Gates of Vienna News Feed 6/22/2013

On Midsummer’s Eve, “youths” in the Stockholm suburb of Kista knocked down a pregnant woman and kicked her in the stomach whilst robbing her of her handbag. They also knocked over the stroller she was pushing, throwing the child inside to the ground. The child in stroller was unhurt, but there was no word on the woman’s condition, or that of her unborn baby.

In other news, 46 million dollars in tax refunds were sent to nearly 24,000 “unauthorized” aliens, all of whom were apparently living at the same address in Atlanta, Georgia.

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

Thanks to Andy Bostom, C. Cantoni, Fjordman, Insubria, JD, JP, McR, Nick, 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
» Chicago Teachers Union Prez Blames ‘Rich White People’
» Global Sell-Off Shows Fed Reach Beyond the U.S.
» Italian Church Bemoans Increase in ‘Hunger Thefts’
» Mauritania: IMF Extends 16.1 Million Dollar Loan
» 20 Signs That the Pharmaceutical Companies Are Running a 280 Billion Dollar Money Making Scam
» Authorities, Media Dismiss Michael Hastings Assassination Claims
» Bureaucrat: Water Complaints Could be “Act of Terrorism”
» Catholic Archbishop Dolan Tells Muslims ‘You Love God, We Love God and He is the Same God’
» Congress Moves to Create New Surveillance Agency Under NDAA 2014
» County Government vs Citizens
» If Carbon Dioxide is So Bad for the Planet, Why Do Greenhouse Growers Buy CO2 Generators to Double Plant Growth?
» LA Times Reports Hastings Was Going Into Hiding Before His Death
» New Hard Data Debunking CO2 Climate Warmism Hysteria
» NSA: If Your Data is Encrypted, You Might be Evil, So We’ll Keep it Until We’re Sure
» Obama Taps Former IMF Official as National Security Deputy
» Pork-Laced Bullets Designed to Send Muslims Straight ‘To Hell’
» Sen. Menendez Recall Killed by NJ Supreme Court
» Student Who Spoke of God, Constitution Receives Apology From School District
» The ACLU Joins Senator Paul’s Anti-NSA Campaign
» USDA Organic Infant Formula Contains Pesticide Labeled as a “Nutrient”
» Utah Valley Muslims to Break Ground for New Mosque
» Welsh Pub in New York Fined for Race Discrimination After Advertising for Bar Staff With ‘Knowledge of British Culture’Owners Fined £1,600 for Race Discrimination
Europe and the EU
» ‘GCHQ is Worse Than US’, Says Whistleblower Edward Snowden as He Claims British Spies Are Collecting Huge Amounts of Data From Internet and Phone Calls
» Greece: Foreign Business Groups Eye to Open New Casinos
» Italian Trial Times Are Dantesque, Says House Speaker
» Italy: Suspected Prostitute Uncovered at Florence Home for Elderly
» Italy: Street Vendor Arrested in Connection With Cyclist’s Death
» Italy: Tainted Milk Investigation in Udine Leads to Five Arrests
» Italy: Romanian Woman Jailed for Dumping Newborn in McDonald’s Toilet
» Italy: Grillo Says M5S Will Win Elections Then Talk to EU
» Italy to Show Commitment to Waste Management, Says Minister
» Italy: Sports Minister to Continue Despite ‘Media Campaign’
» Netherlands: Creating Mega Province Around Amsterdam Will Save €70m: Minister
» Spanish King Receives Anti-Bomb Hero, A Dog Named Ajax
» Sweden: Robbers Kicked Pregnant Woman in the Stomach
» The European Union is the Destroyer of European Culture
» Tyrannies Across the World Are Crushing Dissent. In Britain Contempt for the Political Class is Growing. Is it Possible That Democracy is Dying?
» UK: Bristol’s Religious Communities Come Together to Reflect on Murder of Lee Rigby
» UK: Centre-Right Columnists Are Legitimising the EDL
» UK: EDL Rally: Theresa May Considers Banning US Bloggers From UK
» UK: Mr Cameron Made a Huge Error When He Embraced the NHS
» Refugees: Serbia is No.1 in Europe Since Balkan War
North Africa
» Egypt: Hundreds Protest Against Mursi in Port Said, Suez
» Egypt’s Islamists Rally in Support of President Morsi
» Egypt: Clashes Erupt as Morsy Attends Cairo Mosque
» Egypt: “Rebels” Reach 15 Million Signatures to Oust Mohamed Morsi
» Flurry of Objections as Femen Trial Gets Underway in Tunis
Israel and the Palestinians
» Gaza Singer Unites Palestinians on Talent Show Arab Idol
» Hamdallah Offers to Resign
» Two Men Hanged in Gaza for Collaborating With Israel
Middle East
» Arming Rebels is the Only Way to Peace, Qatar Says
» Friends of Syria to Provide Material and Equipment to Opposition
» Italian Islam Convert Killed Fighting for Syrian Rebels
» Kidnapping Targeting Girls Increases in Syria’s 27-Month Conflict
» ‘Rebels Murdered My 14-Year-Old for a Joke’: Anguish of Syrian Mother Who Saw Her Son Being Shot Dead
» Russia: “Syria Will be Armed With Weapons That Have Never Been Seen Before in the Middle East”
» Syria: ‘I Saw Rebels Execute My Boy for no More Than a Joke’
» Turkey: European Rights Commissioner Plans July Visit
» U.S. Leaves 700 Combat-Equipped Troops in Jordan
» U.S. Has Secretly Provided Arms Training to Syria Rebels Since 2012
» U.S. Training Syrian Rebels; White House ‘Stepped Up Assistance’
» At St. Petersburg Forum, Moscow and Beijing Strengthen Energy Alliance
South Asia
» 14 Militants Killed in E. Afghan Operations
» IOM Italian Worker Injured in Afghanistan Dies
Far East
» Cambodia — Laos — Vietnam: Xayaburi Dam Threatens Survival of the Giant Catfish
» China: The Domestic Market for Ivory Endangers the Survival of Elephants
Australia — Pacific
» Australians Forced to Answer Questions About Sex Life
» Precautionary Double Standards
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Kenya: Eight Suspected Thugs Shot Dead in Nairobi’s Kasarani Area
» Obama Spending $100-Million for ‘Symbolism” On African Trip
» Two Christians Slain by Islamists in Nigeria
Latin America
» A Brazilian Explains Popular Outcry
» Brazilian President Pledges New Reforms
» Italy: Prosecutor Seeks Trials for South American Military
» New Study Links Over 7,000 Cancer Deaths to Cell Phone Tower Radiation Exposures
» IRS Sent $46 Million in Tax Refunds to 23,994 ‘Unauthorized’ Aliens — All at the Same Address in Atlanta
» Malta: Syrians Among Four People Charged With Human Trafficking
» Facebook Admits Accidentally Releasing Phone Numbers and Email Addresses for Six Million Users in Year-Long Data Breach

Chicago Teachers Union Prez Blames ‘Rich White People’

The president of the Chicago Teachers Union charges that racism and “rich white people” are to blame for the immense financial and educational crisis facing the Chicago Public Schools.

The Chicago Public Schools (CPS) represent everything that is wrong with public education in America. They are in thrall to the unions that run the system and bankrupt it through bloated salaries and pensions while too many of the students trapped inside graduate as functional illiterates, if they graduate at all.

Poor academic performance generally, a huge budget shortfall and poorly attended schools in declining neighborhoods recently forced CPS to close 49 schools in an attempt to close a $1 billion budget gap. But according to CTU President Karen Lewis, the root cause is not the lack of educational competition or the inability to fire or reward teachers on the basis of student academic performance.

In a speech Wednesday before the upscale City Club of Chicago, Lewis asked, “When will we address the fact that rich, white people think they know what’s in the best interest of children of African-Americans and Latinos — no matter what the parent’s income or education level.”

She decried members of the “status quo, the people who are running the schools and advising the mayor on how to best run our district, know what good education looks like because they have secured it for their own children in well-resourced, public and private institutions.”

As we have noted, the unions run Chicago schools and seek to preserve the status quo of a virtual education monopoly. Lewis has fought the use of any objective analysis of teacher performance despite the fact that just 15% are proficient in reading and that four of 10 CPS students do not graduate from high school.

Lewis is also no fan of charter schools, despite the fact Chicago’s charters regularly outperform their public school cousins. In 2012, nine of the top 10 performers were charter schools based on the ACT scores of their students.

Of course when you mention things like charter schools, liberals like Lewis say they get to cherry-pick their students. Yet some 60% of Chicago charter-school students are minorities and 35% are Hispanic.

Ninety-one percent qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. Doesn’t sound like cherry-picking to us.

School choice and vouchers would seem to be the answer to Lewis’ lament that “rich white people” call the shots while sending their kids out of the system to well-endowed, private schools, like President Obama did.

           — Hat tip: McR [Return to headlines]

Global Sell-Off Shows Fed Reach Beyond the U.S.

Despite a partial recovery in the markets on Friday, tumbling stock, bond and commodity prices around the world over the past month are demonstrating just how reliant the global economy has become on the monetary policies of the Federal Reserve.

In the weeks since the Fed’s chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, first indicated that the central bank might start to pare back its support for the economy, markets in Asia, Europe and Latin America have fallen even more sharply than those in the United States, threatening economic growth in many countries.

While leading market measures in the United States have declined 4 percent over the last month, an index of the world’s stock markets has slumped more than 6 percent.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Italian Church Bemoans Increase in ‘Hunger Thefts’

Bagnasco calls for unsold, expiring food to be given to poor

(ANSA) — Genoa, June 18 — The Italian Church on Tuesday bemoaned an increase number of poor people stealing food in “hunger thefts”, as the country endures its longest recession in over 20 years.

The head of the Italian bishops’ conference, Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, urged supermarket chains to start giving away unsold food that was about to expire to help head off a disturbing surge in food-theft driven by hunger.

Bagnasco,the archbishop of Genoa, called on food chains to “definitively resolve” the “grave, new” phenomenon, which he referred to as “a plague” that is “new for our times”.

“For various reasons, including the law, (food) waste is great, enormous,” Bagnasco said.

“From hot meals unsold each day to expiring foods — all this could constitute a healthy asset to put into circulation. “All that is needed is the timely generosity of many chain organizations so that this plague is properly addressed while waiting for a clearer resolution”.

The cardinal said food-theft to fill empty stomachs should provide “cause for reflection”.

Pope Francis recently called for action to reduce food waste. Francis said throwing away food was like stealing it from the poor.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Mauritania: IMF Extends 16.1 Million Dollar Loan

For good economic performance, but poverty still a concern

(ANSAmed) — TUNIS, JUNE 21 — The International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced it will loan Mauritania $16.9 million in view of its good economic performance, Pan-African News Agency (PANA) reported Friday.

