the face of the known facts to suggest that the Boston bombings are indistinguishable from those mass shootings…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Time to Stretch Neck of Jihadist Punk

by Ted Nugent

If the bombing, killings and maiming of Bostonians by the two voodoo whack-job jihadists in Boston isn’t maddening enough, the next tsunami of insults should drive any American addicted to common sense crazy.

The jihadist punk in custody is obviously guilty of committing murder, terrorist acts and a whole book of other crimes, but he won’t be brought to justice.

Justice is supposed to be swift. At least that’s how our Founding Fathers thought it should be.

Imagine if this jihadist punk had basically committed the same crimes 150 years ago. He would have been swinging from an oak tree in Boston Common no longer than 60 days from the date of his arrest. That would be justice.

But that won’t happen to this guilty voodoo vermin. If he’s ever executed, it will be many years from now after our so-called justice system goes through its strange eternal, time-wasting, court-and-lawyer maneuvers from hell. The ugly truth is that by the time this voodoo punk is executed, America will probably have had to deal with any number of other bombings and killings by other voodoo nuts.

He probably won’t go to trial for more than a year due to court-sanctioned delays. Once he’s found guilty, he will be afforded any number of appeals that will take more years, possibly more than a decade. The young voodoo nut has got a long life in front of him, thanks to America’s screwed-up justice system.

A perfect example of justice delayed is terminal voodoo mass murderer Nidal Malik Hasan, who killed 13 soldiers and wounded 32 others at Fort Hood in 2009. Allahu Akbar, my ass.

This voodoo punk’s trial is finally set to begin on May 29 of this year — almost four long years after he shouted “Allahu Akbar” and began his voodoo-inspired rampage in yet another gun-free zone.

This four-year dastardly delay to bring this guilty punk to justice is damnable. What’s equally damnable is that our Defense Department categorizes his slaughter rampage as “workplace violence,” rather the overtly obvious act of voodoo terrorism that everyone knows it was. Workplace violence? Talk about spitting on the graves of our dead heroes.

Hasan is a voodoo terrorist who should have been the feature attraction at a neck-stretching party on the grounds of Fort Hood years ago. I would have supplied the rope, the lumber for the gallows and gladly pulled the hatch on this soulless rabid dog.

There is no excuse for constant delays and years of appeals when there is overwhelming and obvious guilt.

This isn’t justice — it’s a joke…

           — Hat tip: Steen [Return to headlines]

Tolerance of Radical Islam May be the “Suicide Belt of Political Correctness”

Dr. Charles Jacobs of Americans for Peace and Tolerance (APT), in a Fox & Friends interview suggested that “Political Correctness may be our own suicide belt”. In the Fox News interview, Jacobs cites the extremist views of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center’s (ISBCC) radical Imam, William Sahib Webb, who was disinvited by Massachusetts Governor Darvel Patrick to speak at last Friday’s Interfaith service at Boston’s Holy Cross Cathedral . Both Governor Patrick and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino had enthusiastically embraced the ISBCC Mosque at its opening in the Roxbury section of Boston in June 2009. See our NER article, “Chelm on the Charles River.” According to Jacob’s APT colleague, Ilya Feoktistov, both ISBCC Boston and Cambridge Mosque imams “were born and raised in the United States.” ISBCC’s imam William Sahib Webb is a former Oklahoma gang member, who converted to Islam in prison. Both were sent for training in the Middle East. Salafist imam Dr. Sheikh Basyouny of the Cambridge Mosque went to Medina University in Saudi Arabia. The ISBCC’s imam went to Al Azhar University. Sheikh Nehela sits on the board of the Boston ISBCC that is controlled by a Muslim Brotherhood front, the Muslim American Society IMAS). The MAS was idenitifed as an unindicted co-conspirator in the 2008 Dallas Federal Holy Land Foundation trial and convictions for funneling upwards of $35 million to the terrorist group Hamas.

           — Hat tip: Lurker from Tulsa [Return to headlines]

UN Official Blames Boston Marathon Bombings on American ‘Domination’

A United Nations official known for blaming the U.S. for unrest in the Middle East has angered critics again by blaming the Boston Marathon bombings on “American global domination.”

“The American global domination project is bound to generate all kinds of resistance in the post-colonial world,” Richard Falk, the UN Human Rights Council’s Palestine monitor, wrote in an article for Foreign Policy Journal titled, “A Commentary on the Marathon Murders. “It is soon to tell, and the somewhat hysterical Boston dragnet for the remaining at large and alive suspect does suggest that the wounds of 9/11 are far from healed.

“We should be asking ourselves at this moment, “How many canaries will have to die before we awaken from our geopolitical fantasy of global domination?” he wrote.

Falk also blamed Israel for the unrest he believes prompted two brothers of Chechen descent to set bombs that killed three innocent people and injure nearly 200, then kill a police officer.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

We Can’t Ignore the Foreign Roots of Boston Massacre

While many questions remain unanswered about the murderous Boston Marathon bombing, we cannot gloss over the Chechen origins of the terrorism suspects. With one of the Tsarnaev brothers dead and the other in police custody, it is hardly certain that any significant information will come from the suspects themselves

The first critical decision was whether to treat the surviving suspect as a criminal defendant or an enemy combatant. Although law-enforcement sources have confirmed that they have invoked the “public-safety exception” to postpone advising Dzhokhar Tsarnaev of his Fifth Amendment rights, the exception is limited in both time and scope of inquiry. It is manifestly insufficient to sustain the time-consuming interrogation that could reveal significant information about international terrorism. Moreover, since President Obama has consistently viewed terrorism against America as a law-enforcement matter rather than an ongoing war, it’s no surprise he quickly reverted to his default position of trial in federal courts. Undoubtedly, a court-appointed attorney will soon advise Mr. Tsarnaev to clam up and reveal nothing more.

The better course was to hold Mr. Tsarnaev at least initially as an enemy combatant, in order to gain as much useful intelligence as possible. There will be ample time later to try him (and potentially others) as a criminal defendant, since there is overwhelming and indisputably admissible evidence to convict him in a subsequent criminal proceeding, whether Miranda rights are read to him now or later.

A second critical decision must also be made immediately: How vigorously to require that U.S. intelligence services and law-enforcement agencies focus on the possibility the Tsarnaev brothers are part of, or were materially assisted by, international terrorist groups. Their Chechen homeland has been the source of innumerable terrorist attacks against Russia in the past two decades: bombings of subways and apartment buildings in major cities; the 2002 hostage-taking at a major Moscow theater that left more than 175 dead, including 30 to 40 Chechen terrorists; and the 2004 bloody school hostage-taking in Beslan (in the Russian Caucasus near Chechnya), with nearly 400 dead and 700 injured or wounded, including many young children and all 40 terrorists.


