Gates of Vienna News Feed 4/8/2013

Margaret Thatcher, the former Conservative prime minister, has died of a stroke. She was 87, and had been ill for several years.

In other news, a politician for the Danish People’s Party has angered New Zealanders by making insulting references to the traditional Maori “powhiri” greeting extended to her during her recent visit to New Zealand. She also disparaged traditional statuary and other aspects of Maori culture.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Diana West, DS, Fjordman, Heresy Today, Insubria, JD, Jerry Gordon, JP, KGS, McR, 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
» Cyprus: Turkish North Seeks to Capitalize on South’s Crisis
» Debt Payback Will Help Firms, Says Rehn
» Iceland to Cyprus: ‘People Should Not Pay for Speculators’
» Italian Government Says Rushing 1.2 Billion Euros in Refunds
» Italy: Sopaf Offices Searched in Bankruptcy Probe
» More Than 101 Million Working Age Americans Do Not Have a Job
» Obama Torpedoes Economy
» One Century With the IRS
» Pirates of the Caribbean: Global Resistance to Tax Havens Grows
» Portuguese PM Speaks of ‘National Emergency’ After Court Ruling
» Portugal Austerity Plan Frays, US Loses Patience With Europe
» The Numbers Are Quite Profound: Debt, Devaluation, Diversification and Gold
» Unmasking the Globalists Behind the Cyprus Confiscation (Bail-in) Model
» Bill Ayers Confirms What Obama Has Denied
» Exoplanet Satellite Gets the Nod From NASA
» Government Health Agency Forces Charity to Destroy $8,000 Worth of Venison Donated for the Hungry
» Green Meteorite’s Age Casts Doubt on Possible Mercury Origin
» Is the Gun Law Frenzy by Politicians Causing Ammunition Shortages?
» Kissinger: ‘Illegal We Do Immediately; Unconstitutional Takes a Little Longer’
» Obama’s ‘Fundamental Transformation of America’ Just Another Name for One World Gov’t
» Philly-Area Mosque to More Than Double in Size
» The End of Free Elections
» UN Human Rights Commissioner Urges Guantanamo Shut Down
» Warning to Gun Grabbers: If Gun Rights Are Lost, You Will Soon Lose Free Speech, Public Protests, Art, Blogs and the Right to a Fair Trial
Europe and the EU
» “Tojo” The War Monkey Who Died in a Booze-Fuelled Army Lockdown Immortalised in Irish Republic
» Eighty-Six Percent of Germans Oppose MP Pay Rise
» Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher of Britain Has Died
» Former Italian FM, NATO Hopeful, Stumps in Rome
» French Teenager Crushed to Death in Rubbish Truck
» Germany Owes Greece 162bln Euros in WWII Reparations, Report
» Germany: Late Push on War Crimes: Prosecutors to Probe 50 Auschwitz Guards
» Graft Report: Austerity Can Help to Fight Corruption
» Hedegaard: Stand Up Absolutely for Free Speech
» Italy Bans E-Cigarettes for Minors
» Italy: Fiat Industrial-CNH Merger Effective in the Summer
» Italy: Ignazio Marino Centre-Left Candidate for Rome Mayorship
» Italy: Grillo Denies U-Turn Over Pay for MPs
» Italy Promises to Tackle Backlog of €40bn Unpaid Bills
» Kohl Confesses to Euro’s Undemocratic Beginnings
» Lessons From the Iron Lady
» Luxembourg May Loosen Bank Secrecy
» Magistrate Ingroia ‘To Become Sicily Tax Collector’
» Margaret Thatcher Dies After Stroke
» Maroni to ‘Wage War on Rome if Necessary’ Over Taxes
» ‘Secret Arrests’ Fear as Police Seek Ban on Naming Suspects: Plan Threatens to Turn Britain Into a ‘Banana Republic’
» Secret Athens Report: Berlin Owes Greece Billions in WWII Reparations
» Spanish Police Arrest Vet ‘Who Dismembered His Wife and Sent Her Body Parts Off to be Incinerated as the Remains of a Dog’
» Swedish Scientists Find New Obesity Genes
» The Oysters of Power
» UK Support for EU Membership is Wafer-Thin David Cameron Says, Ahead of Crunch Talks With European Leaders
» UK: ‘Nothing to Do With Britain’: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the National Memorial to the Holocaust
» UK: Bullfinch Trial: Dad Says Girl’s Rape Claims Were ‘All Lies’
» UK: David Bowie’s Success Holds Lessons for Britain, Foreign Office Economist Says
» UK: Elderly Couple Left Without Heating in Their ‘Hell House’ For Three Years Because of Labour’s Disastrous State-Backed Energy Scheme
» UK: Four Teenage Boys Aged 15 and 16 Held by Police Investigating Murder of Man, 40, Who Died After Town Centre Attack
» UK: Grooming for Sex ‘Un-Islamic’: UK Muslims
» UK: Secret Filming at Sharia Council Shows Women at Risk
» UK: Trainee Doctors Are Being Paid More Than £2,000 a Day by the NHS in ‘Out of Control’ Agency Payments Scandal
» Veil Row Reignites in France After 15-Year-Old Girl Expelled From School for Wearing a Headband and Long Skirt Which Were Considered ‘Too Religious’
» Serbia Will Not Sign Kosovo Accord, Wants More Talks
» Why Bosnia Holds Lessons for Syria Today
North Africa
» Brother-in-Law of Ex Tunisian President Dies in Custody
» Egypt: Islamist Muslim Brotherhood Set Sights on Al-Azhar
» Egyptian Copts-Muslims Clash After Funeral of 4 Christians
» Egypt: Tensions Between Christian and Islamic Groups. Six Dead in Three Days
» Egypt: Govt Suspends Iranian Tourist Trips After Sunni Protest
» Egypt: Coptic Christians Under Siege as Mob Attacks Cairo Cathedral
» Egypt on Edge After Deadly Sectarian Clashes
» Egypt: Gunshots Killed Qalyubia’s Copts in Cathedral Clashes: Forensic Report
» Egypt: Bullets From Automatic Weapons Killed Copts in Khosous
» Seven Christians Killed in Clashes With Muslims in Egypt
Israel and the Palestinians
» Hannah Senesh (1921- 1944) In Memoriam Yom Ha Shoah
» Israel Closes Gaza Crossing Following Rockets Barrage
» PNA: EU Helps to Pay Salaries and Pensions With 11.75 Mln
Middle East
» Dubai to Build Largest Gold Refinery in Mideast
» Frank “Help Me I’m a Muslim” Gardner Returns to Saudi Arabia
» In Syria, Some 300,000 Christian Refugees Also Fleeing From UN Camps
» Iran Split Over Billions Spent Propping Up Assad Regime
» Iraq in the Rear View Mirror
» Lebanon: Maronite Patriarch: In Syria, Arab Spring’s Obscurantist Potential Could Lead to Religious Conflicts
» National Dialogue to Make or Break Yemen
» Syria: Bread Becomes a Luxury in Damascus, People Surviving on Grass in the North
» Syria: Car Bomb in Central Dasmacus Kills at Least 15
» Turkey: New Istanbul Stock Exchange With Ottoman Symbol
» Turkey to Send Seismic Vessel Off Cyprus by April 15
South Asia
» Blast Kills 9 on Bus in Afghanistan
» India: Andhra Pradesh: Six Injured After Getting Electric Shock at Mosque
» Indonesia: West Java: Islamic Extremists and Local Authorities Target Ahmadis
» Pakistan: Punjab: Convert to Islam or Die: The 20 Year Long Nightmare of a Christian Family
» Sri Lanka: Buddhist Fundamentalists Attack (Also) Christians
» ‘The Devil Took Over My Body’… Says the 7ft Dutchman Accused of Stabbing to Death ‘Wonderful’ British Tourist, 24, On Indian Houseboat
Far East
» Deadly Levels of Radiation Found in Food 225 Miles From Fukushima: Media Blackout on Nuclear Fallout Continues
» Iceland to Sign Free Trade Deal With China
» Jungle Marathon to be Held in Vietnam
» Pentagon Delays Missile Tests Amid Fears it Could Ratchet Up Tensions in Korea
» Thank You, President Reagan
Australia — Pacific
» DPP Politician Angers Kiwis
» New Zealanders Offended by MP’s “Appalling Ignorance”
» Qantas Removes All Pork Products and Alcohol From in-Flight Menu on European Routes After Deal With Emirates
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Ghana: Muslims Hold National Prayer and Thanksgiving Service in Accra
» Katy Perry Visits Madagascar in Support of UNICEF
» Madonna Addresses Critics in Malawi
» Nigeria: Sultan May Head Amnesty Committee
» Riots in Tanzania Forces Closure of Zambia Border
» Somalia: Puntland Asks for Federal Support in Fight Against Al-Shabaab
» Somalia: Al-Qaeda Aligned Militiamen Execute Female ‘Spy’
» Italy: Indian Immigrant Confesses to Murdering Wife and Her Daughter
Culture Wars
» “Gay Infertility” Is the New Mandatory Health Insurance Frontier
» All Over America Evangelical Christians Are Being Labeled as “Extremists” And “Hate Groups”
» UK: What an Insult to Christians! After Crucifixes Are Allowed at Work, Human Rights Quango Tells Firms: Give Vegans and Pagans Special Treatment Too
» Dr. Walid Phares: “The AP Capitulates to the Muslim Brotherhood on Narrative”
» For Private Manned Mars Mission, It’s Make-or-Break Time
» The War Against Reality: Special Report

Cyprus: Turkish North Seeks to Capitalize on South’s Crisis

(ANSAmed) — NICOSIA, APRIL 2 — The Turkish-occupied part of Northern Cyprus (recognized only by Ankara) has launched an advertising campaign in the UK in a bid to capitalize on the Cyprus Republic’s economic problems by reminding potential visits that it does not use the euro. Only a few days after Cyprus agreed to a major banking overhaul involving heavy losses for depositors as part of a bailout deal with the eurozone and International Monetary Fund, the advertising campaign informed readers that the northern part of the island uses the Turkish lira and is not suffering “euro worries”, as daily Kathimerini reporetd. The northern third of Cyprus has been occupied by Turkish forces since 1974 and is only recognized as a state by Turkey. It receives more than 400,000 visitors a year. Almost 2.5 million people visited Cyprus last year. Revenue from tourism accounts for close to 10% of the Cypriot economy.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Debt Payback Will Help Firms, Says Rehn

‘Not magic wand but important,’ says commissioner

(ANSA) — Brussels, April 8 — Italy’s 40-billion-euro payback of debt from the public sector to business will be an “important” shot-in-the-arm for the recession-hit economy but won’t be a magic wand, Economic and Financial Commissioner Olli Rehn said Monday.

“Accelerating the payment of the debt is not a magic wand but it will help firms and is therefore important,” said Rehn.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Iceland to Cyprus: ‘People Should Not Pay for Speculators’

Five years after its banking system collapsed, Iceland still has capital controls in place. Its advice to Cyprus: don’t make ordinary people pay for speculators.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Italian Government Says Rushing 1.2 Billion Euros in Refunds

Money for businesses ‘soon available’ says economy minister

(ANSA) — Brussels, April 8 — At least 1.2 billion euros in tax refunds to Italian businesses are being rushed through approvals, Economy Minister Vittorio Grilli said Monday.

“We are working to make cash available” to businesses struggling with an ongoing economic crisis, Grilli said following meetings with the European Commission.

There, he discussed Italy’s new program to repay 40 billion euros in debts owed by government to private companies — a plan designed to kick-start a stagnant economy.

The latest portion of value-added tax (VAT) refunds should be available quickly under “accelerated payments” aimed at quickly returning 3.7 billion euros, said Grilli.

Italy’s tax agency has said it will be refunding 11 billion euros in total to business.

But despite such measures, economic growth will continue to stagnate so long as Italy’s political scene remains chaotic, Grilli warned.

“The lack of clarity on the (political) outlook does not create optimism, nor restore confidence to the citizens,” Grilli told reporters.

“A clear strategy of trust is important to restore confidence” in Italy’s economy.

Earlier, Grilli reassured the European Commission that Italy intends to honour its budget commitments under the European Union’s Stability and Growth Pact, despite the 40 billion euros in debt repayments.

Still, only the commission can decide the terms for Italy’s exit from the pact’s excessive debt provisions, Grilli added.

“It will be up to the EU Commission to decide how and when (Italy) may get out of the deficit procedure,” Grilli said after meeting with European Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn. On Monday, the outgoing government of premier Mario Monti approved a plan to pay 40 billion euros owing to private firms, as a step in stimulating economic growth.

Monti has insisted that the payment will not affect Italy’s commitment to keeping its deficit under the threshold of 3% of GDP, as required by the European pact.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Sopaf Offices Searched in Bankruptcy Probe

Former president Magnoni under investigation

(ANSA) — Milan, April 3 — Finance police searched the offices of Italian investment holding Sopaf on Wednesday as part of a probe into alleged bankruptcy and market manipulation at the company.

Ex-president Giorgio Magnoni is one of a number of former Sopaf managers placed under investigation in relation to the probe after the holding — formerly quoted on the Milan stock market — came to the brink of insolvency last year.

He is the son of Giuliano, a business partner of the late Italian financier Michele Sindona, convicted of murdering the lawyer Giorgio Ambrosoli. Investigators have reportedly discovered a shortfall of almost 200 million euros in company accounts allegedly due in particular to bad and reckless investments.

The charges of market rigging instead concern a statement made by Sopaf to the market. Last September company creditor Unicredit began bankruptcy proceedings against the holding, which in turn filed for — and was granted — admission to the procedure for composition with creditors.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

More Than 101 Million Working Age Americans Do Not Have a Job

The jobs recovery is a complete and total myth. The percentage of the working age population in the United States that had a job in March 2013 was exactly the same as it was all the way back in March 2010. In addition, as you will see below, there are now more than 101 million working age Americans that do not have a job. But even though the employment level in the United States has consistently remained very low over the past three years, the Obama administration keeps telling us that unemployment is actually going down. In fact, they tell us that the unemployment rate has declined from a peak of 10.0% all the way down to 7.6%. And they tell us that in March the unemployment rate fell by 0.1% even though only 88,000 jobs were added to the U.S. economy. But it takes at least 125,000 new jobs a month just to keep up with population growth. So how in the world are they coming up with these numbers?

Well, the reality is that the entire decline in the unemployment rate over the past three years can be accounted for by the reduction in size of the labor force. In other words, the Obama administration is getting unemployment to go down by pretending that millions upon millions of unemployed Americans simply do not want jobs anymore. We saw this once again in March. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,more than 600,000 Americans dropped out of the labor market during that month alone. That pushed the labor force participation rate down to 63.3%, which is the lowest it has been in more than 30 years. So please don’t believe the hype. The sad truth is that there has been no jobs recovery whatsoever.

If things were getting better, there would not be more than 101 million working age Americans without a job.

So exactly where does that statistic come from? Well, the following explains where I got that number…

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Obama Torpedoes Economy

Forbes, FOX, Bloomberg, Congress — anyone? Do you see the pattern? America’s economy is not self-destructing, it is being dismantled. Amid bad unemployment numbers, high food and fuel prices, a devalued dollar, the already devastating impact of Obamacare on businesses and hiring, President Barack Obama is again pressuring banks to make bad housing loans to people with weak credit.

Obama’s new push for substandard loans portends a repeat of the housing loan disaster that led to the 2008 crash that tanked the economy when the Democrats held full control of both the House and the Senate.

Obama’s policy of coercing banks to make questionable loans under-minds a still fragile U.S. economy and sabotages potential recovery. Zachary A. Goldfarb reports in the Washington Post that “…critics say encouraging banks to lend as broadly as the administration hopes will sow the seeds of another housing disaster and endanger taxpayer dollars.” Ed Pinto, of the American Enterprise Institute and former Fannie Mae executive is quoted as saying: “If that were to come to pass, that would open the floodgates to highly excessive risk and would send us right back on the same path we were just trying to recover from.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

One Century With the IRS

Our local newspaper had headlines on March 14, 2013 that our Union Street Railroad Bridge that seven years ago was honored with a spot on the National Register of Historic Places, quietly hit a milestone that week and the century-mark celebration took place… very quietly.

This reminds me of two other “historic events” that quietly took place a century ago — The “alleged” ratification of the 16th amendment (I.R.S.) empowering Congress to impose the federal income tax. Millions are completing income tax forms required to be filed by April 15th and because the media of many stripes missed yet another teachable moment, most taxpayers have no clue how all this came about. To further the assault on the American people, on December 31, 1913 the unconstitutional Federal Reserve Banking system was created while most Congress people were at home enjoying the holidays with their families. With the creation of a de facto central bank, the federal government has been essentially freed from budgetary restraints since it can now simply print money to cover operating expenses if revenue is insufficient. Congress for many years became supine to wield its constitutional powers and since the election of Obama in 2008 has facilitated Obama’s imperial presidency.

