Gates of Vienna News Feed 5/31/2013

Tonight’s news feed is truncated, due to my being out for a number of hours. Anything that I didn’t get to will be included in the feed tomorrow night.

Check out the story about the deteriorating situation in Egypt. There is so much violence and lawlessness that the U.S. Embassy has warned American tourists that it is unwise to visit the Pyramids.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, DS, Fjordman, Insubria, Jerry Gordon, JP, Steen, TV, Vlad Tepes, and all the other tipsters who sent these in.

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

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

Financial Crisis
» Bank of Italy Governor Calls for Tax Cuts to Boost Economy
» Greece: Number of State Pensioners Grows
» Portugal’s Pensioners Take to the Barricades
» High School OKs Muslims’ Prayer Time for Good Grades
» US Naval Academy Instructor Teaching on Behalf of US Muslim Brotherhood
Europe and the EU
» Cypriots Pay Most Expensive Electricity in the EU
» France: Chinese Help Elysée Pull in €300,000 in Wine Sale
» Germany: Huge Anti-Capitalism Rally Hits Frankfurt
» Italy Missed ‘Extraordinary’ Market Change, Says BOI Head
» Italy: Minetti ‘Was Paid for Sex’ At Bunga Bunga Parties
» Italy: ‘Berlusconi Pimps Knew Ruby Under Age’
» Sweden: Minister Warns Husby Unrest May Fuel Prejudice
» Sweden: Left Party Calls Åkesson Unrest Analysis ‘Pitiful’
» Switzerland: Gunman Opens Fire in Zurich City Street
» The EU Guide to Broken Belgium
» The Myth of Spain’s Islamic Golden Age
» UK: A Guide to Understanding Islamist Terror in the UK and US
» UK: Failure to Tackle Protest Risks Rise of British Anti-Semitism, Say Israelis
» UK: It’s Time for MI5 to Abandon the Disastrous ‘Clerical Honeypot’ Strategy
» UK: Westcliff Mosque Doors Are ‘Open to Everyone’
» UK: Yes, The BBC Needs More Diversity — Of Opinion, That Is
Mediterranean Union
» EU Nations Win ‘Citrus War’
North Africa
» Egyptian Sorrows at the Dead Sea
» Lawlessness, Blackouts Roil Egypt as U.S. Warns Against Pyramids Tourism
» Tunisia: Growing Fear Over Islamists in Nursery Schools
» Tunisia: Symposium on ‘Fight Against Terrorism and Respect of Human Rights — What Equation?’
» U.S. Citizenship for Mursi’s Children ‘Threatens Security, ‘ Lawyer Says
» What a Muslim Brotherhood State Looks Like
Middle East
» British Man ‘Dies in Syria Fighting for Opposition to Al-Assad Regime’
» Hezbollah’s UAV Biological Weapon Capability: A Game Changer?
» Hundreds of Syrian Rebel Reinforcements in Qusair, Sources
» Iraq: UN Envoy in Iraq Voices Dismay at New Wave of Attacks
» Lebanese FM Rejects Listing Hezbollah as Terrorist Organization
» Shia Versus Sunni Supremacism Roils Middle East
» Syrian Opposition Paralysed by Battles for Influence
» Syria: Michigan Woman ‘Converted to Islam After Marriage’
» Turkey Plans to Operate 3rd Nuclear Power Plant
» Turkish MP Injured in Gezi Park Clashes With Police
» Mammoth Find Excites Russian Cloning Team
» Terrorists From Syria May Sneak Into Russia: Security Service
South Asia
» India Faces a Crippling Water Crisis
» Obama Administration to Blame for Jailing of Hero Bin Laden Doctor, Says Pakistani Report
» Pakistani Taliban Withdraw Talks Offer After Leader Killed
» Right-Wing Buddhist Leading the Campaign to Force Muslims Out of Burma Says He Wants His Group ‘To be Like the English Defence League’
» Singapore: Newly Upgraded Mosque in Admiralty Opens Doors to Worshippers
Far East
» America’s China Mistake
Australia — Pacific
» Bland’s Plan to Link With Dull and Boring
» New Zealand Helps Dispose of WW2 Explosives in Pacific
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Bomb Explodes in Northen Kenya, Killing Suspect
» Central Africa Republic: Security Council Urges Regional Cooperation to Tackle Lord’s Resistance Army Threat
» Nigerian Military Claim to Have Discovered Hizbollah Arms Cache
» Senegal Looking More Vulnerable to Extremism, Instability
Latin America
» Argentina: Prosecutor Accuses Iran of Establishing Latin America Terrorist Networks
» Chinese Migrants Step Out of Factory Shadows in Italy
» UK: How David Cameron ‘Stokes Irrational Fears’ Over Immigration — by Andy Coulson
Culture Wars
» Italy: Alison Lapper Artwork Criticised at Venice Biennale

Bank of Italy Governor Calls for Tax Cuts to Boost Economy

Visco says cut taxes that affect italy’s productivity

(ANSA) — Rome, May 31 — The government must act quickly to reduce taxes over the medium term to stimulate the economy, Bank of Italy Governor Ignazio Visco said Friday.

Immediate action is needed because high taxes are “holding back employment and business activity,” Visco told the central bank’s annual meeting in Rome. Taxes that affect productivity should be first on the chopping block, he added.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Greece: Number of State Pensioners Grows

(ANSAmed) ATHENS, MAY 28 — The number of public sector pensioners in Greece has soared by over 80,000 since 2005, daily Kathimerini reports citing data presented in Parliament yesterday by Alternate Finance Minister Christos Staikouras, who said they cost the state 6.56 billion euros gross last year.

From 367,687 pensioners from the state sector in 2005, their number has reached 449,341 this year according to April figures, with public spending on pensions already amounting to 1.95 billion euros in the year to April, Staikouras said.

Nevertheless the drop in salaries has brought the sum of pension and salary expenditure in the public sector almost on a par with 2005, as it is estimated to reach 18.4 billion euros in 2013 against 18.1 billion euros in 2005. Eight years ago the cost of salaries stood at 13.9 billion euros and this year it is projected to amount to no more than 12.7 billion euros. The record amount of salary spending was in 2009, with 18.5 billion euros.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Portugal’s Pensioners Take to the Barricades

Austerity measures proposed by the Portuguese government would hit pensioners hard if they go into effect. But rather than setting off a generational conflict, they are uniting protesters against the cuts.

Every afternoon Angelica Canelo visits the cafe at the local senior center directly across from her home in the Lisbon suburb of Amadora. “I play dominoes here, or talk to some of my friends,” she told DW. “But I don’t eat here — I eat at home.” By doing so, the 79-year-old retiree saves money on the more traditional coffee roundtables she has at home with friends. With the 400 euros ($518) transferred to her bank account each month by the state, Angelica has to stick to her budget in order to be sure that there’s enough to cover rent, food and telephone and medical bills.