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Two Charged in Canada’s ‘First Al Qaeda Terror Plot’

Two men linked to al Qaeda have been arrested and charged in connection with planning a terrorist attack on a passenger train in the first known al Qaeda plot against Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said Monday.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

€430,000 ($580,500) Worth of Phones Stolen in Dublin This Year So Far

Most phones taken by international criminal gangs

Over 1,000 smart-phones worth €430,000 have been stolen in Dublin city centre since the start of the year, according to Garda figures.

About 60 per cent have been stolen in bars, cafes and nightclubs while the rest have been taken off people on the streets, according to figures of thefts reported to Pearse Street and Store Street Garda stations.

Most phones are stolen by people from outside Ireland, often from eastern Europe, who are involved in international organised crime, said Chief Supt Michael O’Sullivan of Pearse Street. The phones are then taken out of Ireland with many of the criminals involved having already been arrested in other European countries for stealing mobile phones.

People are being urged to keep a note of their IMEI number — an identifying number which allows phone operators to disable the phone even if a new Sim card is used. But the phone can be reactivated once it is taken outside of Ireland, hence the international crime aspect to it.

“We have individuals who have been arrested here in possession of maybe nine or 10 phones having stolen them on one particular night,” Chief Supt O’Sullivan said. About 40 per cent of phones are stolen by Irish criminals which can involve organised crime “but not to the same extent as the international side of it”.

Since July last year 600 people have been arrested over stolen mobile phones with 17 people arrested last weekend in the Pearse Street area alone.

Gardaí are urging people to be aware of how they use their phones while in public and to be aware of who is around them while texting or talking into the phone.

“Walking along with a a phone in your hand is akin to holding a €50 note in your hand,” said Chief Supt O’Sullivan this morning during a meeting of Dublin city joint policing committee, a group made up of councillors, gardaí, TDs, Senators community and business representatives.

The committee is to distribute a leaflet warning about mobile phone thefts.

Figures show almost 8,000 smart-phones were stolen across Dublin in the first six months of last year.

Smartphone owners should have their IMEI number stored in the information section of their phones or it can be obtained by typing *#06# into the keypad.

           — Hat tip: McR [Return to headlines]

Eleven Godolphin Racehorses Test Positive for Steroids in UK

Belonging to Dubai Sheikh Al Maktoum. Trainer admits to error

(ANSAmed) — ROME, APRIL 23 — A trainer at one of the UK’s top racing stables has admitted to doping after eleven horses under his care tested positive for anabolic steroids, the Godolphin stables owned by Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum made known on their website on Tuesday.

“Because the horses involved were not racing at the time, I did not realize that what I was doing was in breach of the rules of racing. I can only apologize for the damage this will cause to Godolphin and to racing generally”, trainer Mahmood al-Zarooni said in a statement. The discovery cast doubt on the Godolphin stables, named after a breed of horses from Yemen: the horses found positive have won prizes worth more than 2 million pounds sterling. Among them is Certify, winner of 254,829 pounds so far. The horse has now been withdrawn from the 1,000 Guineas race at Newmarket in May.

Zarooni, who joined Sheikh Maktoum’s operation three years ago, admitted to “catastrophic error”. “This is a dark day for Godolphin. We are all in shock over what happened”, Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford told the BBC.

Al Zarooni will now have to attend a British Horseracing Authority (BHA) disciplinary inquiry. The Sheikh himself, who brings the horses from Newmarket to Dubai every winter, is reportedly appalled.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Extremists Mark Birthday of Adolf Hitler in Varese

Vendola calls for explanation

(ANSA) — Rome, April 22 — It is “absolutely inconceivable” that a celebration of Adolf Hitler was permitted in an Italian city, Puglia Governor Nichi Vendola said Monday.

The country’s interior minister should explain how this was allowed, said Vendola, leader of the Left Ecology Freedom (SEL) party.

“(It is) absolutely inconceivable that Nazis from all over Europe have been permitted to celebrate the birthday of Hitler in Varese,” he said.

About 400 people were said to have attended an ultra-right rally in the northern city of Varese, which was ostensibly organized last Saturday to celebrate a local event — but which happened to be held on Hitler’s birthday.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Parmalat Withdraws Balance Sheet After Milk-Company Ruling

Centrale del Latte shares assigned to City of Rome

(ANSA) — Rome, April 22 — Parmalat’s board on Monday withdrew its 2012 balance sheet after a court decided to assign its controlling stake in the Centrale del Latte di Roma milk company back to the city of Rome.

In the 1990s the capital’s local government sold its stake in the Centrale del Latte to food conglomerate Cirio, which sold it on to Parmalat, but before the end of a five-year ban on a resale.

Parmalat said in a statement that it considered the court ruling “mistaken” and was confident it would reversed on appeal.

The company said the 75% stake it held in the Centrale del Latte di Roma was given a value of 95.1 million euros as an asset in its 2012 balance sheet.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Napolitano Wiretaps Destroyed

Mafia investigators ‘went too far’ in recording president

(ANSA) — Palermo, April 22 — A judge in Palermo on Monday destroyed wiretaps of President Giorgio Napolitano, effectively ending a judicial clash that pitted the sanctity of the presidency against the duties of Mafia investigators. Italy’s Constitutional Court ruled in December that Palermo prosecutors investigating alleged negotiations between the Mafia and the State must destroy recordings of four conversations Napolitano had with Nicola Mancino, a former interior minister and Senate Speaker, between November 2011 and May 2012.

Napolitano argued that the Italian Constitution forbids prosecutors from investigating the head of state unless he is suspected of high treason or attacking the Constitution itself. The wiretaps should have have been destroyed immediately, he said.

In its reasoning on the verdict issued Monday, the Constitutional Court agreed, calling the recordings “a significant wound to the Constitution”. Napolitano also argued that the powers of the Italian president would be diminished for future holders of the office if he accepted the conduct of the prosecutors.

Mancino was charged along with 11 other people in July in relation to alleged negotiations to stop a series of Cosa Nostra bomb attacks in the early 1990s that claimed the lives of anti-Mafia judges Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino in 1992, among other people.

Mancino is accused of perjury for saying he did not know about the negotiations.

He denies this.

On Monday Palermo Judge Riccardo Ricciardi destroyed the wiretaps inside the Ucciardone Prison, where they had been kept on a server.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: President Stresses Keeping EU Commitments at Swearing-in

‘We must promote financial stability’ says Napolitano

(see related) (ANSA) — Rome, April 22 — President Giorgio Napolitano at his swearing-in on Monday stressed the importance of respecting European Union commitments in order to maintain stability in the eurozone. “We must promote a united Europe,” said the newly re-elected head of state, “helping to define and respect the constraints of financial and monetary stability, and to relaunch the dynamism and the spirit of solidarity in order to reap the most of such irreplaceable gains and benefits”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Renzi Primed for Centre-Left Leadership Challenge

Florence mayor wants to change chaos-hit Democratic Party

(By Paul Virgo) (ANSA) — Rome, April 22 — Florence Mayor Matteo Renzi has said he is ready to challenge for the leadership of the Democratic Party (PD) in order to change the chaos-hit centre-left party and Italy as a whole.

