Gates of Vienna News Feed 6/3/2013

Mass demonstrations continued last night in cities across Turkey, and more than 1,500 people were arrested. Prime Minister Erdogan blamed a “foreign connection” for helping to foment the unrest. He then departed the country for a previously scheduled visit to the Maghreb.

In other news, Central Europe has been inundated with the worse flooding it has known in decades. Bavaria, Saxony, Austria, and the Czech Republic were particularly hard-hit.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Fjordman, Insubria, JP, Kitman, McR, Nick, Vlad Tepes, and all the other tipsters who sent these in.

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

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

Financial Crisis
» France: Renault and Citroën Hit as Car Sales Plunge
» Greeks Smoke Less as Tobacco Prices Rise
» Italy Needs to Create 1.7 Million Jobs, Says ILO
» Italy: Road-Maintenance Plan to Fight Recession
» Italy: Audit Court Complains of Contradictions in Tax-Evasion War
» Spain: ‘Cops’ Lives Depend on Money They Spend on Kit’
» Spaniards Stop Saving as Daily Struggle Grows
» Fiat 500 U.S. Sales Hit 100,000 Since 2011
» High School Allows Muslims Time for Prayer if They Earn Good Grades
» Major Louisiana Democrat Senator Becomes Frederick Douglass Republican
» Obama/Holder Justice Department Threatens First Amendment
» Senator Frank Lautenberg, Democrat From New Jersey, Dies
» Heroic Canadian Schoolboy Disciplined for Disarming Knife-Wielding Classmate Because it Broke School Rules
Europe and the EU
» Cyprus Pulls Citizenship From Assad’s Billionaire Cousin
» Czech Republic’s Highest Court Upholds Landmark Religious Compensation Plan
» England: Blackburn College Student Beaten up by Muslim Gang Over His Long Hair
» France: Police Charge Gun-Runner in Merah Murders
» France: National Front’s Marine Le Pen Could Face Race Hate Charges
» ‘Great Poet’ Dylan to Get French Honour After All
» Italy: Six Arrested for ‘Huge Fraud’ on Social-Security Agency
» Italy: Billionaire’s Jail Term for Asbestos Deaths Upped to 18 Yrs
» Northern League MEP Ejected From EFD for Black Minister Slur
» Pupils Should All Pledge Allegiance at School to Unite Diverse Britain
» Spanish Police Pull Pin on Voodoo Sex Slave Ring
» Sweden: Researchers Demand Inquiry Into Riots
» Sweden: Left-Right Split Over Probe of Stockholm Riots
» Thousands Flee Flooding in Central Europe
» UK: ‘These Women Seem Very Traumatised LOL’: Sickening Video Circulated by University Islamic Society Claims Lee Rigby Murder Was a Hoax Video Posted on You
» UK: American Students Visit Mosque
» UK: Andrew Gilligan on Fiyaz Mughal
» UK: Arrogant Drug Gang Jailed 47 Years for Laundering £19million and Funneling Money Through Legitimate Accounts
» UK: Cyclist’s Jaw Broken in Manchester Rush-Hour Street Attack by Gang
» UK: Man Who Threatened to Kill Prince Harry ‘Radicalised in Prison’
» UK: PM Who Filled UK With Muslims: “There is a Problem Within Islam”
» UK: There’s a Problem Within Islam, Says Tony Blair. He Should Know. He Helped Create it
» UK: The Wit and Wisdom of Boris Johnson
» UK: The Truth About the ‘Wave of Attacks on Muslims’ After Woolwich Murder
» UK: Thousands Gather in London to Mark Closer to Israel Celebration
» UK: Woolwich Murder: Two Suspects Held in Custody
» UKIP is Hammering the Political Elite in Westminster
North Africa
» Algeria: Tourism Makes Fresh Start With Roman Empire
» Brother of Al Qaeda Commander Killed in Drone Strike a Major Candidate for Presidency of Libya’s Parliament
» Egypt: Former Deputy Chief Justice, Brothers Against Rights
» Libya: Cyrenaica Council Declares Autonomy From Tripoli
Israel and the Palestinians
» British-Educated Independent Rami Hamdallah Named New Palestinian Prime Minister
Middle East
» 11 Killed in Clashes in East Lebanon
» 17 Injured in Renewed Clashes in Lebanon’s Tripoli
» Al-Qaeda Sets Up Complaints Department
» Finance: Turkey: New Tools for Islamic World
» Saudi Prince Spends €15m on Disneyland Trip
» Turkey: Erdogan Denounces Uprising’s ‘Foreign Connection’
» Turkey: New Clashes Last Night, Demonstrator Dies
» Turkey: ‘Sultan’ Erdogan Trips Over 600 Trees
» Turkey: 1,500 Arrested Overnight, Opposition MP Says
» UAE: Construction Begins on Dubai’s Largest Mosque
» Russian Pacific Fleet Unit Starts “Cruise of Memory”
South Asia
» Afghan Family of 7 Killed in Roadside Bombing in Laghman
» Indonesia: Poso: Suicide Bomber Blows Himself Up in Front of Police Headquarters
» Schoolchildren Die After Suicide Bomb at Afghanistan Market
» Sri Lanka: Obesity Alarm: Nearly One-Sixth of Young People Are Overweight
» Suicide Attack Rocks Afghan’s Samkani Town, Over a Dozen Killed or Injured
Far East
» China: Shenzhou-10 Spacecraft to be Launched in Mid-June
» Chinese Wonder Why Their Tourists Behave So Badly
Australia — Pacific
» Are Young Australian Muslims Being Radicalised on Home Soil?
» Australia ‘Should be a Republic Once Queen’s Reign Ends’
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Nigeria: Boko Haram Pardon — 23 Women, 35 Kids Freed
» Unidentified Gunmen Attack Prison in Niger
» Black Leaders: Immigration Bill Will ‘Harm’ African American Workers
» Israel Reaches Deal to Deport Immigrants
» UK: Home Office Legal Blunder Allows Violent Criminal to Stay in Britain Under Human Rights Law
» UK: Two Books, One Conclusion. Immigration Has Been and is Too High.
Culture Wars
» Obama Issues Proclamation Declaring June LGBT Pride Month
» Secretary General of the OIC: Combating Islamophobia
» The Immoderate Moderation of the “Moderates”

