Gates of Vienna News Feed 6/21/2013

Last Thursday 386 pupils at a school in Sichuan Province in China had to be hospitalized with food poisoning after eating lunch. Two days later, 231 of them were still in the hospital. A Chinese blog dedicated to concerns about food safety was shut down by the authorities.

In other news, Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) has asked the FBI to reconsider publishing its “Most Wanted Terrorists List” ad, which displays photos of the top sixteen most wanted terrorists. Mr. McDermott is concerned that the ad might be offensive to Muslims and racial minorities, and could also encourage racial profiling.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Caroline Glick, Fjordman, Insubria, JD, JP, Papa Whiskey, 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
» Cyprus: ‘Privatisation Plan’
» “Happy 237th Birthday, America”
» Blaine Approves Plan for Islamic School
» Developer: Kansas Caverns Could Preserve Human Race
» Ex-Contractor is Charged in Leaks on N.S.A. Surveillance
» Federal Nullification Efforts Mounting in States
» From Karen Silkwood to Michael Hastings, Something is Wrong
» Genetically-Modified Eggplant Found to be Unsafe for Human Consumption, Environment
» How the Farm Bill Could Undermine the Future of GMO Labeling by Individual States
» ‘Mayors Against Illegal Guns’ List Boston Bomber as Victim of Gun Violence
» Obama’s Crackdown Views Leaks as Aiding Enemies of U.S.
» Offensive to Muslims: Dem Congressman Calls on FBI to Take Down Photos of Terrorists
» Refusing Military Use of it, Obama Violates First Amendment
» School Choice and Charters Will Kill Private Education
» Serve — Protect and Lead
Europe and the EU
» Doctors Protest Against Swedish Healthcare
» France: Femen Girls Accost Hollande at Air Show’fly Away From Islam’
» German Court Passed Verdict Based on Shariah Law
» Greece: Media Reveal Massive Fraud at ERT Public TV
» Italian Oil Refineries ‘At Risk’ Says Industry Minister
» Italy to Face EU Court of Justice Over Waste Management
» Italy Salami Exports Jump 7.2% in 2012 to Record 1.12 Bln
» Italy: Court Body Tells Berlusconi to Respect Fraud Ruling
» Italy’s ‘Crazy’ Justice System in Critical State — OECD
» Italy: Letta Lauds Berlusconi’s Behavior After Losing Court Battle
» Netherlands: Small Farms Not a Good Business Proposition
» Spain: “Soon the Muslims Will be the Kings of the World”
» Spain: Eight Al-Qaeda Suspects Nabbed in Dawn Raid
» Sweden: Building Permission for New Grand Mosque in Malmö
» Turkey: EU Puts Brakes on Accession Talks
» UK: A Reminder of Tory Backbench Rage
» UK: Conservative MPs Launch Attempt to Bring Back Death Penalty, Privatise the BBC and Ban Burka
» UK: Company Creates Lampposts and Bus Stops That ‘Come Alive’ And Can Talk
» UK: EDL Invites US Anti-Muslim ‘Hate Bloggers’ Pam Geller and Robert Spencer to Speak at Woolwich Rally
» UK: Facebook and Twitter Trolls Will Avoid Prosecution if They Apologise as New Rules Impose a ‘High Threshold’ For Court Action
» UK: Greenwich Council Leader Cllr Chris Roberts Tells Groups Mourning Drummer Lee Rigby to ‘Go Home’
» UK: Keep Spencer and Geller Out of the UK
» UK: Muslims Get Shrewsbury Dream Mosque
» UK: Murdered Soldier Lee Rigby’s Home Town to Hold Memorial Service
» UK: Rally to ‘Keep Out EDL’ By United East End After Woolwich Attack on Soldier
» UK: Southend Landlady Defends Decision to Let EDL Meet in Her Pub
» UK: This Daft Ban Simply Isn’t Cricket
» UK: Why Charles Moore is Wrong About British Muslims
» UK: What People Think of Robert Spencer
» Wales: Rhyl Mosque Fire Attack: ‘Racist’ John Parkin Jailed
North Africa
» Egypt: Brotherhood to Defend Revolution in New Protests
» Egypt: Pro-Morsi Tagarod Mov’t Gathers 11 Million Signatures
» Egypt: Luxor Protests Keep Governorship up in the Air
» Libya: Italy Will Take Responsibility, Says Italian FM
Israel and the Palestinians
» Caroline Glick: Jewish Civil Rights and Privatization
» First Italian Restaurant Opens in Ramallah
» Palestinian PM Rami Hamdallah Tenders Resignation
Middle East
» Islamic Banks’ Share Set to Rise in Turkey
» Putin Fears Ultimate Destination of Arms to Syrian Rebels
» Syria: We Must Arm the Moderate Opposition to Keep Out Extremists
» Turkey: Journalist Calls on EU to Reopen Talks
» UAE: Islamic Theme Park Coming to Dubai
» War in Syria: ‘Hunt for Danish Fighters in Syria’
South Asia
» Afghanistan: US Mulls Prisoner Swap to Free Soldier Held by Taliban
» At Least Seven Dead in Pakistan Mosque Suicide Attack
» Bangladeshi Court Sentences 10 Islamic Militants to Death
» Bangladesh: 10 Islamic Terrorists Sentenced to Death
» Barack Obama Has Given the Taliban the Upper Hand in Afghanistan
» Suicide Attacks Kills 14 in Peshawar, Pakistan
Far East
» China: Sichuan: 386 Pupils Suffer Food Poisoning at School
» China: Xinjiang: 19 Uyghur Sentenced: “They Spread Extremism on Line”
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Al-Qaeda Bombs UN Compound in Somalia, Killing 15
Latin America
» One Million Take to Brazil’s Streets as Protests Turn Violent
» A False Sense of Border Security
» Boat Adrift With 45 Migrants Rescued Off Shore of Sicily
» ‘We Want to See Qatada on a Plane to Jordan’: Deportation Moves Closer as UK Parliament Ratifies Landmark Treaty
Culture Wars
» UK: Church of England Creating ‘Pagan Church’ To Recruit Members

Cyprus: ‘Privatisation Plan’

O Phileleftheros, 21 June 2013

The Nicosia government approved plans for the privatisation of several semi-public companies on June 20, in line with the terms of the memorandum negotiated with the EU-ECB-IMF troika of international creditors.

The programme, which will privatise an estimated €1.4bn of assets, will include the CYTA telecommunications company, national electricity provider AHK, and the Cyprus port authority, reports O Phileftheros.

The daily explains that the government plans to employ private consultants for three months to establish the details of the programme. The cost of the consultants’ services will be between €100,000 and €150,000.

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

“Happy 237th Birthday, America”

An online essay on page 16 by economist, Allen Sanderson, in pdf form from “Chicago Life” 2013 Summer Edition

The page is full of factoids, including this sequester jester:

The Pentagon payroll stars are the Army, Navy and Air Force football coaches Troy Calhoun, Ken Niumatalolo and Rich Ellerson. They made more money than anyone else on the Pentagon payroll. Calhoun(Air Force) makes $882,000 a year; Niumatalolo (Navy) makes $1.6 million a year; and Ellerson (Army) makes $600,000 a year.

[Return to headlines]

Blaine Approves Plan for Islamic School

Residents cited traffic concerns, but city officials said a fear of having Muslims in the community also fueled opposition.

City officials gave their blessing to a small Islamic school in Blaine on Thursday despite opposition by some local residents who said they wanted the plan rejected because of traffic concerns.

But some believe the real issue was fear of having Muslims in the community. “That’s probably the underlying concern,” said Blaine City Council Member Wes Hovland, who represents the area where the school is located in an office building at 8710 Central Av. NE. “The idea of having people who are different in their beliefs and religion wandering through their neighborhood bothers them, and I don’t understand why,” said Hovland. “I don’t want to make it into this kind of issue. You can’t look at this based on race or religion. But concerns over traffic and property values are all valid reasons.”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Developer: Kansas Caverns Could Preserve Human Race

From Associated Press

After most of the world’s population is wiped off the map by a wayward meteorite or hail of nuclear missiles, the survival of the human race might just depend on a few thousand people huddled in recreational vehicles deep in the bowels of an eastern Kansas mine.

That’s the vision of a California man who is creating what he calls the world’s largest private underground survivor shelter, using a complex of limestone caves dug more than 100 years ago beneath gently rolling hills overlooking the Missouri River.

“I do believe I am on a mission and doing a spiritual thing,” said Robert Vicino, who has purchased a large portion of the former U.S. Army storage facility on the southeast edge of Atchison, about 50 miles northwest of Kansas City, Mo. “We will certainly be part of the genesis”.

Before it comes time to ride out Armageddon or a deadly global pandemic, though, Vicino says the Vivos Survival Shelter and Resort will be a fun place for members to take vacations and learn assorted survival skills to prepare them for whatever world-changing catastrophe awaits…

[Return to headlines]

Ex-Contractor is Charged in Leaks on N.S.A. Surveillance

Edward J. Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor whose leak of agency documents has set off a national debate over the proper limits of government surveillance, has been charged with violating the Espionage Act and theft of government property for disclosing classified information to The Guardian and The Washington Post, officials said on Friday.

The charges were filed under seal on June 14 and unsealed late Friday. American officials said they had asked the authorities in Hong Kong, where Mr. Snowden is believed to be in hiding, to detain him while an indictment and an extradition request were prepared.

The expected attempt to extradite Mr. Snowden from Hong Kong is likely to produce a lengthy legal battle whose outcome is uncertain, because the extradition treaty between the United States and Hong Kong includes an exception for political offenses, and Mr. Snowden could argue that his prosecution is political in nature.

