Gates of Vienna News Feed 6/18/2013

Under the Obama administration, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is suing employers that use criminal background checks on prospective employees. The practice is said to have a “disparate impact” on racial minorities.

In other news, a high-ranking priest in the Italian city of Salerno is under investigation for laundering money through fake church offerings.

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

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

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

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

Financial Crisis
» Greeks Owe 5 Million Euros in UK Student Loans
» Italy: Berlusconi Dares Letta Govt to Defy EU Budget Rules
» Italy: Salary Cuts for ‘Expert’ Govt Members
» Neither Grexit Nor Grecovery
» Portugal: Teachers’ Strike Endangers High School Final Exams
» Spain: ‘Rajoy to Propose €8bn Adjustment in Administration Costs to the EU’
» Watch Your Cash: New BAIL-IN Rules Will Force “Failed Bank Losses on Investors”
» 21 Facts About NSA Snooping That Every American Should Know
» Big Brother Alert: Cameras in the Cable Box to Monitor TV Viewers
» Companies Sued for Trying to Avoid Hiring Convicts
» DWI Checkpoint Cops Fire Point-Blank at on-Coming Traffic
» Hacking the Heartland
» Liberals Killed Trayvon Martin, And Jamiel Shaw, And…
» NSA Agent Caught Snooping on Video by Tom Mabe (Video)
» Sharyl Attkisson Shares Update on Computer Hacking Investigation
» Becoming a Bounty Hunter May Soon Get a Lot Easier.
» Ontario Gov’t Bills Couple $5,000 for Finding Centuries-Old Skeleton
Europe and the EU
» Anti-Immigrant and Anti-Euro, Germany’s Thilo Sarrazin is Not Sorry
» Denmark: Government Tackles Online Radicalisation and ‘Foreign Fighters’
» EU Parliament Postpones Visit After Erdogan Comments
» EU: Labour Cost Up in Eurozone, Record Drop in Slovenia
» Europe Says Farewell to Prolific Herschel Space Telescope
» France: Eiffel Tower Evacuated After Suicide Threat
» Guards Rebel Over Record French Prisoner Numbers
» Italian Antitrust Warns Electricity Poised for Trouble
» Italy: High-Ranking Priest Probed for ‘Laundering Offerings’
» Italy: Kercher May Have Been Killed in ‘Erotic Game, ‘ Says Court
» Italy: Intelligence Monitoring ‘Dozens’ Of Radicalised Muslim Converts
» Mark Steyn: Acceptance, Silence, And Submission
» Schulz Compares Grillo to Robespierre of French Revolution
» Sweden: No Review for Hand-Shake Discrimination Case
» UK: African Killer Who Entered Britain on False Passport Butchered Pensioner After He Stopped Taking Medication for Personality Disorder
» UK: Two in Three Child Porn Perverts Spared Jail: Outrage as 1,000 Paedophiles Caught With Obscene Material Are Given Community or Suspended Sentences
North Africa
» Egypt: Higher Alert on June 30, 200,000 Police Deployed
» Egyptians Angry Over Islamist Governor’s Militant Links
» Tunisia: Femen: Amina’s Family Supports Activists
Middle East
» As Many as 31 Dead in Suicide Bombing of Baghdad Mosque
» Between 45 and 50 Rebel Combatants From Italy in Syria
» Emirates: Muslim Brothers Egypt Threat for UAE, Press
» ‘I Don’t Recognize European Parliament’, Says Erdogan
» Italian Killed Fighting Alongside ‘Extremist’ Syrian Rebels
» Italian Photographer Accuses Turkish Police of Brutality
» Italian Killed in Syria Was Being Probed for Terrorism
» Italian Killed Fighting With Rebels in Syria
» No-Fly Zone Not Helpful for Syrian Peace Says Moscow
» Syrian Fundamentalist Rebels Get 250 Anti-Tank Missiles
» Taliban Signal Readiness for Peace Talks
» Turkish Government Mulls Restrictions on Social Media
» Video: Syrian Teen-Rebels Hail 9/11 Attack
South Asia
» Pakistan: Punjab: Young Christian Dies Under Torture in Police Custody With 22 Broken Bones
» The Family of an American Scientist Found Hanged in Singapore Last Year Dismissed on Tuesday the City-State’s Findings That He Committed Suicide as “A Sham and a Cover-Up” For a Murder.
Far East
» Growth of Chinese Navy Means U.S. Must Compete for Maritime Supremacy
» Kim Jong un Hands Out Copies of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf to Senior North Korean Officials to See What Lessons Can be Learned From it
» Amnesty Must be Defeated — How You Can Help
» Lampedusa Centre Crammed, Boat People Flock in
» Senate Rejects Border Fence
» Some 1,000 Migrants Packed Into 300-Person Facility in Italy
» The Veil Comes Off: Gang of Eight’s Immigration Reform Bill = Amnesty
» Mystery on Venus: ‘Super-Hurricane’ Force Winds Inexplicably Get Stronger

Greeks Owe 5 Million Euros in UK Student Loans

(ANSAmed) ATHENS, JUNE 17 — Greek students who decided to attend colleges in the United Kingdom have fallen behind on what they owe on students loans and have accumulated 4.3 million pounds (5 million euros) in unpaid loans, as GreekReporter writes. Students in European Union countries are eligible for loans to cover living costs and tuition fees which they are required to start paying back when their own annual income exceeds the sum of 21,000 pounds (24,700 euros). According to figures published by Britain’s Student Loans Company, Cypriot students seem to have borrowed some 24 million pounds sterling (28.22 million euros) and have so far repaid about 15.5 million pounds (or about 18.2 million euros), Irish students owe about 3.7 million pounds (4.3 million euros) while a total of about 10 million pounds sterling (11.7 million euros) is owed by French, German and Polish students graduating in the UK. According to an OECD education report, 22,000 Greeks were studying in foreign universities in 2012 at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. Out of these, 36.1% were studying in the UK, 15.8% in Germany, 9.2% in Italy, 5% in France and 4.8% in the United States. Over the last five years the Student Loans Company has disbursed more than 117 million pounds sterling (137.6 million euros) to students from EU countries.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Berlusconi Dares Letta Govt to Defy EU Budget Rules

Says someone should have courage to confront Brussels

(By Paul Virgo) (ANSA) — Rome, June 17 — Silvio Berlusconi said Monday that Premier Enrico Letta’s government should not be afraid to defy the European Union’s budget rules. “The government should go to the EU and say you can forget the 3% (deficit-to-GDP ratio) limit and the fiscal compact,” said the three-time Italian premier, whose centre-right People of Freedom (PdL) party helps sustain Letta’s left-right executive. “If you want to kick us out of the single currency, do so. “But remember that we pay in 18 billion euros and you only give us back 10.

“Someone should go to Brussels and have the courage to say that it is necessary to sort things out”.

Berlusconi campaigned hard against the European-mandated austerity adopted by former premier Mario Monti’s emergency technocrat government in the run-up to February’s general election, in which the PdL came a close second to Letta’s centre-left Democratic Party and prevented it from having a working majority in parliament.

However, Berlusconi himself made budget pledges to the EU, which Monti was subsequently obliged to implement, during his third stint as premier, which started in May 2008 and ended in November 2011 when the media magnate resigned with Italy’s debt crisis in danger of spiralling out of control. Sources at Letta’s office said recession-hit Italy’s position on abiding by EU rules remained “the same” after Berlusconi’s comments. European Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn responded in the European Parliament. “Ensuring the deficit remains under 3% and conducting the requested reforms is the key for Italy’s recovery,” Rehn said.

Earlier on Monday Italian Economy Minister Fabrizio Saccomanni said Rome remained committed to respecting its budget pledges to the EU and cutting its deficit even as it focuses on a growing unemployment crisis. “The effort of restoring health to the State budget remains one of the priorities of the government’s work,” Saccomanni said. “The commitment to fiscal consolidation must not be slowed down and the public’s contribution is essential in order to be successful”. Unemployment in Italy recently hit a record high of 12%, with around four of of 10 young people aged 15 to 24 out of work. The economy minister added that it would only be possible to bring down Italy’s high tax burden if cuts are made to public spending. “We have to conciliate limiting spending, which is essential to be able to reduce the tax burden, with the production of high-quality public services,” he said. Last month the European Commission recommended that an excessive-deficit procedure opened in 2009 against Italy be closed.