These events are responsible for our financial crisis in America and I’d venture to guess most newspapers, radio talk shows or T.V. shows or any other media outlets with the exception of the2/18/2013 NEW AMERICAN magazine, bothered to mention these unconstitutional events that took place 100 years ago. In her article that Medicare can’t be fixed or saved, NWV contributor Devvy Kidd said our future, our pursuit of life, liberty and happiness has been destroyed by Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. Congress for the past 100 years. Starting with the non-ratified Sixteenth and Seventeen Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and the Federal Reserve Banking Act (all three in 1913), followed by the social security taxing scheme and then LBJ’s “great society” (Medicare) to fast track America’s downfall into socialism and then full blown communism.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Pirates of the Caribbean: Global Resistance to Tax Havens Grows

Tax havens cause hundreds of millions of euros in annual damage to national economies around the world and they create an uncontrollable parallel economy. The recent Offshore Leaks investigative reports are helping to fuel efforts in Europe and the US to have them eliminated.

What do a now-deceased German playboy and the daughter of the former Philippine dictator have in common? What connects a Russian oligarch and the former campaign manager of the French president?

Gunter Sachs and Maria Imelda Marcos Manotoc, Mikhail Fridman and Jean-Jacques Augier have all parked assets in countries that expect little in taxes and guarantee absolute confidentiality. And they are not alone. More than 130,000 people do exactly the same thing, and those are only the ones whose names appear in a data set called “Offshore Leaks,” which was analyzed by a group of international media organizations.

But the real scandal is much bigger than that, namely that no one knows how much money is on deposit in anonymous bank accounts in countries that are euphemistically referred to as tax havens. Estimates by the non-governmental organization Tax Justice Network put the figure at about €16 to 25 trillion ($21 to 33 trillion). In this manner, the native countries of these individuals and companies are deprived of hundreds of millions in taxes, sometimes legally but often illegally.

The billions deposited in offshore accounts come from the United States and the rest of North America, and recently from emerging economies and the Third World, as well. Many Russian oligarchs manage their companies through offshore firms, while wealthy Southern Europeans use offshore accounts to protect their assets from a collapse of the euro — and from the taxman.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Portuguese PM Speaks of ‘National Emergency’ After Court Ruling

Portuguese leader Coelho has warned his country risks “collapse,” a euro exit or a second bailout after judges struck down more than €1 billion of budget cuts.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Portugal Austerity Plan Frays, US Loses Patience With Europe

Fitch Ratings has warned that Portugal’s austerity plan risks unravelling after the country’s top court struck down wage cuts and lower pensions for state workers.

The ratings agency said the shock decision has exposed the “institutional limits” faced by Portugal’s leaders as they try to meet EU-IMF demands for retrenchment. “The ruling could be interpreted as saying that all public spending cuts that affect civil servants are unconstitutional. This raises concerns about how the government would implement further cuts. If that interpretation is correct, the ruling represents a setback,” it said.

The warning came as Portugal’s prime minister, Pedro Passos Coelho, said the country faced a “financial emergency” and vowed to slash spending on education and social security to plug the gap.

The court ruled that cuts targeted against public workers alone are unfair. Mr Passos Coelho said the decision would have “very serious consequences” for the country as it awaits the next tranche of loans under its €78bn (£66bn) “Troika” bail-out.

Julian Callow, from Barclays, said it was destructive to cut funds for schools since that undermines the country’s future growth. “They really are scraping the barrel. Studies by the OECD have repeatedly shown that Portugal needs to spend much more on education,” he said.

Yields on Portugal’s 10-year bonds jumped 24 points to 6.6pc on Monday, the highest this year, dashing hopes for a swift return to market access.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

The Numbers Are Quite Profound: Debt, Devaluation, Diversification and Gold

With the global economy, financial markets and political sentiment seemingly on the brink of a major paradigm shift, concern about how to protect wealth is growing exponentially. Billions of dollars are being transferred out of bank accounts across the world by people who are looking for safety assets where they can secure their life savings and get out of the cross-hairs of governments bent on destroying private business, accumulating unimaginable levels of debt, and impoverishing the middle class.

There are few investments that will remain safe once the masses realize they’ve been conned by their respective leaders and financial authorities.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Unmasking the Globalists Behind the Cyprus Confiscation (Bail-in) Model

Why nobody’s bank account is safe thanks to Basel III and “Socializing the Losses”

First it was people with bank accounts in Cyprus whose deposits were confiscated, “bailed-in,” or given a “haircut,” without their knowledge to recapitalize the Bank of Cyprus after Laiki Bank went bankrupt and was allowed to fail. Next the U.S., U.K., and Canada were warned that their bank deposits could meet the same Cyprus -confiscation fate based on irrefutable documentation here.

Now behind the smoke and mirrors of supposedly preserving the international financial and monetary system the truth emerges and all the pieces fall into place. Warning: every G-20 country — every major bank and financial institution in every nation could be next.

Why? Because thanks to shadowy globalists groups called the Basel Committee, and the Financial Stability Board (FSB), both housed within the mighty Bank for International Settlements (BIS), and Basel III, no one’s bank deposit is immune to the Cyprus confiscation model if more banks fail.


While some people may mock, scoff and sneer at this information, they would do well to remember the bank run that set off the financial crisis in September 2008. As Paul Kanjorski, former Pennsylvania U.S. Representative, said on CSPAN of that day, “$550 billion was being drawn out [of U.S. money markets] in a matter of an hour or two.” The United States was experiencing an “electronic run on the banks… it could have collapsed the entire economy of the United States and within twenty-four hours, the world economy…”

No one was arrested for trying to crash the world economy. They are still out there.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Bill Ayers Confirms What Obama Has Denied

Weatherman domestic terrorist finally spills the beans

Weatherman domestic terrorist Bill Ayers is now confirming what the White House has previously denied — that he held a fundraiser in his living room for Barack Obama. That 1995 meeting was said to have launched Obama’s political career.

In an October 2008 interview on MSNBC host Chris Matthews’ show, Robert Gibbs, a spokesman for Obama’s presidential campaign, categorically denied the fundraiser was ever held.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Exoplanet Satellite Gets the Nod From NASA

A suite of cameras that will scan the skies for exoplanets moved closer to reality on 5 April, when NASA chose it for launch in 2017 under the agency’s Astrophysics Explorer programme.

The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) will search for small planets passing in front of, and temporarily blocking the light of, nearby bright stars. It will be the first space-based mission that hunts such planetary transits over most of the sky; earlier satellites such as CoRoT and Kepler had more limited fields of view.

“On average, TESS target stars will be about ten times closer than are the Kepler target stars,” says the mission’s principal investigator, George Ricker of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge. That means the TESS stars will be brighter than Kepler stars, and easier to follow up on any tantalizing hints.

The cameras aboard TESS are also most sensitive at wavelengths of 600 to 1050 nanometers, compared with Kepler’s 400 to 850 namometers. Ricker says that gives TESS a better chance at detecting rocky planets around cooler stars such as M dwarfs.

NASA’s Explorer satellites are capped at a cost of $200 million. The most recent launch in this line of missions was the NuSTAR X-ray probe, which went up in June 2012.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Government Health Agency Forces Charity to Destroy $8,000 Worth of Venison Donated for the Hungry

The Shreveport-Bossier Rescue Mission (SBRM) in Louisiana has been serving specially-prepared venison, or deer meat, to hungry folks throughout the region for many years. The state’s deer management program actually encourages hunters to donate their extra venison to this and other non-profit endeavors, as deer meat is high in protein, full of nutrients and best of all, clean and untainted by concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs).

The program has been so successful, in fact, that many state representatives routinely donate money and other resources to the deer processors that volunteer their own time and resources to prepare the meat and ensure its safety before shipping it out to local food kitchens like SBRM. What better way to salvage all that deer meat that would otherwise go to waste as a result of deer population control than to donate it to people with no other food to eat?

The Louisiana Department of Health & Hospitals (DHH), however, has a different opinion on the matter. After catching wind of the program, DHH took swift action to completely destroy it, claiming it violates state law. Even though SBRM receives absolutely no funding or support from the state, DHH basically assumed the authority to declare that serving venison to hungry people in need is off limits.

According to officials from DHH, deer meat is apparently “not permitted to be served in a shelter, restaurant or any other public eating establishment in Louisiana.” So, without a second thought, the soulless agency swooped in like a vulture and demanded that the program end immediately. DHH even went so far as to declare that the 1,600 pounds of deer meat in SBRM’s possession be immediately thrown into a dumpster, and have bleach poured all over it in order to ensure that nobody ate it.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Green Meteorite’s Age Casts Doubt on Possible Mercury Origin

A strange green space rock hailed as perhaps the first meteorite ever discovered from Mercury may be too old to have come from the solar system’s innermost planet, some scientists say.

Last month, scientists announced that the green-hued meteorite NWA 7325 shares many chemical similarities with Mercury, suggesting it may be the first known visitor from the small, sun-scorched planet.

But NWA 7325’s advanced age — it’s thought to be more than 4.5 billion years old — casts some doubt on this interpretation, some scientists have stressed, citing the example of Earth’s moon to help make their point.

“The moon began to crystallize 4.5 billion years ago, but we don’t have any 4.5-billion-year-old meteorites from the moon, because all of those rocks would have been bashed to smithereens during the Late Heavy Bombardment that pockmarked the moon with craters between 4 to 3.8 billion years ago,” meteorite expert Randy Korotev, of Washington University in St. Louis, said in a statement.

Still, Korotev doesn’t rule out the possibility that NWA 7325, which was found in Morocco last year, is indeed from Mercury. Further tests could help researchers get a better sense of the meteorite’s origins, he added.

A test with the potential to be particularly informative would assess NWA 7325’s levels of “cosmogenic radionuclides,” unstable atoms generated by exposure to cosmic radiation.

“If this stone had exceedingly high cosmogenic nuclides, that would be an argument for it coming from Mercury, because Mercury is so close to the sun,” Korotev said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Is the Gun Law Frenzy by Politicians Causing Ammunition Shortages?

Some observers believe the shortage of ammo is a result of federal government agencies purchasing millions and millions of rounds of ammunition bullets with the goal of eventually hoarding billions of rounds and thereby disarming the populace who must then scramble to find ammunition suppliers.

“Department of Homeland Security and the federal government itself is buying up ammunition and components at such a rate, it’s causing artificial shortage of supplies for the regular consumer,” Jesse Alday, a state corrections officer who was buying a couple of boxes of ammo, told AP on Thursday.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Kissinger: ‘Illegal We Do Immediately; Unconstitutional Takes a Little Longer’

WikiLeaks has published the ‘Kissinger Cables’: its largest public release of documents in nearly a year, totaling some 1.7 million classified files, including information on the US’s secret diplomatic history…

Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger is quoted as saying, “Before the Freedom of Information Act, I used to say at meetings, ‘The illegal we do immediately; the unconstitutional takes a little longer’,”during a 1975 conversation which included a Turkish and Cypriot official.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Obama’s ‘Fundamental Transformation of America’ Just Another Name for One World Gov’t

Pandora’s deadly secret is out of the box. Obama’s call for the Fundamental Transformation of America is just a fancy name for what he’s planned for America ever since his lofty proclamation in Berlin, 2008 when he announced that he is “a citizen of the world”.

We now know that the Fundamental Transformation America is just another name for One World Government.

In typical Obama Artful Dodger fashion, it was vice president Joe Biden and not he who laid bare the plans for the coming One World Government that will steal America’s 237-year-old sovereignty.

With Obama nowhere in sight, until his next day golf rounds, Biden called for the creation of a “New World Order” with new financial institutions, updated global rules, a redistribution of free market strategies to bring in other countries and a prosperous China rather than a prosperous USA.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Philly-Area Mosque to More Than Double in Size

Officials say a mosque in suburban Philadelphia will more than double in size as a result of a long-awaited expansion.

The Bucks County Courier Times ( says members of the Zubaida Foundation gathered with local dignitaries for a groundbreaking ceremony Friday in Lower Makefield Township…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

The End of Free Elections

Vote fraud, HR-50, undocumented democrats, RINOs

The Democrat Party has always been at the forefront when it comes to election fraud. For most people, when you say, “vote fraud,” the word Democrat pops into their head. Same for “dead voter,” “vote early, vote often,” and myriad other catch-words and phrases. And while they may not have actually invented rigged elections, they have certainly become past masters at pulling them off.

It would seem, however, that now that they have proved they can pull them off on a massive scale, taking advantage of a corrupt Attorney General who refuses to recognize the fraud and intimidation, much less prosecute it, they are growing weary of the effort it takes to even marginally hide the fraud. An apparently coordinated move is afoot, including actions by Obama and some of the Democrat Party’s ugliest thugs in the House and the Senate, to impose all sorts of federal — read, Democrat — control over elections.

House bills have been put forth, forcing states to impose early voting — HR-50, introduced by radical socialist, George Miller (D-CA) ; forcing states to have same-day voter registration — HR-280 — and repealing all state voter ID laws — HR-281, both introduced by radical socialist, Muslim, and racist, Keith Ellison (D-MN); forcing states to allow Internet and automatic voter registration, among other things — HR-289, introduced by James Morgan, described by Michelle Malkin as, “…an inveterate bully, a brawler, a crook and a bigot.” His son was caught by investigative journalist, James O’Keefe, in a voter fraud scheme in October, 2012.

Well-known miscreant and beneficiary of voter fraud in Nevada, Senate Majority “Leader” Harry Reid (D-NV) has also introduced a seeming innocuous bill, S-9, that is believed to be a vehicle for attaching riders containing the provisions of the House bills, should they fail to pass.


These totally unconstitutional federal intrusions and interference in what are supposed to be state-controlled elections will all be locked in place, well before the 2014 elections.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UN Human Rights Commissioner Urges Guantanamo Shut Down

AGI) Geneva, Apr 5 — The High Commissioner for Human Rights said that the Guantanamo detention camp should be shut down, as the indefinite detention of inmates with no indictment or trial violates international laws. Commissioner Navi Pillay said, “We must be clear over this issue. The United States is clearly not only violating its own commitments, but also international laws as well as the standards they must comply with.” .

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

Warning to Gun Grabbers: If Gun Rights Are Lost, You Will Soon Lose Free Speech, Public Protests, Art, Blogs and the Right to a Fair Trial

(NaturalNews) All those who value free speech, art, public protests, internet blogs and due process should be waging an all-out information war right now to defend the Second Amendment. Why? Because if the Second Amendment is lost due to unconstitutional legislative and executive actions pursued by the government, then there are no limits to what civil liberties and individual freedoms the government can declare null and void.

All those who are arguing for infringements of Second Amendment liberties (universal registration, banning AR-15s, criminalizing high-capacity magazines, etc.) are effectively arguing to hand the federal government the precedent it needs to criminalize free speech, religion, public protests, internet blogs, Youtube videos and more.

In effect, gun grabbers are arguing for the government to have the power to overturn the Bill of Rights when it is popular to do so. But such power will inevitably end up being used in circumstances never envisioned by the gun grabbers… and often in the hands of someone they hoped would never hold the office of President such as a third member of the Bush regime…

People who advocate gun control today are actually “anti-constitutional government” extremists because their ideas extremely diverge from the laws of the land (the Constitution and Bill of Rights). What could be more extreme than suggesting the People have no rights and that the government has total power to decide which rights in the Bill of Rights it wishes to recognize?

Gun grabbers are the true anti-government people because they are enemies of the legitimate and lawful government of America. Rather than constitutional government, they wish to see an illegitimate, unlawful government usurp power and run the country as a police state that respects no limits to its power. That’s the type of government desired by foolishly dangerous people like Rachel Maddow, Michael Moore, Michael Bloomberg, Joe Biden and others.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

“Tojo” The War Monkey Who Died in a Booze-Fuelled Army Lockdown Immortalised in Irish Republic

A war mascot monkey who died 70 years ago in a suspected booze-fuelled army lockdown in the Irish Republic has been immortalised.

A statue of Tojo the monkey was erected in Clonakilty, west Cork, where he and a US Air Force crew made an emergency landing in a war plane in 1943.

A plaque marking the site at White’s Marsh was also unveiled, as the anniversary of the local legend was celebrated.

The warplane — a Boeing B17 Flying Fortress — was travelling from Morocco to England when it was forced to make an unscheduled stop in the marsh near Clonakilty, Co Cork, in April 1943 after running out of fuel.

The 10-strong crew, one passenger and their mascot, a spider monkey called Tojo, who was named after the Japanese prime minister, were welcomed into the town and stayed at O’Donovan’s Hotel for two days. Tojo was plied with food and drink — alien to a monkey diet.

The crew was being held at the hotel, which was used as a temporary army barracks during the Second World War, until their identities were verified.

When Tojo died a number of days after their arrival, he was given a traditional Irish wake and funeral with military honours. Tojo was buried in a flower garden in O’Donovan’s.

Dena O’Donovan, who runs O’Donovan’s Hotel, said his arrival and time in Clonakilty is one of the town’s most-loved historical tales.

“It’s a bizarre story, you couldn’t make it up,” she said.

“People were devastated when he died. Some say his little body couldn’t handle the cold in Ireland, others say it was the food — monkeys have not been known to eat black pudding. But others have said he was given quite a bit to drink.”