[Return to headlines]

Federal Nullification Efforts Mounting in States

Imagine the scenario: A federal agent attempts to arrest someone for illegally selling a machine gun. Instead, the federal agent is arrested — charged in a state court with the crime of enforcing federal gun laws.

Farfetched? Not as much as you might think.

The scenario would become conceivable if legislation passed by Missouri’s Republican-led Legislature is signed into law by Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon.

The Missouri legislation is perhaps the most extreme example of a states’ rights movement that has been spreading across the nation. States are increasingly adopting laws that purport to nullify federal laws — setting up intentional legal conflicts, directing local police not to enforce federal laws and, in rare cases, even threatening criminal charges for federal agents who dare to do their jobs.

[Comment: AP article is slanted — makes no mention that this is what should happen when Federal laws are unconstitutional.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

From Karen Silkwood to Michael Hastings, Something is Wrong

Just a few short years ago, I would have likely considered the death of Rolling Stone Reporter Michael Hastings an “open and shut” tragedy after a cursory review of the open source evidence associated with this event.

Based on a number of things I’ve recently seen and certain information which I’ve been given over the last few years, I have my doubts. Serious doubts. Legitimate doubts.

I am not writing out of lack of experience and exposure to such events, as I’ve spent the last 28 years of my life as a career investigator. In the mid-to-late 1970s, I spent several years as a “first responder,” long before that descriptive phrase was ever used. In many ways, my transition from responding to tragedies of all kinds to the investigation of such events was a natural evolution, and set the stage for my current overlapping roles as an investigative journalist and a talk show host with the only goal of identifying truth and exposing lies, wherever the journey might lead.

Offering my background is to simply provide you with a frame of reference regarding how and why I am going on record to say that I suspect that there is something very wrong taking place in America, and it is not new. It is, however, becoming more refined and deadly, and perhaps even more common than any of us can comprehend or might be willing to accept. After all, it’s extremely uncomfortable for us to believe that there is an unseen darkness or a hidden hand that exists in our world as we personally know it.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Genetically-Modified Eggplant Found to be Unsafe for Human Consumption, Environment

(NaturalNews) Field trials of genetically-modified (GM) Bt eggplant, also known as Bt talong, have officially ceased in the Philippines following a major ruling by the nation’s Court of Appeals. Representing a massive victory for food sovereignty, the Court found that Bt talong is a monumental threat to both environmental and human health, and has subsequently ordered that all existing plantings of Bt talong in test fields be immediately destroyed and blocked from further propagation.

Like in many other nations across the globe, the biotechnology industry has been craftily trying to sneak its genetic poisons into the Philippines under the guise of improving crop yields, reducing chemical use, and yada yada ad nauseum — all the typical industry propaganda and lies used to convince the more gullible among us that GMOs are some kind of food production miracle. But the Philippines is not buying all the hype. And unlike the U.S., the southeast Asian country is taking a bold stand against a technology that has never been proven safe or beneficial in any way.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

How the Farm Bill Could Undermine the Future of GMO Labeling by Individual States

(NaturalNews) The Republicrats in the U.S. Congress have once again betrayed their constituents by voting down an amendment to the upcoming Farm Bill that would have openly recognized the right of individual states to choose whether or not to label genetically-modified organisms (GMOs). And even though the federal government does not actually have the power to regulate the labeling decisions of individual states, the failure of Senate Amendment 965 to garner enough support could end up undermining future GMO labeling initiatives.

As reported by Katherine Paul over at, the Senate on May 23 voted down S.AMDT.965, also known as the Sanders Amendment, in a vote of 27-71, effectively killing what would have been recognition at the federal level that individual states already have the right to mandate the proper labeling of foods, beverages, and other edible products that contain GMOs. Each individual state already has the right under the U.S. Constitution to label GMOs if they so choose, regardless of the amendment’s passage, but S.AMDT.965 would have expressly acknowledged this to avoid confusion.

But with typical food industry pandering, a majority of state Senators rejected the amendment, which leaves the future of GMO food labeling hanging in the balance. States still have the right to pass GMO labeling laws in accordance with the Constitution, of course. But the rejection of S.AMDT.965 creates the illusion that this is somehow not the case, as language in the amendment presupposes that states need some kind of magical “permit” from the federal government in order to pass GMO labeling legislation, a permit that will now not be granted.

No such permit exists, however. In fact, the federal government has absolutely no jurisdiction over individual states as it pertains to GMO labeling, as the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution expressly reserves all powers not explicitly granted to the federal government to the individual states and the people. In other words, the federal government itself does not have the necessary “permit” to offer any input into the matter whatsoever — the individual states are free to decide for themselves how to handle the GMO labeling issue without federal government interference…

“The biotech industry knows that it’s only a matter of time before Washington State, Vermont, Maine, Connecticut and other states pass GMO labeling laws,” adds Ronnie Cummins, National Director for the Organic Consumers Association (OCA). “Rather than fight this battle in every state, Monsanto is trying to manipulate Congress to pass a Farm Bill that will wipe out citizens’ rights to state laws intended to protect their health and safety.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

‘Mayors Against Illegal Guns’ List Boston Bomber as Victim of Gun Violence

The organizers of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns campaign on Wednesday apologized for including Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev among a list of shooting victims’ names that were read during a demonstration in Concord on Tuesday.

The apology came after several groups, including the New Hampshire Republican Party, blasted the campaign for including his name.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Obama’s Crackdown Views Leaks as Aiding Enemies of U.S.

Even before a former U.S. intelligence contractor exposed the secret collection of Americans’ phone records, the Obama administration was pressing a government-wide crackdown on security threats that requires federal employees to keep closer tabs on their co-workers and exhorts managers to punish those who fail to report their suspicions.

President Barack Obama’s unprecedented initiative, known as the Insider Threat Program, is sweeping in its reach. It has received scant public attention even though it extends beyond the U.S. national security bureaucracies to most federal departments and agencies nationwide, including the Peace Corps, the Social Security Administration and the Education and Agriculture departments. It emphasizes leaks of classified material, but catchall definitions of “insider threat” give agencies latitude to pursue and penalize a range of other conduct.

Government documents reviewed by McClatchy illustrate how some agencies are using that latitude to pursue unauthorized disclosures of any information, not just classified material. They also show how millions of federal employees and contractors must watch for “high-risk persons or behaviors” among co-workers and could face penalties, including criminal charges, for failing to report them. Leaks to the media are equated with espionage.

[“Insider Threat Program?” How about “Operation FedSqueal?” This is absolutely chilling — like something out of the Stalin regime in the ‘30s. — PW]

           — Hat tip: Papa Whiskey [Return to headlines]

Offensive to Muslims: Dem Congressman Calls on FBI to Take Down Photos of Terrorists

Always-unfiltered Rep. Jim McDermott penned a letter to FBI Director Robert Mueller Wednesday claiming a Joint Terrorism Task Force ‘Faces of Global Terrorism’ ad is racist.

McDermott, a Democrat from Washington state, voiced his “deep concern” about the ad, which shows mug shots of international terrorists, and asked the FBI chief to “reconsider publicizing” it.

According to McDermott, the “ad featuring sixteen photos of wanted terrorists is not only offensive to Muslims and ethnic minorities, but it encourages racial and religious profiling.”

McDermott continued, “Representing terrorists, however, from only one ethnic or religious group, promotes stereotypes and ignores other forms of extremism. The FBI’s ‘Most Wanted Terrorists List’ includes individuals of other races and associated with other religions and causes, but their faces are missing from this campaign.”

McDermott’s point is that two of the people on the FBI’s thirty-two person ‘Most Wanted Terrorists List’ do not have connections to Islam.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Refusing Military Use of it, Obama Violates First Amendment

Is this America?

The Family Research Council in Washington, DC publishes the Tony Perkins’ Washington Update online and in its June 13, 2013 article “Furloughing Faith” Perkins states that Obama knows he can’t outright veto the First Amendment to our United States Constitution, so he sneaks around it by refusing all military personnel their God given right to use it.

In the article referred to above, Perkins explains that Louisiana Representative John Fleming, Jr., a medical doctor and U. S. Navy veteran serving U. S. Marines at Camp Pendleton, CA had filed a religious freedom amendment with the U. S. House Armed Services Committee, which passed with bipartisan support.

As Perkins stated, “Nothing about Fleming’s measure is controversial, unless you object to Americans’ rights as outlined by the U.S. Constitution. In his (Obama’s) most combative move yet, the administration warned Congress yesterday that it strongly opposes” the Fleming amendment.

Wouldn’t you agree that that action by the Obama Administration is a violation of the constitutional rights of American citizens and a flagrant abuse of treatment for our military forces? Obama is obsessed with the idea that Christianity, the religion of choice for over 70 percent of Americans, must be precluded for any and all American military forces.

Perkins continues in his article, “The President thinks his troops should have to swallow their religious beliefs to serve. And to the delight of anti-Christian extremists, Obama’s Pentagon has spent the last several months muzzling — or worse, punishing — men and women of faith. From stripping Bibles off desks to crashing private parties, religion — and in particular Christianity — have become dirty words in the ranks.”

Funny, I haven’t seen or heard of any references to the curtailing or any punishing of any Islamic faith dissemination or out-callings. Is Obama perhaps clearing the way for his favorite sounds in the early morning hours coming from an Islamic temple in every place where there is a military encampment?