The PD is in turmoil after Pier Luigi Bersani stepped down as party secretary following internal revolts that scuppered the chances of two candidates he had proposed to be Italy’s head of state last week.

That forced the PD, the biggest party in parliament after February’s inconclusive general election, to ask 87-year-old President Giorgio Napolitano to agree to serve a second term as it seemed incapable of uniting behind any other candidate.

Napolitano became Italy’s first president to be re-elected on Saturday after winning the votes of lawmakers and regional representatives of the PD, ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Freedom (PdL) party, the Northern League and outgoing Premier Mario Monti’s Civic Choice group.

“My ambition is to change Italy and change a party that reflects its centre,” Renzi said in an interview in Monday’s edition of Rome-based daily La Repubblica.

The PD, which came first in February’s vote but failed to win a working majority in the Senate after Bersani conducted a colourless campaign, is expected to be headed by a committee of caretaker leaders until a congress is held later in the year to elect a new secretary. Renzi, a telegenic 38-year-old who has been compared to the young Tony Blair and came second in the centre-left’s premier-candidate primary in December, is currently the country’s most popular politician, according to opinion polls.

But he is viewed with suspicion by many in the PD itself after a long campaign for the old guard of Italian politics to be “scrapped”.

Lawmakers close to him led the rebellion against the first presidential candidate Bersani proposed, former Senate Speaker Franco Marini.

He also publicly criticised Bersani’s handling of Italy’s post-election impasse many times. Bersani failed in a bid to reach out to the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S), which holds the balance of power in the Senate.

He also refused to consider forming a broad coalition government with the PdL, while at the same time rejecting calls for another vote, saying that this would be equally inconclusive under the current election law.

Renzi, on the other hand, said the PD should have opened talks with Berlusconi or called for a snap election.

“Renzi has an uncontrolled level of ambition,” said Marini, who comes from the Catholic wing of the PD.

“Sometimes he doesn’t know what he’s saying, he just tries to make headlines in the newspapers. If he doesn’t moderate this ambition, he will finish up off the road”. The PD is now expected to support a so-called government of the president, which would also be backed by the PdL, Civic Choice and possibly the Northern League, with a limited mandate to pass some key reforms, including a new electoral law.

However, there is speculation that some PD left-wingers are opposed to having any sort of cooperation with Berlusconi and may split from the party if it takes part in such a broad coalition government.

The Florence mayor said he was ready to present a project for “new reformism” to the party.

“The PD is in a corner,” he added. “It either comes out of it or it will blow up”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Prostitute’s Purse Robbed by Soccer Player on Bike

Chased down by transsexual, ‘promised to pay with iPhone 5’

(ANSA) — Lecce, April 22 — A Lecce soccer player was charged Monday for stealing a purse from a prostitute and fleeing by bicycle after reneging on a deal to give her his iPhone 5 for sex. Ousmane Drame’, a French national and striker for the third-division club, was reportedly chased down by a transsexual friend of the robbed Nigerian streetwalker after the incident early Monday. Police also charged Drame’ with injuring the transsexual when he allegedly tripped him as he tried to wrest the purse from his hands. Lecce, which was relegated to the third division from Serie A after a betting scandal last year, said it would consider dropping Drame’ from the side and suing him for “damage to its reputation” if the charges are upheld in court.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: SEL to Oppose Left-Right Govt

‘Even with Renzi at the helm’ says Vendola

(ANSA) — Rome, April 23 — The key ally of the riven centre-left Democratic Party (PD), Left Ecology and Freedom (SEL), repeated Tuesday it would join the opposition if the PD teamed up with centre-right leader Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Freedom (PdL) party in a left-right administration to break Italy’s two-month post-election stalemate. Puglia Governor Nichi Vendola, the leader of SEL, said it would not back an executive “that included the Berlusconi bloc” as he exited talks with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano. He said the position also applied to a potential government led by Florence Mayor and PD rising star Matteo Renzi, widely touted as a possible candidate for premier. The PD’s coalition just beat the PdL’s alliance in the February elections but failed to gain a Senate majority, leading to a deadlock as the third bloc, anti-establishment comedian Beppe Grillo’s 5-Star Movement, refused to work with either.

PD leader Pier Luigi Bersani, after failing to get M5S support, adamantly ruled out a deal with the PdL because of irreconcilable policy differences.

But Napolitano, re-elected Saturday and sworn in Monday after the PD came close to splitting when the failure of two of Bersani’s candidates exposed deep divisions and prompted the PD leader to tender his resignation, is expected to try to form a national-unity government of institutional figures and PD and PdL politicians to tackle deep economic and social problems.

It is expected to have a limited reform agenda including changing an unpopular electoral law, cutting political costs, turning the Senate into a regional body, and trying to create jobs and lift Italy out of its worst recession in 20 years.

The PD’s left wing may refuse to back this government amid strong grassroots anger at leadership bungling and wider public disaffection with a discredited political class.

It may split off to join SEL in opposition, the Italian media say.

Vendola said Monday: “I will go into opposition with Italy, with that country that vomits when politics is incapable of emerging from its rituals, from its obscene liturgies”.

Vendola said the PD should not agree to Napolitano’s urging to team up with Berlusconi, although he reiterated his personal affection for the 87-year-old president.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Grillo Says He’d Like to See Gemany Invade and Rule

Berlin, April 23 — In an interview with German tabloid on Tuesday, Beppe Grillo, the former comic turned grassroots politician, said he would welcome a German invasion of his country, which he warned was facing bankruptcy.

“In Italy 30 lawmakers convicted of serious crimes sit in parliament,” Grillo told Bild. “I’d like to have honest, competent, professional people in the right positions too. In this situation, I’d be happy to see a German invasion of Italy.”

The shaggy-haired Grillo’s anti-establishment Five Star movement caused a political earthquake in the February national elections, taking a quarter of the vote to become the largest single parliamentary party.

Grillo has contributed to the two-month stalemate since the election by his refusal to enter a coalition with any of Italy’s established parties, blaming their corruption and incompetence for Italy’s economic and social woes.

In the Bild interview, Grillo warned that Italy faced bankruptcy this autumn.

“Between September and October the State will run out of money and it will be difficult to pay pensions and salaries,” Grillo told the German daily.

The eurozone’s third largest economy is still without a government two months after a general election, mired in recession and is grappling with the highest level of unemployment in decades, as well as decades of near-zero growth.

Grillo at the weekend attacked the re-election on Saturday of 87-year-old Giorgio Napolitano as a “cunning little institutional coup” designed to keep Italy’s discredited old political guard in power.

Napolitano was on Tuesday holding consultations with the main Italian political parties aimed at appointing a prime minister by Wednesday tasked with forming a broad coalition government.

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

Merkel to Europe: “Prepare to Cede Sovereignty”

The liquidity tsunami that started in September of 2012 in the Marriner Eccles building and continued with the BOJ’s own epic QEasing expansion three weeks ago, has so far provided the impetus for Europe to kick the can of its inevitable dissolution for a few more months, yet slowly but surely the market is starting to read through the artificial levels implied by Italian and Spanish bonds, driven by recycled ECB funding via bank and repo conduits and of course Japanese carry cash, and rumblings of a return to crisis conditions are back.