The IMF board of directors extended the credit as part of an economic and financial program, the international creditor made known in a note. Mauritania deserves the loan because it has restarted its economy, is keeping inflation under control, and has balanced its public finances. The country still faces “elevated levels” of poverty and unemployment however, the IMF added.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

20 Signs That the Pharmaceutical Companies Are Running a 280 Billion Dollar Money Making Scam

If you could get 70 percent of Americans addicted to your drugs and rake in $280 billion a year in the process, would you do it? If you could come up with a “pill for every problem” and charge Americans twice as much for those pills as people in other countries pay, would you do it? If you could make more money than you ever dreamed possible by turning the American people into the most doped up people in the history of the planet, would you do it? In America today, the number of people hooked on legal drugs absolutely dwarfs the number of people hooked on illegal drugs. And sadly, the number of people killed by legal drugs absolutely dwarfs the number of people killed by illegal drugs. But most Americans assume that if a drug is “legal” that it must be safe. After all, the big pharmaceutical companies and the federal government would never allow us to take anything that would hurt us, right? Sadly, the truth is that they don’t really care about us. They don’t really care that prescription painkillers are some of the most addictive drugs on the entire planet and that they kill more Americans each year than heroin and cocaine combined. They don’t care that antidepressants are turning tens of millions of Americans into zombies and can significantly increase the chance of suicide (just look at the warning label). All the big pharmaceutical companies really care about is making as much money as they possibly can. The following are 20 signs that the pharmaceutical companies are running a $280 billion money making scam…

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Authorities, Media Dismiss Michael Hastings Assassination Claims

Car’s engine was found 100 feet away from site of crash

Authorities and media outlets have predictably moved to dismiss claims that Rolling Stone journalist Michael Hastings — who complained of being under investigation by the FBI before his death in a fiery car crash on Tuesday — was murdered as a result of foul play, despite the vehicle’s engine being found 100 feet away from the scene of the blaze.

After Wikileaks reported that Hastings had contacted them in the hours before his death complaining about being under investigation by the FBI, the federal agency denied the claim.

“At no time was journalist Michael Hastings ever under investigation by the FBI,” L.A. Field Office spokeswoman Laura Eimiller told the Burlington Free Press.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Bureaucrat: Water Complaints Could be “Act of Terrorism”

A bureaucrat caused outrage amongst an audience in Maury County, Tennessee when he warned that unfounded complaints about water quality could be considered an “act of terrorism” under federal laws enforced by the Department of Homeland Security.

The meeting, which was organized in response to claims that children had become ill after drinking the odd-tasting water, was attended by residents, local officials and directors from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC).

Sherwin Smith, deputy director of TDEC’s Division of Water Resources, stunned the audience when he stated, “You need to make sure that when you make water quality complaints you have a basis, because federally, if there’s no water quality issues, that can be considered under Homeland Security an act of terrorism.”

Asked by shocked residents to repeat his statement, Smith reiterated, “Under federal regulations if you make allegations about the public water supply that are unfounded then that can be considered under Homeland Security an act of terrorism because you’re trying to allege things.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Catholic Archbishop Dolan Tells Muslims ‘You Love God, We Love God and He is the Same God’

Chrislam gains a powerful new voice, in one of the heads of the Catholic church in the United States.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York, made his first visit to a mosque in New York City and it was the Albanian Islamic Cultural Center in Tompkinsville where he met with Muslim and other faith leaders. The cardinal spent more than two hours touring the mosque and the Miraj Islamic School and having lunch with about 40 clergy and laity. “I thank God that this day has arrived,” the cardinal said. “I thank you for your welcome, I thank you for making me feel like a friend and a member of a family.” The cardinal asked questions about the Muslim faith and emphasized throughout his visit how much the two religions and their members have in common. “You love God, we love God and he is the same God,” the cardinal said of the Muslim and Roman Catholic faiths. Same God? The Allah of the Koran had this to say, concerning Christians and Jews […]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Congress Moves to Create New Surveillance Agency Under NDAA 2014

Earlier this year, the House Subcommittee on Intelligence, Emerging Threats and Capabilities, one of several Armed Services Committees, discussed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2014.

“The main subject of the hearing was Sec. 1061, otherwise known as Enhancement of Capacity of the United States Government to Analyze Captured Records,” writes Stephen Benavides. “This enhancement provision of NDAA 2014 would effectively create a new intelligence agency, one with the authority to analyze information gained under the Patriot Act, FISA, and known spying programs such as PRISM.”…

The end game is not the eradication of al-Qaeda or the protection of the American people from the hyped-up ravages of terrorism, but the installation of a high-tech surveillance mechanism that will effectively result in a panopticon where political opposition to the establishment and the ruling elite will be virtually impossible.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

County Government vs Citizens

This is Part 3 of a four-part analysis of the ordinances recently passed by the Josephine County Board of County Commissioners. This article examines the Code Enforcement Ordinance.

This ordinance creates a financial incentive for County departments to seek out and cite code violations by awarding any imposed fines to the department that issued the citation. Further, it authorizes some egregious abuses of power, such as imposing a fine for twice the value of the property on which a violation occurs if the property owner makes any profit as a result of the violation, and authorizing the County to physically remove the cause of any code violation under the rubric of abating a public nuisance…

If a citizen should make any profit through a violation of a county ordinance, the hearings officer can sentence the citizen to pay up to twice the amount of their gain from the violation, where “gain” is defined as either “the amount of money derived from or through the commission of the violation, or the value of the property on which the violation was committed.” (2013-003, 18.6) If a person posts a sign on their property saying they have birdhouses for sale, and they don’t have a permit, that’s a violation of the Planning Code. This ordinance would allow the County to fine them twice the value of their property because they made a profit selling birdhouses on it without a permit. Perhaps it’s unlikely that the County would ever do that, but an ordinance that is so poorly written as to authorize such an egregious abuse of power should never have been adopted.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

If Carbon Dioxide is So Bad for the Planet, Why Do Greenhouse Growers Buy CO2 Generators to Double Plant Growth?

(NaturalNews) For only “pennies a day,” any greenhouse owner can produce CO2 to help increase plant yields in their greenhouses. That’s the message on CO2 generators sold by greenhouse supply companies across the United States and Canada. “1,500 ppm [of carbon dioxide] can be achieved… these generators automatically provide the carbon dioxide needed to meet maximum growing potential for only pennies a day,” the ad says.

View it yourself in this picture taken from a greenhouse supply magazine:

CO2 generators “improve plant quality” and “increase production.” They’re made in the USA and run on propane or natural gas, turning fossil fuels into carbon dioxide.

Why does this work to radically improve plant growth, health and yields? Because — are you ready for the truth? — CO2 is a plant NUTRIENT.

Nope, it’s not a pollutant that threatens human civilization as has been ridiculously claimed by global warming doomsday pushers. CO2 actually increases plant yields, accelerates “re-greening” and improves reforestation of the planet. And while today’s atmosphere contains only 400 ppm of carbon dioxide, CO2 generators can help raise that level to 1500 ppm inside greenhouses, thereby accelerating plant growth and food production.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

LA Times Reports Hastings Was Going Into Hiding Before His Death

Despite FBI assertions to the contrary, journalist Michael Hastings was under investigation by the agency. In an email sent out hours before his death, Hastings said his “close friends and associates” were being harassed by the FBI and he was going to “go off the radar for a bit,” in other words into hiding. The Los Angeles Times reported on the email on Friday.

At 2:32 into this video, Michael Hastings says the Obama administration is at war with the press.

“Perhaps if the authorities arrive” at the news website Buzzfeed, they “may be wise to immediately request legal counsel before any conversations or interviews about our news-gathering practices or related journalism issues,” he wrote.

Buzzfeed editor Ben Smith added that Hastings had told friends and family “he was concerned that he was under investigation” for his journalism.

Wikileaks also confirmed that Hastings was under investigation by the FBI.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

New Hard Data Debunking CO2 Climate Warmism Hysteria

by Andrew Bostom

A paper just published in the prestigious journal Science (June 21, 2013) raises yet more fundamental questions—or at least it should—about the arbitrary designation of atmospheric CO2 as a “pollutant,” in conjunction with anthropogenic climate “warming” hysteria.

Investigators employed standard, robust multi-proxy techniques based upon examining sediments recovered from Lake El’gygytgyn in northeast Arctic Russia (100 km north of the Arctic circle in Chukotka, Russia) to determine local temperatures between 3.6 to 3.4 million years ago. Their findings revealed that during this middle Pliocene era period,

…summer temperatures were ~8 degrees C warmer than today, when the partial pressure [i.e., atmospheric concentration of] CO2 was ~ 400 parts per million [ppm]

The most recent data available from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (May, 2013) at Mauna Loa, Hawaii, and “globally”, demonstrates current atmospheric concentrations of CO2 are 399.77, and 396.72 ppm, respectively. Thus at essentially the same CO2 concentrations as those determined from ~3.5 million years earlier, and in the absence of “anthropogenic” CO2 production (i.e., by our bipedal Middle Pliocene ancestors!) any where comparable to what it is now, Arctic temperatures then were ~8 degrees C warmer than at present.

           — Hat tip: Andy Bostom [Return to headlines]

NSA: If Your Data is Encrypted, You Might be Evil, So We’ll Keep it Until We’re Sure

There’s been plenty of commentary concerning the latest NSA leak concerning its FISA court-approved “rules” for when it can keep data, and when it needs to delete it. As many of you pointed out in the comments to that piece — and many others are now exploring — the rules seem to clearly say that if your data is encrypted, the NSA can keep it. Specifically, the minimization procedures say that the NSA has to destroy the communication it receives once it’s determined as domestic unless they can demonstrate a few facts about it. As part of this, the rules note:

“In the context of a cryptanalytic effort, maintenance of technical data bases requires retention of all communications that are enciphered or reasonably believed to contain secret meaning, and sufficient duration may consist of any period of time during which encrypted material is subject to, or of use in, cryptanalysis.”

In other words, if your messages are encrypted, the NSA is keeping them until they can decrypt them.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Obama Taps Former IMF Official as National Security Deputy

President Barack Obama on Friday appointed Caroline Atkinson, a former journalist who has worked at the International Monetary Fund, the U.S. Treasury Department and the Bank of England, to be deputy national security adviser for international economics.

