Gates of Vienna News Feed 5/25/2013

A French soldier taking part in an anti-terrorist patrol in Paris was stabbed in the neck by an attacker, who escaped. The assailant appeared to be a North African. The soldier was seriously injured, but will recover.

In other news, the Burmese state of Rakhine has enacted a law limiting Muslim families to two children each. It is hoped that this will ease tensions and reduce the number of attacks on Rohingya Muslims by Buddhists.

Meanwhile, a female suicide bomber in Dagestan injured eighteen people when she blew herself up in the central square of Makhachkala.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Fjordman, Gaia, Insubria, JD, Nick, Papa Whiskey, Steen, 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
» 911 Dispatcher Tells Woman About to be Sexually Assaulted There Are No Cops to Help Her Due to Budget Cuts
» Detroit Mulls Selling Art to Help Pay City’s Debt
» Pope Attacks ‘Wild Capitalism’ Eroding Human Values
» Adam Kokesh Calls for “New American Revolution”
» Benghazi Scandal: Don’t Let Melanin Trump National Security
» Experts Contradict Obama on Islamic Terror Threat
» Fired for Word: ‘Negro’ In Spanish Class
» IRS Harassment Suppressed Tea Party Vote
» Judge Goes Off Deep End to Shut Up Christians
» Law Grad Gets Jail Stint in Bird Beheading
» Lois Lerner Directly Involved in IRS Targeting, Letters Show
» Obama and Putin’s Secret Correspondence
» Parkland’s JFK Treatment Room Locked Away as a State Secret
» Paul Offers Bill to Protect Privacy of Electronic Communications
» Privacy Advocates Wary of Push to Mandate Auto ‘Black Boxes’
» Senate Shoots Down GMO Labeling Bill
» The Real National Scandal: Putin’s Letter to Obama
» Will Lois Lerner be Obama’s Scapegoat?
» Xbox One to Monitor TV Viewing, Content Watched, Number of Viewers
Europe and the EU
» 95% of EU Coasts Clean, Cyprus Top
» Douglas Murray: The London Terror Attack Was More Than ‘Unforgivable’
» French Soldier Stabbed in Neck in Paris
» French Soldier Stabbed in Paris Area
» French Soldier Stabbed in the Throat in Paris
» French Soldier Stabbed While on Patrol Near Paris
» German Courts Reject Attempt to Reopen Nazi Massacre Probe
» Germany: ‘CDU Demands Ban on GDR Symbols’
» Italian Oil Producers Angry With European Commission Change
» Italy: Four Found Guilty of Abducting ‘Berlusconi’s Treasurer’
» Italy: Salerno Mayor Steps Up Anti-Prostitution Battle
» Italy: Barilla Launching Major Push Into Emerging Markets
» Italy: Bill to Slash Mafia Collusion Sentences Withdrawn
» Italy: ‘Expansion of Violence’ If M5S Shut Out From Politics
» Italy: Bari to Receive 146 New Police Officers Amid Security Alarm
» Italy: Berlusconi ‘Defamatory’ In Efforts to Relocate Trials
» Italy: ‘Anti-Grillo Law Becomes an Issue’
» Italy: N. League Politicians Angered by Healthcare Funds to South
» Malta Has Severest Water Shortage in the Mediterranean
» Man Charged With Making ‘Racist or Anti-Religious’ Facebook Comments About British Soldier’s Death
» Mark Steyn: To the Slaughter — British Lions Come Up Lambs in Woolwich.
» Mystery of Irish Potato Famine Solved
» Network Evening Shows Don’t Name Islam in London Terror Attack
» Poland Celebrates Nine Years in the EU, GDP Jump 46.3%
» Ports: EU Strategy to Save 10 Billion Euros by 2030
» Sweden: Stockholm Riots Spread West on Sixth Night
» Sweden: Stockholm Riots Point to Inequalities
» Sweden: Parent Patrols Help Quell Stockholm Riots
» The London Horror and Jihad Denial
» UK: ‘They Brainwashed Him’: Mother of Woolwich Murder Suspect Battled to Turn Him Against Extremism Amid Concerns He Was ‘Turning Against the Family’
» UK: After Woolwich Horror, MPs Demand Action From Internet Giants
» UK: Anti-Muslim Backlash on the Rise After London Terror Attack
» UK: Five Undercover Police Cars Sent to Arrest Single Alleged Movie Pirate
» UK: Is This Country Mad?
» UK: Man Jailed for 12 Years for Killing Stranger Who Disturbed Him While He Was Having a Bath
» UK: Nine-Year-Old Boy Who ‘Burgled a House and Went for a Joyride in the Owner’s Car’ is Too Young to be Prosecuted
» UK: Woolwich Soldier Murder: Three More Arrests
» UK: Woolwich Murder Suspect ‘Was Offered Job With MI5 Six Months Ago’, Claims Childhood Friend
» Unrest May Spread Across Europe, Warns Red Cross Chief
» Van Rompuy Endorses Restart of EU-Turkey Talks
» Why Did British Bystanders Watch a Soldier Get Hacked to Death?
North Africa
» Algeria: Deserted Cathedrals, ‘Underground’ Christians
Israel and the Palestinians
» Arrest the Reporters Behind the Al-Dura Hoax
Middle East
» Alleged Member of Hezbollah Arrested Here
» Hackers Sabotage Haifa Water Supply System
» Hezbollah Leader Vows Continued Support for Assad
» UAE: Dubai to Focus on Medical Tourism
» Female Suicide Bomber Injures 18 in Russian Region
South Asia
» Burmese Muslims Given Two-Child Limit
» India: Asghar Ali Engineer, A Voice for Dialogue Between Christianity and Islam, Is Dead
» Obama Overrides Congress to Buy $690 Million Worth of Russian Choppers for Afghan Air Force
Far East
» China: Kunming: Hundreds of People Take to Streets Against Oil Refinery
» China: Beijing: 13 Arrests for Protests Relating to Case of Young “Suicide” Migrant
» Taiwanese Students Promote “Friendship” With Filipino Immigrants
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Niger President Says Libyan Islamists Are Behind Bombings
Latin America
» Brazil Cancels USD 900 Million in African Debt
» Criminal Gets Hit by Bus After Robbing Woman in Colombia
» Congressman Steve King Leads His Own Gang of Eight Against the Amnesty Bill
» Gang of Eight Says ‘Trust US, This Bill Will Pay for Itself’
» Obamacare Loophole Provides Incentive for Employers to Hire Illegal Aliens Over US Citizens
» Obama Meets in Oval Office With Illegal Aliens
» Why Are We Importing Jihadists to America?
Culture Wars
» Activists Arrested at Moscow Gay Pride March
» EU Survey: Anti-LGBT Discrimination in Slovenia and Croatia
» Italy: Outspoken Priest Don Gallo Dies at 84 in Genoa
» Why Do They Slaughter Their Victims?

911 Dispatcher Tells Woman About to be Sexually Assaulted There Are No Cops to Help Her Due to Budget Cuts

An Oregon woman was told by a 911 dispatcher that authorities wouldn’t be able be able to help her as her ex-boyfriend broke into her place because of budget cuts.

Oregon Public Radio reports that an unidentified woman called 911 during a weekend in August 2012 while Michael Bellah was breaking into her place. Her call was forwarded to Oregon State Police because of lay-offs at the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office only allows the department to be open Monday through Friday.

“Uh, I don’t have anybody to send out there,” the 911 dispatcher told the woman. “You know, obviously, if he comes inside the residence and assaults you, can you ask him to go away? Do you know if he’s intoxicated or anything?”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Detroit Mulls Selling Art to Help Pay City’s Debt

Officials say the Detroit Institute of Arts’ collection could be sold to help satisfy creditors if the financially troubled city of Detroit seeks bankruptcy protection.

Bill Nowling, a spokesman for state-appointed emergency manager says Kevyn Orr, says Orr is considering whether the collection should be considered city assets that could be sold to cover Detroit’s long-term debt. The debt is estimated at more than $14 billion.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Pope Attacks ‘Wild Capitalism’ Eroding Human Values

‘People ignored in crisis at hand’ says Francis

(ANSA) — Rome, May 21 — Pope Francis on Tuesday continued his attacks on greed and global finance, condemning a form of “wild capitalism” that erodes human values. “A wild capitalism has taught the logic of profit at any cost, give to get, exploitation without looking at people, and the results we see in the crisis at hand,” said Francis during a visit to the Gift of Mary house in the Vatican, which was founded by Mother Teresa and dedicated to the poor.

Since being named pope two months ago, Francis has repeatedly chastened the global financial system for overlooking the poor in the name of greed. In his desire to see a “poor church” as he calls it, Francis has issued a number of reforms within the Vatican that include cutting the 25,000-euro allowance normally paid to members of the oversight commission of cardinals of the controversial Vatican Bank, according to ANSA sources. He has also shed many of the regal vestments, such as the ermine cape and red shoes preferred by his predecessor Benedict XVI, and opts to live in the St Martha’s House residence for travellers and Vatican staff instead of the papal apartments. On Thursday he blasted the way in which money had become an “idol” in the modern world and took a swipe at politicians and financiers who spurn ethics in their bid to accumulate wealth and power.

The hard-hitting speech to a group of ambassadors at the Vatican gave further evidence that Francis is determined to make defending the weak and challenging a global economic system that allows high levels of poverty and inequality key elements of his papacy.

The Argentine pontiff, who has become enormously popular with the faithful thanks to his humble, off-the-cuff style, called for reforms to make the world of finance and economics more focused on the needs of poor.

He bemoaned the fact that “the majority of the men and women of our time continue to live daily in situations of insecurity, with dire consequences… People have to struggle to live and, frequently, to live in an undignified way”.

And he pinned the blame on “our relationship with money, and our acceptance of its power over ourselves and our society”.

“We have created new idols,” Francis said.

“The worship of the golden calf of old has found a new and heartless image in the cult of money and the dictatorship of an economy which is faceless and lacking any truly humane goal…

“There is a need for financial reform along ethical lines that would produce in its turn an economic reform to benefit everyone.

“I urge them to face this challenge with determination and farsightedness, taking account, naturally, of their particular situations.

“Money has to serve, not to rule. The Pope loves everyone, rich and poor alike, but the Pope has the duty, in Christ’s name, to remind the rich to help the poor, to respect them, to promote them.

“The Pope appeals for disinterested solidarity and for a return to person-centred ethics in the world of finance and economics”.

He said the worldwide financial and economic crisis had highlighted the distortions of a system based on “ideologies which uphold the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation”.

Francis, who was elected the head of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics after Benedict XVI stepped down in February due to “advanced age”, has not limited his scorn to the powers-that-be.

“We cannot be part-time Christians!” the pontiff posted on the @Pontifex account last week, addressing Catholics of all demographics. “We should seek to live our faith at every moment of every day”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Adam Kokesh Calls for “New American Revolution”

Imprisoned activist demands march on governors of 50 states

Imprisoned activist and former Marine Adam Kokesh — arrested last Saturday for exercising his First Amendment right at a protest — has called for a “new American revolution” to begin on July 4 with a march on all 50 state capitols.

Kokesh remains in a federal prison in Philadelphia on what many of his supporters claim are trumped up charges of assaulting a police officer and has been denied bail.

The former Iraq war veteran was already planning to lead a controversial armed march on Washington DC on Independence Day, but has rapidly expanded the scope of his plans, calling on an, “American Revolutionary Army (that) will march on each state capital to demand that the governors of these 50 states immediately initiate the process of an orderly dissolution of the federal government through secession and reclamation of federally held property.”

Kokesh says the 50 state march is “necessary to secure liberty and ensure peace,” and that, “Should one whole year from this July 4th pass while the crimes of this government are allowed to continue, we may have passed the point at which non-violent revolution becomes impossible.”

While Kokesh has attracted numerous supporters, others fear his plan for an armed march on D.C. and his aggressive rhetoric could grease the skids for gun owners to be demonized as violent extremists, in addition to increasing the chances of provocateurs being used to stage an incident during the march.

Read Kokesh’s full statement below…

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Benghazi Scandal: Don’t Let Melanin Trump National Security

[WARNING: Disturbing content. ]

The MSM continues to blow-off Benghazi. Obviously, the MSM believes Obama’s black skin and liberal ideology trumps even National security. Obama and company must be held accountable for Benghazi.

Conservative Campaign Committee has exposed the Administration’s lies, deceit and cover-ups in a powerful TV ad which I guarantee the Obama Administration does not want you to see.

Please spread it, share it with your low-info voter family and friends. Make it go viral. This is one of the most important TV ads CCC has ever produced.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Experts Contradict Obama on Islamic Terror Threat

Terrorism analysts are rebutting President Obama’s assertion that the “scale of the threat” from Islamic terrorists has reverted to pre-Sept. 11, 2001, levels.

