Gates of Vienna News Feed 5/2/2013

Forty-three Afghan migrants were rescued off the southern coast of Italy after their boat ran aground. Among the refugees were an infant, sixteen children, and eleven women, one of them pregnant. They are now being cared for by the Italian authorities.

In other news, according to sources in the Boston bombing investigation, the Tsarnaev brothers originally planned their attack for the Fourth of July, but moved it up when they finished building their bombs early.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Diana West, Fjordman, Insubria, JD, 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
» Coulter: America’s Most Feared Economist
» Economic Misery: The New Normal
» European Central Bank Cuts Key Interest Rate by Quarter Point
» Italy Sees Light at the End of Tunnel, Gurria Says
» Obama Discovers Reelection Super Weapon: Food Stamps! And We Pay for it.
» Scrapping Property Tax Not a Priority for Italy, Says OECD
» AG Holder’s ‘See No Evil’ Muslim Dilemma
» Boston Bombing Suspects Had First Planned Attack for July Fourth
» Controversial Teacher Conference Focuses on ‘White Privilege, ‘ Crushing Student Resistance to Radical Ideas
» Daniel Kessler: The Coming Obamacare Shock
» Is Tamerlan Tsarnaev the New Lee Harvey Oswald?
» JPMorgan Warned Over ‘Manipulative Schemes’ In Energy Markets
» May Day! Communist Goals as Outlined in 1963 Coming to Fruition
» Obama Housing Nominee: Most White People Won’t Vote for Black Candidate, Should be Excluded From ‘Democratic Process’
» Obama’s National-Security Fraud
» Rotten to the Common Core
» Senate Gungrabbers Not Done Yet!
» Should Christians Give Up Their Guns?
» Springtime for Bloomberg
» Why Washington is a Swamp
Europe and the EU
» Earliest Great Ape Had Posture Like Humans, Fossils Suggest
» European Commission: From Dalligate to Olafgate?
» France-Germany: ‘Berlin Declares France a Problem State’
» Italian MEP Makes Racist Comments About First Black Minister
» Italy: Kercher Family ‘Won’t Read Amanda Knox Book’
» Italy: Finmeccanica 2012 Net Loss Narrows to 786 Million Euros
» Italy: The Traps Awaiting the New Generation
» Italy: Finmeccanica Seals $141-Mln Contract for F-35 Jets
» Spain: Metal Tomb Raiders Ransack Seville Cemetery
» UK: SAS Sniper Faces Retrial for Bringing Gun and Ammo Back Into the UK Despite Previous Conviction Being Overturned
» Albania: OECD’s Zannier Concerned About Election
North Africa
» Islamic Financing Growing Fast, KFH Estimates Show
» Tunisians Hunt Two Jihadist Groups Near Algerian Border
Middle East
» Iran: American Pastor Saeed Abedini Thrown Into Solitary Confinement in Iran; Health Deteriorating
» SARS-Like Virus Kills Five in Saudi Arabia
» Sunni-Shia Confrontation Pushes Iraq Back to the Brink of War
» Syrian Loyalists Control District in Central Homs
» Turkey: 8,000 Soldiers, 22,000 Rebels Killed in 30 Years
» UAE: Luxury Gated Community District One Under Construction
» 1st Meteorites From 1908 Tunguska Explosion Possibly Found
» Afghan Migrants Rescued Off Calabrian Coast
» Iranians Arrested for Posing as Italian Cops
» Sweden: New Bill Gets Tough on Refugee-Shy Towns
Culture Wars
» Mark Steyn: The Collapsing of the American Skull
» Our Christian President
» Wealthy GOP Donor Group Launches Lobbying Effort to Push Republicans to Support Homosexual ‘Marriage’
» Al Qaeda Branches Strengthen as Center Weakens
» Beyond Kepler: New Missions to Search for Alien Planets
» Why is Our Solar System Such a Cosmic Weirdo?

Coulter: America’s Most Feared Economist

You can tell the conservatives liberals fear most because they start being automatically referred to as “discredited.” Ask Sen. Ted Cruz. But no one is called “discredited” by liberals more often than the inestimable economist John Lott, author of the groundbreaking book More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws.

Lott’s economic analysis of the effect of concealed-carry laws on violent crime is the most thoroughly vetted study in the history of economics, perhaps in the history of the world…

In 1997, a computer crash led to the loss of Lott’s underlying data. Fortunately, he had previously sent this data to his critics — professors Dan Black, Dan Nagin and Jens Ludwig. When Lott asked if they would mind returning it to him to restore his files, they refused. (One former critic, Carlisle Moody, conducted his own analysis of Lott’s data and became a believer. He has since co-authored papers with Lott.)

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Economic Misery: The New Normal

The most onerous increasing cost for an employee base? Obamacare

The weakest recovery in the nation’s history continues. On Wednesday, payroll processing firm ADP reported that private sector businesses created a disappointing 119,000 jobs in the month of April. Once again, to use a word that should embarrass those who support the Obama administration’s Keynesian economic policies, this meager total was “unexpected.”

Economic “experts” surveyed by Reuters had predicted at least 150,000 new jobs. “Nearly every industry has seen slower growth since the beginning of the year,” said Moody’s economist Mark Zandi. “Smaller businesses are experiencing much weaker growth.”

Most of the jobs were created in the service industries, which added 113,000 positions, while goods production accounted for the other 6,000. Both figures represented 7-month lows in growth. Adding to the misery, ADP’s March total of 158,000 jobs gained was revised downward to 131,000, and the latest data show the manufacturing sector, which lost 10,000 jobs, has plateaued, or may be slowing down again…

Furthermore, despite a U3 unemployment rate of 7.6 percent, used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to calculate “official” unemployment, the U6 rate that far more accurately reflects reality, is 13.8 percent. The reason the U3 rate is misleading is because people who have given up looking for work aren’t counted as unemployed. Since America’s workforce participation rate is at its lowest level since 1979, reality is being manipulated to make the Obama administration’s dismal economic policies look better than they actually are.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

European Central Bank Cuts Key Interest Rate by Quarter Point

The European Central Bank cut its benchmark interest rate to a record low Thursday, a mostly symbolic move that could lift morale in the euro zone but is unlikely to jolt the Continent out of recession.

The E.C.B., meeting in Bratislava, Slovakia, cut its benchmark interest rate to 0.5 percent from 0.75 percent, which was already a record low. It was the first change in interest rates since July 2012 and the bank’s fourth cut since Mario Draghi took over as president of the E.C.B. in November 2011.

[Return to headlines]

Italy Sees Light at the End of Tunnel, Gurria Says

‘Enormous effort’ being made

(ANSA) — Rome, May 2 — Italy is already seeing “the light at the end of the tunnel” of the economic crisis, OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria said Thursday after meeting with Prime Minister Enrico Letta in Rome. Gurria told a joint press conference with the new Italian premier that “an enormous effort” was being made to restore health to Italy’s public finances which “must be consolidated”.

Cutting taxes “is a concern for all”, Gurria also said, and in particular the cost of labour needs to be addressed ahead of tax cuts for companies. The OECD secretary-general said that in order to do this, action needed to focus on VAT, real estate properties and the development of the green economy.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Obama Discovers Reelection Super Weapon: Food Stamps! And We Pay for it.