And as always happens, once the crisis talk is back, so is discussion of a fiscal union. Sure enough, earlier today Germany’s Angela Merkel once again reminded everyone just what the stakes are in order to achieve a truly stable, and sustainable European union: nothing short of ceding sovereignty to Germany. And with that we are back to square one, because that has always been the trade off — want a unified, fiscally and monetarily, Europe? You can get it: just bow down to Merkel.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Spanish Police Detain Al-Qaeda Terror Suspects

Spanish police on Tuesday arrested two “suspected terrorists” believed to be linked to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, Spain’s interior ministry said.

Officers “today detained two suspected terrorists of Al-Qaeda in Murcia and Zaragoza,” with help from the French and Moroccan police, the ministry said.

One man of Algerian origin, Nou Mediouni, was arrested in the northern city of Zaragoza and one of Moroccan origin, Hassan El Jaaouani, in the southeastern region of Murcia.

The ministry said they were “suspected members of a radical cell related to the terrorist organisation AQIM (Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb)”.

The north African branch of the late Osama Bin Laden’s global extremist network, AQIM has carried out attacks and kidnappings across the region.

The statement did not elaborate on the arrests but said it would give more details later.

A judicial source who asked not to be named said the two were considered to have recently become radicalized and had consulted jihadist Internet sites.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Sweden: Party Crumbled Under Pressure: Mustafa

Omar Mustafa has spoken out about the “Pandora’s box of Islamophobic conspiracy theories” and the party’s subsequent actions that made him quit his high-profile position in the Social Democrat party.

“The party told me the pressure from the media was too big and that they wanted to focus on talking about jobs,” said Mustafa as he broke his media silence on Tuesday at a secret location with police present.

“The party neither wanted nor knew how to ward off the media storm.”

“I am neither a terrorist nor a fundamentalist and I don’t advocate violence,” said a visibly tired Mustafa in response to a question about whether he was an Islamist.

He revealed on Tuesday that in talks with the party behind closed doors, it was not enough when he offered to quit the chair of the Islamic Association. The party, he said, in the end buckled under pressure from the “Islamophobic media storm”. The party’s leadership communicated that he could not stay on as substitute member of the governing board.

Six days after his election to the governing board as a representative for the party’s Stockholm district (Arbetarekommun) he left the post, as well as all his commitments in the party.

“I feel the full truth hasn’t come out with the latest statements from the party,” Mustafa said when explaining why he had chosen to speak out.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UK: Kris Hopkins Opposes Sharia Law Plan

The Government will today being urged to rule out any sponsoring of Sharia courts, following controversy over talks in Bradford. Keighley Tory MP Kris Hopkins will stage a Commons debate to put ministers on the spot over the future of courts that follow Islamic religious law. The Bradford Council for Mosques is in talks to start up a Sharia panel that would offer advice and deal with legal issues in the Muslim community.

It has called for Sharia councils to be better resourced and recognised by the Government. In February, a judge agreed to refer a divorce dispute to a religious court. Now Mr Hopkins will seek Government guarantees, as well as attempting to trigger a wider debate about Sharia law…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: MP: Justice Secretary Should Curb Influence of Sharia Courts

An MP has urged the Justice Secretary not to accept Sharia courts as they try to operate a parallel legal system in Britain.

A Panorama programme looking at Sharia councils in Britain will air at 8.30pm tonight on BBC1. You can watch it here on BBC iPlayer after it is broadcast. Tory MP Kris Hopkins asked Justice Secretary Chris Grayling to block attempts by Sharia councils to be recognised by the Government, following a statement from Bradford Council for Mosques…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Panorama: Inside Britain’s Sharia Courts, BBC One, Review

Chris Harvey reviews Panorama’s report into sharia courts in the UK.

The clash between our country’s values and those of Islam was highlighted in a disturbing edition of Panorama — Inside Britain’s Sharia Courts (BBC One). Reporter Jane Corbin investigated the plight of women who have gone to Islamic religious councils to seek a sharia divorce, and focused on cases which have involved domestic abuse. She found evidence of women being asked to return to violent marriages, or give up their children to abusive partners…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: St George 4 All! Statement From Leading Faith Groups

Time to reclaim St George’s Day for all English, say leading faith figures

St George should be a figure of national unity and pride. That’s why we — a coalition of English faith groups and campaigners — are ‘reclaiming’ England’s patron saint and demanding he becomes representative of all English peoples. We demand him back from those who promote racism and extremism, and from those who say that St George can only represent a single ethnic group. We want to promote a new, relaxed and confident, English national identity. A place where a hijab is as welcome as bangers and mash, and no-one is attacked for their race, religion (or lack thereof) or any other belief…

[JP note: I will have my bangers and mash without the side order, please.]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: The Growing Cry for England and St George

Politicians should take note of the resurgence of English national identity

And a Happy St George’s Day to you as well! Now there’s a phrase few of us are likely to utter today — not least because many English people haven’t a clue that this is their national day. In Catalonia, which shares the same patron saint, young men will give their love a red rose and a book, and the church bells will ring out. Here, anyone wearing a red rose in their buttonhole to work will be assumed to be on their way to a wedding…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Western Europe’s Largest Mosque and Silver Star Promote Health and Wellbeing for Local Community

LONDON, April 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — On Friday 19th April visitors at the Baitul Futuh mosque in Morden were offered free diabetes screening tests by Silver Star. Rt Hon Keith Vaz MP, founding patron of Silver Star, said he was “delighted that the mobile diabetes unit will be visiting the Baitul Futuh Mosque.” He also asked people to “…visit the unit and take the test as it could save your life.” His words were well received as more than 90 people attended the unit from 11.00 am till 3:30 pm. 17 patients were identified as high risk and were asked to contact their local GPs immediately…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Car Bomb Explodes Outside French Embassy in Libya

Two guards injured. Fabius condemns “heinous” attack

(ANSAmed) — PARIS, April 23 — A car bomb has exploded outside the French embassy in Tripoli injuring two security guards.

French Foreign minister Laurent Fabius condemned the attack and underlined France’s strong condemnation. “France condemns in the strongest possible terms the attack against its embassy in Tripoli which resulted in the wounding of two members of staff”, the note read. “Alongside the Libyan authorities we will do everything possible to shed light on this heinous attack so that the perpetrators are quickly identified.” Fabius wished a speedy recovery to the injured guards and expressed his “full solidarity”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Egyptian Judge Suspended for Imposing 80 Lashes on a Drunken Man

Hussein Anan, a judge in Matay, is now under investigation. He justified the decision citing Article 2 of the new constitution, which relies on the Qur’an to administer the law. According to the spokesman of the Catholic Church, more and more positions are being filled with fundamentalists who want to impose Islamic law throughout the country. Ordinary Egyptians and the National Association of Judges are fighting the Muslim Brotherhood’s power grab.