“This is a total fabrication,” said Steven Emerson, whose Investigative Project on Terrorism tracks radical Islam. “The ‘scale of this threat’ in the 1990s never closely resembled the terrorist attacks post 9/11. This is an outright lie.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Fired for Word: ‘Negro’ In Spanish Class

Fired for word ‘negro’? A Bronx teacher has filed a lawsuit claiming she was fired for using the word ‘negro’ in class. ‘Negro’ is the Spanish word for the color black.

One of the first lessons one learns in English class is that context is everything. The same holds true in Spanish.

Take the case of Petrona Smith. She says in a lawsuit that she was fired from teaching at Bronx PS 211 in March 2012 after a seventh-grader reported that she’d used the “N” word, according to The New York Post.


Smith doesn’t deny using the word. But she argues that everyone uses it, when speaking Spanish. She was teaching the Spanish words for different colors, and the color “black” in Spanish is “negro.” She also taught the junior high school students, in this bilingual school, that the Spanish term for black people is “moreno.” And by the way, Smith, who is from the West Indies, is black.

Context is everything…

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

IRS Harassment Suppressed Tea Party Vote

John Fund, writing for the National Review Online, says the IRS targeting of Tea Party and patriot groups was an effort to suppress voting.

During the 2012 election, Democrats complained loudly about photo-ID laws and Republicans supposedly suppressing black and minority voters. Former president Bill Clinton went so far as to say “there has never been — in my lifetime, since we got rid of the poll tax and all the other Jim Crow burdens on voting — the determined effort to limit the franchise that we see today.” DNC boss Debbie Wasserman Schultz said “photo-ID laws, we think, are very similar to a poll tax.”

“All of this proved to be twaddle,” writes Fund. “An August 2012 Washington Post poll showed nearly two-thirds of African-Americans and Hispanics backing photo ID. The Census Bureau has found that the rate of voter turnout for blacks exceeded that of whites for the first time in the 2012 election.”

Fund argues that instead of the Democrat vote being suppressed, the Tea Party vote was. “It looks like a lot of tea-party groups were less active or never got off the ground because of the IRS actions,” Wisconsin governor Scott Walker told Fund. “Sure seems like people were discouraged by it.”

Tea Party groups told Fund they were directly impacted by the IRS effort to delay their non-profit status. Cleta Mitchell, a lawyer for True the Vote, a vote-monitoring organization, told him we will probably never know how much political activity was thwarted by the IRS.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Judge Goes Off Deep End to Shut Up Christians

Suppression of speech fine if Muslims threaten violence

A federal judge has issued a startling ruling that suppressing Christian speech is allowed when Muslims threaten violence because they’re upset over the message.

The ruling from Judge Patrick J. Duggan in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan granted Wayne County’s motion for summary judgment of a lawsuit brought by a team of Christians who were badgered, bullied and targeted with garbage thrown by Muslims who disliked their message at last year’s Arab Fest in Dearborn, Mich…

Robert Muise, AFLC co-founder and senior counsel, said, “The First Amendment was dealt a severe blow today as a result of this ruling. Indeed, this ruling effectively empowers Muslims to silence Christian speech that they deem offensive by engaging in violence. And pursuant to this ruling, the Christian speakers are now subject to arrest for engaging in disorderly conduct on account of the Muslim hecklers’ violent response to their speech. In short, this ruling turns the First Amendment on its head.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Law Grad Gets Jail Stint in Bird Beheading

[WARNING: Disturbing content. ]

A UC Berkeley law school graduate has been sentenced to a short jail term for his role in the beheading of an exotic bird in Las Vegas last year, and another person associated with the school has now been set for trial in the incident, authorities said Thursday.

Hazhir Kargaran, 26, who recently completed his third and final year at the law school, pleaded no contest Wednesday in a Clark County, Nev., courtroom to three misdemeanors: instigating animal cruelty, property destruction and trespassing. He was sentenced to two days in jail and 48 hours of community service.

Another Berkeley law school graduate, Justin Teixeira, 24, will go to trial later this year on charges that he beheaded the bird — Turk, a 14-year-old helmeted guinea fowl — at the Flamingo Hotel on Oct. 12, authorities said Thursday.

A third defendant, Eric Cuellar, who is to begin his third year at UC Berkeley law school this fall, pleaded guilty in January to a misdemeanor charge of instigating animal cruelty. The 24-year-old man was fined $200 and sentenced to 48 hours of community service.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Lois Lerner Directly Involved in IRS Targeting, Letters Show

A series of letters suggests that senior IRS official Lois Lerner was directly involved in the agency’s targeting of conservative groups as recently as April 2012, more than nine months after she first learned of the activity.

Lerner, the director of the IRS exempt organizations office in Washington, D.C., signed cover letters to 15 conservative organizations currently represented by the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) between in March and April of 2012. The letters, such as this one sent to the Ohio Liberty Council on March 16, 2012, informed the groups applying for tax-exempt status that the IRS was “unable to make a final determination on your exempt status without additional information,” and included a list of detailed questions of the kind that a Treasury inspector general’s audit found to be inappropriate. Some of the groups to which Lerner sent letters are still awaiting approval…

“One thing is clear: this correspondence shows [Lerner’s] direct involvement in the scheme,” wrote Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for the ACLJ. “Further, sending a letter from the top person in the IRS Exempt Organization division to a small Tea Party group also underscores the intimidation used in this targeting ploy.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Obama and Putin’s Secret Correspondence

More on the Obama/Putin letter exchanges.

This is very dangerous stuff folks. America’s pro-Moscow communist affiliated President Obama, doing secret deals with Russia’s KGB President Putin.

Which country do you think is going to get screwed out of this?

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Parkland’s JFK Treatment Room Locked Away as a State Secret

On the ground floor of Parkland Hospital, inside the radiology waiting room, is the only evidence of what happened here almost fifty years ago.

“I started work at Parkland Hospital in 1972 as a bio-medical engineering technician,” said former employee Don Pyeatt.

That’s about the time Parkland was preparing to expand and demolish Trauma Room 1, where doctors treated countless patients, including President John F. Kennedy a decade earlier.

Pyeatt captured the only known images of the treatment room — eight snapshots — where history happened.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Paul Offers Bill to Protect Privacy of Electronic Communications

“In today’s high-tech world, we must ensure that all forms of communication are protected,” Paul said. “Yet government has eroded protecting the Fourth Amendment over the past few decades, especially when applied to electronic communications and third party providers.”

The Fourth Amendment protects citizens from unreasonable search and seizure and requires that warrants only be issued when there is probable cause of wrongdoing.

Paul’s Fourth Amendment Preservation and Protection Act, S. 1037, would require specific warrants granted by judges in order to obtain electronic communications.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Privacy Advocates Wary of Push to Mandate Auto ‘Black Boxes’

The increasing computerization of cars allows them to capture and transmit data that can help improve highway and driver safety, federal officials said.

But the technology also raises privacy concerns about the ownership and unintended uses of that data, experts said.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is seeking a law that would require automakers to install “black boxes” in every new car and light truck sold starting September 2014. But unbeknownst to their owners, many vehicles already carry event data recorders, or EDRs. The NHTSA estimates that about 96 percent of all 2013 vehicles have the devices.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Senate Shoots Down GMO Labeling Bill

In yet another showing of their lack of concern towards the people who give them their jobs, Senators in Washington D.C. voted against a key GMO labeling amendment to the Farm bill. One that would have allowed states to decide to label the presence of genetically modified ingredients in food products.

They didn’t just vote it down, they did it overwhelmingly: 71 to 27. Let’s be clear — this wasn’t a bill that would have mandated the labeling of foods with genetically modified ingredients. No, it was far less provocative. This measure would have simply said it was okay for states to decide to do that for themselves.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

The Real National Scandal: Putin’s Letter to Obama

Appalling as the Benghazi, AP and IRS scandals are, this dwarfs them all.

This puts U.S. national survival and hundreds of millions of lives at stake.

“Washington reportedly suggested drawing attention away from frustrating issues in Russian-US relations, such as Russia’s human rights record and the controversial Magnitsky Act, which the US adopted in response to alleged human rights violations.

“Instead, the two nations would focus on strategic issues such as counter-terrorism cooperation, the conflict over NATO’s anti-ballistic missile system in Europe, and nuclear disarmament. It was indicated that several groundbreaking agreements may come from the letter, likely including a legally binding agreement that would make the ABM shield in Europe transparent to Russia, assuring that its nuclear deterrence is not compromised.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Will Lois Lerner be Obama’s Scapegoat?

Lois Lerner, the IRS official who’s answered a lot of questions behind closed doors but refuses to answer when she’s on the hot-seat, is in trouble no matter how you look at it. Right now all eyes are on Ms. Lerner. She’s standing in the middle of the arena and there’s a very long line of people who all want to be first to release the lions.

First in line, of course, are the Tea Party and Conservative groups the IRS was targeting, along with their supporters. After Lerner invoked her Fifth Amendment Rights on Wednesday, Co-Founder and National Coordinator for the Tea Party Patriots, Jenny Beth Martin, said, “While we respect Ms. Lerner’s use of the Constitution’s Fifth Amendment, we are disturbed she saw fit to trample over our First Amendment rights by harassing us and many other groups for our views.”

Next in line, approximately 40 percent of American tax-payers. You know, the ones who didn’t vote for Obama, the ones who don’t believe that Obama didn’t know anything about it until he heard it on the news with the rest of America.

Behind them you’ll find all the Republican representatives who want to make a good showing for their constituencies, and behind them you’ll find the Democrats who want to make a good showing for Obama, and they’ll do anything to keep their President safe from scrutiny.

Last but not least, Lois, you’ll have the President himself, ready and willing to throw you under the bus.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Xbox One to Monitor TV Viewing, Content Watched, Number of Viewers

Xbox One will monitor users’ content viewing in a number of ways.

Microsoft’s next-generation console has applied for a patent offering users Xbox 360-like achievements for watching specific content and adverts, reports Gamesindustry International.

The console’s Kinect 2 will also employ DRM measures to prevent more people than the license allows viewing the content at one go, as per another patent filed last year.

If Kinect senses too many people in the room, it will prompt the users to upgrade the license.

“Television viewing tends to be a passive experience for a viewer, without many opportunities for the viewer to engage or have interactive experiences with the presented content,” the application for the achievements reads.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

95% of EU Coasts Clean, Cyprus Top

Italy has 26.5% European sites. Beaches, lakes, rivers

The beach of Capannina in Sardinia

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, MAY 21 — The European Union says 95% of European coasts are clean while 91% of the region’s lakes and rivers also satisfied standards.

Cyprus tops the top ten list with all its beaches meeting standards of the highest quality, followed by Malta (97%), Croatia (95%), Greece (93%), Germany (88%), Portugal (87%), Italy (85%), Finland (83%) and Spain (83%).

While these were well above the EU average of 78%, only 59.6% of France’s waterways met EU standards and Slovenia posted 63.8% according to the annual report of the European Environment Agency (AEA) based on data from 2012.

Italy has the greatest number of bathing sites in the EU: 5,509 (26.5%) out of a total of 22,184 in the 27 countries of the EU as well as Croatia and Switzerland.

France has 3,322 locations followed by Spain with 2,156 and Greece with 2,155.

Almost 96,6% of Italian beaches satisfy quality standards but that figure fell to 91.6% for lakes and rivers.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Douglas Murray: The London Terror Attack Was More Than ‘Unforgivable’

Britain has been in denial about the Islamist threat. Time to face it down.

How many ignored warnings does it take? That is one question that should hang over Britain after the horror of the daytime murder of a British soldier on the streets of south London. On Wednesday afternoon, Drummer Lee Rigby was killed in Woolwich by two men wielding large knives and shouting “Allahu akbar”—God is great.

The attack itself is not surprising. What is surprising is that British society remains so utterly unwilling not just to deal with this threat, but even to admit its existence. Politicians have called the Woolwich killing “unforgivable” and “barbarous.” But expressions of anger should not really be enough.

Attempts to attack military targets in Britain go back to before the millennium and even before, it is important to note, the war on terror. In 1998 Amer Mirza, a member of the now-banned extremist group al Muhajiroun, attempted to petrol-bomb British army barracks. In 2007, a cell of Muslim men was found guilty of plotting to kidnap and behead a British soldier in Birmingham. The plan had been to take the soldier to a lock-up garage and cut off his head “like a pig.” They wanted to film this act on camera and send it around the world to cause maximum terror.

In 2009, al Muhajiroun protested at a homecoming parade in Luton for British troops returning from Afghanistan. Carrying banners saying “go to hell,” “butchers” and “terrorists,” the group was protected by British police officers from an increasingly irate crowd of locals. The resulting outrage toward the police gave rise to the deeply troubling English Defence League, a street protest movement that often turns violent…

           — Hat tip: Steen [Return to headlines]

French Soldier Stabbed in Neck in Paris

A French soldier on patrol in Paris has been stabbed in the neck by a man believed to be of North-African origin, says Reuters.

The soldier was injured during the attack but will survive, according to a police source who spoke to the news agency.

French daily Le Parisien cited police sources as saying the suspected attacker was a bearded man, about 30-years-old and was wearing an Arab-style garment under his jacket.

