Gates of Vienna News Feed 6/15/2013

Italian investigators have determined that 40 people falsely claiming to be blind have defrauded the government of almost €3.6 million. The scammers were paid €1,100 a month in benefits based on bogus certificates.

In other news, despite its new austerity program, Spain’s public debt has shot up to 88.2% of GDP.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Fjordman, Insubria, JD, Kitman, McR, The Observer, 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
» Rome Summit Calls for Youth Jobless Funds
» Spanish Debt Soars Despite Contested Cuts
» Janet Napolitano Denies Existence of ‘Orwellian State’
» Now Feds Want Your Mental Health Records
» Only One Big Telecom CEO Refused to Cave to the NSA … and He’s Been in Jail for 4 Years.
» Thousands of Companies Have Been Handing Over Your Personal Data to the NSA
» U.S. Agencies Said to Swap Data With Thousands of Firms
Europe and the EU
» Foreign Tourists Spend 32 Billion Euros in Italy 2012
» Generic Drug Prices Three Times Dearer Here (Rep. of Ireland)
» Italy: Attorneys Arrested for False Testimonies and Fake Stamps
» Italy: Leaning Tower of Pisa to Open at Night
» Italy: Chianti Producers Say Cool is Good, Even for Red Wine
» Italy: Jewish and Arab Doctors to Cooperate on Circumcision
» Italy: 40 ‘False Blind’ Uncovered in Rome
» Italy: Sicilian Goes on Trial for Murder of His Ex’s Sister
» Italy: Romanian Arrested on Suspicion of Stealing a Tonne of Copper
» Japan Prince Honours Spain’s Samurai Past
» Legal Battle to Kick Abu Qatada Out of Britain Has Cost Taxpayers £1.7million
» Norway Extends Draft to Female Recruits
» Norway Becomes First NATO Country to Draft Women Into Military
» Now Cameron Backs Genetically Modified Crops to Prove Britain is Pro-Science
» Slovenia to Close Its Labour Market to Croatians for 2 Yrs
» Spain: Cops Caught Short in Toilet Roll Crisis
» Sweden: Police Say 32 Officers Hurt During Riots
» Sweden: Six Teens Charged for Stockholm Gang Rape
» Sweden: Students Forced Out Over Traveller Violence Fears
» Sweden: 32 Police Officers Hurt in Stockholm Riots
» UK: Appeal: Sexual Assault, Birkby, Huddersfield
» UK: Bradford Subway Assault Attempt on Girl, 16
» UK: Halstead: Man Facing Jail After Groping Teens
» UK: Hunt for Man After Woman is Assaulted
» UK: My Mother-in-Law the Murderess: Behind the Net Curtains of a Suburban London Home, A Horrific Story of Arranged Marriage, Claims of Adultery, Appalling Murder and Awesome Courage
» UK: One in Five Offenders Says Crime Does Pay: Survey of 3,000 Lawbreakers Reveals Three Quarters Don’t Think They Are ‘Real Criminals’
» UK: She Went in to Have Her Appendix Out, Instead They Removed an Ovary… But That Was Just the Start: A Mother Who Died in Agony and the Most Shocking Story of Medical Blunders You’ll Ever Read
» UK: Teen Rape Hotel in Batley Loses Licence
North Africa
» Admission: Special Forces Were Only Hours From Benghazi
» Egypt: Book Pays Homage to Cotton and Its Museum
Middle East
» Egypt’s 500-Year Old Islamic Works Under Turkey’s Protection
» Hasan Rowhani: A Moderate Candidate, Declared Winner of Iran’s Presidential Vote
» Swedes Reported Killed in Syria
» Syria: Assad Prepares Offensive as Obama Promises Rebels Arms
South Asia
» Why is Gay Porn So Popular in Pakistan?
Far East
» Researchers Find Lost City and Holy Temple in Cambodia
» Under Pressure From Public, China Approves Measures to Curb Air Pollution in Its Cities
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Obamas to Flaunt Wealth in Poorest Regions of Africa
» Italy Rescues 159 Boat Migrants Including Newborn Baby
» The Roma Conundrum: Looking for Clues in a Romanian Village
» UK: Asylum Seekers Cost £1.5m a Day
Culture Wars
» Christianity Becoming New “Don’t Ask; Don’t Tell” In Military
» Italy: Rome Mayor Says He Won’t Attend Gay Pride
» ‘Merry Christmas’ Now Legal in Texas Schools

Rome Summit Calls for Youth Jobless Funds

Italy, France, Germany and Spain called on Friday for the immediate release of a six billion euros ($7.99 billion) fund earmarked for the battle against youth unemployment in the 2014-2020 European Union budget.

“The fight against unemployment is not a battle for 2019, in any of our countries. It’s now. We need the six billion to be concentrated from the very start,” French Labour Minister Michel Sapin told journalists after talks in Rome between the big four’s economy and labour ministers.

“We talked about how to get the six billion released from 2013 for measures to be launched in the second semester,” he said, following the first of a series of meetings aimed at finding ways to reduce the mass youth unemployment blighting the lives of millions across Europe.

The ministers were united in calling for the funds to be released now and used by the end of 2015.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Spanish Debt Soars Despite Contested Cuts

Spain’s public debt shot to a record high in the first quarter of this year, the Bank of Spain said on Friday, despite Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s hotly-protested austerity squeeze.

Spain’s public debt surged to 88.2 percent of annual economic output, up by 15.2 percentage points from a year earlier, the central bank said.

Spain, the fourth largest economy in the eurozone, is struggling to trim its annual deficits, so it is continuing to pile on more debt.

The conservative government has vowed to find €150 billion ($195 billion) in savings between 2012 and 2014, a programme that has sparked mass demonstrations in the streets.

But a deep recession has made the task harder, lowering tax income to the state and raising the cost of social security, especially for the unemployed who make up more than 27 percent of the workforce.

Spain’s debt level has been pushed higher, too, by the cost of a banking rescue.

Spain has so far used €41.3 billion from a European Union rescue loan of up to €100 billion to prop up banks that have been swamped in bad loans since a decade-long property bubble imploded in 2008.

But that eurozone loan is added directly to the Spanish public debt.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Janet Napolitano Denies Existence of ‘Orwellian State’

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano weighed in on the NSA intelligence leaks on Friday, telling NY1 that fears over government surveillance were overblown.

“I think people have gotten the idea that there’s an Orwellian state out there that somehow we’re operating in. That’s far from the case,” she told Errol Louis during an appearance onRoad to City Hall.