Tojo was known to favour rum.

Yesterday, up to 100 locals gathered in Clonakilty where the statue of Tojo was unveiled.

They included 92-year-old former Army engineer Private James ‘Jim’ Galvin, who was instrumental in laying the runway in Clonakilty to allow the plane to be flown to Northern Ireland, three weeks after its arrival.

Lieutenant Colonel Sean Cosden, of the US Defence Attache, was also at the unveiling ceremony.

Speaking yesterday, Mr Galvin said the crew members were ferried back to Northern Ireland by mini-bus just two days after their unexpected landing in the marsh.

He said the locals had been frightened after the plane flew low over the town prior to making its emergency landing, but that there was great excitement afterwards.

“It had a soft landing. His problem was lack of fuel,” said Mr Galvin.

“After landing, one of the American crew approached a local and asked ‘where are we?’ and the answer he gave him was ‘You’re in Pat White’s marsh’.”

He added the pilot thought he was on the Welsh coast.

“He circled around to see and then he discovered. . . I better land while I have a drop of fuel,” Mr Galvin said.

           — Hat tip: McR [Return to headlines]

Eighty-Six Percent of Germans Oppose MP Pay Rise

(AGI) — Berlin, Apr 6 — A huge majority of Germans are against the proposed pay rise for members of the Bundestag.

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

Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher of Britain Has Died

Margaret Thatcher, a towering, divisive and yet revered figure in British politics, died on Monday of a stroke, her family said. She was 87.

Lady Thatcher had been in poor health for months. She served as prime minister for 11 years, beginning in 1979. She was known as the “Iron Lady,” a stern Conservative who transformed Britain’s way of thinking about its economic and political life, broke union power and opened the way to far greater private ownership.

[Return to headlines]

Former Italian FM, NATO Hopeful, Stumps in Rome

Frattini pushes for more openness with Middle East

(ANSA) — Rome, April 8 — Former Italian foreign minister Franco Frattini, a candidate to become the next secretary-general of NATO, pushed for the military alliance to be more open to cooperation with other international bodies on Monday. Frattini, who served under ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi of the center-right People of Freedom (PdL) party, was speaking at the NATO Defense College in Rome. He is the current president of the Italian Society for International Organization.

He stressed that NATO, which includes 28 member states, should embrace relations with countries in North Africa, the Persian Gulf and the Middle East at large, via NATO-backed initiatives such as the Mediterranean Dialogue and the Istanbul Cooperation Council, as well as other international bodies such as the Gulf Cooperation Council, the Arab League and the African Union. Frattini also had a closed-door meeting with Arne Dalhaug, head of the college.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

French Teenager Crushed to Death in Rubbish Truck

A French teenager suffered a horrific death at the weekend when he was crushed in the back of a rubbish truck in the city of Luxembourg. The young man had been concealed in a bin that was emptied in to the waste truck.

A French teenager died in Luxembourg on Saturday, after being crushed to death in the back of a rubbish truck.

According to local newspaper L’Essentiel, the youngster was concealed inside a waste bin, unbeknown to the rubbish collectors.

When the bin’s contents were emptied into the truck, the teenager fell out and was crushed by the machinery, before he could be saved. Witnesses reportedly heard his cries as he was tipped into the lorry.

Investigators are trying to find out why the victim was in the bin and have not ruled out the possibility he was deliberately placed in the container by others. Detectives are also looking into the possibility that he may have been drunk or drugged and want to understand why he only responded at the last moment , when it was too late.

The investigators do not believe the teenager was homeless and he had not been tied up, L’Essentiel reported.

The prosecutor in Luxembourg has ordered an autopsy to be carried out

According to preliminary investigations, the teenager, who lived in France near the border with Luxembourg, suffered a broken neck.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Germany Owes Greece 162bln Euros in WWII Reparations, Report

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, APRIL 8 — German magazine Der Spiegel has picked up on a report in Greece that a panel of experts examining whether Berlin owes Athens Second World War reparations has concluded that the Greek government should receive a total of 162 billion euros. The German publication quotes a report in To Vima newspaper, which claims to have seen the figures in a report produced by the Finance Ministry committee assigned to investigate the matter. Last week, Alternate Finance Minister Christos Staikouras refused to speak about the investigation, saying that its findings were secret.

To Vima reports that the experts found that Germany should pay Greece 108 billion euros for damage to infrastructure and 54 billion euros for a loan that the Nazi occupation forces obliged Greece to take in order to pay Berlin during the war. The reparations are equivalent to about 80% of Greek gross domestic product (GDP) as daily Kathimerini online notes.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Germany: Late Push on War Crimes: Prosecutors to Probe 50 Auschwitz Guards

Prosecutors have obtained a list of 50 former Auschwitz guards still alive in Germany and will investigate whether they can stand trial. Guards at other death camps and members of the feared Einsatzgruppen death squads are also being traced in a late push to bring the surviving perpetrators of the Holocaust to justice.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Graft Report: Austerity Can Help to Fight Corruption

By Andrew Bowen

Austerity measures are widely hated in many European countries. But a recent study has shown they can have a positive effect in combating corruption, limiting the amount of cash that public officials can give out for things like bloated government contracts.

Mediterranean countries like Spain, Portugal and Italy have been given a boost in their fight against corruption through the austerity measures so many of their citizens despise, according to a recent study on corruption in the European Union.

The wide-ranging study found that the euro-zone crisis “has acted as a strong anticorruption agent in these countries, drying up resources and opportunities for corruption.” The report, titled “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Controlling Corruption in the European Union,” was conducted by the Berlin-based Hertie School of Governance and is due to be presented to the European Parliament on Tuesday.

The study divided the EU’s 27 member states into four groups, with the three aforementioned Mediterranean countries grouped with Slovenia and Slovakia as states with few opportunities for public corruption, but also with few mechanisms to prevent officials from acting in a corrupt way.

“The capacity to audit and control is considered insufficient in these countries,” the study’s authors write. “The independence of the judiciary is seen as problematic, at least in Italy and Slovakia, and the tools available to society to control the government are feeble, with low levels of Internet connection (Spain and Slovenia do somewhat better), weak civil society and little media capacity to confront corruption.”

While austerity may limit opportunities for corruption in some countries, it could have the opposite effect in countries where, for example, civil servants who are already earning a meager living have their pay cut even further.

“I think it varies from country to country,” said Dr. Alina Mungiu-Pippidi, the Hertie professor who led the study. “There are austerity measures that are beneficial… (but) if you reduce wages for policemen or judges, that’s not good.”

EU Funding Increases Risk for Corruption

Mungiu-Pippidi said she conducted the study to depart from the expert indicators of corruption and build a more complex model that takes into account what the underlying causes of that corruption are…

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

Hedegaard: Stand Up Absolutely for Free Speech

by Diana West

My fine friend and colleague Lars Hedegaard, editor of Dispatch International, sat down with The Daily Caller’s Ginni Thomas last month in Washington, DC, for an interview, posted here.

Ginni’s first question came down to why — why have there been so many assassinations and attempted assassinations of Europeans, including against Lars in February, for speaking (and drawing cartoons) about Islam?

Lars replies with the perception and lucidity that are second nature to him…

           — Hat tip: Diana West [Return to headlines]

Italy Bans E-Cigarettes for Minors

Country a world leader in booming start-up industry

(ANSA) — Rome, April 3 — Minors have been banned from using electronic cigarettes in Italy, a world leader in the booming start-up industry. This week the health ministry signed an ordinance prohibiting their sale to anyone aged 18 or younger, the same age limit for tobacco products, updating a previous ordinance that put the age limit for e-cigarettes at 16.

The health ministry said that the devices, despite advertizing a less-harmful alternative to traditional smoking tobacco, still exceed acceptable daily levels of nicotine when puffed moderately, citing the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). “Thus one cannot exclude damaging effects to health,” said Health Minister Renato Balduzzi in a statement.

The ban is in place until October this year when it will need to be reviewed. In the meantime, Balduzzi ordered further research into the risks of electronic cigarettes by Italy’s Higher Health Institute. The news was received warmly by Brescia-based electronic-cigarette maker Ovale, which over the last year has sold over one million devices, opened 400 stores and hired 1,000 workers in Italy, leading the world in the burgeoning industry. “We completely agree (with the measure),” said Ovale in a statement. “A rule of thumb for our business is to not promote smoking and not to sell to minors. We are exclusively devoted to selling an alternative to traditional cigarettes, and we offer it only to those who already smoke”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Fiat Industrial-CNH Merger Effective in the Summer

Group ‘finally free to create own destiny’, says Marchionne

(ANSA) — Turin, April 8 — The merger of Fiat Industrial, the holding company of the non-automotive assets of Fiat SpA, with its CNH Global NV (CNH) unit, could be concluded this summer, Chairman Sergio Marchionne told shareholders on Monday. “The merge operation will be subject to the necessary extraordinary assemblies and it will probably become effective in the third quarter of this year,” said Marchionne. “The move will bring to a close a long process of simplification launched over two years ago.” US agricultural and construction equipment manufacturer CNH is a subsidiary of Fiat Industrial, in which the latter currently has around an 88% stake. “With the merger Fiat Industrial and CNH will become a totally integrated, multinational group that is able to compete in the capital goods sector at the highest level,” said Marchionne. “It will be one of the biggest and strongest groups in the sector, present in markets throughout the world and finally free to create its own destiny,” the chairman concluded. Shares in the new unit will trade in New York, with a possible secondary listing on the Milan Stock Exchange.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Ignazio Marino Centre-Left Candidate for Rome Mayorship

Surgeon to take on incumbent Gianni Alemanno in May

(ANSA) — Rome, April 8 — Senator and surgeon Ignazio Marino of the Democratic Party (PD) is the centre-left candidate for the Rome mayorship after beating five other candidates in primaries on Sunday. He will run against incumbent centre-right mayor Gianni Alemanno, the candidate of Beppe Grillo’s anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) Marcello De Vito, and businessman Alfio Marchini in elections scheduled for May 26 and 27. Over 100,000 people showed up at the polls in the primaries amid claims of “vote buying” due to alleged long queues of ethnic Roma at polling stations. Marino won over prominent PD member and former communications minister Paolo Gentiloni and former state television Rai newsreader David Sassuoli.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Grillo Denies U-Turn Over Pay for MPs

Basic wage set at 5,000 euros gross

(ANSA) — Rome, April 8 — Former comic Beppe Grillo, the firebrand leader of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S), on Monday denied a reported U-turn in policy over pay for party MPs.

“Every M5S candidate has pledged to respect the code of behaviour that contemplates a salary of 5,000 euros gross,” he said in response to media reports of a climbdown over pre-election promises by candidates that they would half the basic salary for MPs if elected.

On Monday La Repubblica newspaper cited Grillo as saying that “6,000 euros was enough”.

“How much rubbish can be contained in so few words?” asked the M5S leader on his blog. “The code of behaviour has not been discussed, debated or revised”.

However Grillo did not comment on reports by the same newspaper of dissent among party representatives over how to manage the 3,500 euro allowance accorded to MPs in addition to their basic wage, which some say should be partly reimbursed.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy Promises to Tackle Backlog of €40bn Unpaid Bills

Italy’s caretaker government pledged on Saturday to settle the €40 billion that the state owes to private companies over the next 12 months. Prime Minister Mario Monti said that delayed payment of bills was “an unacceptable situation that has been accepted for a long time,” Reuters reports.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Kohl Confesses to Euro’s Undemocratic Beginnings

Berlin — Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl — the architect of German reunification — admitted he would never have won a referendum on the adoption of the euro in his country and said he acted “like a dictator” to see the common currency introduced.

In an interview from 2002 but published only recently as part of a PhD thesis written by journalist Jens Peter Paul, Kohl said that the idea behind the euro was to avoid another war in Europe.

“Nations with a common currency never went to war against each other. A common currency is more than the money you pay with,” he said.

He recalled French President Francois Mitterand — and other European leaders of the time — repeatedly urged him to push through the common currency idea, which was not very popular in Germany.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Lessons From the Iron Lady

Tribute to Margaret Thatcher: “Stand on principle or not stand at all”

When Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands in 1982, Thatcher called the Argentinean Junta — “a fascist gang”, and said, “this cannot be tolerated, I will not negotiate with criminals and thugs.” When confronted with the cost of reclamation she responded, “Cost — we can’t worry about it. We will stand on principle or we will not stand at all. Right will prevail over wrong, despite much sacrifice.”

It was this brazen style that accomplished much but also ruffled the feathers of those without conviction. In a famous showdown with fellow Conservative Michael Heseltine (who would later challenge her for party leadership), He pushed for moderation of policies, “if we’re even to have a chance to win the next election”, to which Thatcher retorted “worried about our careers, are we”?

Gone from much of the politics of the West is the courage of conviction. The willingness to say what needs to be said and the advocacy of what needs to be done. Too often politicians like Heseltine concern themselves with their degree of electability, their favorability ratings, and their marketability as sages of solution.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Luxembourg May Loosen Bank Secrecy

Luxembourg may consider opening up its massive banking sector to greater scrutiny following concerns people are stashing away wealth from foreign tax inspectors.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Magistrate Ingroia ‘To Become Sicily Tax Collector’

Ex-prosecutor’s party flopped in general election

(ANSA) — Palermo, April 8 — Former anti-mafia magistrate Antonio Ingroia could take the helm of Sicily’s tax collection authority, it emerged on Monday.

Regional governor Rosario Crocetta met with the former Palermo prosecutor and leader of the left-wing Civic Revolution party “for a coffee” allegedly to discuss the proposal and the announcement of the appointment could come shortly.

Riscossione Sicilia Spa, the tax collection authority, is controlled by the Sicily region. Last month the magistrates’ self-governing body CSM proposed posting Ingroia to the northwestern city of Aosta should he decide to return to the judiciary after his disappointing foray into politics.

Formed last December Civic Revolution performed poorly in February general elections, returning no seats in the Italian parliament. Prior to running for elected office Ingroia served briefly as head of a UN project on narcotraffic in Guatemala.

His decision to go into politics sparked controversy on grounds of alleged political bias within the magistrature.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Margaret Thatcher Dies After Stroke

“Britain’s first and only female prime minister Margaret Thatcher has died peacefully following a stroke at the age of 87.

Baroness Thatcher has died at the age of 87 after suffering a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell has announced.

Lord Bell said: “It is with great sadness that Mark and Carol Thatcher announced that their mother Baroness Thatcher died peacefully following a stroke this morning.

“A further statement will be made later.”

Baroness Thatcher, Britain’s first and only woman prime minister, had become increasingly frail and was suffering ill health in recent years.

She was admitted to hospital shortly before Christmas where she underwent an operation to remove a growth from her bladder but was allowed to return home before new year.

           — Hat tip: Heresy Today [Return to headlines]

Maroni to ‘Wage War on Rome if Necessary’ Over Taxes

(AGI) Pontida, Apr 7 — Lombardy region president and Northern League leader Roberto Maroni has vowed to “wage war on Rome and the government if necessary”. He reiterated that the Northern League plans to establish a macroregion and keep “at least 75% of taxes” in the north.

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

‘Secret Arrests’ Fear as Police Seek Ban on Naming Suspects: Plan Threatens to Turn Britain Into a ‘Banana Republic’

Fears were growing last night that a draconian crackdown on the public’s right to know who the police are arresting was close to being finalised.

Police chiefs are looking to ban the Press and public from being told the identity of a crime suspect who has been arrested.

The Association of Chief Police Officers is drawing up the plans as it considers implementing a recommendation by Lord Justice Leveson in which all police forces would be banned from confirming the names of suspects to journalists.

Critics yesterday called the plan an assault on open justice and said it threatened to turn Britain into a ‘banana republic’.

They suggested that such a move could, in theory, lead to people being arrested and locked up in secret as is the case in brutal totalitarian regimes.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Secret Athens Report: Berlin Owes Greece Billions in WWII Reparations

A top-secret report compiled at the behest of the Finance Ministry in Athens has come to the conclusion that Germany owes Greece billions in World War II reparations. The total could be enough to solve the country’s debt problems, but the Greek government is wary of picking a fight with its paymaster.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Spanish Police Arrest Vet ‘Who Dismembered His Wife and Sent Her Body Parts Off to be Incinerated as the Remains of a Dog’

[WARNING: * Disturbing Content *]

A vet who allegedly dismembered his wife after she died in a botched DIY liposuction and sent her body parts for incineration disguised as a big dog has been arrested.

The 45-year-old Argentine runs a vet’s surgery popular with British expats in Benijofar near Alicante, Spain.

The firm licensed to incinerate animals has told police they did not make any checks on the remains because the vet was a regular customer.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Swedish Scientists Find New Obesity Genes

A major study led by Swedish researchers at Uppsala University has found seven new genes tied to obesity that the scientists hope will lead to more individualized weight loss treatments.

More than 260,000 people were included in the study carried out by a Swedish-led international team of researchers.

The results, published in the Nature Genetics medical journal, show that 40 different gene variants that can increase an individual’s risk for becoming obese.

