Gates of Vienna News Feed 5/27/2013

The former head of MI5, Dame Stella Rimington, calls on Britons to report their neighbors if they seem likely to be extremists. Dame Stella’s proposal comes as MI5 is under fire for its previous knowledge of (and attempts to recruit) the killers of Lee Rigby. Several years ago Michael Adebolajo was arrested in Kenya for his association with Al-Shabaab, but was later deported to Britain.

In other news, the would-be killer of the French soldier in Paris is now said to have prayed before he made the attack, fueling further speculation that the attempted murder was a deliberate imitation of last week’s beheading in Woolwich. The suspect in the French attack is still at large.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Fjordman, Insubria, JD, TV, Vlad Tepes, and all the other tipsters who sent these in.

Notice to tipsters: Please don’t submit extensive excerpts from articles that have been posted behind a subscription firewall, or are otherwise under copyright protection.

Caveat: Articles in the news feed are posted “as is”. Gates of Vienna cannot vouch for the authenticity or accuracy of the contents of any individual item posted here. We check each entry to make sure it is relatively interesting, not patently offensive, and at least superficially plausible. The link to the original is included with each item’s title. Further research and verification are left to the reader.

Financial Crisis
» 40 Statistics About the Fall of the U.S. Economy That Are Almost Too Crazy to Believe
» Business Leader Calls on Government to Pay Overdue Bills
» Electrical Bills Jump 11.2% in Italy
» Italy to Leave EU ‘Crisis List’ After Cutting Deficit
» Some 34,000 Greeks Moved to Germany in 2012
» World Bank Insider Blows Whistle on Corruption, Federal Reserve
» Antibacterial Agent Triclosan in Common Household Products Shown to Weaken the Heart and Muscles
» How CPAC Has Been Completely Corrupted by Islamists
» Obama’s DOJ Shreds the First Amendment
» Obama’s EPA Attempts to Ban Ammunition
» Rand Paul: Obama Losing Moral Authority to Lead
» State Depatment Recruits Muslim Foreign Service Officers at Jihadist Conference
» States Becoming “Ground Zero” For Gun Legislation
» The President Who Doesn’t Know; The Government That Can’t be Managed
» Undercover FBI Agent ‘Lured’ Tunisian Student Allegedly Linked to Foiled Terror Plot
» Want to Know Just How Close the Muslim Brotherhood is to the Obama Admin?
Europe and the EU
» British Officials Knew Suspect in Soldier’s Death Had Ties to Al Qaeda
» British Students Asked if They Will Shoot Protesters
» Danish Psychologist: ‘Integration of Muslims in Western Societies is Not Possible’
» EU Exit Would Put US Trade Deal at Risk, Britain Warned
» French Anti-Terrorism Police Hunt Man Who Stabbed Soldier
» Human Rights Court ‘Rejects’ Italy Appeal on Jails
» Italian Business Leader Calls Scrapping IMU Tax ‘An Error’
» Italy: Fiat Plays Down Headquarters Fears, Denies Tax Motives
» Italy’s Jails ‘Unworthy of Civilization’ Chides Cancellieri
» Italy: Government Vows to Keep Ilva Open Despite New Legal Chaos
» Italy: Ex-PdL Leader in Lazio Sentenced for Embezzling Party Funds
» Italy: Former Civil Servants Ordered to Stand Trial for Corruption
» No Jail Time for Sweden’s Sex Buyers: Report
» Scotland: Every Child to Have “State Guardian” From Birth
» Shortage of Doctors in England’s Worst Hospitals is ‘Costing Thousands of Lives’, According to New Study
» Suspect ‘Prayed’ Before Knifing French Soldier
» Sweden: Stockholm Riots Calm Down by Seventh Night
» Sweden: Integration, Anger, and the Stockholm Riots
» Sweden: Savages of Stockholm
» Switzerland Denies Saudi Sheikh Entry for 5 Years
» That Sinking Feeling: Spanish Submarines Too Heavy to Float
» Turkish Warship Passed Eight Greek Islands
» UK Mosque Burns, Anti-Islamists Protest
» UK: ‘The Enemy is Everywhere’: Former MI5 Head Calls for People to Spy on Their Neighbours Following Murder of Soldier Lee Rigby
» UK: London Police Source Cites Tactic ‘Employed by Palestinians in Israel’ In Explaining Woolich Killing Response
» UK: Theresa May Cracks Down on Universities After Claims That Alleged Woolwich Killers Were Radicalised at Greenwich University’s Islamic Society
» UK: The Hook-Handed Hate Cleric, A White Muslim Convert and the Man Arrested Over a Plot Against Parliament: The Web of Extremism Surrounding Woolwich Terror Suspects
» Voter Disaffection Continues in Italian Local Elections
North Africa
» Egypt May Reopen the Legendary Al Nasr Carmaker
» Libyan Television Station Offices Burnt Down in Tripoli
» More Benghazi Whistleblowers Ready to Step Forward
Israel and the Palestinians
» Tony Blair to be in Charge of £3billion Plan to Revitalise Palestine’s Economy, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry Reveals
Middle East
» As Rockets Are Fired in Beirut, Concerns Are Growing Over Lebanon’s Future
» Church in Turkish Capital Rejected by Authorities
» Diabetes a ‘Major Public Health Problem’
» Hezbollah Chief Says Group is Fighting in Syria
» Iran Begins ‘Massive’ Deployment of Long-Range Missile Launchers
» Rand Paul: Senate is Arming Al-Qaeda and Rushing to War in Syria
» The Return of Jesus
» Turkey: Ankara: Islamists Wield Knives Against Public Kissing, One Protester Wounded
South Asia
» Car Bomb Wounds Two Italian Soldiers in Afghanistan
» Indonesia: Aceh: New Pro Sharia Norm: Women Can Not Dance in Public Because it “Fuels Desire”
Far East
» Philippines: Mindanao: At Least 20 Killed in Clashes Between the Army and Islamic Rebels
Sub-Saharan Africa
» We Warned You About Him… You Ignored us: Kenya Says Britain Was Told of ‘Dangerous Radical’ In 2010
» Official Gave His Mother Swedish Residency
Culture Wars
» Gay Marriage: Paris: Protest Turns Violent During the Night
» Pakistani Lesbians Who Are the First Muslim Gay Couple to Wed in UK Claim Political Asylum Saying Their Lives Are Endangered if They Return Home
» Ron Paul: ‘Common Core’ Nationalizes and Dumbs Down Public School Curriculum
» Salon’s Memorial Day Message to America: You’re Not So Special
» Woman Asks for Removal of Crucifix to Vote in Local Election

40 Statistics About the Fall of the U.S. Economy That Are Almost Too Crazy to Believe

If you know someone that actually believes that the U.S. economy is in good shape, just show them the statistics in this article. When you step back and look at the long-term trends, it is undeniable what is happening to us. We are in the midst of a horrifying economic decline that is the result of decades of very bad decisions. 30 years ago, the U.S. national debt was about one trillion dollars. Today, it is almost 17 trillion dollars. 40 years ago, the total amount of debt in the United States was about 2 trillion dollars.

Today, it is more than 56 trillion dollars. At the same time that we have been running up all of this debt, our economic infrastructure and our ability to produce wealth has been absolutely gutted. Since 2001, the United States has lost more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities and millions of good jobs have been shipped overseas. Our share of global GDP declined from 31.8 percent in 2001 to 21.6 percent in 2011. The percentage of Americans that are self-employed is at a record low, and the percentage of Americans that are dependent on the government is at a record high. The U.S. economy is a complete and total mess, and it is time that we faced the truth.

The following are 40 statistics about the fall of the U.S. economy that are almost too crazy to believe…

#1 Back in 1980, the U.S. national debt was less than one trillion dollars. Today, it is rapidly approaching 17 trillion dollars…

#2 During Obama’s first term, the federal government accumulated more debt than it did under the first 42 U.S presidents combined…

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Business Leader Calls on Government to Pay Overdue Bills

Confindustria chief Squinzi estimates 130-140 billion euro hole

(ANSA) — Varese, May 27 — The head of Italian industrialists’ association Confindustria called on Monday for the Italian government to start paying off the public administration’s ballooning, overdue bills to relieve the credit crunch strangling Italian businesses.

“We are in a precise and specific situation of credit crunch. To relieve businesses, the first thing that should be done is for the public administration to put its hands in its pocket book and pay its own debts,” said Giorgio Squinzi, president of Confindustria.

“We have calculated that businesses have lost 50 billion euros of credit over the last five years, but then Minister Zanonato made a correction and spoke of 60 billion,” Squinzi added, making reference to Italian Economic Development Minister Flavio Zanonato.

Squinzi also told of his “bafflement before the ex-economy minister (Vittorio Grilli)” when asked for the total bill of debts owed by public administration, “and we were given the response that they were doing an inventory, and expected to be furnished a complete picture in September”.

“If you ask me, the latest numbers to emerge, of 130-140 billion, are very close to the reality,” Squinzi added, addressing an assembly of Confindustria members in the northern Italian town of Busto Arsizio.

“A state that doesn’t pay its own debts is not civilized.

These are not grants, but services rendered,” Squinzi concluded.

Unblocking the public administration’s payment of some 40 billion euros overdue to its suppliers was a goal set by the former technical government led by Mario Monti. Italy’s former technical government said unblocking the payments — a maneuver proposed for much-needed economic stimulus in the recession-hit country — would raise Italy’s 2013 budget deficit to 2.9%.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Electrical Bills Jump 11.2% in Italy

Country one of Europe’s most energy costly

(ANSA) — Brussels, May 27 — Italians saw their electricity bills jump by 11.2% in the last half of 2012 compared with one year earlier — one of the largest increases recorded in the European Union, the region’s statistical agency said Monday.

At the same time, gas prices for Italian families rose by 10.3% between the last six months of 2011 and the same period in 2012, Eurostat reported.

The jump in household electricity prices across the EU came on the heels of an average price increase of 6.3% between 2010 and 2011, and an average gas price hikes of 12.6%.

According to Eurostat, the largest price increases for electricity were reported in Cyprus, where prices jumped by 21%; Greece, with a 15% increase; while Italy ranked third for the greatest price increase in 2012 compared with one year earlier.

Ireland and Portugal each saw a 10% price rise while the cost of electricity dropped in Sweden, by 5%; Hungary, down 2%; and Finland, down 1%.

In terms of gas prices, families in Latvia saw a 21% increase; in Estonia, a 19% rise; and in Bulgaria, prices jumped by 18% last year.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy to Leave EU ‘Crisis List’ After Cutting Deficit

BRUSSELS — Italy is set to move off the EU ‘crisis list’ this week, as the European Commission acknowledges its efforts to reduce its budget deficit.