As to whether the Portuguese government’s new austerity plans will affect her directly, Angelica doesn’t know. But she’ll adapt to any new cuts, she says. “I have to live from what they give me. And if there’s not enough for meat or fish, then I’ll just eat bread and soup.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

High School OKs Muslims’ Prayer Time for Good Grades

‘Once you start down that road then you really are in a bind’

(RT) A high school near Washington DC has taken a rare step of accommodating Muslim prayer during class hours. Parkdale High School now allows a handful of its students to be excused to pray. The decision has made some Christian staffers “unhappy”. Prince George County High School Principal Cheryl J. Logan said the initiative is in response to the “needs of the growing Muslim community,” the Washington Post reported. To be able to leave class each day all you need is a parental permission and high grades, Logan said…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

US Naval Academy Instructor Teaching on Behalf of US Muslim Brotherhood

According to promotional material, a United States Naval Academy professor is teaching on behalf of the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), a part of the US Muslim Brotherhood and where global Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi reportedly serves as a trustee. IIIT recently announced its Summer Students Program for 2013 to be held from May 26 — July 3. According to the IIIT announcement, one of the instructors for the program will be Professor Ermin Sinanovic, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland who will be teaching the following course titled “Muslim World Affairs”

[His CV says he is]…an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, USA. He studied for an MA and a PhD in Political Science at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University. Prof. Sinanovic obtained two BAs (one in Qur’an and Sunnah Studies, the other in Political Science) and an MA (Islamic Civilization) from the International Islamic University Malaysia. His research interests include transnational Islamic revival, Southeast Asian politics, Islamic movements, Middle East politics, Islamic political thought, and Islam and politics in general. At the Naval Academy, Prof. Sinanovic teaches courses on Southeast Asian politics, Middle East politics, and Islam and politics. He speaks Bosnian, English, Arabic, and Malay. “

[Return to headlines]

Cypriots Pay Most Expensive Electricity in the EU

(ANSAmed) NICOSIA, MAY 28 — Cypriot households pay the most expensive electricity in the EU, according to figures by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union reported today by the Famagusta Gazette. In the EU27, household electricity prices rose by 6.6% between the second half of 2011 and the second half of 2012, after an increase of 6.3% between the second half of 2010 and 2011. Household gas prices increased by 10.3% in the EU27 between the second half of 2011 and 2012, after a rise of 12.6% between the second half of 2010 and 2011.

Change in electricity prices ranged from -5% in Sweden to +21% in Cyprus. Between the second half of 2011 and the second half of 2012, the highest increases in household electricity prices in national currency were registered in Cyprus (+21%), Greece (+15%), Italy (+11%), Ireland and Portugal (both +10%), Bulgaria, Spain and Poland (all +9%). Decreases were observed in Sweden (-5%), Hungary (-2%) and Finland (-1%), while prices remained stable in Denmark and Malta.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

France: Chinese Help Elysée Pull in €300,000 in Wine Sale

Share on redditMore Sharing ServicesThe first night of the austerity driven sell-off of the Elysée Palace’s fine wine collection was considered a roaring success after wine enthusiasts including one very active Chinese buyer, shelled out €300,000 to get their hands on the presidential plonk.

Two bottles of 1990 Petrus wine which went for over €5,000 helped to make sure that the first night of the big Elysée wine sell-off was a full-bodied success.

The two bottles of Petrus were picked up by Chinese wine importer Fan Dongxing who shelled out €5,500 and €5,800 to get his hands on the two bottles of prized grog.

The exporter was the stand-out bidder as the 1,200 bottles of the Elysée’s finest wine went under the hammer in a sale motivated by desire to raise money to fund a revamp of the palace.

“I’m very happy. The Chinese are very fond of French wine. I will keep some of the wine for us and maybe I will resell some to professional friends,” Dongxing, who had come to France especially for the sale told the media.

The sell-off which took place at the famous Drouot auction house, was targeted by anti-gay marriage opponents who shouted “We want jobs, not gay marriage” from outside the venue.

Some 250 people, some just curious onlookers, were present at the auction hall in Paris for the sale, which will run until Friday. The wine itself was not present and the public had to make do with photographs.

The oldest bottle of wine that went under the hammer was a 1936 Chateau Latour, which went for €3,500. Other bottles were sold for far more than expected with a 1961 Chateau L’Angelus, which had been predicted to sell for around €220, going for €1,100.

The conspicuous cost-cutting is in keeping with the tone of Hollande’s presidency, which has been clouded by a gloomy economic backdrop.

But it has not gone down well with Michel-Jack Chasseuil, one of France’s most prominent wine collectors.

Chasseuil has written to Hollande to express his regret over the decision to allow bottles “that are part of the heritage of our country to be sold off to billionaires from all over the world”.

He added: “Even if they go for fantastic sums, it will be a derisory amount in terms of the national budget and when you think about what these wines represent in the eyes of the whole world.”

The sale represents 10 percent of the 12,000 bottles currently held in the Elysee cellar, which has been regularly replenished since it was established in 1947. Some 150,000 euros is spent on wines in the cellar every year.

The Elysee’s chief sommelier Virginie Routis told AFP that in light of the economic crisis “we can no longer allow ourselves to put bottles worth 2,000 or 3,000 euros on the table.”

Each bottle included in the auction has been given a special additional label certifying that they came from the “Palais de l’Elysee” with the date of the sale, which will conclude on Friday.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Germany: Huge Anti-Capitalism Rally Hits Frankfurt

More than 1,000 people took part in multiple anti-capitalist demonstrations in Frankfurt on Friday, targeting among others the European Central Bank and banking giant Deutsche Bank, organisers and police said.

On the first of two days of protests organised by the anti-capitalist movement Blockupy, hundreds of people initially gathered in front of the ECB in the rain to protest the central bank’s handling of the euro crisis and Europe’s austerity policies.

They then moved to Deutsche Bank’s headquarters to protest against the involvement of Germany’s biggest lender in foodstuff speculation.

Following that, the protestors moved to Frankfurt’s main shopping mile and there were also plans to target the city’s airport later in the day to protest against Germany’s deportation policies.

But police there were said to be letting through only passengers with valid flight tickets, so it was not yet clear if or how many protestors would be able to get through.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Italy Missed ‘Extraordinary’ Market Change, Says BOI Head

Visco says must play catch-up on decades of economic shift

(ANSA) — Rome, May 31 — Over the past 25 years, Italy has failed to take part in enormous marketplace changes and must now act fast to catch up, Bank of Italy Governor Ignazio Visco said Friday.

“We were not able to respond to the extraordinary geopolitical shifts in technology and demographics of the last twenty-five years,” Visco told the central bank’s annual meeting in Rome. That is now taking an enormous toll on the Italian economy and government policy reform is essential to catch up and stimulate an economic recovery, he said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Minetti ‘Was Paid for Sex’ At Bunga Bunga Parties

‘Not just pimp’ says prosecutor in summing-up

(ANSA) — Milan, May 31 — Silvio Berlusconi’s former dental hygienist and ex-Lombardy regional councillor Nicole Minetti did not just pimp but was also paid for sex at the ex-premier’s alleged bunga bunga parties, a prosecutor said Friday.

Minetti, one of three Berlusconi associates on trial for supplying prostitutes, was not only an “intermediary” but also took part in the alleged sex parties, “carrying out paid sexual acts,” Antonio Sangermano said in his summing-up against Minetti, former TV anchor Emilio Fede and ex-talent scout Lele MOra.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: ‘Berlusconi Pimps Knew Ruby Under Age’

‘We had to investigate’, prosecutor says in closing arguments

(ANSA) — Milan, May 31 — Three people on trial for pimping for ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi knew a Moroccan nightclub dancer and alleged prostitute called Ruby was under the legal age for sex work, a prosecutor said Friday.

“Our defendants knew she was a minor,” prosecutor Antonio Sangermano said in his closing arguments.