France: Renault and Citroën Hit as Car Sales Plunge

There was more bad economic news for France on Monday, as new figures showed sales of new cars have plunged. To make matters worse, iconic French carmarkers Renault and Citroën were worst affected.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Greeks Smoke Less as Tobacco Prices Rise

(ANSAmed) ATHENS, JUNE 3 — Smoking is on the wane in Greece, according to figures released on Friday which showed that fewer than 2 billion cigarettes were consumed in 2012, the lowest in 10 years. The same data, as Kathimerini reports, indicated that the number of Greeks who smoke on a regular basis has dropped to 31% from 40-45% a decade ago. Purchases of contraband cigarettes, however, rose to 13% last year from 2.2% in 2008. Greece has raised the excise tax on cigarettes by more than 10% in the past few years as part of austerity measures aimed at plugging its huge budget deficit. During a conference on Friday, World No Tobacco Day, Deputy Health Minister Fotini Skopouli spoke in favor of further hikes in the price of cigarettes. “It does not make sense to raise fuel tax and not do the same on tobacco,” she said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy Needs to Create 1.7 Million Jobs, Says ILO

Economy has lost 600,000 jobs since start of economic crisis

(ANSA) — Geneva, June 3 — Italy needs to create 1.7 million jobs to be able to return to the employment levels it had before the global economic crisis started in 2008, the International Labour Organization said Monday. “Since the second quarter of 2008, the Italian economy has shed roughly 600,000 jobs,” read the Snapshot of Italy in the ILO’s World of Work Report 2013.

“Given that the working-age population has grown over this period by approximately 1.1 million, Italy needs to create roughly 1.7 million jobs to restore employment rates to pre-crisis levels”.