Cairo (AsiaNews) — Ordinary Egyptians and the country’s judges are openly against the introduction of Sharia into Egypt’s legal system. The event that sparked their reaction was the decision last Friday by Prosecutor Hussein Anan in Matay (Minya Governatorate, Upper Egypt), to impose 80 lashes on a man for drunkenness citing Verses 90 and 91 of al-Ma’eda chapter of the Qur’an rather than the Penal Code. He did so by relying on Article 2 of the new constitution, which recognises the Qur’an as its source, this even though many experts note that none of the verses states that drinking is punishable by flogging.

Interviewed by AsiaNews, Fr Rafic Greiche, spokesman for the Egyptian Catholic Church, said that “a majority of judges and most people in Minya and the rest of the country are against the imposition of Sharia.”

The clergyman noted that Attorney General Talaat Abdallah, who was appointed back in November by President Morsi, challenged Prosecutor Anan’s ruling, and immediately suspended both sentence and judge pending an investigation. The man arrested was instead placed under custody and will probably be released.

“The law states that no crime or punishment can be recognised without a legal text,” said Mahmoud Al-Hefnawy, spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office in Cairo. In his view and regardless of the constitution’s stance towards it, Sharia cannot be enforced in Egypt.

According to Fr Greiche, the incident is sign of the chaos that has engulfed the country since the Justice and Freedom Party led by President Morsi took power.

“Now,” he said, “more and more religious fundamentalists have been appointed as judges and are just waiting for the right moment to impose Islamic law in Egypt.”

The violent dispute between the judges and Morsi, which broke out after a Cairo court proposed to release Mubarak to wait for the end of his trial, is another case in point, the priest noted.

In an attempt to win over the judiciary, the Islamist president announced that the mandatory retirement age for judges would be lowered to 60 from 70, forcing into retirement up to 3,500 judges, mostly from the old regime.

“These officials,” Fr Greiche said, “will be replaced by people who are more agreeable to the Islamist establishment.”

Still, the Muslim Brotherhood-led government has to confront Egyptians who stood up to pro-Morsi demonstrations organised by various Islamist groups. Hundreds of people were injured in clashes last Friday.

The important national association of judges, which represents half of all judges, has joined ordinary Egyptians in their protest. For months, it has tried to mediate with the government to stop the justice system from drifting towards fundamentalism. (S.C.)

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

Egypt: Ex-Finance Minister Boutros Ghali Jailed for 25 Years

Cairo, 23 April (AKI) — A Cairo court on Tuesday sentenced Egypt’s former minister of finance Youssef Boutros Ghali to 25 years in prison for squandering public funds, local media reported.

The criminal court convicted Boutros Ghali in absentia of squandering some 4.1 million dollars between 2009 and 2010, when he finance minister.

Interpol has issued an international arrest warrant for Boutros Ghali, who is living openly in the United Kingdom, Al-Ahram Online reported.

Because he has been tried in absentia, he is allowed a retrial and all verdicts in cases against him can be overturned upon his return.

Boutros Ghali personally allocated a contract to a British company to print coupons for cooking gas and gasoline instead of holding a tender offer as required under Egyptian law, the paper said.

Boutros Ghali and his family’s assets have been frozen, Egypt’s Illicit Gains Authority notified the country’s stock exchange last Wednesday, Al-Ahram said.

In June 2011, he was sentenced to 30 years in prison in absentia ?after been convicted of squandering public funds and fined 3,500 dollars in a separate case

A nephew of former United Nations secretary-general Boutros Boutros-Ghali, he served as finance minister under former president Hosni Mubarak from 2004 until February 2011 when he fled the country during Mubarak’s ouster.

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

Libya: French Embassy in Tripoli Hit by Car Bomb

France’s embassy in Tripoli appears to have been hit by a car bomb, with two guards injured, in the first such attack in the Libyan capital since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi.

Residents living near the embassy compound, in the capital’s Hay Andalus area, said they heard two blasts early in the morning around 7am local time. “We think it was a booby trapped car,” a French embassy official told Reuters. “There was a lot of damage and there are two guards wounded.” Laurent Fabius, the French foreign minister, condemned the “odious” attack…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Erdogan Confirms Gaza Visit, Ignores US Request

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, April 23 — Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan has said that he will go ahead with a planned visit to the Gaza Strip at the end of May despite a request by US Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday to put back the trip. “I won’t be postponing the trip,” Erdogan told journalists on Turkish TV, adding that no date will be fixed for the visit until after a White House meeting with US President Barack Obama on May 16. After talks with the Turkish Premiere in Istanbul Sunday John Kerry told reporters that he had asked Erdogan to put back the trip until the “circumstances were better”. The US, along with Palestinian President Abu Mazen, say that a visit by Erdogan now would bolster Islamic movement Hamas, who have taken power in the Strip, and could threaten the peace process. On hearing the news Sunday, Hamas accused Kerry of being in “collusion with Mazen” to prolong the Gaza blockade. Mazen and the US had hoped that the visit would come after a reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah, Turkish press reports.

On Monday Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc slammed Kerry, saying it “is up to the Turkish government to decide where and when our prime minister goes”.

Erdogan, who has close ties with Hamas leader, Khaled Meshaal, joined in the criticism, saying it would have been better if Kerry “hadn’t said what he did”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

In the Service of the Palestinians

Op-ed: In light of its dark past, Britain’s involvement in building of PA’s army very problematic

by Elyakim Haetzni

British Ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould is doing all he can for the Palestinian army, which he claims plays a crucial role in the establishment of a Palestinian state. He is urging Israel to transfer authority to the Palestinian army in areas B and C and reveals that the UK “invests in training the Palestinian security forces…We have senior and experienced officers embedded in Palestinian training academies.” But this reminds the Jews of other “experienced” British officers, such as Glubb Pasha and the other British commanders who built the Jordanian army and commanded over it during its invasion of the Land of Israel with the goal of thwarting the UN’s partition plan. These forces destroyed Gush Etzion and the Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem and killed thousands of soldiers and civilians.

The Jews also remember the words of anti-Semitic general Evelyn Barker, commander of the British forces in the Land of Israel: “(We) will be punishing the Jews in a way the race dislikes as much as any, by striking at their pockets and showing our contempt of them.” Before Barker, during the pogrom of 1920, Col. Waters Taylor, financial adviser to the Military Administration in Palestine, explained to Mufti Haj Amin el-Husseini that if disturbances of sufficient violence occurred in Jerusalem during Easter, both General Bols (chief administrator in Palestine, 1919-20) and General Allenby (commander of the Egyptian force, 1917-19, then High Commissioner of Egypt) would advocate the abandonment of the Jewish Home. Waters-Taylor explained that freedom could only be attained through violence…

           — Hat tip: DarLink [Return to headlines]

Armed Men Snatch Two Syrian Bishops Near Aleppo City

DAMASCUS, April 22 (Xinhua) — Armed groups have kidnapped two bishops in the countryside of Syria’s northern city of Aleppo, state-run SANA news agency reported Monday. Bishops John Abraham and Paul Yazigi were snatched in Kafr Dael near Aleppo while doing humanitarian work, the report said, adding that gunmen cut off the bishops’ car and drove off to unknown destination…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Greece Pulls Statues From Qatar Exhibit Over Nudity Dispute

Greece has pulled two ancient statues from an ongoing Olympic Games exhibition in Qatar in a dispute over nudity, a Culture Ministry source said on Tuesday.