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

School Choice and Charters Will Kill Private Education

Have any of us ever seen such a whirlwind education controversy taking place nationwide? We have been maneuvered by “change agents at the highest level” into a position where there are really no legitimate/safe options for educating our children than “in the home.”

This is safe only if home schoolers do not accept one penny of tax support from the federal, state, or local tax level, and do not participate in any public education, services or activities.

Activists, many of whom are reading this article, are working day and night to stop the Communist Core which, although very important due to its being the final implementation of a national computerized Marxist curriculum, is NOT the REAL issue. Communist Core, long in the works under other education restructuring initiatives such as The Nation at Risk and “assessment” labels, is not the REAL issue upon which our formerly free nation will stand or fall. The real issue is Americans’ acceptance of charter schools with their unelected boards (Soviet council form of government). Simply put, this is “taxation without representation.” This is a lethal issue as far as rights guaranteed to us under the United States Constitution. Once we give up our right to vote on important issues, and allow these issues to be decided by appointed persons, THE GAME IS OVER! Sitting in a prison cell, we will mull over the many days and hours we devoted to fighting Communist Core, which was a carefully crafted diversionary tactic used while the globalists were taking away our freedoms through charter schools with their unelected boards.

If we want to hold onto our formerly FREE form of government, we must STOP the implementation of ALL school choice initiatives, but especially the CHARTER SCHOOLS…

C. S. Lewis, the noted English writer said, “When training beats education, civilization dies.”

Here is a bit of history behind “their” agenda. “Their” includes “approved” members of both political parties which are now working together (corporate fascism with no accountability to the taxpayers). They have the same goal, planned socialist economy run by unelected councils, a Soviet.


For a more complete understanding of what has happened, and how the USA ever arrived close to accepting the Soviet system, one can go to here for the transcript of Edward Griffin’s interview with Norman Dodd. He was the principal investigator for the Congressional Committee Investigating the Tax-exempt Foundations, 1953, aka Reece Committee. The complete 3,000 page transcript of the Congressional Hearings can be downloaded here.[url]

During the interview Mr. Rowan Gaither, the President of the Ford Foundation, said:

“Mr. Dodd, all of us here at the policy level of the Foundation, have at one time or another served in the OSS [Office of Strategic Services, the forerunner of the CIA] or the European Economic Administration, operating under directives from the White House. We operate under those same directives…The substance of the directives under which we operate is that we shall use our grant making power to so alter life in the United States that we can be comfortably merged with the Soviet Union.

(Think about all the grants throughout America today from HUD, DOE, DOI, etc. that are giving federal dollars to implement UN Agenda 21)

Stunned, Dodd finally replied: “Why don’t you tell the American people what you just told me and you could save the taxpayers thousands of dollars set aside for this investigation?” Gaither responded, “Mr. Dodd, we wouldn’t think of doing that.”

[Comment: Read it all. (Charlotte Iserbyt is an expert on how US and its education system is being Sovietized and subverted.) ]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Serve — Protect and Lead

Obama’s real legacy is a constant flip off to ‘the people’, God of the Holy Bible, U.S. Constitution and freedom. His real agenda is nothing but gooey tentacles squeezing the life out of us all.

Obama’s moral legacy

Only Senator in Illinois to vote for and support Infanticide

While Obama was a ‘do nothing’ Senator in Illinois who normally voted ‘present’ he was so passionate about abortion he stood alone in voting for a Doctor or Nurse not to help a baby who survived an abortion (murder) attempt. Just let the baby sit on the counter and die a slow death for hours. You can be inspired by our President’s own words taken from a video transcript out of Illinois…

When Obama was first elected President one of his first decisions was to reverse the Mexico City Policy Bush had put in place. This forced America while in a painful recession to spend hundreds of millions funding abortions and International family planning clinics around the world. It wasn’t enough for Obama to have millions of abortions in America. He had to finance and push it throughout the world…

Obama knows how Hitler captured the youth and their loyal service in Germany. He is plagiarizing Hitler’s strategies with ‘Common Core’.

A few Common Core basics

  • It redefines the history of our country, describing the Boston Tea Party patriots as the same as 9/11 terrorists.
  • It starts even before Kindergarten shredding and taking out ALL Judeo Christian values. It pushes the gay, lesbian, transgender and all expressions of sex as normal. It has even been verified stories of girls in a high school class being told to kiss another girl and play act being a lesbian to understand them better and see if they aren’t indeed one.
  • This is completely backed and pushed by Agenda 21 — sustainability and International and U.N. pushes and rewrites.
  • No more classic novels, real history and study of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Instead they will read manuals of Government departments — facts and lists reflecting the EPA, Agenda 21, Government plans of Obama

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Doctors Protest Against Swedish Healthcare

In two days more than 3000 Swedish doctors have signed an Internet petition, protesting against the quality of healthcare in this country. They say Swedish physicians spend less time with each patient than do doctors anywhere else in Europe.

The doctors say Swedish healthcare is based on production and the market economy rather than the needs of the patient.

But Minister for Health and Social Affairs Göran Hägglund disagrees, saying the picture painted by the protesters doesn’t accurately reflect the Swedish healthcare system.

One of the organizers behind the protest, Märit Halmin, tells Swedish Radio News there’s a huge discrepancy between how the politicians describe the healthcare system, and what doctors actually see.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

France: Femen Girls Accost Hollande at Air Show’fly Away From Islam’

Topless protest for members of group sentenced in Tunisia

(ANSAmed) — PARIS, JUNE 21 — Two Femen activists briefly protested topless Friday morning during French President Francois Hollande’s visit to the Paris Air Show in Le Bourget before being taken away by security guards. While the head of state was visiting the Air Show stands, the two yelled out the names of the two French nationals of their organisation sentenced to jail time in Tunisia for having protested topless and bared their breasts. One of the two activists had ‘Fly away from Islam’ written on her back. The protest was quickly cut short by presidential security guards, who handcuffed the women and took them away. Three Femen activists, two French nationals and one German, were sentenced on June 12 in Tunisia to four months in jail for staging a protest. They have been in prison since May 29. Their appeals trial is scheduled to take place on Friday. President Hollande will be making an official visit to Tunisia on July 4-5.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

German Court Passed Verdict Based on Shariah Law

by Ingrid Carlqvist

Woman denied divorce according to German rules due to having married in an Islamic country

In various places in Europe, courts have started to hand down decisions based on Sharia law. Recently, a German court decided that a woman who had entered into an Islamic marriage was not to be granted a German divorce, but had to accept Sharia rules.

Critics say that the court decision implies a dangerous intrusion of Islamic law into the German judicial system. And all due to political correctness.

The latest case concerned a 23-year-old Iranian woman who in 2009 married a countryman in Iran. The couple later emigrated to Germany and settled in Essen. They had a daughter together, but separated in 2011. When the woman applied for divorce, it was granted by the lower court, but the dissatisfied spouse appealed the verdict.

The high court in Hamm also granted the woman a divorce, but not according to German law, rather according to Sharia. As the couple had married under Sharia, those rules were to be followed even though they are now living in Germany. The court noted that the woman was entitled to talaq, an Islamic way to obtain divorce by saying three times: “I divorce you”. The court also observed that the husband had broken the Islamic marriage by not providing for his wife for six months.

The court decision has reignited an old discussion about what role Islam is to play in German jurisprudence. Supporters say that the verdict follows a law stipulating that generally, rules of marriage are to follow the laws of the land where the marriage was entered into. But critics maintain that it is not the responsibility of German courts to enforce the strange provisions of Sharia law.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Greece: Media Reveal Massive Fraud at ERT Public TV

State investigation into squandered millions uncovered

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS — Media reports on Thursday confirmed the public’s longtime perception of corruption at Greek state broadcaster ERT.

Journalists have uncovered a series of reports from Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras to the Justice Ministry detailing a history of illegal hires with astronomical salaries, covert millionaire bonuses, and contracts with non-existent companies. Deputy State Prosecutor Eleni Raikou has opened an investigation into the alleged fraud at the expense of taxpayers, who are not only required by law to subscribe to the public broadcaster, but are charged for it via their electricity bills.

Government inspectors found that in 2008-2009, freelancers were hired with no competition and paid anywhere from 3,500 to 65,000 euros a month. One of these was paid a whopping 398,950 euros, while in the same period two full-time journalists each made 450,000 euros a year.

An MP from one of the parties that currently accuses the government of taking the country down the path of ruin turns out to be an ex reporter whom ERT paid 136,000 euros a month in 2009.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italian Oil Refineries ‘At Risk’ Says Industry Minister

‘Four plant closures possible’

(see related) (ANSA) — Rome, June 20 — Italy’s oil refineries “are in a risky situation that could lead to four plant closures,” Industry Minister Flavio Zanonato said Thursday. Speaking at an annual meeting of the country’s Petroleum Union, Zanonato did not reveal which plants were at risk when asked. During his speech he said the industry currently “has many problems,” with “an excess of production capacity of 15-20 million tons per year”.

It was therefore essential, he said, “to reorganize and focus on investments that create more added value,” because “oil remains strategic even in the medium- and long-term, especially in transport.

“It is necessary not to compromise the Italian oil industry in order to safeguard the employment of 100,000 employees,” maintaining a “strong refining sector, finding a new balance between regulation and competitiveness”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy to Face EU Court of Justice Over Waste Management

Could face fines over 200,000 euros daily for Campania

(ANSA) — Rome, June 20 — The European Union said on Thursday that it would refer Italy to its Court of Justice for the management of waste in the southern region of Campania and propose sanctions for delays in enacting previous sentences.