The three are retired TV anchorman Emilio Fede, bankrupt ex-talent scout Lele Mora and Nicole Minetti, an ex-Lombardy regional councillor and the ex-premier’s former dental hygienist.

Ruby, one of many women allegedly procured for sex, was one year below the legal age for prostitution at the time a series of alleged sex parties hosted by Berlusconi took place in 2010.

Sex workers can ply their trade legally in Italy from the age of 18.

Berlusconi is on trial directly in separate proceedings, dubbed Ruby1, for allegedly paying for sex with Ruby and abuse of office when he phoned police on her behalf when she was held on an unrelated theft charge.

Phoning from Paris, he told police she should be released to avoid a diplomatic incident with Egypt because she had told him she was a relative of then Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak.

Berlusconi and Ruby have denied having sex and say the 4.5 million euros he gave her was a gift to help set her up in business after a sorry past including her escape from an allegedly violent Islam-enforcing father to a youth shelter she fled to start her dancing career. In Ruby1, Milan prosecutor Ilda Boccassini earlier this month requested that the ex-premier be sentenced to a combined six-year jail term and be banned for life from public office.

Berlusconi claims to be the victim of biased prosecutors, including Boccassini, who have been conducting what he calls a witch-hunt against him.

In the pimping trial, dubbed Ruby2, prosecutor Sangermano on Friday denied accusations of “spying” on the three-time premier and said the probe had to be opened because prosecutors got impelling reports a crime had been committed.

“We received macroscopic reports of a crime, regarding an underage girl going around the streets of Milan with packages of money, who frequented luxury hotels, who lived with a prostitute and went to the home of a rich and powerful man from whom she said she was getting money after fleeing from a youth centre,” the prosecutor told the court.

Sangermano said police had wiretaps in which Mora told Ruby to “doll herself up with lingerie” and Minetti was allegedly heard talking about paying a stable of more than 30 young women, including Ruby, the only minor.

“Is there anyone who would have hung up and shut their ears, without investigating,” the prosecutor asked.

He added that Ruby had shown herself to be “immature and vulnerable” and had changed her account of events several times, “mixing truth and lies” and contradicting herself in a “remarkable attempt to discredit herself”.

Testifying last week, Ruby admitted she fed police “baloney” in five questioning sessions, apart from the bit about not having sex with Berlusconbi, but said she could not really explain why she did so. According to the prosecutor Friday, after Ruby was taken to Berlusconi’s villa at Arcore outside Milan for the first time, on February 14, 2010, Mora set up “a military apparatus to ‘Save Private Ryan’ and watch over her”.

The prosecutor accused the defendants of “grooming” girls to make sure they had the right “social and relationship skills” to be put into “the circuit of the Arcore nights”. Sangermano rebutted suggestions that the picture of wild ‘bunga bunga’ parties was “born from the murky minds of investigators”, saying it was instead “the context of the activity of prostitution”.

He said the parties, which Berlusconi has repeatedly described as innocent, cabaret-style entertainments, “were certainly of a prostitution nature”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Sweden: Minister Warns Husby Unrest May Fuel Prejudice

Sweden’s Integration Minister Erik Ullenhag warned on Thursday that the unrest in Stockholm’s outer suburbs last week may lead to prejudices about the people who live there.

Ullenhag shared the message while speaking to a group of around 100 school students in Tensta, one of Husby’s neighbouring districts that was also targeted by vandals last week.

The minister said that the prejudices about the Husby residents will be fueled because the people who don’t know anything about the area will associated it with burning cars.

Ullenhag chose not to venture out to Husby during the week of unrest.

“The people who threw rocks and those who burned cars got enough attention last week. Now it’s all about trying to support the positive trends and to show that we seriously care about those who live in the area,” he told the TT news agency.

One of the students, Mert Yilmaz, pointed out that the car burning was a direct result of the segregation in Sweden.

“It would be better if the refugees who come to Sweden lived in the middle of the city instead, then it wouldn’t have happened,” he said.

But the integration minister stressed that living arrangements can’t be settled in such a manner.

“The problem is that for those who it’s gone well for, they have chosen to move on. We must ensure that we have positive cycles. Why, for example, is there no mosque in Tensta, I think that’s strange,” he said.

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

Sweden: Left Party Calls Åkesson Unrest Analysis ‘Pitiful’

The Sweden Democrats have proposed the state withdraw child support from parents whose children take part in riots, with leader Jimmie Åkesson immediately facing flack from his parliamentary colleagues.

As Sweden parliamentarians assembled on Friday to discuss last week’s unrest in Stockholm, Sweden Democrat leader Jimmie Åkesson condemned the vandalism and attacks on police and firemen. That view did not put him apart from the mainstream of Swedish politics, but the subsequent proposal — also stating that the parents be “offered” classes in parenting that would be “obligatory” — was set to raise eyebrows.

Left Party leader Jonas Sjösted retorted in parliament that the Sweden Democrats lay the blame on immigrants, which Åkesson denied.

“We are not placing the blame on the immigrants, we’re placing the blame on the other political parties. It is the people in this very chamber that have full responsibility and who have created the politics that caused what happened,” Åkesson said. His lament about what he termed a “gigantic political failure” received little support, however, from the other parties.

“Åkesson wants to fight immigrants, I want to fight the class divisions,” Sjöstedt said, adding that Åkesson was pitiful for not talking about the far-right groups hunting down immigrants in the wake of the first nights of unrest. He further accused the Sweden Democrat leader of wanting to cement divisions in society.

Sjösted got a modicum of support from the main opposition party the Social Democrats when MP Morgan Johansson adressed the floor.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Switzerland: Gunman Opens Fire in Zurich City Street

Police in Switzerland are hunting for a gunman who opened fire in the centre of Zurich.

The lone shooter fled from the scene, on the busy shopping street of Langstrasse, near the train station. Two Turkish people are reported to have been injured. “He came towards me and said he had been shot, and needed an ambulance,” an eyewitness told Switzerland’s 20 Minutes newspaper. “There was blood everywhere.” The two injured men, aged 33 and 41, were taken to a hospital but their life was not in danger…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

The EU Guide to Broken Belgium

By Frances Robinson

Poor Belgium. The land of frites, chocolate and surrealism has been getting flak from all quarters recently.

Libération’s Jean Quatremer had a double-page spread about its urban disasters, which sent La Dernière Heure on a mission to the outre-Quiévrain* to point out that there are some unlovely corners of Paris as well. It has rained, consistently, for the entire duration of this year, meaning the press corps is even more whiny than usual about the city. And now, the European Commission has weighed in.

“Belgium did not take sufficient action to correct its deficit … it missed both nominal target and on average the required structural fiscal effort,” the European Union’s economics chief Olli Rehn said in his usual lively manner Wednesday. But while the country narrowly avoided fines, which “could go against the principle of non-retroactivity which is essential in European law,” according to Mr. Rehn, it has a lot to fix.