“The statues have already returned to Greece,” a Culture Ministry source told AFP, adding: “Organizers in Qatar wanted to cover up the statues’ members with black cloth. So they were never put on display, they went back into storage and returned on April 19.”

The statues — a Classical Greek youth and a Roman-era copy of an athlete — are both nude, the manner in which Olympic athletes competed in antiquity.

Greece’s junior minister for culture Costas Tzavaras had traveled to the Qatari capital of Doha for the opening of the exhibit on March 27, saying it opened a “bridge of friendship” between the two countries.

According to the Culture Ministry, Greece has contributed nearly 600 exhibits from the National Archaeological Museum, the Numismatic Museum and the Museum of Olympia, birthplace of the Games.

The Doha exhibit runs to June 30.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Iraq: At Least 26 Killed as Iraqi Forces Raid Sunni Protest Camp

(Reuters) — At least 26 people were killed when Iraqi security forces stormed a Sunni Muslim anti-government protest camp near Kirkuk on Tuesday, starting a gun battle between troops and protesters, local officials and military sources said.

Iraq’s defence ministry had no official death toll and said troops responded after coming under fire from gunmen in the makeshift camp in a public square in Hawija, near Kirkuk, 170 km (100 miles) north of the capital…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Qatar: Asian ‘Condemned to 40 Lashes for Drinking Alcohol’

Doha, 22 April (AKI) — A court in Qatar has sentenced an Asian immigrant to 40 lashes for consuming alcohol, the country’s Al-Sharq daily reported on Monday.

The Muslim immigrant, whose nationality was not stated, works as a barber in the Gulf state.

He was arrested after a man reported him to police for allegedly harrassing his maid by plying her with visiting cards with his phone number on them.

Police raided the barber’s shop to question him over the claims but found him drunk on the premises.

The Qatari court also ordered the man to pay a fine of around 100 euros for being disorderly and disturbing the peace.

Non-Muslims may drink alcohol, which is banned in Qatar other than in hotels, but they require a special permit to do so.

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

Saudi Women Don’t Want to Drive, Justice Minister

Other religions allowed, but no churches on land sacred to Islam

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, APRIL 23 — Saudi Arabian Justice Minister Mohammed al-Isa defended the kingdom’s human rights record at a hearing on Tuesday before the European Parliament’s foreign affairs commission.

“We respect freedom of opinion and human rights, so long as they don’t infringe on public order and the rights of others”, the minister explained. Other faiths are banned from building churches and temples in Saudi Arabia because it is “a land sacred to Islam. Other uses would be unacceptable. It would be like building a mosque in the Vatican: it’s a question of principle”, the minister said. “But this does not mean people aren’t allowed to profess other religions”.

The minister went on to explain why Saudi women don’t drive.

“There are no laws or religious texts banning Saudi Arabian women from driving, but they abstain because they have no desire to do so. This is a model based on our social culture. It is up to them to accept or refuse. If the majority of women were to decide they want to drive, no one would stop them”, the minister alleged.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Syria: Two Orthodox Bishops Abducted by an Armed Group on the Road to Aleppo

They are the Syriac Orthodox bishop of Aleppo, Msgr. Youhanna Ibrahim, and the Greek Orthodox Metropolitan of Aleppo and Iskenderun, Msgr. Boulos al-Yaziji. Their driver was killed on the outskirts of the city. State television accuses “terrorist groups”, but the identity of the kidnappers is not clear. Some time ago, Msgr. Ibrahim had dennounced kidnappings and violence against Christians.

Beirut (AsiaNews / Agencies) — The Syriac Orthodox bishop of Aleppo, Msgr. Youhanna Ibrahim, and the Greek-orthodox Metropolitan of Aleppo and Iskenderun, Msgr. Boulos al-Yaziji were kidnapped yesterday by a group of armed men on the road to Aleppo. The northern Syrian city has been the scene of clashes between rebels and regular soldiers for months.

Bishop Ibrahim (left in photo), was travelling in his car with a deacon at the wheel and had collected Msgr. Yaziji from Bab al-Hawa, from a village near the Turkish border.

Arriving at the outskirts of Aleppo, an armed group stopped the vehicle and forced the two prelates to get out of the car. After killing the deacon driver, they abducted the two bishops.

The identity of the kidnappers is not yet clear. State TV accuses “armed terrorist group” of having kidnapped the two leaders, who were carrying out “humanitarian work in the countryside outside Aleppo”. Abdulahad Steifo, a representative of the Syrian National Coalition, said that the two prelates were kidnapped on the road near Kafr Dael, after passing Bab al-Hawa, an area in rebel hands, but pointed out that the identity of the kidnappers “all possibilities are still open”.

Last September, Msgr. Ibrahim, speaking to Reuters, said that hundreds of Christian families had fled from Aleppo because of clashes between rebels and regular soldiers for control of the city. “Christians have been attacked and kidnapped in monstrous ways and their relatives have had to pay large sums of money for their release.”

Aleppo is Syria’s largest city and the financial capital of the Middle Eastern country. Christians make up 10% of the population, the majority are Sunni Muslims. At present, the city is divided under the control of one or the other group and the population suffers persecution from both sides (see 28/03/2013: “Weariness and resignation” among the civilians in war-torn Aleppo).

According to the UN, during the two years of civil war, at least 70 thousand people have been killed, one million Syrians have sought refuge in neighboring countries.

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

Top Muslim Cleric Boycotts Qatar Meet Attended by ‘Jews’

AFP — Influential Muslim cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi boycotted an inter-faith dialogue conference that opened in Doha on Tuesday, rejecting to sit in the meeting also attended by Jewish representatives, a local daily reported.

“I decided not to participate so I wouldn’t sit at the same platform alongside Jews who still violate Palestine and destroy mosques and as long as the Palestinian issue has not been resolved,” Qaradawi told the Al-Arab daily of Qatar.

“There is no more injustice than what the Jews have caused to our people in Palestine.”

The International Union of Muslim Scholars which he heads is, however, represented at the conference which brings together 500 personalities from 75 countries representing the three monotheistic religions.

Egypt-born Qaradawi is a controversial religious figure in the West and has millions of supporters — mainly from the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood.

He hosts a popular show on Al-Jazeera satellite television and has backed the Arab Spring uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Syria.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UAE: Western Bathing Suits Banned on Tourist Beaches

Muslims troubled by bikinis, hugging and kissing in public

(ANSAmed) — ROME — United Arab Emirates (UAE) authorities have banned women’s bikinis and tight bathing suits for men on public beaches, UAE daily The National reported on Tuesday.