Despite civil liberties advocates’ fears that monitoring efforts have gone too far, “there are lots of protections built into the system,” Ms. Napolitano said, pointing to a privacy office embedded in her own department that is “constantly reviewing our policies and procedures.” She further stressed the court review system.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Now Feds Want Your Mental Health Records

But privacy groups warn Obama gun crackdown goes too far

According to the plan, the government would be told the details right away if anyone is sent to a mental institution for “mental defectiveness, or mental illness.”

But the White House plan also includes a notification to Washington should someone be lodged in a mental facility “for other reasons.”

“The phrase ‘for other reasons’ is overly broad and vague,” said the Electronic Privacy Information Center. “Although the DOJ has illustrated that drug use is an example of ‘commitments for other reasons,’ the nebulous language would grant the DOJ sweeping authority to prohibit individuals from possessing firearms, a constitutionally protected right.”

The organization says the concern over the privacy of such records means nothing should be changed right away.

“Until the DOJ clearly defines and enumerates the types of formal commitments that can bar gun ownership, HHS should not amend its regulations to release sensitive mental health information to the DOJ,” the organization said in a submission commenting on the Obama plan.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Only One Big Telecom CEO Refused to Cave to the NSA … and He’s Been in Jail for 4 Years.

Former Qwest CEO Joseph Nacchio is currently serving a six-year sentence after being convicted of insider trading in April 2007 for selling $52 million of stock in the spring of 2001 as the telecommunications carrier appeared to be deteriorating.

During the trial his defense team argued that Nacchio, 63, believed Qwest was about to win secret government contracts that would keep it in the black.

Nacchio alleged that the government stopped offering the company lucrative contracts after Qwest refused to cooperate with a National Security Agency surveillance program in February 2001.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Thousands of Companies Have Been Handing Over Your Personal Data to the NSA

It isn’t just Internet and phone companies that are giving your personal information to the U.S. government. According to an astounding reportby Bloomberg, “four people familiar with the process” say that “makers of hardware and software, banks, Internet security providers, satellite telecommunications companies” and a whole host of other sources are handing over your personal data to federal agencies. The truth is that there is so much more to this NSA snooping scandal than the American people know so far. When U.S. Representative Loretta Sanchez said that what Edward Snowden had revealed was “just the tip of the iceberg”, she wasn’t kidding. The U.S. government is trying to collect as much information about everyone on the planet as it possibly can. And this incredibly powerful intelligence machine is not going to go away just because a few activists get upset about it. The United States government spendsmore than 80 billion dollars a year on intelligence programs. Those that have spent their careers constructing this monolithic intelligence apparatus are doing to defend it to the bitter end, as will the corporate partners in the private sector that rake in enormous profits thanks to big fat government contracts. But if the American people don’t stand up and demand change now, it is going to be a signal to those doing the snooping that they can push the envelope even more because nobody is going to stop them.

So why are thousands of companies handing over your personal data to the NSA? Well, according to Bloomberg they are getting things in return…

“Thousands of technology, finance and manufacturing companies are working closely with U.S. national security agencies, providing sensitive information and in return receiving benefits that include access to classified intelligence, four people familiar with the process said.


Meanwhile, in a desperate attempt to deflect attention away from all of these scandals, Barack Obama is starting a war with Syria.

In this war, we are actually going to be helping al-Qaeda rebels that are beheading Christians to take over Syria.

If you aren’t aware of the deep connection between al-Qaeda and the Syrian rebels, just read the recent USA Today article entitled “Syrian rebels pledge loyalty to al-Qaeda” or any of the dozens of other articles that you can find on the Internet that document this very clearly.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

U.S. Agencies Said to Swap Data With Thousands of Firms

Microsoft, the world’s largest software company, provides intelligence agencies with information about bugs in its popular software before it publicly releases a fix, according to two people familiar with the process. That information can be used to protect government computers and to access the computers of terrorists or military foes.” The lid has officially been blown off.

Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft (MSFT) and other software or Internet security companies have been aware that this type of early alert allowed the U.S. to exploit vulnerabilities in software sold to foreign governments, according to two U.S. officials. Microsoft doesn’t ask and can’t be told how the government uses such tip-offs, said the officials, who asked not to be identified because the matter is confidential.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Foreign Tourists Spend 32 Billion Euros in Italy 2012

Some 1.5 billion visas issued for tourism

(ANSA) — Rome, June 7 — Foreign tourists spent some 32 billion euros in Italy in 2012, the country’s national tourism agency Enit said on Friday.

Of the 1.9 billion visas issued in 2012, 1.5 billion were specifically for tourism, the agency said.

Enit notes that more direct flights to countries like Russia, Ukraine, Japan and to Latin America could continue to increase the flow of tourism to the country.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Generic Drug Prices Three Times Dearer Here (Rep. of Ireland)

Survey reveals Irish generic medicine prices are highest of 10 European countries

The cost of generic medicines in Ireland is almost three times that in the UK, according to a major new study of international drug prices.

Commonly used generics, which are copies of branded drugs which have come off patent, cost more in Ireland than in any of the other nine European countries with which Ireland is traditionally bracketed for price purposes, the study by US healthcare consultants shows.

Generic medicines cost 123 per cent more in Ireland than in the Netherlands, 63 per cent more than in Germany, and 55 per cent more than in Denmark.

They cost 26 per cent more than in the next most expensive country, Spain.

The Government could save €70 million a year if the price of generic medicines fell to the average of neighbouring European countries, the research by IMS Healthcare finds.

The actual price differential on generic drugs for Irish consumers is probably even higher than revealed in the study as it measures ex-factory prices before wholesalers and pharmacists add their mark-ups.

The results of the study are likely to increase pressure on the Government to force a reduction of drug prices here, as demanded by the troika overseeing Ireland’s debts.

The Economic and Social Research Institute is due to publish its analysis of Irish medicine costs vis-a-vis other countries shortly.

The study is based on the ex-factory price of medicines last January in 18 European countries and was commissioned by the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association (IPHA), which represents the manufacturers of branded medicines. The top 200 substances in each market were examined, accounting for up to 99 per cent of total spending on medicines. While previous surveys have revealed large disparities in drug price between Ireland and other markets, most were based on a small range of products and some used older price data..

The latest study was carried out last January after the Department of Health finalised two new agreements with branded drug manufacturers and generic drug-makers.

It appears to show that in the generic sector Minister for Health James Reilly’s efforts to cut prices have so far borne little fruit.

The State spends almost €2 billion a year on drugs provided under a variety of schemes.

For drugs which are still on patent, the study shows that Irish prices, while third dearest of 10 countries, are virtually the same as the average of a basket of prices. Only Germany and Denmark had higher prices. Comparisons with other countries in southern and eastern Europe also revealed that branded drug prices are broadly the same in Ireland as the international average.