Eurocrats, beer-sipping expats and whole Facebook pages love to moan about Brussels life, but the commission has formalized this process. In the country-specific recommendations for Belgium, it basically hands Prime Minister Elio di Rupo and his colleagues a to-do list. It’s not pretty, but here is Real Time Brussels’ translated guide to selected highlights…

           — Hat tip: TV [Return to headlines]

The Myth of Spain’s Islamic Golden Age

by Emmet Scott (June 2013)

Whatever interpretation we might put on it — and there are several possibilities — one thing is very clear: The opulent and refined Islamic civilization which up till now has been placed alongside and contemporary with a dark, ignorant and impoverished Christian Europe of the seventh to tenth centuries, is a myth. When Islamic cities do appear, in the middle of the tenth century, they are very comparable, in terms of size and level of culture, to the contemporary cities of Christian Europe. Our entire understanding of European and Middle Eastern history during the seventh to tenth centuries needs a radical rethink.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UK: A Guide to Understanding Islamist Terror in the UK and US

by Douglas Murray

Readers may like to know that I have a cover piece in this week’s magazine titled ‘The Enemy Within’. It is available here for subscribers. (Non-subscribers can subscribe here.) It looks at what — if anything — will change after the killing of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich. It is also an account of just some of the difficulties going on inside the British government in the fight against extremism.

On a separate but related note, my colleague at the Henry Jackson Society, Robin Simcox was testifying in front of the US House of Representatives last week. His testimony is here. Robin is one of the authors of our latest report on Al-Qaeda related terrorism in the US. It is a comprehensive analysis of all US-based cases, with a foreword by the former Director of the CIA General Michael Hayden. It is a follow-up to the earlier publication — an analysis of all UK-based Islamist terrorism cases from 1999-2010 — with a foreword by Lord Carlile. In the wake of recent attacks in Boston and London both these publications are I think essential cornerstones for any understanding of this area.

[Reader comment by Daniel Maris on 30 May 2013.]

Precisely. They consider they are legitimate faith followers implementing a divinely sanctioned legal system called Sharia that applies to the whole planet. The sad thing is that I believe Douglas Murray, Fraser Nelson, Boris Johnson and David Cameron all know this…they choose to feign ignorance.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Failure to Tackle Protest Risks Rise of British Anti-Semitism, Say Israelis

Britain’s failure to act decisively in the face of anti-Israel protests in the country has been questioned by an Israeli official, asking “at what point does inaction become anti-Semitism”.

Representatives of the Jewish state have been repeatedly dismayed by the lack of response from the Foreign Office and other Government departments to Israel’s requests for support to combat campaigns that threaten its diplomats or seek to disrupt events involving Israel. “You have to wonder at what point does inaction become anti-Semitism,” the official told the Daily Telegraph. “If Israelis of an Argentinian background threatened the British ambassor in Israel to the point that he could not make speeches, we would be getting demands from the Foreign Office to step in. Yet the government has done nothing to prevent the threats we face since it took office.”

The comments come shortly after Yuval Steinitz, Israel’s Strategic Affairs minister, told The Telegraph that “disguised anti-Semitism” was more virulent in Britain than any other major Western country on the eve of a visit to the Holy Land by William Hague, the Foreign Secretary. Outspoken criticism from Mr Hague over Israel’s expansion of settlements in the West Bank has been viewed as overshadowing his dismissal of calls to boycott Israel over Palestinian issues…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: It’s Time for MI5 to Abandon the Disastrous ‘Clerical Honeypot’ Strategy

by Shiraz Maher

Douglas Murray has an important piece in this week’s Spectator looking at the stultifying political culture around counterterrorism. Civil servants frequently thwart ministers wanting to adopt a harder line against extremists while a number of radical groups remain legal despite repeated pledges to ban them.

This cultural stasis is not confined to mandarins in Whitehall. Ever since 9/11 the police and Security Service have pursued a disastrous policy of cultivating ‘clerical honeypots’. The thinking behind it seems reasonable enough at first glance: leave extremist clerics to preach in the open and then you can easily identify the network around them, and the various actors within it…

At its high water mark this policy gave rise to the Muslim Contact Unit with the Metropolitan Police Service. They actively supported extremist Salafi preachers because it was thought only they had the requisite ‘street cred’ needed to appeal to angry young Muslims. Abu Hamza was consequently allowed to preach his poisonous message for years before anyone tried to stop him. By then it was too late…

[Reader comment by Austin Barry on 30 May 2013.]

Our effete, feeble Government should deal with these radical preachers as a real and present danger, and without compunction or hesitation — or outsource the job to Mossad. But instead we’ll get the usual supine, defeatist, hackneyed bleat: “it would act as a recruiting sergeant for radical Islam”. Paradoxically, if the current tremulous appeasement policy continues it will act as a recruiting sergeant, but it won’t be for radical Islam.

[Reader comment by RhodaKlapp7 on 30 May 2013.]

Islam is a prosetylising religion with values which come into conflict with British tradition. That might seem ‘racist’, religionist, whatever, but I think it is not seriously disputable. That is quite separate from any threat from islamism and radicalism. In effect, religion of peace though it might be, the presence of a significant and increasing muslim minority in the UK is a challenge to the British way of life. It is not enough to frame it as a problem only of extremism or terrorism. It’s a problem for the future which can’t be set aside for long.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Westcliff Mosque Doors Are ‘Open to Everyone’

THE doors are open for anyone who has questions about Islam. That’s the message from Ibrar Azam, spokesman for Westcliff’s Faizan-e-Madine Mosque in Milton Road. He is a man making an effort to promote understanding of the genuine parts of his religion in the wake of last week’s killing of soldier Lee Rigby in London. “What happened is absolutely nothing to do with Islam, it does not state in the Koran that you should take somebody’s life like that,” he said.

“Islam teaches you to love everyone and live in peace and harmony.”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Yes, The BBC Needs More Diversity — Of Opinion, That Is

by Ed West — deputy editor, The Catholic Herald

I’m always fearful that one day I’ll end up as one of those angry men who shout at Radio 4 — the wife raising her eyes, thinking to herself “here he goes again”. And I suspect that the early signs of BBC bore syndrome are already showing.

Yet the funny thing is that I love the BBC. It’s something I grew up with and as Bart said to Homer, it’s done more of a job raising me than you have. I love the sound of David Attenborough’s voice and — some Tories may disagree with me on this one — Stephen Fry’s. I like nothing better than evenings in drinking wine in the kitchen with Front Row playing. Part of what I like about being British is our great institutions, and the BBC is central to that, a comforting familiar voice we all love.

So my report into bias, Groupthink: Can We Trust the BBC on Immigration?, recently published by the New Culture Forum, was troubling to put together…

I want the BBC to thrive, as a force for good around the world as well as in Britain, but it must reform. It has to pro-actively tackle bias, and that means employing high-profile officials whose job it is to scrutinise the major news stories, active efforts to ensure that heretical, conservatives voices are heard as often as liberal-Left ones, and programmes dedicated to discussing bias within the BBC. The BBC has always been good at self-criticism, even joining in at times — it’s what makes its so quintessentially British. I hope it finds ours helpful.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

EU Nations Win ‘Citrus War’

Spain is traditionally the main citrus exporter

(ANSAmed) — ROME — In the ‘citrus war’, Morocco is losing ground and Egypt is becoming ever more a major player at the international level, according to an Econostrum report. Citrus fruits are one of the main agricultural products grown in and exported from Mediterranean countries, and the competition is stiff. Data from the UN’s Food And Agriculture Organization (FAO) show that Mediterranean citrus fruits accounted for 38% of international production in the 2011-2012 season, equal to 20.6 megatonnes (mt) out of a total of 52. Spain is traditionally the main exporter, with its 3.2 mt exported out of a total of 5.5 mt produced, coming in ahead of Italy. Europe continues to absorb 60% of the Mediterranean market, although some non-EU countries are showing excellent results. The report shows that the top lemon exporter in the Mediterranean is Turkey, which comes in second in world rankings. Egypt is also doing exceptionally well, where producers have begun to grow new varieties of citrus fruits.