He fled the scene and is being sought by police.

The soldier was patrolling the business area of western Paris as part of France’s Vigipirate anti-terrorist surveillance plan.

           — Hat tip: Gaia [Return to headlines]

French Soldier Stabbed in Paris Area

French police are seeking to arrest a man after he stabbed a French soldier on patrol in a business district in the Paris area on Saturday, President François Hollande said. The soldier was approached from behind and stabbed in the neck.

A French soldier patrolling a business neighbourhood west of Paris was stabbed in the neck on Saturday by a man who quickly fled the scene and is being sought by police, President Francois Hollande said.

The soldier was patrolling in uniform with two other men as part of France’s Vigipirate anti-terrorist surveillance plan when he was approached from behind around 1800 p.m. and stabbed in the neck with a knife or a box-cutter.

Hollande, in the Ethiopian city of Addis Ababa, commented on the stabbing to say that the man was still on the run and police were exploring all leads.

“We still don’t know the exact circumstances of the attack or the identity of the attacker, but we are exploring all options,” Hollande told journalists.

Pierre-Andre Peyvel, police prefect for the Hauts-de-Seine area, said the soldier had lost a considerable amount of blood but would survive, and was being treated in a nearby military hospital.

“The wound appears to be quite serious, but it’s not life-threatening,” he told iTele news television.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

French Soldier Stabbed in the Throat in Paris

(AGI) Paris, May 25 — ‘Le Parisien’ website reported that a French soldier on patrol in the Defense district in Paris was stabbed in throat by a man who fled. The soldier, who was rescued and whose injury is not serious, was a member of the Vigipirate counter-terrorism unit. Apparently, he was assaulted outside the Virgin store in the Defense business district.

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

French Soldier Stabbed While on Patrol Near Paris

(Reuters) — A French soldier patrolling a business neighborhood west of Paris was stabbed in the neck and injured on Saturday by a man who fled the scene and is being sought by police, President Francois Hollande said.

The 23-year-old was patrolling in uniform with two other soldiers as part of France’s Vigipirate anti-terror surveillance plan when he was approached from behind around 6 p.m. and attacked with a knife or a box-cutter.

A police union spokesman said surveillance footage of the attacker showed him as tall and bearded, aged about 35, possibly of North African origin and wearing a white Arab-style tunic.

[Grracious, what could possibly have inspired such a thing? Besides Qur’an 8:12 and 47:4, that is … — PW]

           — Hat tip: Papa Whiskey [Return to headlines]

German Courts Reject Attempt to Reopen Nazi Massacre Probe

560 civilians slaughtered in Tuscan village during WWII

(ANSA) — Berlin, May 21 — A bid to reopen an investigation into the Second World War massacre by Nazi soldiers of 560 civilians in a Tuscan village was rejected Tuesday by the attorney general of Stuttgart.

A victims’ association had been trying to reopen the investigation of the massacre at Sant’Anna di Stazzema, near Luca, while five of the alleged perpetrators are still alive.

The application by the lawyer for the victims’ group was rejected Tuesday, the prosecutors said in statement.

The bid for a new investigation followed a study by Italian-German historian Carlo Gentile, who said he had found flaws in earlier probes carried out by German prosecutors.

Last October, after a 10-year investigation, German magistrates said a lack of evidence had forced them to drop the case against the surviving Nazi soldiers accused in the 1944 massacre, which included 116 children.

Amid a national outcry, Italian President Giorgio Napolitano spoke out against the German court’s ruling, calling it “disturbing”.

In its own investigation and trial, the Italian military court condemned 10 of the ex-Nazi officers to life in prison in absentia.

Germany refused to grant Italy’s request for the arrest of those still alive.

Only three former Nazis have ever been jailed in Italy for war crimes.

Italian prosecutors have issued European arrest warrants for 15 other German former soldiers without success.

Under the terms of a postwar settlement, Germany is not required to extradite alleged war criminals to Italy.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Germany: ‘CDU Demands Ban on GDR Symbols’

Berliner Morgenpost, 21 May 2013

The leader of the Christian Democratic and Christian Social Union parliamentary group wants to outlaw symbols of the German Democratic Republic (GDR), the former communist East Germany, reports Berliner Morgenpost.

Volker Kauder wants to avoid further “provocations”, following a May 9 parade of former soldiers of the National People’s Army (NVA), in which armed men, wearing Stasi and NVA uniforms and carrying flags of the GDR gathered around the Soviet War Memorial in Berlin’s Treptow Park.

Kauder’s proposal is supported by liberals in the ruling coalition. The deputy president of the liberal parliamentary group, Martin Lindner, also wants to introduce a law to outlaw symbols of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany.

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

Italian Oil Producers Angry With European Commission Change

Rules force labels in restaurants

(ANSA) — Rome, May 23 — Italian olive oil producers reacted angrily to a decision Thursday by the European Union which once again permits unlabeled olive oil to be used in restaurants and cafes.

Producers said the latest decision struck a blow against quality oil by allowing business to put all sorts of inferior products before customers.

Only last week, the European Commission — the executive branch of the EU — ruled that restaurants could only serve oil to customers in non-refillable bottles with proper content labeling. Refillable bottles and jugs are a staple on European restaurant tables for diners who want to douse bread or salads.

The Commission said this new regulation would prevent restaurants from serving low quality oil and improve hygiene. But in an about-face, the Commission said Thursday that it was yanking the new proposal because it was not popular with member states.

That has angered Italian oil producers.

“Once again we find that Europe has chosen to reject a rule supported by as many as 15 countries, including major producers such as Italy and Spain,” said the Italian Farmers Confederation (CIA).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Four Found Guilty of Abducting ‘Berlusconi’s Treasurer’

Gang held Giuseppe Spinelli, wife hostage for 11 hours

(ANSA) — Milan, May 20 — Judges in Milan on Monday found four men guilty of taking hostage Silvio Berlusconi’s trusted accountant and his wife last year. Francesco Leone, the leader of the gang, was sentenced to eight years and eight months in prison while his three accomplices were sentenced to four years and eight months for holding Giuseppe Spinelli and his wife Anna captive in their home for eleven hours and forcing them to call media mogul Berlusconi to try and obtain 35 million euros for the gang last October. The abduction was not reported to police until the day after the couple’s release, prompting a wave of speculation in the Italian media that a ransom had been paid. Defence attorneys denied this, and prosecutors confirmed there was no evidence to support the claim. Spinelli is considered the “treasurer” for Berlusconi, who is now on trial in Milan for allegedly paying for sex with an under-age prostitute at his so-called “bunga-bunga” sex parties at his home. Among Spinelli’s tasks, according to investigators in the “bunga-bunga” trial, was to give cash gifts to young women who took part in the parties.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Salerno Mayor Steps Up Anti-Prostitution Battle

Police clamp down on roads, coastline

(ANSA) — Salerno, May 20 — The mayor of Salerno, who is also the junior minister for infrastructure in the new Italian government appointed last month, has passed a measure banning prostitution in the area of his municipality Vincenzo De Luca’s new law in particular focuses on prostitution in public areas, which is expressly “banned in whichever means of behaviour, in public offices, or in spaces that are visible to the public”.

The measures are the latest step in the battle against prostitution that De Luca began several years ago, also thanks to the help of the local traffic wardens who are working with him on beefing up controls all over the municipality’s territory. Particular focus is being placed on commercial activities along the city’s coastline, following complaints to local authorities of the presence of prostitutes in nightclubs there. In addition, local enforcement officers have in recent times steeped up checks being carried out along certain roadways of the city. Sanctions for those carrying out activities related to prostitution remain those introduced in 2008, involving a 500 euro fine.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Barilla Launching Major Push Into Emerging Markets

Family-owned food firm seeking to double sales by 2020

(By Gordon Sorlini) (ANSA) — Parma, May 20 — Barilla, one if Italy’s largest and best-known food companies, is looking to feed a lot more mouths over the next seven years.

During a presentation in Milan on May 16, the company’s management outlined plans to double sales, excluding revenues of Barilla’s German bakery unit Lieken (which is being sold), to over 6.0 billion euros between now and 2020. In order to reach its goals, Barilla is relying on a major push into emerging markets, new product launches and continued investment in research and development and marketing and communication. Barilla — founded in Parma, Italy by Pietro Barilla in 1877 and still controlled by the founding family — is known the world over for its pasta, sauces and Mulino Bianco snacks, among other products. The company has 42 production facilities globally turning out some 2.5 million tons of food products each year. In addition to being the leading pasta player in Italy, Barilla already has a strong international presence, in part through its ownership of brands like Harrys (France and Russia), Golden Toast (Germany) and Yemina and Vesta (Mexico). Near its hometown, Barilla runs the world’s largest pasta factory, which can produce up to some 1,000 tons of pasta per day.

The company is placing a big bet on rising demand for its products in markets where consumers are not yet big eaters of pasta. During the presentation, Chief Executive Claudio Colzani — who joined the company recently after a long tenure in consumer goods giant Unilever — said that right now the firm is very dependent on Europe: 84% of total sales come from the region. Italy, where overall pasta sales have been contracting since 2009 and where Barilla is the market leader with a 35% share, makes up 40% of the company’s revenues, which last year totaled just shy of 4.0 billion euros (including sales from Lieken).

Despite a recession in its largest market and rising raw materials costs, sales grew by 2 percent. Barilla President Guido Barilla — who also spoke at the presentation — said he was “satisfied” with the result. Net profits dropped 21%, to 60 million euros, as the company kept prices to consumers steady in the face of rising raw materials costs and as it kept up investments aimed at reducing its environmental impact, Colzani said. Referring to the company’s international expansion, the CEO said that “between now and 2020 there will be one billion new consumers in the world,” in particular in areas like South America and Asia. Getting into these new consumers’ shopping carts is one of the key drivers of Barilla’s growth strategy.

Currently, these markets represent only 4% of group sales, the chief executive said.

In turn, international growth is also meant to offset some of the firms’ dependence on its home market: the strategy to 2020 sees Italy’s share of total group revenues dropping to between 25-30%. During the presentation, Colzani pointed to Brazil as a case study in how its new strategy is playing out. Sales in the Latin American country, which reached 18 million euros in 2012, are expected to reach up to 100 million euros by 2016 and over 200 million euros by 2020. A key driver of this growth will come from another part of Barilla’s strategy: “customization”, or developing products for local tastes. “Trying to sell the same sauce in China as we do in Parma clearly would present some difficulties,” Colzani said. Looking again at Brazil, the company has launched a new range of products — including pastas, pasta sauces and even new packaging formats — targeting local consumers. Investments in research and development and quality control are seen as other drivers of the company’s strategy. Colzani said the firm spends 29 million euros every year carrying out up to 250,000 quality tests on the grain it purchases for its products. Not surprising for a firm whose mantras include “good for you, good for the planet,” and whose management strongly believes in the need to limit industry’s environmental impact while making products that are tasty and healthy.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Bill to Slash Mafia Collusion Sentences Withdrawn

‘Never a party proposal’ says PdL, denies tied to Dell’Utri

(By Christopher Livesay) (ANSA) — Rome, May 21 — A bill presented Tuesday by a Senator for ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Freedom (PdL) party that called for slashing the punishment for a form of mafia collusion was withdrawn on the same day after sparking a storm among law-and-justice activists and the center left, who saw the move as a blow to the justice system and a possible effort to destabilize the fledgling left-right coalition government. The bill, which was presented by PdL Senator Giacomo Caliendo and drafted by Luigi Compagna from the small allied GAL party, called for reducing the maximum possible jail sentence for the crime of ‘external involvement in mafia association’ to five years. At the moment this crime can be punished with a jail sentence of up to 12 years. Currently Marcello Dell’Utri, a former close aide of Berlusconi’s and a former PdL Senator, is appealing to the supreme Court of Cassation against a seven-year conviction for this crime. The bill would have also removed the possibility of prison sentences being handed to people found guilty of aiding people involved in a mafia association if no financial advantage was gained from this assistance. The draft legislation would furthermore have prevented prosecutors from wiretapping the conversations of people suspected of doing this. The center left was quick to rebuff the proposal MP Laura Garavini of the PD called for it to be removed.

“It’s a question of decency,” she said. “The proposal simply aims to remove any possibility of uncovering who’s helping the mafia from the outside”. PD Senator Nicola Latorre accused the PdL of using the bill to foment discord in the unprecedented coalition government of PD moderate Premier Enrico Letta, forged after inconclusive February elections and two months of gridlock. Berlusconi, who does not sit in government but holds immense influence over his party members who do, has already threatened to bring down the government if it fails to annul a contested property tax and rebate to citizens what has already been paid. “The sense is that the PdL is issuing proposals that they know will profoundly divide the two parties,” said Latorre. “I hope this isn’t the case”.