EU sources indicated on Monday (27 May) that Italy will be among several countries to be taken out of an Excessive Deficit Procedure (EDP) when the European Commission delivers its verdict on national reform programmes (NRPs) and budget plans on Wednesday (29 May).

Economic affairs commissioner Olli Rehn will deliver “country-specific recommendations” for each of the 17 members of the eurozone.

Italy’s budget deficit is predicted to fall to 2.9 percent in 2013 before falling to 2.5 percent in 2014 and the country once regarded as too big to fail in the eurozone is no longer top of the commission’s at risk list.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Some 34,000 Greeks Moved to Germany in 2012

(ANSAmed) ATHENS, MAY 27 — Some 34,000 Greeks relocated to Germany last year, an increase of 43 percent compared to 2011 when 23,800 Greeks moved there, daily Kathimerini reports citing recent German government statistics. It is not only Greeks who are increasingly seeking a better life in prosperous Germany but an growing number of people from other debt-hit countries in southern Europe.

Last year, 29,000 Spaniards, 42,000 Italians moved to Germany, according to German government statistics. The largest influx, however, was from central Europe, with 176,000 Poles, 116,000 Romanians and 59,000 Bulgarians relocating to various parts of Germany. In total more than a million new immigrants arrived in Germany in 2012, the largest influx since 1995. The average age of the migrants is 32 years. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

World Bank Insider Blows Whistle on Corruption, Federal Reserve

A former insider at the World Bank, ex-Senior Counsel Karen Hudes, says the global financial system is dominated by a small group of corrupt, power-hungry figures centered around the privately owned U.S. Federal Reserve. The network has seized control of the media to cover up its crimes, too, she explained. In an interview with The New American, Hudes said that when she tried to blow the whistle on multiple problems at the World Bank, she was fired for her efforts. Now, along with a network of fellow whistleblowers, Hudes is determined to expose and end the corruption. And she is confident of success.

Citing an explosive 2011 Swiss study published in the PLOS ONE journal on the “network of global corporate control,” Hudes pointed out that a small group of entities — mostly financial institutions and especially central banks — exert a massive amount of influence over the international economy from behind the scenes. “What is really going on is that the world’s resources are being dominated by this group,” she explained, adding that the “corrupt power grabbers” have managed to dominate the media as well. “They’re being allowed to do it.”

According to the peer-reviewed paper, which presented the first global investigation of ownership architecture in the international economy, transnational corporations form a “giant bow-tie structure.” A large portion of control, meanwhile, “flows to a small tightly-knit core of financial institutions.” The researchers described the core as an “economic ‘super-entity’“ that raises important issues for policymakers and researchers. Of course, the implications are enormous for citizens as well.

Hudes, an attorney who spent some two decades working in the World Bank’s legal department, has observed the machinations of the network up close. “I realized we were now dealing with something known as state capture, which is where the institutions of government are co-opted by the group that’s corrupt,” she told The New American in a phone interview. “The pillars of the U.S. government — some of them — are dysfunctional because of state capture; this is a big story, this is a big cover up.”

At the heart of the network, Hudes said, are 147 financial institutions and central banks — especially the Federal Reserve, which was created by Congress but is owned by essentially a cartel of private banks. “This is a story about how the international financial system was secretly gamed, mostly by central banks — they’re the ones we are talking about,” she explained. “The central bankers have been gaming the system. I would say that this is a power grab.”

[Comment: Highly recommended reading.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Antibacterial Agent Triclosan in Common Household Products Shown to Weaken the Heart and Muscles

Increasingly detected in human blood plasma, urine and breast milk, triclosan is setting off alarms in the scientific community. A study at the University of Davis in California showed that the chemical impairs the excitation-contraction coupling mechanism in mice, thereby hindering the heart’s capacity to circulate blood. Limb muscle strength was seriously compromised as well. The researchers exposed the animals to the equivalent level of triclosan as a person is exposed to each day from household products. The first mouse died within a minute of heart failure. The scientists then lowered the dosage and found the chemical decreased heart function by 25 percent within 20 minutes. Limb strength was reduced by 18 percent for 60 minutes after the agent was administered. Dr. Nipavan Chiamvimonvat, the study’s co-author and professor of cardiovascular medicine, said in a press release, “The effects of triclosan on cardiac function were really dramatic … Although triclosan is not regulated as a drug, this compound acts like a potent cardiac depressant in our models.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

How CPAC Has Been Completely Corrupted by Islamists

Scare headline? Overstated? Nope.

I was wondering why the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC)had banned Pamela Geller, AFDI and conservative gay groups like GOProud from hosting events or even setting up booths this year. Now, I have an answer.

Reknowned author and Islam scholar Robert Spencer’s blog Jihad Watch won CPAC’s People’s Choice Award this year by a wide margin and was notified that he’d won:

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Obama’s DOJ Shreds the First Amendment

On the pretext of discovering the source of leaks from within the Obama Administration and the content of information leaked, the Department of Justice authorized what may well be the most widespread clandestine intelligence sweep of the national media in recorded history. At the tip of this iceberg, DOJ obtained two months of phone records from Associated Press journalists and obtained personal emails and phone records of Fox News journalist James Rosen and even the phone records of Rosen’s parents. Likely DOJ surveillance and monitoring of national journalists and media organizations extends beyond the reported incidents to reach more media and more journalists. The actions reveal not only a gross disregard, but a contempt for, freedoms protected by the First Amendment.

The actions admitted by the Administration thus far pose a direct threat to the core checking value of the First Amendment. When government employees leak secret information to journalists, the crime lies in the employee’s act of divulging those secrets. There is no crime in a journalist’s publication of information volitionally given him or her by a government employee. Indeed, the publication of information deemed secret by the government is fully protected by the First Amendment. The publication of state secrets, even ones obtained by theft, cannot be stopped unless it can be shown that the publication itself directly imperils the lives of individuals (as when the publication exposes the names of CIA operatives and their secret missions).

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Obama’s EPA Attempts to Ban Ammunition

A federal court on Thursday halted — at least for the time being — an effort by the Environmental Protection Agency to ban all ammunition containing lead, much to the dismay of gun control groups hoping to use environmentalism to “make an end run around the Second Amendment” right of access to ammunition, according to officials from several organizations representing gun owners and manufacturers.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that it had dismissed a lawsuit brought by the anti-hunting Center for Biological Diversity and six other left-wing groups which demanded that President Barack Obama’s powerful EPA ban traditional ammunition containing lead components.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Rand Paul: Obama Losing Moral Authority to Lead

Due process is not looking at “Flash Cards and a Power Point Presentation”

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul did not let up over the weekend in his public vilification of the Obama administration with regards to inaction over the scandals the president is facing.

Appearing on ABC’s This Week, Paul asserted that if Obama continues to skirt around the edges of the issues without taking any decisive action, he will lose any moral authority that he still has left as a leader.

“I don’t know whether people were targeted for conservative religious values or just conservative political values and sometimes there’s an overlap,” Paul said.

“I think we have to get to the bottom of this. I think the constellation of these three scandals ongoing really takes away from the president’s moral authority to lead the nation.”

“Nobody questions his legal authority, but I think he’s really losing the moral authority to lead this nation. And he really needs to put a stop to this. I don’t care whether you’re a Republican or Democrat, nobody likes to see the opposite party punishing you for your political beliefs.” the Senator added.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

State Depatment Recruits Muslim Foreign Service Officers at Jihadist Conference

The Obama administration is covertly recruiting Muslims to work at the State Department as Foreign Service officers representing the United States in one of 265 American embassies, consulates and diplomatic missions worldwide.

It appears to be part of the administration’s Muslim outreach effort, which includes a variety of controversial moves. Among them Homeland Security meetings with extremist Islamic organizations, sending an America-bashing mosque leader (Feisal Abdul Rauf) who blames U.S. foreign policy for the 9/11 attacks on a Middle Eastern outreach mission and revamping the way federal agents are trained to combat terrorism by eliminating all materials that shed a negative light on Muslims. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton even signed a special order to allow the reentry of two radical Islamic academics whose terrorist ties long banned them from the U.S.

Now comes news of a secretive State Department campaign, discovered in the course of a Judicial Watch investigation, to add Muslims to its roster. Presumably, the new recruits will be deployed around the globe to help the agency fulfill its mission of promoting the country’s international relations. The campaign seems to be headed by Mark Ward, the Deputy Special Coordinator in the State Department’s Office of Middle East Transition.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

States Becoming “Ground Zero” For Gun Legislation

The 1979 movie And Justice For All is arguably the best cinematographic display of insanity and corruption in our legal system that continues to hold relevance today. It remains a near perfect illustration of judicial absurdity combined with personal and professional hubris that is repeated over and over in the U.S. The faces and names might change, but it was, and still is, a clear indictment of our legal system and certain individuals who believe themselves to be above the law.

In the battle against citizen’s rights to bear arms, such individuals not only occupy seats of power in the federal government, but in various state governments as well. The issue of gun control has largely been most visible at the federal level over the last century. Due to the Constitutional issues beyond the scope of this article, it is arguable, however, that an individual’s rights to own firearms under the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution, independent of federal control, might well fall within the jurisdiction of each state. This is exactly what we are now witnessing. At present, there are approximately 1,300 bills pending at the state level to change firearm laws, according to the San Francisco based Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. The majority of such legislation is decidedly against the law-abiding, gun-owning citizen. Virulently so.


One popular scene from And Justice For All played out almost verbatim during an April 30, 2013 meeting of the New Jersey State Law and Public Safety Committee when committee chairman New Jersey State Senator Donald Norcross shouted to one constituent, identified as New Jersey resident James Kaleda “You’re out of order!” Almost as if he was following the script written for Al Pacino, James Kaleda retorted “this meeting is out of order!” It was, perhaps, the most fitting assertion during an otherwise uneventful four-hour long session where it appeared that the passage of seven-(7) new restrictive state gun control measures was decided long before the hearings began…

While this might seem like a non sequitur at first blush, let me remind you that it was this gun control “lawmaking process” of the New Jersey Law and Public Safety Committee that was the stage setter for the “hot mic” comments captured at the conclusion of the New Jersey Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee just nine days later. It was during the latter meeting where the candid comments of three New Jersey State senators revealed their true intent of gun legislation: confiscation.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

The President Who Doesn’t Know; The Government That Can’t be Managed

So then why is he the president? Obama’s very good at letting you know that he didn’t know

A self-serving politician’s first instinct when scandal arises is to assert he knew nothing about what was going on. Barack Obama is about as self-serving as they come, so it’s no surprise he’s making an art form out of the claim that he hears about these things on the news, just as we’re hearing about them.