Food stamps accounted for 72 BILLION DOLLARS of our tax funds in one year

The numbers game being played by Democrats reflects one very important item in the elections game — total votes. The process of buying votes has been one of Obama’s strongest activities since he took over remodeling our government from a Constitutionally strong world center of manufacturing and invention to one of sky-high loss of jobs and long lines for unemployment checks. But even there Obama has found the secret to getting more votes in this jobless atmosphere — food stamps, not at campaign expense but at taxpayer expense.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Scrapping Property Tax Not a Priority for Italy, Says OECD

Berlusconi’s party threatens to sink govt over issue

(ANSA) — Rome, May 2 — The OECD said Thursday that scrapping the IMU property tax should not be a priority for Enrico Letta’s new government.

IMU is at the centre of the political tensions for Letta’s fledgling left-right government as ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Freedom (PdL) party is threatening to pull its support unless the widely despised tax is abolished.

Berlusconi also wants the 2012 revenues collected from IMU returned to taxpayers to respect the key pledge he made in the run-up to February’s inconclusive general election.

Letta has said that June’s IMU payments would be suspended as part of a review of the tax, but he has not promised to abolish it completely.

“If the priorities are growth and jobs, the first thing to cut is labour taxes,” OECD Chief Economist Pier Carlo Padoan told a press conference after the organisation released a report on the Italian economy.

“Reducing labour taxes is more important than reducing IMU”. IMU was instituted among a series of austerity measures under former premier Mario Monti’s emergency technocrat government to restore health to Italy’s public finances.

Abolishing IMU and reimbursing the 2012 revenues from it would create a hole of around eight billion euros in this year’s budget.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

AG Holder’s ‘See No Evil’ Muslim Dilemma

It is a sad sight to watch a man grapple with a world that fails to meet his expectations. Unless that man is Eric Holder. Then it is simply infuriating.

The attorney general, warped by his own prejudice, is confused because his fellow citizens are better people than he imagines.

Holder sees white bigots around every corner, and can’t handle the truth that very few Americans actually hate Muslims. So, like Elmer Fudd hunting “wascally wabbits,” Holder’s shots usually backfire.

His Monday speech to the Anti-Defamation League was a classic case of twisted thinking. With his FBI fumbling a chance to stop the Boston bombers, he bizarrely stressed his determination to punish anyone who discriminates against Muslims.

Of course, he didn’t admit that the bombers were Islamists. That would violate the Obama administration’s omerta on linking Islam to terrorism.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Boston Bombing Suspects Had First Planned Attack for July Fourth

WASHINGTON — The surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings told F.B.I. interrogators that, as he and his brother plotted their deadly assault, they considered suicide attacks and striking on the Fourth of July, according to a law enforcement official.

But the suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, told investigators that he and his brother, Tamerlan, 26, who was killed in a shootout with the police, ultimately decided to use pressure-cooker bombs and other homemade explosive devices, the official said.

The brothers finished building the bombs in Tamerlan’s apartment in Cambridge, Mass., faster than they anticipated and so decided to accelerate their attack to the Boston Marathon on April 15, Patriots Day in Massachusetts, from July, according to the account that Dzhokhar provided authorities. They picked the finish line of the marathon after driving around the Boston area looking for alternative sites, according to this account.

In addition, Mr. Dzhokhar told authorities that he and his brother viewed the Internet sermons of Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical American cleric who moved to Yemen and was killed in September 2011 by an American drone strike. There is no indication that the brothers communicated with Mr. Awakli before his death.

[Return to headlines]

Controversial Teacher Conference Focuses on ‘White Privilege, ‘ Crushing Student Resistance to Radical Ideas

By Ashleigh Costello

GREEN BAY, Wis. — More than 200 Wisconsin teachers and school administrators traveled to Green Bay last week to attend CREATE Wisconsin’s 2013 state conference.

EAGnews decided to join them, to get a first-hand look at what the program, sponsored by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, is all about.

State officials contend the CREATE program is nothing more than an effort to help teachers better understand and serve minority students. But as EAGnews previously reported, CREATE appears to have a much more broad and progressive agenda than simply working to close the achievement gap between students of color and their white counterparts.

Many of the presentations focused on how public schools supposedly promote “white culture” and “white privilege,” to the detriment to students of color. Presenters called on educators to recognize and acknowledge their white privilege and encourage their students to do the same. Only then, presenters argue, can all students truly receive a multicultural education.

The conference also focused on teaching race-based topics in the classroom and how to respond to student resistance when talking about white privilege. The goal seems to be to crush dissent, convince white kids that they need to feel guilty about themselves and the society they grew up in, and convince minority kids that current American social structures are hopelessly stacked against them.

Who will ultimately benefit from such a divisive and negative approach? We wonder if anyone will at all.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Daniel Kessler: The Coming Obamacare Shock

Millions of Americans will pay more for health insurance, lose their coverage, or have their hours of work cut back.

Because the government subsidies to purchasers of health insurance in the small-group market are significantly smaller than those in the individual market, I estimate that another 10 million people, the approximately two-thirds of the market that is low- or average-risk, will see higher insurance bills for 2014.

Higher premiums are just the beginning, because virtually all existing policies in the individual market and the vast majority in the small-group market do not cover all of the “essential” benefits mandated by the law. Policies without premium increases will have to change, probably by shifting to more restrictive networks of doctors and hospitals. Even if only one third of these policies are affected, this amounts to more than five million people.

In addition, according to Congressional Budget Office projections in July and September 2012, three million people will lose their insurance altogether in 2014 due to the law, and six million will have to pay the individual-mandate tax penalty in 2016 because they don’t want or won’t be able to afford coverage, even with the subsidies.

None of this counts the people whose employment opportunities will suffer because of disincentives under ObamaCare. Some, whose employers have to pay a tax penalty because their policies do not carry sufficiently generous insurance, will see their wages fall. Others will lose their jobs or see their hours reduced.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Is Tamerlan Tsarnaev the New Lee Harvey Oswald?

The claim that the Russians somehow “warned” the U.S. about Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s radical Islamic connections has been accepted by most news organizations and commentators as established fact. But while U.S. intelligence agencies have a lot to explain, the Russian security services have been treated with kid gloves and even as the “good guys” in this affair.

Russian media, including the English-language propaganda channel Russia Today (RT), have been insisting that the U.S. is to blame for the Boston bombings because vague “warnings” from Moscow were ignored.

It is reminiscent of when Lee Harvey Oswald, a pro-Castro Marxist who had traveled back and forth to Russia, assassinated President John F. Kennedy, and the Russian KGB promptly launched a disinformation campaign in the media blaming right-wingers in Dallas and the CIA for the murder. The Soviets — and the Cubans — were determined to obscure their links to the assassin.

The obvious question in this case is: If the Russian intelligence agencies were suspicious of the brother’s terror ties, why did they not arrest and imprison him?


It now appears, however, that the Russians had far more “information” about Tsarnaev than the FBI had. It looks like they did not share that information but were trying to determine what, if anything, the FBI and CIA knew about him.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

JPMorgan Warned Over ‘Manipulative Schemes’ In Energy Markets

Government investigators have found that JPMorgan Chase devised “manipulative schemes” that transformed “money-losing power plants into powerful profit centers,” and that one of its most senior executives gave “false and misleading statements” under oath.