Egyptians have focused on innovation and research, such as by selecting seeds to achieve more resistant plants and using technology to increase production from 9 to 12 tonnes per hectare, or opting for organic crops. This choice was made on the basis of the markets where these fruits will be sold: the United States and Canada first and foremost, where there is high demand for organic products. The Egyptian government has understood the importance of the sector and granted state aid to exports that aim to gain market share in emerging markets such as Iran, North Korea and Sudan. On the other hand, Moroccan growers have invested little in innovation, lack water resources and enjoy little government support for exports, with consequent negative effects on the market.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Egyptian Sorrows at the Dead Sea

by Abdel Latif el-Menawy

My grief over the situation our countries have reached deepened while I was attending the World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa that is held every two years and that took place at the Dead Sea in Jordan this year. When I entered the conference hall that carries the name of late King Hussein, I remembered when this same conference was hosted by Egypt in Sharm al-Sheikh in 2008. All participants found it a really impressive conference. Back then, Egypt succeeded in convincing the World Economic Forum that the conference is alternately held at both Sharm al-Sheikh and the Dead Sea. Of course, this hasn’t happened ever since, and I do not think it will happen soon. Back then, I felt that the first thing I must do is send a letter to engineer Rashid Mohamed Rashid, not to send it as his friend, but as an Egyptian thanking him for all the efforts he made for Egypt. Rashid is the man behind this accomplishment of hosting the conference in Sharm al-Sheikh.

Back to the recent conference held in Jordan. Throughout the entire conference, everyone I met who realized I was from Egypt voiced his sadness over the country’s current situation. They spoke with a pitiful tone, and they all said “Egypt does not deserve what it is going through.” I felt I was from a country confronting a catastrophe. A deep sense of bitterness reigned over me…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Lawlessness, Blackouts Roil Egypt as U.S. Warns Against Pyramids Tourism

Lawlessness has become so endemic in Egypt that the U.S. Embassy this week warned Americans away from visiting the country’s famed pyramids. A academic teaching at the American University in Cairo received an email from the embassy warning of “aggressiveness (that) in some cases is closer to criminal conduct… with angry groups of individuals surrounding and pounding on (vehicles)… and in some cases attempting to open the vehicle’s doors.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Tunisia: Growing Fear Over Islamists in Nursery Schools

(ANSAmed) — TUNIS, MAY 31 — Many in Tunisia fear the growing influence exercised by Islamists in nursery schools, the president of the national chamber of day care and nursery schools, Nabiha Kamoun Tlili told radio Mosaique. Nabiha Kamoun Tlili called on the ministry in charge of women’s issues and children’s rights to prevent Islamists from managing nursery schools and turning them into ‘Koranic schools’.

A growing number of day care centres for pre-school children are being opened in Tunisia by Islamist groups who start teaching toddlers the Koran.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Tunisia: Symposium on ‘Fight Against Terrorism and Respect of Human Rights — What Equation?’

Tunis — Minister of Human and Transitional Justice Samir Dilou said that the commission in charge of re-examining the 2003 law on fight against terrorism is normally working on the elaboration of a new text “in line with the international standards in matters of human rights.”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

U.S. Citizenship for Mursi’s Children ‘Threatens Security, ‘ Lawyer Says

An Egyptian court Thursday decided to postpone a case seeking to strip President Mohammed Mursi’s son and daughter of their U.S. citizenship.

The lawyer who filed the suit claims their dual nationality “threatens Egypt’s national security.”

As a result, the lawyer, Mohamed Salem, is calling for their U.S. citizenship to be revoked.

He told Al Arabiya that it is “illegal” for Mursi’s children to have a U.S. passport while simultaneously keeping their Egyptian nationality.

“It is shameful for Mursi, the president of the largest Arab country, that his children have American citizenship,” Salem added.

He pointed out the perceived irony of the situation.

“The Muslim Brotherhood is publicly known to be against America, Zionism and Israel. Is it possible for the president’s children to be American citizens? America the main supporter of Zionism!”

Mursi’s children, Ahmed and Shayma’a, acquired U.S. citizenship at birth in the 1980’s, during a period when the Egyptian leader worked as a professor in the United States, according to Ahram Online…

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes [Return to headlines]

What a Muslim Brotherhood State Looks Like

by Joseph S. Spoerl (June 2013)

The Muslim Brotherhood’s rise to power in Egypt in 2012, with the inauguration of President Mohamed Morsi in June and the passage of a new and more Islamic constitution in December,1 has led pundits and policy-makers alike to speculate about what the Muslim Brothers will do with their new-found power. However, few observers have noticed that there is no need to speculate about this. In fact, from 1971 to 2011, the Egyptian state went a long way toward becoming a Muslim Brotherhood state, as first Anwar Sadat and then Hosni Mubarak steadily implemented Islamic sharia in order to appease the Brotherhood and their Salafi kin.

To see what a Muslim Brotherhood state looks like, therefore, we need only scrutinize what has happened in Egypt since 1971. For those who care about the cause of liberty, the results are not encouraging.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

British Man ‘Dies in Syria Fighting for Opposition to Al-Assad Regime’

The Foreign Office is checking reports that a British man has been killed in Syria alongside an American woman fighting against the Assad regime.

Syrian soldiers killed three Westerners — reportedly the British man, the American woman, and a third person of unidentified nationality — in northwest Idlib province near the Turkish border, a monitoring group said late last night.

“They were shot dead during an ambush in the Idlib region and the army found them with maps of military positions,” said Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The three had apparently been taking photos of military positions on the road between Harim, near the border with Turkey, and the town of Idlib further south when government troops ambushed them, he added. The incident happened on Wednesday. The Foreign Office this morning said it was checking in to the report. The American woman has been identified as 33-year-old Nicole Mansfield of Flint, Michigan. Her aunt told Reuters that the FBI had informed her of the death of her niece, but said she did not have the details of how she died…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Hezbollah’s UAV Biological Weapon Capability: A Game Changer?

Unmanned aerial vehicles have similar flight characteristics to cruise missiles, but are under active human guidance and thus are more flexible. They would be especially attractive for biological weapons delivery.2 Recent events in Syria and international concern over Syria’s chemical weapon stockpile, one of the largest in the world, has overshadowed a far more dangerous clandestine military weapons program. On July 24, 2012, Syria’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Jihad Makdissi, announced that Syria would not use chemical or biological weapons it retains against its own civilians. This announcement unintentionally acknowledged both the chemical and biological weapons programs Syria has run for years. This announcement riveted both the intelligence community and non-proliferation advocates who have sought to cast doubt on Syrian biological weapons capabilities. Syria’s chemical weapon stockpiles have long been monitored. Chemical weapons are relatively easy to understand and as a result, media attention has focused on Syrian chemical weapon stockpiles. In the shadow of this biological weapons are less well understood. Syria’s biological weapons programs run out of the Syrian Scientific Research (SSRC) in Damascus have not been the focus of much media attention. That despite these weapons are far more dangerous and more likely to be deployed. Perhaps less clear is Syria’s close relationship and support of Hezbollah and Hezbollah’s arsenal of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. The merging of Syria’s biological weapon program with Hezbollah and/or Iran’s UAV programs could create an international public health emergency more catastrophic than a natural outbreak.