The United Nations agency pointed out that unemployment in Italy has increased sharply since the beginning of the crisis. It was 6.1% in 2007 but stood at 11.2% in the last quarter of 2012 after climbing “almost uninterrupted, and stood at 11.2% in the last quarter of 2012. Unemployment reached 12% in April, national statistics agency Istat said last week, with around four in 10 people aged 15 to 24 on the dole. “The challenge of finding employment in Italy has been particularly acute for young persons aged 15-24,” the report said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Road-Maintenance Plan to Fight Recession

‘100 tenders in next three months’ says Lupi

(ANSA) — Rome, June 3 — Italy is to launch an “extraordinary” road-maintenance plan to try to help lift the economy out of recession, Transport Minister Maurizio Lupi said Monday.

Lupi said he had asked maintenance company ANAS to put out 100 projects to tender.

He said the work would be worth 250 million euros and would be launched in the next three months.

Lupi said the government was also planning work on schools and recalled that money was already lined up for the rail network.

Italy is in its longest recession for 20 years having suffered seven straight quarterly GDP drops.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Audit Court Complains of Contradictions in Tax-Evasion War

Says new cross-checking system won’t solve problem

(ANSA) — Rome, June 3 — Italy’s Audit Court said Monday that the war on rampant tax evasion has been hampered by contractions in past governments’ approach to the problem.

“Fighting tax evasion continues to be a central, essential part of the effort to restore health to public finances,” the Audit Court said in a report.

“But the strategy adopted during the last parliamentary term was affected by contradictions and lapses of focus”.

Both Silvio Berlusconi’s third government, which ran from 2008 to late 2011, and Mario Monti’s emergency technocrat administration, which ruled from the end of 2011 until April this year, said fighting tax evasion was a priority.

But Berlusconi’s People of Freedom (PdL) complained that the tax agencies got carried away under Monti and treated many honest taxpayers as criminals during audits. The Audit Court also said that the power of a new system that the inland revenue agency is using to detect tax dodgers, by cross-checking declared incomes with spending and bank-account transactions, had been exaggerated. “The media clamour caused by the new mechanism to recreate incomes appears frankly to be out of proportion to the tool’s potential and its presumed effectiveness,” the report said. It added that measures such as the registration of all operations over 3,600 euros risked depressing consumer spending and increasing the number of transactions paid cash-in-hand to avoid taxes.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Spain: ‘Cops’ Lives Depend on Money They Spend on Kit’

Ninety-eight percent of Spain’s National Police Corps are having to pay up to the tune of €1,000 each for life-saving equipment such as bullet-proof vests and slash resistant clothing due to lack of government funding.

Spain’s national police, responsible for dealing with high-risk situations like armed robberies and attacks, are having to reach deep into their own pockets to protect themselves from any potential harmful incident.

“On average each national policeman has to pay €1,000 for bullet-proof vests, slash resistant gloves and other equipment that can be the difference between life and death,” José María Benito Celador, spokesperson for Unified Police Union SUP, told The Local.

“A lot of this kit is only guaranteed to be effective for ten years, so the investment has to be made again.”

SUP has warned that only half of Spain’s national police force have their own slash resistant gloves and even fewer are equipped with bullet proof vests.

Other routine equipment like boots, torches, holsters and new uniforms usually have to be paid for by each individual policeman before he can go on patrol.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Spaniards Stop Saving as Daily Struggle Grows

Nearly half of all Spaniards are just managing to get by financially while 25 percent are struggling to survive from one pay cheque to the next, key research released on Monday shows.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Fiat 500 U.S. Sales Hit 100,000 Since 2011

‘Important target’ reached in May, Turin giant says

(ANSA) — New York, June 3 — Fiat’s retooled iconic 500 model has sold 100,000 units since it returned to the US market in 2011, the Turin-based carmaker said Monday.

Fiat’s May sales rose 1% annually to hit the “new and important target”, said the Italian carmaker that controls Detroit No.3 Chrysler.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

High School Allows Muslims Time for Prayer if They Earn Good Grades

A high school near Washington DC has taken a rare step of accommodating Muslim prayer during class hours. Parkdale High School now allows a handful of its students to be excused to pray. The decision has made some Christian staffers “unhappy”.

­Prince George County High School Principal Cheryl J. Logan said the initiative is in response to the “needs of the growing Muslim community,” the Washington Post reported. To be able to leave class each day all you need is a parental permission and high grades, Logan said.