The findings appear in a confidential government document, reviewed by The New York Times, that was sent to the bank in March, warning of a potential crackdown by the regulator of the nation’s energy markets.

The possible action comes amid showdowns with other agencies. One of the bank’s chief regulators, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, is weighing new enforcement actions against JPMorgan over the way the bank collected credit card debt and its possible failure to alert authorities to suspicions about Bernard L. Madoff, according to people who were not authorized to discuss the cases publicly.

[Return to headlines]

May Day! Communist Goals as Outlined in 1963 Coming to Fruition

On this first of May, 2013 — a day celebrated by communists in their struggle for “liberation” — it is appropriate to reflect on the communist agenda. Many of its goals have manifested systemically in the decades gone by. Whether or not you believe there is a conscious agenda behind the changes we are witnessing is irrelevant. Forget the “Communist” label for a moment and recognize these labels for what they are: Different ways of describing despicable tyrants making their move for total control. As we can see with the examples below (of which there are many more) the political and social aspects of our country have been successfully altered.

As entered into the Congressional Record of 1963:

“Discredit the American Founding Fathers. Present them as selfish aristocrats who had no concern for the “common man.”“

  • FEMA has been caught on video instructing local police that the founding fathers were America’s first terrorists.
  • In 2009 a leaked Missouri Information Analysis Center (MIAC) document listed Ron Paul and Libertarians as terrorists
  • West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center lists “anti-federalists” as a terrorist group. As the document states, “They… espouse strong convictions regarding the federal government, believing it to be corrupt and tyrannical, with a natural tendency to intrude on individuals’ civil and constitutional rights… they support civil activism, individual freedoms, and self government.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Obama Housing Nominee: Most White People Won’t Vote for Black Candidate, Should be Excluded From ‘Democratic Process’

President Obama’s pick to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency once said that a “majority of white voters” would never vote for a black candidate and that they should be excluded from “the democratic process.”

The White House announced Wednesday that Obama will nominate Democratic North Carolina Congressman Mel Watt to take over the FHFA, which regulates Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the country’s government sponsored mortgage companies.

Watt, the former chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, has in the past accused white Americans of racism.

“There would be a substantial majority of white voters who would say that under no circumstances would they vote for an African American candidate,” Watt said Oct. 14, 2005 during a Washington hearing held by the National Commission on the Voting Rights Act.

The Voting Rights Act should be expanded to “adjust districts to take (racially motivated voting) into account,” Watts said.

Such voters “need to be factored out of the equation,” Watt said, because “I’ve got no use for them in the democratic process.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Obama’s National-Security Fraud

By Andrew C. McCarthy

The administration’s Boston explanations don’t add up.

Unlike you, federal government officials are immune from charges of fraud. The executive branch, vested with all of the government’s prosecutorial authority and discretion, is not going to investigate its own operatives for carrying out its own mendacious policies.

That is the story of last week’s Boston Marathon bombing and the frantic efforts of the bombers, the brothers Tsarnaev, to evade capture, shoot it out with police (one of whom they killed, and another of whom they wounded), and — we’re now told — detonate more bombs in Times Square.

The Times Square non-attack is quite interesting. The specter of it, projected in the immediate wake of the Marathon murders and maimings, is horrific . . . so horrific that the government, in leaking this tidbit from its botched interrogation of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, knew that news media were certain to lead their broadcasts with it. The press would never wonder why they, and thus we, were being told about it.

But why were they told? Remember, the Times Square bombing not only never happened, it never came close to happening. It was, at most, a passing jihadist fantasy, one that the jihadists in question peremptorily dismissed as implausible. The threat was no more real than those that regularly stream out of Islamic-supremacist mosques and, just as regularly, go studiously unreported…

Thus canard No. 2: The judge did it. The administration and its accomplices on Capitol Hill have spread the story that the Tsarnaev interrogation was going just swimmingly when, to the shock of everyone, a magistrate judge barged into the hospital room and Mirandized the terrorist, abruptly ending the hugely successful intelligence effort. This, too, is utter nonsense.

As the Justice Department well knows, the filing of the criminal complaint is the action that vested the federal court with jurisdiction to act. The moment the complaint was filed, everyone involved in that decision knew that the rules of criminal procedure mandated a prompt “presentment” hearing before a magistrate judge, who would be required by statute to advise Tsarnaev of his rights to counsel and to stop speaking with government agents.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Rotten to the Common Core

Common Core is just another Johnny-come-lately, one-size-fits-all national standard that attempts to fix a problem created by the original national standard; our public school system.

America’s modern public school system is the manifestation of its founder’s vision, the father of American public education, Horace Mann. Horace Mann, a Unitarian Massachusetts school board member in the 1840s, wrote twelve annual reports on public education that was to become the foundation of every public school in America. Mann prototyped his “Common Schools” in his reports on the Prussian school system.

Prussia was the first European state to institute public schools, from which every other country in Europe modeled their public schools. So it is no coincidence Mann modeled his “Common Schools” off the ones he observed in Prussia while visiting schools in Europe. Neither is it a coincidence Prussia, known for its autocratic and dictatorial society that ultimately unified the other German states under its control, would impose an uncompromising uniform standard upon its population.

[Comments: “Commie Corps: Building the communist future together”.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Senate Gungrabbers Not Done Yet!

Sad day when Americans have to defend themselves — and their rights — from their very own government.

Senator Joe Manchin, a democrat of West Virginia, says there was confusion about the gun control bill he and Senator Pat Toomey, a republican of Pennsylvania, introduced in the US Senate recently. It, of course, failed.

We have warned our readers umpteen times that the leftists are relentless in their grab and grasp for power — and so it is with gun control.

In a television interview a few days ago, Senator Manchin said he would re-introduce the bill (or a bill similar to the original) that would require criminal and mental health background checks for gun buyers at shows and online. He appeared convinced that once senators read the bill they will vote in support of it…

It is also clear that the bill will not be introduced immediately. Obama and his henchmen need time to beat, bash, and coerce those in the Democratic Party who had the temerity to vote against the Manchin/Toomey Bill. They will need to be brought back in line by whatever threats — or bribes — are necessary. (Remember how Obama got support for Obamacare???)

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Should Christians Give Up Their Guns?

Not since 1775 has a central government in America attempted to disarm its citizens in the way that President Barack Obama and Senator Dianne Feinstein did recently. King George III attempted to disarm the colonists on April 19, 1775, and that attempt ignited America’s War for Independence. Leading the charge to resist the banning and confiscation of their firearms were colonial pastors such as Jonas Clark. Back then, America’s pastors had a thorough comprehension of the Biblical principles of liberty, including the right to keep and bear arms. They taught their congregations these sacred principles with such zeal and persuasion that the attempt by those British troops to march on Lexington and Concord and seize the colonists’ guns was met with the now famous “shot heard ‘round the world.” Ever since that historic event, the people’s right to bear arms has been held sacred by the vast majority of Americans — Christian or otherwise. The right to bear arms was understood to be, not just a right, but a God-ordained duty, a long time before it was ever enshrined in the Second Amendment to the US Constitution.