The country faces a daily fine of 256,819 until it enacts measures to clean up its trash issues as recommended by the European court.

The region around Naples has had a series of trash crises over the years.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy Salami Exports Jump 7.2% in 2012 to Record 1.12 Bln

Non-EU sales advance 12.7% in volume, 16.5% in value

(ANSA) — Rome, June 20 — Italian cured meat exports have surged 7.2% to a record 1.12 billion euros in 2012 despite the economic difficulties faced by many of the trading partners of the eurozone’s third-largest economy, according to data released by Italian meats and salami association Assica Thursday.

The positive foreign sales data “has been determined by a real boom in exports to nations beyond the European Union boundaries”, like the US, Japan, Canada and Russia, said the association. Sales to non-EU nations last year in fact jumped 12.7% in terms of volume and 16.5% in terms of value. Assica said exports will also be able to benefit from the upcoming authorization on May 28 permitting US sales of certain categories of less-seasoned cured meats including those of so-called pancette (bacon) and traditional Parma culatelli products.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Court Body Tells Berlusconi to Respect Fraud Ruling

Ex-premier calls self victim ‘of 20-year persecution’

(see related) (ANSA) — Rome, June 20 — The head of the judiciary’s self-governing body on Thursday called for ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi to respect the Constitutional Court’s decision to reject his petition to strike down a tax-fraud conviction.

He should “recognize and respect the role of the judge and the law,” said Michele Vietti, the head of the Supreme Council of Magistrates (CSM). On Wednesday the Constitutional Court rejected the media mogul’s bid to repeal a four-year jail term and a five-year ban from public office for tax fraud on film rights at his Mediaset empire. Following the ruling, the three-time premier said he was the victim of a “20-year attempt to eliminate me from political life”. Berlusconi is appealing to the supreme Court of Cassation.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy’s ‘Crazy’ Justice System in Critical State — OECD

An analyst at the OECD told The Local on Friday that Italy’s legal system is in a “critical situation”, as a report by the organization shows that it takes an average of more than 1,000 days for a case to go through the country’s highest court.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Italy: Letta Lauds Berlusconi’s Behavior After Losing Court Battle

Grillo waiting for premier ‘to kiss Berlusconi’s behind’

(ANSA) — Rome, June 21 — Italian Premier Enrico Letta said Silvio Berlusconi’s public statements had been “proper and collaborative” after the ex-premier lost a battle this week at the Constitutional Court. Though, he added, “I imagine he’s upset”. On Wednesday Berlusconi failed to convince judges to strike down a four-year prison term and five-year ban from public office for tax fraud on film rights at this Mediaset media empire.

After the ruling, which he will appeal to the highest Court of Cassation, Berlusconi promised the outcome would not affect his support for the fragile left-right government, which includes several key members of the media mogul’s center-right People of Freedom (PdL) party. But he also called the ruling the latest example of a “20-year attempt to eliminate me from political life,” a charge he has made repeatedly when judges have ruled against him, often alleging a leftist plot. Letta is a member of the center-left Democratic Party (PD), but he is seen as a moderate, thanks in part to his uncle Gianni Letta, Berlusconi’s longtime right-hand man.

That relationship has been the subject of suspicion from many of Berlusconi’s detractors, such as comedian-turned-politican Beppe Grillo, the leader of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, which opposes Letta’s administration. On Friday he called Letta “the most insignificant premier since the end of World War II,” and that the only thing left to see was the premier “kissing the behind of Berlusconi to survive as long as possible”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Netherlands: Small Farms Not a Good Business Proposition

Small farmers are finding it increasingly difficult to find someone to take over their farms when they stop work, according to Wageningen University researchers.

Just one in four small farmers manages to find a successor because the low income their businesses generate does not make them attractive. Takeovers are also difficult to finance, the researchers say.

By contrast, 80% of large farms are taken over without difficulty.

This has led to consolidation in the sector, with small farms merging to create larger entities. The national statistics office CBS said last year the number of small farms in the Netherlands has fallen 40% to 40,000 over the past 12 years.

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

Spain: “Soon the Muslims Will be the Kings of the World”

by Soeren Kern

While Spanish Muslims are busy trying to Islamize Spain, Spanish politicians are busy removing all references to Christianity from public discourse…The requirement which will be enshrined in Spain’s legal code law, represents an unprecedented encroachment of Islamic Sharia law within Spanish jurisprudence.

Spanish police have arrested a Muslim immigrant in Mallorca after he claimed to have been sent by Allah to “kill all the Spanish.”

The arrest follows a series of other Islam-related incidents in recent weeks and months which reflect the mounting challenge that radical Islam is posing to Spain.

In the latest incident, police on the Mediterranean island of Mallorca arrested a German national of Tunisian descent on June 13 after he repeatedly threatened to carry out terror attacks in the name of Allah.

According to Spanish authorities, the man made “constant threats of death and references to being a Muslim” and warned, “I do not mind dying; if I have to die, I will die, but I will take plenty of others with me.” The man threatened to blow up a hairdressing academy in the Mallorcan capital of Palma and “kill everyone.”

The man said he had “terrorist friends who could plant bombs” and warned that “soon the Muslims will be kings of the world.”

Spanish police said the man — who had previously been arrested on February 15 for threatening to kill a local policeman — became radicalized after visiting Tunisia in 2012.

On June 12, police in Barcelona arrested five Tunisian jihadists for “inciting Islamist terrorism” after they shared more than 400 videos on social networks of speeches of al-Qaeda leaders Osama bin Laden and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, as well as footage of summary executions, terrorist attacks and tutorials on bomb-making.

The Spanish Interior Ministry said the individuals had undergone “strong processes of self-radicalization which led them to embrace the thesis of Salafist jihad.”

The arrests were part of Operation Carthage (Operación Kartago), a nationwide, year-long effort to “neutralize” so-called lone-wolf jihadists as well as Islamists with combat experience returning from conflict zones in Syria, Yemen and Somalia.

Shortly after the arrests, Spanish Interior Minister Jorge Fernández Díaz announced that the government would seek to amend the Penal Code to make it a crime of terrorism 1) to give or receive “passive training” by means of “proselytization in prisons” for those serving sentences for crimes of jihadist terrorism, and 2) for imams to “indoctrinate” in mosques or on the Internet or by travelling to Islamist training camps abroad.

Díaz said the legal change is necessary because although Spanish law already makes it a crime of terrorism to “indoctrinate,” prosecutors have found it difficult to prove that those who are involved in terrorism-related training are personally committed to carrying out actual attacks.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Spain: Eight Al-Qaeda Suspects Nabbed in Dawn Raid

Spanish security forces have broken up a network linked to Al-Qaeda and arrested eight suspects in raids early on Friday morning in Ceuta, a Spanish enclave in north Africa, according to government reports.

“We have broken up a network responsible for sending combatants to Al-Qaeda-linked terrorist groups operating in Syria,” the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

The joint operation between the police and Civil Guard remains open and further arrests have not been ruled out.

The network is said to have been based in Ceuta and the town of Fnideq (known in Spanish as Castillejos) in bordering Morocco, according to Catalan daily La Vanguardia.

It is believed to have recruited and funded potential jihadists, planning their indoctrination and training and putting them in contact with other terrorists connected to Al-Qaeda.

In the official statement it was noted that security forces had uncovered evidence that dozens of people had travelled from Ceuta and Morocco to Syria and that at least one of them had participated in a suicide bombing.

Others are said to have joined training camps before joining front-line action.

The police and Civil Guard began investigating the network separately in 2009 and 2011 but joined forces earlier this year.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Sweden: Building Permission for New Grand Mosque in Malmö

by Maria Celander

“There will be calls to prayer”

Not far into the future, the city of Malmö, Sweden, will have three major mosques. The latest news is that the municipality has approved the construction of an Islamic cultural center which includes large prayer halls, on the road “Danska vägen” in the residential area of Håkanstorp. Last Thursday the city planning council decided to grant building permission for another mosque, in the old industrial area Elisedal near the Jägersro horseracing track.

“An entirely uncontroversial decision on our part. We have freedom of religion in Sweden, and it is not the duty of the city planning council to judge the content of what people believe,” says Carina Svensson, Social Democrat, head of the city planning council.

She believes that as long as the blueprints are followed and the necessary economic means are available, there is no problem with building mosques, or for that matter churches or synagogues, from the point of view of the municipality.

“We do not interfere with the activities as such,” Svensson says.

The mosque will be grand, with three stories, a dome and a minaret. From the minaret there will be calls to prayer in traditional fashion.

“Yes, there will be prayer calls. But I cannot tell how often, that is not stated,” says Carina Svensson.

The only party to have reservations about the decision was Sverigedemokraterna, who among other matters stressed the importance of gender equality.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Turkey: EU Puts Brakes on Accession Talks

Der Spiegel

“The rapprochement between Turkey and the European Union is at risk of suffering a big setback,” as several EU countries come out in support of stopping the accession negotiations following the brutal suppression of the demonstrations in Turkey, reports Spiegel Online. According to various diplomatic sources consulted by the German news magazine, the EU is very likely to freeze discussions.

In the normal course of events, the European Union was supposed to open a new stage in negotiations on June 26 — the first in three years — but EU diplomats were unable to reach an agreement on whether to attend the meeting. Following the violent action police took against demonstrators in Istanbul and Ankara, which left four dead and 7,500 injured, the Netherlands and Germany are refusing to resume the negotiations.