Currently, about 10 Muslim students have earned the right to pray, and are reportedly allowed eight minutes each day for a joint prayer on campus. Another high school student is working hard to raise his grades to join the group, all of whom belong to Muslim Students’ Association, Logan said.

It is hoped that allowing prayer will motivate Muslim students to improve their overall school performance.

The move has already upset several of the school’s Christian staffers, many of whom remember when the school was a Christian institution. US public schools are secular by law, but are legally allowed to accommodate religious students’ practices, Logan explained.

“I’ve been real happy with how we’ve been able to deal with it without it becoming an increasingly big issue,” Logan said.

But Logan’s initiative may not have a happy ending, said Charels Haynes, director of the Religious Freedom Education Project at the Newseum: “Once you start down that road then you really are in a bind.” Now, any student who asks to be excused from class for religious reasons must be accommodated, Haynes told the Washington Post.

As Muslim prayer becomes increasingly visible in US schools, it will likely spark heated debate, as modern public schools are legally forbidden to conduct religious observances such as prayer. However, in the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries, many American schools would open their day with a prayer or Bible reading.

In 1962, the US Supreme Court established the current prohibition on state-sponsored prayer in schools, bringing the right to freely practice one’s religion into conflict with the right to not to be subjected to proselytizing.

Legally, anyone is allowed to pray in school in the US, as long as the prayers are not officially sponsored by the school and do not disrupt others. In reality, such decisions often spark heated — and sometimes legal — objections from opponents.

Followers of the Muslim faith are required to pray five times a day, and each prayer must be accompanied by a specific posture and movement.

Only one of the prayer times will likely take place during school hours. Many US universities have already honored Muslims’ requests for designated prayer time and venues; secondary education institutions rarely make such exceptions, however.

In early 2012, a school district in Green Bay, Wisconsin, came under criticism for its efforts to accommodate Muslim prayer after a large number of refugees from war-torn Somalia arrived in the area.

           — Hat tip: McR [Return to headlines]

Major Louisiana Democrat Senator Becomes Frederick Douglass Republican

Senator Elbert L. Guillory, who represents Louisiana Senate District 24, made an announcement today that will certainly rock the State of Louisiana for weeks to come. In the face of what happened a couple of days ago with Karen Carter Peterson speaking about how those who oppose Obamacare are racist, today’s breaking news was a breath of fresh air from a common sensed individual.

“With each passing day, I have become disappointed in the Democratic Party. What would be the impact on schools due to immigration? One of the biggest disappointments has been breakdown of American families. Their policies have encouraged the high teen birthrate, high school drop out rates, high unemployment. Children are encouraged to get the crazy check instead of honkering down to get an education. Minority unemployment is in the stratosphere.

Guillory coined the word “Scaredy Pants Crisis Management.” I want better for my country and Louisiana. We must help America find her path home. The people in this room today seek an alternative solution to these problems of America. We have received some pretty good deals under the Republican Party. Republicans helped LBJ pass the Civil Rights Act over the OBJECTIONS of most Democrats. President Nixon left Vietnam and brought the money home and invested in America; Obama hasn’t done anything like that.

I pledged my dues, and I look forward to creating new partnerships in the State of Louisiana. I am of this day joining Frederick Douglass as a Republican.”


NOTE:Fears were repeatedly expressed in the Comments section that Senator Guillory may be assassinated for his defection. Louisiana is definitely a singular place.

[Return to headlines]

Obama/Holder Justice Department Threatens First Amendment

by Cliff Kincaid

Reacting to reports that the Obama Department of Justice may prosecute those who write and post articles offensive to Muslims, Pamela Geller of the American Freedom Defense Initiative has vowed, “We will fight you on this every step of the way. We will drag your dhimmi asses all the way to the Supreme Court. This is Sharia enforcement, and we are not going to stand for it.”

The term “dhimmi” refers to submission to or enforcement of Islamic law, also called Sharia.

Geller, who also co-foundedStop Islamization of Nations (SION) with Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch, has endorsed a rally for free speech on June 4 in Manchester, Tennessee, to protest anti-free speech comments by Bill Killian, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee.