The recent attempt by Barack Obama and Dianne Feinstein to ban semi-automatic rifles, limit magazine capacity, and create universal background checks and gun registration was as close to what old King George attempted to do as this nation has ever seen. Fortunately, public outcry against this egregious gun grab was so unmistakably loud and clear that these gun control bills failed to pass even the Democrat-controlled Senate. Thank God for every person and group around the country that rose up to defeat this piece of modern-day tyranny.

However, if you think that Obama and Feinstein are going to abandon their attempt to outlaw and confiscate your guns, you are sadly mistaken. They will not stop. But the good news is neither will we!

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Springtime for Bloomberg

Spring is in the air, which in New York means that it’s time to launch the bike-share program. The bike-share program, which stacks racks of bikes out in the street in the hope that everyone will stop driving cars and rent bikes instead, failed in Paris, Melbourne and Montreal.

But Mr. Bloomberg is not about to stop his wars on obesity and global warming long enough to let the failure of a senseless program everywhere else slow down his bid to implement it.

In Paris, 80 percent of the bicycles were stolen. Some ended up in Africa and Eastern Europe. But surely that won’t happen in a law-abiding place like Gotham.

Citibike, better known as a plan to stock Craigslist with secondhand bikes at taxpayer expense, was supposed to launch last summer, but the software developed by the Montreal parking authority didn’t work. In only two years, the Montreal taxpayer funded company and its bike share plan had managed to get into enough financial trouble to require a 108 million dollar bailout. But then the big contracts from Chicago and New York City arrived and in a fortuitous coincidence, the Chicago Department of Transportation intern who wrote up the proposal was hired and given a top position in the company.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Why Washington is a Swamp

by Diana West

The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg ‘fesses up to having witnessed a loathesome event last week:

…a two-cheeked kiss, in public, between Qatar’s second-most powerful man, the prime minister (and foreign minister), Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani (photo above), and Haim Saban, the Israeli-American billionaire who funds, among other things, the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution.

The kiss took place at a Brookings dinner last week in Washington that was convened to pay homage to Al Thani for his support — because, yes, in addition to pledging $400 million to Hamas, Qatar also supports Brookings, one of Washington’s premier research groups.

Much, much worse, neither do Israelis/Brookings.

Goldberg goes on to thumbnail a few of the poisonous little despotism’s noxious features:…

           — Hat tip: Diana West [Return to headlines]

Earliest Great Ape Had Posture Like Humans, Fossils Suggest

The oldest known hip from a great ape is now shedding light on the evolution of hominids, revealing the ancient creature may have adopted the upright posture often linked with humans and living great apes, researchers say.

Scientists discovered the fossil skeleton of an ape near Barcelona in Catalonia in northeastern Spain in 2002, when a bulldozer was clearing the land for digging. They named it Pierolapithecus catalaunicus, or the ape from near the village of Els Hostalets de Pierola in Catalonia.

The researchers estimate the ape lived about 11.9 million years ago. Analysis of its skeleton and teeth suggest it was male, weighed about 77 lbs. (35 kilograms) and dined on fruit.

The great ape family, which includes gorillas, orangutans, chimpanzees, bonobos and humans, is thought to have diverged from the lesser apes, which include modern gibbons, about 11 million to 16 million years ago. The age of the fossil and a prior study of Pierolapithecus’ wrist, spine, rib cage and shoulder hintedit could be the last relative the great ape family had in common.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

European Commission: From Dalligate to Olafgate?

The Times of Malta, 29 April 2013

It appears the corruption scandal that cost Maltese politician John Dalli his job as European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy is beginning to backfire on the European Anti-fraud Office (OLAF), which investigated the case.

The Times of Malta reports that the investigation has been called into question by OLAF’s supervisory committee. In a report currently “stored in a vault of the European Parliament,” which was briefly seen by the daily, the members of the committee take the view that OLAF operatives “acted illegally when they interrogated [Dalli’s associate and businessman] Silvio Zammit.” They also argue that OLAF went “beyond its remit”, for example, when it “asked Maltese authorities for the suspects’ telephone records.”

This last observation is important, because, as the daily remarks on the front page of its April 29 edition, the existence of “phone calls coinciding with key events under investigation” is a key aspect of OLAF’s case. The “unambiguous circumstantial evidence” for allegations that Dalli was involved in influence trafficking hinges on a series of calls between Dalli, Zammit and his associate Gayle Kimberley “before, after or on the same day as the events took place,” as well as “inconsistencies between what Mr Dalli told investigators and the facts they uncovered.”

Dalli was forced to resign last October, when OLAF discovered Zammit had offered to intervene with the commissioner on behalf of a Swedish tobacco manufacturer in exchange for a vast sum of money.

However, according to the Times of Malta, the OLAF investigative report, part of which was published by MaltaToday on April 28,

does not include conclusive evidence proving that the former European Commissioner knew about the bribe requests allegedly made to tobacco lobbyists.

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

France-Germany: ‘Berlin Declares France a Problem State’

Handelsblatt, 30 April 2013

“The honeymoon is over. Franco-German relations have been cooled by the euro crisis,” remarks the business daily.

“In the wake of the harsh criticism of the German Chancellor leveled by France’s Socialists, both governments attempted to limit the damage,” writes Handelsblatt. However, “now Angela Merkel’s second-in-command has poured petrol on the flames”: Finance Minister Philip Rösler recently authored a report, obtained by the newspaper, which “enumerates the economic and political weaknesses” of Germany’s neighbour.

In particular, it singles out “the increasing cost of labour and high payroll taxes,” the “shortest working hours in the EU”, and “the highest tax and social welfare burden in the eurozone.”

According to Rösler, French competitiveness is in decline and industries, struggling under the weight of taxes, are leaving the country, explains Handelsblatt. “France is drifting south,” argues the minister, who believes that the country can no longer play a stabilising role in the euro crisis.

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

Italian MEP Makes Racist Comments About First Black Minister

‘Kyenge will impose tribal traditions from Congo’ says Borghezio

(ANSA) — Rome, April 30 — A member of the European Parliament from the xenophobic Northern League party on Tuesday made racist comments about Italy’s first black minister, Cecile Kyenge.

“This is a bonga bonga government, they want to change birthright citizenship laws and Kyenge wants to impose her tribal traditions from the Congo,” said Mario Borghezio in an interview with Italian Radio 24.

A 48-year-old doctor who was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kyenge was sworn in Sunday as integration minister in the left-right coalition government of Premier Enrico Letta. When asked if he considered Kyenge an Italian, Borghezio said, “The country is what it is, and the laws are made of crap”.

“You can’t say the word ‘nigger’ in Italy, only think it,” Borghezio added. “Pretty soon you won’t even be able to say illegal immigrant — you’ll have to say ‘your excellence’. “She seems like a great housekeeper, but not a government minister”. When asked about Mario Balotelli, Italy’s star soccer player with African roots, Borghezio said, “he’s not a minister.

He kicks a ball and that’s fine if someone from Congo or Africa wants to do that. “Africans are different. They belong to an ethnicity much different from ours. They haven’t produced great genes. Enough consulting these Mickey Mouse encyclopedias. “Kyenge is a doctor. We gave her position in a state-run facility that should have gone to an Italian”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Kercher Family ‘Won’t Read Amanda Knox Book’

‘We’re not interested’ says sister on autobiography’s release

(ANSA) — Rome, April 30 — Meredith Kercher’s sister on Tuesday said she and her family will not read the book Amanda Knox wrote on her experience being tried for her murder. “We’re not interested in this book, just like we weren’t interested in the others about the case, and we won’t read it,” said Stephanie Kercher. ‘Waiting to be Heard’ is the book Knox wrote on her experience of the Italian justice system, which was released Tuesday.

