Gates of Vienna News Feed 5/20/2013

At least thirty-seven people were killed when a mile-wide tornado swept through the suburbs of Oklahoma City. Many of the deaths occurred in the suburb of Moore, which bore the brunt of the destruction. A number of people are missing, and the death toll is expected to be rise as rescuers comb through the rubble.

In other news, a German bank warns that the real estate bubble in Sweden will be the next to collapse.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Fjordman, Insubria, JD, Jerry Gordon, JP, Kitman, LS, Papa Whiskey, Steen, TV, 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
» Italian Retailers Sound Alarm Over VAT Rise
» Italy: Bonds Rise for Fourth Day as Industrial Orders Pick Up
» Meet Tungsten
» ‘Sweden Next in Line for Housing Market Crash’
» Will Obama Take Your 401(K) Retirement Funds?
» All Semi-Automatic Pistols Sold in California to Require “Micro Stamp” Ballistic Identification
» America’s Cry for Help Lost in the White Noise
» Angelina Jolie Copied by Men! Surgeons Now Cutting Out Healthy Prostate Glands of Men Who Carry Brca Gene
» Anonymous Cincinnati IRS Official: “Everything Comes From the Top.”
» Apple Avoided Billions in Taxes, Congressional Panel Says
» At Least 37 Dead in Oklahoma Tornadoes, Medical Examiner Says
» Chicago: 5 Dead, 18 Wounded in Weekend Violence
» ‘Crazy’ Ants Driving Out Fire Ants in Southeast
» Do Americans Care?
» Lawsuit Over Health Care Tax Could Kill ‘Obamacare’
» More Secrets From Huma Abedin
» NAACP Chair Julian Bond is a Liar
» NYPD Operation Nets Palestinians Including One Involved in 1994 Brooklyn Yeshiva Student Death
» Planted Question Gambit Backfires on IRS Officials
» Silencing Free Speech on College Campuses
» The Bigger Story Behind the AP Spying Scandal
» The Political Sport of Taxation
» US Criticises Anti-Muslim Sentiment in Europe and Asia
» White House Damage Control Script Jeopardized by New Disclosures
» Khalifa of Islam Inaugurates Mosque in Vancouver, Canada
Europe and the EU
» 90% of Italian Young People Worried About Mafia
» Cardinal Bagnasco Condemns “Detrimental Populism”
» Denmark: Rare Trove of Viking Coins Discovered by Amateurs
» European Parliament Speaker Slams Northern League MEP
» Hungary’s Orban: Merkel Policy Like Nazi Invasion
» Italy Food Exports Up, Production for Domestic Use Down
» Italy: Constitutional Court to Review Election Law, Says Newspaper
» Italy: Ex-Northern League Senator Sentenced to 2 Years 6 Months
» Italy: Soccer: Balotelli Had to be ‘Held Back’ From Fiorentina Fans
» Italy: IMU Decree ‘Price Paid’ For Berlusconi Alliance, Says Renzi
» Italy: Renzi Says Center Left ‘In State of Shock’
» Italy: Government is Working on Anti-M5S Law, Says Grillo
» Mother of Oxford Grooming Sex Gang Pair Blames Their Victims: She Says Schoolgirls ‘Should Have Been Playing With Toys’
» Netherlands: Police Orchestrated Child’s Islamic Wedding
» Netherlands: Rotterdam to Sack Whiste-Blower on Mosque Schools
» Nutella Maker First Italian on Bloomberg Billionaires Index
» Sweden: Youths Burn 100 Cars in North Stockholm Riots
» Sweden: Police ‘Called Husby Residents Monkeys’
» Sweden Riots: Youths in Husby, Stockholm Suburb, Set Fires, Throw Rocks After Police Shooting
» Thatcher Biographer Unveils Her Human Side
» UK: Landowner Who Spent ‘Hundreds of Thousands’ Restoring Dead Norfolk Broad Facing Prosecution for Leaving it ‘Suburbanised’
» UK: Swivel-Eyed, Or Seeing Clearly?
» UK: Some Anti-Fascists Are Very Fascistic
» UK: Tories Begin Defecting to UKIP Over ‘Loons’ Slur
» Wagner Great-Granddaughter Releases Family Hitler Archives
» We Must Stay in the EU, Says British Business
North Africa
» Egypt: ‘Army Readies in Sinai for Major Anti-Militant Operation’
» Egypt: More Attacks on Coptic Orthodox Community, Two Churches Set on Fire
» EU: More Scholarships for Tunisian Students
» Tunisian Police Clash With Islamists Over Banned Rally
Israel and the Palestinians
» PNA: EU: 20 Mln in April to 76,000 Salaries and Pensions
» Swastika Over Hebron — As of 11:15 am Israel Time, The Nazi Flag is Still Up There
Middle East
» Iraq: Car Bomb Kills 12 in Shia Neighbourhood North of Baghdad
» Nine Children From the Hague in Syria for Jihad
» No Peace Deal in Syria and I Won’t be Stepping Down, Says President Al-Assad in Rare Interview
» Obama-Backed FSA Rebels Name Their Brigade “Osama Bin Laden”
» Saudi Arabia: Syrian Drug Trafficking Convict Beheaded
» Street Seller Self Immolates in Saudi Arabia
» Syria: At Least 23 Hezbollah Militants Killed in Qusayr
» Turkey to Cease Cooperation With Firms Operating in Cyprus
» Twenty-Four Police Killed in Iraq Ambushes and Attacks
» Twenty-Three Hezbollah Fighters Killed in Syria Battle
» Double Car Bombing in Russia’s Dagestan Kills Eight
South Asia
» Biden Now Blamed in SEAL Team 6 Deaths
» Indonesia: As Fresh Anti-Ahmadi Violence Breaks Out, Presidential Spokesperson Says Yudhoyono Protects Religious Freedom
» Pakistan: Imran Khan Blames London-Based Rival for Zahra Shahid Hussain Killing
Australia — Pacific
» New Zealand’s Earliest Inhabitants
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Nigeria: Drums of War
» State of Emergency — Thousands Flee to Niger Republic
» The Day the Music Died in Mali
Latin America
» Brazil and the Bolivarian Revolution
» Immigration-Linguistic Equation to Amnesty Bill S744
» Italy: Congolese Migrant Arrested for Brutally Assaulting Girlfiend
» Kyenge Says Italy Will ‘Gradually’ Change Citizenship Law
Culture Wars
» Experimental Use of Stem-Cell Therapy Approved for Italy
» Gay Marriage Laws Set to Pass After Labour Refuses to Back Tory Rebels as Cameron is Warned Party is in a ‘Spiral of Irrelevance’
» London Gay Hate Attack Leaves Magazine Editor Beaten
» Netherlands: Anti-Meat Propaganda in School Exams

Italian Retailers Sound Alarm Over VAT Rise

Reports govt may be unable to avert 1% increase in top band

(ANSA) — Rome, May 20 — Italian small retailers association Confesercenti on Monday raised the alarm over a 1% rise in the top band of value added tax (VAT) scheduled for July.

Premier Enrico Letta has said his left-right government will try to avert the rise, which was announced as part of efforts to restore health to Italy’s public finances by his predecessor Mario Monti.

But Letta may have decided that the rise in the top band of VAT from 21% to 22% cannot be avoided, according to media reports at the weekend.

Confesercenti said the rise would deepen the recession, Italy’s longest in over 20 years, and may also be counterproductive, as the negative effects on growth may end up driving tax revenues down rather than up.

“VAT is a very serious problem,” said Confesercenti President Marco Venturi, adding that a previous rise from 20% to 21% in the band had already created mayor difficulties.

“The rise to 22% would have an even bigger effect on consumer spending, depressing it further. “This could have effects on tax revenues, which rather than increasing by three billion euros as forecast, could diminish by 300 million “It could have an effect on production and our country’s economic prospects. “You have to try to tackle the problems with the public finances by cutting public spending — not expenditure to encourage production or for social services, but the waste and many excesses that exist in our country”. On Sunday another retail association, Confcommercio, said the planned VAT rise would cost the average family made up of three people 135 euros a year. It added that 26,000 retailers risked going out of business this year.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Bonds Rise for Fourth Day as Industrial Orders Pick Up

Milan, 20 May (AKI/Bloomberg) — Italy’s bonds rose for a fourth day as a government report showed the nation’s industrial orders increased more than economists predicted, adding to optimism the region’s economy is recovering.

The extra yield investors receive to hold Italy’s 10-year bonds instead of similar-maturity German securities narrowed to the least since January. Spanish 10-year bonds also advanced for a fourth day, the longest run of gains in almost three weeks. German 10-year bunds snapped a two-day advance as demand for the region’s safest assets waned.

Italy’s 10-year yields fell two basis points, or 0.02 percentage point, to 3.88 percent at 3:09 p.m. London time. The 4.5 percent security maturing in May 2023 gained 0.12, or 1.20 euros per 1,000-euro ($1,285) face amount, to 105.365. The rate on Spanish 10-year bonds slid one basis point to 4.20 percent.

Germany’s 10-year yield was little changed at 1.34 percent after climbing to 1.41 percent on May 15, the most since March 25. The rate on the nation’s two-year note added two basis points to minus 0.015 percent. A negative yield means investors who hold the security until it matures will receive less than they paid to buy it.

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

Meet Tungsten

Pure tungsten is a steel-gray to tin-white metal. Tungsten has the highest melting point and lowest vapour pressure of all metals, and at temperatures over 1650°C has the highest tensile strength. The metal oxidises in air and must be protected at elevated temperatures. It has excellent corrosion resistance and is attacked only slightly by most mineral acids.

Tungsten is worth 10$ a pound. Tungsten also has the same density as Gold, along with other attributes it shares with gold like oxidation and corrosion protection. Making it the perfect metal to make fake gold bars filled with worthless material. Impossible to differentiate with tests other than to dig inside of the bar and see whats it in it.

In early 2009 Tungsten gold bars have started to be discovered in USA, Australia, China, Ethiopia, Canada, France, UK,


And here is [a video of] Ron Paul asking for Fort Knox Gold to be inspected and tested for Tungsten in order to make sure that the USA really has the Gold it thinks it has.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

‘Sweden Next in Line for Housing Market Crash’

Sweden tops a list of countries that risk suffering a housing market crash, Germany’s Commerzbank has warned, citing the slackening off of Swedish property prices as a harbinger of a potential downswing.

The bank has analyzed housing prices across Europe and looked at boom-bust cycles in the US in the past 15 years.