Killian has generated outrage by vowing to use federal civil rights laws to punish those making critical comments about Islam.

A local paper reports that Killian and Kenneth Moore, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Knoxville, Tennessee, Division, are speaking at a public event and “will provide input on how civil rights can be violated by those who post inflammatory documents targeted at Muslims on social media.”

A U.S. Attorney usually prosecutes offenses such as foreign terrorism, child pornography, violent crimes and drug trafficking. But Killian told the local paper that civil rights laws can have certain “consequences” for the First Amendment right of free speech. The paper said, “Killian said Internet postings that violate civil rights are subject to federal jurisdiction.”

Killian is apparently basing this campaign against free speech on a Facebook post from a local politician showing a picture of a man pointing a shotgun at the camera with the phrase, “How to wink at a Muslim.” The local politician is a Democrat who says he intended it to be humorous.

The American Muslim Advisory Council, which denounced the “hate-filled post,” advertises the June 4 event as being about “public discourse in a free society.” It is scheduled for 6:30 — 8:30 p.m. at the Manchester-Coffee County Conference Center, 147 Hospitality Boulevard in Manchester, Tennessee.

The demonstration for free speech is scheduled for 5:30 pm at the same location. “Change your plans, get off from work—go,” Geller says. “Tweet it, Facebook share, get the word out.”…

[Return to headlines]

Senator Frank Lautenberg, Democrat From New Jersey, Dies

Frank R. Lautenberg, who fought the alcohol and tobacco industries and promoted Amtrak as a five-term United States senator from New Jersey, died Monday morning. He was 89.

Mr. Lautenberg died as a result of complications from viral pneumonia at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell, his office said. He had decided not to run for another term next year.

[Return to headlines]

Heroic Canadian Schoolboy Disciplined for Disarming Knife-Wielding Classmate Because it Broke School Rules

A schoolboy who bravely tackled a knife-wielding pupil who was threatening a classmate was punished because such heroic actions are strictly banned.

Briar MacLean, 13, stepped in after he spotted an argument was quickly beginning to escalate between two boys at Sir John A. Macdonald school in Alberta, Canada.

Suddenly one of the boys pulled out a knife and began to threaten the other turning an scuffle into a potentially deadly situation.

Briar said: ‘He pulled out his flip knife so I came in and pushed him into the wall.

‘It was just to help the other kid so he wouldn’t get hurt.’

Briar’s reward for his bravery was a day in the school office, removed from the other students, and a stern lecture about not playing the hero.

His mother Leah O’Donnell was furious at the dressing down.

She said: ‘I received a call from the school vice-principal indicating there was an incident at the school and that my son had been involved.

‘They my son was in trouble for being a part of it.

‘They told him they don’t condone heroics in the school and he wasn’t allowed to go back to class for the day. Isn’t that horrible?

‘We’ve taught him to do the right thing and to step in — in our family we teach our children that they need to stand up for others and not run from danger out of self-preservation.

‘When did we decide as a society to allow our children to grow up without spines? Without a decent sense of the difference between right and wrong?

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

Cyprus Pulls Citizenship From Assad’s Billionaire Cousin

(ANSAmed) NICOSIA, JUNE 3; The Cyprus’ government has cancelled citizenship given to a Syrian billionaire suspected of helping to prop-up President Bashar al-Assad’s government, as daily Famagusta Gazette reports. Tycoon Rami Makhlouf, who is a maternal cousin of Assad, is widely considered part of the Syrian president’s inner circle and one of the most influential men in the war torn country. Born in 1969, Makhlouf took over the businesses built up by his father, Mohammed, the brother of Hafez al-Assad’s wife, Anisa Makhlouf. After Bashar became president in 2000, Makhlouf’s financial empire expanded.

According to State radio, Cyprus granted him citizenship in January 2011, and it was later extended to his wife and three sons. But in August 2012 the cabinet decided to withdraw citizenship for the whole family, which a legal review panel approved in March. The decision was rubber-stamped by the government at a cabinet meeting last week.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Czech Republic’s Highest Court Upholds Landmark Religious Compensation Plan

PRAGUE — The Czech Republic’s highest court has upheld a government plan to pay billions of dollars to religious groups in compensation for property the country’s former Communist regime seized from them.