This is usually where someone like me, who has experience as the CEO of a large company, will point out that an effective executive has to be aware of what’s going on in his own organization. After all, if anything is your job, it’s to make sure things are running smoothly and scandalous activities do not occur. If you can’t do that, exactly how good a leader are we supposed to think you are?

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Undercover FBI Agent ‘Lured’ Tunisian Student Allegedly Linked to Foiled Terror Plot

Supporters of Ahmed Abassi, a Tunisian man allegedly linked to a foiled Canadian terror plot, say an undercover FBI agent posing as an Egyptian businessman provided money, advice and the promise of a job if Abassi would come to the United States.

U.S. court documents have already revealed that an undercover agent played a crucial role in the arrest of Abassi, a 26-year-old student at Quebec’s Laval University.

Abassi was allegedly in regular contact with the agent, who secretly recorded them discussing a plot to attack a Via Rail passenger train; to cause the death of “up to 100,000 people” by contaminating the air or water; to provide financial support and weapons to anti-government fighters in Syria, and how to recruit other terrorists in North America.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Want to Know Just How Close the Muslim Brotherhood is to the Obama Admin?

On Wednesday evening, GBTV unveiled a powerful documentary, “Rumors of War III,” exposing how radical Islamists, including the Muslim Brotherhood, are infiltrating American government at its highest levels.

The following is an overview of each of the Islamist figures who have found their place — in some way, shape or form — at the Obama administration’s table.

Arif Alikahn, Former Department of Homeland Security Assistant Secretary for Policy Development: Now a Distinguished Visiting Professor of DHS and Counterterrorism at the National Defense University, Alikahn also served as Deputy Mayor for Public Safety for the City of Los Angeles where he reportedly derailed the LAPD’s efforts to monitor the city’s Muslim community — particularly its radical mosques and madrassas where certain 9/11 hijackers were said to have received support. He is affiliated with MPAC, which has called the terrorist group Hezbollah a “liberation movement.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

British Officials Knew Suspect in Soldier’s Death Had Ties to Al Qaeda

Britain’s security agencies appeared headed for a period of deeply uncomfortable scrutiny after the government said Sunday that it had been aware for more than two years that one of the two men suspected of hacking an off-duty British soldier to death on a London street had ties to Al Qaeda.

A Foreign Office spokesman confirmed that the ministry had provided “consular assistance” in Kenya in 2010 to the man, Michael Adebolajo, 28, a British citizen of Nigerian descent. He had been arrested by the Kenyan police on suspicion of planning to join Al Shabab, an extremist group in Somalia that Britain has classified as a terrorist organization.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

British Students Asked if They Will Shoot Protesters

Students at British Prime Minister David Cameron’s alma mater, Eton College, were asked if they would shoot protesters.

The question was posed as part of an exam to win one of fourteen King’s Scholarships at the prestigious boarding school in 2011.

In addition to Cameron, past alumni include generations of British and foreign aristocracy and members of the Royal family, most recently Prince William and his brother Prince Harry.

Other former pupils at Eon include nineteen former prime ministers spanning from Sir Robert Walpole to Harold Macmillan.

Eton was founded in 1440 by King Henry VI. The college is situated next to Windsor Castle, the longest-occupied palace in Europe, built by William the Conqueror in the decade after the Norman conquest of 1066.

The exam question appeared as follows:

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Danish Psychologist: ‘Integration of Muslims in Western Societies is Not Possible’

Danish integration problems with Muslims became public worldwide in 2006 when the newspaper Jyllands-Posten published 12 cartoons of the prophet Mohammed. Exactly two years later riots broke out again because of the reprint of the Mohammed cartoons by all major Danish newspapers.

Currently 70 percent of the prison population in the Copenhagen youth prison consists of young man of Muslim heritage. Is this recent violence and general violent tendency among Muslims solely coincidental, or is there a direct connection?

In February 2009, Nicolai Sennels, a Danish psychologist published a book entitled Among Criminal Muslims: A Psychologist’s Experience from Copenhagen. In his book, Nicolai Sennels shares a psychological perspective of this Muslim Culture, its relationship to anger, handling emotions and its religion. He based his research on hundreds of hours of therapy with 150 young Muslims in the Copenhagen youth jail.

EuropeNews interviewed the author about his book and its consequences on integration of Muslims in Europe.

EuropeNews: Nicolai Sennels, how did you get the idea to write a book about criminal Muslims in Denmark?

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

EU Exit Would Put US Trade Deal at Risk, Britain Warned

The Obama administration has warned British officials that if the UK leaves Europe it will exclude itself from a US-EU trade and investment partnership potentially worth hundreds of billions of pounds a year, and that it was very unlikely that Washington would make a separate deal with Britain.

The warning comes in the wake of David Cameron’s visit to Washington, which was primarily intended as a joint promotion of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with Barack Obama, which the prime minister said could bring £10bn a year to the UK alone, but which was overshadowed by a cabinet rebellion back in London.

The threat by Cameron’s ministers to back a UK exit in a referendum on the EU raised doubts in Washington on whether Britain would still be part of the deal once it had been negotiated. More immediately, Obama administration officials were concerned that the uncertainty over Britain’s future would further complicate what is already a hard sell in Congress, threatening a central pledge in the president’s State of the Union address in February.

[Comment: TTIP (akin to EEC, before it became EU) would be the beginning of the end of US sovereignty.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

French Anti-Terrorism Police Hunt Man Who Stabbed Soldier

Man reported to have prayed before attacking Cédric Cordier as he patrolled concourse at La Défense train terminal in Paris

French anti-terrorism investigators are hunting for a bearded man who was reported to have been praying before he stabbed a French soldier outside a busy train terminal.

The man, described as tall and athletic, was spotted on CCTV at the station underneath the business district at La Défense just before the attack on Private First Class Cédric Cordier. The 25-year-old was stabbed in the neck with a knife or box cutter as he patrolled the shopping concourse on Saturday evening. The suspect fled the area after the incident but detectives said they had obtained “high quality images” of him.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Human Rights Court ‘Rejects’ Italy Appeal on Jails

Sources said Rome must solve overcrowding by end of year

(ANSA) — Strasbourg, May 27 — The European Court of Human Rights has rejected Italy’s appeal against a sentence condemning Rome for the state of Italian jails, ANSA sources said Monday.

The court confirmed that Italy must find a solution to prison overcrowding by the end of the year and pay damages to inmates affected by the poor conditions, the sources said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italian Business Leader Calls Scrapping IMU Tax ‘An Error’

Assonime president says work, income tax cuts should be first

(ANSA) — Milan, May 27 — The president of the Italian business association Assonime called recent Italian government efforts to delay and slash the unpopular IMU property tax “an error”, given Italy’s other tax-cutting priorities and strapped financial resources, on Monday. “Cancelling the IMU is a technical error,” said Assonime President Luigi Abete, speaking at conference in Milan on corporate taxes.

“I understand very well that political deals among the powers of the (government) majority dictate a change on the IMU law, but we continue to maintain that the IMU is inevitable in a context in which one must reduce taxes on income and work,” Abete added.

By questioning whether the IMU is more political necessity than economic priority, Abete took a stand that is closer to the OECD, which also called for cuts in work and income taxes before cuts to the IMU.

Rising centre-left leader, Florentine Mayor Matteo Renzi, has called government intervention on the IMU “the price paid” for the centre-left’s alliance ex-premier and centre-right leader Silvio Berlusconi, who made a major campaign promise of refunding payments made and scrapping the IMU in February’s inconclusive parliamentary elections.

The centre-right has made cancelling the IMU a condition for working with the centre-left to form the current government, led by the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) premier, Enrico Letta. The current government passed a decree delaying June IMU payments on homes and businesses to September. Premier Letta has vowed to completely revamp the IMU by then, while Berlusconi promised to wipe the tax off the ledgers by June. IMU was instituted among a series of austerity measures under former premier Mario Monti’s emergency technocrat government to restore health to Italy’s public finances drained by the euro crisis, which helped bring down Berlusconi’s government at the end of 2011.

It has been widely criticised for being too high and unfair, as it is levied at an equal rate per square metre on owners of plush downtown apartments and on low-income families with flats in the suburbs.

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

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Fiat Plays Down Headquarters Fears, Denies Tax Motives

Elkann says big groups need many bases

(By Paul Virgo) (see related story on Elkann) (ANSA) — Rome, May 24 — Fiat Chairman John Elkann on Friday denied that the carmaker or its sister company Fiat Industrial wanted to avoid taxes and played down the importance of the groups’ headquarters.

There was alarm in Italy this week after truck-and-agricultural-vehicles-producer Fiat Industrial said it planned to move its legal headquarters to Britain after completing a merger with tractor unit CNH Global NV. There is also speculation that Fiat, the carmaker, could move its headquarters to the United States once it completes a planned merger with Chrysler.

Media reports said Fiat Industrial’s plan to change headquarters was dictated by tax considerations. Britain is lowering its corporate tax rates, making it a more appealing head office location for firms such as Fiat Industrial, which paid 564 million euros in taxes to Italian authorities last year.

Elkann, an Agnelli family heir who is a board member of Fiat Industrial as well as being the number one at Fiat, said the media coverage was off the mark. “Organisations like ours do not have one headquarters, but many,” Elkann said. “We have a major market in Europe managed from (Fiat’s base) Turin, we have an important one in North America managed from (Chrysler’s base) Detriot, one in South America managed from Belo Horizonte and one in Asia managed from Shanghai.

“The more you keep going, the less sense the concept of the headquarters has. Organisations need lots of headquarters.

“We have activities all over the world where we do well, we make profits and we pay taxes. No one has ever wanted to avoid them”. At the start of 2011 the Fiat group spun off Fiat Industrial to hold its non-automotive activities, which include the production of trucks, commercial vehicles and buses, under the Iveco marque, as well as the non-automotive sector of its Powertrain subsidiary that develops engines and transmissions.

The issue of Fiat’s headquarters is delicate as unions fear the carmaker is tempted to retreat from its homeland, amid slack sales on the crisis-hit Italian and European car markets.

Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne, who has also led Chrysler since it emerged from bankruptcy in 2009 under Fiat’s majority ownership, has said the carmaker is committed to Italy and will not close any plants here.