Atkinson will take the position vacated by Michael Froman, who became the U.S. trade representative. She will serve as the president’s senior international economic adviser, the White House said in a statement.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Pork-Laced Bullets Designed to Send Muslims Straight ‘To Hell’

SPOKANE, Wash. (RNS) Still angry about the idea of an Islamic cultural center opening near Ground Zero, a group of Idaho gun enthusiasts decided to fight back with a new line of pork-laced bullets. South Fork Industries, based in Dalton Gardens, Idaho, claims its ammunition, called Jihawg Ammo, is a “defensive deterrent to those who violently act in the name of Islam.”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Sen. Menendez Recall Killed by NJ Supreme Court

As I predicted back in June, and fully explained in Footnote 1 below, the New Jersey Supreme Court has killed the effort to recall U.S. Senator Robert Menendez:

Nov. 18, 2010. Court kills Robert Menendez recall push

“The New Jersey Supreme Court struck down a tea party-led push to recall Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez as unconstitutional Thursday.

“In a 4-2 decision, state Supreme Court justices said that the Constitution forbids the recall of a sitting U.S. senator. Lawyers for The Committee to Recall U.S. Senator Robert Menendez argued that New Jersey law allows for such a recall, but justices determined that law was pre-empted by federal statute.”

No where in Art. 1, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution, Art. 1, Section 3 does it contain any language about recall.

The Tea Party Activists who brought the lawsuit are very unhappy and indicate they will take it to the U.S. Supreme Court. It will be shot down there, too. Just like term limits, the U.S. Constitution would have to be amended. I hope the sincere (and desperate) plaintiffs do not file a Petition for Writ of Certiorari. In my humble opinion, it will be a waste of time and money…

The top issue with Americans, and justifiably so, is the issue of jobs. There can be no recovery without jobs and “outsourcing” has killed our manufacturing, industrial and manufacturing sectors. Few Americans truly understand the ramifications of the trade deficit and why the treaties below not only have eroded U.S. Sovereignty, but killed millions and millions of American jobs. The current U.S. Senate will do nothing to get us out of those treaties and I can tell you sure as I’m typing this column, the newly minted Speaker of the House, John Boehner, will make sure those 5+ millions jobs never come back to America:

Boehner is a shrewd career politician and SHAME on the people in his district for voting him back into office. His votes over the years has killed so many jobs in the State of Ohio.

Boehner voted for NAFTA, CAFTA, GATT/WTO. Voted YES on promoting free trade with Peru. A vote against American workers. A vote to seriously hand over U.S. Sovereignty under those unconstitutional treaties.

Voted YES on implementing US-Australia Free Trade Agreement. A vote against American workers.

Voted YES on implementing US-Singapore free trade agreement. A vote against American workers.

Voted YES on implementing free trade agreement with Chile. A vote against American workers.

Voted NO on withdrawing from the WTO (2000). A vote against American workers.

Voted Yes on the illegal TARP bail outs for the banking cartel. His vote was a violation of the U.S. Constitution.

Like Pelosi, Boehner will be able to wield tremendous power. He has lost one power play (Ron Paul now the Chairman of the House Domestic Monetary Policies Subcommittee), but don’t think for a minute Boehner will abandon his anti-American stand on jobs or protecting the bankers. H.R. 4759 will die December 31, 2010. That bill was to withdraw the U.S. from the unconstitutional NAFTA Treaty. It had 30 Democrat sponsors and one Republican, Ron Paul. Doesn’t that tell you in giant letters the Republicans have NO intention of bringing American jobs home? The Republicans had control of Congress from January 1995 — January 2007; eight years with a Republican president. They did NOTHING to bring home American jobs. Instead, buzzards like John Boehner continue to vote for treaties destroying more American jobs.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Student Who Spoke of God, Constitution Receives Apology From School District

Several weeks ago, a high school valedictorian made national news when he deviated from his pre-approved speech and talked about the Constitution and the role God plays in his life. The microphone was ordered cut off in his speech and the principal threatening to derail his appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy. Now, the school district is singing a different tune.

As reported in an earlier story on Fox News, high school valedictorian Remington Reimer’s microphone was cut off during his speech because he strayed from the preapproved text.

“Hiram Sasser, director of litigation with the Liberty Institute, said Joshua High School principal Mick Cochran threatened to write a letter to the U.S. Naval Academy disparaging the character of Remington Reimer.

“It was intimidating having my high school principal threaten my future because I wanted to stand up for the Constitution and acknowledge my faith and not simply read a government approved speech, the teenager said.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

The ACLU Joins Senator Paul’s Anti-NSA Campaign

Senator Rand Paul’s alliance with the ACLU, which opposes government surveillance of radical Muslims and other potential terrorists, is being defended by his Senate office. A spokesman told Accuracy in Media that “We will work with anybody that supports the following: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

At a Capitol Hill news conference on June 13, Sen. Paul (R-KY) appeared with Laura Murphy of the American Civil Liberties Union to announce a lawsuit against the NSA over its terrorist surveillance programs. The ACLU had already filed such a suit on June 11.

Murphy said it is Sen. Paul’s intention “to sue the government to stop NSA surveillance of Americans’ communications.”

Five days after it participated in Senator Paul’s news conference against the NSA, the ACLU filed a lawsuit against the New York Police Department over its surveillance of radical Muslims in the New York City area.

The New York City Police Department issued a 2007 white paper, “Radicalization in the West: The Homegrown Threat,” which outlines the nature of the domestic terrorism problem.

Former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy has called Ray Kelly, the Commissioner of the New York City Police Department, “one of the great police commissioners in American history” because of his work against terrorism.

But Kelly and the NYPD are now the targets of a lawsuit from Senator Rand Paul’s new allies in his battle against the NSA.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

USDA Organic Infant Formula Contains Pesticide Labeled as a “Nutrient”

The USDA organic label is supposed to protect the consumer against GMOs and avoidable chemical exposures, but the sobering fact is that USDA-certified infant formula manufacturers are not only being allowed to use a pesticide in their formulas, but are advertising it as a ‘healthy’ mineral to unsuspecting consumers.

Unbeknownst to the vast majority of U.S. consumers, the nutritional adequacy of infant formula it not determined by its ability to support and produce health in those who receive it, as would be expected. Instead, it is deemed nutritionally adequate solely by virtue of it containing minimum quantities of a list of 29 nutrients, without specifying or even acknowledging the significant qualitative differences that exist between minerals in the form of nutrients and those in the form of industrial chemicals, e.g. amino acid-chelated forms of iron (iron glycinate) are much safer than relatively inorganic forms (ferrous oxide). Surprisingly, all that regulators do is ensure that those ingredients are there in the amounts deemed necessary, and that some basic quality control measures are followed during the manufacturing process.

A recent review summarized the U.S. rules as follows:…

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Utah Valley Muslims to Break Ground for New Mosque

OREM — Members of Utah Valley’s Islamic community are putting their faith on the line Saturday afternoon when they join forces with other community members to break ground for Utah County’s first Islamic mosque. Groundbreaking ceremonies will be held Saturday at 5 p.m. on the construction site at 935 S. State Street in Orem. Dr. Brian Birch, associate vice president for academic affairs at Utah Valley University will speak at the event, and Imam Shuaib Uddin of the Utah Islamic Center in Sandy will offer the consecration prayer service…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Welsh Pub in New York Fined for Race Discrimination After Advertising for Bar Staff With ‘Knowledge of British Culture’Owners Fined £1,600 for Race Discrimination

The owner of a Welsh bar in New York has been fined £1,600 for race discrimination after trying to hire staff with a ‘knowledge of British culture’.

Ex-pat Michael Colbert, 54, was hauled up in front of a human rights commission after advertising for new staff with an interest in Britain.

The landlord placed a job advert for the Longbow — the only Welsh pub in the Big Apple — looking for bar tenders with a knowledge of the UK.

But he was accused of discrimination with the city’s authorities claiming he is being unfair to workers of different nationalities. Michael and his American wife Jennifer couple had been due to take their case to court.

But they agreed in a pre-trial conference to pay a fine of $2,500 (£1,600) issued by New York City’s Commission of Human Rights.

Part of the agreement also stipulates that the couple and their staff have to undergo anti-discrimination training within the next 120 days. In a statement the couple said: Free speech is not so free after all it seems’.

Michael said: ‘We advertised for someone with a knowledge of Britain and Wales, the culture and the differences we have. We are looking for people with a certain skill set who will create the right atmosphere for people walking in. To create that nuanced Welsh thing within the pub. But somewhere along the writing of the advert we fell a foul of the authorities.’

Michael is an ex-carpenter who moved to New York from Wrexham, North Wales, more than 20 years ago. He married his American wife and opened the bar in the Brooklyn area of the city.

The bar is popular with tourists and ex-pats, they have a Welsh rugby shirt behind the bar, serve curry and chips and show the Premier League. The vacancy at the bar has now been filled by a ‘football mad’ Irish woman.

But the couple added they were looking forward to getting on with running the pub.

‘We are grateful for all the support we have received, locally, nationally and internationally,’ they said in a statement.

Jennifer said: ‘We are New York’s only Welsh pub a fact that we are very proud of and we get thousands of Welsh visitors every year. We’re introducing everybody to Welsh culture and telling them all about Wales.’

‘So it is imperative that our staff understand British culture. We are not looking to discriminate against anyone based on their culture but Brits have their own culture — we are not the same as Americans.

‘And just because we all speak English doesn’t mean Americans and Brits are interchangeable.’

The couple’s legal problems started when they posted an advert on website Craigslist looking for new staff. The job description read: ‘Energetic and enthusiastic men and women with an appreciation of craft beer, good food, whisky and real football (a.k.a. soccer).

‘Being British definitely works in your favour — Bring an ex-pat or lived in the UK — also a plus.’

It also said staff should know why Liverpool vs Everton is an important match, and that the Old Firm refers to a match between Celtic and Rangers and not a law company.

           — Hat tip: Nick [Return to headlines]

‘GCHQ is Worse Than US’, Says Whistleblower Edward Snowden as He Claims British Spies Are Collecting Huge Amounts of Data From Internet and Phone Calls

British eavesdropping agency GCHQ has secretly accessed fibre-optic cables carrying huge amounts of internet and communications data, according to documents disclosed by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The agency is able to tap into and store data — including phone calls and e-mails between innocent people — from the cables for up to 30 days so it can be analysed under an operation codenamed Tempora, the Guardian reported.

The Cheltenham-based agency would not comment on intelligence matters but insisted it was ‘scrupulous’ in complying with the law.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Greece: Foreign Business Groups Eye to Open New Casinos

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, JUNE 21 — Foreign business groups have expressed interest in the operation of new casinos in Greece, Kathimerini online reports. According to sources, such proposals have come from a Greek-Turkish consortium for a casino on Chios, British and Israeli entrepreneurs for Crete, a groups with British and other funds for Atalanti in central Greece, and an American fund for Myconos. Meanwhile the total financial figures of the country’s nine casinos are continuing to head south. For the period from January to May, their turnover showed a yearly decline of 13.4%, reaching 121.8 million euros.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italian Trial Times Are Dantesque, Says House Speaker

(AGI) Rome — “Italian trial times are Dantesque, almost twice as long as the average in OECD countries,” said House Speaker Grasso ..