In an interview with the private television channel RTL Angela Merkel openly criticised the action of the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. To this, notes Spiegel Online, the Turkish Minister for EU affairs Egemen Bagis replied:

The German government should not be playing with Turkey’s accession to the EU. If Mrs Merkel is looking for internal political issues for her election campaign, she should look somewhere other than Turkey.

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

UK: A Reminder of Tory Backbench Rage

by Benedict Brogan

Today we are told is the happiest day of the year. Optimism is in the air, and Conservatives are fizzing with bright ideas to transform the country. A number of Tory MPs have published an alternative Queen’s Speech packed with wheezes they say will transform Tory chances in 2015. Peter Bone (Con — Wellingborough) is one of its authors and declares: “This is serious attempt to deliver policies that the British public really want. There are ideas here that could form the basis of a future Conservative manifesto.” How exciting. How happiness inducing. Well, up to a point.

Study the detail and it quickly becomes apparent that Mr Cameron will not share the joy. The alternative Queen’s Speech is packed with suggestions that appear designed to embarrass him. Would Mr Cameron want to bring back the death penalty? Privatise the BBC? Rename the August bank holiday “Margaret Thatcher day”? Ban burkas in public?…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Conservative MPs Launch Attempt to Bring Back Death Penalty, Privatise the BBC and Ban Burka

Conservative MPs have drawn up an “Alternative Queen’s Speech” with radical policies such as bringing back the death penalty, privatising the BBC and banning the burka in public spaces.

The 42 bills also include legislation to scrap wind farm subsidies, end the ringfence for foreign aid spending and rename the late August Bank Holiday “Margaret Thatcher Day”. Britain’s relationship with Europe features prominently in the action plan, with draft laws setting out how the UK would leave the European Union and a Bill to prevent Bulgarians and Romanians winning new rights to work, live and claim benefits here from next year.

All of the proposals were laid before the House of Commons last night after the Tory backbenchers hijacked an obscure Parliamentary procedure by camping out in Westminster for four successive nights. Many of the less controversial policies — including legislating for a transferable tax allowance for married couples and making the Coalition’s introduction of same-sex marriage subject to referendum — are known to be very popular amongst Conservative MPs. Those MPs behind the alternative legislative programme say it is a “genuine attempt” to show what policies a future Conservative government could deliver…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Company Creates Lampposts and Bus Stops That ‘Come Alive’ And Can Talk

Lamp posts, bus stops, post boxes and other city centre landmarks could soon have something to say — thanks to a remarkable new initiative that has given them a BRAIN.

Inanimate objects across Bristol are set to be given individual mobile phone codes allowing them to interact with anyone who texts them.

The clever bit of kit — dubbed ‘Hello Lampost’ — is set to make the posts and pillars ‘come alive’ as they ‘learn’ from conversations and give intelligent answers, as well as spread rumours and spill secrets texted to them in confidence.

[Comment: Conditioning the public to an “internet of things” so they won’t think twice about the privacy implications when buying “internet things” for home use. Eg, appliances, toasters, etc.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: EDL Invites US Anti-Muslim ‘Hate Bloggers’ Pam Geller and Robert Spencer to Speak at Woolwich Rally

Equality campaigners have called on Home Secretary Theresa May to prevent two extreme anti-Islamic activists from entering Britain, after they were invited to speak at a rally for the far-right English Defence League in London later this month.

US bloggers Pam Geller, who co-founded the anti-Islamic American Freedom Defence Initiative, and Robert Spencer who founded another right-wing extremist group, Jihad Watch, were invited by EDL leader Tommy Robonson to address the rally on 29 June in Woolwich — the inner London suburb where soldier Lee Rigby was murdered…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Facebook and Twitter Trolls Will Avoid Prosecution if They Apologise as New Rules Impose a ‘High Threshold’ For Court Action

Twitter and Facebook users posting offensive messages online must pass a ‘high threshold’ before they are prosecuted, new official guidance has said.

The Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC, has published final guidelines for prosecutors on the approach they should take in cases involving social media posts.

Mr Starmer said the guidelines, which have been finalised today after a three-month consultation, seek to address the ‘potential chilling effect’ that might arise from high numbers of prosecutions in cases in which a communication might be considered grossly offensive.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Greenwich Council Leader Cllr Chris Roberts Tells Groups Mourning Drummer Lee Rigby to ‘Go Home’

GREENWICH Council’s leader has told groups wishing to pay tribute to murdered soldier Lee Rigby that Woolwich “does not want them here”. Mourners from across the country have come to pay their respects to the 25-year-old father-of-one at the site where he was hacked to death in Artillery Place on May 22. But Councillor Chris Roberts has condemned organisations “political, extremist, or well-meaning” who he believes are seeking to promote themselves in the aftermath of the tragedy…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Keep Spencer and Geller Out of the UK

This is a press release from Hope Not Hate

EDL leader Stephen Lennon has just announced that Pam Geller and Robert Spencer will be speaking at an EDL rally in Woolwich on Saturday 29th June. Geller and Spencer, are two of the most influential anti-Muslim agitators in the United States. They recently placed adverts on the New York subway calling Muslims “savages” and are the co-founders of the Stop the Islamisation of America group. Understandably, their organisation is considered a hate group and that’s why we are writing to the Home Secretary asking that she stops them from entering the UK. Will you co-sign the letter?…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Muslims Get Shrewsbury Dream Mosque

CAIRO — Defying far-right anti-Muslim rants, Shrewsbury city council has finally approved a Muslims’ request to build their first mosque in Shropshire in the West Midlands region of England, fulfilling a ten-year far dream. “We have waited nearly 10 years for a suitable building. This is a democracy and people have a right to object, but we would like to work with those people.” George Miah, chairman of the Shropshire Bangladeshi Welfare Society, which put forward the application, told Shropshire Star on Friday, June 21…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Murdered Soldier Lee Rigby’s Home Town to Hold Memorial Service

Hundreds of mourners are expected to turn out for a memorial to remember murdered soldier Lee Rigby in his home town this weekend.

People wishing to pay their wishes will meet in Middleton from 11.30am on Sunday at the Stand Strong event. Similar events are taking place across the country at the same time with organisers hoping to see people unite against extremism, terrorism and oppression.

The memorial will include a five minute silence for Drummer Lee Rigby at 1pm, during which balloons will be handed out and released in the memory of the father of a two-year-old boy.

Lee Dargue, who is co-organising the event, in Middleton Gardens, said everyone is welcome to come along and join in. He said: “We are expecting around 1,000 people to turn up. The day is about standing against extremism and terrorism and we will also come together to remember Lee Rigby…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Rally to ‘Keep Out EDL’ By United East End After Woolwich Attack on Soldier

Community leaders are holding a rally in London’s East End to stop what they fear is Right Wing extremists exploiting last month’s Woolwich attack in which Army drummer Lee Rigby was stabbed to death.

They want to prevent groups like the English Defence League staging any march in east London in response to the soldier’s killing, similar to the attempt in Whitechapel two years ago when Home Secretary Theresa May banned marches.

“We share the universal revulsion at the brutal killing of Lee Rigby,” said United East End campaign co-ordinator Glyn Robbins. “But we are also concerned that far-right organisations have attempted to exploit this dreadful incident to stoke up bigotry and Islamophobia. It’s necessary in the current climate that we re-state our commitment to defend our multi-cultural society.”

United East End is inviting community, faith and campaign organisations, political parties, MPs and the Mayor of Tower Hamlets to the 7pm rally being held at the London Muslim Centre in Whitechapel Road on July 1. It is backed by Tower Hamlets Multi-Faith Forum, Unite Against Fascism and Rainbow Hamlets campaigns, NUT and Unison trade unions, East London Central Synagogue and Islamic Forum Europe.

[JP note: See Gilligan on the Islam in the East End.

“A man called Hira Islam was a key figure in our expose, last year, of the Islamist takeover of Tower Hamlets council. He is a close ally of Lutfur Rahman, the borough’s extremist-linked executive mayor. He is a senior member of the extremist Islamic Forum of Europe, which controls the East London Mosque. He is a former trustee of the mosque. He is a member of the Labour Party. And he is also an officer of the council. (JP emphasis.)]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Southend Landlady Defends Decision to Let EDL Meet in Her Pub

A SEAFRONT pub landlady has defended her decision to let members of the far-right English Defence League meet in her pub. Nicola Tiney, who runs the Borough Hotel, in Marine Parade, Southend, spoke out in the face of a social networking website campaign, urging drinkers to shun the pub.

Police were out in force at the weekend in Southend in response to reports the group’s Essexbranch was planning to meet in the town. It later emerged members spent Saturday afternoon in the pub, prompting the setting up of a “Boycott the Borough Hotel” page on Facebook…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: This Daft Ban Simply Isn’t Cricket

For the past 37 years, the Cubitt Memorial Playing Field has been the home of Bacton Cricket Club, in Norfolk. But now the club has been forced to move after the local council refused to let them use proper cricket balls.

Parish councillors are afraid that someone could get hurt if they were hit. So they issued a new set of rules, which included the clause: ‘Batting or bowling practice with a cricket ball or other solid or semi-solid practice ball must only take place inside the batting cage [nets]. Under no circumstances may this take place elsewhere.’

Club chairman David Gale said: ‘We are a cricket team — how are we supposed to practise without cricket balls? Are they expecting us to use tennis balls instead?

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Why Charles Moore is Wrong About British Muslims

British Muslims were outraged by the Woolwich attack — but it is being used to slur our entire community, writes Sadiq Khan.