“The property booms in Finland and in Sweden seem to be nearing their end, and we should soon see a price correction,” Commerzbank said in a statement on Friday, according to the NyhetDirect news service.

“Both countries have seen housing prices increase rapidly over the past ten years, but that increase has begun to level out since the beginning of 2010.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Will Obama Take Your 401(K) Retirement Funds?

“The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board also Monday stressed that TSP investors will not be harmed. Under a 1987 law, the government is required to repay suspended G Fund investments, including interest, once the debt ceiling is raised and the government can resume borrowing. The board will keep track of what Treasury owes and how much interest the G Fund would have accumulated had the investments not been suspended. “You have an IOU from the federal government for the G Fund,” board chairman Andrew Saul said. “It’s not going to affect them [TSP investors], period.”

It’s easy for Treasury Secretary Geithner to reassure federal employees filching their life long “nest egg” funds is backed by a worthless IOU since it’s not his retirement.

This is known as robbing Peter to pay Paul. Instead of reducing the size of government by eliminating unconstitutional cabinets and agencies, Congress simply borrows more debt from foreign governments. Repayment of those civil service retirement funds is paid with debt. Can you describe anything more irresponsible than that? Try this one: The US Government spends $435,841,200 per hour

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

All Semi-Automatic Pistols Sold in California to Require “Micro Stamp” Ballistic Identification

In a controversial move that some believe will essentially lead to a de facto ban on semi-automatic handguns, Attorney General Kamala Harris announced that, effective immediately, all new semi-automatic firearms sold in the State of California will require a unique microstamp on every shell ejected when a gun is fired.

Microstamping, or ballistic imprinting, is a technology patented in the 1990’s by engineer and NRA member Todd Lizotte. When a gun is fired, a tiny engraving on the firing pin etches a microscopic identifier onto the cartridge as it is expended by the firearm.

The law, which requires every semi automatic gun sold in the state to imprint the gun’s serial number on the cartridge, was signed into law by former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2007 and was delayed due to patent stipulations in the legislation.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

America’s Cry for Help Lost in the White Noise

America crying out for rescue: Time to replace the white noise dominated by grandstanding politicians with the legal means to halt the Fundamental Transformation of America.

Back in the salad days of President Barack Obama in the Oval Office, the first sign of the coming soft tyranny against We the People should have been the roughly 2000 car dealerships forced out of business by the anti-free enterprise cabal squatting on the White House.

“It was Obama’s auto task force that pressed General Motors and Chrysler to close scores of dealerships without adequately considering the jobs that would be lost or having a firm idea of the cost savings that would be achieved, an audit of the process has concluded.” (The New York Times, July 18, 2010).

This was the first visible social engineering adventure of the Obama regime and tens of thousands of jobs were lost as a result.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Angelina Jolie Copied by Men! Surgeons Now Cutting Out Healthy Prostate Glands of Men Who Carry Brca Gene

(NaturalNews) Beyond merely inspiring women to cut off healthy breasts just because they carry the BRCA1 gene, Angelina Jolie also seems to be inspiring men to remove some of their own reproductive organs as well. According to an IBtimes article, a British man is the first person to have had his prostate gland surgically removed because he carries the BRCA2 “breast cancer” gene that’s related to the BRCA1 gene suddenly made famous by Angelina Jolie’s double mastectomy.

IBtimes reports, “Surgeons were initially reluctant, since the potential side effects of the operation include infertility, incontinence and sexual dysfunction.”

But what the hell, right? If cutting off healthy organs is trendy enough for Angelina Jolie, it’s gotta be trendy enough for everybody else… including men!

This new meme of medical self-mutilation is spreading fast, and surgeons are jumping on the bandwagon, realizing there’s a windfall of profits to be made from performing surgical procedures on people who don’t need surgery.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Anonymous Cincinnati IRS Official: “Everything Comes From the Top.”

A story in the Washington Post yesterday about the Internal Revenue Service’s Cincinnati office, which does most of the agency’s nonprofit auditing, clearly contradicted earlier reports that the agency’s targeting of Tea Party groups was the result of rogue agents.

The Post story anonymously quoted a staffer in Cincinnati as saying they only operate on directives from headquarters:


“We’re not political,’’ said one determinations staffer in khakis as he left work late Tuesday afternoon. “We people on the local level are doing what we are supposed to do. … That’s why there are so many people here who are flustered. Everything comes from the top. We don’t have any authority to make those decisions without someone signing off on them. There has to be a directive.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Apple Avoided Billions in Taxes, Congressional Panel Says

Even as Apple became the nation’s most profitable technology company, it avoided billions in taxes in the United States and around the world through a web of subsidiaries so complex it spanned continents and surprised experts, a Congressional investigation has found.

Some of these subsidiaries had no employees and were largely run by top officials from the company’s headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., according to Congressional investigators. But by officially locating them in places like Ireland, Apple was able to, in effect, make them stateless — exempt from taxes, record-keeping laws and the need for the subsidiaries to even file tax returns anywhere in the world.

In 2011, for example, one subsidiary paid Ireland just one-twentieth of 1 percent in taxes on $22 billion on pretax earnings from various operations; another did not file a corporate tax return anywhere and has paid almost nothing on $30 billion in profits since 2009.

[Return to headlines]

At Least 37 Dead in Oklahoma Tornadoes, Medical Examiner Says

Homes were flattened, cars were flung through the air and at least two schools packed with children were destroyed as a huge tornado, perhaps a mile wide, tore through towns near Oklahoma City on Monday, killing at least 37 people and sending rescuers and residents dashing to dig out survivors buried in rubble.

As the injured began flooding into local hospitals, the authorities said many remained trapped, even as rescue workers struggled to make their way through debris-clogged streets to the devastated suburb of Moore, where much of the damage occurred.

Amy Elliott, the spokeswoman for the Oklahoma City Medical Examiner, said that at least 37 people had died, and officials said that toll was likely to climb.

[Return to headlines]

Chicago: 5 Dead, 18 Wounded in Weekend Violence

CHICAGO (STMW) — Five people have been killed and at least 18 others wounded — including a 12-year-old boy left in critical condition — in shootings across the city since Friday night.

The most recent fatal shooting happened around 2:10 a.m. Sunday in the 300 block of South Cicero in the West Side’s Austin neighborhood, police said. Edward Jordan, 53, of the 4900 block of West Lexington, was shot in the neck and later died at Mount Sinai Hospital, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office…

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes [Return to headlines]

‘Crazy’ Ants Driving Out Fire Ants in Southeast

“When you talk to folks who live in the invaded areas, they tell you they want their fire ants back,” said Edward LeBrun, a researcher at the University of Texas at Austin. “Fire ants are in many ways very polite. They live in your yard. They form mounds and stay there, and they only interact with you if you step on their mound.”

Crazy ants, on the other hand, “go everywhere,” invading homes and nesting in walls and crawlspaces, even damaging electrical equipment by swarming inside appliances.

Fire ants are known for their painful stings and have spread through the Southeast since arriving from South America in the 1930s. Crazy ants were first discovered in Houston in 2002, and they have already spread to coastal areas from Texas to Florida, according to the researchers. Although the “crazies” don’t have as painful a sting as fire ants, they multiply in even greater numbers.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

Do Americans Care?

When public virtue is gone, when the national spirit is fled…the republic is lost in essence, though it may still exist in form.” — John Adams to Benjamin Rush, 1808

Do Americans care about what is happening to their country plagued by scandal after scandal, manufactured crisis after manufactured crisis? What scandal, what corruption? If it’s not in the paper, in the main stream media, it must not exist.

Many Americans do care and seem powerless to redress the impasse. Other Americans don’t care at all as long as they have reality TV and sports. If you ask the majority in California, New Mexico, Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina, Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio, New York, and Maine the answer is probably no. What they do care about is voting welfare for a living. These states have more people on welfare than they have people working.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Lawsuit Over Health Care Tax Could Kill ‘Obamacare’

“Obamacare” looks increasingly inevitable, but one lawsuit making its way through the court system could pull the plug on the sweeping federal health care law.

A challenge filed by the Pacific Legal Foundation contends that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional because the bill originated in the Senate, not the House. Under the Origination Clause of the Constitution, all bills raising revenue must begin in the House.

The Supreme Court upheld most provisions of the act in June, but Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. took pains in the majority opinion to define Obamacare as a federal tax, not a mandate. That was when the Sacramento, Calif.-based foundation’s attorneys had their “aha” moment.

“The court there quite explicitly says, ‘This is not a law passed under the Commerce Clause; this is just a tax,’“ foundation attorney Timothy Sandefur said at a Cato Institute forum on legal challenges to the health care act. “Well, then the Origination Clause ought to apply. The courts should not be out there carving in new exceptions to the Origination Clause.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

More Secrets From Huma Abedin

Huma Abedin, former Secretary of State Hillary’s Clinton’s long time aide with extensive ties to Muslim Brotherhood groups, was granted an arrangement by the State Department to do outside consulting work, even as she remained a top advisor in the Department.

Abedin did not disclose either the arrangement, or how much she earned from it, on her financial report, despite a requirement that public officials must disclose significant sources of income. Clinton advisor Philippe Reines contended she was under no obligation to do so.

… Abedin is anything but a common government employee. While the mainstream media remains temporarily focused on Abedin’s role with regard to her husband’s political campaign, it remains calculatingly incurious about her work with the William Jefferson Clinton Foundation, and the tens of millions of dollars in donations it has received from such entities as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the governments of Kuwait and Qatar, Saudi businessman Nasser Al-Rashid, who has close ties to the Saudi royal family, Sheikh Mohammed H. Al-Amoudi, reputed to be one of the richest men in the world, and a group called Friends of Saudi Arabia and the Dubai Foundation.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

NAACP Chair Julian Bond is a Liar

Chairman emeritus, Julian Bond, of the NAACP said the tea party is “admittedly racist.” Mr Bond, I challenge you to show us the video, article, facebook post or the tweet in which the tea party admitted it is motivated by racism.

As a black tea party activist who has participated in over 400 tea party rallies, I am confident that your claim is bogus. Therefore Mr Bond, you sir are a despicable liar, severely compromising your image as a statesman. You and your ilk purposely inspire hate in low-info black voters against tea party patriots who simply said no to Obama’s socialist agenda and trashing of the Constitution. Shame on you Mr Bond.