The IPHA says this shows that Ireland is not an “outlier” in comparison to other countries with similar healthcare systems and national incomes.

“The fact that the Irish index is in line with the index in the other basket countries demonstrates that our external reference pricing model is effective in calculating fair prices for the Irish market, which are neither too high nor too low and serve to ensure continuity of supply of products for Irish patients.”

For off-patent drugs, Ireland was the second dearest of 19 countries after Switzerland.

           — Hat tip: McR [Return to headlines]

Italy: Attorneys Arrested for False Testimonies and Fake Stamps

Naples lawyers under house arrest

(ANSA) — Naples, June 7 — Two attorneys are under arrest for allegedly giving false testimony and using fake stamps for court documents, Naples police said on Friday.

The criminal defense lawyer is suspected of giving false testimonies that led to the acquittal of a defendant facing homicide charges.

Both are under house arrest.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Leaning Tower of Pisa to Open at Night

Sala del Pesce to be open to the stars

(ANSA) — Pisa, June 11 — The Leaning Tower of Pisa will be open from 20:00 to 22:00 each night from June 17 to September 1, officials said Tuesday.

This year visitors will have an extra treat as the roofless Sala del Pesce (Fish Room) at the tower’s base has been cleared of measuring equipment and will be open to the stars.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Chianti Producers Say Cool is Good, Even for Red Wine

Initiative promotes changing traditional approach to temperature

(ANSA) — Rome, June 11 — Red wine is good even in the hottest of times, as long as it is chilled to the perfect temperature, says the Consortium for Chianti Classico producers.

Going against standard practice, makers of the iconic Tuscan red are promoting the new trend of cooling down the wine, telling consumers that served at a perfect 16 degrees centigrade brings out its characteristic “pleasant, fresh aromas and flavors”.

An initiative promoted by the consortium together with the historic wine-sellers association Arte dei Vinattieri and Academy of Gastronomic Culture, explains that all that has to be done is cool the wine to cellar temperature.

Wine shops promoting the new trend are ready with all the necessary gadgets like cooling kits and Chianti-labelled insulated covers.

“When Chianti is spoken of, it is usually the story of great tradition and history. By there is also much innovation,” Chianti Consortium President Giovanni Busi said, “This is a new way to drink Chianti and we hope that it will revolutionize consumers’ approach to the wine during the summer,” Busi said.

Chianti producers are not the first to propose wine straight from the refrigerator.

Fichimori made from the negroamaro grape in Puglia is traditionally kept the fridge during warm months.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Jewish and Arab Doctors to Cooperate on Circumcision

Rome meeting hears 35% secret operations by Muslims

(ANSAmed) — Rome, June 13 — Muslim and Jewish doctors for the first time have reached agreement on key health issues including circumcision which has become an emergency among members of Italy’s Islam community.

The cooperation emerged from an ‘ad hoc’ meeting organised between Foad Aodi, the president of Italy’s foreign doctors’ association (AMSI) and Dario Perugia, the president of the Jewish doctors’ association.

Unlike Jewish newborns who are circumcised by doctors under the supervision of a synagogue, one third of Muslim children are circumcised in secret locations with the risk of complications and infections.

Aodi said this affected a large number of children, given there are 1.3 million Muslims in Italy.

AMSI has been fighting for change for some time because circumcision ( not to be confused with illegal practices like female genital mutilation) occurs in clinics or locations that were part of the national health service.

He stressed it was important to protect children’s health. Health authorities also want to eliminate the circumcision ‘black market’ that is flourishing in Italy where doctors can be paid a thousand euro for a single operation, forcing many families to make great sacrifices or return to their countries of origin.

AMSI together with Italy’s Arab community and the cultural association “Uniti per Unire” and Jewish doctors are proposing that the service be offered at a maximum price of 100 euros. That has already been introduced in regions including Emilia Romagna and Veneto but there is now a push for a national approach.

“Every day we receive telephone calls from three or four families who are desperate because they don’t know where to go,” Aodi said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: 40 ‘False Blind’ Uncovered in Rome

‘3.6-mn-euro fraud against Italian State’

(ANSA) — Rome, June 12 — Italian police on Wednesday said they had uncovered 40 people falsely claiming benefit for the blind in and around Rome.

The alleged fraudsters — 22 men and 18 women — were getting 1,100 euros a month on the strength of bogus certificates, police said.

They are accused of defrauding the Italian State of almost 3.6 million euros.

Their cases have been placed in the hands of prosecutors in Rome, Tivoli, Velletri and Civitavecchia, police said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Sicilian Goes on Trial for Murder of His Ex’s Sister

Palermo, 11 June (AKI) — A Sicilian man on Tuesday went on trial for stabbing to death his ex-girlfriend’s teenage sister in October last year.

Samuele Caruso has opted for a fast-track trial for the murder of 17-year-old Carmela Petrucci, his former girlfriend Lucia Petrucci’s younger sister.

Lucia Petrucci was seriously injured in Caruso’s frenzied knife attack outside their home on 19 October last year.

The court was expected to order a a psychiatric examination of Caruso after his lawyers claimed diminished responsibility for their client on mental health grounds.

By choosing a fast-track trial, if he is convicted of murder, Caruso will avoid a life term as his sentence will automatically be cut by one-third.

The victim’s family, and the city of Palermo are forming the civil plaintiff in the trial.

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

Italy: Romanian Arrested on Suspicion of Stealing a Tonne of Copper

Rome, 11 June (AKI) — Police on Tuesday arrested a Romanian suspected of stealing telephone wire weighing around a tonne in a southern district of Rome after a car chase.

The 29-year-old Romanian faces charges of receiving stolen goods, theft and resisting arrest.

His alleged accomplice escaped after the suspects broke into a warehouse in Rome’sTor Vergata neighbourhood, loaded the four reels of copper wire into a stolen van and drove off.

An off-duty policemen alerted colleagues, who pursued the van in several patrol cars. Police captured one of the two suspects after police forced the vehicle to stop but the other one managed to escape.

Gangs of thieves regularly steal large quantities of copper, lead and other metals in Italy to sell them on the black market to raw-material-hungry Asia.

The gangs have been known to steal rail-tracks and to remove lead drainpipes from buildings.

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

Japan Prince Honours Spain’s Samurai Past

Japan’s Crown Prince Naruhito on Friday honoured a 17th-century samurai who established the first ties between his country and Spain 400 years ago, in a small town where to this day hundreds of local Spaniards bear the name “Japon”.