Rome has forecast that Italy’s deficit-GDP ratio will be 2.9% this year and coming in at 3% in 2012 after Monti’s emergency government passed big tax increases and spending cuts.

But the austerity measures deepened the country’s longest recession in over 20 years and and did not stop the country’s public debt-to-GDP ratio climbing — it is forecast to hit 132% this year.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Salary Cuts for ‘Expert’ Govt Members

Executive already stopped double salaries for MP ministers

(ANSA) — Rome, June 18 — A parliamentary committee on Tuesday approved a measure that will cut the salaries of ‘expert’ members of Premier Enrico Letta’s executive.

The government had already introduced legislation to stop ministers who are also lawmakers picking up double salaries for their duel roles as part of efforts to reduce the cost of Italy’s political machine as the country endures its longest recession in over 20 years.

If the measure reaches final approval in parliament it will hit ministers, junior ministers and undersecretaries who are not MPs, such as Economy Minister Fabrizio Saccomanni.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Neither Grexit Nor Grecovery

El País Madrid

One year after taking office, the government of Antonis Samaras is trying to persuade anyone willing to listen that the end of the crisis is near. But the reality from Greek streets sunk in apathy belies the optimistic front the prime minister puts up for the international bodies.

Mariangela Paone

When writers want to change the course of a story, they use what is called a plot twist. That is what the Greek government has been up to in recent weeks: finding the twist in the narrative of the crisis. “Nobody is talking now about a Greek exit, but about a Greek recovery: a Grecovery,” declared Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on June 13 following a meeting with his Finnish counterpart in Helsinki. An effective slogan for the message that the executive has been selling for months now, first with some caution and now more emphatically: that the risk of a Greek exit from the eurozone has passed, and the time for the recovery has arrived. Recent data on the improvement of the economic mood, the decision of Fitch to ramp the debt rating up a notch, and the truce with the markets are all lending arguments to start writing the opening lines of “a success story”, as Samaras felt inclined to do during a recent official visit to China.

But the plot twist hit on by the government does not fit into the script of the day-to-day life of the Greeks. “So what if they say that things are getting better? My portfolio is as empty today as it was six months ago,” says Illyria, a 36-year-old self-employed graphic designer. “I work, yes, but the money isn’t coming in,” she disconsolately says, looking towards Syntagma Square. On the day the European mobilisation against the troika was announced last week, the square was half-deserted. “Where are the people? What do we have left if we don’t protest?” she repeats, while two of the few protesters try to hang up between two trees a banner bearing the slogan “The people united against the troika”.

The empty square is not a symptom of growing optimism. If the demonstrations are no longer so massive six years into the great crisis, it is because three years of unbroken austerity has also worn out the crowds. Several groups hit by the cuts still gather every day, but their protests have grown less intense….

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

Portugal: Teachers’ Strike Endangers High School Final Exams

Teachers against gov’t cuts, crowded classrooms, longer workweek

(ANSAmed) — LISBON, JUNE 17 — A teachers’ strike on Monday against tough new government austerity measures put some 75,000 Portuguese high school students at risk of not sitting their final state exams. The teachers struck against the center-right Pedro Passos Coelho administration’s new 4.8-billion-euro cuts over the next three years, which union sources said unfairly target education and health.

Teachers are also protesting against precarious work contracts, crowded classrooms averaging 30 instead of 24 students, and an increase in public sector working hours from 35 to 40 hours a week.

A majority of teachers adhered to the strike, unions said.

A 50,000-strong rally that began in the capital on Saturday is still ongoing. Teachers stopped attending mandatory work-related meetings a week ago. Education Minister Nuno Crato made known that test dates would not be postponed, urging teachers to call off the strike so students can sit their university entrance exams.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Spain: ‘Rajoy to Propose €8bn Adjustment in Administration Costs to the EU’

La Vanguardia, 17 June 2013

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is to present a plan to cut administration costs by €8bn at the next European Council on June 27.

Savings will be made by reducing the number of official procedures and an end to overlapping competencies in central, regional and local administration.

At the same time, the Spanish government has rejected Brussels’ demands for an increase in VAT, a higher retirement age, and further labour market reform, notes the daily…

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

Watch Your Cash: New BAIL-IN Rules Will Force “Failed Bank Losses on Investors”

When the Cypriot government forced account holders to cover bank losses earlier this year most of the world assumed this was a one-off event, limited only to the people of Cyprus.

Though warnings urging depositors to get their money out of banks spread across the world, few have taken them seriously.

Perhaps now they’ll reconsider.

We’re all familiar with bail-outs, as in the government rescuing failed institutions, namely banks, by injecting them with tens of billions of dollars to prevent collapse.

But have you ever heard of a bail-in?

Japan’s Financial Services Agency will enact new rules that will forced failed bank losses on investors, if needed, via a mechanism known as a “bail-in,” according to The Nikkei. Mitsubishi UFJ (MTU), Mizuho Financial (MFG) and Sumitomo Mitsui (SMFG) are among those proposing amendments to allow them to issue the types of preferred shares or subordinated bonds that would be used in such cases, the report noted.

Cyprus was a test run. It worked.

This is now the official policy of the country of Japan, and is a serious considerationthroughout the Eurozone and the United States.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

21 Facts About NSA Snooping That Every American Should Know

There seems to be a lot of confusion about what the NSA is actually doing. Are they reading our emails? Are they listening to our telephone calls? Do they target American citizens or is it only foreigners that they are targeting? Unfortunately, the truth is that we aren’t going to get straight answers from our leaders about this. The folks running the NSA have already shown that they are willing to flat out lie to Congress, and Barack Obama doesn’t exactly have the greatest track record when it comes to telling the truth. These are men that play word games and tell lies for a living. So it would be unrealistic to expect them to come out and tell us the unvarnished truth about what is going on. That is why it is so important that whistleblowers such as Edward Snowden have come forward. Thanks to them and to the brave journalists that are willing to look into these things, we have been able to get some glimpses behind the curtain. And what we have learned is not very pretty. The following are 21 facts about NSA snooping that every American should know…

#1 According to CNET, the NSA told Congress during a recent classified briefing that it does not need court authorization to listen to domestic phone calls…

#14 The NSA is constructing the largest data center in the world out in Utah. It is going to have about a million square feet of storage space, it is going to cost about 2 billion dollars to build, and it is going to take about 40 million dollars a year just to pay for the energy needed to run the facility. It is also being reported that it will have the capability of storing 5 zettabytes of data.

#15 The NSA has a budget of about 10 billion dollars a year.

#16 Overall, the United States government spends more than 80 billion dollars a year on intelligence programs.

#17 According to NSA whistleblower William Binney, the NSA has a “target list” of somewhere between “500,000 to a million people”.

[Comment: zettabyte — a unit of information equal to 1000 exabytes or 10^21 bytes]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Big Brother Alert: Cameras in the Cable Box to Monitor TV Viewers

It hardly gets more Orwellian than this. New technology would allow cable companies to peer directly into television watchers’ homes and monitor viewing habits and reactions to product advertisements.

The technology would come via the cable box, and at least one lawmaker on Capitol Hill is standing in opposition.

Mass. Democratic Rep. Michael Capuano has introduced a bill, the We Are Watching You Act, to prohibit the technology on boxes and collection of information absent consumer permission. The bill would also require companies that do use the data to show “we are watching you” messages on the screen and to explain just what kinds of information is being captured and for what reasons, AdWeek reported.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Companies Sued for Trying to Avoid Hiring Convicts

In 1963, the great civil rights leader Martin Luther King said it was his hope that black Americans would no longer be judged on their color of their skin, but on the content of their character.

Fifty years later, the Obama administration’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says King got it wrong.

The EEOC launched two lawsuits against private companies this week over their use of criminal background checks, claiming that in rejecting applicants with proven criminal records, they somehow discriminated against minorities under a disparate impact clause in their guidelines.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

DWI Checkpoint Cops Fire Point-Blank at on-Coming Traffic

Jared and Rose Cleerdin found themselves right in the middle of a shootout at what should have been a routine DWI checkpoint. Days after the dramatic shootout in Brunswick County, they are still shaken by what they saw.