Knox was serving a 26-year sentence for the 2007 murder of Meredith Kercher when an appeals court overturned a lower court’s ruling in 2011, setting her free to return to the US.

Knox’s Italian boyfriend at the time, Raffaele Sollecito, was also accused in the murder.

Sollecito, who had been sentenced to 25 years in jail, was also acquitted in 2011.

However, both Knox’s and Sollecito’s ordeal is not yet over. On March 25, Italy’s supreme Court of Cassation overturned the 2011 acquittal, setting the stage for a retrial at the appeals level.

While a new trial is expected to take place by the summer in Florence, US authorities could invoke the principle of double-jeopardy, arguing that a person cannot be convicted of the same offence twice, and so refuse to extradite Knox back to Italy.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Finmeccanica 2012 Net Loss Narrows to 786 Million Euros

Italian defense giant forecasts flat or lower 2013 sales

(ANSA) — Rome, April 23 — Italian aerospace and defense group Finmeccanica SpA on Tuesday said it had a net loss of 786 million euros in 2012, an improvement on the year earlier’s 2.3 billion euro loss.

Revenues at the company, which has been hit by scandals — most notably regarding alleged bribes paid to win a 500 million euro helicopter contract in India — stabilized at 17.2 billion euros, compared with 17.3 billion euros in 2011.

The company said it forecast a drop in revenues for the current year, to between 16.7 and 17.0 billion euros, an adjusted EBITDA of about 1.1 billion euros and free-cash flow of about 100 million euros.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: The Traps Awaiting the New Generation

La Repubblica Rome

After two months of political crisis, the new Italian government led by Enrico Letta seems to be responding, at least in part, to calls for renewal of the country’s political class. A few unknowns remain, starting with the alliance with Silvio Berlusconi, who is plagued by legal troubles.

Claudio Tito

It is impossible to gloss over the difficulties confronting Italy’s new government. The alliance will find it hard to transcend its half-progressive, half-conservative dual-headedness, which at its inception brings an obscure political agenda and a centre-left electorate baffled by the pact with Silvio Berlusconi.

The government is the consequence of the crisis and of an election result that is nebulous to say the least, lacking a clear-cut majority and leaving the Democratic Party (PD) — the country’s largest — in tatters by its disastrous handling of the presidential election.

Nonetheless, the new government somehow marks a turning point in the jungle of Italian politics. In one stroke, almost all the leaders who have stamped out Italy’s path over the past twenty years have been swept away. The pressures to retain the status quo aren’t lacking, both from the two parties, and from outside Italy. But the need for renewal and succession have won out in the end.

Giorgio Napolitano, the president of the republic, has played a decisive role. For the time being, the outcome is surprising: the centre left is losing its historical leaders. Some tried and failed to get a foothold in the new cabinet. They may very well thus have lost their last chance [to govern].

For the first time since 1994, the centre right is joining a government that does not include Silvio Berlusconi. The symbol of this era has no seat, nor do his former ministers. The chairman of the outgoing council, Mario Monti, has also been dropped off by the side of the road; while a relative newcomer to the political scene, he is pushing seventy. What we are witnessing no doubt is the end of a cycle. It remains to be seen, though, if this amounts to the beginning of a New Deal.

The average age of the members of the Letta team is considerably lower than the outgoing cabinet. They count among them many young men and women, including, for the first time in the history of the Italy, a minister of African origin. The appointment of Cecile Kyenge is the most striking illustration of the changes that are emerging in Italian society and in its demography. The president has undoubtedly managed to put together a team better than the alliance that will support it. In fact, sizing up that coalition, he may have avoided the worst. The fact remains that these choices, even though they are to some degree necessary, mark a point of no return.

It will be difficult from this day forward to go back to the symbols of the old generation in the next elections or when forming a new government. Italy is going through a clean-up, as it did during the Tangentopoli (inquiry into pervasive corruption in Italian politics) between 1992 and 1994. This purge picks apart one of typical vices of Italy: the quasi-feudal guardianship over dominant positions — the often blocked social ladder, the political class holding onto its monopoly in power.

For Enrico Letta, however, this is only a first step. And to make it, he had to pay the price: Angelino Alfano, the right hand of the Cavaliere, was given the powerful post of minister of the interior — a portfolio equally decisive for the legal troubles of the leader of the People of Freedom Party. The DP has lost almost all of the big ministries, though it is making up for it with gains in the social and cultural portfolios. The situation will oblige the new tenant of the Chigi Palace to balance centre-right reluctance with calls for change on a daily basis.

The malaise that prevails among the government’s sympathisers and public opinion on the centre left, after all, will eventually re-emerge. The contradictions are too obvious, and the conflicts of these past 20 years are still too fresh to forget from one day to the next the conflicts of interest, the “leggi ad personam” (laws made for a single person, notably Berlusconi) and an economic policy that has entrenched inequalities and widened the gap between the rich and poor (10 per cent of the wealthy families today own nearly 45 percent of the country’s total wealth.)

Enrico Letta has probably grasped that the main obstacle in his path is Berlusconi. In particular, the political volubility of the latter stands in direct proportion to his legal troubles. This will be the true unknown variable for the Chigi Palace. Enrico Letta will have to prove — notably to the most restive part of his electorate — that this marriage of fish and fowl is useful for the country and that the alliance with the centre right will not bring a rotten odour to the pact…

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

Italy: Finmeccanica Seals $141-Mln Contract for F-35 Jets

Components to be produced for world’s costliest fighters

(ANSA) — Rome, May 2 — Alenia Aermacchi, part of Italy’s Finmeccanica group, and Lockheed Martin on Thursday announced in a statement they have sealed a contract worth 141 million dollars for the production of the wings and a number of other components of the controversial F-35 fighter jet JSF (Joint Strike Fighter).

Alenia Aermacchi will produce the jet’s wings and wing boxes in its factories in Foggia and Nola, near Naples, and in its new plant in Cameri, in northern Italy. At an estimated $200 million per unit, the F-35 is the costliest fighter jet in the world.

With radar-evading technology, it has been championed for its advanced design but also heavily criticized for allegedly not meeting the criteria of modern warfare. Amid the economic crisis, last year the Italian government announced plans to cut its order to 90 from the 131 originally agreed in 2002.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Spain: Metal Tomb Raiders Ransack Seville Cemetery

Workers at a cemetery in Seville have kicked up a stink after thieves stole several motors from fridges used to preserve bodies until their cremation.

Thieves have also taken the steel slabs from inside the cremation ovens and numerous metal railings from inside the precinct.

Workers at the San Fernando cemetery in Seville have grown tired of the string of robberies that have taken place in recent months, regional newspaper El Correo de Andalucía reported on Tuesday.

Seville’s workers union representative Santiago de los Reyes told the Andalusian daily: “In the last 15 days, we have seen the sorts of robberies that used to be unthinkable.”

“All the metal in the cemetery is being ransacked, the UGT secretary general added.