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

Hundreds of Syrian Rebel Reinforcements in Qusair, Sources

(ANSAmed) — ROME, MAY 31 — Hundreds of Syrian rebels have reportedly reached Qusair to fight against the advance by government troops backed by Hezbollah fighters. Numerous networks connected with the Syrian opposition have made this claim. London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reports that the Tawheed Brigade has managed to break the siege of the city and enter. Local activists, on the other hand, have denied the news.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Iraq: UN Envoy in Iraq Voices Dismay at New Wave of Attacks

UNITED NATIONS, May 30 (Xinhua) — The UN envoy in Iraq has expressed his dismay at the new wave of attacks in the Middle East country, which killed 38 people and wounded 91 others, deputy UN spokesman Eduardo del Buey told reporters here Thursday. “Martin Kobler, the secretary-general’s special representative for Iraq, expressed his dismay at the horrific toll of lives lost following the new wave of attacks against innocent civilians, particularly targeting Baghdad,” del Buey said at a daily news briefing here…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Lebanese FM Rejects Listing Hezbollah as Terrorist Organization

BEIRUT, May 31 (Xinhua) — Lebanon’s caretaker Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour said Friday that he rejects putting the Hezbollah militant group on any terror list. In an interview with Assafir daily, Mansour said that Hezbollah is an integral part of Lebanon’s national and political fabric, and therefore “we adamantly reject putting the party on any terror list.”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Shia Versus Sunni Supremacism Roils Middle East

This was the first formal recognition of the Shia alliance of Syria, Hezbollah and Iran seeking to become the dominant Islamic hegemon in the region. Meanwhile in Tripoli, Lebanon’s, local Sunni, who support the rebel cause in Syria attacked local Alawites killing 30 and wounding over 200. Across the frontier a battle has been going on with Syrian, Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah fighters seeking to wrest control from rebels in “the town of Qusayr, about 6 miles, from the border with Lebanon.” The Times of Israel reported that 5,000 Hezbollah fighters are in Syria with another 5,000 on the way. The combined Shia force is endeavoring to protect lines of communications for the filtering of weapons and supplies to Hezbollah delivered by sea and air to Syria from Iran. Further, the combined forces’ objective is to create an Alawite bastion on Syria’s North West Mediterranean coast so that Russian weapons and Venezuelan diesel fuel can be delivered via the ports of Tartous and Latakia. Against this combined Shia force are rebel forces comprising the Free Syrian Army with elements of Muslim Brotherhood, Salafist and the al Qaida linked al Nusrah Front militias. There is an estimate that upwards of 1,500 Iraqi al Nusrah fighters are in Syria. They are backed by a Sunni coalition of Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Salman Saikh, head of the Doha Center of the Brookings Institution commented at the meeting of the World Economic Forum in Jordan that the Obama Administration “doesn’t want to get involved in the complexity of the Syrian crisis.” The Obama Administration has been circumspect about armed support for rebel militias in Syria. Perhaps because the leading elements among Syrian rebels are the al Qaida linked al-Nusrah terrorist militia. President Obama is caught on the horns of a dilemma.

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

Syrian Opposition Paralysed by Battles for Influence

Qatar against Saudi Arabia, Islamists holding the reins

(ANSAmed) — ISTANBUL, MAY 27 — The calling of a peace conference in Geneva next month on Syria by the United States and Russia has sparked internal battles within the Syrian National Coalition, leading to a stalemate in an Istanbul conference already running on overtime. The meeting was expected to last only from Thursday to Saturday and was to have elected a new president, ratified the appointment of an interim ‘government’, agreed on a position to take in the lead-up to the Geneva conference and admit other opposition blocs into the Coalition. As of Monday, none of these had been achieved. The Muslim Brotherhood and Qatar have up until now been the driving force behind the Coalition, considered by many Western and Muslim countries to be the main representative body of the opposition. Many of its members now say that the body has been paralysed by a battle for influence within it, with Qatar and Saudi Arabia pulling the strings behind the scenes. US-backed Riyadh is pushing for the Coalition to be broadened to include non-Islamic and liberal opposition blocs, but the Turkey-backed Muslim Brotherhood and the Qatar-linked faction under Coalition secretary general Mustafa al-Sabbagh are fighting not to lose their grip over the body. The meetings extend into late night every day. Just before dawn on Monday, the proposal to raise the body’s leadership from a current 62 members to about 90 in order to include the liberal bloc under Michel Kilo and make the movement more ‘palatable’ in Geneva was rejected. In the end, Kilo’s faction were offered only 5 irrelevant seats.

“I do not have the impression that you want to cooperate,” Kilo said, who will be leaving the Istanbul meeting on Monday.

The growing inflexibility of the Islamic component in the Coalition is seen by several analysts as a sign of the battles underway between several opposition blocs to get a seat at the table in Geneva, where the map of future power in Syria may be drawn if the conference proves a success.

At the moment, if only the Coalition is invited, the Kurds currently controlling the north would be excluded, as would secularists and liberals, who led the anti-Assad protests at the beginning of the uprising in 2011. The director of the Bilgesam Center for Strategic Studies, Attila Sandliki, said that both Christians and Druze would also be underrepresented, potentially splitting the country apart even more.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Syria: Michigan Woman ‘Converted to Islam After Marriage’

The family of the 33-year-old woman who died in Syria whilst reportedly fighting for opposition forces said she converted to Islam after meeting and marrying an Arab immigrant. Monica Mansfield Speelman, Nicole Mansfield’s aunt, told The Detroit Free Press she converted to Islam after her marriage and started wearing an hijab, which “bothered” her family…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Turkey Plans to Operate 3rd Nuclear Power Plant

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, MAY 28 — Turkey has announced plans to operate its third nuclear plant, most of the parts of which are planned to be built by national sources, but it acknowledges that it must be patient and cautious in kicking off the plans.

“Our plan is to be able to operate our third plant, and to build the majority of this plant — whether 60 or 80% of it I don’t know yet — depending on the performance of our first two nuclear plants,” Energy Minister Taner Yildiz told the Hurriyet daily in an interview. Turkey recently concluded two major nuclear plant tenders with a Russian and Japanese-French consortium, and is thus planning to reduce its natural gas imports over the next decade as the plants become operational.

According to Yildiz, the government has already started making plans on the third nuclear plant, as the growing domestic energy needs are unlikely to be met by the first two. “We will not rush to decide on the third plan, but we have already prepared our negotiation dossier. We could swiftly conclude the procedures, but our prime minister gave us another target,” Yildiz said, adding that this target was to build the third plant mostly using the country’s own national sources.

Acknowledging that it would not be possible for Turkey to construct 100% of a nuclear plant, Yildiz said a good majority could be made with national resources. The plans for the third plant are still vague, but Yildiz said the government would not be waiting until the first two nuclear plants’ become operational to decide on the third one, as even choosing a site for the construction takes two years.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Turkish MP Injured in Gezi Park Clashes With Police

Battle raging since Monday to save central Istanbul park

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, MAY 31 — A Turkish MP from the Kurdish BDP party was injured Friday in clashes in Istanbul between anti-riot police and demonstrators occupying Gezi Park since Monday. The park is located next to the central Taksim Square and protestors are attempting to stop one of the few green areas in the city center from being destroyed to make way for a shopping center. MP Sirri Sureyya Onder, one of the symbols of the protest against the destruction of the park, has been hospitalized. Over the past few days Onder has been one of the leading figures in the revolt against the “cementification” of the park in Taksim Square and had stood in front of bulldozers to block them. “He is not doing well,” Hurriyet Online quoted another Kurdish MP, Ertugrul Kurcku, as saying.