But Marchionne has also frequently complained about the resistance he has encountered from the left-wing FIOM union in efforts to introduce new, more flexible working contracts and practices to boost the productivity and competitiveness of Fiat’s Italian factories.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy’s Jails ‘Unworthy of Civilization’ Chides Cancellieri

Justice minister says ‘building more prisons not enough’

(ANSA) — Palermo, May 23 — The justice minister on Thursday said Italy’s prisons were “unworthy of a civilized country”. “In order to solve the problem, it’s not enough to build new prisons, but instead to rethink the sentencing process, and evaluate whether there is room for alternatives,” said Anna Maria Cancellieri, speaking at a commemoration ceremony for anti-Mafia magistrate Giovannin Falcone, slain 21 years ago on this day. The country’s prison conditions have long been the source of criticism from human rights groups.

In January the European Court of Human Rights harshly criticized authorities for holding prisoners in crammed cells.

In April Italy challenged a ruling that orders it to correct the “degrading and inhumane conditions” in its prisons and to pay 100,000 euros in damages to seven inmates who had fewer than three square meters of space each.

Italy’s jails are the third most overcrowded in Europe behind Serbia and Greece, according to the Council of Europe, and is also third for the number of inmates awaiting trial, after Ukraine and Turkey.

Since 1960, a 300% increase in prison suicides has been reported.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Government Vows to Keep Ilva Open Despite New Legal Chaos

Union makes threats after 8.1 asset seizure and board resigns

(ANSA) — Rome, May 27 — A high-ranking Italian government official on Monday tried to reassure tens of thousands of workers at the troubled Ilva steel company that the government would take care of them after police seized 9.3 billion euros worth of assets belonging to the steel group’s owners, the Riva family, and Ilva’s board of directors resigned en masse, including the company’s chairman and its CEO.

“The government will not leave Ilva workers alone,” declared Italian Undersecretary for Economic Development Claudio De Vincenti.

De Vincenti added that “guaranteeing continuity in production (at Ilva plants) is in the national interest”.

National secretary for the Democratic Party (PD) — the main party on the left in Italy’s left-right coalition government — also tried to assuage unions that Ilva’s current chaos would not lead to plant shut down.

Ilva’s steel plant in the southern Italian city of Taranto “cannot be stopped, because if that plant is shut down, we will have a cascade of negative consequences for most of Italy’s steel plants,” said PD Secretary Guglielmo Epifani on Monday.

The trade union USB expressed deep skepticism over government and political reassurances regarding the steel works at the centre of an environmental health probe and a number of other, wide-ranging investigations.

USB called for the nationalization of Ilva steelworks and threatened to occupy the Taranto plant indefinitely if the government does not cede to its demands.

“If production is guaranteed and the plant won’t be touched by the confiscation order, as the prosecutor wrote, why did the Ilva board of directors resign?”, wrote the USB in a note Monday.

“We have repeated ad nauseum that the best solution was expropriation, nationalization — not welfare and solidarity contracts,” said the note, which demanded the safeguarding of jobs at Ilva and its suppliers as well the immediate launch of efforts to tackle Taranto’s environmental “health emergency” and clean-up work.

USB said if necessary, it would reoccupy the Ilva Taranto plant and “…this time, however, we won’t leave” and concluded that “no one can tell us there isn’t money. After the confiscations, there are 9.3 billion euros available”.

Some 1.2 billion euros transferred out of Italy by the Rivas, owners of the holding company that owns the troubled Ilva steel plant, were confiscated on Wednesday.

Milan investigators on Wednesday said they were probing Emilio and Adriano Riva for suspected of fraud against the State and fake money transfers.

Then on Friday, police in the southern city of Taranto on Friday confiscated 8.1 billion euros worth of property and goods belonging to the Riva family, triggering the mass resignation on Saturday of Ilva’s board of directors, including its chairman, Bruno Ferrante, and chief executive, Enrico Bondi, a corporate turnaround guru appointed in April.

Ilva executive and family member Fabio Riva last January was arrested in London after two months on the run.

Taranto prosecutors issued a European arrest warrant for Fabio Riva, the deputy chairman of parent-company Riva, on December 10 saying that he was sought as part of a criminal probe into the environmental scandal at the Ilva steel plant in Taranto.

Several other top managers have been arrested as part of the investigations.

The Taranto plant is the biggest in Europe, and the Riva group is the biggest iron and steel producer in Italy, the fourth-biggest in Europe and the 23rd-biggest in the world.

Ilva has been at the centre of a political and legal battle since July when local magistrates ordered the partial closure of its Taranto plant due to serious health concerns.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Ex-PdL Leader in Lazio Sentenced for Embezzling Party Funds

Fiorito given 3 years, 4 months in fast-track trial

(ANSA) — Rome, May 27 — Franco Fiorito, the former caucus leader of ex-premier Silvo Berlusconi’s People of Freedom party (PdL) in the Lazio region arrested last October for allegedly skimming off millions of euros of public money for personal use, was found guilty and sentenced to three years and four months by a Rome court on Monday.

Prosecutors said that Fiorito embezzled 1.4 million euros of party funding in a corruption scandal that brought down the previous centre-right governor Renata Polverini’s regional government late last year.

Fiorito was tried under a fast-track trial, which allows for sentence reductions in case of conviction.

In Italy sentences for non-violent crimes do not usually become effective until the two-tier appeals system has been exhausted.

Fiorito’s two ex-secretaries, Bruno Galassi and Pierluigi Boschi, have asked to plea bargain their sentences to 16 and 14 months, respectively.

They are accused of conspiracy.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Former Civil Servants Ordered to Stand Trial for Corruption

Trial set for September on charges arising from G8, other events

(ANSA) — Rome, May 27 — Several former senior civil servants charged with corruption in contracts for major world events in Italy, including a meeting of the Group of Eight (G8) leaders, were ordered Monday to stand trial this fall.

Preliminary hearings judge Maddalena Cipriani set September 30 to begin the criminal trial against entrepreneur Diego Anemone, Angelo Balducci, the former chairman of the state board of public works, and Gaetano Baldini, former executive in the ministry of cultural heritage. The investigation initially began in Florence in 2010, and after an initial transfer to Perugia the probe was assigned to Rome prosecutors.

Earlier this year, police seized 12 million euros in goods, including homes, cars, motorcycles, as well as bank accounts and investments belonging to Balducci and his family.

Charges stem from misuse of funds for a G8 summit as well as other events including a world swimming meet and the 150th anniversary celebration of the unification of Italy.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

No Jail Time for Sweden’s Sex Buyers: Report

Despite Sweden’s much-debated and soon 15-year-old law that bans buying sex, rather than selling it, the statute has not resulted in any convicted sex buyers spending time behind bars.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Scotland: Every Child to Have “State Guardian” From Birth

Every child in Scotland is to be assigned a “state minder” from birth under draconian new proposals that would enable the government to spy on families under the justification of preventing “child abuse”.

Writing in the Scotsman of how he penned a dystopian novel based around this very scenario of every child being assigned a government mentor, sociology and criminology lecturer at the University of Abertay Dundee Stuart Walton writes, “Unfortunately, this dystopian future has arrived a little faster than I imagined, as last week the Scottish Government’s plan to give every child a state guardian from birth was launched.”

“This state-appointed overseer will be a specific, named individual, and every child will have one, from birth. The responsibility for creating this named guardian will fall on the heads of the health boards for the first five years of a child’s life, before being transferred to councils.”

The program is a statutory initiative built into the Children and Young People Bill. Children’s minister Aileen Campbell justified the proposal by asserting it would “make sure there is someone having an overview of what is happening to that child, to make sure that early indicators of anything that would pose a threat or risk to that child are flagged up”.

Walton speculates on what kind of behavior could eventually be deemed “child abuse,” including the contents of a child’s school lunch box or a re-definition of “bullying” to include a parent shouting at their kid.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Shortage of Doctors in England’s Worst Hospitals is ‘Costing Thousands of Lives’, According to New Study

Thousands of patients are dying due to a lack of doctors in England’s worst hospitals, according to a new study.

Hospitals currently being investigated for having high death rates employ far fewer doctors per patient than others, academics have discovered.

While many think hospitals provide similar standards of care, the Plymouth University team found wide variations in staffing levels. A&E departments are particularly stretched, warn doctors.

Professor Sheena Asthana and Dr Alex Gibson made their conclusions after looking at staffing in 14 hospital trusts recently identified as having high death rates.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Suspect ‘Prayed’ Before Knifing French Soldier

Fears increased on Monday that the stabbing of a French soldier in Paris was an attempted copycat attack, inspired by the murder of a British soldier in London. The latest reports claim the suspect was seen ‘praying’ before the knife attack.

Reports in the French media on Monday raised the likelihood that the stabbing of a uniformed French soldier in Paris on Saturday could have been inspired by last week’s hacking to death of a British soldier in London.

Sources for French daily Le Parisien have claimed that the suspect, who has still not been found since fleeing the scene of the attack at at the shopping and transport hub La Défense, was seen ‘praying’ in the train station, before stabbing the soldier in the neck.

The suspected knife wielder was captured on CCTV cameras before, during and after the attack.

So far, he is described as being a bearded, athletically-built man, 1.90 metres tall, who wore a black pullover, and not a djellaba (a traditional north-African robe) as was first reported in the press.

The 23-year-old soldier Cédric Cordier was stabbed in the neck from behind, by a man wielding what initial reports identified as a box-cutter, but was later confirmed to be a knife.

Cordier’s partner, Amélie, told RTL radio on Sunday that the stab wound had come terrifyingly close to being lethal.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Sweden: Stockholm Riots Calm Down by Seventh Night

Rain and increased police vigilance on Sunday evening are likely factors in why Stockholm only saw scattered incidents of unrest during the night, with police stating that the rioting appears to have calmed down.

Stockholm police reported only scattered instances of torched cars in the suburbs early Monday, as worse weather and more patrols resulted in what was likely the quietest night in a week.

One car was reported ablaze in the district of Flemingsberg, and another in Kista district, Swedish Radio (SR) reported.

“But it has not been like previous nights, when people have been torching vehicles and tried to attract police and emergency services so they could throw stones,” said police spokesman Albin Näverfjord to the radio station.

Meanwhile, three cars were reported on fire Sunday evening in the medium-sized town of Örebro, 160 kilometres west of Stockholm, the newspaper Nerikes Allehanda reported on its website.

Örebro police, on heightened alert after unrest in recent days, had still no clear idea who might have torched the cars, but quoted witnesses as saying young people had run from the scene at the time of the fires.

Recent incidents in Örebro and other middle-sized Swedish cities had triggered fears that the Stockholm disturbances would spread to other parts of the country.

In the capital itself, police described the night between Sunday and Monday as significantly less eventful than the preceding week, saying cold and rainy weather was only part of the explanation.

“People probably understand that you can’t resolve problems by disturbing your neighbourhood, and we’ve also had a lot of help from volunteers,” said Näverfjord to SR.