Large seaside billboards have sprung up recently near Western tourist hotels, reminding everyone to “respect public morals and dress modestly” or incur a fine. While foreigners and tourists have so far mingled with burqa and hijab-clad locals on the UAE’s non gender-segregated beaches, their presence, their bikinis and their tendency to hug and kiss in public have been deemed offensive by the traditional Islamic majority. The local population reportedly welcomed the Western bathing suit ban.

“I am absolutely in favor of banning bikinis because they are not respectful of our beaches”, Hessa Ahmed, a wife and mother of two, told The National. She once fled the beach with her children when a Western couple lay down nearby. “She was wearing a two-piece and I was afraid she might take her top off.

I did not want my children seeing such obscenities”, Ahmed said.

While the Emirates want to attract international tourists and investments, they must take into account their traditional population, which is unprepared for coexistence with non-Muslim cultures. A recent survey showed six out of ten citizens believe foreigners do not respect local values, and a December 2012 Twitter campaign called for ad hoc legislation forcing non-Muslims to dress modestly.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Indonesian Teenage Girls Accused of Blasphemy

TOLITOLI: Five Indonesian teenage girls have been accused of blasphemy and may face jail after making a video in which they mixed Islamic prayer with dancing to a Maroon 5 song, police said Tuesday.

The girls were expelled from their high school in Tolitoli city, on Sulawesi island, and reported to police after the video of their dance to the US band’s hit “One More Night” went viral online.

It is just the latest in a string of blasphemy cases in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country, which have prompted rights groups to call for a change in a law they say is outdated and misused.

In the five-minute clip, the girls, wearing school tracksuits, switch between Islamic prayer rituals and mostly innocent dancing, with the occasional pelvic thrust and suggestive hand gesture thrown in.

Several versions of the video on YouTube have been viewed more than 500,000 times.

It sparked anger in the remote community, with dozens of members of hardline group the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) protesting outside the local police station on Monday.

The school brought the video, which was posted online in March, to the attention of police who questioned the girls on suspicion of blasphemy.

“The school and members of the community were offended by the video and felt it insulted Islam,” Tolitoli police chief Rudi Mulyanto told AFP.

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes [Return to headlines]

Pakistan: Taliban ‘Little Commandos’ In Terror Camp Training Video

Boys as young as five are seen firing an arsenal of weapons in a video released online by a militant group based in the Waziristan region of Pakistan.

The footage shows children who appear to be as young as five-years-old firing an array of weaponry, including handguns, AK47 rifles and heavy machine guns. Lined up in neat ranks and dressed in traditional baggy shalwar kameez, some children struggle to absorb the recoil when firing their weapons…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Muslim Rebel Group, Philippine Gov’t Ink Pact to Ensure Peaceful Elections

MANILA, April 23 (Xinhua) — The Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the largest Muslim rebel group in the country, have agreed to fully support the May elections and ensure its orderly and peaceful conduct in Mindanao, a senior government official said Tuesday. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, chairman of the Philippine government peace panel, said the two parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which also renews their commitment to a ceasefire…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Ban ‘Shocked and Saddened’ By Civilian Deaths in Nigeria Violence

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has voiced shock and sadness today at reports of high numbers of civilians killed in Nigeria’s Borno State following armed clashes there between Government forces and an extremist group…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Nigeria Accused of Killing 185 During Assault

Nigeria’s army has been accused of killing perhaps 185 people during an assault on a remote stronghold of Boko Haram, a radical Islamist movement linked to al-Qaeda.

A battle that continued over the weekend began on Friday when the army attacked the town of Baga, located in Borno state in the far north-east of Nigeria. By Sunday, one account suggested that 185 bodies had been buried, which would make this one of the bloodiest incidents of the campaign against Boko Haram. The fighting started when a soldier was killed, causing the army to respond by surrounding a mosque in Baga where they believed Boko Haram insurgents were hiding…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

99.5% of Illegal Immigrants Get Approval for Legal Status; High Number Raises Concerns About Fraud

The administration has approved 99.5 percent of applications of those who have applied for legal status under President Obama’s nondeportation policy for young adults, granting legal status to more than 250,000 formerly illegal immigrants.

Officials said they expect the approval rate to drop as more cases make their way through the system, as it takes longer to deny an application than to approve it. Indeed, the approval rate already has dropped from 99.8 percent just a month ago.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Former 9/11 Commission Counsel Told US Senate Hearing Terrorists Manipulate Asylum System

Yesterday’s day long US Senate immigration reform hearing heard witness testimony from Janice Kephart, former legal counsel to the 9/11 Commission about the defects in our asylum system that has allowed terrorists to use this country as a venue of convenience. Ms. Kephart is a National Security Fellow at f the Washington, DC-based Center for immigration studies and a noted border security expert. She provided testimony on The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, S.744 before the US Senate Committee on the Judiciary. In our Iconoclast blog post we noted comments by Ann Corcoran of Refugee Resettlement Watch about instances of refugees morphing into home grown terrorists in our midst. She referred to less well known instances, than the recent spectacular Boston Marathon Massacre and WMD campaign perpetrated by the Tsarnaev brothers that has captured media attention. The explosions, running gun battles and murders resulted in four dead and more than 170 injuries many maimed for life with missing limbs.

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

Immigration Reform Could be Bonanza for Democrats

The immigration proposal pending in Congress would transform the nation’s political landscape for a generation or more — pumping as many as 11 million new Hispanic voters into the electorate a decade from now in ways that, if current trends hold, would produce an electoral bonanza for Democrats and cripple Republican prospects in many states they now win easily.

Beneath the philosophical debates about amnesty and border security, there are brass-tacks partisan calculations driving the thinking of lawmakers in both parties over comprehensive immigration reform, which in its current form offers a pathway to citizenship — and full voting rights — for a group of undocumented residents that roughly equals the population of Ohio, the nation’s seventh-largest state.

If these people had been on the voting rolls in 2012 and voted along the same lines as other Hispanic voters did last fall, President Barack Obama’s relatively narrow victory last fall would have been considerably wider…

Obama to keynote Planned Parenthood fundraiser

Amid new concerns about the brutality of illegal forms of abortions, President Obama plans to deliver the keynote address at Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s annual fundraising dinner Thursday.

The theme of the dinner, to be held in Washington, is a “Time for Care,” organizers announced. Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards said Mr. Obama has done more than any president in history for women’s health and rights so she is delighted to have him help promote the gala dinner with his presence.

He understands that access to birth control and preventive health care are economic issues for women and their families,” she said in a statement. “We fought alongside him to ensure that women’s health access was expanded in the landmark Affordable Care Act, and now we have to fight hard to ensure that the full promise of health care reform is realized for millions of women.

Abortion opponents quickly seized on the news, arguing that Mr. Obama should rescind his agreement to speak or even attend the dinner, considering the gruesome revelations emanating from the trial of Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell.