“We know from experience that genetic factors are important for the emergence of both milder and more extreme forms of obesity, but how much overlap there is between genes that are involved in extreme obesity and normal or slightly elevated BMI has not been examined systematically previously,” Erik Ingelsson, the Uppsala University professor who coordinated the study, said in a statement.

The researchers studied gene variants, or positions in the genetic code that differ between individuals. Through extensive mapping, they were able to confirm the majority of the gene loci (regions of the genome) which were already linked to various body measurements.

They also identified four new gene loci linked to height, and seven loci linked to overweight and obesity.

“Our results suggest that extremely obese individuals have a greater number of gene variants that increase the risk of obesity, rather than completely different genes being involved,” Ingelsson explained.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

The Oysters of Power

There is an edge of excess and a subtle lack of restraint in the relationship Italy’s ruling class has with money and the luxuries that money can buy. It’s a form of intemperance, of unbridled exhibitionism, of compulsive acquisitiveness. Apparently, in this land for bankers, business people, mandarins, prominent professionals and parliamentarians — in short, people who matter — no pay packet is ever big enough, no privilege or precious morsel is ever too exclusive, no token of wealth ever too conspicuous.

Politicians provide the most widely known, if not the most jaw-dropping, examples. Phone taps, newspaper articles and court reports paint a picture of people often with homes beside far-off oceans or in the centers of Italy’s loveliest towns. At the drop of a hat, these individuals take vastly expensive tropical holidays, lunching and dining in restaurants for the ultra-rich. Senator Lusi is a man used to ordering plates of spaghetti with I-don’t-remember-what sauce at a modest €180 each. It makes you wonder whether he always lunched alone. Did his guests not think twice about eating in such surrounds? Evidently they did not. Just as Bari’s Mayor Emiliano — and he wasn’t alone, it seems — thought it was fine to receive the gift of an entire edible aquarium. Year after year, delegations of municipal and regional councillors — Sicily generally leads the list — award themselves taxpayer-funded holidays with first-class travel to eye-wateringly expensive hotels.

Of course, politicians are not the only culprits…

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

UK Support for EU Membership is Wafer-Thin David Cameron Says, Ahead of Crunch Talks With European Leaders

British support for membership of the EU is now ‘wafer-thin’, David Cameron has warned ahead of talks with European leaders.

The Prime Minister will travel to Madrid, Paris and Berlin this week to demand the EU stop meddling and pay more attention to ‘democratic consent’.

Mr Cameron affirmed his commitment to reform and said he was ‘convinced’ that there would be changes to Europe’s rulebook.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: ‘Nothing to Do With Britain’: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the National Memorial to the Holocaust

The Yom HaShoah 2013 National Commemoration takes place this weekend on Sunday 7 April. The National Memorial to the Holocaust was inaugurated in Hyde Park in 1983, largely thanks to the efforts of the Board of Deputies of British Jews and its then President, Greville Janner. However, documents released by the National Archives show that the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Lord Carrington, actively sought to prevent a formal British Government connection to a Holocaust memorial. Indeed, it took a resolute and principled series of stands over the course of 1980-81 by the Secretary of State for the Environment, Michael Heseltine, and by Margaret Thatcher herself, to ensure that Britain’s first public memorial dedicated solely to victims of the Holocaust was established…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Bullfinch Trial: Dad Says Girl’s Rape Claims Were ‘All Lies’

SUSPECTED child rapist has told the Old Bailey a “terrified” girl who testified against him could not do it in court because she was a liar. Mohammed Karrar, 38, from Oxford, is accused of grooming and drugging girls before arranging for them to be raped for money. He is one of nine men on trial who deny child sex ring charges…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: David Bowie’s Success Holds Lessons for Britain, Foreign Office Economist Says

He has received plaudits for his remarkable surprise comeback, his critically-acclaimed song writing and his longevity, but it appears David Bowie’s appeal may have reached a new high.

For his successful career could also be the key to saving the British economy, according to an economist at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Writing on the department’s official website, the Counsellor for Economics based at the British Embassy in Washington D.C. said Bowie’s “phenomenal” career held important “lessons” for success…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Elderly Couple Left Without Heating in Their ‘Hell House’ For Three Years Because of Labour’s Disastrous State-Backed Energy Scheme

The government has been ordered to pay compensation for the ‘injustice’ of inflicting misery on an elderly couple who were left without heating for three years by a bungled state-sponsored energy programme.

Donald Siteman told a parliamentary watchdog his three-bedroom home had become a ‘hell house’, with his dying wife Evelyn forced to wear her coat indoors and go to bed early in a desperate attempt to get warm.

A boiler installed under Labour’s £2.4billion Warm Front scheme broke down after just six months, beginning a tortuous battle to have it fixed which lasted through three bitterly cold winters.

A damning report found both the Department for Energy and Climate Change and its contractor Carillion guilty of ‘maladministration’, accusing them of inflicting ‘distress and physical and material hardship’ on an ‘elderly and vulnerable’ couple.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Four Teenage Boys Aged 15 and 16 Held by Police Investigating Murder of Man, 40, Who Died After Town Centre Attack

[WARNING: * Disturbing Content *]

Four teenagers arrested in connection with the death of a 40-year-old man who was attacked in a town centre will be kept in custody overnight, police have said.

The death of Glen Kitchens in Worksop is being treated as murder, Nottinghamshire Police said today.

Mr Kitchens, from the Sunnyside area of the town, was taken to hospital after reports of an assault at around 7.30pm in Bridge Street on Saturday, near its junction with Central Avenue and Ryton Street, police said.

He was taken to Bassetlaw District Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Grooming for Sex ‘Un-Islamic’: UK Muslims

LONDON — Urging all Britons to speak out against the practice, an umbrella Muslim group is condemning the scandal of grooming white girls for sexual activities as running counter to Islamic teachings. “This is an appalling and abhorrent kind of behavior which is totally unacceptable regardless of race or religion,” Sheikh Mogra, Assistant Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), said on BBC Radio 4’s Sunday program on April 7…

[JP note: Liar.]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Secret Filming at Sharia Council Shows Women at Risk

BBC Panorama has uncovered fresh evidence of how some Sharia councils in Britain may be putting Muslim women “at risk” by pressuring them to stay in abusive marriages. An undercover female reporter was told by Dr Suhaib Hasan of the Leyton Islamic Sharia Council that going to the police with her case of domestic violence was a “last resort”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Trainee Doctors Are Being Paid More Than £2,000 a Day by the NHS in ‘Out of Control’ Agency Payments Scandal

The NHS is paying trainee doctors more than £2,000 for a day’s work, it has emerged.

Hospitals are squandering tens of millions of pounds on agency workers to cover shifts at understaffed hospitals.

Desperate trusts are being forced to hire temporary doctors to plug holes during busy times and fill in for shortages created by illness, maternity leave and reduced working hours for junior doctors.

But, according to figures released under the Freedom of Information Act, at least one in six hospitals admitted spending more than £1,000 a day to hire individual medics since 2010.

The temporary staff are provided by agencies, which take a large percentage of the payments.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Veil Row Reignites in France After 15-Year-Old Girl Expelled From School for Wearing a Headband and Long Skirt Which Were Considered ‘Too Religious’

A 15-year-old Muslim girl has been expelled from school in France for wearing a headband and long skirt combination which was considered ‘too religious’, her teachers confirmed today.

Sirine Ben Yahiaten is now set to launch a criminal complaint for discrimination and harassment following her exclusion from the Prunais college in Villiers-sur-Marne, a Paris suburb.

It comes as President Francois Hollande pledges to reinforce the controversial ban on full-face Islamic veils introduced in 2011.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Serbia Will Not Sign Kosovo Accord, Wants More Talks

(BELGRADE) — Serbia rejected on Monday a Brussels-brokered proposal on easing tensions with breakaway Kosovo, seen as a key condition for EU integration talks to begin, but pledged to continue negotiations with Pristina.

“The government of Serbia cannot accept principles verbally presented to its negotiating team in Brussels, since they do not guarantee full security and protection of human rights to the Serb people in Kosovo,” Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic told reporters.

However Belgrade “pledges an urgent resumption of dialogue with Pristina with EU mediation,” Dacic said.

A deal with Kosovo is the key Brussels-set condition for Serbia if it wants to start accession talks for EU membership later this year. A refusal could delay Serbia’s integration into the EU indefinitely.

Dacic spoke after the Serbian government met to draft a response to proposals made verbally in Brussels last week, when Belgrade and Pristina failed to find common ground on how to defuse their longstanding tensions.

Both sides were due to formally respond by Tuesday to the proposals to EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton — who has chaired the eight rounds of talks between the Serbian and Kosovo delegations.

In Brussels, Ashton said she regretted the Serbian government’s decision and called on it “to make a last effort to reach an agreement”.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Why Bosnia Holds Lessons for Syria Today

Dr Alan Mendoza is the Executive Director of the transatlantic international affairs think tank The Henry Jackson Society.

This week marks the twentieth anniversary of Operation Deny Flight, a NATO mission to operate a no-fly zone over the skies of war-torn Bosnia-Herzegovina. The most powerful military alliance in the world had become the military enforcement agency of choice for a United Nations baffled by the ongoing humanitarian crisis in a corner of Europe where small nations were struggling for freedom from the remnants of a multi-ethnic state that by now existed in name only: Yugoslavia…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Brother-in-Law of Ex Tunisian President Dies in Custody

(AGI) Tunis — Moncef Trabelsi, a businessman and brother-in-law of the former president of Tunisia, Ben Ali, has died in custody .

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

Egypt: Islamist Muslim Brotherhood Set Sights on Al-Azhar

The Grand Mufti of Egypt criticizes Islamists’ attacks on authorities of the largest Sunni university. The great Imam al-Tayeb and the rector of the University are being investigated for the poisoning of 550 students. But according to AsiaNews sources the move is only a pretext of the Muslim Brotherhood to gain control of the institution. Al-Azhar cleric: “The Islamists are poisoning the minds of our students.”

Cairo (AsiaNews) — “The attacks on the Islamic University of al-Azhar endanger the safety of the whole country.” This was stated by Shawky Abdel-Karim Allam, grand mufti of Egypt. In an interview with Ahram newspaper the religious leader criticizes the climate of tension between the authorities of the most important university and the government of the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood. “Al-Azhar — he says — is and will always remain independent. It has always served and will continue to serve the whole country, at equal footing from all political factions.”

The clash between the institution and political circles began on April 2 after the alleged poisoning of 550 students from spoiled food. The case has sparked protests — within and outside the university — against Osama al Abd, rector of the University, and Ahmed al-Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar to force them to resign. Talaat Abdallah, chief prosecutor of Cairo, and a close ally of the Islamists, is leading the investigation against two of the most important figures of moderate Islam. In recent months he was the protagonist in several trials against activists and celebrities accused of offenses against Islam and the President. This week, the University Council held a special meeting to discuss the possibility of an internal election for a new rector. Despite having the right to do so, in this way al-Azhar would also contravene the custom that allows the head of state to appoint the president of the University.

Many leading University figures have taken up the defense of Imam al-Tayeb, Osama al-Abd and the autonomy of al-Azhar. One of them is Sheikh Ahmed Karim, one of the university’s religious leaders. In an interview with the Saudi network al-Arabiya he expressed his displeasure at the “humiliation and insults” launched by Islamists and their media against the Islamic institution. “ Al-Azhar has never been insulted like it was today, not from the French, the Brits, not from the Turks, not from the Mamaleek.” According to Karim, the Muslim Brotherhood and its allies want to gain control of the university: “The escalation of the situation has nothing to do with the poisoning of students’ stomachs but the poisoning of students’ brains.”

Sources have told AsiaNews that the alleged poisoning is only a pretext to tarnish the Imam al-Tayeb and his entourage, who were accused of having hostile positions against the Islamist establishment. “The great Imam — the sources say — has repeatedly stated in recent months what is being trumpeted by the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafis is not the real Islam.” The sources explained that the attack against religious institutions is just the latest attempt by Islamists to cope with the loss of support among the Egyptians. (SC)

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

Egyptian Copts-Muslims Clash After Funeral of 4 Christians

(AGI) Cairo, Apr 7 — Copts and Muslim Brotherhood supporters have clashed outside a Coptic church in the Egyptian capital after the funerals of 4 Christians killed in violence in Al Jusus, north of the capital.

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

Egypt: Tensions Between Christian and Islamic Groups. Six Dead in Three Days

Four Copts and a Muslim shot dead in Khosous. The imams incite violence against Christians. Christian kindergarten and homes burned. At a funeral in the Cathedral of St. Mark, a group attack the funeral procession with Molotov cocktails and stones. Morsi and al-Azhar condemn the violence. The police almost totally absent. The Christians accuse the government of failing to provide any security for the minority.

Cairo (AsiaNews / Agencies) — There is growing tension between groups of Christians and Muslims after the killing of four Copts and a Muslim in the district of Khosous. At the funeral of the Christian victims, held yesterday in the Cathedral of St. Mark in Cairo, another Christian was killed and at least 80 were injured after the funeral procession was attacked by unidentified groups.

It all began on April 5 in Khosous, on the outskirts of Cairo. The clashes between Christians and Muslims was sparked by graffiti with a swastika on the wall of an Islamic building, which the Muslims attributed to Christians. Some buildings of the Christian community were torched and shots were fired. Four Christians were killed along with a Muslim.

According to a Coptic priest in Khosous, the violence is rooted in a dispute between a Christian and a Muslim family that has lasted for three months. The problem had been solved, but a few days ago a group of Salafis threatened a Christian woman. Father Suriel, from the church of Mar Girgis, says that “some imams incited a mob against the Copts and the church during a meeting in the mosque”, giving rise to attacks and clashes. A mob with covered faces also burned the Mar Girgis kindergarten, a Baptist church and shops belonging to Christians.

According to witnesses, security forces arrived very late and clashes continued in their presence. The four Christians killed were Marsouq Atteya, Morkos Kamal, Victor Manqarios and Essam Zakhary. All were shot by automatic rifles in the face, the heart, the head and shoulders. The bullets were fired from the top down.

At the funeral yesterday in the Cathedral of St. Mark, those present began shouting slogans against President Morsi for the lack of security. On leaving the church, the funeral procession was attacked by unknown groups with stones and Molotov cocktails. The faithful responded by throwing stones in turn. In the clashes a Christian was killed. A church building caught fire, but the fire was extinguished. At the funeral there was little police presence who arrived in greater numbers following the unrest to dispel the crowds using tear gas. But sporadic incidents have also continued throughout the night.

President Mohamed Morsi phoned the Coptic Patriarch Tawadros II to express his solidarity. “Every attack on the cathedral — he said — is an attack on my person.” The Coptic Patriarch urged calm. The Muslim Brotherhood has called on everyone to “reject and condemn violence.

The Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmed al-Tayyeb has denounced the clashes and sent his representatives to the area to calm the situation. Tayyeb said that protecting Egypt from sectarian violence and racism is a religious and national duty because “the blood of all the Egyptians is precious.”

But according to some priests, under the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood, the situation of Christians has worsened and the Christian minority accuses Morsi’s government of failing to sufficiently protect their freedom.

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

Egypt: Govt Suspends Iranian Tourist Trips After Sunni Protest

Cairo, 8 April (AKI) — Egypt has decided to bar Iranian tourists until the second half of June after a landmark visit by a tour group from the Islamic Republic angered some ultraconservative Sunnis.

Egypt’s tourism minister Hisham Zaazou was cited by Al-Ahram Online as saying that during the ban, the government would “review and evaluate travel programmes between the two countries”.

On 1 April, more than 50 Iranian tourists arrived in Upper Egypt amid tight security.

The visit, which followed a bilateral pact signed in February with Shia-dominated Iran, caused outrage among some ultraconservative Sunni groups in Egypt, Al-Ahram Online reported.

Dozens of protesters tried to storm the Iranian chargé d’affaires’ residence in Cairo on Friday, throwing stones at the building and scrawling offensive slogans on the outer wall, the daily said.

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

Egypt: Coptic Christians Under Siege as Mob Attacks Cairo Cathedral

Alastair Beach sees gunfire exchanged as armed gang descends on funeral of five Christians killed in recent sectarian clashes

Hundreds of Christians were under siege inside Cairo’s Coptic cathedral last night as security forces and local residents, some armed with handguns, launched a prolonged and unprecedented attack on the seat of Egypt’s ancient Church…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Egypt on Edge After Deadly Sectarian Clashes

Cairo: Egypt was on edge Monday after a night of violence outside Cairo’s Coptic cathedral following the death of six people in clashes between Christians and Muslims, with President Mohamed Mursi promising an immediate investigation.

Calm was restored to the central neighbourhood of Abbassiya where police deployed in force outside St Mark’s cathedral, and where several Copts were still gathered on Monday morning…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Egypt: Gunshots Killed Qalyubia’s Copts in Cathedral Clashes: Forensic Report

Forensic report suggests those that died in sectarian clashes in Qalyubia, Egypt were killed by machine gun

The forensic report issued on Sunday reveals that the four Copts killed in sectarian violence in Qalyubia governorate, just north of Cairo, were all shot with live ammunition, most likely from a machine gun.