“Every cop turned around and started unloading like super trigger happy as if their training was coming into full effect and they were being able to utilize it,” said Cleerdin. “Everybody was just blasting this car to pieces. It was absolutely terrifying.”

They were stunned with what was happening, as officers reportedly shot dozens of rounds — in the direction on-coming traffic.

“Cops are shooting from the front of the car, back into the rest of the on-coming traffic to the check point, into the rest of the innocent civilians down the road,” said Cleerdin.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Hacking the Heartland

A massive land grab is underway in Missouri and Arkansas. NGO’s (Non-Governmental Organizations) are lining up other states to be included in the Department of Interior’s “National Blueway System” designation. The Blueways System stems from Obama’s “America’s Great Outdoors” Presidential Memorandum, under which Secretary of Interior Salazar issued Secretarial Order #3321. (scroll down)

The first Blueway designation occurred in May 2012, across the States of Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Connecticut. That watershed encompasses 7.2 million acres. The “White River National Blueway” is 17.8 million acres, and includes 60 counties across Missouri and Arkansas. Not one elected official from these 60 counties knew a thing about the designation, or the plans put forward by the “nominating committee.”

Private property rights advocates knew nothing about the plan either, and when they’d found out about it, the designation had already been assigned. The “stakeholders,” NONE of whom represent or are actually private land holders in the area, have put together a significant list of “Strategic Objectives” to control the use of land within the 21,000 square mile area.

In the Memorandum of Understanding including the triumvirate of Federal Agencies designating and collaborating on the “National Blueway System” it states:

“Nothing in this MOU is intended to authorize or affect the use of private property or is intended to be the basis for the exercise of any new regulatory authority.”

Yet when you examine the Nomination pdf that the “stakeholders” put forth to acquire the designation, there is no way the objectives can be met without regulation.

First, let’s have a look just who the non-governmental stakeholders are and then what they propose to accomplish with this Blueway.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Liberals Killed Trayvon Martin, And Jamiel Shaw, And…

Given the statutes governing those possessing concealed carry permits for firearms (as did Zimmerman), the names of Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman would have been long forgotten by now were it not for the ensuing politicization surrounding the racial component here. Typically, these statutes do not demand that one waits to be physically overpowered before discharging their weapon.

Trayvon Martin, on the other hand, appears to have been far less genial, and more a victim of his lifestyle than a victim of George Zimmerman. The press narrative spun the picture of a little black waif skipping home with his Sprite and bag of Skittles, only to be ambushed and blown away by a nightstalking, cackling bigot. Though time will tell how it pans out in court, reality tells a different story, one of a thug-in-training for whom being accosted by an authority figure might have presented a welcome and self-affirming confrontation.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

NSA Agent Caught Snooping on Video by Tom Mabe (Video)

Government NSA Agent caught red handed eavesdropping on cellphone users.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Sharyl Attkisson Shares Update on Computer Hacking Investigation

“There were just signs of unusual happenings for many months, odd behavior like the computers just turning themselves on at night and then turning themselves back off again. I was basically able to verify and obtain information from my sources on the suspicious activity and I reported it to CBS News in January because of course it included CBS equipment and systems.”

Attkisson could not speak about whether the hacking was related to her questions about Benghazi because of “legal counsel,” but she did say her work at that time was primarily on the occurrence.

“Whoever was in my work computer, the only thing I was working on were work-related things with CBS were big stories I guess during the time period in questions were I guess Benghazi and ‘Fast and Furious.’ The intruders did have access to personal information including passwords to my financial accounts and so on, but didn’t tamper with those, so they weren’t interested in stealing my identity or doing things to my finances. So people can decide on their own what they might have been trying to do in there.”

When asked how she felt about being hacked, Attkisson had this to say:

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Becoming a Bounty Hunter May Soon Get a Lot Easier.

SpotSquad is a mobile phone application in the works that allows users to report illegally parked cars and get a cut of the fine paid as a reward.

Created by a technology startup in Winnipeg, Canada, the app aims to crowdsource parking enforcement at privately run lots and potentially on public streets.

The reporting process is as simple as taking a photo of the car, which is GPS tagged while optical character recognition reads and records the license plate number, then choosing from a list the type of infraction observed — everything from expired meters to unauthorized parking in a handicapped spot.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Ontario Gov’t Bills Couple $5,000 for Finding Centuries-Old Skeleton

A Sarnia couple have been handed a $5,000 bill after unearthing the well-preserved skeleton of an aboriginal woman who may have died up to 400 years ago.

Ken Campbell and his wife Nicole Sauve found the skeleton two weeks ago while digging post holes in the backyard of their Sarnia home.

They originally though the bones belonged to an animal but quickly changed their mind after digging further and finding a well preserved human skull.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Anti-Immigrant and Anti-Euro, Germany’s Thilo Sarrazin is Not Sorry

Even if he weren’t one of Germany’s best-selling authors, Thilo Sarrazin would be a hard man to miss. His silver mustache and perpetually squinting left eye lend him a distinctive, slightly sinister air. Yet on this chilly spring morning, Sarrazin manages to go unnoticed at the Wiener Conditorei Caffeehaus, a bustling Viennese-style cafe in an affluent neighborhood of western Berlin. For Sarrazin, venturing out isn’t as easy as it used to be. His public appearances require security protection, and there are whole areas of Berlin where he’s so unpopular that he can no longer book a dinner reservation.

Sipping tea, he starts talking about the Holocaust. “Our guilt from the war is abused in political arguments,” he says. “It’s used to suggest how we should we treat migrants, and that our asylum policies should be as liberal as possible, and that we should bail out other countries using the euro.” He pauses to take a drink. “But none of that has anything to do with the objective facts of our past.”

In the last three years, Sarrazin, 68, has published two dense but hugely popular books, both of which have taken aim at the political consensus that has guided German politics for decades. The first warned that the country’s identity was being destroyed by Muslim immigrants, who Sarrazin said are less intelligent than native Germans. It sold 1.5 million copies. The second, released last year, argued that Germany should abandon the euro; the only thing standing in the way of such a move, according to him, was Germany’s guilt about the Holocaust and sentimental attachment to European unity.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Denmark: Government Tackles Online Radicalisation and ‘Foreign Fighters’

Conference tomorrow will discuss methods of countering online radicalisation and recruitment of Westerners to fight in foreign conflcits

The internet has become an effective tool for political and religious radicalisation and for the recruitment of terrorists and foreign fighters in global conflicts. Now, to tackle the growing problem, the social affairs and integration ministry is planning new initiatives to counter the development and, tomorrow, will hold a conference together with the British think-tank The Strategic Institute for Dialogue to discuss challenges and share experiences about tackling radicalisation and extremism on the internet.

“The internet and especially social media’s many opportunities create challenges for combating radicalisation and extremism,” the social affairs and integration minister, Karen Hækkerup (Socialdemokraterne), stated in a press release. “That is why we need to ensure that young users of social media are better able to be sceptical and respond to radicalisation and extremism. We have good initiatives for countering extremism in the real world, but it’s not enough. If we want to protect young people we need to be where they are. We need to be online.”

According to the ministry, the internet is primarily used by the radical right and left political wings to propagandise their views, while militant Islamists recruit young people to actively take part in actions.

They add that the role the internet and social media play in the radicalisation process has yet to be understood, but they argue that the internet can accelerate the radicalisation process that could lead to violent actions.

“We have examples of people who are recruited through the internet to go to Syria to fight,” Hækkerup told Berlingske newspaper. “We see that there is broad recruitment also among young vulnerable children who have not been to training camps.”

In the most high profile case, Slimane Hadj Abderrahman, a Dane and a former Guantanamo captive, was killed in February while fighting in Syria.

A week last Friday, the justice minister, Morten Bødskov (Socialdemokraterne), met with other EU justice ministers to discuss the issue of so-called ‘foreign fighters’, Western citizens who travel to conflicts with the express purpose of fighting.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

EU Parliament Postpones Visit After Erdogan Comments

Inter-parliamentary meeting on 27/6 to be held as planned

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS — Following Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s verbal attack on the European Parliament, the body’s foreign affairs committee has postponed its June 19-20 visit. The announcement was made by the head of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, the German MP Elmar Brok (PPE), saying in a statement that “in the face of the declarations made by representatives of the government of Turkey the committee has decided to postpone its visit. I regret this.” “Turkey is and remains an important partner for the EU but should understand how to deal with criticism. We will pursue contacts with our counterparts in Turkey to re-establish a constructive dialogue with them,” he added. The EU-Turkey inter-parliamentary delegation meeting scheduled for June 27 in Brussels will instead be held as planned.