The clashes in Gezi Park were on the front pages of all Turkish newspapers on Friday. The protest against the plans to transform Taksim Square — historical and symbolic heart of Turkey’s secular left — by the town council dominated by the Islamic AKP party under Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is becoming a protest against the head of government himself, according to some dailies. The main opposition party CHP asked its MPs to guard the park Friday to protect protestors, who the police have cracked down on violently a number of times over the past few days.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Mammoth Find Excites Russian Cloning Team

Russian scientists say a prehistoric mammoth carcass still containing liquid blood and red muscle tissue could be the key to cloning the extinct Ice Age mammal. The female was found recently on a remote Siberian island.

Scientists at Russia’s North-Eastern Federal University say their hopes of producing a living clone from a frozen mammoth have risen with the discovery of a well-preserved female mammoth on the Lyakhovsky Islands off Siberia.

Expedition leader Semyon Grigoryev said dark blood was found in ice cavities just below the belly of the mammoth. Fragments of muscle tissue had the natural color of fresh meat, he added.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Terrorists From Syria May Sneak Into Russia: Security Service

MOSCOW, May 30 (Xinhua) — Terrorists currently fighting in Syria may sneak into Russia disguised as immigrants to unfold sabotage, the Federal Security Service (FSB) said Thursday. “We expect that amidst armed conflict in Syria the armed fighters and terrorists could infiltrate into our country inside the illegal immigrants flows,” head of FSB counter-intelligence analytical department Alexander Roshchupkin told a hearing in the Federation Council, or upper house of parliament. He said the FSB is monitoring this security threat. According to Roshchupkin, the FSB is aware that some groups of illegal immigrants arrived in Russia for subversive and intelligence activities…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

India Faces a Crippling Water Crisis

Water scarcity has gripped several states in India as groundwater levels continue to deplete at an alarming rate. Mercury levels are rising and large parts of the country are experiencing severe droughts.

Vrinda Kumari, a daily wage laborer stands patiently in the baking hot sun with buckets and water bottles waiting for the municipal water truck that makes its rounds every three days in this New Delhi neighborhood.

As the truck becomes visible, thirsty crowds emerge from nowhere and there is a frenzied scramble.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Obama Administration to Blame for Jailing of Hero Bin Laden Doctor, Says Pakistani Report

It was the Obama administration that sealed the fate of the Pakistani doctor jailed for helping nail Usama Bin Laden, by divulging key details after the fact and dooming any chance Shakil Afridi’s cover story could win his freedom, according to a confidential Pakistani report.

When former Secretary of Defense and ex-CIA Director Leon Panetta publicly acknowledged Afridi’s role in the ruse which helped the CIA pinpoint Bin Laden’s presence in an Abbottabad compound, any chance that Pakistani authorities could help him get out of the country vanished, according to what some have called Pakistan’s version of the 9/11 Commission, a 357-page report from an independent body set up to probe the aftermath of the 2011 raid by Navy SEALs in which the Al Qaeda leader was killed.

“The statement by the U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who was the CIA Director when May 2 happened, confirming the role of Dr. Afridi in making the U.S. assassination mission a success, rendered much of what Afridi told the Commission very questionable if not outright lies,” states the report, which has not been released, but which has viewed.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Pakistani Taliban Withdraw Talks Offer After Leader Killed

The Pakistani Taliban have withdrawn their offer of peace talks with the government following the death of their second in command in a US drone strike.

Wali-ur-Rehman was killed when an unmanned US aircraft attacked a house in North Waziristan, a Taliban haven on the Afghan border, early on Wednesday. The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) hailed Rehman, who had a $5 million US bounty on his head, as a “martyr” and vowed to avenge his death, saying they held the Pakistani government responsible for the attack…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Right-Wing Buddhist Leading the Campaign to Force Muslims Out of Burma Says He Wants His Group ‘To be Like the English Defence League’

The English Defence League might be the last place you would expect a devout Buddhist monk to turn for inspiration.

But a right-wing spiritual leader in Burma has revealed how he wants to copy the EDL in his bid to rid his country of its Muslim minority.

The Venerable Ashin Wirathu, who was jailed for nine years in 2003 for inciting anti-Muslim violence, says the hardline nationalist party should be applauded for ‘not carrying out violence, but protecting the public’.

His comments come a week after more than 1,000 EDL members marched on Downing Street in a protest over the killing of Drummer Lee Rigby in nearby Woolwich, swilling beer, chanting anti-Muslim slogans and clashing with anti-fascist activists. 13 people were arrested.

Now, orange-robed Wirathu, how leads Burma’s so-called ‘969’ campaign to boycott Islamic businesses and bring an end to inter-marriage with Buddhists, says he wants his gang members to be more like the EDL.

According to The Times, Wirathu said: ‘People give me various names: The Burmese bin Laden, the bald neo-Nazi.

‘[But] do you know the English Defence League? We would like to be like the EDL. Not carrying out violence, but protecting the public.’

The ‘969’ group was behind last month’s riots that saw intense clashes between its members and Muslims that left 43 people dead in the city of Meiktila.

And only yesterday, hundreds of Buddhist men on motorcycles waved iron rods in a northeastern town in Burma before setting fire to a Muslim-owned cinema in the latest incident to spill over from simmering religious tensions in the country…

           — Hat tip: Steen [Return to headlines]

Singapore: Newly Upgraded Mosque in Admiralty Opens Doors to Worshippers

The newly upgraded An-Nur Mosque in Admiralty was officially opened by Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Dr Yaacob Ibrahim on Friday. It will now be able to hold a total of 6,000 worshippers, up from 3,500 previously…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

America’s China Mistake

By Gordon G. Chang and James A. Lyons Jr.

As Beijing becomes more bellicose, Washington clings to the hope that military-to-military relations will somehow relieve tensions. They won’t.

This spring, China’s navy accepted the Pentagon’s invitation to participate in the 2014 Rim of the Pacific — RIMPAC — naval exercise to be held off Hawaii. This will be the first time China takes part in the biennial event…

           — Hat tip: DS [Return to headlines]

Bland’s Plan to Link With Dull and Boring

The long-suffering inhabitants of Bland in Australia are hoping to turn a negative into a positive by establishing sister relationships with Dull in Scotland and Boring in the US.

Bland Shire, which is home to more than 6,000 people, encompasses farmland in the sprawling Riverina region of New South Wales. It was named after William Bland, a colonial-era doctor who was anything but dull. Born in London, the son of an obstetrician, he was transported as a convict to Van Diemen’s Land in 1814 after killing a sailor in a duel in Bombay.

He was later pardoned, became a pillar of colonial life and went on to found the Australian Medical Association.

“I think over the years we’ve had our share of fun poked at us,” Tony Lord, a Bland Shire councillor, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. “Wherever there’s a deemed threat or a deemed negative, there’s always an opportunity. I think that’s where we need to think positively and look ahead at all the opportunities that may occur or that we can generate.

We’re hoping it will basically make people aware of the Bland Shire, and also make people aware that there are unusual names around the world,” he said…

[JP note: Exciting.]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

New Zealand Helps Dispose of WW2 Explosives in Pacific

WELLINGTON, May 31 (Xinhua) — Two New Zealand navy vessels and bomb disposal experts are to join a multinational force which will find and destroy World War II explosives left by the Japanese and Allied troops in the Pacific island nations of the Solomon Islands and Kiribati.