Sonia Alfano, president of the European Parliament’s Anti-Mafia Commission, called the proposal “shameful” and said it would encourage serious crime, adding that it showed how criminals seem able to influence politics. “Once again, the party of Silvio Berlusconi reveals its objectives with boldness and in the total absence of modesty,” said Alfano. Shortly after the regionalist Northern League, a traditional ally of the PdL, said even it would never agree to such a proposal, the PdL Senate whip said the bill would be withdrawn. “I invited Senator Compagna to withdraw it, and I received precise assurances in this regard,” said Renato Schifani. Minutes later Compagna followed through, saying “I don’t want to create any problems”. PdL Deputy Whip Giuseppe Esposito stressed that the bill, “was drafted by Compagna” and was not an official party proposal, and denied it was linked to Dell’Utri or anyone else in particular. Dell’Utri was once the head of the media magnate’s advertising arm and is credited with creating the three-time premier’s first party, Forza Italia, in 1993, a year before it swept to victory in general elections.

In explaining their March decision to convict him for collusion, prosecutors said he was the intermediary with Cosa Nostra for the ex-premier, handing on “substantial sums” of money for protection.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: ‘Expansion of Violence’ If M5S Shut Out From Politics

Grillo calling to boycott elections if PD bill passes

(ANSA) — Rome, May 21 — Beppe Grillo said Tuesday that there would be “an expansion of violence” if his anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) were shut out from politics by a proposed law. “If we disappear there will be an expansion of violence,” said the comic-turned-politician at a rally in Lodi, northern Italy. “We’re keeping democracy on its feet, and they want us to vanish with a law”. Democratic Party (PD) Senator Anna Finocchiaro and PD Whip Luigi Zanda on Monday proposed a law that would limit public funding to political parties and exclude unconventional organisations like Grillo’s M5S. Grillo in response called for a boycott of the next election if the bill is signed into law.

In a statement, Finocchiaro and Zanda said the bill does not intend to “close participation, but to guarantee transparency (within the party system”. Grillo’s reference to the risk of violence if his party falls was not his first. In an interview with Time magazine in March, he said that he channels “all this rage into this movement of people, who then go and govern. They should be thanking us one by one. If we fail, (Italy) is headed for violence in the streets”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Bari to Receive 146 New Police Officers Amid Security Alarm

Interior minister says officers will keep order in troubled city

(ANSA) — Bari, May 22 — By September the city of Bari in the southern Italian region of Puglia will have 146 new police officers, Interior Minister Angelino Alfano announced Wednesday.

He spoke after a safety meeting of officials called after a triple murder last weekend in the city.

The government wanted to make “an immediate response,” said Alfano, who is also deputy premier.

The new officers will arrive in two stages.

Bari has been hit by problems related to violence, smuggling and mafia crime.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Berlusconi ‘Defamatory’ In Efforts to Relocate Trials

Supreme Court says ex-premier attacked judicial system

(ANSA) — Rome, May 23 — The supreme Cassation Court on Thursday said three-time premier Silvio Berlusconi made “defamatory accusations” in his failed efforts to move two trials against him on the alleged grounds of judicial prejudice.

The three-time premier’s claims of “deliberate persecution or conspiratorial plots on the part of the entire Milan judicial authority” was a “defamatory accusation” because it attacks the duty of impartiality and independence of judgment, the court said.

The court was explaining its decision earlier this month not to relocate two of his trials, one in which he was appealing a four-year sentence for tax fraud at his media empire Mediaset, and another in which he is accused of paying to have sex with an underage dancer known as Ruby and allegedly abusing his power in a bid to cover up the affair.

Prosecutors have requested he be sent to prison for six years in this case. Earlier this month Milan’s appeals court rejected Berlusconi’s request for the conviction for tax fraud at Mediaset to be overturned.

He is also appealing a one-year term for involvement in the publishing an illegal wiretap and facing indictment for allegedly buying a Senator to help topple a centre-left government. In the ongoing and several other previous trials, Berlusconi has always denied wrongdoing, claiming he is the victim of a minority group of allegedly left-wing prosecutors and judges who he says are persecuting him for political reasons. The Cassation Court Thursday rebuffed that claim with regard to the Mediaset and Ruby trials. “The prosecutors are only doing their job,” said the statement.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: ‘Anti-Grillo Law Becomes an Issue’

Corriere della Sera, 21 May 2013

The Democratic Party (PD) is preparing a law that would limit public funding to political parties and exclude unconventional organisations like Beppe Grillo’s Five Star Movement. Grillo reacted angrily to the proposal and called for a boycott of the next election if it is signed into law.

Grillo also called on PD dissidents to support a motion, to be voted Tuesday, that would bar People of Freedom (PDL) leader Silvio Berlusconi from running as a candidate on the grounds that he owns a TV network. If the motion were to pass, it would likely result in the collapse of the PD-PDL coalition government.

According to Corriere della Sera, the coalition government of Enrico Letta could prove even shorter-lived than predicted, and new elections could be called as soon as parties reach a deal on the new electoral law.

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

Italy: N. League Politicians Angered by Healthcare Funds to South

(AGI) Rome — Northern League politicians have lashed out over public funds allocated to southern regions for healthcare debt .

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

Malta Has Severest Water Shortage in the Mediterranean

(ANSAmed) — PALERMO — Among Mediterranean islands, Malta is the one with the greatest water shortage, with annual water needs almost double availability. Sicily, on the other hand, has more water than it needs.

Manuel Sapiano from Malta’s Ministry for Energy and Water Conservation spoke on the issue Friday in Palermo, as part of the last leg of the Mediwat project co-funded by the European Union as part of the Med 2007-2013 program. Funding totaled 1.48 million euros, and the head region of the project was Sicily (Water and Refuse Department — Water Observatory). Twelve pilot projects were presented during the meeting, which focused on waste water treatment, their reuse and the optimization of water resources for irrigation.

The projects were developed in three years of study by Mediwat partners from the Mediterranean area: the Department of Agrarian Engineering of the University of Catania, the Bari Department of the National Research Council, the Authority for Water,Energy and Mineral Resources of Malta, the Water Department of Lemesos (Cyprus), the Crete Polytechnic, the Municipal Authority for Water and Purification of Chania (Greece), the University of Barcelona (Spain), IRSTEA (Institut national de recherche en sciences et technologies pour l’environnement et l’agriculture from Aix en Provence, France) and the Aqualogy Medio Ambiente- Delegation from the Balearic Islands (Spain). Sapiano said that “on the island of Malta, annual water needs are almost double (64 cubic meters) the availability of water resources (28 cubic meters), over a territory that has the highest population density (1,345 inhabitants per square kilometer) compared with Corsica, Crete, Cyprus, Mallorca and Sicily”.

“Among the causes of this water shortage,” he said “is the low rainfall — at an annual average of 550 millimeters, the lowest of all Mediterranean islands except for Cyprus (500 millimeters). The cost of water on Malta is also the highest (alongside Cyprus). In Sicily we find a very different situation: compared with the 1,267 cubic meters needed, there is an availability of 4,746 cubic meters.”

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Man Charged With Making ‘Racist or Anti-Religious’ Facebook Comments About British Soldier’s Death

A 22-year-old man has been charged on suspicion of making malicious comments on Facebook following the murder of British soldier Lee Rigby.

Benjamin Flatters, from Lincoln, was arrested last night after complaints were made to Lincolnshire Police about comments made on Facebook, which were allegedly of a racist or anti-religious nature.

He was charged with an offence of malicious communications this afternoon in relation to the comments, a Lincolnshire Police spokesman said.

A second man was visited by officers and warned about his activity on social media, the spokesman added.

Flatters has been remanded in police custody and will appear before magistrates in Lincoln tomorrow.

The charge comes after two men were earlier released on bail following their arrest for making alleged offensive comments on Twitter about the murder.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Mark Steyn: To the Slaughter — British Lions Come Up Lambs in Woolwich.

[WARNING: Disturbing content. ]

On Wednesday, Drummer Lee Rigby of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, a man who had served Queen and country honorably in the hell of Helmand Province in Afghanistan, emerged from his barracks on Wellington Street, named after the Duke thereof, in southeast London. Minutes later, he was hacked to death in broad daylight and in full view of onlookers by two men with machetes who crowed “Allahu akbar!” as they dumped his carcass in the middle of the street like so much road kill.

As grotesque as this act of savagery was, the aftermath was even more unsettling…

If you’re thinking of getting steamed over all that, don’t. Simon Jenkins, the former editor of the Times of London, cautioned against ‘mass hysteria’ over ‘mundane acts of violence.’

That’s easy for him to say. Woolwich is an unfashionable part of town, and Sir Simon is unlikely to find himself there of an afternoon stroll. Drummer Rigby had less choice in the matter. Being jumped by barbarians with machetes is certainly ‘mundane’ in Somalia and Sudan, but it’s the sort of thing that would once have been considered somewhat unusual on a sunny afternoon in south London — at least as unusual as, say, blowing up eight-year-old boys at the Boston Marathon. It was ‘mundane’ only in the sense that, as at weddings and kindergarten concerts, the reflexive reaction of everybody present was to get out their cell phones and start filming.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Mystery of Irish Potato Famine Solved

The Irish potato famine that caused mass starvation and approximately 1 million deaths in the mid-19th century was triggered by a newly identified strain of potato blight that has been christened “HERB-1,” according to a new study.

An international team of molecular biologists studied the historical spread of Phytophthora infestans, a funguslike organism that devastated potato crops and led to the famine in Ireland. The precise strain of the pathogen that caused the devastating outbreak, which lasted from 1845 to 1852, had been unknown.

“We have finally discovered the identity of the exact strain that caused all this havoc,” study co-author Hernán Burbano, a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Germany, said in a statement.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Network Evening Shows Don’t Name Islam in London Terror Attack

What does a murderous jihadist terrorist have to do to get some recognition for his cause? You hack a British soldier to death in broad daylight on a London street while shouting “Allahu akbar” and then “swear by the almighty Allah” that you’ll never stop fighting, and the U.S. broadcast networks still can’t bring themselves to utter a word about Islam.

True, the ABC CBS and NBC evening broadcasts called the attack “terrorism,” but for all the information they gave viewers, the attackers might have been Basque separatists or animal rights zealots.

On “Nightly News” NBC anchor Brian Williams said the attackers allowed “people to take video while they vent their message about religion and politics.” Correspondent Michelle Kosinski said one of the attackers “made a long political statement, weapons still in his blood-covered hands.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Poland Celebrates Nine Years in the EU, GDP Jump 46.3%

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Report, crisis helps to bridge gap

(ANSA) — WARSAW — The dynamism of the Polish economy, also because of the grip of the crisis, continues to accelerate the run-up to the average of the gross domestic product of the European Union with a GDP that since 2004, the year of EU membership, had a 46.3%. jump. This was the best performance at a European level, underlines a report issued by Polish Foreign Ministry in the occasion of nine years of EU membership.

GDP — Poland, while slowing its growth since 2008, is still catching up to get closer to the average value of EU GDP, which is practically at a standstill: the Polish GDP from 2004 to 2007 grew by 5,5% (annual average), while the EU-27 grew by 2.8%. In the period 2008-2012, as a result of the recession, the Polish growth went down to 2.8% (annual average), while the EU-27 had a loss of 0.1%. For 2013, there is a forecast of GDP growth by 0.1% in the EU-27, which is expected to rise to 1, 6% in 2014: estimates of growth for Polish GDP are instead 1, 5% in 2013 and 2.5% in 2014, with further recovery.

IMPORT-EXPORT — During the last year export was one of the strengths of Polish economy, reaching the record value of 141.9 billion euro, of which 107.5 billion (75.8%) towards EU countries, with an overall 3,8% increase. Exports are dragged by industry and by agri-food sector.

EUROPEAN FUNDS — From 1 May 2004 to 31 March 2013 Poland received 79,2 billion euro of EU funds, while 28.1 billion have been paid out as a percentage of contributions and 141.7 million for funds’ restitution, with a positive balance of more than 50 billion.

INFRASTRUCTURES — As part of the Cohesion Funds, Poland has received during the period 2004-2006 approximately 14.2 billion euro, of which 5.2 billion were used for the infrastructure network with the construction and modernization of 314 km of motorways, 465 km of freeways, and the renovation of 635 km of railway lines. In the period 2007-2013 Poland received 67.3 billion, of which 23.2 billion dedicated to transport. Thanks to these funds the country will be able to build, by 2015, 433 km of motorways, 900 km of expressways and to restructure over 600 km of railway lines.

CAPITAL FLOW FROM ABROAD — An outstanding effect of Poland accession into the European Union is the flow of capital from abroad, coming largely from migrants working in EU countries: from May 2004 till December 2012 the country collected about 32 billion euro from transfers of private money, which is equal to 86% of the whole flow of money from abroad, with a peak of 4.6 billion euro in 2007.

TRANSPORT SERVICES — Poland has a well developed road freight transport, which is able to compete effectively in the European market, with 62% growth in the period 2006-2011.