French deputy Helene Flautre of the Green Party and head of the EU-Turkey joint delegation said that she would try to ensure that the debate be frank and productive. She underscored that the European Parliament’s position had always been consistent and that its criticism of Turkey was long-standing, remarking that it would be enough to simply read their annual reports to understand that. She said that it is important to overcome the hurdles to the opening of negotiation chapters for Turkey’s EU membership process on human rights and justice, noting that the protestors have not demanded a halt to the talks — rather, they want the country to have closer links to the EU. The next meeting for EU-Turkey membership talks will be held on June 26 in Brussels for the opening of the chapter on regional politics.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

EU: Labour Cost Up in Eurozone, Record Drop in Slovenia

Down also in Spain, Cyprus, Portugal, top hike in Romania

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, JUNE 17 — Labour costs in Slovenia registered a record drop in the Eurozone in the first trimester of 2013 compared to the last quarter of 2012 at -3,8%, Eurostat said on Monday. The same area in the first quarter of 2013 registered an average 1,6% increase while the hike in the 27-member Union was 1,9%. Spain also recorded a decrease at -0,7%, along with Cyprus at -0,5% and Portugal at -0,3% while the most significant growth, up 8,6% was recorded in Romania, followed by Estonia +7,5%, Slovakia +5,5%, the Czech Republic +5,4% and Hungary +4,9%. Italy’s rise in labour cost was above the Eurozone average, up 2,5% while France’s was below at +0,1%.

The cost of labour is measured on salary — up 1,7% in the Eurozone — and the non-salary component up 1,4%. Slovenia registered a 3,8% drop in both.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Europe Says Farewell to Prolific Herschel Space Telescope

PARIS — Ground controllers put Europe’s Herschel Space Observatory to sleep Monday (June 17), turning off the infrared observatory after squeezing every bit of engineering value from the spacecraft since it ceased scientific work in April.

Engineers sent the final commands to Herschel at 8:25 a.m. EDT (1225 GMT) in an emotional ceremony at the European Space Operations Center in Darmstadt, Germany.

“It’s like saying goodbye to a friend,” said Micha Schmidt, the European Space Agency (ESA)’s operations manager for Herschel.

For its last act, the $1.4 billion Herschel telescope fired rocket thrusters to drain its fuel tank as controllers watched the spacecraft helplessly struggle to regain control while its antennas and power-generating solar panels drifted away from their lock on the Earth and the sun.

“It’s a very curious situation in that we are intentionally seeing a spacecraft dying,” Schmidt said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

France: Eiffel Tower Evacuated After Suicide Threat

The Eiffel Tower in Paris was evacuated by police on Tuesday after a man threatened to throw himself off the famous monument. Reports suggest, however, that emergency services personnel have succeeded in apprehending the man.

Paris’s Eiffel Tower was evacuated by police on Tuesday afternoon after a man threatened to throw himself off the monument at around 1pm.

According to French radio RTL a team of expert medics and fire fighters arrived on the scene, before police negotiators tried to reason with the man and bring him down safely.

Reports said the man, reported as being from Poland, was on the second level of the Iron Lady when he threatened to jump. He had apparently tried to clamber up the frame of the tower towards the top

The latest reports suggest that the man was apprehended and brought to safety just before 3pm, French time thanks to the intervention of a specialist negotiator.

Police sources told French media the man, believed to be in his 20s, was in a “psychologically unstable” state and had “demanded the presence of cameras”.

The Eiffel Tower is visited by millions from around the world each year. In 2011 alone 7.1 million visitors accessed the famous monument.

The tower has to be evacuated on a regular basis because of a suicide threats but the management has refused to say how any attempts are made.

Last year a British man jumped to his death from the Eiffel Tower from between the second and third levels.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Guards Rebel Over Record French Prisoner Numbers

France has more inmates behind bars than ever before, it was revealed this week, prompting prison guards to call for industrial action to protest against over-crowding and a lack of resources, which they say are undermining their safety.

France’s prison system appears to be at breaking point.

Official figures revealed this week showed that on June 1st the country had 67,977 inmates locked up in its jails — representing the highest number of prisoners in France’s history.

With the official combined capacity of French correctional facilities at 57,325, the country’s prisons are over-crowded to the tune of 19 percent.

While the number of those given prison sentences actually dropped slightly, by 0.1 percent, since May, the number of prisoners remanded in custody while awaiting trial went up by 1.2 percent.

This over-saturation, along with concerns about staff safety and a lack of resources, has prompted the Ufap-Unsa prison guards union to call for strike action on Tuesday.

“This is a shot across the bows, to make the powers that be aware of the urgency of this situation,” union secretary-general Stéphane Barraut was reported as saying by BFMTV on Monday.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Italian Antitrust Warns Electricity Poised for Trouble

Says conventional plants not covering costs, price hikes likely

(ANSA) — Rome, June 18 — The chief of Italy’s antitrust authority warned parliament on Tuesday that the electricity sector was in peril of deep, damaging change.

Electricity “is seeing profound changes loaded with pitfalls,” said Giovanni Pitruzzella, president of the Italian antitrust authority, in a presentation of the watchdog’s annual report.

Declining consumption and the spread of renewable energy are creating conditions in which conventional thermal-power plants are unable to cover their costs. Thus the market is veering toward consolidation and “probable” energy price increases, Pitruzzella said.

A longstanding lament of Italian manufacturers and other businesses is that Italian power is too expensive, making it difficult for private enterprises to compete in global markets. Electricity costs 30% more in Italy than the European Union country average, a representative of the Italian industry federation Confindustria told journalists at a Milan presentation on the automaker Fiat on Friday.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: High-Ranking Priest Probed for ‘Laundering Offerings’

Monsignor Scarano works for Vatican property manager

(ANSA) — Salerno, June 14 — Monsignor Nunzio Scarano, a high-ranking priest, has been placed under investigation together with another 56 people for alleged money laundering by using fake offerings in the southern Italian city of Salerno. The prelate works for Apsa, the Vatican agency that manages the property of the Catholic Church in Italy. News of the investigation was first reported in the city’s newspaper, La Citta’. It was later confirmed by sources close to prosecutors.

The probe is examining a series of cheques that were designed to look like offerings but used to launder money.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Kercher May Have Been Killed in ‘Erotic Game, ‘ Says Court

Document explains why Knox, Sollecito acquittal overturned

(ANSA) — Perugia, June 18 — The 2007 murder of student Meredith Kercher in the city of Perugia could have been the result of an erotic game, Italy’s supreme Court of Cassation said on Tuesday in a document explaining the motives for overturning the acquittal of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito for her murder. On March 25, the Cassation scrapped the Perugia appeals court’s 2011 decision to quash the 26-year and 25-year sentences Knox and Sollecito were handed respectively at the original trial in 2009.

A new appeals trial has been ordered to take place in Florence.

The murder of Kercher was one of the most notorious cases in recent Italian history. Knox, now 25, and Sollecito, now 29, both students along with Kercher, were convicted of her murder in 2009 and served two years in prison before their convictions were overturned in 2011.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Intelligence Monitoring ‘Dozens’ Of Radicalised Muslim Converts

Rome, 18 June (AKI) — Radicalised Italian converts to Islam like 20-year-old Giuliano Delnevo, who allegedly died in Syria fighting alongside rebels, have been under close surveillance for some time, anti-terrorism sources told Adnkronos.

“There are several dozen such individuals,” the sources said.

“They are generally Muslim converts who use the internet to spread propaganda and communicate with other fundamentalists.

“In some cases, they decide to take direct action and join jihadist fighters.”

Most of the jihadists in Italy who are being monitored by secret services are Muslim immigrants from North Africa and have been to Syria at lest once to fight alongside rebels forces, according to sources cited by Il Giornale daily.

Il Giornale on Tuesday reported Delnevo’s death, citing unnamed intelligence and interior ministry sources.