The volunteers, many of them parents, have been patrolling the streets at night in the most exposed parts of Stockholm to help deter troublemakers.

In an additional effort to restore calm, Stockholm police have received reinforcements from Sweden’s second and third largest cities, Gothenburg and Malmö, which have both seen riots in recent years.

The past week’s unrest began in the Stockholm district of Husby, where 80 percent of inhabitants are immigrants, apparently after police shot and killed a 69-year-old resident who had wielded a machete in public.

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

Given Sweden’s long reputation abroad as one of the world’s most tranquil countries, the riots have come as a surprise to many foreigners.

The unrest has prompted Britain’s Foreign Office, the Dutch foreign ministry and the US embassy in Stockholm to issue warnings to their nationals, urging them to avoid the affected suburbs.

Among the Swedes themselves, the riots have triggered debate 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.

It has also triggered debate about growing socioeconomic divides.

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

Sweden: Integration, Anger, and the Stockholm Riots

As the unrest in Stockholm’s suburbs begins to wane, liberal commentator Nima Sanandaji argues that failed integration policies aren’t the only explanation for why the Swedish capital has been plagued by violence in recent days.

The world has been tuning in to the social unrest in Stockholm, vividly demonstrated by the images of burning cars. Many are shocked by such levels of violence and unrest in idyllic Sweden. What happened to the society famous for social cohesion? Why are angry young men throwing stones and burning cars, and what can we do to stop them from doing so?

Failing integration policies certainly play an important role. Those who immigrate to Sweden often come with strong norms relating to work and individual responsibility. Unfortunately, as we have learned all too well, the Swedish system that makes it easy to get trapped in welfare dependency and difficult to enter the labour market hampers the integration process. Many families, even those with highly educated parents, are trapped in welfare dependency. Young immigrants often struggle to find work. This in turn prompts a minority of young immigrants to turn to anti-social behaviour such as vandalism — a minority that critics of immigration mistakenly believe represents the whole group.

A common argument is that the riots are due to cutbacks in welfare services. This is a misconception. The neighbourhoods that experience unrest have received massive public spending in recent years, in the hope of reducing social problems. Take Husby, the epicentre for the latest wave of violence, as an example. In early 2012, 280 iPads were handed out to pupils at the Husbygård school. This is a luxury many other students in Sweden do without. According to the editorial pages of the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper, Husbygård school receives more than 33,000 kronor ($4,500) per student per year in extra grants due to the socioeconomic background of its pupils.

The public library in Husby has also been renovated recently and now students of all ages are offered extra help with their studies at the library on a drop-in basis in cooperation with the Red Cross. In addition to all of this, the Husby library has participated in “Berättarministeriet” (‘Story-telling ministry’), a programme inspired by US non-profit 826 National to activate youth writing and encourage them to tell their own stories. All this is, of course, financed by public funds. The city of Stockholm has also launched “Järvalyftet”, a public project through which millions of kronor are invested in the massive — and beautiful — Järvafältet field between Husby, Akalla, Kista, Hjulsta, Tensta, and Rinkeby.

Many municipalities in Sweden indeed face harsh times, which force them to reduce spending. But areas such as Husby are not affected by this. The reason is that they belong to the wealthy Stockholm municipality. Geographically these areas are close to the most thriving labour market in Sweden — travelling to central Stockholm is easy and takes little time with public transportation. They are also close to job opportunities in Kista, a district neighbouring Husby that boasts one of Sweden’s largest malls and one of the nation’s main hubs for IT ventures. And it is difficult to describe the nature surrounding Husby, which has been augmented with public investments in playgrounds and other amenities, as anything but beautiful.

This does not mean that young people in Husby, Akalla, Rinkeby and other similar areas have it easy. The Swedish school system has failed many of them, who after completing their studies, still lack the skills and networks to succeed in the labour market. However, youth unemployment does not in itself explain the unrest. This problem also exists in other parts of the country. Many rural parts of Sweden also face a severe lack of entry-level jobs for young people. And the young people living in rural Sweden don’t have the option of commuting to central Stockholm. Nor do they have access to the same level of welfare services as in the capital municipality. But frustrated as they might be, they do not burn cars. The lack of job creation for youth should be seen as a major social problem, in particular affecting young immigrants. But it cannot be seen as the sole explanation for the violence we witnessed in Stockholm during the last week.

Why then are we seeing violence in areas such as Husby? We don’t need to speculate. In 2011 the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (Myndigheten för samhällsskydd och beredskap, MSB) published a research study which examined this very phenomenon. The study notes that frustrated young people in certain neighbourhoods have very low respect for the police, the fire department, ambulance drivers and other representatives of public authorities. Driven by anti-societal anger, they often seek confrontations with representatives from these branches of the public sector.

The fights seem to spread from one neighbourhood to another. After police in 2009 intervened against riots in Rosengård — a neighbourhood in Malmö where the failure of Swedish integration policies is perhaps more vivid than in any other part of the country — uprising also followed in Akalla and Husby in Stockholm. According to some of the aggressive youth, the latter actions were out of “sympathy towards our brothers in Rosengård”. The study notes that during these uprisings, small fires were set and false alarms sounded in order to lure rescue personnel and police into the neighbourhoods, to then attack them with rocks. Similarly, in 2010, vandalizing youths in Husby attacked the local metro station, police patrols, and finally the local police station. Similar behaviour is repeating itself today.

So, yes, social exclusion and the failure of Swedish integration policies are to blame. But there is also a simpler explanation to the violence: a small group of aggressive young men who like violence. According to some Swedish media reports, the unrest in Stockholm has been carried out by a combination of angry local youths, hardened criminals, and radical left-wing activists — often travelling from other parts of Stockholm to join the violence. These small groups of individuals act as ringleaders, gathering other young people around them. They see themselves as fighting a war against the police, the fire department, and ambulance drivers. In this war their weapons are stones and burning cars. The violence often seems to be coordinated so that the fires start at the same time as journalists arrive.

So far Swedish authorities have shown limited capabilities for stopping this small segment of destructive individuals, who are giving quite a headache to all the striving and honest people in Husby, Akalla, Rosengård and other similar neighbourhoods. Luckily, the citizens of these very neighbourhoods have themselves stood up against the violence and seem to have helped calm down the situation. This is a good illustration of the fact that social turbulence cannot only be dealt with by harsh acts by the police, by labour market reforms, or by public funding, but also by a strong civil society.

Hopefully, a combination of the good forces in society will prevent similar acts of violence from starting and spiralling out of control. Perhaps we can even hope that, in the future, the media will not exaggerate, and even sometimes glorify, such unrest should it once again occur on the streets of another neighbourhood in Stockholm or elsewhere.

Nima Sanandaji , a Swedish writer of Kurdish origin with a PhD in polymer technology who has written numerous books and reports about subjects such as integration, entrepreneurship, and women’s career opportunities. He is a regular contributor to The Local.

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

Sweden: Savages of Stockholm

The burning cars are a metaphor for the impact of Muslim immigration on Sweden and the West.

Europe has many fine traditions. Its newest tradition is the burning car. Why burn cars? Because, as George Mallory once said of mountains, they’re there. There are lots of car around and if you’re a member of a perpetually unemployed tribe that wandered up north and forages on social services, you might as well do something to pass the time.

Burning houses is a lot of work and house fires spread. Car fires are simpler. In a welfare state everyone has houses but not everyone has cars. Burning cars is a way to stick it to those who work for a living. It’s also a way to drive off the members of the sickly Swedish tribe and claim the area for your own. And it’s also fun.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Switzerland Denies Saudi Sheikh Entry for 5 Years

Saudi Sheikh Mohammad Al-Arifi has been banned again from entering Switzerland and all European Union countries, according to a Swiss official. Jourg Walban, Swiss Foreign Ministry spokesman, said that Swiss authorities issued a new decision that bans Al-Arifi from entering all EU states for five consecutive years. Al-Arifi is known for his controversial statements and has a large following on Twitter and YouTube.

His statements on Twitter have sparked controversy, including a statement he reportedly made in December in which he accused the Middle East Broadcasting Center’s children’s channel, MBC3, of promoting “atheism and corruption.” He also once stated that a daughter should not sit alone with her father because she might tempt him into lusting after her.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

That Sinking Feeling: Spanish Submarines Too Heavy to Float

A €2.2 billion ($2.85 billion) contract to construct four S-80 submarines has been sent off-course by the Spanish government after engineers determined that such vessels, as currently designed, probably would sink to the bottom of the ocean from excess weight and other factors.

Already, the country’s defense department has seen €530 million ($686 million) go down the drain on this project.

Engineers at shipbuilder Navantia, contracted by the defense department to build the subs, estimate that the vessels are each 100 tons too heavy. As a result, Navantia estimates the project will be delayed by up to two years.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Turkish Warship Passed Eight Greek Islands

The Turkish warship Atak circumnavigated eight Greek islands from 7 a.m. to 2:25 p.m. on May 26, violating Greek territorial waters, which is a common occurrence and draws no retaliation, only monitoring.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UK Mosque Burns, Anti-Islamists Protest

Fears were growing in Britain Monday of a surge in Islamophobia in the wake of the knifing death of a British soldier last week that his suspected attackers claimed was revenge for the deaths of Muslims worldwide.

Officers arrested two men in the town of Grimsby on England’s east coast on suspicion of arson after a mosque was set on fire, according to Humberside county police. No one was injured in the blaze.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: ‘The Enemy is Everywhere’: Former MI5 Head Calls for People to Spy on Their Neighbours Following Murder of Soldier Lee Rigby

Former head of MI5 Dame Stella Rimington has called for British people to inform security services if they suspect their neighbours maybe extremists.

Dame Stella, who supports the Government’s controversial ‘snoopers’ charter’, said people need to be more alert because it is impossible for security services to spot every threat.

She called for a wartime vigilance and for people to be the Government’s ‘eyes and ears’ following the killing of Lee Rigby.

The 78-year-old, who was MI5’s first female Director General, said: ‘The community has the responsibility to act as the eyes and ears, as they did during the war … where there were all these posters up saying the walls have ears and the enemy is everywhere.

‘There have often been indications in the community, whether it’s Muslim or anywhere else, that people are becoming extremists and spouting hate phrases.’

Dame Stella said security services had to prioritise the most dangerous threats because ‘thousands’ of people were being radicalised in Britain.

She said further terror attacks on the UK were inevitable unless the country became a ‘police state’.

Why did MI5 let soldier killer go to Kenya a SECOND time?

Her comments, made at the Hay Festival, were prompted following the killing of 25-year-old soldier Lee Rigby by alleged Islamist fanatics Michael Adebolajo, 28, and Michael Adebowale, 22, in Woolwich last Wednesday.