The NAACP leadership has abandoned it’s commitment to traditional marriage, family, education, self-reliance and hard work. The once great well-intentioned organization has morphed into a far-left radial liberal racist hate group which exploits race, using it as a bludgeon to silence any and all opposition to Obama and the Democrats’ government overreaching, ever expending entitlement programs and Obama’s vowed redistribution of wealth. MLK would not approve…

Mr. Bond, the NAACP and associates have lost their way, abandoning their mission of black empowerment. Their betrayal of black America includes re-enslaving them; making as many blacks as possible slaves of Obama’s welfare-state government subsidized and controlled America.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

NYPD Operation Nets Palestinians Including One Involved in 1994 Brooklyn Yeshiva Student Death

Credit New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly with busting mega million cigarette smuggling ring. Tagged Operation Tobacco Road, the operation captured 16 Palestinians including the king pins in the network arrested in New York and Maryland, with connections to the Muslim Brotherhood Blind Sheik Omar Abdel- Rahman and Hamas. One of those ensnared in the raid may have been an accomplice after the fact who supplied the weapon in the 1994 attack on a van crossing the Brooklyn Bridge sprayed with automatic fire. That attack resulted in the death of 16 year old Ari Halberstam All but two of the Palestinians ensnared in the scheme entered the US illegally. The ring had purchased more than $55 million in cigarettes in both Virginia and Maryland and wholesaled the contraband cigarettes to bodegas in the outer boroughs of New York City avoiding more than $80 million in state taxes. A significant portion of the profits may have been funneled to Hamas, to further Jihad. The NYPD counterterrorism program may have trumped the FBI on this bust of Hamas funding. The DOJ and the ACLU have defended Muslim Charities. See the NER story: “Zakat and Terrorism”.How much of the $14.2 of missing cash found its way to Hamas is the obvious question? Moreover, which agency at the federal level should have been monitoring the cigarette smuggling operation. The US Secret Service has been the spear point in investigation of similar Food Stamp scams as the US Department of Agriculture is involved. Note this recent report of the arrest of a Daytona, Florida convenience store owner and his son, Bassam Sale Abu Diab 55 and Matthew Bassam Abu Diab. Given the expansion of the Food Stamps program over the past several years, at issue is how much of that expansion could have been similarly used to coin illegal profits for funneling funds to Hamas and other terrorist Groups. The most disturbing element of this criminal enterprise is how 14 Palestinians could have entered this country illegally, without detection by the ICE over several years. The US Department of Home Land Security and the FBI may have to provide answers at a possible Hearing before the House Homeland Security Committee chaired by Rep. Michael T. McCaul (R-TX). Ann Corcoran noted this in her RRW post: We don’t know how these Palestinians got into the US (the mainstream media is rarely curious about that), but readers here at RRW should know that the US State Department and refugee contractors are now taking some Palestinian “refugees” to your towns and cities (101 so far this fiscal year)

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

Planted Question Gambit Backfires on IRS Officials

The Internal Revenue Service, apparently determined to get out ahead of an inspector general report critical of its handling of tax exemptions for Tea Party groups, came up with a plan: Lois Lerner, the official responsible for the tax-exempt division, would publicly apologize in response to a question at the American Bar Association conference in Washington.

Details of the now-infamous planted question emerged Friday after acting IRS commissioner Steven Miller admitted the gambit under questioning from members of the House Ways and Means Committee.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Silencing Free Speech on College Campuses

The enemies of these freedoms, as expressed in the First Amendment, have always been at work to narrow and eliminate them.

“In a shocking affront to the United States Constitution,” said Lukianoff, “the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education have joined together to mandate that virtually every college and university in the United States establish unconstitutional speech codes that violate the First Amendment and decades of legal precedent.”

“In 2011, the Department of Education took a hatchel to due process protection for students accused of sexual misconduct.” Now college students have had speech codes imposed on them that are “so broad that virtually every student will regularly violate them,” said Lukianoff. In essence, the new codes would define as punishable, any expression of sexual topics that offends any person!

In effect this outlaws any expression of opinion regarding sexual activity to include debates about sexual morality, gay marriage, or a classroom lecture on Vladimir Nabokov’s “Lolita.” It would outlaw any sexually themed joke that anyone might find offensive for any reason. It would criminalize any request for a date or any flirtation that is not welcomed by the recipient, all defined now as “offenses.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

The Bigger Story Behind the AP Spying Scandal

Part of it:

After Richard Nixon lost the right to exercise prior restraint over the New York Times’ publication of the Pentagon Papers, he was desperate to punish and prosecute the responsible NYT reporter, Neil Sheehan. Thus, recounted the NYT’s lawyer at the time, James Goodale, Nixon concocted a theory:

“Nixon convened a grand jury to indict the New York Times and its reporter, Neil Sheehan, for conspiracy to commit espionage… The government’s ‘conspiracy’ theory centered around how Sheehan got the Pentagon Papers in the first place. While Daniel Ellsberg had his own copy stored in his apartment in Cambridge, the government believed Ellsberg had given part of the papers to anti-war activists. It apparently theorized further that the activists had talked to Sheehan about publication in the Times, all of which it believed amounted to a conspiracy to violate the Espionage Act.”

As Goodale notes, this is exactly “the same charge Obama’s Justice Department is investigating Assange under today,” and it’s now exactly the same theory used to formally brand Fox’s James Rosen as a criminal in court.

           — Hat tip: LS [Return to headlines]

The Political Sport of Taxation

In his May 14, 2013 report entitled “Inappropriate Criteria Were Used to Identify Tax-Exempt Applications for Review,” Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration J. Russell George explains that at the behest of members of Congress, he initiated a review to determine whether the following allegations were true: (1) that the IRS targeted specific groups applying for tax-exempt status; (2) that the IRS delayed the processing of targeted groups’ applications; and (3) that the IRS requested unnecessary information from the targeted groups. In short, did the IRS harass certain groups based on their political affiliation with the Tea Party? IG George found that indeed the IRS did.

In particular, the IG found that for a period stemming from at least early in 2010, the “IRS used inappropriate criteria that identified for review Tea Party and other organizations applying for tax-exempt status based upon their names or policy positions instead of indications of potential political campaign intervention. Ineffective management (1) allowed inappropriate criteria to be developed and stay in place for more than 18 months, (2) resulted in substantial delays in processing certain applications, and (3) allowed unnecessary information requests to be issued.” In short, the IRS harassed selected groups based on its presumption that they were affiliated with the Tea Party. As anyone who has worked in the federal government knows, nothing systematic of this sort goes on without the knowledge of supervisors and, indeed, without at least the passive acquiescence of the agency’s chief political officer, here the IRS Commissioner.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

US Criticises Anti-Muslim Sentiment in Europe and Asia

The US criticised a rise in anti-Muslim sentiment in Europe and Asia on Monday after the State Department released its annual report on religious freedom, which pointed to government restrictions and violence targeting Muslims.

The United States on Monday denounced what it called a spike in anti-Islamic sentiment in Europe and Asia, pointing to restrictions and violence against Muslims including the faith’s minority sects.

Releasing a wide-ranging annual report on religious freedom, Secretary of State John Kerry also voiced alarm at what he called rising anti-Jewish sentiment, and filled a position of special envoy to combat anti-Semitism.

The State Department report, which covered 2012, said that “Anti-Muslim rhetoric and actions were clearly on the rise — particularly in Europe and Asia.”

“Government restrictions, which often coincided with societal animosity, resulted in anti-Muslim actions that affected everyday life for numerous believers,” it said.

In Myanmar, officials allegedly fanned deadly anti-Muslim violence in Rakhine state while in China, authorities showed less tolerance toward the mostly Muslim Uighur community and Tibetans, the report said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

White House Damage Control Script Jeopardized by New Disclosures

It has been a tough weekend for the President. First, the CEO of the Associated Press states the government’s seizure of AP phone records was “so broad and so secret,” among other factors, “that it was an unconstitutional act,” adding that it had already had a chilling effect on newsgathering and press freedom…

Add to that James Goodale’s comments (the leading force behind the release of the Pentagon Papers and first amendment lawyer), that President Obama is “worse for press freedom than Nixon” and things are not going well…

But, the problems did not stop there as the Wall Street Journal reports that while President Obama claims not to have been made aware of the IRS indiscretions until May 10th it seems the White House’s chief lawyer learned weeks ago that an audit of the IRS likely would show that agency employees inappropriately targeted conservative groups.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Khalifa of Islam Inaugurates Mosque in Vancouver, Canada

Having completed a successful ten-day visit to Los Angeles, California, the spiritual leader and administrative head of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Mirza Masroor Ahmad, traveled to Vancouver, Canada to inaugurate a new mosque. His Holiness, the fifth Khalifa, delivered the Friday Sermon at the Baitur Rahman mosque to a gathering of three thousand men, women, and children. The mosque is the largest in British Columbia…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

90% of Italian Young People Worried About Mafia

Mob ‘controls territory and seeks power,’ 17-25-year-olds say

(ANSA) — Palermo, May 15 — Some 90% of young Italians are worried about the mafia, a study said Wednesday.

The vast majority of the 17-25-year-olds said they were concerned about the way organised crime “controlled territory and sought power”, the Giovanni and Francesca Falcone Foundation said.

More than three-quarters of their European peers, 76%, highlighted the mafia’s ability make money and launder it, said the foundation named after the heroic anti-Mafia magistrate killed with his wife by Cosa Nostra in 1992. The survey was done as part of a project called ‘Waves of legality, waves of citizenship’.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Cardinal Bagnasco Condemns “Detrimental Populism”

(AGI) Vatican City — Cardinal Bagnasco has condemned “inconclusive and detrimental populism” asking that politics emphasize the common good .

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

Denmark: Rare Trove of Viking Coins Discovered by Amateurs

Thousand-year-old coins from the age of Harald Bluetooth were found in a field by three young men using metal detectors

A trove of 200 Viking coins that was uncovered in a field in North Jutland is considered to be one of the most significant archaeological discovery in decades.

A team of three amateur archaeologists, the youngest just 16 years old, found the silver coins using metal detectors last September in a field near the northern Jutland town of Strandby.

The coins date back to around the year 990 under the rein of Harald Bluetooth and include rare ‘korsmønter’, crossed coins, that are considered to be Denmark’s first national coin.

“Korsmønter aren’t something that are found every day and the enormous quantity is also exceptional,” Sidsel Wåhlin from Vendsyssel Historisk Museum told Radio24syv. “We have never uncovered such a large find from the period in northern Jutland.”

Professional archaeologists who have just completed the first phase of digging in the field near Strandby said digging would continue.

“It’s no coincidence that the treasure is buried there,” Wåhlin told Jyllands-Posten newspaper. “We will continue and hope to find much more about the dwelling.”