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

Italy: Suspected Prostitute Uncovered at Florence Home for Elderly

Ex-employee ‘turned tricks on site’ say police

(ANSA) — Florence, June 18 — A woman in Florence is suspected of practicing prostitution inside a home for the elderly, local media reported Tuesday. The suspect, a 42-year-old Romanian national, was a former employee of the Il Borro assisted-living center who, according to personnel, requested a place to stay after falling down on her luck. Police say she lived inside a staff residence rent-free from 2011 to 2012 where she is believed to have turned tricks for a living. “We didn’t know what kind of work she did,” said the center in a statement. “She told us she was going through hard times, and giving her a home, as we’ve done with others, seemed like a nice gesture”. The head of the center of the time was Massimo Mattei, a local councillor who resigned several days ago for health reasons. Police say they uncovered the alleged prostitute during a larger investigation into a suspected escort ring at a number of Florentine hotels.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Street Vendor Arrested in Connection With Cyclist’s Death

Surveillance cameras led to arrest of Moroccan in hit and run

(ANSA) — Reggio Calabria, June 18 — A Moroccan street vendor was arrested Tuesday in connection with the death of a cyclist in the Calabrian town of Marina di Gioia Ionica.

Police arrested Mohamed Laaribi, 20, after surveillance cameras placed him near the scene of the hit-and-run death of cyclist Roberto Leonardo, 52.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Tainted Milk Investigation in Udine Leads to Five Arrests

Probe claims farmers and consortium let toxic milk go to market

(ANSA) — Udine, June 20 — Food police on Thursday arrested the leader of a dairy consortium and four others in a toxic milk probe in Udine, a city on the Slovenian border in the northeastern Italian region of Friuli Venezia Giulia (FVG). The leader of the FVG regional Cospalat dairy consortium, Renato Zampa, is accused along with the others of conspiring to commercialise milk they knew was contaminated with aflatoxins, toxic fungi known to be a potent cause of liver cancer and stunted growth in children.

Aflatoxins sometimes grow on rotting cereals and hay, and can contaminate cattle-feed. Investigators for the probe, which is coordinated by the Udine prosecutor’s office, also detected the presence of antibiotics in some milk analyzed.

Investigators believe the FVG Cospalat had milk tests falsified by an accomplice laboratory, knowingly diluted contaminated milk with normal milk. Investigators also believe FVG Cospalat allowed unauthorized dairies to provide milk for illicitly-made, quality-certified Montasio DOP cheese. Defendants face charges of conspiracy to commit commercial fraud, adulteration of foodstuffs and commercialisation of foodstuffs that are dangerous to health.

Investigators are probing 24 people in the case, including 17 farmers — out of roughly 100 members of the consortium — accused of knowingly putting contaminated milk on the market. FVG Cospalat’s chief was taken to jail and four others placed under house-arrest.One person was placed under movement restrictions, and a seventh is wanted, but remains at large.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Romanian Woman Jailed for Dumping Newborn in McDonald’s Toilet

Rome, 18 June (AKI) — A court in Rome on Tuesday sentenced a young Romanian woman to four years in prison for attempted murder after she abandoned her newborn baby inside a Mc Donalds toilet bowl.

Andreia Grancea, 21, gave birth to the infant in the bathroom at a Mc Donald’s in Rome on 28 December last year before fleeing the scene.

The baby survived after it was rescued by two girls who entered the toilet minutes later.

The case is reminiscent of the newborn who survived in May after being flushed down a squat lavatory in eastern China by his 22-year-old unmarried single mother.

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

Italy: Grillo Says M5S Will Win Elections Then Talk to EU

(AGI) Rome — Beppe Grillo has said his M5S party will win the forthcoming elections and renegotiate with the European Union .

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

Italy to Show Commitment to Waste Management, Says Minister

Country chided by EU and threatened with sanctions

(ANSA) — Rome, June 20 — Italian Environment Minister Andrea Orlando said on Thursday that the country needed to show its dedication to cleaning up its waste problem after being chided by the European Union on Thursday.

“The European Union, in spite of sanctions, has recognized our commitment to move forward…something we must now do,” Orlando said. “Now is the time for practical actions. From this point on we need to show the EU our conviction,” he said.

Earlier on Thursday, the EU said 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 euros 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: Sports Minister to Continue Despite ‘Media Campaign’

(AGI) — Rome, June 22 — The Italian sports minister Josefa Idem has said in a press conference she will press on despite the ‘media campaign’ against her. “Many have asked me not to give in to a media campaign and I will continue in order not to let down those who have placed their trust in me,” she said.

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

Netherlands: Creating Mega Province Around Amsterdam Will Save €70m: Minister

Merging the provinces of Noord-Holland, Utrecht and Flevoland into a single entity will save €70m a year, according to draft legislation published by home affairs minister Ronald Plasterk on Monday.

The minister plans to press ahead with the merger, despite widespread opposition. He says it will allow the region to operate more effectively and efficiently in terms of housing, infrastructure and nature management.

The new province, given the working name Noordvleugel (northern wing) will be home to 4.3 million people.


The merger was originally slated to become a reality in 2015, but that has been delayed a year in the new plan.

The draft legislation has now been put out to consultation. The final legislation will be drawn up in October once the consultation period is over.

The documents do not make any recommendations about where the provincial capital should be based. Noord-Holland is currently based in Haarlem.

The government eventually plans to reduce the 12 Dutch provinces to five, but Noordvleugel is the only one currently on the drawing board.

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

Spanish King Receives Anti-Bomb Hero, A Dog Named Ajax

Prevented ETA terrorist attack in 2009 on Mallorca

(ANSAmed) — MADRID — A dog has been honoured as a hero by Spain’s King Juan Carlos, report sources from the royal family. The German shepherd and police dog Ajax’s keen sense of smell managed to sniff out an ETA bomb and prevent a mass killing in Palmanova, Mallorca, on July 30, 2009. Twelve years old and now retired from his anti-terrorism activities, Ajax and his trainers were received by the king on Tuesday at the Zaruela Palace after receiving a gold medal from the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals, the highest award for animals boasting outstanding acts of rescue and courage.

Ajax, the most famous dog of the Guardia Civil’s kennel of bomb experts, made a name for himself that July 30, 2009, when he took part in the security inspections following an attack by the armed separatist group in Palmanova, the last act by ETA leading to casualties and one in which two Guardia Civil officers lost their lives. His sense of smell proved decisive to prevent a mass killing, since he found and marked an area in which the terrorists had placed a second bomb in a vehicle. The bomb squad managed to detonate it in a controlled explosion, preventing a massacre on a Balearic Island flooded with tourists in the summer season.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Sweden: Robbers Kicked Pregnant Woman in the Stomach

A pregnant woman pushing a stroller was attacked on Midsummer Eve by three people near a school in the Stockholm suburb of Kista.

Before grabbing the woman’s bag, which contained her wallet, the robbers pushed over the stroller and kicked the woman in her stomach.

The child sitting in the stroller was not hurt and police helped the woman get to hospital.

“I don’t know how far gone she is, if you can tell she is pregnant or not.” Albin Näverberg of the Stockholm police told news agency TT.

The attack happened around 08:00 PM.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

The European Union is the Destroyer of European Culture

by Bent Jensen

The European Union — which usually and frivolously calls itself “Europe” — has now found it imperative to launch another propaganda campaign against the citizens of the European countries. That in itself is a sign that the Union is in a profound crisis. There should be no reason to praise one’s own excellence if it were obvious to all. Now European culture is to be used to create optimism despite the deep economic crisis caused by the European project.

One may host innumerable conferences about European culture and publish as many manifestos about the glorious European civilization as one desires — at least as long as the European taxpayers can be coerced into paying for them. And as long as participants in these conferences are able to arrive at their fancy hotels and conference halls without being blocked by street riots, assaults on peaceful citizens and burning cars.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Tyrannies Across the World Are Crushing Dissent. In Britain Contempt for the Political Class is Growing. Is it Possible That Democracy is Dying?

The truth is that democracy is ailing — not least here in Britain. Many people despise and distrust politicians.

They doubt that the energy expended on trekking to a polling station once every five years will benefit them or their societies.

A few years ago, Portuguese Nobel prizewinner Jose Saramago wrote a brilliant allegorical novel about democratic corruption, entitled Seeing. It was set in a nameless modern city during an election campaign, where three-quarters of the voters are so disgusted by their politicians that they returned blank ballots.

The government, bewildered and furious about the mass protest, orders a rerun: this produces 83 per cent of blank papers.

The writer’s point, of course, is that modern politics has become meaningless to most people. It has simply descended into a struggle for power among small and unrepresentative elites, devoid of convictions or integrity, who ignore or defy the views of the people who elect them…

The EU and its distant, all-powerful bureaucracies feeds more public disillusionment. Almost every day, decisions about our lives are being made without the consent of Parliament, and often against its wishes.

Lord Denning, an unusually wise judge, presciently wrote in 1974: ‘The Treaty of Rome is like an incoming tide. It flows into the estuaries and up the rivers. It cannot be held back.’

He was quite right, but his bewigged successors today have plenty of their own crimes to answer for.

More and more unpopular and visibly unjust British law is made by the judiciary, often flagrantly over-riding the expressed wishes of voters and Parliament.

We are entitled to ask: why does no other country in Europe suffer as severely at the hands of its judges — for instance, in upholding the rights of terrorists and their sympathisers at the expense of public safety — as does Britain?

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Bristol’s Religious Communities Come Together to Reflect on Murder of Lee Rigby

A DECLARATION that Bristol’s religious communities will stand together against terrorism and racial violence was made at a multi-faith gathering to reflect on the death of soldier Lee Rigby. The event, held at Shah Jalal Mosque in Easton last night, was attended by Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Jews, Buddhists and Quakers, as well as people of no faith…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Centre-Right Columnists Are Legitimising the EDL

It is less than a month since Drummer Lee Rigby was killed in Woolwich and already alarm bells are ringing after a number of articles which seem to be attempting to close down debate on anti-Muslim prejudice in Britain. Charles Moore’s article in The Telegraph on Saturday (‘Woolwich outrage: we are too weak to face up to the extremism in our midst’) appeared to follow this route and comes cold on the heels of two other articles here and here earlier this month by Andrew Gilligan, also published in The Telegraph…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: EDL Rally: Theresa May Considers Banning US Bloggers From UK

Home Secretary Theresa May is considering banning two US bloggers from entering the UK to speak at an English Defence League rally.

Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer are due to join an EDL march in Woolwich, where Drummer Lee Rigby was killed.