Much has been written in the past month in the aftermath of the brutal murder of Drummer Lee Rigby. One unifying message has been the importance of communities standing together, in the face of the threats posed by those claiming to follow a particularly violent political version of Islam, and from far-right groups such as the EDL and BNP. One recent contribution to the debate came from the esteemed journalist Charles Moore, whose recent biography of Margaret Thatcher is a mighty tome of diligence and detail. In contrast, his words in last Saturday’s Telegraph were a clumsy foray into a territory about which he appears to know very little…

[Reader comment by GantsehMacher on 20 June 2013 at 12:17 pm.]

“At the siege of Vienna in 1683, Islam seemed poised to overrun Christian Europe’… we are in a new phase of a very old war… Gates of Vienna

[Reader comment by amazonas on 20 June 2013 at 11:01 am.]

“British Muslims were outraged by the Woolwich attack” A little bit maybe. But for real outrage you’ve got to draw a cartoon of their prophet.

[Reader comment by youngtoryboy on 20 June 1013 at 09:54 am.]

2.7 million muslims in the UK? That’s way too many and honestly when I step out of my front door every morning there seems to be way more. The EDL isn’t far right, it’s a patriotic movement and their leader is one courageous and intelligent man. Khan seems to be enjoy bigging the UK Muslim community up:”83 per cent of MY fellow Muslims would agree — they are “proud” to be British, compared to 79 per cent of the wider public.” This is the same man who detested citizenship tests for immigrants because the “wider” UK public apparently doesn’t know their own nation as much as immigrants do.… (Edited by a moderator)

[JP note: See here for more on the egregious Khan

and for Charles Moore’s post Quote

It is less than a month since Drummer Lee Rigby was murdered in Woolwich, yet already the incident feels half-forgotten. In terms of the legal process, all is well. Two men have been charged. There will be a trial. No doubt justice will be done. But I have a sense that the horror felt at the crime is slipping away.

The media, notably the BBC, quickly changed the subject. After a day or two focusing on the crime itself, the reports switched to anxiety about the “Islamophobic backlash”. According to Tell Mama, an organisation paid large sums by the Government to monitor anti-Muslim acts, “the horrendous events in Woolwich brought it [Islamophobia] to the fore”. Tell Mama spoke of a “cycle of violence” against Muslims. … ]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: What People Think of Robert Spencer

HOPE not hate is currently compiling a dossier on Pam Geller and Robert Spencer which will be submitted with our letter to the Home Office next Tuesday. The dossier will explain why we believe that these two people should not be allowed into the UK to attend the EDL demonstration in Woolwich on Saturday 29 June. So far, 11,382 people have co-signed our letter…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Wales: Rhyl Mosque Fire Attack: ‘Racist’ John Parkin Jailed

A former serviceman has been jailed for trying to set fire to a Denbighshire mosque after hearing about the murder of soldier Lee Rigby in London.

John Parkin, 27, of Towyn, put tissue into a bottle of beer and attempted to light it by the mosque in Rhyl. The judge at Mold Crown Court branded Parkin “an inherent racist” and jailed him for 18 months. He was given an indefinite criminal anti-social behaviour order banning him from any mosque. Parkin admitted threatening to burn down the mosque and a charge of religiously aggravated disorderly behaviour on 25 May, three days after Drummer Rigby was hacked to death in Woolwich…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Egypt: Brotherhood to Defend Revolution in New Protests

Ahead of Anti-Morsi demonstation planned for June 30

(ANSAmed) — CAIRO — Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and several Salafite organisations will hold protests on Friday 21 with the slogan “let’s protect the revolution — no to violence” ahead of the anti-Morsi demonstations planned for June 30.

The main Salafite party el Nour will not take part “given the state of division in the country”.

“Let’s avoid violence” the party said in a statement in which it said it supported power through democracy not through demonstrations or gathering signatures.

Meanwhile US Ambassador Anne Paterson has provoked widespread criticism after a meeting at the Ibn Khaldun centre where she said the US supported “Egypt, its people and its government” in a bid to distance herself from the “action on the street”.

“Unacceptable interference” was how Heba Yassin, spokesman for the popular movement of Hamdine Sabbahi, leader of the opposition National Salvation Front described her comments.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Egypt: Pro-Morsi Tagarod Mov’t Gathers 11 Million Signatures

‘Opposition wants chaos’, Tagarod says ahead of Islamist demos

(ANSAmed) — CAIRO, JUNE 21 — In Egypt, pro- and anti-government factions are duking it out to the tune of millions of signatures.

The pro-Morsi Tagarod (Impartials) movement on Friday announced it has gathered 11 million signatures in support of Egypt’s first Muslim Brotherhood president. The anti-Morsi Tamarod (Rebels) movement last week said it gathered 15 million signatures ahead of a massive anti-government rally called for June 30, Morsi’s one-year anniversary in office. “Tamarod is dangerous for the future of the country because it wants to demolish Egypt’s fledgling democracy, taking us towards chaos and violence”, Tagarod spokesman Ahmed Hosni explained. The objective of Tagarod is to show that Tamarod does not represent the popular will, he added. Pro-Morsi Islamist parties will take to the streets today, ahead of the opposition rally on June 30. The ultra-conservative Construction and Development Party, which is the political wing of the extremist Jamaa al-Islamiya movement, began organizing today’s demonstrations on June 12 at party headquarters, Al Ahram online reported. The demonstrations will take place in Nasr City, with the stated intent of condemning political violence and of sustaining Morsi’s democratic legitimacy as president.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Egypt: Luxor Protests Keep Governorship up in the Air

Former extremist might be transferred to another governorship

(ANSAmed) — CAIRO, JUNE 21 — Protests are ongoing in Luxor against President Mohamed Morsi’s governor-appointee Adel el-Khayat, a former member of the Gamaa Islamiya extremist movement that sought to oust deposed dictator Hosni Mubarak.

The appointee reportedly has decided not to show up in Luxor, where hundreds of protesters have vowed not to let him in to the city, until all sides agree on his nomination by Morsi four days ago.

In a bid to restore calm, Premier Hisham Qandil has suggested making el-Khayat governor of nearby Qena instead.

The opposition as well as Luxor locals and tourist operators hotly contested the nomination of el-Khayat, whose former movement shot to death then mutilated the bodies of 62 tourists, including many women and a child, in the grisly Luxor massacre of 1997.

International tour operators have threatened to cancel bookings to Luxor, the touristic jewel in Egypt’s crown, and Egyptian Tourism Minister Hisham Zaazou has resigned over the “grave losses” to the sector caused by el-Khayat’s appointment. The premier did not accept his resignation, local media reported.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Libya: Italy Will Take Responsibility, Says Italian FM

Support for PM Zeidan on July 4 in Rome

(ANSAmed) — ROME, JUNE 21 — Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino has said that Italy would be taking on responsibility not only to help Libya but also to look out for Italian interests.

She made this statement during the Belisario Award ceremony on Thursday evening in Rome, in response to U.S. President’s request at the recent G8 for Italy to assist Libya. “We will do everything we can. Libya is a country with which we have a long history, the minister said in giving the Mela D’Oro 2013 to Alaa Murabit, a Libyan human rights activist.

The first step will be on July 4, when Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan — who was also invited to the recent G8 — and a number of other Libyan ministers will be in Rome. Italy will play an active role in Libya with actions aiming to support the democratic transition and economic development and to encourage Libyans to continue the reconciliation process and constitutional reform in a peaceful and inclusive manner, Prime Minister Enrico Letta announced at the G8. Prime Minister Letta said that Italy would implement a three-pronged strategy: military training, some of its conducted within the country and some abroad; assistance with building efficient institutions, including the Coast Guard; and the collection of weapons, as there are still too many in disparate hands throughout the country. Following the humanitarian emergency, noted Italian Ambassador to the UN Cesare Maria Ragaglini, Italy’s commitment in Libya has focused on security and border control as well as activities for job creation and the development of civil society, with over 56 million euros going towards diverse projects, ranging from bolstering governance to cultural heritage protection.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Caroline Glick: Jewish Civil Rights and Privatization

OC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Nitzan Alon has done it again. You may recall that Alon was the “senior military official,” who as commander of the Judea and Samaria Division blamed the massacre of the Fogel family in March 2011 on undefined acts of vandalism in Arab villages allegedly carried out by Israelis.

He also told The New York Times that he disagreed with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s view that Hamas’s takeover of Gaza following Israel’s withdrawal demonstrated that a unilateral withdrawal from Judea and Samaria would be reckless in the extreme.

Over the past four months Alon has been criticized for his refusal to take actions to end the massive proliferation of terror attacks against Jews in Judea and Samaria. For months Alon ordered IDF soldiers to stand down as Palestinians hurled rocks and firebombs at them and at civilians. He set rules of engagement that are so restrictive that soldiers are better off running away from Palestinian mobs than defending themselves and Israeli civilians.

After Adele Biton, a three-year-old girl, was critically wounded when her mother’s car was stoned, and as online videos proliferated of IDF soldiers fleeing from assaults, and of Israeli civilians being beaten and assaulted on the roads with firebombs, rocks and bullets, the media finally began reporting on the terror surge. Public pressure mounted for Alon to finally take action or be fired from his post.

You might think that given public scrutiny of his failures Alon would keep a low profile. But he hasn’t…


           — Hat tip: Caroline Glick [Return to headlines]

First Italian Restaurant Opens in Ramallah

Called ‘Mediterraneo’, thanks to Curia in Ramallah and Bethlehem

(by Michele Monni) (ANSAmed) — RAMALLAH — Bringing the flavours and tradition of Italian cuisine, in particular Sicily’s, to Palestine is the challenge embraced by ‘Mediterraneo’ the first all-Italian restaurant in Ramallah in the occupied Territories scheduled to open the day after tomorrow. The name of the restaurant is inspired by Gabriele Salvatores’ film by the same name which won an Academy Award in 1991 and the objective is to acquaint Palestinians with Italy’s Mediterranean cuisine.