The daily did not say when or where in Syria Delnevo was killed, or for which rebel group he was allegedly fighting, stating only that it had learned of his death last Friday and that he had been identified from his Italian passport.

European Union terrorism experts believe around 500 Europeans have fought against pro-Assad forces in Syria.

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

Mark Steyn: Acceptance, Silence, And Submission

I didn’t know the half of it. The other day, Arnoud van Doorn, the producer of Wilders’s anti-Islamic film Fitna, announced that he’d converted to Islam — or “accepted Islam,” as they say — and made a pilgrimage to Medina to repent and ask for Allah’s forgiveness. There’s a lot of it about. Tony Blair’s sister-in-law has converted. So has Gitmo guard Terry Holdbrooks, who was touched by the way the detainees “wake up each day and smile,” and Katherine Russell, the “all-American girl” from Rhode Island who married Tamerlan Tsarnaev and whose parents were “very supportive” of their daughter’s decision to “accept Islam” and retreat beneath the veil and stayed “very supportive” right up until their son-in-law blew up the Boston Marathon. The two men who butchered Royal Fusilier Lee Rigby on the streets of London were also converts, British-born sons of Nigerian Christians. Captured by the cameras with, literally, blood on their hands, they reminded me of another convert, the British comedian Omar Brooks. Mr. Brooks’s best-known surefire side-splitting showstopping gag is that the attacks on the World Trade Center “changed many people’s lives.” Comic pause. “Especially those inside.” It brought the house down!

A few years back, in a debate at Trinity College in Dublin, he was asked what Mohammed’s message to non-believers was and replied, with disarming honesty, “I come to slaughter all of you. . . . We are the Muslims. We drink the blood of the enemy.” I thought of Omar Brooks for the first time in years as I watched his two blood-soaked coreligionists stagger about Wellington Street bragging about what they had done in the name of “almighty Allah.” I wouldn’t have been surprised to see them drinking blood had the constabulary taken any longer and left them with another 20 minutes to show off for the cameras. On the other hand, the Medway Messenger in Kent reported a prompt police response to an outbreak of octogenarian Islamophobia:

“An 85-year-old woman has this afternoon been arrested after abuse was hurled at Muslims outside Gillingham Mosque. The pensioner was handcuffed and taken away in a van by officers attending the Canterbury Street mosque for Friday prayers.”

Oh. That’s helpful. If you yell at a mosque, the coppers are already inside. If you deface a London war memorial with Islamic slogans, there’s none in sight, and even the ubiquitous British CCTV cameras are apparently of no use in identifying the perpetrators. The day after Drummer Rigby’s murder, a march in support of the “Help for Heroes” military charity ended in a five-hour standoff between marchers and police, ending with the arrest of Lee Cousins for “mocking the Islamic prayer ritual” by getting down on his hands and knees outside the pub. He was fined 600 pounds — or just shy of a thousand bucks.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Schulz Compares Grillo to Robespierre of French Revolution

European Parliament head suggests 5-Star Movement doomed

(ANSA) — Brussels, June 18 — The outspoken head of the European Parliament compared maverick Italian political leader Beppe Grillo to the French revolutionary Maximilien de Robespierre on Tuesday.

And Martin Schulz added that the comparison suggests Grillo, like many of the French revolutionaries involved in the Reign of Terror of the 18th century, won’t fare well.

Grillo, the founder and leader of the troubled 5-Star Movement (M5S), has created controversy since his supporters won a substantial number of seats in February’s national election.

But his party has also been roiled with debate over what some call Grillo’s high-handed style. “What do I think of Grillo?,” Schulz commented during an interview with RAI 3 television.

“Each historical experience can teach us something,” he continued. “Remember for a moment Robespierre and the Jacobins,” because their failure may be a good comparison for Grillo, added Schulz.

Grillo was back in the news Tuesday when dozens of loyalists demonstrated outside the Italian Lower House amid a widening rift over a M5S Senator who may be kicked out of the anti-establishment party for criticizing the leader. The affair is viewed as a defining moment in the movement founded online in 2009 by the Grillo, a comedian known for irreverent rabble-rousing.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Sweden: No Review for Hand-Shake Discrimination Case

The Swedish Justice Ombudsman will not look at a case in western Sweden where a man was paid damages for not being given an internship after he refused to shake a female boss’s hand for religious reasons.

The internship candidate himself had turned the case over to Sweden’s Equality Ombudsman (Diskrimineringsombudsmannen — DO), but Trollhättan municipality managed to avoid a probe by paying him 30,000 kronor ($4,500).

The case has received widespread attention, however, with the municipality since receiving about 100 critical emails, reported the Ttela news site. The case was also reported to the Justice Ombudsman (Justitieombudsmannen — JO), but the agency has now decided not to review it.

The incident stemmed from an office visit by a man who had been offered an internship with the integration division at Trollhättan municipality.

When the man was set to meet a female supervisor at the office, he refused to shake her hand, explaining his religion forbade him from shaking hands with women unless he washed his hands directly afterwards.

The female supervisor then reportedly told the man that he could not intern at the office if he was not comfortable shaking everybody’s hand. She also allegedly added that the office had hand sanitizer that he could use.

While the incident was later reported to the Equality Ombudsman, the national office that investigates suspected cases of discrimination, the case was settled before the ombudsman began its investigation, with Trollhättan municipality choosing to pay damages to the man.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UK: African Killer Who Entered Britain on False Passport Butchered Pensioner After He Stopped Taking Medication for Personality Disorder

[WARNING: Disturbing Content.]

A delusional killer who entered the country on a false passport was today sentenced to remain indefinitely in hospital for butchering a pensioner who he believed was the anti-Christ.

Hakim Abdillahi, 38, repeatedly stabbed Eleftheria Demetriou, 79, with such ferocity last August the blade snapped off.

Abdillahi, who came to Britain from African country Djibouti in 1999 pretending to be six years younger, launched the frenzied attack a month after being discharged from hospital where he was treated for a personality disorder.

[Commenter: Saudi Arabia have the best idea. Anyone coming into the country needs a visa If the visa or passport is not in order, the airline they arrived on has to fly them out of the country immediately. If they really need to enter the country they can apply again for a visa. — – RichardG , Bolton, United Kingdom ]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Two in Three Child Porn Perverts Spared Jail: Outrage as 1,000 Paedophiles Caught With Obscene Material Are Given Community or Suspended Sentences

[WARNING: Disturbing Content.]

Two thirds of perverts caught downloading sickening child pornography escape a jail sentence, figures revealed last night.

In a new soft-justice outrage, 1,000 paedophiles caught in possession of obscene abuse videos and pictures were handed community sentences or suspended jail terms last year.

The revelation was greeted with fury by child abuse campaigners, who are demanding tougher sentences to reflect the damage done to the children pictured in the horrific images.

[Commenter: My brother got a 2 year sentence for graffiti. The prosecution wanted to give him 4 years, yes 4 years but I think that even the judge balked at that. But if you fool around with children you get less — god forbid these paedophiles get caught with a spray can, they’d throw away the key. I know who I’d rather leave my child alone in a room with — if Stuart Hall can get 15 months for all the appalling things that he has done how is it that someone armed with paint can get 24 months… answers on a postcard please. I do not condone graffiti but I abhor sex criminals and the key should be thrown away, not put in their back pockets. The courts should get their sentencing lengths straightened out — GRAFFITI ARTISTS ARE LESS DANGEROUS THAN SEX PESTS AND PAEDOPHILES AND SHOULD NOT BE JAILED — or is that a concept that our justice system cannot deal with. — – sarah01 Marlpit , Edenbridge, United Kingdom,]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Egypt: Higher Alert on June 30, 200,000 Police Deployed

(ANSAmed) — CAIRO, JUNE 18 — Egypt’s interior minister on Tuesday raised the alert level ahead of June 30, the first anniversary of Mohammed Morsi’s presidency during which major demonstrations are expected.

A security source was quoted by the local Mena news agency as saying that 200.000 police officials will be deployed while the army will seal off strategic sites including parliament, the government, central bank, state television and electrical power plants. Security is also tighter around the Suez Canal and security officials will not be allowed to take days off in the regions more at risk of violence.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Egyptians Angry Over Islamist Governor’s Militant Links

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi’s choice of an Islamist governor for Luxor has sparked anger among tourism workers over his links to the militants that killed 58 people in a 1997 attack in the ancient city which destroyed the tourism industry.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Tunisia: Femen: Amina’s Family Supports Activists

Release of 3 girls sentenced to 4 months in jail requested

(ANSAmed) — TUNIS, JUNE 18 — The family of Amina Sboui, the 19-year-old Tunisian woman being held on immoral conduct charges whose release has been requested by the Femen movement, has called for the release of another three young women who went topless in a demonstration in support of the high school student.