The Copts killed in Saturday’s sectarian clashes in the Qalyubia town of Al-Khosous are Morqos Kamel (25 years old), Victor Saad (35), Mansour Attia (45) and Essam Tawadros (25). One Muslim was also killed in the violence. The clashes erupted on Saturday after a group of Christian teenagers allegedly painted offensive drawings on the gates of an Al-Azhar (Muslim) institution in Qalyubia. The situation further escalated when someone fired a gunshot into the air, killing one boy with a stray bullet, Reuters reported. In the aftermath of the violence, 15 people were arrested and at least seven injured.

Shops belonging to Christians were reportedly smashed by angry protesters. Reuters stated that some Christian and Muslim properties were burned. The violence echoed in Cairo on Sunday when mourners exiting the Abbasiya Cathedral were pelted with stones by unknown assailants and soon gunshots were heard. That attack left one dead and tens injured.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Egypt: Bullets From Automatic Weapons Killed Copts in Khosous

Khosous district prosecutors in Qalyubiya Governorate received the initial forensic report on victims of bloody clashes that took place there Friday, which left a Muslim and four Copts dead, and seven others injured. The report said the four Copts were killed by bullets from automatic weapons. The bullets went through the bodies of three victims, while the bullet remained in the fourth victim’s body. Forensics specialists seized the bullet to determine its make. The bullets were shot from above, downward, and penetrated the victims in the head, face or heart, according to the report. The four Coptic victims were Marsouq Atteya, Morkos Kamal, Victor Manqarios and Essam Zakhary. Atteya was shot in the face, Kamal in the heart, Manqarios in the head, and Zakhary in the face and shoulders.

A priest in Khosous said Saturday that the violence in Khosous was rooted in a dispute between a Muslim family and Christian family that dated back three months. He said the problem was resolved, but renewed when a group of Salafis harassed a Christian woman. “Some sheikhs incited against Copts and the church in public at mosques,” Priest Suriel of Mar Girgis Church in Khosous said. “Security troops arrived late, and clashes took place in their presence.” Masked attackers also reportedly burned the Mar Girgis nursery, as well as a Baptist church, several stores and a home belonging to Copts…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Seven Christians Killed in Clashes With Muslims in Egypt

(AGI) Cairo — At least seven Coptic Christians were killed in Egypt due to clashes with Muslims north of Cairo .

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

Hannah Senesh (1921- 1944) In Memoriam Yom Ha Shoah

Tonight marks the onset of Yom Ha Shoah (Holocaust Memorial) in Israel and the Jewish World. The date in the Hebrew calendar, 27th Nisan, commemorates the anniversary of valiant Warsaw Ghetto Uprising against Nazi occupation forces by young Jewish resistance fighters in April 1943. Yom Ha Shoah falls one week after the Passover holiday and a week before Yom Hazikaron, Israel’s Remembrance Day for its fallen soldiers.

One of the Shoah victims was a young valiant Hungarian Jewish woman, a Zionist Haganah underground resistance fighter in pre-State Israel, Hannah Senesh. Senesh grew up in a privileged assimilated bourgeois Jewish family in Budapest. She was the daughter of a popular playwright, Bela Senesh, his wife Katherine and younger sibling to her older brother Giora. Father Bela Senesh died in 1927 at age 33 of a heart attack. Hannah was only six years old at his passing. His absence triggered Hannah’s early interest in poetry. Hannah made aliya to Palestine (now Israel) from Hungary at age 18 propelled by rising Hungarian antisemitism she experienced at a Protestant-run private high school open to Catholics and Jews in Budapest. She left after graduation and upon Aliyah to the Palestine Mandate went to the agricultural school at Nahalal and joined kibbutz Sdot-Yam. In 1943, she enlisted in the British Army and volunteered to train with a small group of Palestinian Jews on a mission to Nazi — occupied Hungary for the British Secret Operations Executive. She had hoped to save her mother and fellow Hungarian Jews about to be shipped on death trains to Auschwitz. It was the only military mission sent to rescue Jews during the Shoah. Palestinian Jews had learned early in World War II about Hitler’s Final Solution that eventually murdered Six Million European men, women and children by war’s end. They had besieged British authorities to volunteer in such dangerous missions to rescue fellow Jews. She and her team parachuted were into occupied Yugoslavia in 1944. After staying with Yugoslav partisans, she and her team were discovered after crossing into Hungary. She was incarcerated, tortured in a Gestapo prison and shot by a German firing squad in November 1944. Even with her mother present during her interrogation, she refused to reveal the radio codes of the team and their mission. She was not quite 23 years old at the time. Her mother Katherine survived the Holocaust joining her son Giora. Hannah’s remains were re-interred in Israel on Mount Herzl in 1950. More than 430,000 Hungarian Jews were murdered at Auschwitz-Birkenau in less than 90 days over the period from May to July 1944. A period when the allies had the best opportunity to destroy via aerial bombing the gas chambers, crematoria and railway marshaling yards at the Nazi SS death complex at Auschwitz-Birkenau. See here…

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

Israel Closes Gaza Crossing Following Rockets Barrage

JERUSALEM, April 8 (Xinhua) — Following a barrage of rockets launched from the Gaza Strip on Sunday evening, Israel has closed down the commercial Kerem Shalom crossing into Gaza, an IDF source confirmed to Xinhua on Monday. A spokesperson of the army’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, in charge of the crossing between Israel and Gaza, said that the Kerem Shalom crossing would be completely shut and the other Erez crossing would be opened on the basis of humanitarian needs.

On Sunday evening, while Israelis were marking the Holocaust Remembrance Memorial Day and commemorating the 6 million Jews who were killed during World War II, a barrage of rockets was launched towards southern Israel…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

PNA: EU Helps to Pay Salaries and Pensions With 11.75 Mln

Overall contribution in this field is 155 million in 2013

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, APRIL 08 — The European Union has made a contribution of approximately 11.75 million to the payment of the March salaries and pensions of around 76,000 Palestinian civil servants and pensioners in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. According to the Enpi website ( the overall contribution of the EU to Palestinian salaries, pensions and social allowances in 2013 is 155 million euros.

“The funding provided by the European Union today illustrates our strong continuing commitment to the establishment of a future Palestinian state,” said the EU Representative John Gatt-Rutter. “The PA needs a predictable, steady flow of assistance that helps it to meet its obligations towards ordinary Palestinians. We trust that in the upcoming months, the PA will overcome the financial difficulties that it has faced and continue to sustain the achievements accomplished so far,” the EU Representative added.

Most of the European Union’s assistance to the Palestinian Authority is channelled through PEGASE, the financial mechanism launched in 2008 to support the PA Reform and Development Plan (2008-2010) and the subsequent PA Palestinian National Plan (2011-2013). As well as helping to meet a substantial proportion of its running costs, European funds support major reform and development programmes in key ministries, to help prepare the PA for statehood.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Dubai to Build Largest Gold Refinery in Mideast

Including mint for gold bars and coins

(ANSAmed) — DUBAI, APRIL 8 — Dubai has long been a crossroads between the East and the West for precious metals, pearls and diamonds. The Kaloti Jewellery Group’s announced building of the largest gold refinery in the Middle East will ensure it remains so for a long time to come. Announced by the UAE-based Kaloti group, of Palestinian origins, the facilities will be among the ten largest in terms of production capacity in the world and will include a mint for gold ingots and coins on its 15,000 square-meter premises.

The new facility will cost over 46 million euros and will be located in the Jumeira Lake Towers Free Zone, north of the Dubai emirate. It will have a production capacity of up to 1,400 tonnes of gold and 600 of silver per year. It is expected to open by the end of 2014. Souk al Dahab, the gold market which sprung up in the 1940s as a result of the bustling trade with India and Iran along the Creek, where the city of Dubai arose, remains to the present day a tourist and business attraction.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Frank “Help Me I’m a Muslim” Gardner Returns to Saudi Arabia

The Arab Spring seemed to pass Saudi Arabia by. Though its human rights record has been criticised and youth unemployment is rising, the ruling family retains absolute power. More World stories

For more on Frank “Help-Me-I’m-A-Muslim” Gardner, see the re-posting below


           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

In Syria, Some 300,000 Christian Refugees Also Fleeing From UN Camps

In Syria, Christians are neutral and do not want to be used for photo ops. The United Nations, however, automatically registers them as members of the opposition. The head of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA) appeals on behalf of 1,200 families currently helped only by the Church and generous families.

Beirut (AsiaNews) — More than 300,000 Christians have fled their villages and towns to escape the war, but also UN refugee camps, said Issam Bishara, regional director of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA) in Lebanon, Egypt, Syria and Iraq.

Speaking to AsiaNews, he said that none of the displaced families is in UN refugee camps in Turkey and Jordan, where displaced people are registered as rebels and used for photo ops.

“In Lebanon, about 1,200 families have found shelter with friends or relatives,” Bishara said. In fact, most Christians are not on the lists of the High Commissioner for the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). They refuse to be identified as part of the mostly Sunni opposition.

Christians prefer to be neutral, above the conflict between Muslim rebels and Bashar al-Assad’s Alawis. For this reason, they have been surviving without any substantial aid from major donors like the UNHCR and the Red Cross. Still, “They they need everything,” Bishara explained. “The only support they get is from CNEWA.”

Most Christian families who fled to Lebanon belong to the Armenian Catholic Church in Aleppo or the Greek Catholic community in Homs and Qasayr.

Some 500 Armenian Catholic families found refuge with the Christian communities in Bourj Hammoud near Beirut.

Some 550 Greek Catholic families from Al-Quasyr and Homs fled to Zhale and Qaa in the Bekaa Valley where Caritas Lebanon and other Christian organisations are active.

Bkerke, the seat of the Maronite Patriarchate, opened its doors to 75 families Syro-Catholic families from Homs. Another 75 Syriac Orthodox families settled in Ajaltoun convent on Mount Lebanon.

However, as time goes by, “host families do not have enough resources to help Syrian refugees,” the CNEWA director noted. By contrast, “requests are increasing day by day. Soon no one will be able to afford even the most basic aid.”

After two years of turmoil, the conflict between the regime and the opposition has turned into a full-blown civil war. Army deserters and Islamist militants have formed armed groups that have been able to take on Bashar al-Assad’s forces.

The clash between Alawis and Sunnis has attracted fighters from the Middle East and North Africa. Even Europeans are said to be fighting with jihadist movements active in the area.

Christians in Syria fear they might suffer the fate of Iraqi Christian communities that have become the target of Islamic extremists.

Since 2003, Islamists have targeted minority Christians with murder, attacks and various forms of discrimination, forcing hundreds of thousands of families to leave their country forever. (S.C.)

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

Iran Split Over Billions Spent Propping Up Assad Regime

Iran is spending billions of dollars in support of President Assad of Syria, creating a rift at the top of the regime in Tehran as the war remains deadlocked.

Failure to decide the Syrian conflict in favour of President Assad, despite huge military and financial support for the regime in Damascus, has caused a split between Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader, and Iran’s spymaster, Qassem Suleimani.

According to Western intelligence reports, details of which have been passed to the The Times and confirmed by other sources, the two men, who have been close for years, are now at loggerheads over the failure to crush the 18-month uprising.

Iran is thought to have spent no more than $10 billion (£6 billion). Defectors from Assad’s forces have told co-ordinators for the rebel Free Syrian Army in the Gulf that Iran has been paying the salaries of Syrian government troops for months, as well as providing weapons and logistical support.

This huge outlay has increased friction in Tehran as the Iranian economy labours under international sanctions imposed by the West to curb Iran’s disputed nuclear programme.

Mr Suleimani, the commander of the Quds Force, a unit of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, masterminds Iranian strategy with its proxies across the region, including Hezbollah and Hamas.

Late last year he assured Ayatollah Khamenei that he could turn the tide in Syria and crush the rebels.

Instead, the conflict has become a bloody stalemate, with Iran pumping weapons, troops and cash into Syria to counter support for the rebels from Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar, overseen by the US.

The Syrian regime’s deployment of its air force in recent months has increased the civilian death toll without yielding a breakthrough, while the rebels still lack decisive firepower. With the war at a stalemate, Iran is left paying an ever more costly bill.

“Suleimani promised Khamenei that he would turn the situation in Syria around and has failed to deliver,” said one Western defence source.

The Iranian Government knows that this is money it cannot afford to squander with its economy on the brink of collapse. Inflation and unemployment are soaring and there is widespread unhappiness among ordinary Iranians at the regime’s fixation with the war in Syria while sanctions continue to bite.

Senior regime figures are also questioning Iranian strategy in Syria, fearful of unrest at home if the conflict drags on and the scale of Iran’s spending becomes public.

Tehran reiterated its support for President Assad at the weekend. Ali Akbar Velayati, Ayatollah Khamenei’s foreign policy adviser, insisted that victory for the Assad regime was “certain” and would represent a victory for Iran.

But behind the scenes, Iran is exploring other options, reopening talks with various opposition groups, including the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, in an effort to retain a stake in the country should the Assad regime be toppled.

“They need time to build the necessary alliances to make sure that Iran is not expelled from Syria for ever,” said one defence source in the Gulf.

Failure to crush the Syrian uprising puts the first real dent in the reputation of Mr Suleimani…

           — Hat tip: KGS [Return to headlines]

Iraq in the Rear View Mirror

Past decade was largely a failure of planning and, more importantly, understanding Iraq and, by extension, the entire Middle East.

March marked the ten year anniversary of the invasion of Iraq in 2003 that deposed Saddam Hussein. In early April the battle for Baghdad was concluded, but America’s initial success was followed by years of further conflict and terrorism against our troops.

The U.S. stayed on to occupy a nation whose fundamental institutions, its police, army, and a new government had to be re-built from scratch. It wasn’t that they didn’t exist before, but that none had the slightest concept of respect for the law, individual rights, and governance that wasn’t centered in the brutal grasp of a psychopath and his Baath Party sycophants.

It is widely agreed now that there were no weapons of mass destruction, but at the time it was believed by the intelligence agencies of the coalition nations that they did exist. Essentially, however, America invaded Iraq in 2003 for a reason that did not exist.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Lebanon: Maronite Patriarch: In Syria, Arab Spring’s Obscurantist Potential Could Lead to Religious Conflicts

Card Bechara Raï speaks about “dark forces” working to disrupt states and institutions. “The growth of Islamic fundamentalism threatens moderate Muslims, who are the majority.” Caught between a rock and hard place, Christians have no choice. Many fear that the Syria conflict will deepen the Sunni-Shia divide in Lebanon.

Beirut (AsiaNews) — Sectarian strife and obscurantism are increasingly casting their shadow on the Arab Spring’s democratic potential, at least in Syria, and threaten to spread to some Lebanese regions, this according to Maronite Patriarch Card Bechara Raï. He spoke on the eve of a visit to France next Monday, further distancing himself from a movement that had generated so much hope

“Dark forces are working to undermine states and institutions,” he said in a grave tone in front of the French Ambassador Patrice Paoli. “They seek tirelessly to sow ‘fitna’ (chaos) between different religious denominations that have until now coexisted peacefully and this, ironically, in the name of democracy and the Arab Spring.”

The patriarch’s misgivings about the Arab revolt, especially in Syria, which the head of the Maronite Church as clearly singled out, seem to have been better understood than when he had expressed them during his first visit to the French capital, in September 2011.

In the past 18 months in fact, many things have become clearer for both Lebanese and French leaders. Indeed, “have the latter not given up on the idea of ??arming the Free Syrian Army, fearful that the weapons might fall into the hands of fundamentalist groups?”

The patriarch’s opinion also goes for the fundamentalism of Jabhat al-Nusra jihadists, who are consolidating their hold on some areas in Syria, as well as the political fundamentalism of the Muslim Brotherhood with regards to the (bad ) Egyptian model. The fact that he speaks of “dark” forces suggests that such groups are manipulated.

“France, the country of the enlightenment, cannot be indifferent . . . vis-à-vis the rise of radicalism, fundamentalism and obscurantism, boosted by growing political contradictions and regional and international interferences,” the head of the Maronite Church said in front of Ambassador Paoli.

As secular as it may be, France, he said, must be forward-looking and not ignore the role played by Christians in the “democratic ferment” of Arab societies.

“The growth of Islamic fundamentalism threatens moderate Muslims, who are the majority. They are likely to fall into fundamentalist mindset if Christians lose their place and beneficial influence in Arab societies.”

In stressing this point, the patriarch goes against currents of thought that have tried, for political reasons, to demonise Islam and lump together moderate and extremist Muslims. For this reason too, the cardinal warns the West about the possible consequences of a region without Christians.

In view of this and with the support of all Christian religious leaders, Catholic and Orthodox, the patriarch is calling again, as he did in September 2011, for an immediate end to the violence in Syria and for a political solution to the conflict.

Although he has never expressed this openly, for him it was never a question of supporting a regime, but of promoting a political solution that reduced the risk of Christian exodus from Syria.