Naruhito, the 53-year-old son and heir of Emperor Akihito, planted a cherry tree next to a statue where the samurai Hasekura Tsunenaga stands immortalised, sword on hip, in a bronze statue overlooking the green water of the Guadalquivir River.

Seventeenth-century Coria was a key stopping point for merchant ships from around the world heading to nearby Seville, a hub of the mighty Spanish empire.

In 1613 Hasekura led a Japanese delegation that left for Europe and arrived in Coria a year later. Some of the Japanese delegation are believed to have stayed on after he left in 1620.

“Not long after that delegation came here, this unusual surname appeared,” said Vicente Valencia Japon, a local businessman who has researched the history of his town’s Japanese ties. “In Spain it is a very rare name. It is unique to this place.”

Authorities say around 700 people in the area bear the surname in Coria del Rio, population about 30,000.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Legal Battle to Kick Abu Qatada Out of Britain Has Cost Taxpayers £1.7million

The British taxpayer has spent £1.7million in eight years on the battle to kick out Abu Qatada, it emerged today.

More than a third of the bill is to cover the legal aid claims made by the radical cleric against attempts to deport him to Jordan.

Critics slammed the huge sum which could pay for 90 police officers for a year.

Home Secretary Theresa May revealed the scale of the legal bill in a letter to MPs.

She told the Home Affairs Select Committee that the £1,716,306 figure includes Qatada’s legal aid costs of £647,658.

The Home Office has spent more than £1 million pursuing the case through the courts.

Committee chairman Keith Vaz MP said: ‘I am shocked that Abu Qatada’s legal costs alone could have employed 90 new constables for a year.’

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Norway Extends Draft to Female Recruits

Norway will soon become the only country in Europe to extend its military conscription to women in peacetime, after parliament reached agreement on the issue on Friday.

All of the parties represented in parliament, with the exception of the small Christian Democrat party, agreed to back a proposal by the centre-left government for a “gender neutral” military conscription.

In practice, that means that Norway’s mandatory one-year military service will be extended to women, probably as of 2015, according to the defence ministry’s proposal.

“Norway will be the first European country to draft women in peacetime,” a defence ministry spokesman, Lars Gjemble, said.

A number of other European countries have gone in the opposite direction in recent years, moving away from conscription towards professional armies.

Norway’s parliament is expected to adopt the bill by a broad majority, but a date has yet to be set for the vote.

The move is seen as a step towards gender equality and a bid to diversify the competencies within the military.

It is not due to a lack of conscripts: only 8,000 to 10,000 Norwegians are called up each year, among the some 60,000 who are theoretically eligible.

The conscripts are selected based on physical and psychological tests, as well as their motivation.

“This is a historic day,” Defence Minister Anne-Grete Stroem-Erichsen said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Norway Becomes First NATO Country to Draft Women Into Military

“Rights and duties should be the same for all,” said Labor lawmaker Laila Gustavsen, a supporter of the bill. “The armed forces need access to the best resources, regardless of gender, and right now mostly men are recruited.”

Norway has been at the forefront in the fight for gender equality, introducing measures such as requiring all public limited companies to fill at least 40 percent of their board seats with women. On Wednesday the country celebrated a century since Norwegian women won the right to vote.

“This is historic. For me it is fantastic to make history, for the armed forces and for women,” Gustavsen said.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Now Cameron Backs Genetically Modified Crops to Prove Britain is Pro-Science

David Cameron has given the clearest signal yet that the government wants to see controversial genetically-modified crops grown across the country.

The Prime Minister told a conference of entrepreneurs that Britain needs to take a ‘really good look again’ at its policy on GM food if it is to prove it is a ‘pro-science’ country.

The intervention from Mr Cameron that he wants to see a GM free-for-all across the UK will alarm those who deride genetic modification as ‘Frankenscience’.

It emerged earlier this week that ministers are to push the European Union to relax restrictions on the cultivation of GM crops for human consumption.

But it is the first time that the Prime Minister has spoken up in favour of the idea. In opposition he was seen as being sceptical of GM crops.


But opponents of GM crops argue that it is far too early to conclude that the technique is safe — including many farmers, with a quarter of those surveyed saying they would not cultivate them under any circumstances.

They are concerned that GM crops could foster stronger pests, diseases and weeds that evolve to adapt to engineered plants.

[And this is despite the fact that proof exists that GM crops cause cancer in pigs and pig organs are biologically similar to human organs. Cameron is just a puppet of big business.- Voice of sanity , Wolverhampton, 15/6/2013 11:21]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Slovenia to Close Its Labour Market to Croatians for 2 Yrs

Option open to all EU members

(ANSAmed) — LJUBLJANA, JUNE 7 — Slovenia will limit access to its labour market for Croatian nationals for two years. The announcement was made by Slovenian Labour Minister Anja Kopac, who said that the government had sent to the draft law to parliament and that it is expected to be approved prior to Zagreb’s entrance into the EU on July 1.

The moratorium is provided for by Croatia’s accession treaty as an option for all EU countries. Slovenia’s decision means that despite being European citizens, Croatians working regularly in Slovenia will have to apply for and be granted a work permit identical to the one needed by non-EU nationals. The minister went on to say that the government had decided to make use of the right to a moratorium “due to Slovenia’s high unemployment rate on account of the difficult economic situation”.

“There are many jobless in nearby Croatia as well, with about 100,000 only in the region bordering Slovenia,” she added, calling it a “rational decision aiming to give priority to unemployed Slovenians, and is in no way against Croatia”. Slovenia’s unemployment rate is now at 13%, while there are a total of 330,000 unemployed in Croatia: about 20% of the total workforce.

On the basis of the principle of reciprocity, Zagreb will bring in the same measure within its borders as concerns Slovenian citizens. Any EU member state has the right to close off its labour market to Croatians for a temporary period of up to seven years.

Croatian media outlets report that similar limitations will be imposed on Croatians in the United Kingdom, Austria and Germany, though in the latter country those holding a degree and seasonal workers will be exempt. France is reportedly still debating whether or not to impose a moratorium, while there will not be any restrictions for Croatians in Denmark, Finland, Estonia and Lithuania.

Veneto regional governor Luca Zaia recently sent a letter to Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta, urging him to look into the matter of Croatia’s entrance in the EU. Zaia was concerned about the consequences this will have on the labour market in Italy, and especially in the Veneto region.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Spain: Cops Caught Short in Toilet Roll Crisis

Police in the southern Spanish port city of Cádiz have bemoaned the ‘uncomfortable situation’ of having no toilet paper in their headquarters and are urgently awaiting supplies.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Sweden: Police Say 32 Officers Hurt During Riots

Stockholm police says that 32 officers were hurt during this spring’s riots. “It is one of the worst things to have happened to the Stockholm police,” says their health and safety coordinator, Mika Eskelinen, to newspaper Dagens Nyheter.