Dame Stella said the Woolwich killing was classified as a ‘terrorist attack’ because of the ideology behind the attack.

It has now emerged that Adebolajo made a second attempt to travel to Somalia to join extremist groups after failing in 2010.

The killing has raised questions about MI5 after it also emerged the two suspects were known to them.

Adebolajo was detained in Kenya in 2010 after trying to join a terrorist group.

An investigation by parliamentary intelligence is being carried out to determine whether there were intelligence failings.

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes [Return to headlines]

UK: London Police Source Cites Tactic ‘Employed by Palestinians in Israel’ In Explaining Woolich Killing Response

Commanders at Britain’s Scotland Yard defended their slow response time to the terror attack in Woolwich, England earlier this week as a preventative measure to save police lives, citing tactics used by Palestinians against Israel. “Questions were immediately asked about why you would commit such an offense and wait for police. These are the kind of tactics seen employed by Palestinians in Israel. “Detonate a bomb, wait for the emergency services to arrive and then walk in with a suicide vest,” one police source told Britain’s Daily Mail. According to the newspaper, commanders at Scotland Yard suspected the killers were waiting for officers to arrive so they could set off hidden explosives. “‘The unarmed officers were effectively keeping a cordon. Both guys were wearing heavy coats and keeping a distance between us and them was a priority,” the source said. “This is why we chose to send in firearms officers who did not arrive at the scene of the carnage for 14 minutes,” the source explained to the Mail. “Assistant Commissioner Simon Byrnet said unarmed officers arrived at John Wilson Street within nine minutes of the first of hundreds of 999 calls to flood into their control room,” reported the paper. At first, “Police just stood there,” one bystander told the Daily Mail. “It was only after shots were fired that officers appeared and started shouting at everyone to ‘get back.’“ Assistant commissioner Mark Rowley said it was a “good decision” to wait for armed response officers to confront the men.

           — Hat tip: TV [Return to headlines]

UK: Theresa May Cracks Down on Universities After Claims That Alleged Woolwich Killers Were Radicalised at Greenwich University’s Islamic Society

Universities were under pressure tonight to crack down on Islamic extremists who spout hatred on campuses.

An investigation has been launched into claims that a series of radical speakers were invited to events and distributed leaflets to students at the University where both killers are thought to have studied.

The probe will consider whether Greenwich University’s Islamic society had any role in radicalising Michael Adebolajo, 28 and Michael Adebowale, 22.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: The Hook-Handed Hate Cleric, A White Muslim Convert and the Man Arrested Over a Plot Against Parliament: The Web of Extremism Surrounding Woolwich Terror Suspects

A powerful web of Islamic radicals and terror convicts sits behind the two men believed to have executed Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich, it emerged today.

Michael Adebolajo, 28, and Michael Adebowale, 22, are both apparently linked to a wider network of men who are known to have either planned atrocities, preached violence or joined groups considered so extreme they are now banned.

These apparent connections have come to light since the British Muslims were arrested on suspicion of hacking Drummer Rigby to death in broad daylight after he was run down with a car last Wednesday.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Voter Disaffection Continues in Italian Local Elections

Marino leads heading into runoff with incumbent Alemanno

(By Christopher Livesay) (ANSA) — Rome, May 27 — Ignazio Marino of the center-left Democratic Party (PD) significantly led projections Monday at the close of Rome’s mayoral elections that were destined to lead to a runoff as low voter turnout suggested enduring voter disaffection. With 43.14%, Marino was ahead of incumbent Mayor Gianni Alemanno of the center-right People of Freedom (PdL) party of Silvio Berlusconi with 32.2%, according to the interior ministry. “There’s a great desire for change in this city. That’s what we’ve learned. It’s what I’ve heard in recent weeks from young people, from those who have no home to those who have no job,” Marino told supporters at campaign headquarters. Despite the wide lead over Alemanno, the two are set to face off in a runoff ballot since Marino did not claim over 50% of the vote.

“For me the match is still wide open. We have to fight until the end for the good of Rome,” said Alemanno. “The runoff isn’t the second half of a match but an entirely different match.

“A significant number of people abstained, and for that reason we need everyone to turn out (to the runoff)”.

Voter turnout in Rome was down more than 20% as polls closed, the city said. Only 52.78% of Romans cast ballots over a two-day voting period, down from 73.52% at the last mayoral elections in 2008. In elections in 564 towns and cities across Italy Sunday and Monday, voter turnout was 62.38% of the eligible population, down almost 15 points.

The ranks of disaffected Italian voters have been growing especially since inconclusive February general elections led to a hung parliament and two months of political gridlock, ended last month by the formation of the unprecedented — and highly volatile — left-right coalition government of Premier Enrico Letta. In a poll last month, fully 50% of those surveyed expressed no support for any current political party or movement.

Even the 5-Star Movement (M5S) of comedian Beppe Grillo, which rode a highly successful anti-establishment platform to reap roughly 25% of the vote in February, showed signs of weakening at the local level Monday in Rome.

Its candidate Marcello De Vito won only 12.4% of the vote, a far cry from the 27.7% the M5S won in the capital during general elections. He was trailed by Alfio Marchini’s 9.1% of the vote. Heading into the vote, both Marchini and De Vito were seen as potential threats to Marino of the PD, which has seen disheartened voters, especially young ones, turn to untraditional parties in recent elections. PD leader Guglielmo Epifani said the center-left party was “satisfied, albeit cautious”. “These are encouraging numbers and our blocs and candidates did well overall,” he said.

“The electorate awarded the seriousness and the ability of our politicians”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Egypt May Reopen the Legendary Al Nasr Carmaker

The company which once assembled Fiat autos

(ANSAmed) — CAIRO — The Al Nasr company, which once assembled Fiat cars in Egypt, may soon be resuscitated. In Cairo — where the word ‘Fiat’ was once used as a synonym for ‘car’ — Military Production Minister Reda Hafez spoke of this possibility during a recent visit to one of the company’s facilities in Helwan, which once had 4,000 workers compared with the current 234. Founded in 1960 and believed to be the largest automobile manufacturer in the Middle East at that time, Al Nasr Automotive Manufacturing Company shut down production in 2009. Even prior to that date, however, it had stopped putting cars onto the market, after its balance sheet accumulated debt totalling two billion Egyptians pounds (equal to just over 200 million of today’s euros). The highest selling car on the Egyptian market was Nasr’s 128 — some of which can still be found in circulation — followed by the 125 and the 1300-1500, which are still used throughout Egypt as white and black and white taxis. Nasr’s Regata was also popular, as were the Turkish hybrids Shahin and Dogan. Taking its inspiration from the Fiat slogan in the 1960s, when Italians flocked to buy the Fiat 600, Al Nasr aimed for all Egyptians to have their own set of wheels, though cars were out of the price range of many and there was often a months-long waiting list. The minister’s announcement, though premature since the relaunch of production will undoubtedly require further foreign investment and new assembly lines, has raised the interest of workers who — though laid off for quite some time — may see a chance for employment amid soaring unemployment rates and sharp devaluation of the Egyptian pound. The idea of relaunching the company “is good, since it has great potential”, former head of Al Nasr Adel Gazareen told Ahram Weekly, noting that one of the four factories covers a surface area of some 40,000 square metres. Gazareen does not agree with Minister Hafez about producing cars that are “100% Egyptian”, as no country is currently able to do so.

“Investment is needed, as is training of workers, who must be qualified,” Gazareen said, and “at least 30% of shareholders would have to be from a large foreign company”. The ministry for military production — writes the weekly — has already received offers from France, China, India, Italy and Malaysia, as well as Russia, with a Russian delegation scheduled to make a visit in May. However, experts note that Al Nasr used Italian technology for years, and this would help to reduce recovery costs. “This announcement is great, but it is too good to be true,” said the head of the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Egypt, Giancarlo Cifarelli, concerned about a work environment in which frequent strikes in many companies further weaken the already fragile signs of economic recovery.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Libyan Television Station Offices Burnt Down in Tripoli

After man’s death in anti-drug bust

(ANSAmed) — TUNIS, MAY 24 — Offices of the private television station La Jeunesse, located in central Tripoli, have been almost entirely burnt to the ground. About a dozen people set fire to the building after a man died during an anti-drug operation. The man was killed in a shootout between police and a group of men believed to be involved in a drug trafficking ring in Libya, according to the news agency PANA. Sources from among the investigators say the man was hit by a ricocheting bullet. The operation was set in motion was the anti-crime unit of the police in the Karkach district, where the alleged traffickers have a hideout. When the news of the man’s death spread, dozens of “criminals” (as PANA referred to them) took to Karkach’s streets to protest and commit acts of violence for several hours, in which material damage was done in absence of protection of security services.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

More Benghazi Whistleblowers Ready to Step Forward

According to two former diplomats who spoke with PJ Media’s Roger Simon, more Benghazi whistleblowers will emerge and blow a giant hole in the Obama administration’s already shaky narrative regarding the deaths of four Americans.

Their revelations will focus on two subjects: the real purpose of Ambassador Christopher Steven’s mission in Libya, and the pressure put on former AFRICOM commander Gen. Carter Ham to stand down from any attempt to rescue those under attack. What emerges could be devastating for both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

The whistleblowers are reportedly colleagues of the former diplomats. They have yet to come forward because they are in the process of obtaining lawyers, necessitated by their work in areas that are not completely covered by the Whistleblower Protection Act. Furthermore, Simon notes that, as of now, what the diplomats are saying is considered hearsay, “but the two diplomats sounded quite credible. One of them was in a position of responsibility in a dangerous area of Iraq in 2004,” he writes.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Tony Blair to be in Charge of £3billion Plan to Revitalise Palestine’s Economy, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry Reveals

Secretary of State John Kerry has declared he believes a potential £3billion plan is emerging that could boost the Palestinian economy by up to 50 per cent in the next three years.

It could also cut unemployment by almost two-thirds, and average wages could jump 40 per cent, he said. But Kerry said it all depends on parallel progress on peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

Kerry has been working with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and global business leaders to devise economic plans to revitalise the Palestinian economy.

He offered few specific details and acknowledged that his vision might easily be taken as fantasy in a part of the world that has suffered through decades of conflict, and where peace prospects remain dim.

‘We know it can be done,’ he insisted. ‘This is a plan for the Palestinian economy that is bigger, bolder and more ambitious than anything proposed’ in the last two decades.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

As Rockets Are Fired in Beirut, Concerns Are Growing Over Lebanon’s Future

Hizbollah strongholds are hit. For Lebanon’s Defence minister, an attempt is underway to drag the country into the Syrian conflict. UN and Arab League urge the Party of God not to exacerbate the crisis. In addition to Tripoli, clashes are also reported between Sunnis and Shias in Sidon.