For the Maronite leadership in Bkerke, Christians have no choice, caught as they are between a rock and hard place, concerned more about the impact of the current fighting, which could last a long time or even go on indefinitely, than by long-term historical consequences.

For a Lebanese who knows what is at stake, this is a matter of self-defence. In several Lebanese regions, starting with Tripoli, sporadic clashes have already broken out between Sunni fundamentalists and pro-Syrian forces. At the national level, the Sunni-Shia divide has been exacerbated. Have we not seen Shia thugs shave off the beard of a Sunni cleric they had stopped in a Beirut neighbourhood?

Of course, a jihadist danger exists in Lebanon. Some 2,700 armed men, loyal to different groups, are scattered across the country. For now, they are not that important. But this is no reason to neglect the potential danger of a possible radicalisation of the Sunni community, one that could lead to unacceptable violence. Latent radicalisation could bloom at the first incident.

Fortunately, so far the army has not been contaminated by this. Instead, it has been able to keep in check outbreaks of violence. But can we ask soldiers, already stretched thin across the land according to specialists, to be everywhere at the same time?

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

National Dialogue to Make or Break Yemen

Turmoil-stricken Yemen tries to reconcile its many factions in a “National Dialogue” tasked with preparing democratic elections in 2014. But Yemen’s youth, instrumental in toppling the old regime, are skeptical.

Red, white and black billboards advertising Yemen’s “National Dialogue” line the busy streets of the capital Sanaa. The signs point to a Facebook page, Twitter handle, YouTube channel and a website address. The aim of the extensive social media presence is to make the six-month conference — tasked with writing a new constitution, unifying the country, and preparing for democratic elections in February 2014 — transparent and participatory.

The dialogue kicked off on March 18 and is another step in the UN-backed agreement that saw the removal of former President Abdullah Ali Saleh, the installation of a transitional government, and an end to large-scale demonstrations in 2011. More than 500 representatives from different political parties, regions, tribes and religions, and a handful of women and young people are participating in the conference.

Topics such as governance, southern separation, armed group movements, the economy, women’s rights and much more will be discussed in the hope of mending the country’s torn social, economic and political fabric.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Syria: Bread Becomes a Luxury in Damascus, People Surviving on Grass in the North

AsiaNews sources describe life in the capital where the war has devastated even the wealthiest families. Thousands of people survive on the meager government subsidies. To overcome the winter people have deforested the public parks. Six hour queues for a piece of bread and a liter of petrol.

Damascus (AsiaNews) — The war between rebels and regime of Bashar al-Assad has brought even Damascus to its knees after having first devastated Aleppo the economic center of the country where the army and Islamist militias clash even in the alleys of the old town. According to AsiaNews sources there are no supplies in the capital and major cities still in the hands of the government, but people survive thanks to rations from the regime. Every day, people are forced to queue for even five or six hours straight to get a few liters of petrol and a few pounds of bread. The price of basic necessities is very high.

Until now, the regime has maintained at 75 cents per liter for fuel prices, but more and more people are forced to stock up on the black market, where costs are also ten times higher.

Even bread is an increasingly rare commodity. People can “choose” between the standard which costs about 16 cents, but is of little nutritional value, or the “tourist” brand paying a price even four times higher. It takes up to two weeks to get a canister of gas and the cost is around 7 dollars. The winter months have brought misery and suffering even among the richest families. Many people died from the cold. To warm themselves people cut down the trees of public parks and sacrificed furniture. Local sources say that the situation is even worse in areas under rebel control, where everything is run by the black market.

In areas controlled by the rebels, the situation is on the edge of survival. In the Kherbet al-Khaldiyé refugee camp in the province of Aleppo, the people consisting mainly of women, elderly and children have nothing to eat. “We’re ripping the grass from the field — says Naida, 35, a mother of seven children — mint, purple grass, and cook it. We have nothing to eat.” She said that aid only arrives a few times each month. “Once we were brought a kilo of potatoes — she says — but it had to suffice for more than a month. We had to survive with a potato per person per week.” Muhannad Hadi, head of the World Food Programme (WFP) stresses that it is almost impossible to move aid across the Syrian territory. The warehouses are often at the center of the cross-fire between the regime and the rebels. The situation is particularly critical in areas of conflict. Some opposition groups control the areas where WFP is able to have access and where millions of people are in need of food. The rebels control the stores and have also taken over some dams for drinking water. Many refugees are forced to use puddles to wash and for drinking water.

Despite the devastated economy, most analysts argue that the regime will survive for at least another year. So far Assad has exploited the approximately 17 billion dollars accumulated during the oil boom of the 90s, but it is almost exhausted. The President still has approximately 4.5 billion dollars that would allow him to balance the losses which are the result of the sanctions of the international community, which amount to approximately 400 million dollars per month. (S.C.)

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

Syria: Car Bomb in Central Dasmacus Kills at Least 15

Over 8,000 regime troops killed in 2 years, opposition sources

(ANSAmed) — BEIRUT, APRIL 8 — Dozens of people lost their lives in a bomb attack in central Damascus on Monday, according to the Syrian activists network

The network was quoted by the pan-Arab television channel Al Arabiya. Independent verification of the news is impossible. Syrian state TV reports that 15 people were killed and 53 injured when a car loaded with explosives was detonated. The attack occurred between Seven Fountains Square and the al-Shahbandar area.

The opposition’s Center for Documentation of Violations in Syria (VDC) reports that at least 8,785 government troops have been killed in the past two years of conflict. The real figure is undoubtedly higher, as the above only takes into account the cases it has been possible to verify on the basis of official sources, the VDC reported in a statement received by ANSAmed. The United Nations reported that the overall number of casualties of the ongoing violence in Syrian over the past two years is over 70,000.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Turkey: New Istanbul Stock Exchange With Ottoman Symbol

Inaugurated by Premier Erdogan

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA — Turkey’s Islamist Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday inaugurated the new stock exchange in Istanbul, saying it will be one of the world’s top financial markets with London, New York and Tokyo. The new Bourse Istanbul — BIST — will replace the Istanbul Stock Exchange and the Istanbul Gold Exchange, merging them in one financial institution. Its logo will be a tulip, traditional symbol of Istanbul during the Ottoman empire of which Erdogan is a renowned fan. Hurriyet online reported that the new institution will be headed by the former president of the Istanbul Stock Exchange Ibraghim Turban.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Turkey to Send Seismic Vessel Off Cyprus by April 15

Foreign Minister Davutoglu calls anew for joint energy exploitation

In a sign of growing assertiveness in the region, Ankara said it will dispatch a vessel to conduct two- and three- dimensional seismic surveys for hydrocarbon deposits in the Eastern Mediterranean.

In comments made over the weekend, Turkey’s Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said the Barbaros Hayreddin Pasha boat, which was recently acquired from Norway, will arrive off Cyprus’s northern coast by April 15. Yildiz said the vessel will conduct research within Turkey’s territorial waters as well as in a 800-cubic-kilometer stretch off Cyprus.

Greek officials are concerned the Turkish vessel will try to collect data in the area south of Rhodes and Kastellorizo islands and within Cyprus’s exclusive economic zone.

In February, Athens submitted a note verbale to the UN notifying international officials of Ankara’s granting of exploration permits for areas deemed to cover the Greek continental shelf.

Turkey has challenged Greece’s sovereign rights south of Rhodes and Kastellorizo and the right of the Aegean islands to a continental shelf. It claims that the Aegean should be treated as a special case as the islands are so close to the Turkish coast.

Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who on Sunday met with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Istanbul, repeated that Turkey is ready to negotiate a two-state solution to the Cyprus problem if no agreement is reached with regard to the joint exploitation of the island’s natural gas reserves.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Blast Kills 9 on Bus in Afghanistan

Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) — A roadside bomb exploded under a bus in eastern Afghanistan on Monday, killing nine people and wounding 22 others, the Afghan interior ministry said. The explosion took place in Wardak province, with the ministry blaming the Taliban for planting the bomb…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

India: Andhra Pradesh: Six Injured After Getting Electric Shock at Mosque

Sitapur: Six persons were injured when they received electric shock from a tap during ablution before prayers at a Mosque in the city Friday.

They had gathered around the tap for ‘Vazu’ (ablution) before the Friday prayers at the Madina Mosque when electric current passed through the pipeline, police said.

They were taken to the district hospital where the condition of three was stated to be serious.

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes [Return to headlines]

Indonesia: West Java: Islamic Extremists and Local Authorities Target Ahmadis

In Tasikmalaya Regency, hundreds of fundamentalists storm a school causing serious damage to the building. Before that, Bekasi authorities sealed off the al Misbaq mosque where a group of Ahmadis are holding out against its closure.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) — Extremist groups and local authorities in West Java province have again targeted the Ahmadi Muslim minority. Deemed heretical by mainstream Muslims, Ahmadis have had two of their facilities, a school and a mosque, shut down. In one case in Tasikmalaya Regency, hundreds of Islamic fundamentalists attacked yesterday a religious school, causing major damage to the building. Before that, the authorities in Bekasi, under pressure from fundamentalists, blocked the al Misbaq mosque in Jatibening sub-district.

Extremist groups took aim at the Ahmadi Islamic Boarding School in Tasikmalaya, a facility that teaches Islam to boys and girls. The boarding school (Pesantren in Indonesian) suffered heavy damage and the students are still in shock. During the attack, the angry mob called for the ouster of the school’s teacher (guru), Ridwans, who runs the facility.

Under pressure from the Islamic Defender Front (FPI), the authorities in nearby Bekasi sealed off the al Misbaq Ahmadi mosque. According to protest leaders, the “heretical” Muslim sect must be expelled from the country because “its teachings are contrary to” the principles of the faith and the teachings of Mohammed.

Disregarding the authorities’ decision, some 20 Ahmadis locked themselves inside the building last Thursday. The next day, at least 200 people, including Bekasi officials and police, started to seal off the building in accordance with a “fatwa” issued by a ministry in Jakarta saying that the religious minority does not reflect the “true principles “of the Islamic faith.

The Ahmadis, who follow sect founder Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, do not recognise Muhammad as the last prophet. They are therefore considered heretics by other Muslims.

The sect’s persecution is one of the many signs that Indonesia is failing to protect religious minorities, including Christian communities that are also frequently the target of extremists.

So far, only three provinces have declared the Ahmadi sect lawful: Yogyakarta, Jakarta and Jambi. Most provinces have no position on the matter.

In some areas of West Java, including Bogor and Kuningan, violent acts against the Ahmadis, including raids and targeted attacks, have become commonplace.

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

Pakistan: Punjab: Convert to Islam or Die: The 20 Year Long Nightmare of a Christian Family

Since the late 1980s Sadiq Masih Zafar and his family have been living under the constant threat of Islamist groups. In 1998, his daughter was kidnapped and seriously injured. Today her sister is being threatened with a similar fate. Despite reporting these threats, the police has never intervened. Lahore Priest: extremists enjoy impunity.

Islamabad (AsiaNews) — For more than 20 years, a Pakistani Christian family has been living in a constant state of fear, the victim of threats from extremist groups and under constant pressure from the radical fringe to convert to Islam. A tragic story in a country increasingly hostage to the Islamists, in which young people prefer Sharia law and the military to the democratic model proposed by the West and branded as “corrupt.” In recent times, threats and pressures against the Zafar family have increased. And the father has been forced to lock one of his daughters indoors for fear she will become a victim of kidnapping, as was the case in 1998 when her older sister was abducted and subjected to torture.

Sadiq Masih Zafar, born in Muridke, a town in the district of Shaikhupur, in the province of Punjab, was appointed to oversee the construction of a church between 1988 and 1989, by the Lahore Church Council that had previously purchased the land. Since then Islamic extremist groups have showered him with threats and injunctions, ordered him to stop building places of worship and convert — with his family members — to Islam.

In 1990, a raid of fanatics led to the demolition of the structure and the confiscation of the land. In the context of the assault, the Islamists also violently attacked Zafar and some relativesHis reporting of the incident to police proved futile, who closed the case without proceeding to any investigation. A similar result, a few months later, when the man filed a complaint against the daily threats of fundamentalists who want him to convert to Islam.

In 1998, Zafar’s daughter, Sarwat Naheed was kidnapped while returning home and subjected to violence and torture that resulted in the breaking of her legs and deep wounds to the head. The girl also had signs of strangulation and was found abandoned and unconscious in a field. A few days later his son Azeem Zafar was stopped by a group of people, who beat him up.

These two incidents prompted the Zafar family to flee to Lahore, in search of a quiet place. However the extremists hunted them down, and discovering their new home, continued to threaten them with death. On 27 March 2004 the threats became facts: masked men burst into the house and took the family members hostage, threatening them with death. The raid ended with no casualties or injuries, but even this time the police refused to open an investigation.

After a few years of relative calm, the nightmare of the extremist threat returned to haunt the Zafar family, forcing the father to isolate his daughter Asma Tosheeba at home for fear that she too could be kidnapped by criminals and suffer the same violence as her brother and sister. Speaking to AsiaNews, Fr. Suleman John, priest and activist in Lahore, appeals to the authorities to protect the safety of the family. “It’s a very serious case — says the priest — and result of religious intolerance. Extremists do what they want, knowing they will go unpunished. Punjab remains the epicenter of sectarian persecution.”

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

Sri Lanka: Buddhist Fundamentalists Attack (Also) Christians

Ten different attacks against Christian communities in the month of March. Radical Buddhist mob demolish house of a Protestant pastor and torch a church. The hate campaign launched by some groups against religious minorities in the country continues.

Colombo (AsiaNews / Agencies) — The Christians of Sri Lanka are now also being targeted by radical Buddhist groups: several evangelical organizations have denounced the increase in attacks against different communities in the month of March. An anomaly for the Buddhist-majority country, where the tensions of ethnic origin — between Tamils ??and Sinhalese — are much more widespread than are those related to religions.

The warning was launched by the Protestant Barnabas Fund that deals with finance projects to help Christians in need. The group reports 10 attacks in Sri Lanka in March alone. “It is very rare — confirmed a member — to hear of so many anti-Christian incidents in a single month. This is a clear sign of a concerted plan on the part of radical Buddhist groups.”

Among the attacks registered last month, the Barnabas Fund reports one that occurred on March 18 in Katuwana (Southern Province). Some Buddhists attacked the home of the pastor Pradeep Kumara. The pastor used the house to organize prayer meetings for his community. At the time of the attack, only the wife and children of the Reverend were home, who were threatened by attackers. The woman called her husband and the police, but the officers were not able to stop the destruction of the house.

Already in December 2012 some Buddhist fundamentalists had attacked the Rev. Kumara, destroying his car and threatening to kill him if he did not leave the church.

This series of attacks are part of a context of growing religious intolerance perpetrated by some radical Sinhalese-Buddhist groups, who have long been targeting the Muslim and — to a lesser extent — Christian communities. In particular, the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) and the Sinhala Ravaya (“eco Sinhalese”), two extremist groups whose “mission” is to protect the Sinhalese population and and Buddhist religion.

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

‘The Devil Took Over My Body’… Says the 7ft Dutchman Accused of Stabbing to Death ‘Wonderful’ British Tourist, 24, On Indian Houseboat

[WARNING: * Disturbing content * ]

A Dutch tourist accused of murdering a British former public schoolgirl in India claimed he launched his frenzied knife attack because he was possessed by the Devil.

The boyfriend of backpacker Sarah Groves yesterday said Richard de Wit, 43, coolly admitted the crime and told him: ‘I killed her — that’s it. The Devil took over my body.’

Miss Groves, 24, an ex-pupil of £30,240-a-year St Mary’s School in Ascot, Berkshire, was stabbed around 40 times on a houseboat near Kashmir’s capital Srinagar in the early hours of Saturday morning.

The daughter of a wealthy businessman from Guernsey had been staying with her boyfriend Saeed Ahmed Shoda, 25, whom she met in the Indian resort of Goa in January.

Yesterday Mr Shoda, whose family own the New Beauty houseboat on the idyllic Dal Lake, said he had confronted de Wit, a 7ft cannabis user, and begged for answers.

Mr Shoda said de Wit’s response was brazen and ‘not normal’, adding: ‘I saw him at the police station and I asked him, why did you kill her?

‘The killer is not right in his head. He is not of this world. He doesn’t seem okay when you speak to him. He will not divulge anything about his crime, he has confessed to the crime but will not give any details.

‘I want him hanged. He had no reason to kill her. She didn’t do anything wrong. I just don’t understand.’

Indian police said de Wit had confessed to the murder, which was allegedly carried out with a 12in knife.

After the attack, de Wit fled in a stolen rowing boat, which capsized.