UNEMPLOYMENT — From 2003 to 2008, unemployment rate in Poland continued to decrease: in 2009, because of the crisis, on the contrary the rate rose to 12.1%. In 2012 is was stable at 13.4%, with 0,9% increase, compared to 2011.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Ports: EU Strategy to Save 10 Billion Euros by 2030

Traffic +50%, up to 165,000 new jobs forecast by 2030

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS — The European Commission has approved a packet of measures that will increase maritime traffic in European ports by 50%, create 110,000-165,000 new jobs, cut costs by 7% and save 10 billion euros by 2030, EU sources said Thursday. The packet will modernize of 319 out of a total of 1,200 European ports. Those slated for upgrade are considered key to the internal market.

Of these, 43 are in the UK and 38 are in Italy, the country that will likely benefit the most from the new measures, EU sources said. These give port authorities more autonomy, open up the services market, and make the rules more transparent. For Italy, this will mean determining the costs of services and where to allocate resources. Of the 319 ports, 83 are slated as central to the network.

Italy is among the top 20 cargo ports in terms of tons of goods moved in 2011, with Genoa 13th on the list, Trieste 14th, and Taranto 16th. Antwerp, Hamburg and Rotterdam top that list, absorbing 5% of all maritime traffic to Europe between them.

Because 74% of extra-European imports are shipped in via sea, the new measures also ease congestion and reduce costs for operators and consumers alike by favoring land connections via rail and road, and developing short-range maritime connections within the Mediterranean.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Sweden: Stockholm Riots Spread West on Sixth Night

Stockholm experienced a sixth straight night of riots early Saturday, with cars torched in several immigrant-dominated suburbs, as Britain and the United States warned against travelling to the hotspots.

Nearly a week of unrest, which spread briefly Friday night to the medium-sized city of Örebro 160 kilometres west of Stockholm, have put Sweden’s reputation as an oasis of peace and harmony at risk.

The unrest has also sparked a debate among Swedes over the integration of immigrants, many of whom arrived under the country’s generous asylum policies, and who now make up about 15 percent of the population.

An AFP photographer witnessed a car engulfed in flames before firefighters arrived in the Stockholm district of Tensta. Cars were incinerated in three other areas of the capital as well, according to the Swedish news agency TT.

“I’ve never before taken part in anything that lasted so long and was spread over such a wide area,” police spokesman Lars Byström told TT.

Another police official said earlier that Stockholm police were about to receive reinforcements from Gothenburg and Malmö, the country’s second- and third-largest cities, but declined to disclose how many would arrive.

In the city of Örebro, police reported a fire at a school as well as several cars ablaze, but quiet had returned around midnight. The unrest in Stockholm had “rubbed off”, police told TT.

About 200 right-wing extremists were reported to cruise around Stockholm suburbs in their cars late Friday, but intense police surveillance apparently prevented any kind of serious violence.

The nightly riots have prompted Britain’s Foreign Office and the US embassy in Stockholm to issue warnings to their nationals, urging them to avoid the affected suburbs.

Firefighters were dispatched to 70 fires the night between Thursday and Friday, extinguishing torched cars, dumpsters and buildings, including three schools and a police station, the fire department wrote on Twitter. This was down from 90 blazes the night before.

Parents and volunteer organisations who have patrolled the streets in recent nights have helped decrease the intensity of the unrest, police have said.

Police, who have so far concentrated on putting out fires, are beginning to round up people suspected of criminal acts, so far arresting at least 29.

“Even if we don’t intervene, we regularly make video recordings and get information from the public. That way we can get people a couple of days later,” police spokesman Byström told TT.

The troubles had begun in the suburb of Husby, where 80 percent of inhabitants are immigrants, triggered by the fatal police shooting of a 69-year-old Husby resident last week after the man wielded a machete in public.

Local activists said the shooting sparked anger among youths who claim to have suffered from police brutality and racism.

One of the rioters in Husby told Sveriges Radio that racism was rampant where he lived, and that violence was his only way of being noticed.

“We burned cars, threw rocks at police, at police cars. But it’s good, because now people know what Husby is… This is the only way to be heard,” said the rioter, identified only by the pseudonym Kim.

Stockholm county police chief Mats Löfving said Friday the rioters were local youths with and without criminal records.

In addition, “in the midst of all this there is a small group of professional criminals, who are taking advantage of the situation to commit crimes like this,” he told Sveriges Radio.

A 25-year-old who grew up in Husby said he didn’t think the riots had anything to do with the shooting.

“I’m not saying there are no problems… but people are glorifying this a little bit,” said the man, who declined to be named, adding that the rioters were often aged 12 to 17.

“I can imagine they get a big kick out of seeing themselves on TV,” he said.

Due to its liberal immigration policy, Sweden has in recent decades become one of Europe’s top destinations for immigrants, both in absolute numbers and relative to its size.

But many of those who have arrived struggle to learn the language and find employment, despite numerous government programmes.

Official data show unemployment was 8.8 percent in Husby in 2012, compared to 3.3 percent in Stockholm as a whole.

Eric Zemmour, a right-wing French commentator known for his controversial views, meanwhile told RTL radio the riots showed that the Swedish “kingdom of social democracy and of political correctness” was little different from countries like Britain and France.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Sweden: Stockholm Riots Point to Inequalities

The fourth day of riots in Stockholm over the police shooting death of an elderly man in an immigrant neighborhood reveals tense inequalities, reports Reuters. Residents complain of racism and high unemployment. “The segregation in Stockholm increases all the time,” said a Swedish social anthropologist who works in the neighborhood.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Sweden: Parent Patrols Help Quell Stockholm Riots

Parents and volunteers have been patrolling the streets of Stockholm’s immigrant-heavy suburbs to help quell riots that have raged for almost a week, serving as a successful deterrent to troublemakers and winning praise from police.

“They have helped a lot in reducing the unrest,” Stockholm police spokeswoman Karin Solberg told Swedish news agency TT.

Sweden has since the 1980s had a network of volunteers called “Nightwalkers”, usually made up of parents who walk the streets of their own suburbs in groups on weekend nights, talking to youngsters and simply making their presence known.

With their distinctive neon yellow windbreakers, their presence is aimed at deterring neighbourhood kids from getting into trouble.

They have no special authority to intervene if trouble arises, are armed only with flashlights and wear no uniform other than their colourful jackets.

In the six nights of riots that have left cars and buildings torched in Stockholm’s immigrant-dominated suburbs, the volunteers’ mission has been to protect schools, libraries and youth centres.

“We have changed our strategy. In the beginning, we would walk around in the neighbourhood. Now we stay put,” explained Aleks Sakala, a 44-year-old IT consultant from Kista who was on Nightwalker duty on Friday night.

Kista is a mixed suburb, known as Stockholm’s Silicon Valley for its high-tech industry, where telecoms giant Ericsson has its headquarters. But it is also home to a large low-income immigrant population.

It also borders Husby, where the riots broke out on May 19th, triggered by the fatal police shooting of a 69-year-old resident after the man wielded a machete in public.

Local activists said the shooting sparked anger among youths who claim to have suffered from police brutality and racism.

Sakala spent the night between Friday and Saturday outdoors in the courtyard of a Kista nursery school, keeping an eye out for troublemakers under the moonlight.

The nursery school is “an ideal target”, he said.

“There are bushes around where you can hide, places where you can’t be seen from any dwelling, and wood in the structure that will burn easily,” he said.

About 100 Nightwalkers were out in Kista, easily visible in the dark with their neon jackets.

Meanwhile no police officers were to be seen, despite an announcement of police reinforcements brought in from other parts of the country. Police have from the beginning tried to avoid confrontation and clashes with the rioters.

Shortly after midnight, a police patrol car pulled into the Kista nursery school parking lot, leaving again shortly afterwards.

David, a 46-year-old Nightwalker, said residents needed to take responsibility for their neighbourhoods.

“Police are not here to guard buildings. They don’t have the means, and it’s not their role,” he said.

“I’d rather live in a society where citizens protect themselves, rather than in a society that needs police for everything. That is democracy and freedom,” added Sakala.

The Nightwalkers are not always successful. On Thursday night, rioters torched a nursery school in Kista where Sakala’s son is enrolled. The damage was extensive.

A group of four young women patrolling Kista on Friday night told Sakala that “everything’s calm.” He reminded them that “just before the nursery fire everything was perfectly calm too.”

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

The London Horror and Jihad Denial

Just like this week’s nightly riots by “youths” in Stockholm, the brutal slaughter in Woolwich was plainly a jihadist act. Yet just as the Swedish elites are continuing to dance around that uncomfortable core truth, their British counterparts are engaged in some fancy footwork of their own — led by Prime Minister David Cameron, who described Tuesday’s atrocity as “not just an attack on Britain and on the British way of life” but “also a betrayal of Islam and of the Muslim communities who give so much to our country.”…

Newspaper commentaries on the atrocity added up to a depressing profile of the pathetic, obstinately reality-challenged psychopathology of the British elite when confronted with Islamic violence. The prize for sheer inanity of approach must go to Laborite Dan Hodges, who spent a whole column in the Telegraph elaborating on the theme that “for me, yesterday’s barbaric act of terror in Woolwich was literally senseless. None of what happened actually made any sense.” The murder, he asserted, was “confusing, horrific, bizarre.” He proceeded to repeat this refrain in one paragraph after another: “none of it made sense…Still none of it made sense…It didn’t make sense…It didn’t make any sense…Yesterday was the senseless day.”

Reading this feeble, embarrassing nonsense, one could not help wondering: was Hodges equally stumped by 9/11, 7/7, Madrid, Bali, Beslan, the Boston bombings? One of the things that didn’t “make sense” to Hodges was that one of the murderers spoke of “our lands,” meaning the Muslim world, even though “he had a south-east London accent.” It was as if the Woolwich killers were the first “home-grown terrorists” to ever come to Hodges’s attention. How remarkable that during all these years when the non-Muslim world has been racked by one death-dealing jihadist assault after another, Hodges’s contemplation of these incidents has apparently yielded absolutely nothing in the way of awareness or insight…

The lesson was clear: with very few exceptions, the British elite is terrified to call jihad by its rightful name. It would rather condemn the English Defence League for the thousandth time than choke out even the most muted, gracefully nuanced acknowledgment that there might, in fact, be something of a causal connection between the instructions to the faithful spelled out in the Koran and the actions carried out in Woolwich on Tuesday afternoon. Yet it’s precisely that elite’s dishonest, irresponsible, lily-livered response to abominable transgressions like this one that is driving more and more people into the arms of the EDL.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: ‘They Brainwashed Him’: Mother of Woolwich Murder Suspect Battled to Turn Him Against Extremism Amid Concerns He Was ‘Turning Against the Family’

[WARNING: Graphic content.]

The mother of one of the men suspected of butchering a British solider on a London street desperately battled to turn him against extremism after becoming concerned by his behaviour, it has been claimed.

Friends say Juliet Obasuyi was worried Michael Adebowale was turning against the family and wanted him to have ‘spiritual guidance’ before he radicalised himself.

The 43-year-old was often left in tears after speaking to her son and would approach neighbours and friends for help.

One of her neighbours said Mrs Obasuyi went to him about nine months ago after her son dropped out of university.

According to the Daily Telegraph, Mrs Obasuyi told her 62-year-old security officer neighbour that her son was not listening anymore.

‘His older sister is a good Christian with a degree but Michael is rebelling as he has no father figure, dropping out of university and handing out leaflets in Woolwich town centre.

‘He is from a strong Christian family but he is turning to Islam and turning against the family. He needs spiritual guidance before he radicalises himself.”

Another friend of Mrs Obasuyi, Steve Adebiyi, told the newspaper that Adebowale was giving his mother problems.

‘They brainwashed him,’ he said.

Adebowale was said to have converted to Islam at 19, while studying at Greenwich University, where he met the other Woolwich suspect, Michael Adebolajo.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: After Woolwich Horror, MPs Demand Action From Internet Giants

Internet giants were last night slammed for refusing to remove extremist websites.

Search engines such as Google and Yahoo must do more to shut down hate-filled sites in the wake of the Woolwich attack, MPs said.

Thousands of videos which help to radicalise impressionable young men are easily available on YouTube. And within hours of the execution of Drummer Lee Rigby, 25, vile messages praising the attack and encouraging further outrages appeared on Twitter.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Anti-Muslim Backlash on the Rise After London Terror Attack

London: Muslim leaders in Britain have accused far-right extremists of trying to capitalise on the “sick and barbaric” murder of soldier Drummer Lee Rigby in London to fuel racial hatred.

Islamophobic hate crimes are running at more than 10 times their usual rate, with more than 140 reported to a government-backed hotline in the 48 hours since the killing in Woolwich, south-east London, on Wednesday.

In an open letter, the heads of nearly 100 mosques across the UK wrote: “The hate-fuelled individuals behind such attacks wish to polarise and tear apart our great country for their own sick ends. They should be isolated and subject to the full force of the law.”

Faith Matters, which runs the Measuring anti-Muslim Attacks (MAMA) helpline, said they had received 162 calls since the attack, up from a daily average of six.