In announcing Mr. Obama as speaker, Planned Parenthood, focused their praise on his work helping women gain greater access to contraception. Mr. Obama’s new health care law included a new mandate requiring most U.S. employers — including religiously affiliated hospitals and schools — to provide health care plans that cover contraceptive services for female employees free of charge.


[Return to headlines]

The Deportation Lie: The Obama Administration Cooks the Enforcement Books.

By Andrew Stiles

It is one of the Obama administration’s favorite talking points on immigration: It has been deporting illegal immigrants in record numbers. That bolsters its credentials on enforcement and supports the argument that, now that we’ve gotten tough on the border, it is time to enact comprehensive immigration reform.

But figures recently unearthed by a federal lawsuit in Texas cast serious doubt on the administration’s deportation claims. The number of deportations appears to have declined significantly during the president’s term in office.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Thieves and Accomplices

Reporter Bob Segall of NBC affiliate WTHR in Indianapolis, Indiana, aired an investigative report on April 26, 2012, explaining that hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants were fraudulently obtaining the Additional Child Tax Credit, listing as relatives people who actually lived outside the United States, south of the border. Some $4.2 billion per year in U.S. tax dollars are going to illegals as refunds under this credit. Claimants can receive up to $1,000 per child listed. In Segall’s report, a tax preparer whose identity was masked explained, “we’ve seen sometimes 10 or 12 dependents, most times nieces and nephews, on these tax forms. The more you put on there, the more you get back.”

On the anniversary of Segall’s report, which went viral a year ago, illegals are still obtaining the credit fraudulently. A bill has passed the House to stop the fraud, but Senator Harry Reid refuses to let it come to a vote in the Senate and all but a few Senate Democrats stand with him opposing the measure. The Internal Revenue Service takes the position that it is powerless to end disbursements of the billions in tax dollars given illegals because “current law entitles them to receive it.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

A Prison for Your Mind, Part 5

The term ‘transhumanism’ was coined by biologist Julian Huxley in 1957 who defined it as “man remaining man, but transcending himself, by realizing new possibilities of and for his human nature.”…

Advocacy of improvement to the human condition through enhancement technologies, such as eliminating aging and expanding intellectual, physical or physiological capacities. Transhumanists generally support emerging technologies, including many that are controversial, such as nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology, and cognitive science; as well as hypothetical future technologies such as artificial intelligence, mind uploading and cryonics. Since some observers believe the pace of technological development is steadily increasing, many transhumanist thinkers speculate that the next 50 years will yield remarkable and radical technological advancements. Transhumanism maintains that this is desirable and that humans can and should become more than human through the application of technological innovations such as genetic engineering, molecular nanotechnology, neuropharmaceuticals, prosthetic enhancements, and mind-machine interfaces. Derived in part from the philosophical traditions of secular humanism, transhumanism asserts that humans should be viewed as the “center” of the moral universe, and that there are no ‘supernatural’ forces that guide humanity.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Furor Over Gay Teacher’s Firing May Pit City of Columbus Against Roman Catholic Diocese

COLUMBUS, OH, April 22, 2013 (LifeSiteNews) — The firing of a teacher at Bishop Watterson Catholic High School after it was learned she was involved in a long-term homosexual relationship may pit the Catholic diocese against a Columbus city ordinance barring employers from discriminating based on sexuality.

Gym instructor Carla Hale, 57, was fired last week after an anonymous parent wrote the Diocese of Columbus to complain because in an obituary for Hale’s mother, Hale was listed as a survivor alongside her longtime lesbian partner, Julie.

Hale signed a morality clause as part of her contract, affirming that “Catholic school personnel are expected to be examples of moral behavior and professionalism,” and acknowledging her employment could be terminated for “immorality” or “serious unethical conduct.” Because the Roman Catholic Church holds homosexual behavior to be gravely immoral, the Diocese of Columbus found her to be in violation of her contract, and fired her.

Now, Hale wants her job back. She has filed a grievance with the teachers’ union, and her lawyer, Thomas Tootle, told the Columbus Dispatch that if Hale’s union grievance does not succeed, her next step will be to sue under the city’s anti-discrimination law…

Although none of those cases resulted in legal action, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled in January that religious employees of religious organizations cannot sue for employment discrimination. The Court defined “religious employees” as “employees of religious organizations who have religious teaching authority.” Catholic school teachers seem likely to fall under this category, especially those who sign morality clauses promising to uphold the faith.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Richard Dawkins’ Latest Anti-Muslim Twitter Spat Lays Bare His Hypocrisy

The celebrity atheist’s Twitter rant against journalist Mehdi Hasan shows he’s a believer too — in his own mythology

Richard Dawkins and Twitter make one of the world’s great pairings, like face and custard pie. But whereas more accomplished clowns ram custard pies into the faces of their enemies, Dawkins’ technique is to ram his own face into the custard pie, repeatedly. I suppose it saves time and it’s a lot of fun to watch. On Sunday afternoon he was at it again, wondering why the New Statesman employs an imaginative and believing Muslim: “Mehdi Hasan admits to believing Muhamed [sic] flew to heaven on a winged horse. And New Statesman sees fit to print him as a serious journalist.”

But this is only half the fun. The real comedy comes when he lifts his face from the pie, dripping scorn and custard, to glare at the audience who can’t see how very rational he is. Because there are some people who don’t understand that everything Dawkins says illuminates the beauty of reason…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Life on Mars? Finding it May Require Humans on Red Planet

Life may well lurk beneath the Martian surface today, but it’ll be tough to detect without sending humans to the Red Planet, some experts say.

It could be a long time before robots are able to drill deep into the Martian underground, explore caves and investigate other potentially life-supporting habitats on the Red Planet. So if humanity wants to satisfy its curiosity about potential life on Mars anytime soon, it should work to get boots in the red dirt, advocates say.

“We might be lucky and confirm life with robots over the next one to two decades, but it’s probably going to take people to do, literally, the heavy labor to be able to do it,” said Chris Carberry, co-founder and executive director of Explore Mars, a nonprofit organization dedicated to human exploration of the Red Planet.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Mysterious Water on Jupiter Came From Comet Smash

Enigmatic traces of water in the upper atmosphere of Jupiter came from a comet that crashed into the giant planet in 1994, the European Space Agency (ESA) said on Tuesday.

Astronomers have been debating the water for 15 years after telltale molecules were spotted by an infrared telescope.

Some argued the water brewed up from lower levels of the gassy planet, but others said it could not have crossed a “cold barrier” separating the stratosphere from the cloud level below.

ESA’s deep-space Herschel telescope has now found that most of the water is concentrated in Jupiter’s southern hemisphere.

The molecules are clustered at high altitude around the sites where 21 fragments from Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 whacked into Jupiter in July 1994 in one of the most spectacular recorded events in astronomy.

The collisions left dark scars in Jupiter’s roiling atmosphere that persisted for weeks.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

One thought on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 4/23/2013

  1. Eleven Godolphin Racehorses Test Positive for Steroids in UK. Oops. Muslim owner, muslim trainer. HOW could such cheating happen I wonder.

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