“(They have taken everything from scaffolding and wheelbarrows, to the letters on the tombstones.”

De los Reyes said the lack of security inside the cemetery was the main reason for the robberies.

“Seville Town Hall is going to pay the price for not wanting to spend more money on security. They’re going to have to replace everything that’s been stolen.”

Cemetery workers fear the tomb raiders will one day confront them. On several occasions they’ve come face to face with strangers walking around the grounds in the early hours of the morning.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UK: SAS Sniper Faces Retrial for Bringing Gun and Ammo Back Into the UK Despite Previous Conviction Being Overturned

An SAS sniper faces a retrial over illegally possessing a pistol and ammunition — despite a last-minute claim prosecutors acted improperly by consulting on the case.

Sergeant Danny Nightingale, 38, today pleaded not guilty at Bulford Military Court Centre in Wiltshire to illegally possessing a Glock 9mm pistol and more than 300 rounds of ammunition.

He was convicted and sentenced to military detention last year for keeping the Iraqi pistol as a war trophy before having his sentence reduced and conviction subsequently quashed by Court of Appeal judges.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Albania: OECD’s Zannier Concerned About Election

Observer mission “very strong”, but risk of instability

(ANSAmed) — VIENNA, MAY 2 — The Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development is ready to increase its scrutiny of Albania’s parliamentary elections on June 23 because of concern about the political climate in the country.

The OECD may send more observers to Tirana in a “much broader election mission”, OECD secretary-general Lamberto Zannier said.

“We are watching with concern signs of growing political conflict and we are expecting a very competitive electoral process in a difficult climate,” Zannier told ANSA.

There is concern that developments there could undermine the stability of the entire region.

“We hope that there will not be excessive nationalism that could create elements of instability in the region,” he said.

“The OECD has invested so much in Albania”.

After talks with Edi Rama, the head of the Albanian Socialist Party last week, Zannier said he hoped that the upcoming elections would contribute to developing constructive interaction among Albanian political forces and strengthening democratic governance. “I would like to emphasize that I expect all sides to contribute to bringing the expected degree of legitimacy and credibility to the electoral process,” he said at the Time.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Islamic Financing Growing Fast, KFH Estimates Show

Bond issues could reach USD275 billion in 2013

(ANSAmed) — TUNIS, MAY 2 — Debt issue by Islamic financing institutions could reach $275 billion in 2013, according to an estimate by Kuwait Finance House. Volume of new issues in the first quarter equaled $34.2 billion on the primary market, or 21.5% higher than the same period last year.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Tunisians Hunt Two Jihadist Groups Near Algerian Border

(AGI) Tunis — Tunisian forces were hunting two jihadist groups near the Algerian border .

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

Iran: American Pastor Saeed Abedini Thrown Into Solitary Confinement in Iran; Health Deteriorating

[WARNING: ** Disturbing Content **]

Already badly weakened by months of beatings and torture that have resulted in internal bleeding, American Pastor Saeed Abedini, a U.S. citizen, is facing perhaps his most grave situation since his imprisonment last fall. Family members in Iran confirm that Pastor Saeed, along with nine other prisoners, have been placed in solitary confinement with new reports indicating that in addition to the severe internal bleeding he is experiencing, which has gone untreated, he is a now facing issues with his kidneys.

We have been able to confirm that the horrible conditions in Evin Prison led Pastor Saeed and a number of prisoners in Ward 350 to sign a letter expressing to prison officials their concern about the lack of medical care received and the threats and harsh treatment facing family members who come to visit. The prisoners expressed their dissatisfaction in a peaceful, silent protest in an outside courtyard at the prison.

That apparently prompted prison officials to retaliate, selecting ten of the prisoners and placing them in solitary confinement. Our sources indicate that Pastor Saeed is likely to be beaten again, in private, away from other witnesses and prisoners. At the same time, there’s concern that his kidneys are no longer operating properly, the result of the internal injuries he has received over many months. Pastor Saeed has been told not to expect medical treatment or care for many months. And when family members showed up at prison today to visit Pastor Saeed, they were turned away and told he is no longer permitted to have visitors.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

SARS-Like Virus Kills Five in Saudi Arabia

(AGI) Riad, May 2 — Five Saudi nationals have died in the past few days after contracting a virus closely related to SARS. Two more patients were being treated in intensive care. Riad health ministry indicated that all the fatalities were reported in Ahsaa province, in the western section of the kingdom. Believed to be a new coronavirus, the hCoV-EMC was detected for the first time about one year ago and is closely related to SARS, an atypical form of pneumonia that started over a decade ago in south-east Asia and caused worldwide alarm.

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

Sunni-Shia Confrontation Pushes Iraq Back to the Brink of War

In one month, more than 460 people are killed in suicide attacks and clashes, the worst level of violence since US troops pulled out in 2011. New incidents are reported in Anbar province and the cities of Ramadi and Baiji, north of Baghdad, with more than 20 dead. Mostly due to Sunni groups, attacks target anti-terrorist Sahwa militia and police.

Baghdad (AsiaNews/Agencies) — Sectarian strife between Sunni and Shia Muslims is getting worse in Iraq. At least 22 people were killed in attacks across Iraq on Wednesday.

To the north of the capital, gunmen attacked a police station and occupied it after killing five police officers.

In the western province of Anbar, a suicide bomber detonated his explosives vest in a group of government-backed Sunni “Sahwa” fighters who were collecting their salaries, killing 14 in a town about a hundred kilometres east of the city of Falluja,.

Since it was set up in 2005, the “Sahwa” has been the target of constant attacks by Sunni extremist groups fighting the government of Shia Prime Minister al-Maliki, who is accused of marginalising their religious sect, which ruled Iraq under the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein.

In Baiji, 180 km north of Baghdad, a roadside bomb killed four policemen. A car bomb in a Shia district in northeastern Baghdad killed at least three people, wounding scores more. Another car bomb north of the city of Ramadi, which is 110 kilometres west of Baghdad, killed two policemen and wounded another ten.

The recent spate of attacks follows a month of clashes between Sunnis and Shiites that peaked with provincial elections on 20 April with over 460 people killed in a month. This is the worst level in violence since US troops withdrew in 2011. Fourteen candidates, mostly Sunni, are among the dead.

On 26 April, four bombs exploded in front of Sunni mosques in Baghdad, packed for Friday prayers, killing four and wounding more than 50.

Several analysts and politicians, including the al-Maliki, have linked the violence in Iraq to Syria’s civil war, where several Iraqi jihadist groups are fighting with the rebels against the regime of Bashar al-Assad, who belongs to the Alawi minority, which is linked to Shia Islam.

Riots and attacks have not spared Iraqi Kurdistan, where, for months, Kurds have been in a fight with the central government over oil.

Here the government used the army to oust Sunni fighters from an area south of Mosul, with dozens of deaths among military and militias.

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

Syrian Loyalists Control District in Central Homs

(AGI) Nicosia, May 2 — According to the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights set up by opposition leaders in exile, Syrian loyalists have taken control of the Wadi al Sayeh district in central Homs thanks to support provided by Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah militia. The organization has reported that the attack involved the use of a ground-to-ground missile that destroyed an entire building.