The pair are prominent “anti-Islamisation” campaigners in the US. Home affairs committee chairman Keith Vaz claims their presence will fuel hatred and is calling for them to be denied visas. Mr Vaz said: “I am alarmed that the EDL is planning this type of march in Woolwich. It is clear that the location, motivation and attendees at this march will incite hatred…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Mr Cameron Made a Huge Error When He Embraced the NHS

by Charles Moore

First Mid Staffs and now the CQC scandal show the failings of a system built by Labour

It all started with an SUI. As a result, issues arose with UHMB and with the SRA. The Complainant went to the CPHSO. At roughly the same time, the CQC got involved, sometimes employing its STEIS, and gave UHMB a clean bill of health to register under the HSCA. On Wednesday, we were told that “Mr B”, “Mr E”, and others had deleted a CQC internal report into what had gone wrong with this process, and that this “might well have constituted a deliberate cover-up”.

Such is life — and death — in the organisation which bears the better known initials, NHS.

I won’t translate all of the above, but it helps to know that an SUI, in the NHS, stands for a Serious Untoward Incident. In this case, it is what you and I would call a death — that of a newborn baby, Joshua Titcombe. He died because, in Furness General Hospital, he caught an infection from his mother, and, despite repeated pleas by his parents, no doctor attended him. The Complainant was Joshua’s father, James…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Refugees: Serbia is No.1 in Europe Since Balkan War

57,000 refugees, 210,000 displaced from Kosovo

(ANSAmed) — Belgrade, June 20 — Serbia has the highest number of refugees in Europe with a total of 57,000, 22 years after the war broke out in the former Yugoslavia.

Speaking at a media conference in Belgrade, Svetlana Velimirovic, deputy chief of the committee for asylum seekers and immigrants, said the greatest number were from Croatia — a total of 41,000 while more than 15,000 were from Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Another 210,000 displaced people were from Kosovo. Since 1995 Serbia has received a total of 618,000 refugees and asylum seekrs from the other republics of the former Yugoslavia.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Egypt: Hundreds Protest Against Mursi in Port Said, Suez

Hundreds of demonstrators in Suez and Port Said took part in marches calling for ousting President Mohamed Mursi on Friday. A group of protesters marched from al-Tawfiqi Mosque in Port Said holding anti-Muslim Brotherhood banners and demanding that the president steps down before June 30.

National and political powers denounced a leaflet the Muslim Brotherhood has distributed. They accused the Brotherhood of implementing a plan to sabotage and torch several facilities and institutions. In Suez, scores of opponents to Mursi’s regime organised a protest in al-Arba’een Square to demand toppling the president. The protesters said they did not belong to parties, adding that their goal is to express how the Muslim Brotherhood’s regime failed.

The demonstrators urged all Egyptians to take part in the June 30 mass demonstrations to insist that this be the last day for Mursi as president after the country’s deterioration during his first year of ruling.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Egypt’s Islamists Rally in Support of President Morsi

by Mahmoud Fouly

CAIRO, June 21 (Xinhua) — “We are here to voice support for President Mohamed Morsi, and tell the media and the opposition that a lot of Egyptians defend the president and his legitimacy,” said Ahmed Ghanem, who came from Alexandria to the capital Cairo to join throngs of Islamists in their march in support of Egypt’s Islamist-oriented president.

On Friday, thousands of Islamists flocked to the square near Rabia al-Adawiya Mosque in the Nasr City, Cairo, to support Morsi in a march, dubbed “No for Violence,” as Morsi’s opponents were also drumming up for nationwide anti-Morsi protests set for June 30.

Pro-Morsi demonstrators marched from different parts of the city toward the square, waving national flags, flags of the Muslim Brotherhood and of other Islamist parties, raising signs and shouting slogans such as “We love you, Morsi!” “No for Violence. Yes for legitimacy!”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Egypt: Clashes Erupt as Morsy Attends Cairo Mosque

Clashes between opponents and supporters of President Mohamed Morsy erupted outside a Cairo mosque Friday, as Morsy performed Zuhr prayers amid tight security. The president visited the Al-Quds Mosque in New Cairo’s Fifth Settlement. As Morsy emerged from the mosque, his supporters chanted: “We love you Morsy!” Opponents responded, shouting: “Leave, leave, we do not want you.”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Egypt: “Rebels” Reach 15 Million Signatures to Oust Mohamed Morsi

The petition will be presented on June 30 to the Supreme Court. If accepted there will be early presidential elections. The Muslim Brotherhood fear the unexpected success of the initiative and organize demonstrations and a counter-petition in favor of the president. Danger of possible clashes.

Cairo (AsiaNews) — The liberal secular “Rebel” group has reached the threshold of 15 million signatures to impeach the government of Mohamed Morsi. This was announced yesterday by Mahmoud Badr, co-founder of the initiative, at the conference for the launch of the “Rebels Week”, a week of demonstrations against the government of the Muslim Brotherhood that will end on June 30. Meanwhile, Morsi supporters have launched a counter-campaign stating that they have already collected ten million signatures in support of the President, yesterday afternoon thousands of people gathered at the end of Friday prayers, expressing solidarity with the head of state. They call for the rebels to “respect the people’s will” and announce other peaceful sit-in protests in various Egyptian cities. This is why the police and army have sounded the alarm about possible clashes between protesters from opposing factions.

Launched in mid-May, ‘The Rebel’ campaign has gathered more and more support among Egyptians. For over a month young people have traveled all over the country door to door collecting the necessary signatures for the petition of no confidence, which if upheld by the Supreme Court could lead to early presidential elections.

Young people have also asked the UN to act as an impartial guarantor, to verify the authenticity of the material presented. To sign up, each person had to write their ID number next to their signature and mark their fingerprint.

At the time the initiative has collected more signatures than the 13.2 million votes obtained by President Morsi in the 2012 elections. According to analysts, the anti-Islamic sentiment has grown rapidly since January 2013 because of the increasing Islamization of politics, which has seen members of the Muslim Brotherhood take control over non-elective institutions, from the judiciary to the local government officials. In addition, the heavy economic recession and youth unemployment are still far from being resolved despite the proclamations of the Islamist establishment.

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

Flurry of Objections as Femen Trial Gets Underway in Tunis

Lawyers complain of lack of time to prepare defence

(ANSAmed) — TUNIS, JUNE 21 — The appeals trial began Friday against the European Femen activists who had received a four-month sentence for staging a topless protest in the country. The defence team representing the activists (Pauline Hillier, Marguerite Stern and Josephine Markmann, two French nationals and one German) started off the proceedings with an objection that the appeals trial must take place ten days after the first ruling (June 12). They say that this resulted in their being unable to prepare the defence properly. As a sign of protest, a number of lawyers from the defence team came to court wearing a red ribbon around their arms, in the Tunisian tradition.

A request was then made for the three defendants to be released if the court were to decide to postpone the trial. The jury reserved the right to decide by the end of the day. The three activists, who had bared their breasts to demand the release of Amina Sboui — a Tunisian girl and member of the group, who had staged a topless protest herself — were visibly shaken at the trial and were wearing the safsari, the traditional pale-coloured veil worn by Tunisian women detainees.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Gaza Singer Unites Palestinians on Talent Show Arab Idol

A singer from a Gaza refugee camp has united two feuding groups of Palestinians with his performances on Arab Idol.

Palestinian fans and big business are rallying behind a 22-year-old singer from the Gaza Strip in a final push to vote him the next Arab Idol in the TV talent contest final in Beirut on Saturday. Mohammed Assaf is the first Palestinian to qualify for Arab Idol, the Middle East’s version of Pop Idol in which contestants perform for judges and voting viewers. His combination of good looks and emotional lyrics about ancestral Palestinian lands have helped to turn the young man from Gaza’s Khan Younis refugee camp into a symbol of unity for Palestinians plagued by deep internal divisions…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Hamdallah Offers to Resign

‘Dispute over powers’, sources tell Ynet

Palestinian Prime Minister Hamdallah offered resignation

(ANSAmed) — Ramallah — Palestinian prime minister Rami Hamdallah has offered his resignation to president Mahmoud Abbas, according to reports by Palestinian news agency Maan.

Hamdallah, an academic and political independent, was sworn into office in early June, replacing Salam Fayyad who stepped down in April.

Israeli media also reported the news and the Ynet website cited an anonymous source from the Palestinian government saying the resignation was over a “dispute over powers”.

It is not yet clear whether Abbas has accepted his resignation or the reasons for it.

A senior Palestinian official told Ynet that Hamdallah decided to quit after major disagreements with his two deputies — Mohammad Mustafa and Ziad Abu Amar, both close allies of President Abbas. The source said an angry Hamdallah left his office in his private car, rather than in the government-owned vehicle provided for him.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Two Men Hanged in Gaza for Collaborating With Israel

(AGI) Gaza, June 22 — Two men suspected of collaborating with Israel have been hanged in Gaza on the orders of Hamas. The movement’s interior ministry said the men, aged 43 and 49, had been found guilty by a military tribunal in 2003 of collaborating with a “hostile foreign power” and being involved with murders and spying. Five suspected collaborators have already been sentenced to death in Gaza this year.

Collaborating with Israel, committing murder and drug trafficking are all crimes punishable by death.

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

Arming Rebels is the Only Way to Peace, Qatar Says

(AGI) Doha — Qatar said arming rebel forces in Syria fighting against Bashar al-Assad’s government is the only way to secure peace ..

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

Friends of Syria to Provide Material and Equipment to Opposition

Western and Arab nations opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have agreed to give urgent support to Syrian rebels. They also called for Hezbollah fighters from Iran and Iraq to withdraw from Syria.

Ministers from the eleven main countries which form the Friends of Syria group agreed “to provide urgently all the necessary materiel and equipment to the opposition on the ground.” They also condemned “the intervention of Hezbollah militias and fighters from Iran and Iraq,” calling on them to withdraw immediately.

Qatar hosted the talks, and on Saturday Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim tried to dispel concerns which have been voiced in the US and in Europe about weapons given to the rebels ending up in the hands of extremists. “If we send weapons, they will be delivered to the right quarters,” Jassim said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Italian Islam Convert Killed Fighting for Syrian Rebels

20-year-old was under investigation for terrorist recruitment

(By Christopher Livesay) (ANSA) — Genoa, June 18 — A 20-year-old from the northwestern port city of Genoa who had converted to Islam has died in Syria while fighting with rebels against the government of Bashar al-Assad.

The death of Giuliano Ibrahim Delnevo, a student, was first reported by Milan daily Il Giornale on Tuesday and subsequently confirmed by ANSA sources. Delnevo, who had taken the name Ibrahim along with his new faith, had posted passages of the Koran on his Facebook page along with a photograph of Abdullah Yusuf Azzam, known as the ‘Father of Global Jihad’ who inspired Osama bin Laden to take up fundamentalist offensive jihad.