The coins will first be exhibited at Vendsyssel Historisk Museum before being transported to the National Museum in Copenhagen which will determine whether the three men, two brothers and their friend, are entitled to a reward.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

European Parliament Speaker Slams Northern League MEP

Schulz expresses solidarity with Italian minister Kyenge

(ANSA) — Brussels, May 20 — An Italian member of the European Parliament made “unacceptable” racial comments that have brought “shame” on the institution, its speaker said Monday.

Martin Schulz blasted Mario Borghezio, who represents Italy’s separatist Northern League, for his racial slurs against the country’s first black cabinet minister, Cecile Kyenge. Schulz, who spoke during the opening session of the EU parliament, noted that a petition “signed by 130,000 people” has called for sanctions against Borghezio for his remarks.

The online petition was launched in early May in Italy to oust or at least sanction Borghezio after he called Premier Enrico Letta’s new executive a “bonga bonga government” and claimed Kyenge would seek to “impose her tribal traditions from the Congo”.

Kyenge, who was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, has risen through the ranks of Letta’s centre-left Democratic Party (PD) since she came to Italy in 1983.

Meanwhile, Schulz said he has also been “approached by many colleagues” demanding he take action against Borghezio.

The case is being further investigated by the EU’s Conference of Presidents which is comprised of Schulz and all political group Whips.

The Conference may be able to impose penalties, said Schulz, adding that Italian authorities should also consider whether a human rights violation has occurred.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Hungary’s Orban: Merkel Policy Like Nazi Invasion

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbàn deepened diplomatic tensions with Germany after comparing the policies of German Chancellor Angela Merkel to the Nazi military invasion of his country ordered by Adolf Hitler.

Orbàn’s recent parliamentary and constitutional reforms have raised concerns in Brussels that Hungary is sliding into a dictatorship and have prompted some to call for the country to be shut out of the EU.

Now, Orbàn has hit back against Merkel’s comment in a public discussion on Europe last week that Germany would “do everything to put Hungary onto the right path. But (…) won’t be sending in the cavalry straight away.”

Merkel’s comments were in answer to remarks by the main opposition Social Democrat Chancellor candidate Peer Steinbrück, who in the same discussion raised the prospect of throwing Hungary out of the EU on the basis of recent undemocratic reforms.

“The Germans already sent the cavalry once, and in the form of tanks,” Orbàn told listeners to his weekly radio broadcast on Friday, “Our request would be that they did not send them again. It wasn’t a good idea back then and it didn’t work.”

Orbàn’s comparison of Merkel’s treatment of Hungary with the Nazi military occupation of the country from March 1944 on-wards has raised eyebrows in Germany and worsened diplomatic tensions between the nations, wrote Der Spiegel magazine on Sunday.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Italy Food Exports Up, Production for Domestic Use Down

Internationalization of firms driving sector, says group

(ANSA) — Parma, May 16 — In the first quarter of 2013 Italian food exports increased 12% over last year and, for the first time firms, exporting foodstuffs have overtaken those producing exclusively for the domestic market, Italian food industry group Federalimentare said on Thursday.

Some 51% of Italian companies producing food products are undergoing “internationalization”, Federalimentare said at the Cibus Global Forum being held in Parma.

In addition, macroeconomic analysis conducted by Federalimentare on 1,000 companies found that almost one in four (23.2%) producers working on foreign markets provide 30% of total revenues for the sector.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Constitutional Court to Review Election Law, Says Newspaper

Calls increasing for end to Italy’s ‘pig’s dinner’ electoral law

(ANSA) — Rome, May 17 — The legitimacy of Italy’s electoral law, nicknamed the “Pig’s Dinner” because it was designed to be messy and produce instability, will soon be decided by one of Italy’s highest courts, according to newspaper reports published Friday. Italy’s Constitutional Court will review the electoral law based on petitions signed by 27 prominent citizens presented to the Court of Cassation, the country’s top appeal court, according to La Repubblica newspaper.

The despised law contributed to February’s inconclusive national election and led Premier Enrico Letta to vow to eliminate it.

“It’s a shameful law,” lawyer Aldo Bozzi, one of the 27 signatories to the petition, told La Repubblica.

Bozzi, grandson of the first president of the Chamber of Deputies, also described the law, passed in December 2005 shortly before a national election, as “a fraud”.

The current election law has been criticized for numerous flaws, including a concern that it awards an unfairly large bonus to the top party in the House and does not allow voters to pick their MPs.

That means that political party bosses, rather than local voters, effectively decide who becomes a lawmaker by setting the order in which candidates feature on the lists.

Some commentators have said this means politicians are more interested in pleasing their party superiors than they are in helping their constituents.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Ex-Northern League Senator Sentenced to 2 Years 6 Months

Stiffoni found guilty of embezzling party funds

(ANSA) — Rome, May 15 — Former Northern League Senator Piergiorgio Stiffoni was sentenced to two years and six months imprisonment by a Rome court on Wednesday for embezzling party funds. Stiffoni has been under investigation for more than a year as prosecutors probed the illegal use of party funds equalling 955,555 euros between 2008 and 2009.

The former senator’s sentence was plea bargained after of his “admission of responsibility,” the court said.

According to investigators, Stiffoni “provided important elements for continued probes”. Investigations into alleged broad misuse of public funding to the party broke last year in a scandal that led party founder and leader Umberto Bossi to quit.

Bossi and members of his family have been implicated in one of several embezzlement scandals.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Soccer: Balotelli Had to be ‘Held Back’ From Fiorentina Fans

Striker abused after controversial Milan win in Siena

(see related stories) (ANSA) — Rome, May 20 — Italy forward Mario Balotelli reportedly had to be held back from challenging Fiorentina fans in an ugly incident allegedly featuring racist abuse that took place as AC Milan returned from Sunday’s controversial 2-1 win over Siena on Sunday.

Balotelli scored a controversial late penalty to help Milan to a win that enabled them to finish third and qualify for the Champions League preliminaries at Fiorentina’s expense.

A video released on the Internet shows Milan players coming under a hail of abuse when they arrived at Florence’s Campo di Marte railway station to take a train home after their match at the nearby Tuscan city of Siena.

Fiorentina fans called Balotelli a “piece of s**t” and allegedly directed monkey chants at the 22-year-old, who has Ghanaian roots.

Members of Milan’s backroom staff reportedly had to prevent Balotelli from approaching the fans.

A Fiorentina supporter, meanwhile, said he had made a complaint to the police for allegedly being hit and kicked by Milan managers and players.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: IMU Decree ‘Price Paid’ For Berlusconi Alliance, Says Renzi

Govt suspending June payments on contested property tax

(ANSA) — Florence, May 20 — Florence Mayor Matteo Renzi on Monday called the Italian government’s measure to postpone and slash the controversial IMU property tax a political compromise his centre-left Democratic Party (PD) must shoulder to keep the current right-left government coalition together. “Acting on the IMU is the price paid for the alliance with Berlusconi,” Renzi told Radio 24, making reference to the ex-premier and centre-right leader Silvio Berlusconi, who made a major campaign promise of refunding payments made and scrapping the IMU in February’s inconclusive parliamentary elections. Centre-left Premier Enrico Letta’s cabinet on Friday approved a decree to suspend the June payment of the controversial IMU property tax after weeks of threats from Berlusconi.

The reform will cover businesses as well as homes, Letta said, after Berlusconi threatened to pull the plug on Letta’s fledgling right-left government unless firms got IMU breaks too.

On Monday, Renzi told the radio station, “I believe it is right to lower taxes, but I’d like to understand from where to begin. In Florence, we began with the IRPEF (personal income tax). The IMU on the first home, when there was one, we kept at a minimum, but on the second, third, fourth and fifth, it was at a maximum,” Renzi continued.

Renzi implied that his region had taken a progressive approach to tax-cutting aimed at relieving as many non-wealthy pockets as possible, but gave little respite to the wealthy.

The leader of his own party rebutted Renzi’s comments on Monday.

“It is not a gift to anyone but common sense,” quipped PD Secretary Guglielmo Epifani, referring to the fact that reforming IMU was a part of the center-left platform.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Renzi Says Center Left ‘In State of Shock’

‘PD must make new proposals, not just grind along’

(ANSA) — Rome, May 20 — Florence Mayor Matteo Renzi on Monday described his center-left Democratic Party (PD) as under “shock” after a tumultuous post-election period that led to an unprecedented left-right government. “The PD is a bit in a state of shock,” he said, adding that it needed to determine if it were capable of making new proposals or “if its just grinding along”. Renzi, a rising star in the PD, ran and lost in primaries against then PD chief Pier Luigi Bersani, who went on to squander a sizeable lead in opinion poles and arrive at a virtual three-way tie with the center-right People of Freedom (PdL) party of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi and the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) of comedian Beppe Grillo in February elections. Analysts had predicted that the more centrist Renzi, who went on to campaign for the former Communist Bersani, stood a better chance of winning a sizeable majority in the vote that ultimately led to two months of gridlock, the resignation of Bersani as PD secretary, and finally a coalition government led by Premier Enrico Letta of the PD that includes high-ranking center-right figures in key posts, such as Vice Premier and Interior Minister Angelino Alfano, the PdL secretary. Many see the bipartisan makeup of the current administration as highly volatile, with Berlusconi threatening to bring it down if further measures aren’t made to eliminate the contested IMU property tax, for example. Speaking at the Turin Book Fair, Renzi said “I hope Letta does well” and shot down suggestions that he run to lead the PD later this year. His new book, ‘Beyond Scrapping’, is widely seen as part of a future bid to run for premier.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Government is Working on Anti-M5S Law, Says Grillo

(AGI) Aosta, May 20 — Italy’s government is working on a law against the Five Star Movement, the anti-establishment group’s leader Beppe Grillo said on Monday at an election rally in Aosta. “And Napolitano remains silent, says nothing. Why?” Grillo asked.

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

Mother of Oxford Grooming Sex Gang Pair Blames Their Victims: She Says Schoolgirls ‘Should Have Been Playing With Toys’

[WARNING: ** Disturbing Content.**]

The mother of two members of the Oxford child sex abuse gang has blamed the schoolgirls for the ordeal they suffered, saying ‘they were having sex at the age of ten instead of playing with toys’.

She defended her sons — Akhtar, 32, and Anjum Dogar, 31 — and claimed they were innocent after they were found guilty of a catalogue of vile offences last week.

Mrs Dogar, believed to be called Bashira, accused the police, social services and the girls themselves of being complicit in creating Britain’s ‘grooming culture’.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Netherlands: Police Orchestrated Child’s Islamic Wedding

AMSTERDAM, 14/05/13 — An underage Islamic girl was married illegally in the Netherlands according to Islamic law following the assistance of the Amsterdam police, De Volkskrant newspaper reported Monday.