He swam to shore and was picked up by police, carrying his passport and with no shoes, 50 miles away in Qazigund after flagging down a taxi.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Deadly Levels of Radiation Found in Food 225 Miles From Fukushima: Media Blackout on Nuclear Fallout Continues

(NaturalNews) New data released by Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW) shows once again that the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster is far from over. Despite a complete media blackout on the current situation, levels of Cesium-137 (Cs-137) and Cesium-134 (Cs-134) found in produce and rice crackers located roughly 225 miles away from Fukushima are high enough to cause residents to exceed the annual radiation exposure limit in just a few months, or even weeks.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Iceland to Sign Free Trade Deal With China

Icelandic Prime MinisterJohanna Sigurdardottir will undertake an official visit to China on 15-18 April, her office said on Saturday. During the visit the PM will sign a free trade deal between Reykjavik and Beijing, the first of its kind in Europe.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Jungle Marathon to be Held in Vietnam

HANOI, April 8 (Xinhua) — Jungle Marathon Vietnam, the first of its kind in Vietnam, will be held in central Quang Binh province from May 31 to June 9, reported local Vietnam News on Monday. To date, around 30 athletes from countries and regions have registered to compete in the race, which is reserved for a maximum of 60 competitors.

The race will cover six stages through forests of the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park — one of Vietnam’s world natural heritage sites recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) — and the border with Laos. Competitors then will return to Quang Binh’s Dong Hoi city for a stunning finish on beach, according to Jungle Marathon’s website. Competitors will run through jungle, spend nights in caves where military and villagers often hid, and across mountains and waterfalls, the website said.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Pentagon Delays Missile Tests Amid Fears it Could Ratchet Up Tensions in Korea

The U.S. has delayed an intercontinental ballistic missile test planned for next week amid mounting tensions with North Korea, a senior defense official has said.

The official told Associated Press that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel decided to put off the long-planned Minuteman 3 test, due to take place at an Air Force base in California, until sometime next month because of concerns the launch could be misinterpreted and exacerbate the Korean crisis.

The test was not connected to the ongoing annual military exercises by the U.S. and South Korea in the region which have angered North Korea

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Thank You, President Reagan

North Korean Dictator Kim Jong-un has whipped the nation’s military, representing a force equal to 20% of the working age population of the nation, into a war lather. His people think war with the West has begun. At least three internal pressures help us understand why Dictator Jong-un is sounding increasingly bellicose. He is endeavoring to combat suspicions about his inexperience as dictator, to solidify his control over and his support within the North Korean People’s Army, and to diminish focus on wide-spread malnutrition and civil rights abuses by the regime.

Self-preservation is a powerful motivation for any dictator, for a young one who is perceived as immature and weak the need to prove otherwise can lead to extreme actions, such as attacks on South Korea or even on American military. While a nuclear attack on the United States is threatened, it is unlikely. Nevertheless, if push comes to shove and Jong-un is at risk of being deposed, he could take down the entire nation with him through a “heroic” attack on part of the United States (indeed, perceptions of that possibility within his regime help deter challenges to his leadership). Were it not for President Reagan’s commitment, made on March 23, 1983, to build an extensive anti-missile defense system, we would not be in as strong a position as we are today to ensure that Dictator Jong-un’s rhetoric avoids becoming reality.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

DPP Politician Angers Kiwis

A Danish People’s Party MP has angered her New Zealand hosts by criticising a powhiri welcome by the Te Taua Moana o Aotearoa — otherwise known as the Royal New Zealand Navy.

A four-week old blog by Marie Krarup, MP and member of the Defence Committee, has caused some consternation in New Zealand, where her comments on a welcome by the New Zealand Navy was described as uncivilised and an obvious burden on non-Maori naval officers.

Apart from derogatory statements about the powhiri, her statements on the hongi — or ceremonial nose-rubbing, and description of a marae — or Maori sacred place — have been widely reported recently in the New Zealand media.

“A right-wing Danish politician has mocked a Maori welcome to New Zealand, dubbing the powhiri an “uncivilised” ritual, and marae a “grotesque” mark of multicultural worship. Marie Krarup, in an opinion piece in Danish newspaper Berlingske Tidende, was shocked to be welcomed by a dancing, barely-clothed man, instead of a handshake or salute,” The National says.

“She says on arrival at the Devonport Naval Base, her group was greeted by a man shouting and screaming in Maori, and poking his tongue out. Ms Krarup goes on to say she felt like an idiot giving a hongi and the waiata (Ed: song) performed by naval personnel sounded like a Danish children’s song about a happy ladybird,” The New Zealand Herald says.

Although claiming to have been mis-translated, Krarup tells that she indeed found the welcome uncivilised — something she defines as non-western.

“I think it is interesting to see some seemingly Western naval officers stand there in the same white, elegant summer uniforms that our naval officers have, and that they say hello to us by rubbing noses and speak a language they don’t even understand themselves,” Krarup says.

“They use a culture that is obviously not their own to say hello to someone from a foreign country. The Maoris should of course be allowed to to have their religious houses with big penises and dances and raffia skirts. There’s no problem in that. But the interesting thing is when their culture is imposed on others who obviously don’t have it from the start,” she adds.

She says that naval officers could not speak Te Reo and had to have crib sheets to say the words.

Asked whether the New Zealand identity was precisely what was expressed in the powhiri, Krarup said that was ‘a discussion they must have themselves’.

“I just see that there is a large section of Western New Zealanders who have been there for a long time, who have a Western Christian culture and now increasingly have to take over some cultural Maori characteristics due to a political programme that has been in place since the 90s — so it’s something new,” Krarup says.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

New Zealanders Offended by MP’s “Appalling Ignorance”

Dansk Folkeparti’s Marie Krarup called a traditional Maori a “weird” ritual by a “half-naked man” in a blog entry that has caused a stir among Kiwis

Dansk Folkeparti (DF) is a party which has built its success largely on the position that outsiders who come to Denmark should accept and adopt Danish customs and norms.

But for Marie Krarup, a DF MP and the daughter of long-time DF MP Søren Krarup, that same philosophy apparently does not extend to Danes who visit another country.

A month-old blog entry for Berlingske, in which Krarup recalls in unflattering terms the Maori ritual known as a powhiri that greeted her upon arrival at a naval base in New Zealand, has created headlines and hard feelings on the island country.

In the blog entry, Krarup characterises the Maori ceremony as uncivilised and bemoans the fact that rather than being “met with handshakes or salutes by uniformed men”, the Danish delegation was instead “greeted by a Maori dance ritual with a half-naked man in a grass skirt that yelled and screamed in Maori”.

“He carried out weird rituals and stuck out his tongue, while we watched and were instructed by a local that we shouldn’t laugh,” Krarup wrote.

She then went on to complain about having to witness a “long ritual” and expressed her disbelief that a “European-looking” man spoke in Maori and sang a traditional Maori song. She was also miffed that rather than shaking the hands of naval officers, she was forced to give a hongi — a traditional Maori greeting in which two people press their noses and foreheads together — despite the fact the officers were “European-looking”.

It also rubbed Krarup the wrong way to observe that the Maori temple “was decorated with God-figures with angry faces and large erect penises”.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Qantas Removes All Pork Products and Alcohol From in-Flight Menu on European Routes After Deal With Emirates

Australian airline changed menu after doing deal with Middle Eastern airline.

Under Islamic law, pork and pork products are ‘unholy’ and thus forbidden..

Australian airline Qantas has removed pork from its in-flight menu on routes to and from Europe after going into partnership with Middle Eastern airline Emirates.

No food containing pork or pork products will be served on the European flights — which now have a stopover in Dubai — because pork is considered ‘unholy’ and therefore strictly forbidden by Islam.

All meals offered on the route in first, business and economy classes will also be prepared without alcohol in keeping with the Islamic religion.

The Qantas pork ban comes as other airlines — in the wake of the Qantas-Emirates merger — jostle for market share by aggressively discounting fares from Australia to Europe.

A note on the Qantas menus on flights in and out of Dubai states that the meals do not contain pork products or alcohol.

The airline has also introduced a mezze plate, offering traditional Middle Eastern fare in its upper classes, and has Arabic translations after in-flight announcements.

A Qantas spokesman said the decision to remove pork, ham and other related food items had had minimal impact on its menu, and said it was still offering the same meal choices.

‘Qantas in-flight catering often reflects the cultural and regional influences of the international destinations we fly to,’ he said.

‘On flights to and from Hong Kong and China, our menus include regionally inspired dishes such as stir fries and to Singapore we have noodle options.’

Qantas also offers meals without pork and alcohol on flights to the Indonesian capital Jakarta, which also has a large Muslim population.

Several other airlines which fly from Australia to the United Arab Emirates and Malaysia do not serve pork either.

Virgin Australia does not serve pork on flights to and from Abu Dhabi and all meals that are prepared are halal accredited, with meat prepared in a way prescribed by Islamic law.

Qantas passengers heading to any European city now fly via Dubai instead of Singapore, as they did under the airline’s previous longstanding partnership with British Airways.

           — Hat tip: McR [Return to headlines]

Ghana: Muslims Hold National Prayer and Thanksgiving Service in Accra

Vice President Paa Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Athur last Friday expressed Government’s commitment and continued support to minimise the frustrations that Ghanaian pilgrims go through in the performance of Hajj or pilgrimage to Mecca. Vice President Amissah-Athur was speaking at the 5th Muslim National Prayer and Thanksgiving Service led by the National Chief Imam, Dr Sheikh Osmanu Nuhu Sharubutu at the Abossey Okai Central Mosque in Accra…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Katy Perry Visits Madagascar in Support of UNICEF

Following in the steps of Madonna and Angelina Jolie, singer Katy Perry took a trip to Madagascar in support of Unicef to help draw attention to the problems faced by many on the island.

Perry visited school children and sat in on a few classes in a primary school rebuilt after it had been destroyed by a tropical cyclone. The singer also witnessed a range of programs in education, nutrition, health, child protection, sanitation and hygiene…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Madonna Addresses Critics in Malawi

Madonna explained that her motive for being in Malawi was because she “cared deeply” for the children of the country, following tension between the celebrity and the Malawian government over several aid projects she is involved in.

Whilst visiting the Consol Homes Orphan Care Centre outside the Malawian capital Lilongwe, Madonna spoke of the reasons she had returned to the country. “I want to say that my reasons for being here have never changed. I’m here because I care deeply about the children of Malawi. That is my main priority. “So regardless of the challenges, the ups and the downs, the things that I’ve learned…I have not forgotten my commitment to the children, the orphans, but specifically all children of Malawi,” the singer said…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Nigeria: Sultan May Head Amnesty Committee

More details emerged yesterday on the membership of the Amnesty Committee set up by President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday. Reliable sources disclosed to LEADERSHIP Weekend that the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III will head the amnesty committee.

The sources listed other members of the panel as Major Abdulrasheed Aliyu, a former Chief Security Officer (CSO) to former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, the National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasauki (rtd), Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Ola Sa’ad Ibrahim, the director-general of the Nigeria Intelligence Agency (NIA), and a representative of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF)…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Riots in Tanzania Forces Closure of Zambia Border

Officials at the Zambian in Nakonde, the border town with Tanzania, were yesterday forced to close its border following clashes Tanzania after clashes between two groups over what is believed to be religious misunderstandings. According to the Citizen Newspaper in Tanzania, the confusion was caused by two groups of people arising from misunderstandings on slaughtering rituals on the Tanzanian side of the border town of Tunduma.

The clashes erupted after a crowd gathered to demonstrate in opposing the idea that it was Muslims alone who were supposed to slaughter the animals. The violence erupted at around 10.30 am leading to the closure of the busy border between Tanzania and Zambia. In addition, all social and economic activities were forced to stop for several hours.

A group of people that the police said were hooligans demanding that Christians should also be allowed to slaughter the animals, proceeded to Mwaka area in Tunduma where they destroyed a mosque that was under construction.

Two people, including a police officer, were seriously injured and 40 others arrested.

Police in Mbeya Region have ordered the Tunduma Ward councillor, Frank Mwakajoka, and pastor Gidion Mwamafupa of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania (ELCT), to surrender themselves to the Police for allegedly fuelling the violence. The Mbeya regional police commander, Diwani Athuman, said the region has experienced tension for the past three days and authorities were holding talks with the two sides. “The government is already talking to the two sides on the matter, but as you can see this is what has happened,” he said.

On Tuesday, meat traders in the town had to lay down their tools following security concerns. One of them, who preferred anonymity, said the decision was reached because the dealers felt that their property was at risk. Eyewitnesses revealed that on Easter morning (March 31) a total of 40 cows were slaughtered. However, it is said that only three of them were slaughtered by Muslims and 37 were slaughtered by Christians.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Somalia: Puntland Asks for Federal Support in Fight Against Al-Shabaab

The Puntland regional government has requested material and technical assistance from the Somali federal government to fight al-Shabaab, Somalia’s RBC Radio reported on Saturday (April 6th).

“Puntland feels an extensive need for support in terms of security and justice from the federal government of Somalia,” Puntland Minister of Justice Yusuf Ahmed Khayr said at a judicial reform conference in Mogadishu. “I wish to remind [President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud] of Somalia to send resources and experts in law and security to train the local security forces in Puntland.”

Al-Shabaab militants ousted from southern and central Somalia, including senior leadership, have been moving into Puntland, especially the Galgala Mountains.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Somalia: Al-Qaeda Aligned Militiamen Execute Female ‘Spy’

Mogadishu, 8 April (AKI) — Gunmen from the Al-Qaeda aligned Islamist group al-Shabab have shot dead a young woman in Somalia they accused of spying, the Turkish ‘ website reported on Monday.

Anadolu cited eye-witnesses as saying the 22-year-old woman was killed by al-Shabab militiamen in Hiran in central Somalia.

Despite the presence of government and African Union troops, the hardline al-Shabab still controls parts of central and southern Somalia.

In the areas where the group holds sway, it has terrorised the population, meting out ‘Sharia’ punishments including death by firing squad for suspected spies, stoning for alleged adulterers and amputations for ‘thieves’.

War-wracked Somalia has been without an effective central government since 1991. The Islamist insurgency that broke out in 2006.

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

Italy: Indian Immigrant Confesses to Murdering Wife and Her Daughter

Cisterna di Latina, 8 April (AKI) — An Indian labourer has confessed to stabbing to death his Italian wife and her teenage daughter south of Rome in a fit of rage over money.

Kumar Raj, from Mumbai, confessed to the fatal stabbings of 56-year-old Francesca Di Grazia and her 19-year-old daughter Martina Incocciati early Saturday at their home outside the town of Cisterna di Latina.

“I was exasperated — they kept asking me for more and more money,” Raj, 35, told police during questioning, as cited on Monday by Latina Oggi newspaper.

He was arrested Sunday in nearby Aprilia on suspicion murdering the two women after police bugged his phone.

Di Grazia was found dead in the kitchen of her home with a single stab wound to her neck, while her daughter from a previous marriage was stabbed four times in the neck in her bedroom.

Raj wed Di Grazia in the city of Kurukshetra in India’s northern Haryana state in December 2008 in what appears to have been a marriage of convenience.

As Di Grazia’s husband, Raj obtained Italian citizenship and agreed to pay her 8,000 euros in instalments of 150 euros. But Di Grazia had recently been nagging him for ever-bigger chunks of the cash, according to Raj.

Raj comes from the village of Ram Saran Majra in Haryana and worked in Italy as a manual labourer on building sites.

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

“Gay Infertility” Is the New Mandatory Health Insurance Frontier

By Daniel Greenfield

It’s interesting sometimes to read about the last days of past civilizations. It’s hard not to notice during these readings that those last days were filled with completely irrational ideas and behaviors that could not be explained in any way outside of a mass collapse of reason.

In entirely unrelated news, there’s a new proposal to mandate coverage for Gay Infertility. The problem is that Gay Infertility is just biology. Two men and two women are not infertile. They’re just not capable of impregnating each other. This isn’t a medical problem. It’s a mental problem.

Infertility is meant to cover natural couples who would be capable of conceiving a child if not for medical problems. Gay rights activists will predictably argue that couples in which one partner has deeper medical problems may also be covered, but that is only as part of a larger set of natural couples. Unnatural couples cannot ever have children without medical intervention. They’re not infertile. They’re biologically incompatible.

But now that we’ve decided that gay marriage is a real thing, biology be damned. Gay infertility must also be a real thing. And you must also pay for it…

           — Hat tip: DS [Return to headlines]

All Over America Evangelical Christians Are Being Labeled as “Extremists” And “Hate Groups”

Are evangelical Christians rapidly becoming one of the most hated minorities in America? Once upon a time such a notion would have been unthinkable, but these days things are changing dramatically. All over the United States, evangelical Christians are being called “extremists” and evangelical Christian organizations are being labeled as “hate groups”. In fact, as I will detail later on in this article, a U.S. Army Reserve training presentation recently specifically identified evangelical Christians as “religious extremists”. This should be extremely chilling for all evangelical Christians out there, because as history has shown us over and over again, when you want to persecute a particular group of people the first step is always to demonize them. And that is exactly what is being done to evangelical Christians today. Just look at how evangelical Christians are being portrayed on television and in the movies. Just look at how much hate is being spewed at Christians on the Internet. The Southern Poverty Law Center and the ACLU, both of which are considered to be among the most prominent “civil rights” organizations in the United States, are seemingly obsessed with attacking evangelical Christians. It has become trendy to bash Christians, and that is a very frightening thing. After they have finished demonizing evangelical Christians, what will the next step be?