HMNZS Wellington, a long-range patrol and surveillance vessel, and HMNZS Manawanui, a specialist dive vessel, will sail next week to join Operation Pukaurua, involving personnel from Australia, France, Kiribati, New Zealand, the Solomon Islands, and the United States, the navy announced Friday…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Bomb Explodes in Northen Kenya, Killing Suspect

NAIROBI, May 30 (Xinhua) — A suspected bomber died in the northern Kenyan town of Garissa Wednesday night after an explosive device he was assembling exploded near a local hospital. Regional police commander Charlton Mureithi said the suspect, yet to be identified but of Somali origin, was planting an improvised explosive device (IED) on the roadside near the local Provincial General Hospital when it went off…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Central Africa Republic: Security Council Urges Regional Cooperation to Tackle Lord’s Resistance Army Threat

Concerned that lingering instability in the Central Africa Republic (CAR) following a power grab by rebels has stalled operations to neutralize the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), the Security Council today urged regional actors to cooperate on all fronts to tackle the dual crises.

“The Council expresses concern at the recent pause of counter-LRA operations in CAR in the context of the current crisis in the country due to the seizure of power by force on 24 March 2013 by the Séléka coalition,” said the 15-nation body in a statement adopted following a briefing by Abou Moussa, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of the UN Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA)…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Nigerian Military Claim to Have Discovered Hizbollah Arms Cache

Soldiers in northern Nigeria have uncovered a hidden arms cache that authorities there believe belonged to members of the Lebanese militant movement Hizbollah.

Officials showed journalists the weapons, which they said soldiers confiscated from under the master bedroom of a home in Kano, the north’s largest city. The weapons had been packed into small coolers and concealed under several layers of concrete, the military said in a statement.

The arms, later shown on the state-run Nigerian Television Authority, appeared to include badly corroded rocket-propelled grenades, landmines, hand grenades, assault rifles and magazines. Some of the weapons appeared to have been charred.

The military did not explain why the men held the weapons, other than to say they were part of Hizbollah, the Lebanese Shiite Muslim political party…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Senegal Looking More Vulnerable to Extremism, Instability

Dakar — As violence rages in northern Nigeria, and international peacekeepers gear up to keep the peace in northern Mali, fears abound that Islamist movements will spread across borders, stoking instability elsewhere in the region, including Senegal which is not immune to the spread of extremist rhetoric, argues a just-published report by the Institute of Security Studies (ISS).

Four Islamic brotherhoods dominate religious and political life in Senegal: the Qadiri, the Tijani, the Mouride, and the Layenne, each of them made up of leaders (or shaykhs) and followers (murids). In general, they are perceived as providing a barrier against the spread of fundamentalist dogma in the country, but the report says growing radical rhetoric is creeping in…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Argentina: Prosecutor Accuses Iran of Establishing Latin America Terrorist Networks

An Argentine prosecutor accused Iran on Wednesday of establishing terrorist networks in Latin America dating back to the 1980s and said he would send his findings to courts in the affected countries.

State prosecutor Alberto Nisman is investigating the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people. Argentine courts have long accused Iran of sponsoring the attack. Iran, which remains locked in a stand-off with world powers over its disputed nuclear programme, denies links to the blast. No one was immediately available to comment at the Iranian embassy in Buenos Aires on Wednesday…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Chinese Migrants Step Out of Factory Shadows in Italy

Chinese immigrants have flocked to Italy to find work in the garment industry over the past decade. New arrivals are getting jobs in other fields and becoming more visible in Italian society.

The two men saunter up to the counter towards the young, female barista. Her dark hair is piled into a pony tail, and her stylish fringe trimmed neatly above her brow, frames her face.

“Ni hao!” they say. “Ciao, ciao,” she replies with a smile.

Ye Pei is 17 years old and comes from China. She has been living in Italy for just a few months. While her vocabulary is limited, she has picked up just enough Italian to serve cappuccino and mix drinks at the bar here in Falconara, a seaside resort town on Italy’s eastern coast.

“Right now, the most important thing is for me to learn the language,” Ye explains. “That’s my priority. If I learn to speak Italian well, I can be independent. It’s difficult to learn Italian if you spend your entire day sewing.”

Like most of the Chinese in Italy, Ye comes from Zhejiang Province, in eastern China. Her home, Qingtian County, is land-locked and mountainous, with little industry or opportunity.

The Chinese started migrating to Italy 30 years ago.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UK: How David Cameron ‘Stokes Irrational Fears’ Over Immigration — by Andy Coulson

by James Kirkup

Andy Coulson’s GQ article isn’t online yet, but it’s worth reading, for several reasons. Keep an eye on this site for more later. For now, there’s one particular point in the piece that I find fascinating, and that’s Mr Coulson’s counsel on how his old boss should react to the rise of Ukip and growing concerns about immigration. In essence, Mr Coulson says that Mr Cameron shouldn’t play Ukip’s game and listen to those who want him to “ramp up the rhetoric and concoct some new policies”. Why not? Mr Coulson offers a view that’s close to heresy in Conservative circles:

I’m not convinced that’s where the public are. Broadly speaking, they care less about where someone is from and more about the basic principles of fairness and in particular the impact of immigration on pubic services.And in those areas — especially around free housing and benefits — good policies are in place. The trick is to find ways of communicating them to the public more frequently.

In other words, voters aren’t so much concerned about immigration as its consequences. That’s a point I’ve heard a few Tories — ministers included — make in private, but few, precious few, will say so publicly. I wonder if Mr Coulson’s candour will encourage others to speak up?


           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Italy: Alison Lapper Artwork Criticised at Venice Biennale

A giant inflatable figure of a pregnant woman, created by a British artist, has been criticised by the Catholic Church after going on display at the Venice Biennale.

The 35ft-tall artwork was created by Marc Quinn and depicts Alison Lapper, a disabled artist who was born with no arms, when she was eight months pregnant. Titled Alison Lapper Pregnant, it has been placed in a piazza near a church on the island of San Giorgio Maggiore in the Venetian lagoon. A larger version of the work appeared in the opening ceremony of the London Paralympic Games last summer. But it has been met with bafflement by the Catholic Church. It looked “out of place”, said Gianmatteo Caputo, a priest responsible for cultural heritage matters for the Venice Patriarchate…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

3 thoughts on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 5/31/2013

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

  2. How David Cameron ‘stokes irrational fears’ over immigration — by Andy Coulson

    “… in Ipswich the immigrant population is only 12 per cent of the total. The speech assumed that even that 12 per cent was made up mostly of scroungers. In fact most aren’t even claimants.

    David is a rational man….when it comes to immigration he should deal in fact and not the stoking of irrational fears…”

    Failure to understand the immigration and welfare socio-political intricacies has dire political consequences for the integrity of the U.K.

    Ultimately Iain Duncan Smith’s socialist contrived welfare reforms will not be interpreted as an assault on immigration and welfare but as a dogmatic hate offensive against the indigenous working class.

    What the British people will witness is tens of thousands of indigenous working class families being evicted as David Cameron’s ‘good immigration’ usurps the tenancies.

  3. Abu Hamza Al-Masri, Handless Terror Suspect, May Get Spork For Hand!!
    why this guy still in UK?
    What you waiting why just put him in earliest flights to Cairo and send him back, as now Egypt well place respected by brotherhood regime?

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