His family reportedly had no ties to Islam. According to Il Giornale he taken up with the “most extremist Syrian rebels”.

Prosecutors later revealed Delnevo was under investigation in Genoa for terrorist recruitment at the time of his death. According to sources, the probe had been ongoing for months. Authorities said he went to Syria towards the end of 2012, though he had already made contact with extremist groups there in mid-2012. Investigators are looking into whether Delnevo was trained in Italy. Prosecutors said “there are other suspects who are not from Genova”.

But Italy’s Security Intelligence Department (DIS) was quick to assure there was no major risk of widespread terrorist recruitment in the country. “There is not a concentration of recruitment, just a few individuals,” said DIS Director Giampiero Massolo.

The imam of Genoa told ANSA he remembers seeing Delnevo. “He didn’t come to pray in our center, but I remember seeing him at some of our events, because he was dressed like a sufi,” Salah Hussein said, noting a long white tunic and a Qizilbash, a traditional crimson hat.

The head of the Italian Union of Islamic Communities and Organizations (UCOI on Tuesday distanced his group from the young radical, which the media has dubbed “the Italian jihadist”. “Our role as men and women of faith, just as other faiths, is to work together to send a message of co-existence and not to leave space for personal interpretations of divine messages,” said Ezzedine Elzir. “I don’t know this boy, and I know that (the Muslim community) in Genoa didn’t know him… “I don’t believe he was converted here in Italy”.

Delnevo is not the first Italian citizen to be linked to extremist Islam. But the fact that he was born and raised in a Catholic country to Italian parents and not to parents from a majority-Muslim country makes him stand out. Less surprising was the arrest last week of a 21-year-old Italian of Moroccan descent in Brescia for allegedly running the Italian branch of a Belgium-based Islamist organisation under suspicion of planning attacks in Italy.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Kidnapping Targeting Girls Increases in Syria’s 27-Month Conflict

DAMASCUS, June 21 (Xinhua) — Kidnapping touches a primal fear in all Syrian families especially after reports claiming that some 1,000 girls have been kidnapped nationwide, forcing families to keep their daughters indoors or to take loath precautions. At the beginning of the 27-month crisis, Syrians concerned about their male children as many cases of kidnapping for ransom, robberies and even for revenge, were registered. But since more than a year ago, kidnapping targeting females has been on the rise and local media recorded more than 1,000 women were kidnapped.

“Some 1,000 women have been kidnapped in Syria and 37,000 women have been raped in the countryside of the capital Damascus alone,” Qassem Suleiman, the secretary of the reconciliation committee in the Ministry of National Reconciliation, told al-Watan newspaper…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

‘Rebels Murdered My 14-Year-Old for a Joke’: Anguish of Syrian Mother Who Saw Her Son Being Shot Dead

[WARNING: ** Disturbing Content **]

An Aleppo woman has described the moment she saw Syrian rebels murder her 14-year-old son for cracking a joke about the Prophet Mohammed.

Mohammed Katta was shot dead in broad daylight by Islamist fighters in the city which has been at the heart of the insurrection against the regime of President Bashar Assad.

Nadia Umm Faud, Mohammed’s mother, was just yards away when her son, a drummer boy in the revolution’s early protest marches, was shot three times and left for dead.

Her testimony comes as the U.S. sought to persuade Western and Arab allies to commit to directing all aid to Syrian rebels through the Western-backed Supreme Military Council to try to reduce the power of jihadi groups.

She told the Daily Telegraph how she was at home in Aleppo’s Shaar district when the rebel fighters, who she believes were foreigners, drove her badly beaten son back to his home neighbourhood.

Hearing the warning shouts of neighbours she ran to the apartment’s balcony where she saw group arrive…

Mohammed had been working at the family’s coffee stall in Aleppo’s Shaar district when he made the quip that sealed his fate.

Asked by a customer to hand over a coffee in return for later payment, he shouted: ‘I wouldn’t give the Prophet Mohammed credit if he came here today.’

Two men who overheard his comment marched over and dragged him off in a car, ignoring his protestations of piety and even the objections of a militiaman from the Free Syrian Army.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Russia: “Syria Will be Armed With Weapons That Have Never Been Seen Before in the Middle East”

With boots on the ground around Syria’s borders, the United States is without a doubt preparing for widespread engagement across the region yet again, with the aim of the new U.S. supplied weapons being more killing and destruction in a civil war that has left tens of thousands dead in the last year.

It is the assumption of the Obama administration that these weapons will tip the scales of power in favor of the rebels, many of whom have been identified as members of America’s arch enemy, Al Queda.

But Russia’s KGB-hardened President Vladimir Putin has other ideas.

This week, according to a British intelligence report, Putin reportedly passed on a diplomatic communique to the United States and France using British Prime Minister David Cameron as the intermediary.

According to the report from Syrian-based Dam Press and the Dyar Newspaper, the Russians aren’t backing off their Syria policy and they are getting ready to double down by supplying Assad’s military with weapons the have never before been seen in the middle east.

If and when Western forces engage the Syrian army you can be assured that it will be nothing like the 1991 conflict in Iraq when a hundred thousand of Saddam Hussein’s soldiers surrendered without firing a shot. Nor will it be a no-fly zone free-for-all where air forces will be able to target military assets as they did in Libya without being challenged.

No, this time will be different.

This time, Russia and America may well being playing with fire. The kind that leads the people of this planet head first into World War III.

Global Research reports:

“The Patriot Missiles will be hit and repealed with S 300 SAM [already installed in Syria]. Putin also threatened to deliver the more advanced S400 anti-aircraft missiles (see image below) far superior to the Patriot missiles and ranked as the World’s most advanced air defense system.

“He added that Russia will also supply Syria with state-of — the-art 24-Barrell rocket launchers which have a range of 60 km ranked as the most developed artillery weapon of its kind.(see video below)

[Comment: Check out the pics.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Syria: ‘I Saw Rebels Execute My Boy for no More Than a Joke’

Nadia Umm Fuad watched her son being shot by Islamist rebels in Syria after the 14-year-old referred to the Prophet Mohammed as he joked with a customer at his coffee stall in Aleppo. She speaks to Richard Spencer.

Mohammed Katta’s mother witnessed the execution of her son in three stages. She was upstairs at home when she first heard the shouting. The people of the neighbourhood were yelling that “they have brought back the kid”, so she rushed out of her apartment. “I went out on my balcony,” Nadia Umm Fuad said. “I said to his father, they are going to shoot your son! Come! Come! Come! I was on the stairs when I heard the first shot. I was at the door when I heard the second shot.

“I saw the third shot. I was shouting, ‘That’s haram, forbidden! Stop! Stop! You are killing a child.’ But they just gave me a dirty look and got into their car. As they went, they drove over my son’s arm, as he lay there dying.”

Mohammed was 14 when he was killed, earlier this month, prompting international condemnation. He has become a symbol of the fears many Syrians have for the future of a country where jihadists are vying with the regime for control…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Turkey: European Rights Commissioner Plans July Visit

Nils Muiznieks concerned about latest events

(ANSAmed) — Brussels, June 20 — Nils Muiznieks, the chairman of the European Commission against racism and intolerance, will visit Turkey in July to evaluate human rights after the recent protests and violent repression by the government.

“I do not yet know the situation in the field, but I am very concerned about what is happening,” he said during a media conference in Brussels.

On Monday the European Parliament has postponed a visit by the foreign affairs committee that was due to go to Turkey yesterday.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

U.S. Leaves 700 Combat-Equipped Troops in Jordan

WASHINGTON, June 21 (Xinhua) — Around 700 combat-equipped U.S. troops will stay in Jordan after a training exercise to cope with a worsening security situation arising from the ongoing conflict in Syria, U.S. President Barack Obama said on Friday.

In a letter to Congress leaders, the president said the detachment, as requested by the Jordanian government, will stay after the exercise ended there on Thursday “until the security situation becomes such that it is no longer needed.”

“This detachment that participated in the exercise and remained in Jordan includes Patriot missile systems, fighter aircraft, and related support, command, control, and communications personnel and systems,” Obama said. He said the move was aimed at supporting the security of Jordan and promoting regional stability, as both are in the U.S. national security and foreign policy interests…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

U.S. Has Secretly Provided Arms Training to Syria Rebels Since 2012

CIA agents and special operations troops have trained the rebels in anti-tank and antiaircraft weaponry in Jordan and Turkey.

By David S. Cloud and Raja Abdulrahim, Los Angeles Times

WASHINGTON — CIA operatives and U.S. special operations troops have been secretly training Syrian rebels with anti-tank and antiaircraft weapons since late last year, months before President Obama approved plans to begin directly arming them, according to U.S. officials and rebel commanders.

The covert U.S. training at bases in Jordan and Turkey, along with Obama’s decision this month to supply arms and ammunition to the rebels, has raised hope among the beleaguered Syrian opposition that Washington ultimately will provide heavier weapons as well. So far, the rebels say they lack the weapons they need to regain the offensive in the country’s bitter civil war.

The tightly constrained U.S. effort reflects Obama’s continuing doubts about being drawn into a conflict that has already killed more than 100,000 people and his administration’s fear that Islamic militants now leading the war against President Bashar Assad could gain control of advanced U.S. weaponry.

The training has involved fighters from the Free Syrian Army, a loose confederation of rebel groups that the Obama administration has promised to back with expanded military assistance, said a U.S. official, who discussed the effort anonymously because he was not authorized to disclose details.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

U.S. Training Syrian Rebels; White House ‘Stepped Up Assistance’

The White House refuses to confirm but says ‘substantial assistance’ is being provided.

WASHINGTON — White House officials refused to comment Friday on a Los Angeles Times report that CIA operatives and U.S. special operations troops have been secretly training Syrian rebels with anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons since late last year, saying only that the U.S. had increased its assistance to the rebellion.

The covert U.S. training at bases in Jordan and Turkey began months before President Obama approved plans to begin directly arming the opposition to Syrian President Bashar Assad, according to U.S. officials and rebel commanders.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

At St. Petersburg Forum, Moscow and Beijing Strengthen Energy Alliance

Rosneft and CNPC sign mega-deal of 270 billion dollars for the supply of 365 million tons of Russian oil to China over 25 years. Policy of eastward expansion continues in the face of falling demand from European market plagued by crisis.

Moscow (AsiaNews) — China was the protagonist of the International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg, the so-called ‘Russian Davos’, which from June 20 to 22 brought 4,400 people including heads of government, ministers, journalists, analysts and top managers of major corporations to the shores of the Baltic Sea. Leading the Chinese delegation was the vice premier, Zhang Gaoli, who met the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, to discuss the implementation of the agreements on trade, investment and energy cooperation, reached during President Xi Jinping’a Moscow visit last March.