During the same period 18 police were also hurt in connection with football matches.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Sweden: Six Teens Charged for Stockholm Gang Rape

Six teenage boys aged 15 to 17 were charged on Friday after raping a 15-year-old girl in a north-western suburb of Stockholm in March.

Five of the teens were charged with aggravated rape at the Solna District Court on Friday, with the sixth charged for attempted aggravated rape.

The attack took place in early March at an apartment in Tensta, where one of the teens dealt out condoms while the other five took turns raping the 15-year-old girl.

The court took into account that the girl’s information included “a cohesive, long, and relatively detailed account” of the incident that did not contain “any contradictions or elements to the story that could be considered inexplicable”.

Despite denying the incident occurred when the trial opened, four of the boys have since confessed to having had intercourse with the girl at the time, but have denied committing any crime. The boy who allegedly provided the condoms has denied everything.

“According to the court, their explanations as to why they’ve changed their story are not sustainable, but suggest that they’re trying to hide something,” the court wrote, according to the TT news agency.

Five of the boys have been sentenced to over 100 hours of community service each, and have been ordered to pay 55,000 kronor ($8,500) each in damages to the victim.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Sweden: Students Forced Out Over Traveller Violence Fears

Stockholm University exchange students have been told to leave their accommodation immediately after a community travellers set up an illegal camp nearby, raising concerns for the students’ safety.

Doug Revolta, an Erasmus student from the UK, had been living since mid-January in Stockholm University accommodation in the capital city’s northern suburbs.

“I was having a great time here, and when they offered us the chance to extend our lease back in April I said yes, absolutely. I wanted to stay here for Swedish midsummer,” he told The Local.

However, the plan took an unexpected turn this week when the university housing office sent an email to Revolta and his fellow students warning them that a nearby travelling community had caused enough concern that the students should move out.

“Because of the people who illegally moved into the parking area close to your apartments, we have decided that all students will be moved on June 17th,” the university wrote in an email to the students.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Sweden: 32 Police Officers Hurt in Stockholm Riots

According to a new report published by the police over 30 officers were injured during the recent unrest in Stockholm suburbs and many did not have protective equipment.

The riots, which started in the west Stockholm suburb of Husby, are one of the worst events that the Stockholm police have experienced, according to Mika Eskelinen, the police’s work environment coordinator.

“We are no Incredible Hulks. We are regular people who get injured when you hit us,” Eskelinen told newspaper Dagens Nyheter.

“The new thing is to attack the police. Many car fires were in fact traps,” claimed Eskelinen.

Hans Olsson of the Swedish Police Union (Polisförbundet) sad that, when it comes to work environment issues, police officers receive good support from their employers in the National Police Board (Rikspolisstyrelsen) .

“Coming with suggestions is no problem,” Olsson, who is an ombudsman responsible for work environment issues, told news agency TT.

Olsson agreed with Eskelinen’s statement that having a constant eagle-eye view of the situation is critical.

“It is important to make an evaluation at an early stage when something happens so that you actually consider all aspects when it comes to equipment, tactics and work methods,” said Olsson.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UK: Appeal: Sexual Assault, Birkby, Huddersfield

Police are appealing for information in connection with a sexual assault in an incident in Birkby, Huddersfield.

Huddersfield CID would like to speak to anyone who witnessed the incident which took place at about 9.45am at the junction of Birkby Road and Halifax Old Road on Monday June 3.

It occurred after the victim, a 38-year-old woman- was sexually touched from behind by a man while walking at the junction.

The suspect then mouthed some words to her before walking off towards Spaines Road.

He was described as asian, in his late 30’s

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

UK: Bradford Subway Assault Attempt on Girl, 16

A teenage girl was the target of an attempted sexual assault while walking through a subway in Bradford.

Police said the 16-year-old was approached by a man who made sexual demands and physically assaulted her before she managed to run off.

The alleged attacker is described as an Asian male, aged between 16 and 23,

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

UK: Halstead: Man Facing Jail After Groping Teens

A man has been told he is facing a jail sentence for sex assaults on two teenage girls.

The girls were sitting eating some takeaway food on a bench near St Andrew’s Church in Halstead when Mohammed Chowdhury , whom they knew as Kibbs, gestured for them to come over to them.

When they did, he groped one girl and when she told him to get off, he groped the other teenager.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

UK: Hunt for Man After Woman is Assaulted

AN image has been released by the police of a man wanted in connection with an assault on a woman.

The picture has been created using the victim’s account of the incident.

The 30-year-old received head injuries in the assault in the garden of a house in Hartington Street, Derby, on Sunday, May 26.

The victim said the man was of Asian appearance and in his late 20s or early 30s

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

UK: My Mother-in-Law the Murderess: Behind the Net Curtains of a Suburban London Home, A Horrific Story of Arranged Marriage, Claims of Adultery, Appalling Murder and Awesome Courage

For seven utterly terrifying years, I lived with a woman who had planned and executed a cold-blooded murder. She was my mother-in-law — and I feared that at any moment I’d become her next victim.

Why didn’t I contact the police? Well, of course I did — though I was far too scared just to walk into a police station.

Instead, I called Crimestoppers and gave them every last chilling detail I knew about the plan to kill my vibrant young sister-in-law while on holiday in India.

I also wrote an anonymous letter to our local police station in Hayes, Middlesex, and posted it. But nothing happened — nothing at all. Indeed, years later, my letter to the police was discovered languishing on a shelf at Hayes Police Station.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

UK: One in Five Offenders Says Crime Does Pay: Survey of 3,000 Lawbreakers Reveals Three Quarters Don’t Think They Are ‘Real Criminals’

Three-quarters of those surveyed said they didn’t see themselves as a ‘real criminal’.

One in four said they thought many crimes were in fact ‘not really wrong’, and around same proportion said their crimes have ‘never harmed anyone’.

The vast majority also have high expectations for their ability to break their habit: nearly eight in ten disagreed with the statement ‘once a criminal, always a criminal’.

However, separate figures released yesterday by the same department showed the staggering extent of reoffending by prison inmates.

The average prisoner, the figures revealed, has some 41 crimes to their name.

Chris Grayling published the data as he launched new plans to slash reoffending and end what he called the ‘depressing Merry-go-round’ of crime.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

UK: She Went in to Have Her Appendix Out, Instead They Removed an Ovary… But That Was Just the Start: A Mother Who Died in Agony and the Most Shocking Story of Medical Blunders You’ll Ever Read

[WARNING: Disturbing Content.]