“Muslims at this moment are feeling a real and pervasive sense of fear,” a spokesperson for the charity said…

           — Hat tip: Steen [Return to headlines]

UK: Five Undercover Police Cars Sent to Arrest Single Alleged Movie Pirate

Police assisted by the Federation Against Copyright Theft showed up in large numbers to arrest an alleged movie pirate in the UK this week. Armed with an emergency search warrant issued out of hours by a judge, five undercover police vehicles containing detectives and FACT officers were deployed to arrest a 24-year-old said to have recorded the movie Fast and Furious 6.

The MPAA-backed Federation Against Copyright Theft is well known for its anti-piracy actions around the UK, tracking down alleged movie pirates with the help of the police and hauling them, if at all possible, through the court system.

What remains remarkable about FACT operations is how they are able to persuade the police to invest significant resources towards detaining individuals for non-violent crimes. This week witnessed yet another example of that ability.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Is This Country Mad?

Why is Anjem Choudary, whose poisonous teachings influenced the Woolwich killers, free to draw benefits and tour BBC studios spouting murderous hatred against Britain?

As the awful events unfolded on the streets of Woolwich on Wednesday, the mobile phone secreted inside the black Islamic robes worn by Anjem Choudary — the self-styled Sheik of East London — soon started ringing.

Calling him were producers from the BBC’s Newsnight programme, as well as rolling BBC news shows and Channel 4, all wanting to find out from this so-called ‘expert’ what exactly drove young, British-born men to hack an innocent young soldier to death in the capital with knives and a meat cleaver…

Disgracefully, Choudary even claimed that he and his followers had signed a covenant — akin to the British military’s covenant to care for the welfare of its soldiers — not to wage war against this country’s people in return for living here unmolested and at our expense.

There is only one problem with this preposterous claim: it is simply not true. For the preacher is a fan of what is known by Islamic extremists as taqiyya — the telling of lies to protect their secret, deadly aims.

For, during a lengthy investigation into the activities of this portly, bearded figure, I uncovered conclusive evidence that Choudary is one of the key recruiters of young British extremists, at least one of whom was later linked to planned atrocities.

Indeed, given the atrocity in London this week, the extent of Choudary’s activities in Britain raise disturbing questions about how individuals with known terror links are allowed to flout the law and openly recruit on our streets.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Man Jailed for 12 Years for Killing Stranger Who Disturbed Him While He Was Having a Bath

[WARNING: Disturbing content.]

A 22-year-old man was today jailed for 12 years for stabbing a stranger who knocked on his door while he was having a bath.

Stuart Worvell was convicted of manslaughter for the killing of 20-year-old Thomas Sutton, who mistook Worvell’s house for the venue of a party.

Cardiff Crown Court heard that Worvell was playing loud music and taking a bath when Mr Sutton and his friend Kyle Harris, 18, presumed there was a party in his house.

The 22-year-old, known as Womble, stabbed the pair with a six-inch kitchen knife after they argued on his doorstep near Bridgend, south Wales.

He claims he acted in self-defense because the men were armed with wooden stakes.

Mr Sutton was stabbed nine times and is believed to have died within minutes.

Mr Harris was seriously injured after being stabbed three times.

Judge Mr Justice Wyn Williams KT told Worvill: ‘Moments after stabbing Thomas you stabbed Kyle Harris three times causing him life threatening injuries.

‘You committed a significant, serious, unlawful attack on Kyle.

‘Nothing leads me to believe you have shown any remorse.

‘Certain aspects of your behaviour in court lead me to the opposite conclusion.’

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Nine-Year-Old Boy Who ‘Burgled a House and Went for a Joyride in the Owner’s Car’ is Too Young to be Prosecuted

A nine-year-old boy burgled a house and went for a joyride in the owner’s car but he cannot be prosecuted because he is too young.

The child stole cash and two sets of car keys from the home in Hartlepool before the red Astra 1.6 turbo was crashed into a parked vehicle.

Police caught the boy when he returned to the house to pick up his bike, which he had left in the garden.

However, he will escape punishment because he is under the age of criminality.

In England and Wales, children aged under ten cannot be arrested or charged with a crime.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Woolwich Soldier Murder: Three More Arrests

Three men have been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder the British soldier who was hacked to death in Woolwich.

Two men aged 24 and 28 were arrested at a residential address in London while a 21-year-old man was arrested in the street, Scotland Yard police headquarters said in a statement.

Taser electric stun guns were used on the 28-year-old and the 21-year-old.

Police were also executing search warrants at four residential addresses in south-east London tonight.

It came as Sky News was told Michael Adebowale — one of the men suspected of murdering Drummer Lee Rigby — was detained by police two months ago.

Local shopkeepers say he was part of a group of Muslim activists who had been reported to police several times.

They were told the authorities were aware of him.

A preliminary report into what the intelligence services knew about Adebowale and his fellow suspect Michael Adebolajo is set to be handed over to an inquiry next week.

Sir Malcolm Rifkind, chairman of the parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee, said he had been briefed by the director general of MI5, Andrew Parker, a couple of days ago.

He added: “What we will be wishing to know is to what extent the intelligence services had any awareness of the two individuals.”…

           — Hat tip: Nick [Return to headlines]

UK: Woolwich Murder Suspect ‘Was Offered Job With MI5 Six Months Ago’, Claims Childhood Friend

[WARNING: Graphic content.]

Woolwich murder suspect Michael Adebolajo was approached by MI5 six months ago and asked if he would work for the security service, it was claimed last night.

A childhood friend of the suspected terrorist claimed MI5 started following Adebolajo after a trip to Kenya last year.

Abu Nusaybah said the murder suspect believed MI5 was bugging him and ‘knocking on his door’ asking for information on ‘certain individuals’.

‘But after him saying that he didn’t know these individuals, what he said was they asked him if he would be interested in working for them.

‘He was explicit in that he refused to work for them but he did confirm he didn’t know the individuals.’

The friend of Michael Adebolajo said he thought he had undergone a ‘change’ following his detention by security forces on a trip to Kenya last year.

He said Adebolajo suggested he had been physically and sexually abused while he was interrogated in the African country, and after this he became withdrawn and ‘less talkative — he wasn’t his usual bubbly self.

Following the interview Nusaybah himself was arrested at the BBC in relation to terrorism offences.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Unrest May Spread Across Europe, Warns Red Cross Chief

Rocketing unemployment and poverty in some areas of Europe could lead to rising civil unrest, unless governments take measures to address the humanitarian consequences of austerity measures, the secretary-general of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has warned.

Bekele Geleta’s caution comes as police battle with rioters in Stockholm, where high unemployment and social deprivation in migrant communities have been blamed for a week of violence.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Van Rompuy Endorses Restart of EU-Turkey Talks

BRUSSELS — European Council chief Herman Van Rompuy has repeated his invitation for Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan to come to Brussels to mark the restart of EU entry talks.

Speaking in Ankara on Thursday (23 May) — almost 50 years after the EU and Turkey signed a pre-accession pact in 1963 and more than two years after accession talks halted in 2010 — he said: “We should shortly see the opening of a new chapter in the negotiations.”

He added: “I am honoured that the Prime Minister has accepted my invitation to come to Brussels in the coming months in order to follow up on today’s fruitful discussions.”

Speaking earlier the same day at a business seminar in the Turkish capital, he noted: “After a moment of standstill … (there is) a new impetus that will soon be translated into a concrete step forward.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Why Did British Bystanders Watch a Soldier Get Hacked to Death?

The recent attack on a British soldier by assassins wielding meat cleavers while bystanders looked on raises the question: “Why didn’t anyone try to help the victim?”

Because British citizens are prohibited from carrying objects that could be used as “offensive weapons.”

While it is well known that Brits cannot carry guns, a lesser known law prohibits any subject of the Queen from carrying a knife of consequence, pepper spray or a stun gun.

According to the United Kingdom government website, the online storehouse of British government regulations, it is illegal to:

  • sell a knife of any kind (including cutlery and kitchen knives) to anyone under 18
  • carry a knife in public without good reason — unless it’s a knife with a folding blade 3 inches long (7.62 cm) or less, eg a Swiss Army knife
  • carry, buy or sell any type of banned knife
  • use any knife in a threatening way (even a legal knife, such as a Swiss Army knife)

Folding knives, regardless of blade size, with a locking mechanism are illegal in the U.K. for carry in public and are referred to as “lock knives.” According to British law, “The maximum penalty for an adult carrying a knife is 4 years in prison and a fine of £5,000.”…

The government also states, however, “A court will decide if you’ve got a good reason to carry a knife if you’re charged with carrying it illegally.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Algeria: Deserted Cathedrals, ‘Underground’ Christians

Berber villages still host Christian communities

(ANSAmed) — Algiers — Inside the 19th century Notre Dame D’Afrique Cathedral which sits above the city of Algiers the walls of the apse are covered in a simple message.

“Mary Virgin pray for us and for Muslims,” it reads.

The Basilica of St Augustine in Annaba, once the ancient city of Hippo, is another symbolic monument of this coastal town and tourist spot where one of the most important fathers of Christianity was born. “Only foreigners go to those churches,” a priest from the Congo told ANSAmed on a visit to the basilica where a bone of the saint is enshrined. Algeria has become a country that is 99.9% Muslim and at least officially there are no native Christians. But when you travel through the small villages of Kabylia in the north and the mountains in the south-east of Algiers, it is possible today to meet Christians among the Berber population.

It is difficult to quantify because they don’t practise their religion openly.

“There are perhaps about some thousands,” said a Muslim Berber official from the Algerian ministry of tourism.

In Algeria the Berbers are an important minority, comprising around 40% of the population and are ethnically and culturally different from the Arab majority.

Among the key figures in Berber ethnic history which originated in the Maghreb is Dihya, a queen who fought to the death against Arab invaders in the 7th century.

Now the Berbers make up the majority of Muslims, but in several Algerian enclaves there is Christian and Jewish blood.

During the civil war of the 1990s, “many Berber families in reaction against Muslim integration turned to Christianity” says an Algerian tour guide.

“It was a common phenomenon even though it was in the small areas of the Kabylia”, he added.

In the uncertain climate that persists in Algeria today, none of them appear at public masses celebrated on Friday at the Notre Dame d’Afrique in Algiers.

It is much easier to encounter Muslim families that pay homage to Mary, a figure that is even venerated in the Koran.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Arrest the Reporters Behind the Al-Dura Hoax

France 2 and Enderlin must have their press accreditation revoked and be thrown out of Israel.

The release this week of the Israeli Ministry of International Affairs and Strategy’s report which definitely found that the France 2 television infamous news broadcast of the IDF shooting a Palestinian child in Gaza in September 2000 was a fake, is an important victory for all of the activists and organizations that engaged in the struggle for the truth. Mohammed al-Dura, the Palestinian youth, allegedly seen being killed in the video footage, became the poster child in the Arab world for the murderous intifada violence that fueled hundreds of terrorist attacks against Israeli citizens and Jewish communities worldwide. Thousands of Jews and Arabs had been killed in the ensuing violence following the broadcast that lasted for years.

The new governmental report, drafted by General (res.) Yossi Kupperwasser, found that the IDF was in no way responsible for the claimed shooting of al-Dura and that there was compelling evidence to suggest that he had never even been wounded by gunfire at all. The Committee had the opportunity to view the raw video outtakes of the incident as filmed by a Palestinian cameraman in Gaza for France 2. As the report states: “The committee’s review of the raw footage showed that in the final scenes, which were not broadcast by France 2, the boy is seen to be alive and that he moved his arm and turned his head.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Alleged Member of Hezbollah Arrested Here

The FBI has arrested a San Antonio man on charges he lied to get into the United States and tried to get a sensitive Defense Department position.

Wissam Allouche, 44, appeared for an initial hearing Friday afternoon, and shook his head when U.S. Magistrate Judge Henry Bemporad read the charges leveled in a federal indictment. The judge ordered him held pending a bail hearing and his arraignment Tuesday.

“He allegedly tried to cover up his affiliation with Hezbollah,” said special agent Erik Vasys, spokesman for the FBI in San Antonio. “It is believed he was looking to secure a sensitive position with the U.S. government at some point.”

The indictment said Allouche had married a U.S. citizen and was going through the naturalization process. During that process, he reportedly lied when asked if he’d ever been a member of or associated with a terror organization, the indictment said.

The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force alleges he was a fighter with the Amal militia in Lebanon in the early to mid-1980s.

[It’s good that they got him — but who knows how many have gotten through, with the wheels greased by institutional diversity pressure? — PW]

           — Hat tip: Papa Whiskey [Return to headlines]

Hackers Sabotage Haifa Water Supply System

(AGI) Jerusalem — Pro-Syrian hackers have sabotaged the Haifa water supply system .

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

Hezbollah Leader Vows Continued Support for Assad

(AGI) Beirut, May 25 — Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah declared that his Lebanese Shiite troops will continue to support President Assad in the Syrian conflict. He also said he would accept whatever sacrifice and pay any possible consequences for his support of the regime.