The Constitutional Court rejected an appeal by the republic’s left-wing opposition, and chief Judge Pavel Rychetsky said his ruling Monday is now final.

Under the plan, 16 churches will get 59 billion koruna ($3 billion) in financial compensation over the next 30 years. They will also get 56 percent of their former property now held by the state — estimated at 75 billion koruna ($3.8 billion).

The state, meanwhile, will gradually stop covering their expenses over the next 17 years.

The plan is highly controversial in a country with one of Europe’s highest concentrations of atheists.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

England: Blackburn College Student Beaten up by Muslim Gang Over His Long Hair

A Teenage student was subjected to a brutal beating — just for having long hair.

Harley Davies, 17, was set on by a gang of Muslim youths who shouted an obsenity at him and told him to go and get his hair cut.

The A-level student was left with a fractured jaw and broken tooth during the lunchtime attack on the Blackburn College campus.

Campaigner Sylvia Lancaster, whose daughter Sophie was killed for the way she looked, said the incident should be classed as a hate crime.

Harley’s dad Alan, of Moor Lane, Darwen, said: “Harley had being doing some homework over lunch and was walking on his own when this gang targeted him.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

France: Police Charge Gun-Runner in Merah Murders

French police have charged a 30-year-old man with supplying weapons used by Islamist gunman Mohamed Merah when he killed seven people in and around the southern city of Toulouse last year.

Fetha Malki, a Toulouse resident with a history of petty crimes, was charged over the weekend with complicity in murder in connection with a terrorist enterprise and ordered held without bail.

He faces other charges of receiving stolen goods and selling illegal weapons.

Judicial sources said the man admitted on Saturday to having provided Merah with arms following his arrest on Tuesday but denied any advance knowledge of his attacks.

Claiming inspiration from Al-Qaeda, Merah shot dead a rabbi, three Jewish children and three French paratroopers in March last year, before being killed during a stand-off with police at his home.

Two others have been charged in the investigation, his brother Abdelkader who faces charges of complicity in murder and a man suspected of taking part in the theft of the scooter Merah rode during his attacks.

Malki is suspected of having provided at least two firearms to Merah, including an Uzi submachine gun used during his attack on a Jewish school.

He is also suspected of supplying the body armour worn by Merah during the police siege of his apartment.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

France: National Front’s Marine Le Pen Could Face Race Hate Charges

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen could face charges for inciting racial hatred after EU authorities revoked her immunity from prosecution.

At a rally in 2010, the leader of the French National Front compared the sight of Muslims praying in the street to the sight of occupying Nazi soldiers.

As a member of the EU parliament, she was at the time immune from prosecution, but following a unanimous vote by a parliamentary committee, she could now face criminal charges.

The decision will have to be ratified by the full parliament, but the BBC reports that the decision is expected to be a formality.

Le Pen made the remarks at a rally in Lyon in southern France. She said: ““For those who want to talk a lot about World War II, if it’s about occupation, then we could also talk about it [Muslims praying in the streets], because that is occupation of territory.

“It is an occupation of sections of the territory, of districts in which religious laws apply. It’s an occupation.

“There are of course no tanks, there are no soldiers, but it is nevertheless an occupation and it weighs heavily on local residents.”

Le Pen has failed to attend previous EU legal committee hearings into the case, but on one occasion sent a fellow French MEP to represent her.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

‘Great Poet’ Dylan to Get French Honour After All

Despite his reported fondnesss for weed and well-recorded warbashing, US folk music legend Bob Dylan has swayed offical France with his work, and the “great poet” will now become a member of the Légion d’Honneur, it was confirmed on Monday.

After weeks of controversy, the Legion d’Honneur awards committee confirmed on Monday the 72-year-old singer will indeed be given France’s highest award.

The hallowed institution’s initial reception to news that Dylan had been nominated by Culture Minister Aurelie Filippetti was less positive.