The inquest is over, but there is no peace, no moving on, for the family of Maria De Jesus. They wonder how they will ever come to terms with her death, for to do that there must be acceptance, some sort of understanding.

But Maria’s death, the manner of it, makes no sense at all. Admitted to hospital at five months’ pregnant with severe abdominal pains, she was told she had appendicitis and needed her appendix removed.

Why, her grieving husband and three children ask themselves, were two trainee surgeons permitted to carry out the procedure without a consultant present? And how on earth did they manage to mistake her ovary for the appendix and remove the wrong organ?

Why, when it was established in a laboratory that the organ was not an appendix at all, did the lab technicians not bother to notify anyone of this fact?

Why did they log the details of this catastrophic mistake on to a computer, as though it were a routine report, and forget about it? Why did the person who commissioned the report never bother to seek out the results? From the day she was admitted on October 21, 2011, until her death three weeks later on November 11, Mrs De Jesus remained in severe pain and was in and out of intensive care.

Yet it was not until two days before her death that a consultant finally looked at her notes and stared in disbelief at the laboratory report stating there was ‘no appendix tissue’ present.

But by then it was too late. Mrs De Jesus had sepsis and, after suffering a miscarriage, died on the operating table hours later during a second operation to remove the appendix.

She was just 32, a beautiful mother-of-three who had been excitedly awaiting the birth of her fourth child.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Teen Rape Hotel in Batley Loses Licence

A hotel where two paedophilies drugged and raped their schoolgirl victims has been stripped of its premises licence.

The Alder House Hotel, Batley, had its licence revoked by a panel of councillors at Dewsbury Town Hall earlier today (Friday).

In March, Shazad Rehman and Bilal Hussain were jailed at Bradford Court Crown for a total of 36 years for the druging and raping of vunerable schoolgirls they picked up off the streets in Keighley.

The girls were plied with vodka and cannabi and smuggled into hotels, including Alder House Hotel and the Campanile Hotel in Bradford.

The abuse took place across May and June 2011 and a trial revealed the men took three 14-year-old girls to the Towngate Road hotel on more than one occasion.

The hotel is no longer permitted to serve alcohol, but will remain open as bed and breakfast accomodation.

Nadeem Hussain became manager of the hotel last September, and had no involvement in the hotel at the time of the incidents.

Mr Hussain’s solicitor, Paul Normandale, said his client would appeal the decision.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

Admission: Special Forces Were Only Hours From Benghazi

Joint chiefs chairman confirms whistleblower account

JERUSALEM — In a bombshell admission that has until now gone unreported, Martin Dempsey, chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, conceded that highly trained Special Forces were stationed just a few hours away from Benghazi on the night of the attacks but were not told to deploy to Libya.

In comments that may warrant further investigation, Dempsey stated at a Senate hearing Wednesday that on the night of the Sept. 11, 2012, attack, command of the Special Forces — known as C-110, or the EUCOM CIF — was transferred from the military’s European command to AFRICOM, or the United States Africa Command.

Dempsey did not state any reason for the strange transfer of command nor could he provide a timeline for the transfer the night of the attack.

Also, Dempsey’s comments on the travel time between Croatia and Benghazi were incorrect.

His remarks for the first time confirm an exclusive Fox News interview aired April 30 in which a special government operator, speaking on condition of anonymity, contradicted claims by the Obama administration and a State Department review that there wasn’t enough time for military forces to deploy the night of the attack.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Egypt: Book Pays Homage to Cotton and Its Museum

Published by Italian manufacturer operating in Alexandria

(ANSAmed) — CAIRO, JUNE 5 — A book entitled The Cotton Museum of Cairo on the precious fibre and the museum devoted to it has been presented in the Egyptian capital by Filmar chief Marco Marzoli, museum curator Muhamad El Hossayni El Akkad and Italian Ambassador Maurizio Massari. The Italian market leader Filmar, which processes Egyptian cotton in its factory in the industrial zone of Borg El Arab near Alexandria, has published the book showcasing the history of cotton in three languages: Italian, English and Arabic. “We wanted to produce a book that would be interesting but also esthetically beautiful, attracting non-specialists as well,” said Marzoli. Massari noted that that the book symbolises the cooperation between Egypt and Italy in the cotton sector which, as he underscored, is growing. Bilateral trade rose in 2012, with Italy importing 140 million euros of Egyptian cotton and exporting 90 million euros’ worth. The Italian author Dacia Maraini — in Cairo for a number of meetings and conferences — was a guest at the book presentation. She dedicated a poem to cotton with the verse “cotton blossoms are unaware, but they smile”, in honor of the sacrifices of slaves and the many women who played a part in harvesting the precious white balls.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Egypt’s 500-Year Old Islamic Works Under Turkey’s Protection

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, JUNE 5 — Turkey is to renovate nearly 1,000 Islamic manuscripts and take them under its protection in several Egyptian libraries, as Anatolia news agency reports.

Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) will renovate and digitalize the Islamic manuscripts that were written almost 500 years ago, and then protect them in libraries. As part of the joint project launched by the Egyptian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs and TIKA, manuscripts such as Sufism, Islamic Sufism, Fiqh Method, Fiqh of Hanafism, Fiqh of Shafiism, collections of Arabic poems and hadiths, and words of Prophet Mohammad, will be brought to Turkey. Collection of Arabic Poems (1207), Arabic Rhetoric (1625), Fiqh Method (1745), Sufism (1658), Fiqh of Hanafism (1638), Fiqh of Shafiism (1369) were the most prominent among the manuscripts. The main aim of the renovation project is to protect and hand down the Islamic rare manuscripts that have only a single copy to the next generations. Speaking to Anatolia news agency regarding the renovation project, TIKA President Serdar Cam pointed out several Islamic manuscripts in Egypt belonging both Ottoman period and the Islamic world, as the “common cultural heritage”.

“Egyptian authorities asked for our support for the renovation of some of these manuscripts which need maintenance. The support covers establishing a “Pathology Laboratory for Manuscripts,” training experts for the laboratory, jointly maintaining the manuscripts and facsmiling them. Egyptian and Turkish officials have agreed on the digitalization of the rare books via an electronic archiving system” said Cam.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Hasan Rowhani: A Moderate Candidate, Declared Winner of Iran’s Presidential Vote

In a striking repudiation of the ultra-conservatives who wield power in Iran, Iranian voters overwhelmingly elected a mild-mannered cleric seeking greater personal freedoms for the public and a more conciliatory approach with the world.