In the Netherlands the performance of a religious marriage without a preceding civil marriage is an offence. Nonetheless, such a marriage was performed, on the urging of the police. According to five witnesses, the police proudly presented this solution on 11 April at a workshop during a meeting on honour-related violence organised by the social affairs ministry.

The Pakistani girl, who was in love with a Pakistani Hindu boy in her neighbourhood, was resisting being married off to a cousin in Pakistan. The police brought her to a secret location, because her family threatened to kill her.

Meanwhile, the parents were spoken to. Eventually, they backed their daughter’s choice of partner, providing the couple would have an Islamic wedding. As a result, the honour of the family was saved and the Pakistani uncle could be rejected, according to De Volkskrant.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Netherlands: Rotterdam to Sack Whiste-Blower on Mosque Schools

THE HAGUE, 16/05/13 — Rotterdam city council wants to sack the civil servant who revealed there are illegal Turkish mosque-related boarding schools in the city.

The man gave documents pertaining to a mosque boarding school to newspaper NRC Handelsblad. The paper now says the man has received a letter from Rotterdam city council stating that he will be fired “with immediate effect” because of “serious dereliction of duty” as the documents are considered secret.

Opposition parties Liveable Rotterdam (Leefbaar Rotterdam) and Socialist Party (SP) find the city’s actions wrong. They say the civil servant first reported the circumstances — scores of young girls were living in the attic of the Faith mosque — to the city before involving the media. The mosque appeared to have no license to house the girls overnight and furthermore their quarters did not meet fire regulations.

Ronald Schneider of Leefbaar Rotterdam, the largest opposition party, said “because of the whistle-blower, alderman Hugo de Jong established that the mosque boarding school existed and had developed plans to monitor developments there. In short: some good has happened thanks to this man.”

Hundreds of children live in often poorly maintained mosques in the Netherlands. The government often does not know the boarding schools exist, the NRC Handelsblad reported recently.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Nutella Maker First Italian on Bloomberg Billionaires Index

Ferrero ranks 27th, Luxottica eyewear baron 37th

(ANSA) — Rome, May 17 — Michele Ferrero, whose eponymous company makes the much-loved hazelnut and chocolate spread Nutella, became the first Italian to make it into the Bloomberg Billionaires Index this week. The inventor of Nutella and of Kinder chocolates ranks 27th on the index with a total of $23.2 billion of assets, 10 slots above the founder of Luxottica, Leonardo del Vecchio, with his $18.6 billion in assets.

No other Italians are in the rankings of the world’s richest 100 individuals. The latest release of the Bloomberg Billionaires Index saw Bill Gates, 57, recapture the title of world’s richest man from Mexican businessman Carlos Slim.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Sweden: Youths Burn 100 Cars in North Stockholm Riots

Youths rioted in northern Stockholm on Sunday night, setting fire to cars and throwing rocks at police, in what is believed to be a protest against the fatal police shooting of a machete-wielding man in the suburb last week.

“At 10pm we sent out staff to an address in Husby,” explained Lars Byström of the Stockholm police to the Dagens Nyheter newspaper.

“My colleagues were met by young people who threw stones at them. It continued with a pair of violent riots and extensive damage.”

The riot kicked off when young people set fire to cars in Husby, a suburb in the far north of Stockholm. Witnesses claim at least 100 vehicles in the area were in flames. Another fire was lit in a nearby garage, resulting in the evacuation of the apartment block. Around 50 residents were taken care of and sheltered in buses that were on hand.

The local shopping centre was also vandalized, and three police officers were injured in the fracas. Police estimate that the riots involved somewhere between 50 and 60 youths.

Forty emergency workers from both police and the firefighting service were on hand.

The protests come in response to a fatal police shooting of a 69-year-old man in Husby last Monday, according to the youth organization Megafonen. The man had been threatening police with a machete before he was shot.

Initially, police to the press that the man died from his injuries at hospital, but it later emerged that the 69-year-old died at the scene.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Sweden: Police ‘Called Husby Residents Monkeys’

The Swedish police reportedly called Husby rioters “monkeys” on Sunday night, with residents already concerned police were spreading disinformation which provided “the spark for social discontent” according to local newspaper Norra Sidan’s (The North Side) editor-in-chief Rouzbeh Djalaie.

“There’s frustration in Husby and it risks spiralling out of control, people want long-term solutions to social problems instead of an increased police presence,” Djalaie told The Local.

“It’s a neighborhood where one third of junior high school graduates leave school without adequate grades, they step straight out into unemployment. It’s obvious what the consequences are.”

Djalaie said he had spoken with people of all ages in Husby following Sunday night’s riot, including a local youth leader who went up to the police with some of his teenagers and asked if they could help.

The response, the youth leader said, was that the police called him a nigger while they boys were called monkeys. They also said the police attacked them with batons.

“If the police don’t want to cooperate, they should just say it, they don’t have to call people names and hit them with batons,” Djalaie said.

“No one is happy today, not even the ones who torched the cars, everyone knows this is not the solution to the problems.”

The Monday shooting of a man who wielded a machete at police added to the build-up. The police report stated that an ambulance took the man to the hospital after he was shot, but local youth network Megafonen reported on May 15th that neighbours said there was never an ambulance.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Sweden Riots: Youths in Husby, Stockholm Suburb, Set Fires, Throw Rocks After Police Shooting

STOCKHOLM — Gangs of youth angered by the police shooting death of an elderly man in a mainly immigrant neighborhood hurled rocks at police and set cars and buildings on fire in a Stockholm suburb early Monday, forcing the evacuation of an apartment block.

Around 50 youths were involved in the riots in the suburb of Husby, police spokesman Lars Bystrom said.

The youths set light to a parking garage, compelling police to evacuate residents from an adjacent apartment block, Bystrom said. Residents were allowed to return home after a couple of hours.

Around 80 percent of the roughly 11,000 people living in Husby — a drab, low-income neighborhood of apartment blocks west of Stockholm — are first or second generation immigrants.

Bystrom said police responded to calls of burning cars and were met by masked youths hurling rocks at them.

One policeman was attacked by youths kicking him and two others were injured by rocks, local police officer Jorgen Karlsson said. He added around 10 cars were set ablaze, and windows were smashed at two schools and several local businesses.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Thatcher Biographer Unveils Her Human Side

(AGI) — London, May 19 — A biography of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher said she was “a disaster at home” and “a mother who didn’t know how to play with her children”.

The biography written by Charles Moore has already hit the best-sellers list by revealing the undisclosed human side of Mrs Thatcher. The biographer, who began the work in 1997, had access to personal correspondence and to the “Iron Lady’s” family and friends. They were able to outline the human aspects of the only woman who ever led the British government.

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

UK: Landowner Who Spent ‘Hundreds of Thousands’ Restoring Dead Norfolk Broad Facing Prosecution for Leaving it ‘Suburbanised’

When retired oil executive David Pooley decided to pour hundreds of thousands of pounds into restoring a dead Norfolk broad, he thought the local authority would be delighted with his efforts.

The retired 64-year-old spent three years working with a team of people working on the beauty spot for the benefit of this local community.

But now the Broads Authority are threatening to prosecute him because he restored Sotshole Broad in Ranworth, Norfolk, without planning permission and left the site ‘suburbanised’.

Mr Pooley bought the site near his home in 2005 when he retired from working in the oil industry.

Although the site is privately owned, he happily lets friends and villagers walk their dogs on the land and opens the doors to everyone for three weeks a year.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Swivel-Eyed, Or Seeing Clearly?

The latest row between leadership and base shows that the Tories can no longer rely on unquestioning loyalty, argues party historian Tim Bale

Judging by the number of constituency association officers willing to take to the airwaves over the weekend, to call the Conservative grassroots grumpy doesn’t quite cut it. Many activists are clearly livid with a leadership they believe is riding roughshod over everything they hold dear. The high command, meanwhile, is increasingly exasperated with its own supporters. Not all would go so far as the close ally of David Cameron who was reported by this newspaper as venting his frustration at the “swivel-eyed loons” among the membership, but both MPs and party officials will privately admit that the grassroots are far more restive than they once were…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Some Anti-Fascists Are Very Fascistic

by Douglas Murray

Nigel Farage has just met one of the most fascinating aspects of modern politics. He was surrounded in Edinburgh by left-wing ‘anti-fascists’ shouting ‘Racist scum. Go back to England’. The same mob also screamed ‘scum’ repeatedly at the top of their voice until they made him leave. This is probably the best demonstration so far of something which has gone un-remarked upon for too long.

Among the closest thing we have to fascists in modern Britain are people who call themselves ‘anti-fascists’. Not all people who call themselves ‘anti-fascist’, thank goodness. But a sizable portion. If you ever see these people in action you will notice that they behave in exactly the way you would expect their alleged opponents to behave. It is not just their behaviour (screaming, shouting, marching, fighting, threatening, brawling etc) that is so evocative of fascism. It is the belief that their rigid belief system is the only correct one and that all opponents are ‘scum’ who must be ‘smashed’ (this really is the language they use).

Their targets now include people who are actual anti-fascists. I have written here before of how Hope not Hate, an ‘anti-fascist’ group took it upon itself to publish a top-ten hit-list of ‘Islamophobes’, one of whom — a Danish journalist and free-speech advocate — was subsequently visited by an assassin. In recent weeks Hope not Hate have been mulling over whether to campaign against UKIP as well as the BNP. By crossing such lines ‘anti-fascists’ do more than strip terms we need of any meaning. They turn language and politics upside down.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Tories Begin Defecting to UKIP Over ‘Loons’ Slur

Conservative activists have begun defecting to the UK Independence Party in protest at the Tory leadership’s “arrogant and insulting” attitude towards grassroots members.

Local Conservative party campaigners, including the chairman of one constituency association, will this week pledge their support for Nigel Farage after one of David Cameron’s allies described grassroots Tories as “mad, swivel-eyed loons”.

Mr Farage uses an advertisement in Monday’s Telegraph to urge Conservative voters to back Ukip. The “loons” description, he says, is “the ultimate insult” from a party leadership that has betrayed the trust of its own supporters.