A U.S. Army Reserve equal opportunity training presentation entitled “Extremism and Extremist Organizations” actually included “Evangelical Christianity” as an example of “Religious Extremism” in a list that also included al-Qaeda, Hamas and the Ku Klux Klan. You can find a copy of the entire presentation right here.

Is this how evangelical Christians will be treated in the future? Will evangelical Christians be treated like members of the Ku Klux Klan or like members of al-Qaeda?

The following is how a Christian Post article described this chilling report…


And sadly this is far from an isolated incident. Since Barack Obama was first elected, Christians have been demonized in government report after government report. In a previous article entitled “Patriots And Christians Have Been Repeatedly Labeled As Potential Terrorists Since Obama Became President” I detailed many of these instances.

But of course it is not just the government that is demonizing Christians these days.

Just look at what the reaction on social media has been to the death of the son of Pastor Rick Warren.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: What an Insult to Christians! After Crucifixes Are Allowed at Work, Human Rights Quango Tells Firms: Give Vegans and Pagans Special Treatment Too

Druids, vegans and green activists should be given special treatment at work, according to ‘lunatic’ advice from the equalities watchdog. The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) warns employers that they risk ‘potentially costly legal action’ unless they allow staff to follow their ‘religion or belief rights’ in the workplace…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Dr. Walid Phares: “The AP Capitulates to the Muslim Brotherhood on Narrative”

The AP move, according to observers, “is part of a wider push to remove the capacity to identify the Jihadi threat from the public narrative.”

In a stunning move, the Associated Press (AP) capitulated to pressures by Islamist group CAIR to drop the use of the term “Islamist” when describing self-declared Islamist militants and movements. The AP’s retreat is indicative of a crumbling of parts of the so-called “mainstream media” in its reporting about the Middle East, the Arab world and the Muslim world.

By retreating from describing the Islamists as Islamists, the AP isolates itself from the rest of international media, which uses the term “Islamist” naturally and consistently with its Arabic translation and meaning. More importantly, the AP is isolating itself from Arab media. For while media in the region uses the term Islamy or Islami (Islamist) to identify all movements that aim at the establishment of an “Islamist” state, regardless of these various movements’ strategic agendas, from the more political Muslim Brotherhood to the radical Salafists and the extremist al-Qaeda, The AP will be entering the foggy zone established and encouraged by advisers of the U.S. administration, where definitions are twisted by “Islamist lobbies” backed by petrodollars’ power.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

For Private Manned Mars Mission, It’s Make-or-Break Time

Progress made during the next year or so will determine whether a private manned Mars mission can get off the ground in 2018 as planned, its organizers say.

The pressure is on the nonprofit Inspiration Mars Foundation, which intends to launch two astronauts on a flyby mission around the Red Planet in January 2018. If the team misses this window, the next one won’t open until 2031, when Earth and Mars are again suitably aligned for a fast roundtrip trek.

“We acknowledge the reach that this represents,” Taber MacCallum, Inspiration Mars’ chief technology officer, said of getting everything organized in less than five years. “The next year of effort on this is really going to tell, I think, whether or not we are able to close this as a mission.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

The War Against Reality: Special Report

From the globalist mouthpieces themselves, we hear the utterance of the phrase they claim is only to be believed by conspiracy theorists.

Alex Jones cracks open the mystery and shows proof of the existence of the “New World Order.”

There is a reason that the NWO wants to stay in the shadows; their power is strong when they have no resistance.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

13 thoughts on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 4/8/2013

    • Here in Britain we used to be told, after the multiculturalisation of our own country was in full swing, that New Zealand was like Britain in the 1930s. The last I heard it was like Britain in the 1950s. Obviously, very shortly, according to this lady, New Zealand will be browned in a way that America and Great Britain are being thanks to globalization and international socialism. The Danish People’s Party is one of the few that actually has the courage to stand up to the multicultural agenda for hitherto white countries being pushed forward by the New World Order.

      I have just been speaking to somebody who has moved to where I live from Afro-asian Birmingham. It is now a crime-ridden hell-hole where nobody is safe. Reverse assimilation is taking place as in London, according to David Starkey after the 2011 London riots, so that West Indian gang and gun crime are taking over and the streets are not safe to walk. British politicians who ignored Enoch Powell’s advice about his native city have managed to put together those three religions of the Indian Sub-continent, hinduism, sikhism and islam, that the British in the days of the Raj managed to keep under control until partition had to take place. Even today, of course, Hindus and Muslims are murdering Christians and India Ghandi, a Hindu, was assassinated by the Sikhs. And in Birmingham you have Asians and blacks who hate one another and conflict between black and white. Birmingham is the new multicultural utopia which Edward Heath vowed would replace the peaceful, homogenous and cohesive city of the 1950s. Britain is becoming the South Africa of the northern hemisphere. South Africa where 4,000 white farmers have been murdered since the end of apartheid with the blessing of Jacob Zuma.

      There have only been two politicians in Britain in the last hundred years who have shown that unique combination of high intelligence, common sense, sensitivity and courage and both tried to prevent this disaster from happening.
      They were Winston Churchill and Enoch Powell. Margaret Thatcher was not as bright but I believe even she tried to put a stop to mass immigration into Britain in 1979 but was probably got at by the New World Order. The lady from Denmark may have been rather insensitive with regard to the Maoris. I have always felt they were hard done by. But she has seen the multicultural future and knows it does not work. Hence the white flight to Australia. It is now probably too late for the Anglo-Saxon world, although obviously Australia is being very circumspect with regard to what happens to that country; but some white countries, albeit tiny ones, might yet survive this Marxist and Globalist madness. Her party is now second in Denmark, I believe and if they form a government will probably bring about the imposition of sanctions on them by the UN and the Marxist New World Order. White countries are now illegal.

      • The “White Flight” to Australia from NZ might be exaggerated, many of the Kiwis who have crossed the Tasman are Maoris, of the 500,000 New Zealanders in Oz, most migrated to Australia for economic reasons. As far as I understand, Australia is a far more “multi-cultural” nation than “bi-cultural” NZ, so for anyone who wants to avoid the multi-culti ideology, I wouldn’t recommend Australia.

  1. As I recently wrote in the commentary section of “Gates of Vienna News Feed 4/6/2013” I can show how the Quoran in its early stages came into being.

    In my research I did focus on the “pool of “teachings”” – connections between Matthews Gospel and Quoran.

    For sure, as closer research doing souls do know, we also know about the connections between “old testament” (especially the so named “Books of Moses”) and parts of the Quoran.
    Main theme of those Verses in the Quoran is restricted to passages as “Jews “in general being” a “bad people”, thus “on this move” also proposing that not Jizhaak, but Ismael is the “truly” wished from “Allah”…..
    There is others of that stuff of discrminating attempts against the tribes of Israel. All of this is crunched in the nano-second where someone reads the Verse in the Quoran, that the peoples of the scripts (Jews and Christians) are to be honored ……… ……..since it is very clear that from anyones sight it makes absolutely no sense to honor anyone who believes in lies – which is the Quoranic teaching that Tanach and Gospels ARE ON A GENERAL BASIS turned into lies.

    THIS inner Quoranic antagonism will not impose much thinking motivations in Muslims hearts, because in their feelings their lie based inner hate on Jews especially and their hate on, who they “think by Quoranic standards” are “Christians” is linked to such a degree from a “high above” view that its almost impossible for such to even think that there has been a time where Mohammed did really listened to reading of Jews and Christians ….. with some sort of interest and respect.

    At the end of eiter deleting or overturning early Mecca Verses “they” (Mohammed and his scribes…) did made such of this “minor logical failures”, maybe because they did think it was not necessary to pay more attention to this, maybe they thought that readers of the Quoran should think ” Ohhh see how kind Allah and Mohammed have been to the Unbelievers in the beginnings ….., but the “Unbelievers” DID NOT acknowledge this” ….. which gives reasons more to hate the Kuffars …….. maybe this was the final view why the Verse was not changed thorougly…….

    The hate seeds of “do not take them (Jews and Christians) as friends” and such else up to the gigantic murder Verses of especially Sura 9. 5 brings a tension in Muslims Mind sets that they rarely start to think “Why did Mohammed asked Muslims once in history to honor “those Unbelievers” ?”
    This is also so, because to doubt in the Quoran is opposed in their underlying sets by extreme fears, the extreme lust to “rule on the “others”” and the overhelming “being proud to be Muslim”.
    All these block them to see this rational by human standards ………

    Its also because such antagonisms are rare in the Quoran and there are many sides between such of Quoranic non-antagonistic Verses these “little problems” are eventually taken away into the known move of Muslims “this must have to to with a translation problem” ….. which they are so “trained in arguing such” that they also have no problems to betray themselves on following these doubts “as this must have to do with a transcription problem from Old Arabic into present Arabic”

    So, if one discusses with Muslims the whole and wide Verses of the Thora in Comparison to Quoranic Verses you have the problem to get no adequate “doubt scenario” for Muslims on their positions ….. since their “fields of “knowledge” are to some scripture parts even less antagonistical, than “Mosaic” Verses.

    This all can be changed when the discussion is taken on to the differing Sights of “Who was the historical Jehua ?”

    Mohammed “argued” on the Matthew-“Christ” …. since he apparently had no knowledge of the other Gospels when the Quoran was “started” …. and, if he did learn about the others to some extents he apparently did not took this into the “development of the Quoran”.

    On the matter that ALL Gospels are to some extents spoiled, the lest the Mark and then the Johanaan Reports, and on the matter that the matter of the Matthewgospel shows up with extreme Antihumanity in so many center parts, Muslims can be chased from their mind sets of “Umma-“World” of mentalities” …..

      • Apparently YOUR sense is in the “problem zone”.

        The central statement should be very clear, EVEN IF YOU NOT HAVE READ the previous comments to which I connected this statement in the beginning.

        Maybe this improved Version makes it more easy for you to win insights: The major theme of the above comment is, that arguing on the written facts of the “older scripts” in the bible to help Muslims off their believe system is surely possible, just compare any of the “10” rules with the Mohammeds rules, starting with breaking the Sabbath rule… obligations to massacre (its in the Quoran !) stealing, lieing, robbing wives and children….murdering the men…… but this will rarely bring such extreme Muslim Souls into deep and clear emotional thinking, since their souls are close to extreme lust driven carnivores (even cannibalism occured in Islam sometimes: I do know a historic report on this when Muslims invaded France….. In Ibn Hishams Sunna(one of the most read in the Umma), based on Ibn Ishaq, there is also written at least once about cannibalism: I do not remember now how ate whom, but as Ibn Hisham wrote in his prolog that he did not wrote about the most disgusting happenings he maybe did not meant only the disgusting happenings amongst Mohammeds enemies who he had made himself, but also the digusting behaviors of Muslims, which can be taken seriously into account since Ibn Hisham was paid by a Muslim for his “work”) ……….the more effective way to bring the most extreme Muslims into thinking is to argue on the basis that Mohammed DID MISS THE TRUE JEHU`s TEACHINGS …… and relied only on the Anti-Philantropic lies of a false “Messiah”, which is the Character of the “Jesus” of the Matthew Gospel.

        The shock potential for the most extreme liars in Islam is in this comparison far more effective to turn their souls than to talk to such on the basic rules of the Thora, why it is useful to talk to someone …… instead to murder him or her.

        ……….since which has been deleted in the Thora “for reasons of “canceling” disgust) WHY ISRAEL TRIBES WERE ORDERED TO KILL (and not to murder !) SOME TRIBES: The reason was: Such were obedient to the Moloch Cults…. they murdered their children and ate them.

        By “canceling” this sections for sure the effect of the ones who DID NOT KNOW THE BACKGROUND REASONS was to some extent devastating in their belief in the Hebrew God………

        • Hello Baron,

          I will complete and refine this set of comments to bring it into a form that might be worth to post it as among the “Theme stories”.


  2. One of my oldest mates lives in NZ. He visited me a few weeks ago and I shall be visiting him later in the year. I last went over 20 years ago before Lord of the Rings was filmed.
    He said unkind things about the Maoris, particularly that they were lazy, and I thought he was being racist which I found uncomfortable then.
    My only previous experience had been seeing the “haka” performed by the All Blacks Rugby Union Team before every game. (YES both at Twickenham and Murrayfield) .

    I hardly even saw a Maori in South Island. On my way home I went to North Island. I visited Rotorua and a Maori village. Unlike the Danish lady I found the performance and rituals fascinating and almost authentic. Our guide was a very pleasant Maori lady who didn’t rub noses or anything else. She wasn’t exactly lazy but was, shall we say, rather too laid back and succeeded in losing several of the group which I had joined. In the particular volcanic location, with hot geysers and bubbling mud pools. that was a little dangerous but she was really “careless” in that she obviously didn’t care.
    My final encounter, at Auckland airport, brought home to me what my friend had meant. At passport control I had to stand waiting for 10 minutes as 2 uniformed Maoris had a social chat. Finally one noticed me and returned to her duties to process me. Nonetheless I would still be anti the remarks of the Danish lady. Different cultures have different standards and different rituals. So long as that is not harmful, or potentially harmful, to others then it can be tolerated in the interests of “diversity”.
    It unfortunately seems that many Maoris have, like many North American Indians, descended into a life of laziness, crime, and total intolerance of the majority. Are WE to blame? Perhaps.
    A postcript. My friend and his wife were unable to have children. They adopted a baby.
    It seems the girl had 1/4 Maori blood. As a toddler she was delightful. When she was about 8 or 9 she was a lovable kid. My friends were highly educated and both (eventually) teachers. They had good parenting skills and brought up K in the best possible environment. She couldn’t have had a better upbringing and she mixed with the likes of the daughter of NZ’s top female lawyer (lovely lady), and a top woman golfer.
    Nonetheless in mid-teens K “went off the rails”. That has continued ever since. She is now 33; she is unmarried but has 3 kids with 3 different fathers; she has been, perhaps still is, into drugs; she regards her adoptive parents as “cash cows”; she has borrowed their cars and crashed at least 3. Is this a genetic defect or just an evil individual? I don’t actually know but must wonder. 1/4 (the only known feature) from one parent could, according to Mendel, perhaps result in total recession (recessive genes) if combined with similar – 1 in 4 times on average. Is that what happened? Do Maoris genetically have a “bad” attitude? I really don’t know but am forced to wonder.
    One thing I CAN say is that I believe my friends have been far too forgiving. I would have issued an ultimatim long ago – but then it very easy to judge from afar.

    • Perhaps we English face the same future as the Maoris as a demoralised minority in our own country unless something is done to halt the New World Order’s plan for the removal or atomisation of the white race. However, I wonder how the Maoris will fare when the incoming muslims and hindus begin to wield power? Will the hindus just take over as they have in Fiji and leave the Fijians a demoralised minority in their own country whilst the whites continue to leave? Or will the muslims try to take over. Or will it be like England in the future when the two will probably end up in armed conflict whilst we hide away in the hills?

      • Sorry that should have read Maoris in a minority whilst the whites continue to leave. I apologise also for the fact that I have just checked and Fijians are still in the majority in Fiji by 58% to Indians 38% but it is the Indians who, as far as I am aware, are in control there.

  3. Re Iraq in the rear view mirror, who says there were no WMDs? what was flown out just in time on the stripped out airliners? what was destroyed in the dessert buy Israel? did the scientists really lie to the lunatic and say he had the weapons while destroying them behind his back?? get real they were there, they were documented and its only the media who say otherwise!

  4. For what: “Bewick on April 9, 2013 at 1:40 pm” wrote:

    Blood as the “fleshbound part” of a Soul is only one side of the living being and blood and flesh and bones do vanish in time ……… Spirit is the essential part of any soul and there is the solution for your thinking problems.

    If those parents DID NOT TRUELY LOVE but only presented their ways of KEEPING UP A “MODEST MODEL” of loving its quite understandable that K`s soul went AGAINST such …….. and started to search through her “blood part” if the Spirits of her Ancestors were closer to loving or even loved much more, which could be …….. as “Western Cults” really do stand on believe systems which are far off true loving: Marx, Darwin, Nicean Bishops, Eagle-Raven-Fly Cult souls,….

    ALL of the before mentioned ARE in the influence range of the evil Matthews Gospel……… Darwin did study theology but did not check out, Marx has been in his younger ages a soul fascinated by HIS IMAGINATIONS of HIS CONSTRUCTED “Jeschua” and later turned COMPLETLY AGAINST this CONSTRUCTED SOUL – openly turning in a cynical way to Satan (this is no joke !), and for sure the “Bible” in its “newest parts” as it has been made in the Nicean Bishops-Emperor Constantin connection is in its many parts poison and there are only few parts which DO SHOW THE TEACHINGS OF AN ETERNITY TRUTHLOVING CARING SPIRIT ….. to which Jehua bound his soul.

    K`s search for true love will succeed in going into this re-ligere ……

    She should be aware that at present there is possibly just one soul in the flesh who took this choice ….. to my knowledge there is not a single community on this planet at this time……. and clearly her soul will find comfort in the siding of the Spirits with her together seeing and loving the Eternity Abba….

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