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

UAE: Dubai to Focus on Medical Tourism

New hospitals and specialised centres for greater efficiency

(ANSAmed) — DUBAI, MAY 20 — Tourism has long been the driving force behind Dubai’s nascent, diversified economy and one particular type looks set to be the focus of its future: medical tourism. The Dubai Healthcare Authority announced Sunday a host of new projects which will help Dubai consolidate its position as centre of medical excellence in the Middle East, in line with the 2025 strategic programme. Three billion dirhams (635 million euros) will go towards modernizing and expanding the historical Rashid Hospital, which is specialised in emergency care, trauma and intensive therapy. The funding will increase in-patient capacity by a third, from 600 to 900 beds, and will add on cardiac, oncological, renal and cosmetic surgery centres. Three new hospitals will be built in peripheral areas of the emirate, along with two five-star hotels for patients’ relatives. To monitor and assess the efficiency of the services in existing hospitals, Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid al Maktoum has inaugurated the launch of a “customer service” website. The healthcare programme revolves around four main points: knowledge and awareness raising, service accessibility, quality and competitiveness. An expansion plan which would include both a mosque and a crafts market is under discussion for the sole centre for the elderly in Dubai. The healthcare project aims to meet the needs of the UAE population while also taking advantage of the potential in the region and the Middle East. It has set itself the goal of filling a number of gaps, optimizing services and attracting both private and public investment. To shore up the healthcare tourism initiatives, said DHA director Eisa Maidour, medical exhibitions and conferences will be held in the emirate, leading to greater participation in those abroad with the aim of promoting investment across the entire healthcare sector. The already numerous healthcare facilities boasting cutting-edge equipment generate a market of medical tourism of over 9.2 billion euros by 2015, according to Dubai Chamber of Commerce data.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Female Suicide Bomber Injures 18 in Russian Region

MAKHACHKALA, Russia (AP) — A female suicide bomber blew herself up in the southern Russian region of Dagestan on Saturday, injuring at least 18, including two children and five police officers, authorities said. The attacker was later identified as a widow of two Islamic radicals killed by security forces.

It was the first suicide bombing in Dagestan since the Boston Marathon attacks last month. The Tsarnaev brothers suspected of carrying out those blasts are ethnic Chechens who lived in this turbulent Caucasus province before moving to the U.S. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the elder brother who was killed in a shootout with police days after the April 15 bombings, spent six months in Dagestan in 2012.

Dagestan remains an epicenter of violence in the confrontation between Islamic radicals and federal forces. Islamic extremists strive to create an independent Muslim state, or “emirate,” in the Caucasus and parts of southern Russia with a sizable Muslim population.

In Saturday’s attack, the bomber detonated an explosives-laden belt in the central square in the provincial capital, Makhachkala, Dagestan’s police spokesman Vyacheslav Gasanov said.

The woman was identified as Madina Alieva, 25, who married an Islamist who was killed in 2009 and then wedded another Islamic radical who was gunned down last year, police spokeswoman Fatina Ubaidatova said…

           — Hat tip: Nick [Return to headlines]

Burmese Muslims Given Two-Child Limit

Rakhine state officials say limit on children will help ease tensions with Buddhists, whose population is growing at slower rate

Muslims in a province of Burma have been ordered not to have more than two children in an attempt by the government to stop Buddhist attacks on Muslims.

State officials said the two-child limit in the state of Rakhine would ease tensions between Buddhists and their Muslim Rohingya neighbours.

Local officials said the new measure was part of a policy that will also ban polygamyin two Rakhine townships that border Bangladesh and have the highest Muslim populations. The townships, Buthidaung and Maundaw, are about 95% Muslim.

The measure was enacted a week ago after a government-appointed commission investigating the violence issued proposals to ease tensions, which included family planning programs to stem population growth among minority Muslims, said Rakhine state spokesman Win Myaing. The commission also recommended doubling the number of security forces in the volatile region.

“The population growth of Rohingya Muslims is 10 times higher than that of the Rakhine (Buddhists),” Win Myaing said. “Overpopulation is one of the causes of tension.”…

           — Hat tip: Steen [Return to headlines]

India: Asghar Ali Engineer, A Voice for Dialogue Between Christianity and Islam, Is Dead

The intellectual died in Mumbai at the age of 74 after a long illness. A Muslim who was a friend of AsiaNews, he carried out a relentless fight “against all forms of religious bigotry.”

Mumbai (AsiaNews) — “We are saddened by the death of Asghar Ali Engineer, an Islamic scholar and tireless voice for dialogue, who had always opposed all forms of religious bigotry,” Fr Pushpa Anbu, from the Society of the Divine Word, as he spoke to AsiaNews about the Indian Muslim scholar who passed away yesterday in Mumbai at the age 74 after a long illness.

A friend of AsiaNews and a great expert on Islam, Asghar Ali Engineer headed the Centre for the Study of Society and Secularism in Mumbai and was well known for his fight for human rights within Islam.

Fr Anbu, who is the secretary of the Islamic Studies Association (ISA) and editor of Salam, knew the Muslim intellectual well, and remembers him as “a man of great sensitivity and culture; a real asset to interfaith dialogue.”

“Engineer,” he explained, “will remain in the hearts of all the people who knew him, and his efforts and writings on peace and dialogue between communities will continue to inspire and instil hope in people.”

Born in Salumbar (Rajasthan) on 10 March 1939 into a family of religious officials, Engineer studied Islam, Islamic culture and Arabic at great length. He also placed his profound knowledge of the Muslim world in the service of interfaith dialogue.

For his work, he received many awards. In 1997, the Government of India gave him the National Communal Harmony Award, one of the country’s most prestigious prizes. In 1987, the US International Student Assembly and the US Indian Student Assembly recognised his work with the Distinguished Service Award.

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

Obama Overrides Congress to Buy $690 Million Worth of Russian Choppers for Afghan Air Force

Apparently America has too many jobs so Obama will be spending taxpayer money to support Russia’s defense industry on behalf of Afghanistan. And he’s doing so over the bipartisan objections of Congress from both the right and left and a ban on buying them written into the NDAA.

Aside from throwing almost $700 million to a company owned by the Russian government at a time when Obama has taken a chainsaw to the United States military, subsidizing the Russian defense industry helps it develop more weapons that will be sold to America’s enemies.

That money will help fund R&D for the next generation of weapons that an American military dismantled by Obama will be facing on the battlefield.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

China: Kunming: Hundreds of People Take to Streets Against Oil Refinery

The protest was held yesterday in front of provincial government building. The protesters took to the streets for hours braving a massive police cordon. To avoid clashes, the mayor opens a mediation with civil society. On May 4, thousands of people protested against the refinery project which is highly polluting.

Kunming (AsiaNews / Agencies) — Hundreds of people are protesting in Kunming (Yunnan) against the construction of a new refinery. Ignoring the threats of the local government, which has banned all demonstrations, the people poured into the streets front of the headquarters of the provincial government, challenging the presence of a large police cordon. The protest was held yesterday, but the news appeared in the media just this morning. So far, police have arrested one protester. The protest started at 14.00 and lasted for several hours, until the authorities opened a mediation.

This is the second time that the population of Kunming has taken to the streets in protest against the local government. May 4th in thousands of people blocked the city to ask for the cancellation of the project which involves the construction of an oil refinery about 30 km from the city, in the town of Anning. The plant owned by the China National Petroleum Corporation will produce more than 10 million tons of refined material annually, releasing dangerous carcinogenic “paraxylene” hydrocarbons into the air. The residents also object to the huge water consumption of the massive project, which would increase the drought that has hit the province for several years. In recent months, the authorities in Kunming have tried to convince the population of the limited impact of the plant, but they refused to publish reports of its environmental impact by invoking state secrecy.

After yesterday’s protest, Li Wenrong, mayor of the city, promised to improve the government’s transparency and to listen to the demands of the public, opening up a website to raise questions. The mayor said that the project also depends on the reactions of public opinion, but rejected the idea of ??some protesters to hold a referendum. “In our country — he explains — there is no precedent of voting, so it is very unlikely that it will ever be authorized.” Li has scheduled a meeting with city representatives on 22 May, but said he will not respond to questions about the cancellation of the project.

Chinese people and civil society are increasingly rebelling against the pollution that is ravaging the country. People exchange information especially through the internet and social networks. In 2011 in Dalian thousands of protesters demonstrated against a chemical factory, forcing the authorities to impose a heavy fine on an oil company that has polluted the Shandong. The case of Wukan (Guangdong) exploded in September 2011, which saw for the first time a sort of victory of the population over the central power, which in recent years has prompted several leaders of villages and towns to seek mediation with the people instead of repression .

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

China: Beijing: 13 Arrests for Protests Relating to Case of Young “Suicide” Migrant

Security forces have arrested a group of people accused of fomenting protests and of spreading “rumors” on the internet. They include the boyfriend of the 22 year-old Yuan Liya. For many commentators, the girl was thrown from the upper floors of the mall, after a gang rape.

Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) — Chinese authorities have arrested 13 people accused of having circulated posts and comments on the Internet stirring up a (rare) protest in Beijing. At the origin of the event, the story of a young migrant worker who died in a mall where she worked under mysterious circumstances. The story emphasizes, however, the tense situation between government officials and migrant workers, an explosive mixture that threatens to turn into a real social conflict all over the Land of the Dragon.

Those arrested include her boyfriend. The death of 22 year-old Yuan Liya, — in unusual and mysterious — prompted a protest on 8 May which lasted several hours and which involved hundreds of people.

The Public Security Bureau of Beijing Municipality maintains the girl committed suicide on May 3 last, and thus there is no need for an investigation. In contrast, the protesters claim she was killed and now are demanding justice.

The arrests follow a few weeks after the announcement of web security officials, in which they threatened to clamp down on “rumors on the internet”, which is why the authorities have closed or blocked sites and pages activists or prominent dissidents. According to police, the “suicide” victim’s boyfriend is “spreading [false] news about the girl’s mysterious death” and has encouraged people — mostly migrants from the same province as the girl — to join in protests. Other commentators have posted comments claiming that the girl was thrown from the upper floors of the building, after having suffered a gang rape.

Yuan Liya, a 22 year-old migrant from Anhui, worked as a sales assistant in a shopping mall in the capital: on May 3, she was found dead, but her colleagues deny that she may have committed suicide. Police officers at first denied everything, saying that “there are no signs that it may be a suspicious death.” The Town Hall published a post on the internet to say that “there are no signs of poisoning, sexual assault or murder: she jumped by herself,” and added that “her family agrees with us.” But colleagues of Yuan do not believe in this version and started a peaceful demonstration to demand the truth.

Public protests are increasing in the country, with tens of thousands of social demonstrations each year. Communist Party officials have repeatedly admitted that social instability — which arises from economic instability and corruption of leadership — is a “serious threat to the survival” of the power system.

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

Taiwanese Students Promote “Friendship” With Filipino Immigrants

The initiative aims to show solidarity with Filipinos impacted by controversy over a naval incident between Manila and Taipei on May 9 last. Immigrants contribute to social development and co-operate in the protection of children and the elderly. Student: The person who shot is responsible, not “the honest workers here.”

Taipei (AsiaNews) — A group of good-willed Taiwanese students have launched a campaign to show support for the Filipino workers in Taiwan. The young people’s initiative to raise awareness is a concrete response to the continuous TV news and the headlines on the main Taiwanese media, regarding the Philippine Coast Guard’s killing of 65-year old fisherman Hung Shih-cheng (???), and the subsequent investigation.

Sunday, May 19th a group of students met outside the parish most frequented by the Filipino community in the center of Taipei and posted signs of support for Filipinos in Taiwan. They were led by Chun-Li from (?? ?), an energetic student who never tired of repeating that nobody should direct their anger towards the workers. In recent years they have offered an important contribution to Taiwanese society especially in assisting the elderly, children and as laborers on construction sites.

“The government and the shooter are responsible, not the honest workers we have here” said Li. There are about 87 thousand Filipino workers in Taiwan, in recent weeks there have been reports of some abuses against them, so the young Li has encouraged a number of initiatives and invited everyone to be friendly towards the innocent Filipino workers.

Meanwhile, on May 20 Taipei and Manila came to the agreement to conduct a parallel investigation with the Philippine team that will travel to examine the vessel and a Taiwanese delegation that will travel to the Philippines and have access to recordings of dialogues between members of the Coast Guard and the tests still available about the incident.

It all started the morning of May 9 in disputed waters between Taiwan and the Philippines, when the Philippine Coast Guard fired 52 shots on the Taiwanese fishing vessel to stop the boats engine. The flurry of shots killed Hung Shih-cheng. While the incident was considered an accident by the Philippine government and not the result of self-defense, it has caused a strong reaction in Taipei which speaks of cold-blooded murder because as many as 24 bullets were found in the cockpit and the vessel was unarmed.

Tension rose following Manila’s refusal to apologize, while past incidents were dragged up in the public memory. In the absence of an official apology from the government of Manila, Wednesday 15 May, the Taiwanese government issued eleven punitive measures, including the termination of the issuance of permits to Filipino workers, Taiwan’s representative to Manila was recalled and Antonio Basilio, the Philippines representative to Taiwan was invited to return to the Philippines. Luckily the initiative of the young students of these days brings with it a note of constructive reconciliation: it is hoped that the whole affair will find a solution for justice and reconciliation, with due compensation to the victim’s family and a clear definition of the rights to the fishing in the sea between Taiwan and the Philippines, to avoid similar incidents in the future.