He writes in the advertisement: “Only an administration run by a bunch of college kids, none of whom have ever had a proper job in their lives, could so arrogantly write off their own supporters.”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Wagner Great-Granddaughter Releases Family Hitler Archives

(AGI) Berlin, May 19 — Katharina Wagner intends to donate the Bavarian archives inherited from her father, Wolfgang, containing unpublished documents on her family’s relationship with Adolf Hitler, who was a fervent admirer of the composer Richard Wagner. The director of the Bayreuth Festival explained she wanted to offer historians access to her family’s past and its relationship with the German dictator, in an interview with the newspaper Tagesspiegel on the 200th anniversary of the composer’s birth.

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

We Must Stay in the EU, Says British Business

(AGI) — London, May 20 — The British business world is fighting against the Conservative government’s decision to hold a referendum in 2017 on the country’s memebership of the EU.

“British business: We need to stay in the EU — or risk losing up to 92bn a year” read the headline in Monday’s edition of the Independent.

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

Egypt: ‘Army Readies in Sinai for Major Anti-Militant Operation’

Sinai, 20 May (AKI) — The Egyptian army sent dozens of armoured vehicles and personnel carriers across the Suez Canal into North Sinai early on Monday, Al-Ahram online said, citing an unnamed official. The move came after suspected Islamist gunmen staged a dawn attack on a military base in the peninsula and earlier kidnapped seven members of the security forces.

There were no casualties reported in Monday’s attack in which the gunmen aboard a truck fired automatic weapons, exchanging gunfire with forces inside the base before retreating, according to security sources.

The identity of the gunmen was not immediately clear, but security sources said they were likely to be Islamist militants, who, emboldened by the ousting of ex-president Hosni Mubarak in 2011 have carried out a number of attacks in the lawless North Sinai and across the border in Israel.

Gunmen demanding the release of jailed Islamist militants seized seven members of security forces on Thursday, who Egypt’s Islamist president Mohammed Moris has vowed will be released “swiftly and safely”.

The president also said there would be no dialogue with the abductors, state news agency MENA reported on Sunday.

A video posted to the video-sharing website YouTube on Sunday showed seven blindfolded men with their hands bound above their heads, begged Morsi to free the detained Sinai militants in exchange for their own release.

In the video, the men identify themselves by name, age and military rank and list their captors’ demands.

Al-Ahram said security services were checking the authenticity of the video which could not be independently verified.

Mursi said on Sunday that “all options are open” to free the hostages. “We will not succumb to any blackmail,” he wrote on Twitter shortly after the video was posted online.

The army shifted several units of troops to North Sinai “in preparation for taking part in a large-scale military operation to release the abducted soldiers if negotiations came to failure,” the government said on Sunday, cited by Al-Ahram.

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

Egypt: More Attacks on Coptic Orthodox Community, Two Churches Set on Fire

The two attacks targeted the church of St. Mary in a suburb of Alexandria and that of the small village of Menpal in Upper Egypt. In subsequent clashes one person died following a heart attack.

Cairo (AsiaNews / Agencies) — The Egyptian Coptic community faces a new escalation of attacks by Islamists. On 17 May, two churches were attacked with Molotov cocktails in the district of Dakhela, west of Alexandria, Egypt, and Menpal in Upper Egypt.

In Alexandria over 20 thousand Muslims attacked the church of St. Mary setting fire to the entrance of the building and shattering windows. A man died of a heart attack in the attack. In response to the violence, hundreds of Copts left their homes to create a human wall around the building. According to witnesses some Islamists armed with pistols and knives fired on the crowd, causing some injuries.

At the origin of the clashes is a dispute between two neighbors. Basem Ramzy Michael, a Coptic Christian, is reported to have behaved inappropriately towards the sister of Alloshy Hamada, a Muslim with a criminal record. In a short time the dispute between the two erupted into a sectarian clash.

A similar incident occurred last May 13, in the village of Menbal, Matay district, north of the province of Minya, where a Muslim mob stormed the church called the Tadros el-Mashreki and assaulted one person inside. The assailants threw stones at the building, looted Christian shops nearby and burned cars. The Coptic minority has been threatened with expulsion from the village. Once again the violence was sparked by a trivial quarrel between two young people. Some young Muslims are reported to have made advances to a group of Coptic girls, as they entered the church. Irritated at having been ignored the group waited for the young Christian girls to leave the Church and threw bags filled with urine at them. The young people were rescued by some Christians peers who have started a heated argument with Muslims. As in other cases, the news spread across the village. In a short time a crowd of Islamists rallied in front of the church, forcing young people to take refuge inside.

Ehab Ramzy, a Coptic Christian, prosecutor in the province and former member of parliament, said Menbal has a Muslim majority, while Manshiet Menbal, 10 kilometers away, has Coptic majority. “The Christians of the two villages — he explains — have nothing to do with the fight that took place in Manshiet Menbal. The young people were attacked just because they are Christian.” Two young Muslim men were arrested by police in Menbal. In the coming days there will be a reconciliation meeting between the two communities. “Now — he adds — the security forces are trying to arrest some young Copts. They have become a bargaining chip to seek reconciliation.”

AsiaNews sources underline that the attacks against the Coptic community are now a daily occurrence and are being ignored by the police, who because of the climate of chaos, let communities resolve disputes among themselves, although this can result in dead or wounded. The most serious incident took place on April 7 in front of the Cathedral of St. Mark in Cairo, where a group of Islamists attacked funerals of four Christians killed in sectarian clashes that took place on April 5 in the district of Khosous, on the outskirts of the capital, with stones and Molotov cocktails. The assault, which took place before the eyes of the police, left two dead and over 80 injured. A church building caught fire.

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

EU: More Scholarships for Tunisian Students

Additional 10 million euros funding to Erasmus Mundus and Tempus

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, MAY 14 — The European Union (EU) has agreed on additional 10 million euros funding to the Erasmus Mundus and Tempus programmes for Tunisia. This will be achieved by providing more scholarships to Tunisian students, researchers and academic staff to study and to perform research in the EU as well as through the setting up of cooperation projects between European and Tunisian universities.

“The EU is highlighting the importance of people-to-people exchanges and intercultural dialogues” said Stefan Fule, EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy. “In addition to the efforts already made to provide EU support for economic recovery and growth, to create new jobs and to reduce regional discrepancies in Tunisia, the EU is now also enhancing its support for quality education for Tunisian young people” Fule added.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Tunisian Police Clash With Islamists Over Banned Rally

Supporters of a hardline Islamist group clashed with Tunisian police in two cities on Sunday after the government banned its annual rally and the regional arm of al Qaeda urged it to stand firm against the authorities.

Violence broke out in the central city of Kairouan, venue of the planned rally, and in a district of Tunis, where a Reuters witness said a number of people were injured.

The Ansar al-Sharia group is the most radical to emerge in Tunisia since secular dictator Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali was toppled in 2011, and poses a test to the authority of the moderate Islamist government.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

PNA: EU: 20 Mln in April to 76,000 Salaries and Pensions

Gatt-Rutter, most tangible contribution to help public service

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, MAY 10 — The European Union has contributed approximately 20 million euros to the payment of salaries and pensions for April of nearly 76,000 Palestinian civil servants and pensioners in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

“The European Union — said the EU Representative John Gatt-Rutter — continues to support the Palestinian Authority, month by month, to meet the basic needs of the Palestinian population. Our contribution to the payment of salaries and pensions is one of the most tangible ways to help ensure delivery of public services”. “The EU’s direct financial support to the Palestinian Authority is not merely a cash-injection. Taken together with our institution-building programmes our efforts are designed to achieve real reforms on the ground,” added the EU Representative.

According to the Enpi website (, most of the European Union’s assistance to the Palestinian Authority is channeled 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]

Swastika Over Hebron — As of 11:15 am Israel Time, The Nazi Flag is Still Up There

Hundreds of residents of South Mount Hebron, Kiryat Arba — Hebron and Gush Etzion, who were driving to Jerusalem on Monday morning, spotted to their utter surprise a swastika flag perched up on the outskirts of the Arab settlement of Beit Ummar. The flag had been up there since the early morning hours. Residents reported the offensive flag to the IDF, but as of 11:15 AM Israel time, the flag is still up there.

“I felt like we’ve gone back to 75 years ago, and we’re losing our grip on this area,” said Uri Arnon, a resident of Kiryat Arba, adding: “The Arabs are no longer afraid to show their murderous aspirations, and they’re declare openly that they want to annihilate us.”

           — Hat tip: TV [Return to headlines]

Iraq: Car Bomb Kills 12 in Shia Neighbourhood North of Baghdad

(AGI) — Baghdad, May 20 — At least 12 people were killed and 20 injured when a car bomb exploded in the Shia neighbourhood of Shaab, north of Baghdad .

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

Nine Children From the Hague in Syria for Jihad

THE HAGUE, 18/05/13 — At least nine children from The Hague region are active in Syria. At least three people are in the picture as possible suspects of Jihad recruiting.

Nine underage Muslims from The Hague region have travelled to Syria to fight in the bloody battle against President Bashar al-Assad, according to Nicole Bogers, responsible for tracking down information at The Hague police unit. Additionally, a 16 year old girl from the region was “physically stopped” shortly before her departure on the basis of information from the AIVD secret service.

The police in The Hague have at least three people in their sights who may have been recruiting youngsters. “But we have a few other people in the picture,” says Bogers. Nobody has yet been arrested.

The three people appear in reports by family members of boys from The Hague and environs who have been recruited for the Jihad in Syria. The police are refusing to say where those reporting this and the recruiters come from, but the police investigation extends over The Hague, Zoetermeer and Delft.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

No Peace Deal in Syria and I Won’t be Stepping Down, Says President Al-Assad in Rare Interview

Amid the sound of shell fire, defiant Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad has told the West he will not step down.

In a rare interview conducted in the library of the presidential palace in Damascus, he warned America and Russia that peace talks were no nearer the negotiating table.

Assad accused western powers of wanting to topple his brutal regime and exacerbating violence.

When asked if he would resign as the civil war tearing apart his country entered its third year, he said: ‘Any decisions about reforms in Syria will come from Syria and neither the U.S. nor any other state can intervene.

‘In any case, to resign would be to flee.’

Speaking to the Argentinian newspaper Clarin who shared it with the Observer, Assad said there were too many separate rebel opposition groups to make a ceasefire work.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Obama-Backed FSA Rebels Name Their Brigade “Osama Bin Laden”

Underlining once again how the White House is openly seeking to arm terrorists in Syria, video has emerged of one of the FSA rebel groups referring to their unit as the “Osama Bin Laden” brigade.

The clip shows one of the militants proclaim how he is part of “The Osama bin Laden brigade of the Souqour Dimashq (Hawks of Damascus) Battalion…Allahu Akbar!” as the insurgents prepare to attack a Syrian Army checkpoint.