Weekly satirical and investigative newspaper Le Canard Enchainé newspaper last month reported that Jean-Louis Georgelin, a French army general and Great Chancellor of the Légion d’honneur, was none too pleased to receive the name of Dylan, whose real name is Robert Zimmerman.

At the time, a representative from the Légion told The Local that there would be neither denial nor confirmation of any objections within the halls of the institution to the nomination of the anti-Vietnam War hero, which were said to be due to Dylan’s pot-smoking, anti-war past.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Italy: Six Arrested for ‘Huge Fraud’ on Social-Security Agency

Lawyers, assistants, civil servants face charges

(ANSA) — Rome, June 3 — Six people were arrested in Rome on Monday in relation to a probe into a massive fraud scam to siphon money away from Italy’s social-security agency INPS and the justice ministry.

The six people, lawyers and their assistants and civil servants, are suspected of criminal association, fraud against the State, deception and money laundering.

INPS is the fund workers pay into for their retirement pensions. It also handles many benefits, such as disability and unemployment benefits.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Billionaire’s Jail Term for Asbestos Deaths Upped to 18 Yrs

Swiss businessman Schmidheiny’s conviction upheld

(ANSA) — Turin, June 3 — A Swiss billionaire’s conviction for asbestos-linked tumours among the Italian workforce of cement company Eternit was upheld by a Turin appeals court on Monday and extended from 16 to 18 years. Stephan Schmidheiny was found guilty of failing to ensure adequate safety measures at two asbestos-cement plants the now-defunct Eternit ran in Italy up to the 1980s in the first trial in February 2012, one of the world’s largest ever into asbestos-related deaths and illnesses.

At the original trial Schmidheiny was convicted along with former Eternit managing director and Belgian executive Baron Louis de Cartier de Marchienne, who has since died.

Prosecutors said that around 2,100 people have died from asbestos-linked tumours among Eternit staff, their families and people living near the factories affected by asbestos dust in the air, while hundreds more are ill.

Schmidheiny was found guilty for the conditions at the plants Eternit ran in Casale Monferrato and at Cavagnolo near Turin.

He can now take an appeal to Italy’s supreme Court of Cassation.

Jail sentences in Italy are not usually served until the appeals process has been exhausted.

Employees and their families have long claimed that Eternit did little or nothing to protect its workers and residents living around its factories from the dangers of asbestos.

According to Turin Prosecutor Raffaele Guariniello, who has been probing the deaths since 2002, Eternit’s products were also used to pave streets and courtyards or as roof insulation in the towns around the factories without warnings about the dangers of asbestos, resulting in decades-long exposure for the local population.

In 1993, four of Eternit’s former Casale Monferrato managers were convicted of wilfully neglecting safety regulations and given sentences of up to three and a half years on suits filed by 137 workers.

In 2006, Eternit set up a fund of 1.25 million Swiss francs to help former employees in Switzerland who are suffering from asbestos-related illnesses.

In October 2011 the multinational agreed to pay out almost nine million euros in compensation to workers at another asbestos-cement plant in the Sicilian town of Siracusa.

According to the Institute for Workplace Protection and Security (ISPESL), Italy used more than 20 million tonnes of asbestos before it was banned in 1992 and until the late 1980s was one of the largest producers and importers of asbestos.

ISPESL says Italy is one of the western countries worst hit by asbestos-related illnesses, with around 1,350 cases of mesothelioma reported each year.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Northern League MEP Ejected From EFD for Black Minister Slur

Eurosceptics expel Borghezio for remarks against Kyenge

(ANSA) — Brussels, June 3 — Mario Borghezio, a member of Italy’s anti-immigrant Northern League in the European Parliament, was kicked out of the Eurosceptics’ caucus on Monday for racist remarks against Italy’s first black minister. The expulsion, proposed by co-chairman Nigel Farage, was approved by a majority of more than two-thirds of the Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD) group.

Last month Borghezio publicly said he was sorry if he caused offence to Cecile Kyenge after he triggered a widespread outcry with his remarks about the integration minister.