Amina’s uncle, Doctor Sami Sboui, a well known Tunisian scientist, wrote an open letter in which he asked the presidents of the Republic, of the Constituent Assembly and the government to ‘give justice to Pauline, Marguerite and Josephine’ who were sentenced to four months in prison and whose jail term has not been suspended.

Amina’s family says the three young women — two French and a German national — were arrested on a minor charge — going topless — which has nothing to do with ‘sexual exhibition’ and did not cause public order problems. The letter of the Sboui family was sent to intellectuals, associations defending human rights and the freedom of expression and policy makers.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

As Many as 31 Dead in Suicide Bombing of Baghdad Mosque

Fears growing of increased violence in Iraq between Sunni, Shia

(ANSA) — Baghdad, June 18 — As many as 31 people were killed Tuesday during the suicide bombing of a Shiite mosque in Baghdad, the BBC is reporting on its website.

It says that two suicide bombers blew themselves up inside the mosque situated in the northern district of al Qahira.

This and other attacks are raising concerns of increasing violence in Iraq between the Shia majority and the Sunni minority.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Between 45 and 50 Rebel Combatants From Italy in Syria

Supporters from country include one woman

(ANSA) — Rome, June 18 — Between 45 and 50 people including one woman are thought to have left Italy to fight in the ranks of rebel groups in Syria, the Communities of the Arab World in Italy (COMAI) said. COMAI president Foad Aodi said that on the basis of the information provided by Syrian sources — including regime supporters — since the beginning of the conflict, among the hundreds of people who left Europe to fight alongside rebels are between 45 and 50 who “left from Italy. Most from the central and northern zones of the country but also some from Rome”. These groups are thought to be mostly in the Deir Az Zor and Aleppo areas in the northern and eastern parts of Syria, where there are three women fighters: “an Italian, a Spaniard and probably Chechen”, said Aodi. COMAI was told by the same sources that the women there “provide assistance” to the rebels.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Emirates: Muslim Brothers Egypt Threat for UAE, Press

Editorial in government daily: sever diplomatic ties

(ANSAmed) — DUBAI, JUNE 18 — ‘The war of Egyptian Muslim Brothers against the United Arab Emirates’ was the headline of an editorial which was unusually announced on the front page of Gulf News, the most influential pro-government daily of the UAE, calling for a suspension of diplomatic relations with the hostile government. In the editorial, political analyst Sultan al Qassemi harshly criticized the Egyptian government’s policies, claiming it used ‘rhetoric and intimidating actions’.

‘The Brotherhood’s leaders breath hatred on a weekly basis’, accused Al Qassemi, recalling the words used by Essam El-Erian, vice president of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party who in March defined the Emirates as ‘a land where the devil lives’. He accused the UAE of ‘financing Sinai militia to destabilize Egypt’ and to keep ‘80% of Egyptian assets in an Emirates bank’. Finally, El-Erian recently told the UAE ambassador that his country’s people ‘will be slaves of the Persians’.

Citing an invitation to Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi to visit Abu Dhabi — Morsi visited instead Iran’s President Ahmadinejad — Al Qassemi concluded saying that ‘Egypt’s Muslim Brothers are the greatest threat for the UAE’ and ‘the Emirates leadership must suspend or reconsider diplomatic relations’.

The UAE have for their part arrested almost 100 people since the beginning of this year on charges of terrorism and conspiracy against national security: most of them are reportedly members of Al Islah, the local, illegal chapter of the Muslim Brothers. Visa policies have also become much stricter for Egyptian nationals.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

‘I Don’t Recognize European Parliament’, Says Erdogan

After EU criticism towards Turkey. Military repression announced

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA — Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday said he does not recognize the European Parliament, Anadolu news agency reported.

This comes after an EU resolution approved last Thursday condemned police brutality in Turkey and criticized the Turkish government’s conduct in dealing with the nationwide protests that have rocked the country for two weeks.

“Does the European Parliament have the right to adopt such a decision on Turkey? I do not recognize this European Parliament”, said the embattled premier, who has been negotiating for adhesion to the EU since 2005. “I do not recognize any decision taken by the European Parliament on Turkey”, Erdogan had said Thursday.

“The recent days’ events have been a test of our economy and our democracy, and we passed it with flying colors”, he added.

Also on Monday, Deputy Premier Bulent Arinc said the Gezi Park movement is over and threatened protesters with military repression, Hurriyet online daily reported.

“Any ongoing protests are outside the law and will be immediately repressed. Those responsible will be prosecuted”, Hurriyet cited the deputy premier as saying on TV. “We have the police. If they’re not enough, we have the gendarmes. And if they’re not enough either, we have the army”, Arinc said.

Despite extensive news coverage of demonstrations and violence across Turkey, the country is quite calm and safe, the country’s ambassador to Italy said Monday. Hakki Akil suggested news reporting has been exaggerated to the detriment of his country. “It’s not fair to give wide coverage the situation as if there was a civil war,” Akil said outside an exhibition. The media is also unfairly focusing on demands from a few “marginal” demonstrators who say the Turkish government is undemocratic and must reform, he added. “Democratic standards in Turkey are not inferior to those of the West,” said the ambassador. For almost three weeks, protesters have gathered in Istanbul and other parts of Turkey to demonstrate against the government and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who many say has become undemocratic. In response, Erdogan has ordered riot police to crack down on demonstrators, claiming they were being manipulated by “terrorists”, the BBC is reporting. Trade unions have called a strike to protest against the police crackdown on demonstrators which has seen some 500 people arrested. Medical officials estimate that 5,000 people have been injured and at least four killed in the unrest, said the BBC. But ambassador Akil said that he recently visited Istanbul, including Taksim Square, where protests began, “and did not see anything, it was all calm”. “You can safely go in Turkey”. He also defended the widely criticized police response to the protests, saying the use of force has been “proportional”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italian Killed Fighting Alongside ‘Extremist’ Syrian Rebels

Islamic convert, 20, posted Koran passages on Facebook

(ANSA) — Genoa, June 18 — A 20-year-old Italian who had converted to Islam has died in Syria while fighting with rebels against the government of Bashar al-Assad. The death of Giuliano Ibrahim Delnevo, a student, was first revealed by Milan daily Il Giornale and subsequently confirmed by ANSA sources.

Delnevo, who had taken the name Ibrahim after converting to Islam, had posted passages of the Koran on his Facebook page.

His family reportedly had no ties to Islam. According to Il Giornale he taken up with the “most extremist Syrian rebels”. (photo: Giuliano Ibrahim Delnevo’s Facebook photo)

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italian Photographer Accuses Turkish Police of Brutality

‘I was slapped, kicked, stomped, and maced’

(see related) (ANSA) — Rome, June 18 — The Italian photographer beaten and arrested during demonstrations in Istanbul accused police there of brutality on Tuesday. “Now I’m fine, but the police used rather violent methods,” said Daniele Stefanini, 29, upon returning to Italy at Rome’s Fiumicino airport. “They threw me to the ground with slaps, kicks, stomps, and mace spray.

“I was afraid”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italian Killed in Syria Was Being Probed for Terrorism

‘Other suspects’ under investigation say prosecutors

(see related) (ANSA) — Genoa, June 18 — Giuliano Ibrahim Delnevo, an Italian who was killed in Syria fighting alongside rebel combatants, was under investigation in Genoa for terrorist recruitment, prosecutors said Tuesday. According to sources, the probe had been ongoing for months at the time of Delnovo’s death. Delnevo converted to Islam in 2008 and soon became known online for his commentary on passages in the Koran. Authorities said he went to Syria towards the end of 2012, though he had already made contact with extremist groups there in mid-2012. Investigators are looking into whether Delnevo was trained in Italy.

Prosecutors said “there are other suspects who are not from Genova”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italian Killed Fighting With Rebels in Syria

A man from Genoa has been killed in Syria, Italian daily Il Giornale has reported.