“Western countries have been claiming that the FSA is comprised of somewhat “secular” people and that jihadists have only joined the fight but they are not part of the FSA. Well, you cannot get more al-Qaeda’ish than calling a brigade “Osama bin Laden,” states the description accompanying the video.

Indeed, while the media narrative has attempted to frame the presence of Al-Qaeda terrorists in Syria under the banner of Jabhat Al-Nusra as a separate entity to FSA fighters, whom the White House is now preparing to arm with heavy weaponry, 29 FSA groups pledged allegiance to Al-Nusra, which was responsible for killing U.S. troops in Iraq, immediately after the group was declared a terrorist organization by the State Department back in December.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Saudi Arabia: Syrian Drug Trafficking Convict Beheaded

Riad, 20 May (AKI) — A convicted Syrian drug trafficker was beheaded in Saudia Arabia, the Spa news agency reported on Monday, citing an interior ministry statement.

Mohammed Yousuf Ezzeddine was executed in the city of Qurayat in the north of the country, according to the report.

Another convicted Syrian, Mohammed Khalaf, was executed in the Kingdom on 6 May.

Saudi Arabia has executed around 40 people since the beginning of the year and in 212 executed 70.

Homicide, rape, apostasy and drug trafficking are among crimes punishable by death.

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

Street Seller Self Immolates in Saudi Arabia

(AGI) Riyadh — A street seller died in Saudi Arabia after setting himself on fire in protest against the confiscation of his goods ..

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

Syria: At Least 23 Hezbollah Militants Killed in Qusayr

Highest death toll for Lebanese Party of God in years

(ANSAmed) — ROME, MAY 20 — At least 23 Hezbollah militants have died in the western Syrian town of Qusayr, where fighting has been raging since government troops launched a major offensive to seize the strategic rebel stronghold, al Arabya reports citing ‘concurring sources’. Other witnesses quoted by the New York Times spoke about 14 victims. The death toll is the highest in years for Lebanon’s Party of God siding with the Syrian army.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Turkey to Cease Cooperation With Firms Operating in Cyprus

(ANSAmed) ANKARA, MAY 20 — Turkey will cease cooperation with the companies operating in Cyprus, Anatolia news agency reported quoting Turkey’s Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Taner Yildiz as saying. According to the minister, exploration of hydrocarbons in the eastern Mediterranean is the right of the two sides — Cyprus and Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC, recognized only by Ankara). Last February, Turkey ceased cooperation with the Italian company Eni over its partnership with Cyprus in the field of hydrocarbon exploration in the eastern Mediterranean. Yildiz said the company was excluded from participation in the construction of the Samsun-Ceyhan oil pipeline, where Eni was collaborating with the Turkish company Calik Holding. Earlier, Ankara has repeatedly warned about the possibility of termination of cooperation with Eni, given it does not suspend cooperation with Cyprus in the eastern Mediterranean. Turkey considers that the conduct of work in the special economic zone is contrary to international law.

After Nicosia started the work in September 2011 on the development of the shelf off the coast of the island divided into Greek and Turkish parts, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey together with the TRNC will start to explore for oil and gas in a “special economic zone” of the Northern Cyprus. Turkey has repeatedly expressed its categorical opposition to the works, demanding to cancel plans for the development of hydrocarbons by Cyprus.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Twenty-Four Police Killed in Iraq Ambushes and Attacks

(AGI) Baghdad, May 20 — At least 24 policemen were killed in ambushes and attacks in the Iraqi province of Anbar on Sunday night. Twelve were killed in assaults on police stations and the others died in an attempt to free them after they were taken hostage, reported police and medical sources.

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

Twenty-Three Hezbollah Fighters Killed in Syria Battle

(AGI) — Beirut, May 20 — At least 23 Hezbollah fighters have been killed in a battle for control of the strategic city of Qusayr in central Syria. The rebel stronghold was taken back from the insurgents with heavy casualties among militia fighters and loyalist troops. The news was reported by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. “Reliable sources informed us that 23 men of the Hezbollah elite troops have been killed and another seventy were wounded in the battle over the city of Qusayr on Sunday”, an Observatory communique’ read. Hezbollah, together with Iran, is the principal ally of Bashar al-Assad’s regime on the ground. The Shi’ite religion is the basis of the alliance between Hezbollah and the Syrian Alawite minority, who were once considered to be heretics and now represent 12 percent of the population including President Assad’s family.

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

Double Car Bombing in Russia’s Dagestan Kills Eight

(AGI) Makhachkala — Eight people were killed and 22 injured in two car bombings in the Russian Republic of Dagestan .

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

Biden Now Blamed in SEAL Team 6 Deaths

Attorney: ‘He should even be held criminally accountable’

Klayman said Vice President Joe Biden deserves special blame for these deaths.

“Biden did something, which was more than irresponsible. He served on foreign relations committees, intelligence committees. He knew, or should have known, what he was doing. He should be held accountable. Frankly, he should even be held criminally accountable for doing that,” Klayman said…

Perhaps the greatest insult to the families was at the funeral for their sons in Afghanistan. The military refused to allow a Christian minister or chaplain at the service and instead brought in a Muslim cleric who proceeded to slander the fallen.

For some bizarre reason, probably this Muslim outreach again of Barack Obama, they had a Muslim cleric give a prayer. Why the heck you would have a Muslim prayer and the servicemen are Christian is beyond imagination. So it has to come from the top down. And this cleric then proceeded in Arabic. No one understood it at the time, but we have a video of it, and it was translated by certified translators. He proceeded to damn my clients’ sons, and others who died, as infidels and that they should go to hell under Allah, the Muslim god,” he said.

“That’s unbelievable. We’ve never even gotten an apology from the military that they did that,” said Klayman, who is demanding a congressional investigation and added that an announcement of litigation will be coming soon.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Indonesia: As Fresh Anti-Ahmadi Violence Breaks Out, Presidential Spokesperson Says Yudhoyono Protects Religious Freedom

Extremists target an East Java mosque used by Muslim “heretics”. The presidency and minority leaders continue to spar after a Jesuit priest and philosopher who wrote an open letter is accused of stirring sectarian tensions and portraying the country in a bad light.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) — Fresh sectarian violence broke out in Indonesia, involving once again the Ahmadi Muslim minority, deemed heretical by mainstream Muslims because it does not recognise Muhammad as the last prophet and has, for this reason, become the victim of persecution and abuse by Sunnis.

The latest incident took place a few days ago. It involves the Baitul Salam Mosque in the village of Gempolan, Pakel sub-district, East Java province, and follows a similar one in early May in West Java, where Ahmadi homes and mosque were attacked.

Episodes of this kind have fuelled a controversy over an award given to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono for his role in defending religious freedom, something strongly disputed by Catholic leaders and leaders of other minorities.

The incident in question began when a mob of hundreds of extremists attacked the Baitul Salam Mosque, throwing stones and other objects against the building, causing major damage.

Ostensibly, the attack was caused by a dispute between the head of the local Ahmadi community and leaders of neighbouring villages. The head of the “heretical” minority had in fact rejected demands that he stop worship services and spreading the Ahmadi ideology.

Such sectarian incidents have also caused tensions between the leaders of the country’s minorities and government officials in Jakarta with regards to an award given to the Indonesian President for his role in protecting religious freedom.

A presidential spokesperson reacted with harsh words to the criticism voiced by Fr Franz Magnis Suseno, a philosopher and Jesuit priest, in a letter he sent to the Appeal of Conscience Foundation (ACF), criticisng their decision to give President Yudhoyono the World Statesman Award.

In his statement, Julian Aldrin Pasha accused the Catholic religious of stirring sectarian tensions and spreading negative views about the highest office holder in the land. Instead, the award was given in recognition of the “good things [the president has] done to promote peace, confessional harmony and democracy.”

Still, despite the presidential spokesperson’s shrill accusations, facts speak louder than words as religious minorities continue to be the target of violence.

Increasingly, people are of the opinion that Yudhoyono’s “empty words and statements” are rarely followed up with real action to protect religious freedom and minorities.

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

Pakistan: Imran Khan Blames London-Based Rival for Zahra Shahid Hussain Killing

Imran Khan has blamed the British government and a political rival living in London for the murder of a senior member of his party, shot dead as she left her home in the sprawling port city of Karachi.

The killing of Zahra Shahid Hussain and accusations of vote rigging left Pakistan’s biggest city and its economic capital on a knife edge as people turned out for a re-run of voting in one constituency after last weekend’s general election. Mr Khan, the former cricket star whose Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) party made gains in the election, vented his anger on twitter. He said the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), the city’s dominant political force, and its leader were to blame — a claim the party has strongly denied.

“I hold Altaf Hussain directly responsible for the murder as he had openly threatened PTI workers and leaders through public broadcasts,” he wrote, describing the killing as “a targeted act of terror”. He added that the British government was also responsible for failing to heed his warnings about Mr Hussain, who has held a UK passport since being given political asylum in the 1990s…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

New Zealand’s Earliest Inhabitants

OTAGO, NEW ZEALAND—A new study of three groups of skeletons discovered in a cemetery at Wairau Bar suggests that the first group may have come from Polynesia to colonize New Zealand some 700 years ago. The ratio of isotopes in their bones are similar to those found in the Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia. The later groups of individuals probably grew up while covering a large area of New Zealand.

“This is consistent with other archaeological evidence that the first settlers in New Zealand were highly mobile. That members of Groups 2 and 3 were still buried back at Wairau suggests that this village may have fulfilled both a ceremonial and home base function,” said Hallie Buckley of the University of Otago. Traditionally, Maori are buried in their ancestral lands.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Nigeria: Drums of War

by Wole Olaoye

I cannot in good conscience blame President Jonathan for declaring state of emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states. I recall that during the first post-election presidential media chat with the president I did ask him a question on the perception and indeed prediction of some analysts that he would be the last president of Nigeria as presently known. His grinning mien creased into a scowl as he pointedly rejected the prognosis and instead declared that the unity of Nigeria and the integrity of its sovereign borders were unassailable. He said those predicting that Nigeria would disintegrate by 2015 would be shamed. That was before the Boko Haram group started taking territory and carrying on virtually as a sovereign state within the state of Nigeria.