Iran’s interior minister, Mostafa Mohammad Najjar, announced that Hassan Rowhani, 64, had more than 50 percent of the vote, enough to avoid a runoff in the race to succeed the outgoing president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose tenure was defined largely by provocation with the west and a seriously hobbled economy at home.

The hardline conservatives aligned with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei placed at the back of the pack of six candidates, indicating that Iranian’s were looking to their next president to change the tone, if not the direction of the nation, by choosing a cleric who served as the lead nuclear negotiator under reformist Mohammad Khatami.

[Return to headlines]

Swedes Reported Killed in Syria

Newspaper Göteborgs-Posten reports that a 23-year old man from Sweden has been killed in Syria. The paper says the man, from Gothenburg, was killed earlier in the week. He had gone to fight for the rebels.

The man’s family are from Lebanon, although he was born and brought up in Sweden. The newspaper also reports that two other Swedes have been kileld in Syria, although these deatsh have not been confirmed by the Foreign Ministry.

Spokeswoman Victoria Bell says the ministry has no information on the reported deaths, due to the chaotic situation in Syria.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Syria: Assad Prepares Offensive as Obama Promises Rebels Arms

President Barack Obama’s decision to send some light weapons to Syrian rebels may be too little and too late to thwart a regime offensive to retake Aleppo, the nation’s largest city and commercial capital.

Regime forces supported by fighters from the Iranian-backed Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah have moved north after defeating rebels in al-Qusair, a setback that triggered concern in Washington that Iran and its Lebanese ally are tipping the balance in favor of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad.

“Arming the Syrian rebels is unlikely to tip the balance in their favor,” said Shadi Hamid, director of research at the Brookings Institution’s Doha Center. “It might have made a difference a year ago, but, today, the Assad regime — particularly after re-taking Qusair — has the advantage.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Why is Gay Porn So Popular in Pakistan?

Earlier this month, the Pew Research Center published results of a public survey of gay tolerance in 39 countries worldwide. The numbers are fairly unsurprising: While a high proportion of respondents in Western Europe and North America answered “yes” to the question “Should society accept homosexuality?” few respondents in the Middle East and Africa agreed with them.

Among the least tolerant nations surveyed was Pakistan, where only 2 percent of those surveyed said society should accept homosexuality. That statistic might be unsurprising, considering that gay sex is illegal under the Pakistani penal code. But what is surprising is how those views compare to Pakistani search traffic around gay-porn-related terms.

As of this writing, Pakistan is by volume the world leader for Google searches of the terms “shemale sex,” “teen anal sex,” and “man

[ing man,” according to Google Trends. Pakistan also ranks second in the world (after similarly gay-intolerant Kenya) for volume of searches for the search term “gay sex pics.”

In its report, Pew noted that countries exhibiting the highest levels of gay tolerance are largely secular, whereas nations where religion is central to public life—such as Egypt, Nigeria, and Pakistan—tend to reject homosexuality. But in Pakistan, what’s even more peculiar is that the highest number of hits for some of these terms, including “shemale sex,” come not from Pakistan’s cosmopolitan centers, but from Peshawar, a bastion of conservative Islam, lately known in the West as a counterterrorism frontline.

           — Hat tip: The Observer [Return to headlines]

Researchers Find Lost City and Holy Temple in Cambodia

Scratched and exhausted, Damian Evans pushed through dense jungle into a clearing where mountain villagers long ago attempted to grow rice, stepping on to a weed-covered mound.

“Bingo,” the Australian archaeologist said as he picked up and examined an ancient sandstone block.

“This is a collapsed temple that was part of a bustling civilisation that existed 1200 years ago … It looks like the looters were unaware it was here.”

Over the next few hours Evans and a small group of archaeologists hacked through more landmine-strewn jungle and waded through swollen rivers and bogs to discover the ruins of five other previously unrecorded temples and evidence of ancient canals, dykes and roads, confirming data from revolutionary airborne laser-scanning technology called lidar. Advertisement

The discoveries matched years of archaeological ground research to reveal Mahendraparvata, a lost mediaeval city where people existed on a mist-shrouded mountain called Phnom Kulen 350 years before the building of the famous Angkor Wat temple complex in north-western Cambodia.

Subsequent searches have identified another two dozen hidden temple sites.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Under Pressure From Public, China Approves Measures to Curb Air Pollution in Its Cities

BEIJING — China’s Cabinet has announced measures to curb the country’s notorious air pollution, one of the many environmental challenges facing the country that are increasingly angering the public.

The broad measures approved by the State Council include putting strict controls in place for industries that produce large amounts of waste and pollution, but it will likely be up to local governments to work out the details.

In a meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang, the State Council approved 10 “tough measures to accomplish tough tasks,” the council said in a statement on its website late Friday. These include a target to reduce pollution emissions by at least 30 percent in heavy-polluting industries by the end of 2017.

China’s growing middle class has become increasingly fed up with air, water and soil pollution that has resulted from development-at-all costs policies.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Obamas to Flaunt Wealth in Poorest Regions of Africa

While millions of Americans have their privacy compromised by an overzealous National Security Agency run by the biggest Bully Administration of Modern Times, “hundreds of U.S. Secret Service agents will be dispatched to secure facilities in Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania.”

Not since the heydays of Russia’s dachas has the world seen a regime as flagrantly lavish as the Barack one:

“A Navy aircraft carrier or amphibious ship, with a fully staffed medical trauma center, will be stationed offshore in case of emergency.” (CBS News)

Look at us, folks, we’re America’s first family and there’s no end to the money we spend or the mainstream media-delivered braggadocio of the Obamas!

“Military cargo planes will airlift in 56 support vehicles, including 14 limousines and three trucks loaded with sheets of bulletproof glass to cover the windows of the hotels where the first family will stay. Fighter jets will fly in shifts, giving 24-hour coverage over the president’s airspace, so they can intervene quickly if an errant plane gets too close.”

The dead opposite of what four Americans including Ambassador Chris Stevens got in Benghazi when they pleaded for their lives on Sept. 11, 2012, on the night Obama apparently slept away.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Italy Rescues 159 Boat Migrants Including Newborn Baby

At least 159 migrants including Syrians, Afghan and Egyptians were rescued by the Italian coast guard

The Italian coast guard has rescued 159 Syrian, Afghan and Egyptian migrants from a boat in the sea off Calabria, including a newborn baby and seven children, Italian media said Saturday.

The alarm was sounded just before midnight on Friday after a boat, which is believed to have set off from Turkey a few days ago, was reported to be in trouble off the coast near Roccella Jonica in southern Italy.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

The Roma Conundrum: Looking for Clues in a Romanian Village

By Özlem Gezer

Large numbers of Roma immigrants from southeastern Europe are proving to be a serious integration problem for many cities, including Berlin. A local politician recently traveled to Romania to learn more about the challenge.