Citing intelligence sources and the Italy’s Ministry of the Interior, the newspaper said that the man converted to Islam after meeting Chechens and went to Syria to fight with forces against the government of Bashar al-Assad. Corriere della Sera has named the young Genoan as 24-year-old Giuliano ibrahim Delnevo and said that he crossed from Turkey into Syria last year. He converted to Islam in 2008 and took the name Ibrahim, La Repubblica newspaper said.

According to media reports, Delnevo was identified by his Italian passport recovered from his body and was under investigation in Italy for terrorist recruitment.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

No-Fly Zone Not Helpful for Syrian Peace Says Moscow

(AGI) Moscow, June 18 — A no-fly-zone and humanitarian passages in Syria would favour operations by extremists and would not be helpful for the Geneva II peace conference, Russian Foreign Minister Serghei Lavrov told Kuwait News Agency on Tuesday reported Russian news agency Interfax.

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

Syrian Fundamentalist Rebels Get 250 Anti-Tank Missiles

Distributed via Turkey with US consent, Saudi press reports

(ANSAmed) — BEIRUT, JUNE 18 — Two hundred and fifty anti-tank missiles were transferred in the first half of June from a Gulf country to Islamic fundamentalist brigades working with the Free Syrian Army. Reports were in Tuesday’s pan-Arab Saudi daily Asharq Al Awsat, which quoted a source within the leadership ranks of the Free Syrian Army (FSA). The newspaper said that the transfer of the weapons had occurred in the regions of Aleppo, Idlib and Damascus, crossing through Turkey and with the consent of the US. Well-informed sources contacted by ANSAmed say that the Gulf country behind the transfer may have been Qatar. The source quoted by the Saudi newspaper added that about a hundred Concours-M missiles had been sent to the Ahrar Ash Shams brigades, known for its jihadist tendencies and close to Jabhat An Nusra (a group linked to Al Qaeda and considered by the US to be a terrorist organisation) and not part of the FSA umbrella structure. The source also said that the Daraa region, which borders on Jordan, did not receive any of the missiles. At the political level, the decision was reportedly made official during a recent meeting between Islamic groups in Cairo.

Over 40 missiles of the 250 sent to Syria have reached the Damascus region and have been distributed to brigades of the Southern Front- FSA Chiefs of Staff. Others were sent to fundamentalist brigades in the Aleppo and Idlib regions which are not part of the FSA but are allied with it in the fight against Bashar Al-Assad’s troops.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Taliban Signal Readiness for Peace Talks

In a potentially groundbreaking move, the Taliban announced on Tuesday they were prepared to take the first step towards peace negotiations with the Afghanistan government after 12 years of war.

The announcement came in Doha, the capital of Qatar, where negotiations have been underway for more than two years with a range of international participants to attempt start peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government.

It would be the first time that the antagonists in the Afghanistan war have undertaken peace negotiations to end a conflict that has encumbered the United States since 2001, when American forces entered the country to rout Al Qaeda.

[Return to headlines]

Turkish Government Mulls Restrictions on Social Media

Turkey’s Interior Minister Muammer Güler (pictured) confirmed Monday that police and government are looking into the use of social media as a tool to organise the Gezi Park demonstrations that have swept the country for nearly three weeks.

The Turkish government on Monday launched a study on restricting social media, a move inspired by the Gezi Park protests that have spread across the country.

The Justice Ministry has started working on a draft on crimes over the Internet, ministry sources told the “Hürriyet Daily News”. “International implementations regarding the issue are being inspected,” the source said.

Remarks Monday by Interior Minister Muammer Güler confirmed that social media websites are on the government’s radar, as the protests that have plagued the country for nearly three weeks have used social media as a tool to organise demonstrations.

The police are looking into the issue, Güler told a group of journalists in Ankara, noting that some people had been detained in ?zmir because of their allegedly provocative tweets during the protests.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Video: Syrian Teen-Rebels Hail 9/11 Attack

Al-Qaeda training camp recruits: “If they call me a terrorist, I will consider it an honor”

A new video has emerged of teens at an Al-Qaeda camp in Syria undergoing military training and indoctrination as they sing songs glorifying the 9/11 attacks while vowing to topple President Bashar Al-Assad.

The clip shows the teens being transported to Al-Qaeda’s “Khalifa Youth Camp” in Al Bukamal, Syria before they are seen being trained to fire rounds at an image of Assad while surrounded with distinctive black Al-Qaeda flags which proclaim “Allahu Akbar” and “Islamic State of Iraq & Sham,” which represents the union between Al-Qaeda in Iraq and Syria.

The video shows the teens on a bus vowing that the “state of Islam … will vanquish Bashar and Bushra (Assad’s sister), the lowlifes and the infidels.”…

The video serves as yet another reminder that the Obama administration is directly aiding terrorists with its decision to arm the rebels with heavy weaponry. Despite efforts to differentiate between FSA militants and Al-Qaeda terrorists, the two groups have clearly merged into a single force.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Pakistan: Punjab: Young Christian Dies Under Torture in Police Custody With 22 Broken Bones

Irfan Masih was arrested on 8 June suspected of a murder he did not commit. For days, he was subjected to abuse in order to extort a confession. He died on Sunday from the serious injuries he suffered. “So what if he died? So many die anyway every day,” a police officer said. Human rights activists call for justice, whilst the victim’s family is in hiding for fear of reprisals.

Islamabad (AsiaNews) — Taken into custody by police without evidence or a judge’s warrant, a 20-year-old Christian man was held in prison for nine days during which he was abused and tortured in order to extract a confession to a crime he did not commit. In the end, he died from the injuries he suffered, including 22 broken bones, according to the doctors who examined his body. This is the tragic story of Irfan Masih, a resident of Sharikpur, Sheikhupura District, in Punjab province, who died on Sunday, still in the clutches of his captors, all members of the local police.

The young man, who was employed by a local company, was arrested on 8 June on suspicion of murder. According to the family, he was held for several days at the police station without evidence or a warrant for his arrest. He died on Wednesday from the injuries he sustained, “multiple fractures” according to the doctors who examined his body.

Despite the barbarous crime, police officers in Sharikpur show no signs of repentance. For the station chief, Masih “was not able to bare” the torture and died. His deputy added laconically and without remorse that he was doing his duty seeking the truth and had no regrets. “So what if he died? So many die anyway every day,” Deputy Inspector Variam Ali said.

Human rights activists and organisations, including Life for All, condemned the vicious act and staged a protest in Lahore.

Despite the obstacles involved in suing members of the police, a complaint to the city’s High Court is already being prepared in order to bring the torturers to court. Meanwhile, the young man’s family has been placed under protection and spirited away to a safe place.

Pakistan is not new to cases of faulty justice, extrajudicial killings and suspicious deaths in prison or police stations.

AsiaNews has time after time reported such acts of violence, like the death in prison of Robert Fanish Masih in 2009, who had been sued for an alleged (and false) case of blasphemy. The same occurred to a young man suffering from a mental disorder who died suddenly in jail under suspicious circumstances back in early December after he had been arrested on the basis of the black law.

Speaking about these cases, Fr John Gill, a priest in Lahore, said that “rigorous investigations” are needed to have justice.

“Irfan Gill Masi was an only son,” he said, and “we are still asking ourselves what was his fault. Why was he ripped away from his family so brutally? These events must end and the appropriate authorities should act to bring justice.”

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

The Family of an American Scientist Found Hanged in Singapore Last Year Dismissed on Tuesday the City-State’s Findings That He Committed Suicide as “A Sham and a Cover-Up” For a Murder.

“I am not surprised by the state’s findings because the state refused to consider murder, they only investigated suicide,” Mary Todd, mother of the late electronics engineer Shane Todd, told AFP by email from the United States.

The Singapore government, summing up its position after two weeks of public hearings in May, on Monday rejected the family’s conspiracy theory, saying Todd killed himself in June 2012 in his own apartment after a bout of depression.

“If they had nothing to hide, they would not care one way or the other what happened to Shane. Sadly, the inquest was never an open, non-adversarial, fact-finding inquiry as promised but was a sham and a cover-up,” the mother said…

In her message to AFP, Mary Todd repeated claims that her son’s former employer, Singapore’s state-linked Institute of Microelectronics (IME), was more closely involved with China’s Huawei Technologies than stated at the hearings.