‘I am here on a mission’, the restaurant’s chef, Angelo Bruno, a native of Mazara del Vallo in Sicily, told ANSA. ‘The mission is to bring Sicilian Mediterranean cuisine to the West Bank and teach young Palestinians who love cuisine our millennial culinary tradition’.

The only difficulty for the new restaurants is finding all the ingredients. ‘Unfortunately, it is hard to find the ingredients necessary forour cuisine here in Ramallah’, said the chef. ‘It is also hard to get produce we need in Israel and the things we find are very expensive’.

To overcome the problem, the restaurant’s managers intend, with the help of the Patriarchate, to ask pilgrims visiting the Holy Land to bring typical Italian products ‘to create an imaginary human chain between Italy and Palestine’.

Set up in the court of the parish church of the Holy Family in Ramallah, Mediterraneo was created thanks to the Curia in Ramallah and Bethlehem. It was funded by religious institutions with the key contribution of Italy’s largest federation of the self-employed Confartigianato. The association representing Italian artisans will also provide training to young Palestinians who will be taught by Italian tourism, hotel and restaurant operators to promote new job opportunities in a sector which is being set up now in the Territories.

A guest of honour at the inauguration last night was Giuseppe Cederna, one of the protagonists of Salvatores’ film, who read poems by Greek poet Costantino Kavafis in front of several representatives of the Italian community in Ramallah and Jerusalem and clergy members of the Palestinian city.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Palestinian PM Rami Hamdallah Tenders Resignation

Rami Hamdallah, the Palestinian prime minister, has offered his resignation after only two weeks in office, leaving the Palestinian Authority in disarray.

Mr Hamdallah’s resignation is not yet official, nor is it thought likely that President Mahmoud Abbas will accept the departure of a prime minister he had sworn into office as recently as June 6. The surprise announcement, however, won quick support from many within the Palestinian establishment…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Islamic Banks’ Share Set to Rise in Turkey

(ANSAmed) — ISTANBUL, JUNE 21 — The participation banks’ share in the Turkish banking system, at 5%, is below expectations, Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan said yesterday, as a participation bank Albaraka looks to found an Islamic insurance company if the legal basis is formed in the country. “The number of participation bank branches has reached 869, with 16,190 staff members. Their size of assets has increased to 81.5 billion Turkish Liras (32 billion euros), as their funds provided real sector worth 60 billion liras (23.6 billion euros). The participation banks’ share in assets is 5% and in funds it’s 6%. These figures are below our desires,” said Babacan during the conference on ‘Islamic Finance Instruments: Expectations and Opportunities for Turkey’ as daily Hurriyet reports.

The minister stated that the private sector has started sukuk exports like the Treasury. The tax difference between sukuk (a Shariah-compliant Islamic bond) and bonds has been removed, legislation related to Islamic financing has been completed, and the private pension system has become able to be built on non-interest instruments, as preferred by 300,000 people. Meanwhile, Bahrain-based Albaraka CEO Adnan Ahmed Yousif said they told Turkish authorities that they were planning to found an Islamic insurance firm. Turkey doesn’t have a legal basis for this, but it has expressed its intention to the authorities, Yousif added. He also said two new participation banks from the Gulf countries had been preparing to enter to the country.

Albaraka Turk, Bank Asya, Turkiye Finans and Kuveyt Turk are the participation banks currently operating in Turkey.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Putin Fears Ultimate Destination of Arms to Syrian Rebels

(AGI) St. Petersburg — Russian President Putin fears the ultimate destination of arms provided to Syrian rebels could be the EU or Russia ..

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

Syria: We Must Arm the Moderate Opposition to Keep Out Extremists

by Malcolm Rifkind

On 31st March 1854, the radical leader John Bright made the first of his great speeches opposing the Crimean War. “I am told indeed that the war is popular”, he proclaimed, “and that it is foolish and eccentric to oppose it”.

A considerable number of my colleagues take a quite contrary view regarding the provision of arms to Syria’s insurgency. Military assistance to the Syrian opposition is not popular, and it is regarded by many as foolish and eccentric to support it.

Many of these reservations are sincere and well-founded. However although I was wary of providing military assistance during the first year of the Syrian conflict, I came to the conclusion last summer that arming Syria’s insurgents was the least bad of a series of unpalatable options. Almost a year on, as the death toll continues to mount and the prospect of a sustainable political settlement is becoming increasingly remote, the argument is increasingly compelling.

The basic case for considering arming the rebels is well-documented, and has been made by both the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary, as well as myself, in recent weeks. In short, pressure must be brought to bear on Assad in order to force him to agree to a ceasefire and for him to engage seriously in a diplomatic process that might produce an endurable political settlement…

[JP note: Where do they find people like Rifkind? Vat-grown in basement FCO-tanks perhaps?]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Turkey: Journalist Calls on EU to Reopen Talks

Critical press weakened, media ‘witchhunt’

(ANSAmed) — Brussels, June 20 — Turkish columnist Yavuz Baydar has appealed to the European Union to reopen talks on Istanbul’s membership bid.

The journalist was speaking today to European institutions at the ‘Speak Up!’ conference in Brussels.

“It doesn’t matter on what basis, but we need to restart the talks on the membership process, otherwise our position will be even weaker,” said the journalist who has monitored media in his country for the past 14 years.

“I have never seen a worse situation than this, perhaps since the mid-90s,” Baydar said, saying the climate for critical journalists now was becoming the kind of ‘witchhunt’ seen in the McCarthy era in the US.

He said despite judicial reform the number of people in prison and detention are higher than the limits recommended by the European Court.

He said punitive measures were merely “the tip of the iceberg”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

UAE: Islamic Theme Park Coming to Dubai

Dubai Municipality announced the news on Thursday and said the park would be complete by September 2014. It will be in Al Khawaneej and the municipality said: “It has been specially designed in the Islamic perspective to introduce the miracles of Quran through a variety of surprises for the visitors. “…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

War in Syria: ‘Hunt for Danish Fighters in Syria’

Politiken, 20 June 2013

According to Danish intelligence services, some 65 Danish nationals have fought alongside Syrian rebels, with at least five of them having been killed, reports Politiken.

The figure has alarmed the government in Copenhagen, which is attempting to prevent further departures for Syria.

From now on, intelligence services will inform Danish authorities of any trips made by the country’s citizens to Syria and the source of any funds used for this purpose. The government is also considering sanctions against returning fighters, ranging from a suspension of welfare benefits for immigrants to criminal charges of terrorism.

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

Afghanistan: US Mulls Prisoner Swap to Free Soldier Held by Taliban

The United States says it is prepared to consider a prisoner swap with the Taliban as officials frantically try to repair the diplomatic damage from a botched attempt to kick start peace talks.

Meetings between American officials and militants expected this week in Qatar have been postponed after the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, objected to the Taliban flag being flown over their new office. As Washington works to reschedule talks — with John Kerry, the US Secretary of State due to arrive in Doha — an American official said they were prepared to discuss the return of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who was captured in June 2009 and is now 27.

“We have not made a decision to transfer any Taliban detainees from Guantanamo Bay, though we anticipate, as I’ve said, that the Taliban will all raise this issue,” a State Department spokeswoman told reporters in Washington. On Thursday, the Taliban proposed exchanging him for five prisoners held in Guantanamo Bay, a move they said would help build trust. “We’ll talk with the Taliban … about the safe return of Sergeant Bergdahl. He’s been gone far too long,” said the spokeswoman…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

At Least Seven Dead in Pakistan Mosque Suicide Attack

A suicide bomb attack on a Shia mosque in the north-western Pakistani city of Peshawar has killed at least seven people, police and officials say.

Police say that several people were injured in the blast which took place during Friday prayers. No group has claimed responsibility for the bombing. Pakistan’s Shia minority are the target of frequent sectarian attacks from Sunni militant groups who consider Shias to be heretics.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Bangladeshi Court Sentences 10 Islamic Militants to Death

A Bangladeshi court sentenced 10 Islamic militants to death on Thursday after finding them guilty of assisting a deadly suicide bombing in 2005, a prosecutor said. The militants, from the outlawed Jamayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), showed no remorse after a judge read out the verdict and sentence in a crowded court room in the capital, a special public prosecutor said. “They assisted the suicide bomber in making the bomb, providing information, planning and carrying out the attack,” special public prosecutor Rafiqul Islam told AFP. The attack on an office of a lawyer association in November 2005 killed eight people, plus the bomber, and injured at least 100 others, the prosecutor said…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Bangladesh: 10 Islamic Terrorists Sentenced to Death

They are part of the extremist organization Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB). In 2005, militants have carried out a series of attacks, including one against the Bar Association of Gazipur. Declared illegal, the group wants to introduce Sharia law in the country.

Dhaka (AsiaNews) — A court in Dhaka (Bangladesh) have sentenced 10 Islamic extremists to death for a suicide bombing in 2005. Eight people were killed in the attack, including four lawyers, and 70 were injured. The prisoners are part of the fundamentalist group Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), banned by the government in the same year of the attack. Announced yesterday, the verdict has to be confirmed by the High Court of Bangladesh.