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

Niger President Says Libyan Islamists Are Behind Bombings

(AGI) Paris, May 25 — Libyan terrorists are behind the two dynamite bombings in Niger, one on a French military base and one at a French uranium mine, that took place on Friday. That’s what Niger’s President, Mr. Issoufou, told the reporters of France24. “The terrorists who carried out the attacks come from southern Libya, “he said, confirming the rumours, already circulating in the country, to the effect that the two bombings, which killed 20 people including many Nigerian soldiers, were organised by two Islamic groups linked to al-Qaeda.

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

Brazil Cancels USD 900 Million in African Debt

(AGI) Addis Ababa, May 25 — Brazil has cancelled 900 million dollars in debt owed by 12 African nations. Presidential spokesman Thomas Traumann commented on the move by saying that: “the special relationship with Africa is part of Brazil’s foreign policy strategy”. The decision was made as part of the celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the founding of the African Union, in which Brazilian president Dilma Roussef took part. The anniversary coincides with Africa Day.

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

Criminal Gets Hit by Bus After Robbing Woman in Colombia

CCTV footage showed the mugger calmly walking up to his victim in a Bogota bus station and snatching her bag. A brief struggle ensues before the man attempts to make his getaway.

As he dashes out of the station, a bus suddenly pulls in, knocking him over and dragging him underneath the bus.

Remarkably, the mugger’s victim then helped rescue him from underneath the vehicle.

After being treated in hospital, the man was arrested by police.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Congressman Steve King Leads His Own Gang of Eight Against the Amnesty Bill

Republican Congressman Steve King isn’t one to mince words, especially when it comes to the immigration reform bill. So the Tweet he posted Thursday calling out “illegal aliens” who were in attendance during the committee meeting shouldn’t have surprised anyone.

So far we’ve heard a lot about the Gang of Eight and how they’ve heroically banded together and reached a bipartisan agreement to create the ultimate Path to Citizenship for the 11.5 million illegal aliens within our borders. You almost hear angels singing in the background every time their names are mentioned.

But there’s a flip side to every coin and soon, as the bill makes its way to the House, the alternative-Gang of Eight, the anti-amnesty team, will be fielding their own A-team led by Rep. Steve King of Iowa and his second-in-command, Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas.

Together the two make a formidable team, but they’re not alone. They’ll be accompanied by Rep. Mo Brooks (Ala.), Rep. Lamar Smith (Texas), Lou Barletta (Pa.), Rep. Steve Stockman of Texas, Rep. John Flemin (La.) and Rep. Paul Gosar (Ariz.)

King takes a strong stand against the current immigration initiative on his website and he believes our first and foremost focus should be on securing and controlling our borders:

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Gang of Eight Says ‘Trust US, This Bill Will Pay for Itself’

Will you believe the Gang of Eight’s claim that the amnesty bill will pay for itself because, well, because that’s their story and they’re sticking to it?

The very idea that anyone in the current administration would assume he or she automatically has the public’s trust simply because they hold a government office is ludicrous, to say the least. Nevertheless, the Gang of Eight say their immigration reform bill won’t add a single penny to the U.S. deficit and they expect you to believe it because, well, because they said so, that’s why.

In the wake of The Heritage Foundation’s May 6 report that the immigration reform bill, as it stands now, will create a deficit of $6.3 trillion, the Gang of Eight offered a substitute amendment that would increase the implementation funding by an additional $900 million, increasing the Trust Fund to $7.5 billion.

“Our watchword here is to have this bill pay for itself. In other words, we do not want it to incur any costs to the taxpayer, the Treasury or anybody else. That will be a balance. It will be the costs of administering the E-Verify program and the exit-entry visa program, the costs of strengthening the border and the costs of just administering the new immigrants who will be coming here,” Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), the lead sponsor of the legislation, told colleagues during the Judiciary Committee’s markup.

There are only two problems with Schumer’s statement that the bill will pay for itself, the first being the Trust Fund itself. The bulk of the now $7.5 billion to fund the Trust Fund will be transferred from the U.S. Treasury Department General Fund, and 67 percent of the money in the General Fund comes from taxes — paid by legal U.S. citizens.

Now, why should we believe the Heritage Foundation’s outrageous claims over The Gang of Eight’s? Because Robert Rector and Jason Richwine actually back it up with statistics and analysis, they’re not just assuming you’re going to trust them. So let’s break it down…

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Obamacare Loophole Provides Incentive for Employers to Hire Illegal Aliens Over US Citizens

A loophole in President Obama’s healthcare plan makes it very attractive for US employers to hire illegal immigrants on the Pathway to Citizenship instead of hiring legal US citizens. And if it’s not fixed before the bill passes, millions of jobs across America will be filled by illegal aliens.

According to the immigration reform bill, any illegal immigrant who’s been in the U.S. since on or before December 31, 2011, may apply for provisional status. Assuming he meets all of the legal requirements along the way, within 13 years he may be granted lawful permanent resident status.

During that 13-year time frame the immigrant must be employed by a U.S. employer and must be able to provide proof of employment.

Under Obamacare, employers with more than 50 employees are required to either provide healthcare benefits or pay a $3,000 fine every time one of their workers has to subscribe to Obamacare’s insurance exchange subsidies.

However — and here’s the catch — during that 13-year interim period, the immigrant is not eligible for any federal benefits, which includes Obamacare. So the employer doesn’t have to provide healthcare benefits because the illegal immigrant couldn’t apply for Obamacare subsidies if he wanted to.

How does this affect the average American? Obviously, employers will save money when they hire an illegal because they won’t have to provide health insurance. Scarier still, they can actually afford to offer higher wages to illegals so they can hire them in place of legal American citizens.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Obama Meets in Oval Office With Illegal Aliens

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden met in the Oval Office on Tuesday with three people who are in the country in violation of U.S. immigration laws but who have received “deferred action” allowing them to stay in the country under the terms of a “memorandum” issued unilaterally last year by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

While conceding that she had no legal authority to change the “immigration status” of illegal aliens or provide them with a “pathway to citizenship,” Napolitano instructed the top officials at Customs and Border Protection, Citizenship and Immigration Services, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement to use what she called “prosecutorial discretion” in not enforcing the immigration laws against certain classes of immigration lawbreakers.

These included illegal aliens who arrived in the United States before their sixteenth birthday, had graduated from high school or served in the military, had not been convicted of “significant” or “multiple” misdemeanors, and had not yet turned thirty.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Why Are We Importing Jihadists to America?

We have been importing jihadists for years now with Muslim immigration programs under the Refugee Resettlement program, diversity visas and religious visas. The Refugee Council USA says: “The U.S. has historically maintained a policy of admitting refugees of special humanitarian concern into the country.” Yet what that means in practice is very different from what most Americans would expect. It’s always a shock to people when they first find out how Refugee Resettlement works. Instead of giving refuge to the religious minorities that are persecuted, oppressed and subjugated under the Shariah, we are opening the floodgates to Islamic supremacists and jihadists.

And what most folks don’t know is that it’s the OIC-driven U.N. that decides who gets refugee status. The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) determines which of the world’s “huddled masses” comes to the U.S. as humanitarian refugees.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Activists Arrested at Moscow Gay Pride March

(AGI) — Moscow, May 25 — About 30 LGBT rights activists have been arrested in Moscow for holding an unauthorised gay pride rally. The demonstration — held to commemorate Vladislav Tornovoi, a 22-year-old who was raped and killed in Volgograd by a gang who believed he was a homosexual — was also the target for aggression by Orthodox Christian extremists.

Vladislav Tornovoi was found dead in early May in a children’s park just outside the building in which he grew up.

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

EU Survey: Anti-LGBT Discrimination in Slovenia and Croatia

60% of respondents report problems in Croatia

(ANSA) — ZAGREB — 60% of Croats have been discriminated because of their sexual orientation, according to the “EU LGBT Survey,” the EU report on discrimination against the LGBT community in Europe, based on a sample of 93 thousand respondents in all EU member states.

The percentage drops to 53% in Slovenia. Only Lithuania is worst than Zagreb, with 61% (EU average 47%, Italy 54%).

Discrimination is also observed during job search for 26% of Croats gays and lesbians and for 16% of respondents in Slovenia (EU average 20%, Italy 20%). It’s in the average (67%) and Croatia (66%) and Slovenia (67%) the number of gays and lesbians who have “often” or “always” concealed their homosexual identity while attending school.

The European Parliament, in late April, had urged Croatia to continue to protect its modern anti-discrimination legislation, keeping accurate statistics on the number of physical attacks against members of the LGBT community. Ljubljana also stands out for having the most advanced anti-discrimination legislation throughout the former Yugoslavia.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Outspoken Priest Don Gallo Dies at 84 in Genoa

Defended gay rights, opposed draconian drug laws

(ANSA) — Genoa, May 22 — A popular Catholic priest who founded a drug-rehabilitation centre, promoted LGBT rights, and once called for a gay pope, died Wednesday afternoon in Genoa, his religious community announced.

Don Andrea Gallo, 84, was known as the “street priest” for his community work, including founding Genoa’s San Benedetto drug-rehab community.

Gallo, who once smoked marijuana in city hall to protest what he denounced as draconian drug laws, was branded a Communist by his opponents.

But he stood up for the rights of gays, lesbians, and transsexuals, suggesting the Catholic church should even consider a gay pope to open itself to equality. “A homosexual pope would be a magnificent thing. The essence of the Gospel is that we are all God’s sons and daughters and we are all equal as God’s children,” Gallo once told Radio 24 program La Zanzara.

“The homosexual priest must be free to express his identity and his sexuality, because repression leads to pedophilia,” Gallo said, adding that he had been sexually harassed by a bishop when he was a young priest.

Nichi Vendola, president of the Freedom Ecology Left (SEL) party, eulogized Gallo on Twitter.

“Don Andrea Gallo, child of God, travelling companion, father, brother, friend, you will always be in our hearts, our struggles, our utopias”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Why Do They Slaughter Their Victims?

[WARNING: Disturbing content. ]

What is common to Daniel Perl, Nick Berg, a British soldier on London street, the Jews of Hebron in 1929 and the Fogel family in Itamar? They all were butchered. They were not simply stabbed to death, but were killed by an act designed to decapitate them or to cause fatal bleeding by severing their carotid artery. Another common denominator: all were slaughtered by Moslems. An endless list of Moslem girls and women can be added to them, those who were similarly slaughtered by their brothers, fathers or other relatives for “violating the family honor.” A question that arises automatically is where does this Moslem tendency to this kind of slaughter come from?

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

5 thoughts on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 5/25/2013

  1. I welcome the move by Rakhine to prevent muslims from taking over Burmese society through procreation. In India, at the time of partition in 1947, muslims were only 8% of the population. Through a robust growth rate, they are now at around 15%. Their leaders openly ask their followers to have more children so that they will one swamp Hindus in India by sheer numbers.

    Islam is extremely dangerous. It is a perpetual “Jihad by any means” machine. The only way out for all of us is to work together to eradicate it.

  2. Why did the British public stand by and watch while islamist butchers murdered a soldier and then seek to justify their actions until the police arrived? Easy, they have been politically corrected into submission – either to islam directly or to cultural marxism which has facilitated it. There are many disturbing issues that have arisen from this incident, the worst being the culture of denial that has been exhibited by the politicians and the MSM. A revolution in the UK is long overdue but apart from the much maligned EDL, who will lead it?

  3. Why do you Mr. Cameron and Mr. Johnson not took your Muslim scholars and joined the Police at Woolwich to SHOW the two Muslims YOUR secret Quoran, which has been apparently only available for you and your small group, in which must be the secret vers where Mohammed got the “inspiration from Allah”, that when he – Mohammed- dies, all warfare has to stop immediately and the only spread of Islam should be by preaching –

    AND WHY MR CAMERON UND MR: JOHNSON DO YOU COME OUT SO LATE WITH YOUR KNOWLEDGE about this secret, this abrogation of the abrogation of Sura 2, Vers 106 ?

    Its one of the utmost sensations in history that a Brit Premier discoverd all the truth about Islam …… and that about some more than 300 Millions were murderd because their murderers progressed in a wrong Islam.

  4. We have now heard that two British nationals have been arrested for trying to enter the cockpit of that PIA airliner and probably crash it over central London. But nothing more yet about the incident with the Oslo-bound British airways flight. And then there were those who were trying to steal a large amount of petrol at a service station on the M6 and caused it to be closed on the same day. Was that large amount of petrol a petrol tanker which they were preparing to crash into some target in an Afghanistan-style suicide attack? We wait to hear.

    • Let me guess: those two British nationals belong to the zombie cult of a 7th century child-raping and mass murdering cult leader? And that you will never hear the MSM mention this?

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