Beirut (AsiaNews) — Two rockets hit Shiyah District (pictured) last night. Four people were wounded in this Hizbollah stronghold in southern of Beirut. Two more rockets were also fired in the Bekaa Valley, another stronghold of the Shia movement, but caused no casualties. The Lebanese army is also looking for an unexploded rocket fired from a location between Baabda and Aitat.

The attacks are said to be related to the statement made just 12 hours earlier by Hizbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, that his movement would continue to support militarily Syrian President Assad.

This, according to Syrian opposition sources, has cost the Party of God dozens of deaths. However, Syrian sources say that Hizbullah military support has helped President Bashar Assad’s forces gain the upper hand in the battle for Qusayr, which the Syrian army and Hizbollah are said to control 80 per cent.

The Free Syrian Army, which includes most of Syria’s armed opposition, has denied involvement in the rockets against Hizbollah.

What is happening gives further arguments to those who fear for the future of Lebanon. “What is certain is that the [rocket attacks] were an attempt to create splits among the Lebanese ranks and drag the [Syrian] strife to Lebanon,” Lebanon’s Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn said.

There are plenty of signs that it is working. Clashes in Tripoli are set to continue today for an eighth day between the rival neighborhoods of Bab al-Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen, this despite the Army’s intervention.

Yesterday there was another victim, bringing to 24 the number of those who lost their lives in the clashes, along with 167 injured.

A clash between an official in the Hizbollah-linked Resistance Brigades and Salafists left one man wounded in the southern city of Sidon over the weekend.

Finally, there is the concern that an attempt is underway to involve Israel, after state-run National News Agency reported a rocket launched against the Jewish state. The attack has not been confirmed either by the Lebanese army, nor the Israeli one, perhaps to avoid increasing tensions.

At the international level, the confirmed participation of the Lebanese Shia movement in the Syrian conflict has raised fears that Lebanon might be dragged into the war.

Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby on Sunday urged Hizbollah “urged the leaders of Hezbollah to reconsider their stance and not get involved in the killing in Syria, stressing that the only way to protect Lebanon .. . . is to protect Lebanon’s internal unity”.

UN leader Ban Ki-moon said Sunday he was “deeply concerned”. In a statement, Ban called on all nations and groups to “cease supporting the violence inside Syria,” his spokesman Martin Nesirky said.

“All in the region should act responsibly and work towards lowering rhetoric and calming tensions in the region,” he added.

“As preparations are ongoing for the international conference on Syria,” Nesirky explained, “the secretary general urges all countries, organizations and groups immediately to cease supporting the violence inside Syria and instead to use their influence to promote a political solution to Syria’s tragedy.”

The Syrian government has agreed to participate. “We think . . .. that the international conference represents a good opportunity for a political solution to the crisis in Syria,” Foreign Minister Muallem said. (PD)

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

Church in Turkish Capital Rejected by Authorities

Ankara — A request by Christians in the Turkish capital of Ankara, to construct a church, has been rejected by local authorities. The selected location of Kirkkonaklar has instead been allocated to the building of a new mosque.

In January Digital Journal reported Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan offered to fund the construction of a mosque in Athens, the only European capital city of the original EU member states not to host a mosque.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Diabetes a ‘Major Public Health Problem’

Diabetes mellitus is a major public health problem in Saudi Arabia with almost 25 percent of Saudi adults between the ages of 30 to 70 suffering from the disease, according to a Ministry of Health official.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Hezbollah Chief Says Group is Fighting in Syria

The leader of Lebanon’s Hezbollah warned Saturday that the fall of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime would give rise to extremists and plunge the Middle East into a “dark period,” and vowed his Shiite militant group will not stand idly by while its chief ally in Damascus is under attack.

In a televised address, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah said Hezbollah members are fighting in Syria against Islamic extremists who pose a danger to Lebanon, and pledged that his group will not allow Syrian militants to control areas that border Lebanon.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Iran Begins ‘Massive’ Deployment of Long-Range Missile Launchers

As the Islamic Republic of Iran prepares for presidential elections next month it is fielding a “massive” number of new long-range missile launchers, Iranian media reported on Sunday.

Defense Minister Gen. Ahmad Vahidi was quoted as saying the new weapon systems give Iranian forces the ability to “crush the enemy” with the simultaneous launching of long-range surface-to-surface missiles, according to Fars, the semi-official Iranian news agency.

The report did not specify the type of missile that would be fired, or provide details on the number of launchers allegedly deployed.

Iran’s military does possess surface-to-surface missiles that are capable of traveling over 2,000 kilometers (1,200 miles), able to reach of targets inside Israel and US bases in the region.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Rand Paul: Senate is Arming Al-Qaeda and Rushing to War in Syria

“This is an important moment. You will be funding, today, the allies of al Qaeda.”

That was the declaration Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.; pictured) made on May 21 during a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Paul’s comments were directed at his colleagues, nearly all of whom voted to send arms to Syrian rebels.

Senators Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) co-sponsored the bill that authorizes “critical support to the Syrian opposition through provision of military assistance, training, and additional humanitarian support.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

The Return of Jesus

The following series of articles mention the Major Signs that will occur shortly before the end of the world and the coming of the Day of Judgment. This part is the continuation of the coming of false Messiah, and it includes additional information about his followers and his stay on earth. ANOTHER one of the amazing signs shortly before the Day of Judgment is the return and descending of Jesus (peace be upon him), to this earth again.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Turkey: Ankara: Islamists Wield Knives Against Public Kissing, One Protester Wounded

About 200 young people holt a kiss in protest in the Ankara subway. The initiative, launched in protest at the government’s morality campaign, unleashes the wrath of the Islamists. A young man stabbed igniting debate between secularism and Islam in Turkey.

Ankara (AsiaNews / Agencies) — The public kissing of a hundred couples in Ankara, in response to calls by the authorities for more ‘moral’ behavior, has unleashed the wrath of Islamists. The counter-protest, launched by the fundamentalist fringe groups, led to the stabbing of a demonstrator.

“Free Kisses” was the slogan on banners Saturday, May 25, for the protest that gathered in front of the Kurtulus station. The police, who prevented young people from accessing the subway then attempted to come between them and about twenty Islamists who had flocked to a counter-protest to the chorus of “Allah Akhbar”.

The episode, which led to the stabbing of a young Turkish man, is the most recent example of the dispute raging in the country between secularism and Islamic conservatism. In recent weeks, authorities in the capital have criticized public expressions of affection, while the speakers of the subway line in recent days, have made repeated announcements against couples kissing or behaving ‘immorally’ on trains. Such restrictions are part of a campaign ‘in favor of moral behavior’ stimulated by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), and Islamic-oriented ruling majority.

Many citizens are concerned that this kind of political and social initiatives will bring the Islamic religion back to having a central role in the ‘new Turkey’. In early April, Turkish Airlines, which had already imposed their own hostess uniform with a new veil and fez, prohibited their female employees from using red lipstick, the measure was lifted a few weeks later. In the night between 23 and 24 May, the Turkish parliament has instead approved a crackdown on alcohol, prohibiting the sale from 10 pm to 6 am, and by banning its sale in the vicinity of mosques or other educational centers. Many secular opposition politicians accuse the Prime Minister Recep Erdogan Tayipp silently and gradually Islamizing the country and following the events of Saturday, May 25, an opposition MP asked the majority party to clarify the legitimacy of the announcements made on the subway a few days ago.

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

Car Bomb Wounds Two Italian Soldiers in Afghanistan

‘Injuries not life threatening’

(ANSA) — Rome, May 27 — Two Italian soldiers were injured in Afghanistan Monday by a car bomb, sources told ANSA, possibly in retaliation for an attack on the Taliban. The blast occurred as their Lynx truck passed by a parked vehicle about 20 kilometers outside Farah, one of the most violent territories under Italian NATO supervision. The wounded were described as not in life-threatening condition and were being treated for shrapnel injuries. The men were part of a convoy composed of Italian forces in the Transition Support Unit and Afghan military. In a statement, Taliban spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi said the explosion was detonated by a suicide bomber who “killed five Italians” in retaliation for an attack by Italian forces. Defence Minister Mario Mauro was watching the situation closely, his office said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Indonesia: Aceh: New Pro Sharia Norm: Women Can Not Dance in Public Because it “Fuels Desire”

The norm, issued by the authorities of the district of North Aceh, has already provoked heated debate. According to critics it is a “bizarre” provision and without foundation in Islam. For the district chief dance “fuels” male desire and this is “not right”. A choreographer and dancer: worry about corruption, not dance.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) — Another norm based on Sharia is destined to provoke heated debate in the province of Aceh, the only one in Indonesia — the world’s most populous Muslim nation — in which there is Islamic law. The authorities of the district of North Aceh have in fact issued an edict forbidding women to “dance in public.” The incident has sparked protests by human rights activists and ordinary citizens, who describe the regulation as “bizarre.”

Moreover, the authority of the special territory, in the most western part of the Indonesian archipelago, are no strangers to promulgating laws and regulations (often exclusively directed at women) that are highly unusual and serious source of social unrest: a ban on women straddling motorcycles, police clamp downs on jeans and tight skirts, sectarian tensions that sometimes escalate into Islamist fringe violence against the Christian minority.

The law that forbids women to dance in public, recently completed but already a source of lively debate, was signed by the head of the district of North Aceh Muhammad Thaib. He claims that the way in which women dance could “easily fuel” corporal desire in men. And, according to the dictates of Islam, “this is not right.”

Among the many who have taken to the streets to demonstrate, is a local dancer and choreographer Affandi who says that such regulation is “unfounded” and beyond any logic. “If the authorities want to issue a regulation of any kind — he adds — they would do better to deal with corruption, rather than targeting the arts.” Although he accepts the fact that Islam (the local version) prevents women from reciting prayers in public, because their voice could “stir” men. But in the case of dance, “there is no precise legal basis” to implement such a restriction.

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

Philippines: Mindanao: At Least 20 Killed in Clashes Between the Army and Islamic Rebels

The worst affected province is Sulu, on the border with Malaysia. The clashes are the most serious since the signing of the Framework Agreement between the Philippine government and rebels of the Moro Islamic Liberation in November 2012. Extremist groups belonging to al-Qaeda linked Abu Sayyaf foment violence. Fear of attacks against civilian targets in the capital of Jolo.