Founded in 1998, the JMB is a Muslim fundamentalist group that is inspired by the Taliban of Afghanistan and would like to turn Bangladesh into an Islamic state based on Sharia law. The government outlawed the movement in 2005, in reply militants have carried out a series of attacks across the country. The most serious is the attack carried out on November 29 at Gazipur Bar Association.

According to the South Asian Terrorist Portal (SATP), many members of the JMB are part of Islami Chhatra Shibir (ICS), student wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami, the Islamic party in opposition. In recent months, supporters of the Jamaat have caused numerous hartal (strikes), often resulting in violence, demonstrating the regained popularity of the Islamic party.

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

Barack Obama Has Given the Taliban the Upper Hand in Afghanistan

by Con Coughlin

President Obama’s attempt to do a deal with the allies of al-Qaeda has already backfired

Barack Obama’s attempts to negotiate a peace deal with the Taliban look to be dead in the water before they have even started. During the closing stages of the G8 summit the president made the surprise disclosure that officials were primed to engage in their first direct talks with the enemy since the bitter conflict erupted more than a decade ago…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Suicide Attacks Kills 14 in Peshawar, Pakistan

(AGI) Peshawar — Fourteen people died in a suicide attack on a Shiite mosque in the Pakistani city of Peshawar . .

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

China: Sichuan: 386 Pupils Suffer Food Poisoning at School

Students at the Meishan Yingtian School, which offers kindergarten, primary, junior and high school level education, suffer from food poisoning and end up in hospital. In the case of 50, their conditions is not good, but their lives are not at risk. Food safety is increasingly becoming a major public issue.

Chengdu (AsiaNews/Agencies) — A new food scandal has hit Chinese schools. Some 386 students at the Meishan Yingtian School in Southwest China’s Sichuan Province were hospitalised with food poisoning-like symptoms.

On Saturday, 231 of them were still in hospital under observation. The conditions of another 50 were not good, but their lives were not in danger, China’s press stressed.

The school is located in Dongpo District, Meishan, an area once known for pig farming.

The poisoning apparently took place during lunch hour last Thursday. By the afternoon, the children were hospitalised with severe diarrhoea.

The Meishan Yingtian School has over 1,300 students in its kindergarten, primary, junior and high-school grades.

Food inspection authorities have started collecting food samples for testing. Local authorities have also ordered a general inspection of the city’s schools. Two depots have also seized containing precooked food for school cafeterias.

Since the families of hospitalised children show no symptoms, investigators are therefore certain that the food poisoning took place at school.

Food safety remains one of China’s toughest challenges. Food production and preservation have suffered from accidental chemical contamination in recent years with, for example, meat found containing pesticides; milk powder tainted with melamine and pre-cooked food laced with antibiotics.

Ordinary Chinese have become more careful following such incidents. In recent weeks, some people have publicly voiced concerns about whether they would ever get up after sitting at the dinner table. The blog on which such concerns were posted was eventually shut down by the authorities.

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

China: Xinjiang: 19 Uyghur Sentenced: “They Spread Extremism on Line”

Sentences issued in recent days by several provincial courts, include up to 6 years in prison. For Beijing believes Islamic militants in Pakistan and Central Asia are training the Turkic ethnic group to overthrow the government.

Beijing (AsiaNews) — The provincial government of Xinjiang has approved a series of convictions handed down in recent days against 19 Uighurs (the ethnic majority), sentencing them to up to 6 years in prison for having “promoted racial hatred “and having “spread religious extremism through the internet. “ All prisoners (except one) come from the southern part of the province, one of the most tense battlegrounds of conflict with Han Chinese.

The judges found sentenced one of the accused because he downloaded “material that foments religious fervor and preach the holy war” from the Internet. A second person “spread” online material “that praises religious extremism and terrorism.” According to the Chinese central government, the Xinjiang Uighur groups have links with militants in Central Asia and Pakistan, that who are training them to overthrow the legitimate government and create another independent state.

Last April, a series of violent clashes near Kashgar — the historic junction of the silk road — resulted in 21 deaths. In July 2009 violence between the two groups reached its peak, with more than 200 victims in the provincial capital Urumqi and the army deployed in the streets in anti-riot formations.

The Uighurs are Turkic-speaking Muslim: for several decades they have had an adversarial relationship with the Chinese central government, which in part they do not recognize. After a few (unsuccessful) attempts to gain independence as “East Turkestan”, the ethnic leaders have asked Beijing for the possibility to safeguard their language, culture and religion. The Chinese government — while conceding some tax breaks and social benefits — decided instead to use a heavy hand and launched a campaign of repression and control in the whole area.

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

Al-Qaeda Bombs UN Compound in Somalia, Killing 15

Al-Qaeda detonated a pick-up truck full of explosives outside a major United Nations office in Somalia, before a dozen gunmen fought their way into the compound and launched a 90-minute battle.

At least 15 people were killed, nine suicide bombers or attackers and six others including three UN guards and three civilians caught in the crossfire in the lunchtime attack in Mogadishu, the capital. It was the most significant attack on the UN’s mission in Somalia since twin bombings in Hargeisa and Bossaso in the country’s north in 2008.

Dozens of expatriate and Somali UN staff cowered in a secure bunker in the compound as the fighting raged around them, before being moved to Mogadishu’s fortified airport complex. “Dozens of people were working there, UN staff, contractors and security,” said Ben Parker, the UN mission’s spokesman in Mogadishu.”They are now at the airport and will remain there while we review the situation.” Al-Shabaab, Somalia’s al-Qaeda army, said it carried out the attacks, which left two of its suicide bombers dead at the gates of the UN compound, two more dead from detonating explosives inside, and five others shot and killed…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

One Million Take to Brazil’s Streets as Protests Turn Violent

Protests continued overnight across Brazil on Thursday, as more than a million Brazilians poured into the streets of at least 80 cities, demanding improved public services and an end to corruption.

Clashes broke out in several cities as protesters faced tear gas, pepper spray and rubber bullets in their clashes with anti-riot police. In Rio de Janeiro, where an estimated 300,000 people demonstrated, clashes erupted between riot police and clusters of young men. Some of the youths threw firecrackers at police who responded with tear gas. At least 40 people were injured in Rio de Janeiro. Elsewhere in the capital Brasilia, hundreds of protesters tried to take over the Foreign Ministry building on Thursday night…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

A False Sense of Border Security

On Thursday, the Senate reached a tentative deal on border security aimed at encouraging more Republicans to support so-called comprehensive immigration reform. Senators Bob Corker (R-TN) and John Hoeven (R-ND) put together a deal with the “Gang of Eight” that calls for 700 miles of new fencing along the Mexican border, a near doubling of Border Patrol agents, and the purchase of aerial drones for additional border policing. Breitbart’s Matthew Boyle accurately describes the real objective behind this effort. “The so-called ‘compromise’ on border security…is a sham meant to give political cover to Republicans who want to vote for amnesty but cannot be seen opposing border security.”

Boyle’s spot-on assessment is burnished by the reality that earlier the same day, the Senate defeated an amendment offered by Sen. John Cornyn’s (R-TX), calling for mandatory border security triggers to be put in place before illegal aliens were granted legal status. The vote was 54-43 to table the effort, with Sens. John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ), all voting to kill the measure outright, and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) voting to table it. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who may have sensed that he needed to save what little is left of his shredded credibility, broke ranks with the Gang of Eight and supported Cornyn. Yet later in the day, when the aforementioned compromise was reached, Rubio was effusive. “If you look at what’s being proposed here, this is a dramatic expansion and improvement in border security that I hope will allow finally for this legislation to have the support it needs,” he told Fox News.

Nonsense. Moreover, Rubio has a short memory. Seven years ago, Congress passed the “Secure Fence Act of 2006.” It ordered the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to “provide for at least 2 layers of reinforced fencing, the installation of additional physical barriers, roads, lighting, cameras, and sensors” along 700 specific miles of the almost 2000-mile border dividing the U.S. and Mexico. A year later, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) quietly added a provision to an omnibus appropriations bill essentially eliminating the mandate, “if the (DHS) Secretary determines that the use or placement of such resources is not the most appropriate means to achieve and maintain operational control over the international border at such location.” Today, according the Washington Times, only 36 miles of fencing are double-tier, 316 miles are single-tier pedestrian fencing, and another 299 miles are nothing more than vehicle barriers that do not stop people from crossing the border. At least 49 miles have no fencing at all.

What’s to stop Congress from changing the parameters again, once this bill is passed? Absolutely nothing.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Boat Adrift With 45 Migrants Rescued Off Shore of Sicily

One child and nine women among passengers

(ANSA) — Rome, June 21 — A boat adrift off the coast of Sicily carrying 45 migrants was towed to shore Friday morning, the Italian Coast Guard said.

The 10-meter-long raft was 20 miles south of the island and among the passengers were nine women and a child.

The migrants have been taken to a center in Lampedusa.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

‘We Want to See Qatada on a Plane to Jordan’: Deportation Moves Closer as UK Parliament Ratifies Landmark Treaty

Radical cleric Abu Qatada should be on a plane to Jordan at ‘the earliest opportunity’, the Home Office said today.

The UK Parliament today ratified a treaty with Jordan today which will make it possible to deport the preacher after a decade-long legal battle.

Last month, the cleric unexpectedly volunteered to leave the country as soon as the treaty between the UK and Jordan is ratified by both countries.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Church of England Creating ‘Pagan Church’ To Recruit Members

The Church of England is trying to recruit pagans and spiritual believers as part of a drive to retain congregation numbers…

[JP note: Indubitably, the Most Reverend Justin Welby is already on Club Antichrist’s mailing list .]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

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