In earlier statements to the inquest, Todd’s parents said that before he died, the researcher expressed fears that he was being made to compromise US national security in a secret project involving the two companies.

IME and Huawei say they only held preliminary talks on a potential commercial venture and reject the family’s allegations they worked on a clandestine project involving Todd with military applications.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Growth of Chinese Navy Means U.S. Must Compete for Maritime Supremacy

U.S. Navy Must Compete for Maritime Supremacy

Writing recently in the Los Angeles Times, Gordon Chang and retired Adm. James Lyons pointed with alarm to China’s naval expansion.

That sea power represents the path to national greatness is now axiomatic for the Chinese state and society. China is bolting together a great navy with aplomb, and the United States had better take notice.

Beijing is thinking hard about how to use this new implement to advance national power and purposes. This poses a challenge of the first order. America and its allies must brace themselves for a permanent Chinese presence in maritime Asia — or beyond.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Kim Jong un Hands Out Copies of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf to Senior North Korean Officials to See What Lessons Can be Learned From it

[WARNING: Disturbing Content.]

Senior government officials in North Korea were given copies of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf for Kim Jong Un’s birthday in January, it has been revealed.

The highly controversial act was uncovered by New Focus International, a North Korean news organisation working to get news out of the highly secretive country.

The infamous Nazi tome was distributed in a limited edition, called ‘a one-hundred copy book’ in North Korea, which is published in secret for the country’s top officials to read.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Amnesty Must be Defeated — How You Can Help

They’re at it again. Our political elite (of both parties) is once again trying to ram through an amnesty of illegal aliens. As badly-managed as our current immigration system is, the amnesty proposal currently in Congress would make it even worse.

It’s officially titled “The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 (S. 744)” but it doesn’t make our border more secure, and it reduces economic opportunity for millions of Americans. With twelve million Americans unemployed, why do we even need immigrants, legal or illegal? But it’s really not about that, is it? It’s about transforming the United States, it’s about changing the demographics of the United States even more rapidly, it’s about electing a new people.

S. 744 grants amnesty to millions of illegal aliens, it’s likely to be much more than the 11-million figure we constantly hear. These legalized illegals would then be eligible to import more family members. When it’s all said and done, it’s going to bring in tens of millions more people.

But it’s not only that. This bill could triple legal immigration. As I’ve pointed out before, we have twelve million unemployed fellow citizens. Why do we need any immigrants?

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Lampedusa Centre Crammed, Boat People Flock in

UNCHR calls for investigation into migrant drowning deaths

(ANSAmed) — LAMPEDUSA (AGRIGENTO) — Launched in boats from northern Africa across the Strait of Sicily, more than a thousand migrants have flocked to Italian coasts in the last two days in a flood that has left the migrant holding centre on the southern Italian island of Lampedusa crammed well beyond capacity. Built to accommodate a maximum of 300 people, the Lampedusa centre is now packed with 855 people, and more are on the way. On Monday, a boat carrying 200 Eritrean refugees sent an SOS signal because the vessel is adrift and a woman is about to give birth on board. Two more boats, an inflatable with 40 people aboard and a boat carrying 110 Somalis, are heading to Italy from Libyan waters.

Italian Coast and Finance Guard bulletins are being updated on the hour as more signals come in and rescuers fan out to save lives all along the coast from Lampedusa to Capo Passero.

As warm weather brings calmer seas, human traffickers gear up to send people across on unseaworthy boats at huge profits, with voyages of hope often ending in tragedy: ten migrants drowned Sunday as they attempted to cling to a tuna cage dragged by a Tunisian fishing boat south of Malta. Some 95 survived to tell the Italian Coast Guard how the fishing crew refused to allow them on board, cutting the tuna cage cables. Prosecutors in the Sicilian city of Agrigento will open a case once investigators take witness statements from the survivors.

“The charge will probably be abetting clandestine immigration”, said chief prosecutor Renato Di Natale.

Prosecuting on charges relating to the ten drowning deaths will be difficult, he added, because the migrants died in international waters 85 miles south of Lampedusa island.

The UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has called for an investigation so those responsible can be identified. “The UNHCR applauds the efforts of the Coast Guard, which has saved hundreds of lives thanks to its numerous missions. We trust the authorities will institute a transfer system as soon as possible, allowing Lampedusa island to remain a place of first reception and transit and in order to avoid the situations of extreme discomfort experienced in the past”, said the UNHCR delegate for southern Europe, Laurens Jolles.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Senate Rejects Border Fence

Senators on Tuesday rejected building the 700 miles of double-tier border fencing Congress authorized just seven years ago, with a majority of the Senate saying they didn’t want to delay granting illegal immigrants legal status while the fence was being built.

The 54-39 vote to reject the fence shows the core of the immigration deal is holding. The vote broke mostly along party lines, though five Republicans, including Sen. Marco Rubio and the rest of the bill’s authors, voted against the fence, and two Democrats voted for it.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Some 1,000 Migrants Packed Into 300-Person Facility in Italy

Immigration by sea on the rise as temperatures warm

(ANSA) — Lampedusa, June 18 — An estimated 1,000 immigrants were at a southern Italian holding center with a maximum occupancy of 300 people on Tuesday. The latest arrivals, 259 migrants, came late Monday to the island of Lampedusa, which is between Sicily and North Africa. Officials were working to move the migrants to different facilities.

In the meantime people were seen overcrowding balconies and staircases at the Lampedusa center. The number of migrants to Italy increases annually in the summer months as sea conditions improve. However large numbers of people, usually packed inside unsafe boats, still die en route.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

The Veil Comes Off: Gang of Eight’s Immigration Reform Bill = Amnesty

An immigration enforcement advocacy organization says the scuttling of an amendment aimed at strong border enforcement removes any pretense that the current immigration reform legislation being debated in the U.S. Senate is anything but an amnesty bill.

Last week the Senate voted to kill the amendment from Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) that would have prevented illegal immigrants from being granted amnesty until the U.S.-Mexico border has been under control for six months. It was the first amendment voted on regarding S. 744 intended to remake the U.S. immigration system and effectively open the door to citizenship for millions of individuals who are in the U.S. illegally.

Supporters of the bill said the Grassley amendment would delay — possibly for years — the amnesty that is at the center of the bill. Ira Mehlman, who opposes the legislation and is a spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, says that argument is quite telling.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Mystery on Venus: ‘Super-Hurricane’ Force Winds Inexplicably Get Stronger

The howling, hurricane-force winds of Venus are blowing even faster lately, and scientists aren’t sure why.

Average cloud-top wind speeds on Venus rose 33 percent between 2006 and 2012, jumping from 186 mph (300 km/h) to 249 mph (400 km/h), observations by Europe’s Venus Express orbiter show.

“This is an enormous increase in the already high wind speeds known in the atmosphere,” Igor Khatuntsev of the Space Research Institute in Moscow said in a statement. “Such a large variation has never before been observed on Venus, and we do not yet understand why this occurred.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

6 thoughts on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 6/18/2013

  1. “The practice is said to have a “disparate impact” on racial minorities.”

    It may indeed be true but the aggrieved racial minorities might serve themselves better if they learned some self control and stopped committing crime at a disproportionate rate.

    If I am hiring somebody I need to be able to trust them. If they have a criminal record I want to know what the crime was and how long ago it occurred. A recent theft for instance would preclude an applicant, a long ago indiscretion of youth would have be of no effect.

  2. Off topic but it seems anti-jihadi websites are being pulled from the internet. “Vlad Tepes” is intermittent, “New English Review”has gone completely and “Answering Muslims” cannot be found by Google! What is happening?

    • Vlad is down intermittently because of recurrent DDOS attacks. He deals with it as best he can within his limited means.

      The New English Review was taken down by a massive DDOS. They are in the process of moving to a secure (more expensive) server with a different hosting service. They hope to be back up this week.

      I don’t know about Answering Muslims — this is the first I’ve heard of any problem with it. It loaded fine for me just now.

      • Thank you for that Baron. I am able to view “Answering Muslims” now. Apart from the obvious who else doesn’t want us to read the unsavoury aspects of the RoP ?

  3. Pingback: Steynian 475st | Free Canuckistan!

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