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

Turkey: 8,000 Soldiers, 22,000 Rebels Killed in 30 Years

Death toll of Turkish Kurdistan war; truce three months ago

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA — In the past three decades the war in Turkish Kurdistan has killed 7,918 soldiers and Turkish officials, 5,557 civilians and 22,101 Kurdish rebels with the PKK, Turkish daily Haberturk reported on Friday. Overall, the paper said the conflict made 35,576 victims, most of them Kurdish. Other estimates place the death toll at 40,000. The Turkish press published front page reports on Friday of the imminent withdrawal of rebels from Turkish territory. PKK military commander Murat Karayilan told a press conference that his militants will start pulling out of Turkey into northern Iraq on May 8 under peace negotiations negotiated in December between rebels’ leader Abdullah Ocalan and the head of the Turkish government Recep Tayyip Erdogan. ‘Thank God we have lived enough to see this’, was the front-page headline of Taraf; ‘The end of 30 years of terror’ wrote Star while Yeni Safak announced ‘Game over’. In March, welcoming an historic appeal by Ocalan, who is detained in the prison island of Imrali, the PKK announced a unilateral truce. And the ceasefire has been in place for three months now.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

UAE: Luxury Gated Community District One Under Construction

First step in Mohammad bin Rashid City mega development in Dubai

(ANSAmed) — DUBAI — Dubai’s Meydan Group and India-based Sobha Developers have teamed up to develop District One, a luxury gated community within the future Mohammad bin Rashid City in the heart of Dubai.

District One, which will take seven years to build, will consist of 1,500 villas spread out over 400 hectares, of which 65% will be park areas, plus a seven-kilometer artificial lagoon with beaches, sports complexes, and recreational areas.

“Market value at completion will be 21 billion dirhams (4.3 billion euros)”, said Meydan President and CEO Said Al Tayer.

Mohammad bin Rashid City will have a park bigger than London’s Hyde Park, the world’s biggest mall, to be called Mall of the World, a Universal Studios park, and 100 hotels. Since the fall, Dubai has been announcing a series of ambitious projects including five theme parks, the world’s future second-tallest skyscraper, and another luxury residential area to be developed around an 18-hole golf course.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

1st Meteorites From 1908 Tunguska Explosion Possibly Found

In June 1908, a mysterious blast occurred above the remote Russian forests of Tunguska, Siberia, with 1,000 times more power than the Hiroshima bomb, flattening trees over an area roughly the size of Tokyo.

The most widely accepted theory is that a huge asteroid or comet (not a UFO or chunk of antimatter) exploded as it entered Earth’s atmosphere. But with just one death, few witnesses, and no fragments nor any impact craters to study, scientists have been left to puzzle over what exactly caused the so-called Tunguska event.

Now one Russian researcher claims to have found the first meteorites possibly left by the Tunguska impact.

Andrei E. Zlobin, of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Vernadsky State Geological Museum, says he collected more than 100 stones that looked like potential meteorites from the bottom of the Khushmo River’s shoal during an expedition to the site of the Tunguska impact in 1988.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Afghan Migrants Rescued Off Calabrian Coast

Group of 43 includes 17 children

(ANSA) — Reggio Calabria, May 2 — Italian coast guards on Thursday rescued 43 Afghan immigrants off Capo Dell’Armi, in the southern region of Calabria. The group included 16 children, a baby, 11 women, one of whom is pregnant, and 15 men. Coast Guards rescued them after the sailboat they were travelling on ran aground. The migrants are now being provided with assistance in Reggio Calabria.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Iranians Arrested for Posing as Italian Cops

‘Got tourists to hand over documents, cash’

(ANSA) — Padua, May 2 — Five Iranians have been arrested after allegedly posing as police officers in order to rob motorists in northern Italy.

Traffic police in the Veneto region arrested the men Thursday after a high-speed chase, during which an officer was injured. Police said they recovered 10,500 euros and 10,000 Swiss francs, in addition to Albanian driving licences, counterfeit residency permits from Spain and four cars.

The band of thieves allegedly set up fake control points at motorway service stations, where they would walk away with tourists’ documents and money under the pretext of checking their authenticity.

Most of the victims were from Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkey, police said. The gang was based in the Lake Garda area and their arrest was part of a wider investigation by traffic police in Padua, Verona and Vicenza.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Sweden: New Bill Gets Tough on Refugee-Shy Towns

Swedish municipalities will be forced to welcome underage asylum seekers who come to Sweden without parents or guardians from January onward, if the government gets its way.

“There are quite simply too many children that have to wait too long to get a place, because there aren’t enough places in the system,” Migration Minister Tobias Billström told the TT news agency.

“That’s because too few municipalities have offered places to the Migration Board (Migrationsverket).”

He has put forward a new proposal together with the Green Party, which has a special arrangement with the centre-right Alliance coalition government to legislate on migration policy.

The new proposal would mean that the Migration Board gets to decide where the asylum seekers live. The municipalities would not be able to appeal.

Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SALAR) did not welcome the new proposal.

“We think we could find a voluntary solution, as long as conditions are right,” said SALAR spokesman Per-Arne Andersson, who addedd that many municipalties do not have the professional resources to care for the young asylum seekers.

The idea to force reticent municipalities to pitch in has long been on the table. Many local politicians have protested that it is simply too costly to care for young immigrants, especially when they need more support in school. Others have said they were open to reform, but only if the central state helped pay the tab.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Mark Steyn: The Collapsing of the American Skull

[WARNING: Disturbing content.]

The parameters in which we allow ourselves to think about vital issues shrink remorselessly.

One of the most ingenious and effective strategies of the Left on any number of topics is to frame the debate and co-opt the language so effectively that it becomes all but impossible even to discuss the subject honestly. Take the brothers Tsarnaev, the incendiary end of a Chechen family that in very short time has settled aunts, uncles, sisters, and more across the map of North America from Massachusetts to New Jersey to my own home town of Toronto. Maybe your town has a Tsarnaev, too: There seems to be no shortage of them, except, oddly, back in Chechnya. The Tsarnaevs’ mom, now relocated from Cambridge to Makhachkala in delightful Dagestan, told a press conference the other day that she regrets ever having gotten mixed up with those crazy Yanks: “I would prefer not to have lived in America,” she said.

Not, I’m sure, as much as the Richard family would have preferred it. Eight-year-old Martin was killed; his sister lost a leg; and his mother suffered serious brain injuries. What did the Richards and some 200 other families do to deserve having a great big hole blown in their lives? Well, according to the New York Times, they and you bear collective responsibility. Writing on the op-ed page, Marcello Suarez-Orozco, dean of the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, and Carola Suarez-Orozco, a professor at the same institution, began their ruminations thus:

“The alleged involvement of two ethnic Chechen brothers in the deadly attack at the Boston Marathon last week should prompt Americans to reflect on whether we do an adequate job assimilating immigrants who arrive in the United States as children or teenagers.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Our Christian President

[WARNING: ** Disturbing Content **]

Our president, if that’s what he truly is, loves to proclaim himself a Christian. It’s for God to judge whether he is or he isn’t. Nevertheless, Our Lord taught us, “Beware of false prophets… Ye shall know them by their fruits.” (Matthew 7:15-16)

Our president last week gave the keynote speech at a big Planned Parenthood wingding, during which he spoke the words, “God bless you, Planned Parenthood!” Which of Planned Parenthood’s works did our Christian president wish God to bless?