Franziska Giffey is sitting at a wooden table in Romania and trying to grasp what is happening in her neighborhood back in Berlin. Giffey, 35, is a member of the local council in the Berlin district of Neukölln. She’s traveled 1,300 kilometers (800 miles) in the hope of finding an answer to her question: Why do people in Romania leave their home country to come to Neukölln, one of the poorest city districts in Germany?

She’s sitting in the office of the mayor of Fântânele, 35 kilometers (22 miles) from the Romanian capital of Bucharest. The town once had 3,000 residents, all of them Roma, but a third of them no longer live here. They’ve moved elsewhere in Europe, and a majority of them have come to Neukölln in Berlin. There are many villages like Fântânele throughout southeastern Europe and most of them now have an outpost in Germany.

Fântânele’s mayor is excited. He’s wearing a sash in the colors of the Romanian flag and his shirt is neatly ironed. It’s clear he wants everything to be perfect for Giffey, the politician and Ph.D. from Germany. He presses a packet of informational materials into her hand and serves peanuts, as well as espresso in paper cups. A European Union flag stands in one corner of the room. The mayor has called all city administrators here, as well as the town’s two priests, and the school principal, who has lost 300 of her students to other countries around Europe.

Giffey stands up and introduces herself, and then she talks about her district. Berlin’s Neukölln district has 300,000 residents of 160 nationalities, and there are 65 schools, of which nearly half offer “welcome classes” for children — many of them Roma — with no knowledge of German. “I open a new school class every month,” she tells the town administrators gathered before her. “You must be missing those children here, aren’t you?” There is laughter. Then a priest answers: “Go ahead and set up a couple more classes.”

Challenges Ahead

Since Romania joined the EU in 2007, the number of Romanians in Germany has nearly tripled, to 205,000. This includes both highly skilled workers and the poorest of the poor. They enter the country legally, as free citizens of the EU, and represent the greatest challenge for German integration policies. German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich of the center-right Christian Social Union (CSU) recently threatened to expel at least those who are unlawfully receiving public assistance benefits….

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UK: Asylum Seekers Cost £1.5m a Day

BRITAIN’S SHAMBOLIC asylum system set taxpayers back more than £1.5million a day last year.

The Home Office had to fork out £583million on 37,000 asylum claims, the Daily Express can reveal.

Two out of three cases of people trying to stay in the UK were more than a year old and nearly 14,000 had waited at least three years, according to official figures.

The money went on housing, cash support, legal bills and paperwork.

But the total does not include asylum seekers’ legal aid bills, the cash spent on them by councils or the cost of a backlog of hundreds of thousands of other migration cases.

Campaigners yesterday condemned the huge cost of would-be refugees — roughly £14,500 per case.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

Christianity Becoming New “Don’t Ask; Don’t Tell” In Military

Recently I wrote a column outlining the steps Obama had been taking in the military co-opting Muslims for Christians for burial services of veterans. This was, in my opinion, particularly egregious conduct as ordered by Obama but another step to putting Christianity on a far back burner on its way to oblivion in the military. Now as if to prove my point about his distaste for Christianity but for all Christians in the military, there are incidents occurring that put Christians down, and conservative Christians whenever possible.

An article by Todd Starnes of was published on June 07, 2013 online headed “Soldier Told Not to Read Levin, Limbaugh or Hannity in Uniform” tells of a veteran member of the U. S. Army Band who is “facing retribution and punishment from the military for having anti-Obama bumper stickers on his car, reading books written by conservative authors like Mark Levin and David Limbaugh, and serving Chick-fil-A sandwiches at his promotion party.

“Master Sgt. Nathan Sommers, a 25-year Army veteran and conservative Christian based at Fort Myer in Washington, believes his outspoken opposition to gay marriage prompted higher-ups to take a closer look at his beliefs. The recipient of an Army Commendation Medal and a soloist at the funeral of former First Lady Betty Ford, Sommers said his core beliefs are enough to mark a soldier for persecution in today’s military.”

I have seen enough articles of Christian military bashing that the notion of unfair and unnecessary treatment enters my mind. The Obama Administration had better take into account that Christians are representative of more than SEVENTY PERCENT of the nation’s total population. Those people who adhere to that religion are going to take this cruel and unusual punishment, solely because of their overwhelming majority, to their attention and demand a stoppage of such tactics by the Obama government.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Italy: Rome Mayor Says He Won’t Attend Gay Pride

New Rome Mayor Ignazio Marino’s decision not to attend Gay Pride in Rome tomorrow has sparked an outcry in the capital.

Marino said he would not go because he is spending time with his family, according to Italian news reports.

In a flier circulated around the city, the event’s organizers wrote the move was “a disrespectful and offensive response to a community that has been fighting for its rights for years.”

In an interview with Il Messaggero, Marino said that despite his non-attendance he would “stand with the participants in the fight against discrimination.”

The move was also critized by Andrea Maccarone, who leads the Mario Mielli Circle of Homosexual Culture organisation. He said: “This seems to be a false start and a bad signal against Rome and an important community, which contributed significantly to his victory,” La Stampa reported.

Meanwhile, Josefa Idem, Italy’s minister of equal opportunities, said last week that she will attend Gay Pride in Palermo, Sicily, which also gets underway this weekend.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

‘Merry Christmas’ Now Legal in Texas Schools

Though the Christmas season is half a year away, season’s greetings were fresh on the lips of state legislators this week.

Gov. Rick Perry signed into law Thursday a bipartisan bill that eliminates legal issues surrounding the verbal use of “Merry Christmas” in Texas public schools. Perry said “religious freedom does not mean freedom from religion,” according to The Associated Press.

Bryan and College Station schools superintendents said they’ve never experienced issues surrounding the phrase but believe the legislation is a positive measure.

“In our world of being politically correct, we sometimes go to extremes to not offend anyone,” said Eddie Coulson, superintendent of College Station schools. “Allowing students, staff and faculty to say ‘Merry Christmas’ is a step in the right direction in terms of common sense.”

Holiday representations, including the menorah and Nativity scene, are protected by law when more than one religion is represented.

Tommy Wallis, superintendent of Bryan schools, said the bill will bring relief to school districts across the state.

[Comment by Garry: The problem is that organizations such as “Freedom from Religion” have been suing school districts over such issues. The school districts don’t have the money to litigate such frivolous suits, so they often bow to the pressure from these groups. So yes, now they will be allowed, because instead of suing the school district, they will now have to sue the state, where they will most certainly lose.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]