The energy sector, with oil in first place, remains the engine of economic and trade cooperation between the two neighbors. Russia already provides significant quantities of crude oil to China and is discussing how to improve the transit capacity of existing infrastructure, in order to increase oil exports.

On the sidelines of the Forum public companies Rosneft and CNPC (China National Petroleum Corporation) signed an agreement for the supply of 365 million tons of Russian oil to Beijing, for a total of 270 billion dollars over 25 years. With an advance payment to Rosneft that is somewhere between 60 and 70 billion dollars.

The number one of the major Russian tycoons, Igor Sechin, a Putin loyalist, said that the mega-contract, one of the largest in the history of oil, provides supplies for 15 million tons a year. With the deal — defined by Putin as “unprecedented” — the agreement between the two majors provides that, beginning in 2015, Rosneft will double oil supplies to China from the current 300 thousand barrels per day to 600 thousand barrels. The initiative is part of a broader strategy of the Russian oil giant’s commitment to the East, following the drop in demand in the European market, hit by the crisis.

The Petersburg Forum has confirmed the growing partnership between the Republic of China — the second largest energy consumer in the world — and the Russian Federation — the largest oil producer — whose relations in the energy field never really took off because of differences over prices and logistical issues: most of the reservoirs are located in Western Siberia, and most of its pipeline run to the Old Continent. Analysts have expressed doubt that Rosneft will increase supplies quickly. Pipes will have to be laid from eastern Siberia to Manchuria, in the wake of Skovorodino pipeline, built in 2009. The deposits of eastern Siberia will then have to be developed to gradually take the place of those in the west, already exploited during the Soviet era and being phased out.

The goal is ambitious, but Moscow has every intention of reaching it. At the Forum, Putin joked, “Sechin now spends more time in China than in Russia.”

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

14 Militants Killed in E. Afghan Operations

KABUL, June 22 (Xinhua) — Fourteen militants have been killed in operations in eastern Afghanistan, said the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) on Saturday. “Afghan National Security and Coalition Forces killed 14 enemies of Afghanistan, detained three suspected enemies of Afghanistan, discovered one weapons cache and found and safely cleared four improvised explosive devices during operations in eastern Afghanistan throughout the past 24 hours,” the ISAF’s Regional Command-East said in a press release. The raids were launched in eastern Ghazni, Khost, Paktika, Pawran and Wardak provinces, the release noted, saying nine of the militants were killed in Paktika province…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

IOM Italian Worker Injured in Afghanistan Dies

ROME, June 21 (Xinhua) — An Italian worker for the International Organization for Migration (IOM) who was injured in an attack last month in Afghanistan died of her wounds, local media reported on Friday. Barbara De Anna, 40, was seriously injured on May 24 in a deadly attack in the Afghan capital of Kabul that killed four and injured 14 including the Italian worker…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Cambodia — Laos — Vietnam: Xayaburi Dam Threatens Survival of the Giant Catfish

The alarm sounded by WWF scientists, the species can measure up to three meters and 300 kg in weight. Less than two hundred specimens remain. The dam is an “insurmountable barrier”, which blocks the migration for reproduction. Health of Mekong River worsens.

Phnom Penh (AsiaNews / Agencies) — The Xayaburi dam (northern Laos) and many hydroelectric plants along the lower Mekong, the most important river of south-east Asia, are likely to lead to the extinction the giant catfish, denounces the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), in a recent study. Considered one of the “biggest” and “rarest freshwater fish”- it can reach up to three meters in length and 300 kg in weight — the giant catfish travels hundreds of miles to the north of Thailand from Cambodia to lay their eggs. However, the barriers set up by the dams could erase the unique species from its natural habitat forever.

Among the many plants built or under construction, the most fearsome for the giant catfish isthe Xayaburi dam, which would become a sort of “insurmountable barrier” for the m igrant. The latest estimates remain less than two hundred, unable to overcome — add WWF experts — the “great barriers of dams”, to reach the northern areas where it is usually reproduce.

Until 1990, the giant catfish was widespread throughout the course of the Mekong River, from Myanmar to the southwest of China. Over the past two decades, the population decreased with increasing speed and today is limited to certain traits that run through Laos and Cambodia. The area governments have prohibited fishing, but it can happen that some species falling into the hands of poachers or captured accidentally. Lifeng Li, WWF expert, points out that “it is a symbol of the health of the river, because it is a” species very vulnerable. “ “Surely his salvation — he added — is essential for sustainable development of the overall Mekong Basin.”

According to the draft, the Xayaburi dam — at the time still in its infancy, with only 8% of the work done — is going to cost at least $ 3.5 billion and will have a capacity of 1,260 megawatts. Located in a remote area north of Laos, for the realization — entrusted to a Thai company — have lost their homes more than 2,100 villagers. The Mekong River Commission (MRC) has called for a 10-year moratorium on the construction, showing heavy impact on fisheries, with a decrease amounted to 300 thousand tons per year.

The Mekong rises on the Tibetan plateau and flows along the Yunnan Province of China, then in Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. About 65 million people live along its course, obtaining support from fishing (estimated to be worth $ 3 billion a year) and fish farmers. But now the river, 4,880 km long and considered the 2nd richest biodiversity in the world, is threatened by many projects of hydroelectric dams.

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

China: The Domestic Market for Ivory Endangers the Survival of Elephants

One-tenth of elephants on the planet killed last year. Despite the international ban on the ivory trade, the sale of “white gold” in China is lawful and widespread. A researcher: “The species is at risk, Beijing must recognize the problem.”

Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) — “The insatiable Chinese demand for ivory is likely to make the extinction of elephants a real problem”. As researcher Jennifer Ngo writes in the South China, trafficking in elephant tusks, which is prohibited by the international community, is an easy trade through Hong Kong.

There are about 400 thousand elephants in the world, divided between Central Africa and the Indian area. In the last year 40 thousand have been killed, explains the activist Joyce Poole “about 93% of these are victims of poachers.” Although Beijing signed the international ban on trade in ivory in 1989, the sale of elephant tusks in the territory of China takes place in broad daylight. The so-called “white gold” makes a stop in Hong Kong, where, once avoided any international control, it can be sold in a transparent manner to Chinese buyers.

According to data reported by Elephant Voices Group, a non-governmental organization of which Joyce Poole is co-director, since 2008 Hong Kong has seen trade in some 16 tons of ivory, an amount that would have required the killing of at least 1800 living elephants. “It’s not — says the activist — that the international ban does not work, but the reticence on the part of the Chinese authorities to apply it within their own borders and the increased trade is an incentive for the poachers.”

Ivory sells at 700 dollars per kg in China and is a prized symbol of high social status. Joyce Poole who will be engaged in a campaign to raise public awareness in Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Beijing, explains that “the ivory that is on the market today is the result of poaching, not a natural death. A lot of people cannot imagine that in order to get the tusks, the elephant has to be killed”.

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

Australians Forced to Answer Questions About Sex Life

Citizens face jail time for refusing to answer intrusive government survey

A survey conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has gone from a voluntary survey regarding economic issues such as employment, to mandatory personal questions regarding one’s sex life.

Australian citizens have been complaining about government surveyors knocking on their doors and asking very intrusive personal questions. One resident in particular was asked what sexual partners his wife had, and also asked when either of them would be home alone. If residents decline these questions, they can face fines or even jail time.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Precautionary Double Standards

Wind turbines kill birds and harm people. Why doesn’t the “precautionary principle” apply to them?

Jessica Marszelek, federal politics reporter for Australia’s News Limited Network, recently posted an article titled, “Australia: Wind power ‘terrorising’ rural communities.” Some 150 people turned up for a three-hour rally at Canberra’s Parliament House, she reported, to express their concern about the health effects of wind turbines.

The residents from small towns around the country complain that the giant turbines cause “a constant rumbling and pulsing in their heads and a feeling of oppressive anxiety,” she noted. “Everyday farmers” are upset over growing numbers of turbines in their communities.

“Retired Naval electronics engineering officer and beef farmer” David Mortimer receives Aus $12,000 a year to allow these avian Cuisinarts on his land, and 17 more are planned. However, Mr. Mortimer says he now “suffers night-time panic attacks, acute anxiety, heart palpitations, tinnitus, earaches, headaches and angina-like pains, and his wife has dizzy spells.”

Doctors can’t find anything wrong, but the problems continue, and he claims that he gets “this sensation of absolute acute anxiety, and it feels like someone is pushing an x-ray blanket over me and weighting me down into the chair and I can’t get out. We’ve got this constant turmoil, constant pulsing in our head, constant rumbling,” he continues, and is afraid the added windmills will kill him and his wife…

We absolutely know these monsters are killing at least 573,000 birds [url] every year, including some 83,000 eagles, hawks and other raptors — in clear violation of US laws. Other estimates put the toll at closer to 13,000,000 birds and bats annually.[url] Why are the “precautionary” activists stone-cold silent about that?

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Kenya: Eight Suspected Thugs Shot Dead in Nairobi’s Kasarani Area

Eight suspected thugs were last night shot dead in Kasarani after a dramatic chase with police. Three guns, nine bullets and two stolen cars were recovered. Witnesses said the robbers engaged the police in a fierce shootout before they were finally gunned down.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Obama Spending $100-Million for ‘Symbolism” On African Trip

Blowing up to $100 million to be seen as heroes in poverty-stricken South Africa is nothing less than obscene

President Barack Obama’s upcoming $100-million African trip will take a virtual entourage to Johannesburg, the same place where thirsty children lined up at the region’s only water spigot as United Nations delegates gorged themselves on steak and lobster, washed down by fine wines at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development. (Here)

Obama will hold a town hall meeting with young Africans at the Soweto campus of the University of Johannesburg. The contrast between the students, who struggle with tuition, and the Obamas, who will have their own floating medical centre via a standby Navy aircraft carrier and other multi-million dollar conveniences, couldn’t be more stark.

The Obama entourage is embarking on its African mega-million dollar trip as ailing anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela lies in a hospital bed fighting a lung infection.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Two Christians Slain by Islamists in Nigeria

Muslim ethnic Fulani mount attacks in Plateau state; Boko Haram strikes in Borno.

WASE, Nigeria (Morning Star News) — Ethnic Fulani Muslims killed a Christian in a village near here on Tuesday (June 18), less than a week after the Islamic extremist Boko Haram sect killed a pastor in Nigeria’s northeastern state of Borno.