In 2011 Planned Parenthood murdered over a third of a million babies — 333,964 of them, to be exact. It was an all-time record for baby-killing in America, facilitated by the U.S. Congress giving Planned Parenthood more than half a billion dollars earned by hard-working Americans who started life as unaborted babies.

A third of a million human beings slaughtered — that’s more than 100 times the body-count of 9/11. Think of a hundred September Elevenths. Is that what our Christian president wants God to bless?

When they’re not snuffing out babies, Planned Parenthood occupies itself with other mischief. They are intimately involved with public schooling. Under the guise of providing “comprehensive sex education,” they encourage children to be sexual active.

The rationalization always is, “Well, they’re going to do it anyway, so they might as well do it as safely as possible!” This is bad enough, but the real reason is worse. The more teens who are having sex, “safe” or otherwise, the more of them will become customers of Planned Parenthood’s abortion mills. That’s how this blessed outfit makes its money.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Wealthy GOP Donor Group Launches Lobbying Effort to Push Republicans to Support Homosexual ‘Marriage’

A GOP group that was formed last year to help finance Republicans who support the homosexual lifestyle has now upped the ante with a new lobbying effort to convince Republican legislators to vote in favor of same-sex marriage.

American Unity PAC is an organization launched by billionaire Paul Singer, and is comprised of other top GOP donors. The group’s sole focus is on the issue of homosexuality and the Republicans who approve of it.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Al Qaeda Branches Strengthen as Center Weakens

Osama bin Laden, the founder and long-time leader of the Islamist terrorist organization al Qaeda, was killed two years ago by US soldiers. His worldwide terrorist network has changed a lot since then.

The name al Qaeda is synonymous with a number of terrorist attacks, both in the West and in the Arab world. The destruction of the World Trade Center in New York in 2001 brought the group to the world’s attention. Around 3,000 people were killed. The former head of the Islamist terror network, Osama Bin Laden, was hunted down in Pakistan and shot dead by US soldiers.

Now the group is split. Several Islamist groups in North Africa, the Middle East, and on the Arabian Peninsula occasionally use the name al Qaeda, but pursue their own aims.

Al Qaeda’s headquarters are thought to be in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but experts believe the strength of this core has been reduced considerably.

Estimates hold that only 300-400 people make up the ideological center of al Qaeda. However, the groups outside of al Qaeda’s center are thought to have gotten stronger.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Beyond Kepler: New Missions to Search for Alien Planets

NASA’s groundbreaking planet-hunting Kepler observatory may be showing its age, but a handful of other spacecraft are poised to join the search for exoplanets and carry it into the future.

The Kepler spacecraft has detected more than 2,700 potential alien planets since its March 2009 launch, revolutionizing scientists’ understanding of worlds beyond our solar system. But the second of the telescope’s four reaction wheels — devices that maintain the observatory’s position in space — may be about to fail, putting the prolific mission’s future in doubt.

While no instrument is likely to replace Kepler or its capabilities anytime soon, reinforcements are on their way to the launchpad. The first is scheduled to blast off this October, in fact — the European Space Agency’s Gaia mission.

Gaia is designed to create an extremely accurate 3D map of about 1 billion Milky Way stars — 1 percent of our galaxy’s total. This work could detect tens of thousands of new planetary systems, scientists say.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Why is Our Solar System Such a Cosmic Weirdo?

The solar system that humans call home may be a strange oddity when compared with the incredible diversity of planetary systems researchers are discovering in the Milky Way, astronomers say.

Scientists now estimate the Milky Way galaxy contains at least as many planets as it does stars. So far, researchers have detected nearly 900 of these so-called exoplanets already, and several thousand more candidates are under investigation.

The number of distant worlds that astronomers have discovered in the past 15 years or so has skyrocketed recently due to new advances such as NASA’s Kepler mission, which can detect planets as small as Earth’s moon. Analyzing the orbits, masses, diameters and compositions of these exoplanets has revealed that an extraordinary variety of them exist, such as so-called “hot Jupiters,” gas giants orbiting closer to their stars than Mercury does the sun.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

2 thoughts on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 5/2/2013

  1. To the first news about the Afghans:

    Mostly such is financed by Arabs. On the long journeys on thousands of miles through the islamic zones they were transported quite comfortable And to the last parts of the journey they possibly make very intentional “dramatic set ups” ….. to cover also their – both: Arabs and Afghans – real intents, which is delivering the perhaps todays strongest muslim fighters into Europe.

    Sura 2:
    218. Those who believed and those who suffered exile and fought (and strove and struggled) in the path of Allah,- they have the hope of the Mercy of Allah. And Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.

    To see this without the hypocrite cover “suffered exile”: Mohammed did very soon started conquering wars in the Medinan regions …… so the sufferings were more on the souls in Medina/Yahtrib and surroundings !

    The Hidschra phenomenon is one of the strongest motives in Muslims hearts because of its “double history”: Its the start”signal” for the quick and enormous spread of the Umma.
    First 13 years of only a small group at the end of this phase about 150 Umma souls — with the Hidschra, conquering Medina with the help of the Ansars, destroying all Jewish tribes, murdering and enslaving the ones which were let alive, subjugating Arab tribes too and setting his war programme against Mecca …… the Hidschra is a sort of start signal which increased the Umma to the Tens of Thousands already when Mohammed died.
    Finally Mohammed did only had to write letters to Arab tribe chiefs to make them surrender ……

    As today in Europe …… or the US.

    THE POINT is: Today many know already which subjugation under Islam brings ….. the former Arab chiefs did not know exactly then.

    Sura 2, Vers 218 (and the sort, because there is more in the Quoran on this matter) dictate also very clearly THAT FIGHT IS A NECESSITY … this Suravers together with similar related Verses produces the sole stream to Allah`s core “believe” which is to be found in Sura 8, Vers 17 and Sura 9, Vers 111 ….. where there is found the core dogma of the Muslim believe: The ultimate closest relationsship of the believer with his war “Good”: Allah.

    IT IS NOT THE GOOD WHO DOES LOVE IN A SOUL TO EVOKE HEALING MIGHT ….. Allah is the God who goes according to Sura 8, Vers 17 into a Soul to MURDER !

    Which has this to do with todays Politicians in Western Europe and USA, a.s many other countries ?

    At the fight of Badr according to Ibn Ishaq`s Sira “reported” (because manipulated to several extents) by Ibn Hisham it can be believed that the following has been authentic: Mohammed had on the Fight his greatest flag with the symbol of a Eagle ……

    Now – go to history – which is mainly a history of wars – and look at the signs of the Nations and on their War flags —— look at present days Flags.

    The most extreme Western Eagle Cult souls need not to have a Quoran in their hands to follow Mohammed in their hearts …….

  2. PS.: War is their “life style”.

    Such DO “LIKE” their foes for only this reason: They WISH TO HAVE SOMEONE THEY COULD FIGHT AT …….

    Such “think” that the only “true friendship” could be shown by fighting side by side …… bringing the own life into danger for the companions aside……

    Not even thinking that the “foe” even might have reached much more worthy to die for than the “own comrades” ……..


    Do learn to live in the sole truth of the Ever Holy ……. which is a healing truth. and begins by freeing yourselves from your lies and the lie circles in which you are gyrating ..

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