Sulu (AsiaNews / Agencies) — Clashes continue between the Philippine army and Islamic rebels of Abu Sayyaf in Mindanao (southern Philippines). In two days, 20 soldiers and seven militants were killed during operations to oust the militants from the province of Sulu, the most western part of the archipelago. Meanwhile, the army has launched a vast operation to free Jenifer Casilda Villarasa, wife of Sergeant Faustino Villarasa, kidnapped May 8 last by a group of Islamic extremists. The death toll is one of the most serious since the signing of the Framework Agreement between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) for peace in Mindanao.

Philippine Army spokesman, Gen. Dimingo Tutaan, said the military offensive was to secure the villages of the province and to ensure that civilians do not end up in the crossfire between regular troops and rebels.

Police in Sulu have deployed all of their forces to prevent attacks against vulnerable civilian targets. The province is part of the new Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, the result of the framework agreements signed between MILF and the government in November. Despite the joint efforts between former rebels and government forces, the area is still prey to extremist groups who receive arms and training in Indonesia and Malaysia. Among them are Abu Sayyaf, a terrorist group close to al-Qaeda was born in the 1990s and the Bansamoro Islamic Freedom Fighetrs (Biff), established in 2011 by former members of the MILF who still pursue the full independence of the region.

In recent years the city of Jolo, the capital of the province of Sulu in the southern Philippines, has been the scene of attacks and violence. The area is home to a large Christian minority, about 40% of the population, who live alongside the majority Muslims. The Christian community is often the target of attacks by extremists. On 7 July 2009 the cathedral of Mount Carmel was attacked: a grenade was thrown at the building causing the death of six people with about forty others wounded.

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

We Warned You About Him… You Ignored us: Kenya Says Britain Was Told of ‘Dangerous Radical’ In 2010

Anti-terror police in Kenya have accused the British of ignoring their warnings that Woolwich murder suspect Michael Adebolajo was a dangerous radical.

Adebolajo was arrested in Kenya in 2010 on suspicion of leading a jihadist plot to cross the border into lawless Somalia and join the ranks of the Al Shabaab terrorist group.

But the Kenyans claim that when they presented their evidence to the British Embassy, it was insisted Adebolajo had no criminal record.

Sources in Kenya also claim the British Embassy put them under pressure to release Adebolajo after he complained he had been tortured, starved for two days and denied access to a lawyer.

And another Kenyan source yesterday claimed the British failed to help them build a case against Adebolajo.

Adebolajo was detained for several days before being deported to the UK.

It came as Adebolajo’s family claimed harassment by MI5 in the months before the attack may have ‘pushed him over the edge’.

On his return to the UK from Kenya, family members claim he was ‘pestered’ by MI5 agents who tried to recruit him as an informant and infiltrate Islamic extremist groups.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Official Gave His Mother Swedish Residency

A Migration Board employee in Malmö is suspected of making sure his mother was allowed to stay in Sweden, in contradiction to migration laws and adding to a scandal that has rocked the agency with several employees under investigation.

Earlier this year, two case managers were arrested on suspicion that they were accepting bribes to let people stay in Sweden.

The Swedish Migration Board (Migrationsverket) is investigating a number of suspected fraud cases, after several of its employees are believed to have sold residence permits.

“The ongoing bribery investigation is going to grow. I’ll be looking at people both inside and outside of the Migration Board,” state prosecutor Nils-Eric Schultz told the Dagens Nyheter newspaper (DN) in March.

The latest involves a case manager who himself went through his mother’s paper work, in contradiction to conflict of interest policy. His boss later signed the recommendation that she be allowed to stay, a recommendation written in full by the woman’s son.

It took the employee six weeks to process his mother’s application.

“When you consider that we have a case turnover rate of about six to seven months, it took a very short time,” Migration Board spokesman Fredrik Bengtsson told Sverige Radio (SR) on Monday.

While the investigation continues, the suspect’s boss has been reprimanded for professional misconduct and fined 24,000 kronor ($3,600).

In January, when the first two arrests were made, Migration Board Director General Anders Danielsson announced that the agency would review its procedures and rules to prevent similar situations from arising in the future.

“I take the suspicions that employees at the Swedish Migration Board are guilty of bribery very seriously,” he said in a statement.

“It’s important that police and prosecutors now investigate the suspicions in order to bring clarity to the matter.”

Specifically, he said the agency was looking at streamlining communication with the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket) and implementing limits on the types of searches employees can carry out on Migration Board computer systems.

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

Gay Marriage: Paris: Protest Turns Violent During the Night

Organizers, we are 1 million. Police and journalists targeted

(by Tullio Giannotti) (ANSAmed) — PARIS — The latest protest in Paris last night against the legalization of gay marriage and adoption in France turned violent. After police broke up the protest — which saw one million demonstrators take to the streets according to organizers and 150,000 according to police — hundreds of ‘casseurs’ started hurling bottles, stones and crush barriers against police and reporters, accusing them of “backing the Socialist regime”.

Protesters who took to the streets on Sunday were many, much closer to the million people declared by organizers than the 150.000 stated by police. Compared to previous demonstrations against same-sex marriage and adoption, demonstrators were less than on March 24 — 300.000 against 1,4 million — but more than on April 21 — 45.000 against 270.000.

The protest kicked off with three parades across Paris which all ended at Place des Invalides and a few hundred people who gathered in a separate demonstration organized by conservative Catholic organization Civitas. Security was tight with 4.500 police officers deployed to prevent violence as on previous occasions. French Interior Minister Manuel Valls had just announced that police had arrested 96 people after detaining dozens at an impromptu anti-gay event on Saturday night at the Champs-Elysee, when the demonstration Sunday degenerated. As the last protesters were marching and singing ‘Je ne regrette rien’ by Edith Piaf, a group of violent protesters whom Valls described as ‘right-wing extremists’ took action. Police officials were surrounded by the protesters who started throwing beer bottles, stones and barriers and targeting journalists as well. Police gave reporters helmets and shields to protect themselves.

The most popular slogans chanted by the violent protesters were ‘Socialist dictatorship’, ‘Hollande step down’ and ‘journalists collaborationists’ as the group took action after a day during which the only moment of tension was registered when a group of far-right extremists stormed early in the afternoon the headquarters of the Socialist party. The militants placed a large banner reading ‘Hollande resign’ on a terrace before being forced to leave.

Organizers with ‘Manif pour tous’ succeeded in attracting large crowds but were unable with their spokeswoman Frigide Barjot to control the different groups of activists. Barjot in the end did not join the march saying she felt ‘threatened’ and while protesters took to the streets of Paris, she announced that ‘Manif pour Tous’ would fold and that ‘the withdrawal of the law isn’t possible anymore so the time for demonstrations is over and it’s better this way as things are degenerating’.

The event’s leader replacing Barjot was Ludovine de la Rochere, president of ‘Manif pour tous’ who told demonstrators instead that ‘I am announcing, even to those who still think we will give in, that we will continue this battle everywhere in France’. The final violence however seems to signal the end of protests against a measure which has become French law. The next appointment now is Wednesday in Montpellier for the first same-sex marriage in France.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Pakistani Lesbians Who Are the First Muslim Gay Couple to Wed in UK Claim Political Asylum Saying Their Lives Are Endangered if They Return Home

A pair of Pakistani women have made history as the first Muslim lesbian couple to get married in the UK.

Rehana Kausar, 34, and Sobia Kamar, 29, made history when they tied the knot in a register office civil ceremony, then immediately applied for political asylum after they were wed, claiming their lives would be in danger if they returned to their native country.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Ron Paul: ‘Common Core’ Nationalizes and Dumbs Down Public School Curriculum

Sadly, but not surprisingly, instead of improving education by repealing No Child Left Behind’s testing and other mandates, the Obama administration is increasing national control over schools via the “Common Core” initiative. Common Core is a new curriculum developed by a panel of so-called education experts. The administration is trying to turn Common Core into a national curriculum by offering states increased federal education funding if they impose Common Core’s curriculum on their public schools. This is yet another example of the government using money stolen from the people to bribe states into obeying federal dictates.

Critics of Common Core say it “dumbs down” education by replacing traditional English literature with “informational texts”. So students will read such inspiring materials as studies by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, the EPA’s “Recommended Levels of Insulation,” and “Invasive Plant Inventory” by California’s Invasive Plant Council. It is doubtful that reading federal reports will teach students the habits of critical thinking and skepticism of government that the Founders considered essential to maintaining a free republic.

Like Obamacare, Common Core (now dubbed “ObamaCore” by some) has sparked a backlash in the states, leading some to propose legislation forbidding state participation in the scheme. I hope these efforts lead to states not just opting out of Common Core, but out of No Child Left Behind and all other federal education programs as well.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Salon’s Memorial Day Message to America: You’re Not So Special

Just in case you missed it, I highly recommend that you check out Patrick Smith’s Memorial Day homage to America posted on Salon’s website. Here I was thinking that Memorial Day was a time to reflect on those who made great sacrifices in the name of democracy.

To enjoy the company of loved ones while acknowledging that our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness were dearly purchased with the blood, sweat and tears of others. To grill tasty meats and sip on tasty beer while basking in the glow of our shared freedom.

Thankfully Mr. Smith (a Yale man!) has corrected my many misunderstandings of America and allowed me to reexamine our blighted history in a much more enlightened manner. Just in case the title and subtitle weren’t subtle enough, American exceptionalism is a dangerous myth: Move beyond Tea Party lies and phony patriotism. This Memorial Day, let’s remember our history honestly, Smith went on to clarify in painful detail why there is little to celebrate on this American holiday.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Woman Asks for Removal of Crucifix to Vote in Local Election

Italian secular activist stages one-person protest

(ANSA) — L’Aquila, May 27 — An objector to mixing religion and state staged a one-person protest on Monday at a polling station at the town of Sulmona in central Italy’s Abruzzo region.

The woman entered the elementary school being used for city council elections, looked around, and before casting her ballot asked the polling station supervisor to remove a crucifix on the wall. She said it was “incompatible with the principle of secularism of the state” and she did feel she could exercise her “right” in its presence.

The voter, Liana Moca, is coordinator of the Rationalist Agnostics and Atheists Union (UAAR).

The polling station supervisor accepted the request without objection. Moca waited until the cross was removed before casting her ballot.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

4 thoughts on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 5/27/2013

  1. Am I understanding this correctly; British autorities KNEW that the hacker was deported from Kenya for radical Islamic activities and
    yet, they did nothing to curtail his activities in the UK?
    Would someone please tell me what the billions of dollars western gov’ts spend to keep us safe are going to..(other than shaking down old ladies by the TSA)

  2. Why don’t we know the name or anything else about the second assailant in the hacker case? My husband recently said that maybe it hasn’t been put into the American press. But, gathering news from allover the world, I would beg to disagree. Who is the second hacker that is now in hospital?

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