In the latest of a series of attacks this year in the Wase area, 216 kilometers (134 miles) southeast of Jos in Plateau state, Fulani Muslims killed Toma Vongjen, 40, and left church buildings in four villages in ruins, said the Rev. Dinfa Lamda of the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN, formerly Church of Christ in Nigeria), in Jos…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

A Brazilian Explains Popular Outcry

A government-sponsored Marxist protest against transit fare increases in Sao Paulo (where the Opposition is in power) has backfired into a nation-wide popular uprising. Marcos explains what’s behind the mass outrage.

Brazil is on fire.

Initially the protests were started by Communists, complaining of a small (US $ 0,09) bus fare raise.

The tiny (40 members) “free ride group” was helped by a government funded NGO. Today the 23-year-old tattooed waitress who leads the group said they are “anti-capitalist” and that they now want rural and urban land redistribution. This is Marxism.

However, things got out of hand and grew exponentially because of the internet. Most cities cancelled the bus fare raise. If this was only a protest about this petty issue, things would be peaceful today.

The government Communists shot themselves in the foot because they were overconfident and didn’t count on the force of the internet and the dissatisfaction of the people. They are still trying to get the control back, but people just shoved them off. Today the president of the government’s Workers Party called their militants to the street, but there were fights and people called them “opportunists”.

It was a battle between green &yellow national flag carriers and red flag carriers. The reds lost. People in big cities hate Lula’s Party. Everybody knows they have won because they gave dole money to buy votes in the backward underdeveloped areas (which remain underdeveloped). Yesterday 600 people got together in front of the former president’s apartment building, calling him a thief (which he is).

The truth is that Marxists have been in power for a decade and people are fed up about several issues:…

[Return to headlines]

Brazilian President Pledges New Reforms

(AGI) Brasilia — Brazilian president Dilma Pousseff promised plans for better public services and combating corruption, in a televised address aimed at ending days of nationwide demonstrations. Ms Rousseff admitted that there were many areas for improvement and that people were right to express their concerns. The president also said she would meet with the governors and mayors of the major states for a pact to improve public services and make the political system of the country more transparent after “so much inequality.” ..

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

Italy: Prosecutor Seeks Trials for South American Military

Officers in ‘Operation Condor’ probed in Italian disappearances

(ANSA) — Rome, June 18 — A Rome prosecutor requested Tuesday that 35 members of South American military juntas in the 1970s and 1980s be ordered to stand trial in the deaths of 23 Italians.

The former military and security personnel worked in Bolivia, Chile, Peru and Uruguay and are accused by Rome prosecutor Giancarlo Capaldo of contributing to the disappearances of Italians, through Operation Condor.

That was an official campaign implemented in 1975 by right-wing dictatorships in the region and aimed at making suspected left-wing dissidents disappear.

Condor’s key members were the governments in Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia and Brazil.

The group currently before the Rome court — including two Bolivians, 12 Chileans, four Peruvians, and 17 Uruguayans — range in age from 64 to 92.

The defendants face charges ranging from multiple counts of murder to kidnapping.

They include Bolivia’s former interior minister Luis Gomez Arce, former Peruvian prime minister Pedro Richter Prada, Chile’s former head of the intelligence Juan Manuel Contreras, and General Francisco Morales Bermudez, who was president of Peru for five years. Families of the Italian-born victims have been campaigning for years for the cases to be brought before the Italian courts.

The Italian investigation, which lasted about 10 years, was started by Capaldo in 1998 and involved as many as 140 people; however, bureaucratic red tape and the ages of the accused made it difficult for many to be found or charged.

But it has yielded some convictions.

In March 2009, Italy’s supreme court convicted an Argentinian ex-navy officer responsible for all the death flights during Argentina’s so-called Dirty War in the 1970s and ‘80s.

At the same time, several other defendants were convicted of torturing and murdering three Italian-Argentinians during Argentina’s military dictatorship from 1976 to 1983.

In a related case that grabbed headlines in Italy in Christmas 2007, a Uruguayan ex-navy intelligence officer accused of murdering four Italian citizens was found to have been living in Salerno for years undisturbed.

A year later Italy refused an extradition request for the man, Nestor Jorge Fernandez Troccoli, on the grounds that he was an Italian citizen.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

New Study Links Over 7,000 Cancer Deaths to Cell Phone Tower Radiation Exposures

(NaturalNews) Could exposure to radiation from cell phone towers really responsible for over 7,000 cancer deaths? According to research findings from Brazil, the facts speak for themselves. The study established a direct link between cancer deaths in Belo Horizonte, Brazil’s third largest city, with the cell phone network.

What does this direct link stem from? Over 80 percent of those who succumbed to certain types of cancer resided approximately a third of a mile away from one of the hundreds of cell phone antennae that populate the city.

These cancers, primarily found in the prostate, breasts, lungs, kidneys, liver, are the ones associated with exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMFs).

This is a real concern for cell phone users and even non- cell phone users. Those who shun mobile phone technology still suffer the consequences of cell phone tower radiation.

Is the Brazilian study an isolated study? Cell phone tower studies which examined the relationship between radiation exposure and cancer rates were conducted in the city of San Francisco in addition to cities in Austria, Germany, and Israel, dating as far back as the 1970s. All the studies shared similar findings: living within a certain proximity to a cell phone tower increased the risk of cancer anywhere from two to 121 times depending on what type of cancer was detected.

Adilza Condessa Dode, PhD, one of the engineering researchers as well as the coordinator of the Brazilian study, addresses those who are concerned about cell phone tower radiation and explains the Brazil study does not stand alone. Dode elaborates, “these levels (EMFs), are already high and dangerous to human health. The closer you live to an antenna, the greater the contact with the electromagnetic field.”

The Brazilian study covers just one city in Brazil. Residents of the United States are vulnerable too as America is home to hundreds of thousands of these radiation emitting towers. In the U.S., with the proliferation of cell phones and the growing needs of cell phone users in recent years, there has been an explosion in cell towers.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

IRS Sent $46 Million in Tax Refunds to 23,994 ‘Unauthorized’ Aliens — All at the Same Address in Atlanta

The IRS sent more than $46 million in tax refunds to 23,994 “unauthorized” alien workers who all listed the same address in Atlanta, Ga., in 2011, according to an audit report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).

However, the Atlanta address that received millions of dollars in refunds was not the only address apparently housing thousands of “unauthorized” aliens. In fact, it wasn’t even the only address in Atlanta that was claiming such a situation.

The TIGTA audit report, published last year at the request of members of Congress, revealed 10 addresses in the U.S. that were issued anywhere from 1,846 to 23,994 tax refunds each. Four of those 10 addresses were located in Atlanta. breaks down the report:

The IRS sent 11,284 refunds worth a combined $2,164,976 to unauthorized alien workers at a second Atlanta address; 3,608 worth $2,691,448 to a third; and 2,386 worth $1,232,943 to a fourth.

Other locations on the IG’s Top Ten list for singular addresses that were theoretically used simultaneously by thousands of unauthorized alien workers, included an address in Oxnard, Calif, where the IRS sent 2,507 refunds worth $10,395,874; an address in Raleigh, North Carolina, where the IRS sent 2,408 refunds worth $7,284,212; an address in Phoenix, Ariz., where the IRS sent 2,047 refunds worth $5,558,608; an address in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., where the IRS sent 1,972 refunds worth $2,256,302; an address in San Jose, Calif., where the IRS sent 1,942 refunds worth $5,091,027; and an address in Arvin, Calif., where the IRS sent 1,846 refunds worth $3,298,877.

TheBlaze has reviewed the audit report, posted on the Treasury Department’s website, to confirm the information in’s report.

The TIGTA report explains that the IRS since 1996 has been issuing what it calls Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) to both non-resident aliens who have tax liability in the U.S. and illegal aliens living in the U.S. but who are “not authorized to work in the country.

Washington has apparently been aware of the problem for the better part of a decade.

“The IRS has long known it was giving these numbers to illegal aliens, and thus facilitating their ability to work illegally in the United States. For example, the Treasury Inspector General’s Semiannual Report to Congress published on Oct. 29, 1999—nearly fourteen years ago—specifically drew attention to this problem,” explains.

Here’s what that nearly 14-year-old report warned: “The IRS issues Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) to undocumented aliens to improve nonresident alien compliance with tax laws. This IRS practice seems counter-productive to the Immigration and Naturalization Service’s (INS) mission to identify undocumented aliens and prevent unlawful alien entry.”

Yet, according to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, the IRS assigned 15,028 unauthorized aliens ITINs at the same address in Dallas, Texas, and 10,356 ITINs at the same address in Atlantic City, N.J.


[Return to headlines]

Malta: Syrians Among Four People Charged With Human Trafficking

Valletta, 17 June (AKI) — A Maltese court late on Sunday charged four men with human trafficking, barely 24 hours after a boat with 18 migrants was intercepted in Maltese territorial waters, the Malta Independent reported.

Two Syrians, Mahmoud Hamid, 28, and Issam Hamid, 29, admitted that they helped immigrants to be brought to Malta. They were conditionally discharged for two years, the paper said

Two Maltese men, Grezzju Abela, 62 of Fgura, and Clayton Camilleri, 31, of Zebbug, pleaded not guilty to the charges, according to the paper.

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

Facebook Admits Accidentally Releasing Phone Numbers and Email Addresses for Six Million Users in Year-Long Data Breach

Facebook has admitted accidentally giving out the phone numbers and email addresses of six million users in a data breach which has been going on for around a year.

The social networking site blamed the data leak on a technical glitch in its massive archive of contact information collected from its 1.1 billion users worldwide.

As a result, Facebook users who downloaded contact data for their list of friends obtained additional information that they were not supposed to have.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

One thought on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 6/22/2013

  1. More “youth” behavior and why it persists:

    Six Muslim teens, Turks, Arabs, and Africans have been convicted of the aggravated gang rape of a 15 year-old Swedish girl. One of the teens passed out condoms as the other five took turns raping her.

    Their punishment handed down from a Swedish court?

    Community service

    Mehmet Acaralp , 960805, Spångavägen. Citizens of Turkey. For aggravated rape for Youth care with special regulations.

    Jibril Adam Aden , 971017, Citizens of Sweden. For aggravated rape for Youth care with special provision for young offenders and 130 hours.

    All Eddin Ben Othman , 960321, Spångavägen. Citizens of Sweden. For aggravated rape and receiving the Youth care with special provision for young offenders and 150 hours.

    Bashir Ibrahim Hussein , 971003, Spångavägen. Citizens of Sweden. For aggravated rape for Youth care with special provision for young offenders and 130 hours.

    Mohammed Yassin Ben Lofti, 970119, Spångavägen. Citizens of Finland. For aggravated rape for Youth care with special regulation and youth 150 hours.

    Amer Akrem Abdu , 970131, Spångavägen. For the attempted aggravated rape for Youth care and youth service 150 hours.


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