I would have preferred that the Boko Haram menace was resolved through negotiations, but it seems this is a bad time for ‘pacifists’; the potential beneficiaries of amnesty upped the ante of violence rather than declare a ceasefire to allow negotiations. According to reports, barely 30 minutes after the declaration of the state of emergency, an official of the Christian Association of Nigeria was murdered in Maiduguri. Boko Haram had established a pattern of intimidation and impunity to the extent that those of us canvassing the amnesty option were at a loss as to how else the group could be reached to lay down arms and jaw-jaw with government…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

State of Emergency — Thousands Flee to Niger Republic

Maiduguri and Abuja — Thousands of people including women and children have fled the border towns of Borno and Yobe states into Niger Republic to avoid being caught up in the military operation aimed at rooting out insurgents from the areas, reports said yesterday. The refugees said they fled after seeing armed men in many trucks around their villages and feared a repeat of the Baga-style mass killings of last month. Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states have been under a state of emergency since Monday, following wave of attacks by members of the Jama’atu Ahlis Sunnah Lidda’awati Wal Jihad, also known as Boko Haram…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

The Day the Music Died in Mali

It has been almost nine months since Islamic militants in northern Mali announced that they were effectively banning all music. It’s hard to imagine, in a country that produced such internationally renowned music as Ali Farka Touré’s blues, Rokia Traoré’s soulful vocals and the Afro-pop traditions of Salif Keita.

The armed militants sent death threats to local musicians; many were forced into exile. Live music venues were shut down, and militants set fire to guitars and drum kits. The world famous Festival in the Desert was moved to Burkina Faso, and then postponed because of the security risk.

While French and Malian forces largely swept the militants from Timbuktu and other northern towns early this year, the region is still a battleground. Cultural venues remain shuttered.

[This enrages me, because Malian music is some of the most beautiful anywhere — particularly the mystic sound of the kora, an African harp played by masters such as Toumani Diabate and Ballake Sissoko. — PW]

           — Hat tip: Papa Whiskey [Return to headlines]

Brazil and the Bolivarian Revolution

Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez was known for having started and spread what is called the Bolivarian revolution, a kind of anti-American, dictatorial type of socialism. His success in spreading his revolution and his influence in the region would not have been so successful without the support of the moderate-left countries of Latin America as well as the ALBA block made up of Cuba, Nicaragua, Ecuador and Bolivia. In my last article I pointed out the role that countries in the region have played and continue to play in the perpetuation of the Bolivarian revolution in Venezuela.

However, of all the countries in the region, Brazil is a crucial piece in the support of the Bolivarian revolution. At this point is probably a more effective source of support than Cuba or any other member of ALBA, despite having openly distanced itself from the Venezuelan model. Indeed, Brazil has supported Chavez in the international arena thus helping prolong the agony of the Venezuelan people, the authoritarian practices of its government, and the geo-political threats to the region…

[Return to headlines]

Immigration-Linguistic Equation to Amnesty Bill S744

How do you kill a country? Answer: kill its language for starters.

The great philosopher Emanuel Kant said, “The two great dividers are: language and religion.”

Over the past 237 years, America struggled with its most burdensome problem: race relations. Black versus White. Not a week goes by where “racism” rears its ugly head somewhere in America. In 2013, we see tremendous disparity among whites, blacks and Latinas. Wherever one ethnic group dominates an area, racism invariably becomes a contentious factor.

While white racism dominated this country for the past 237 years since the birth of this Constitutional Republic, today European-Americans barely hold parity with Hispanics. By 2042, Caucasian America will become the new minority while Latinos will become the new majority. Middle Easterners with Arabic languages, Asians with multiple dialects, Indians, Africans of many countries and a hundred other languages will compete for dominance in their own communities where they enclave. In the 21st century, immigrants no longer care to engage in the American culture or its language.

Once a particular ethnic group becomes dominate in numbers, it becomes dominate in language. Once it becomes dominate in language, it presses for dominance in culture.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Italy: Congolese Migrant Arrested for Brutally Assaulting Girlfiend

Perugia, 20 May (AKI) — Police on Monday arrested a 22-year-old Congolese immigrant on suspicion of sexually assaulting and savagely beating his Italian girlfriend, allegedly after she refused to sleep with him.

Doctors said the 20-year-old girl from the central Italian city of Perugia will need 30 days to recover from the injuries she sustained in the savage attack on Sunday by the unnamed migrant.

The girl had bruises all over her body and a fractured right eye socket that will require an operation as well as deep wounds to her scalp and a bites on one of her calves, according to hospital doctors who are treating her.

The girl called emergency services and said her boyfriend had raped an assaulted her after she refused to have sex.

When police arrived at the apartment on the outskirts of Perugia, they found the Congolese migrant inside, pretending to be asleep in bed.

The migrant denies attacking his girlfriend and has been detained in Perugia’s Capanne jail.

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

Kyenge Says Italy Will ‘Gradually’ Change Citizenship Law

Reform must involve society, says minister

(ANSA) — Turin, May 20 — The Italian government should “gradually” find its way to extending citizenship automatically to children born in this country, Integration Minister Cecile Kyenge said Monday.

She spoke just days after Angelino Alfano, Italy’s interior minister and deputy premier, said the issue was not a priority for the government.

Kyenge, who has been pressing the issue, refused to respond directly to Alfano’s statement when she spoke to reporters Monday at the Turin Book Fair.

But she made it clear that she wasn’t losing hope.

“We need to meet and gradually get to a proposal,” on ensuring the Italian-born children of migrants are given citizenship status, she said.

The issue, she added, is one “that must be tackled through an atmosphere of confrontation and dialogue, involving both civil society and the state institutions”.

As she spoke, members of the right-wing Fratelli d’Italia mounted a flash-mob protest on Rome’s Spanish Steps, unfurling a banner expressing their opposition to an opening up of citizenship laws.

Kyenge, a doctor who was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, is Italy’s first black cabinet minister.

Her efforts to reform Italy’s immigration laws have been running into strong opposition.

The anti-immigrant Northern League and other parties on the right have argued for tougher immigration laws and enforcement, and have warned that Kyenge’s proposals would increase the flow of migrants into the country.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Experimental Use of Stem-Cell Therapy Approved for Italy

Treatment controversial due to possible cell origins

(ANSA) — Rome, May 15 — Legislation permitting the experimental use of stem cells in medical therapies was approved Wednesday by Italian politicians on the social affairs committee.

An amendment to existing law received unanimous approval for the testing of stem-cell therapy under controlled conditions approved by the Ministry of Health.

As well, three million euro from the national health fund will be allocated for the testing, which is to begin July 1 and extend for 18 months.

The committee has officially approved what is already the practice in at least one Italian hospital, despite court rulings against the procedure. A toddler at the Brescia hospital in northern Italy has been undergoing stem-cell treatment which the government grudgingly approved of in March.

At the time, the health minister said it would be risky to the child’s health to stop treatments that were underway.

Treatments for local toddler Celeste Carrer involve stem-call transplants from her mother’s bone marrow, and began 18 months ago to halt the spinal muscular atrophy causes the toddler’s muscles to waste away.

Celeste was reportedly able to move her neck, arms, and legs following an early treatment.

Stem-cell treatment, which is legal in Italy in life-threatening instances, is contentious because it sometimes involves the destruction of a human embryo.

Italy banned the use of embryos in stem cell research in 2004, but in 2007 Italian researchers obtained adult stem cells which they said were as effective as those obtained from embryos.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Gay Marriage Laws Set to Pass After Labour Refuses to Back Tory Rebels as Cameron is Warned Party is in a ‘Spiral of Irrelevance’

Gay marriage laws are expected to clear their latest hurdle in the Commons tonight, after Labour agreed to back it in a series of votes.

David Cameron has faced down his backbenchers to press ahead with his plan for same-sex weddings, despite warnings the party is haemorrhaging grassroots support.

It came after former Tory donor Lord Ashcroft warned the party risks being plunged into a ‘spiral of irrelevance’…

Grassroots Tories warned of a ‘crisis of conservatism’, saying the Prime Minister was badly out of touch with the party membership over gay marriage.

Opening up civil partnerships to all would be a far bigger move than gay marriage itself, which affects only relatively small numbers.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

London Gay Hate Attack Leaves Magazine Editor Beaten

Christopher Bryant, editor of gay and lesbian magazine Polari, was viciously beaten in an anti-gay attack last night

The editor of an online gay and lesbian magazine was brutally attacked last night in South London, according to a report today in Gay Star News.

Christopher Bryant, the editor of Polari magazine, and his partner Damon were apparently walking home from Bryantâ€(tm)s birthday dinner through South Londonâ€(tm)s Betts Park when the couple was intercepted by a group of six men..

After realising they were being followed, the two men started running, after which the group of six gave chase and apparently caught Christopher’s partner Damon.

Bryant told Gay Star News: “It all went down so fast.”

His report states that he doubled-back to try to get the attackers off his partner when they beat him to the ground, kicking his face and saying “stay down, faggot”. Bryant said that every time he tried to look up, his attackers would kick him in the face and said “donâ€(tm)t try anything”.

The attackers stole Bryantâ€(tm)s wallet and phone before pushing him back to his partner and telling them to stay still for five minutes or they would be killed.. The attackers ran off shortly after.

Bryant told Gay Star News that the couple was in the hospital emergency room for hours, and images show his face being badly cut and bruised. His partner was kicked in the back and suffered injuries to his hip.

Police are investigating the attack and looking for suspects. After reviewing CCTV, the police were initially unable to track the suspects leaving the park.

The attack comes just one day after International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO), a global campaign to raise awareness against gay hate.

           — Hat tip: Steen [Return to headlines]

Netherlands: Anti-Meat Propaganda in School Exams

THE HAGUE, 18/05/13 — The Dutch language exam for secondary education at HAVO level was a propaganda text for vegetarianism, in the opinion of the Christian democrats (CDA). Thousands of pupils had to answer questions about a text by the controversial anti-meat activist Roos Vonk.

CDA MP Geurts says he has received many complaints from parents. The text is said to be a one-sided argument against eating meat. It was written by Vonk, a professor who has been reprimanded by the Radboud University after a fabricated publication in which she claimed that eating meat makes people aggressive.

The exam text states that people who eat meat are “antisocial and immoral,” though it is also possible that they are “simply ignorant or stupid.” The text was used for a text analysis exam for the subject of Dutch at HAVO, the middle level of secondary education.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

5 thoughts on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 5/20/2013

    • Do not be fooled by the dhimmis currently in power! The USA will never submit to the 7th century superstitions created by a slave-mongering pedophile warlord.
      If you had eyes to see, you’d realize that it was the West that invented the car you drive, the airplanes you bomb, the trains, the radios, the televisions, the phones and cellphones, the air conditioning, the electric grids, the life-saving medicines, the computers, and every appliance in your kitchen and garage. The free speech of the West invented the modern world!

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