In the wake of public outrage, Borghezio suspended himself from the EFD to avoid embarrassing the League. This came after he called Premier Enrico Letta’s new executive a “bonga bonga government” and claimed Kyenge would seek to “impose her tribal traditions from the Congo” on Italy.

Kyenge, who was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, has risen through the ranks of Letta’s centre-left Democratic Party (PD) since she came to Italy in 1983.

As many as 130,000 signatures have been collected on an online petition demanding the European Parliament force Borghezio to resign.

League heavyweights have said Borghezio should not be expelled but should temper his comments.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Pupils Should All Pledge Allegiance at School to Unite Diverse Britain

A US-STYLE pledge of allegiance should be introduced so schools can attempt to unite an increasingly diverse Britain, one of the most influential Ministers urged yesterday.

Nick Boles, a close friend of Prime Minister David Cameron and Education Secretary Michael Gove, said the changing face of Britain meant the common bonds that united previous generations had weakened after years of large-scale immigration.

He said it was time to learn from America which has, since 1892, encouraged children to start the school day with a pledge upholding the values of patriotism, liberty and justice.

Reciting a simple 10-second sentence from an early age has successfully instilled a “commonality” in Americans regardless of ethnic or religious background, he argues.

The wording of the pledge would be open for public debate but, as in America, it would not be compulsory, he said. He would not want it to be a solemn oath of loyalty to the Crown, such as the one sworn by MPs, but it could make reference to the Queen and to themes such as equal rights.

The brutal murder of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich 11 days ago and the anti-Muslim response to it from the likes of the English Defence League, underlined the need for longer-term action, he said.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

Spanish Police Pull Pin on Voodoo Sex Slave Ring

Spanish police said on Sunday they had broken up a ring that smuggled in women from Nigeria and forced them into street prostitution by burning them with irons and using voodoo rituals.

Police arrested six Nigerian nationals, including the suspected woman ringleader, as part of an investigation launched last year after one of the prostitutes filed a complaint with the authorities.

“The control exercised over women was total, involving verbal threats as well as physical violence and various voodoo ceremonies to terrorise them,” police said in a statement.

“The ring caused them serious injury through bites or by using an iron to cause second-degree burns.”

The ring recruited women in Benin City, a run-down Nigerian port, whose husbands and fathers had died and who were struggling to raise their children.

They transported the women overland to Morocco and then smuggled them on small wooden boats into Spain where they were forced to work as street prostitutes in Barcelona and Malaga.

Spanish police have swooped several times in past years on similar prostitution rings that used the threat of voodoo curses to frighten their victims into obedience.

Before leaving Nigeria, the rings often take their victims to shrines where they swear to pay their debts to the group and not to denounce them to the police.

The women leave fingernails, hair, underwear and other personal items at the shrines which they are told will give voodoo priests the power to harm them wherever they are in the world.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Sweden: Researchers Demand Inquiry Into Riots

Ten Swedish and British academics have called for a “Husby committee” to investigate the roots of the recent unrest in Stockholm and to establish how to avoid similar incidents in the future.

Writing in the Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet (SVD), the academics called for a “deep analysis” of the events.

They argued that the “Husby committee”, named after the west Stockholm suburb where the riots started in May, should be modelled on a similar inquiry launched after the 2001 riots in Gothenburg.

“When reports of the events in Husby reached us our thoughts immediately went to similar events in Paris (2005), Athens (2008) and London (2011),” the academics wrote.

“In all cases, the police were involved in deaths. But the similarities do not only lie in the igniting spark, but also in a social situation which provides a more fundamental explanation to the events that have been called riots, disturbances or suburb revolts.”

The researchers went on to describe segregated urban environments and income inequalities as social factors at play in European cities that have experienced riots in recent years.

They stated that Sweden is now home to some of the most segregated cities in northern Europe and that events such as those in Husby have become more or less predictable.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Sweden: Left-Right Split Over Probe of Stockholm Riots

Sweden’s opposition parties on the left are keen to see a formal inquiry into the causes of recent unrest in Stockholm, while the centre-right governing Alliance parties remain sceptical to the idea.

On Sunday, a group of Swedish and British researchers argued that a formal inquiry was needed in order to investigate what may have sparked a week of violence and unrest that began in the Stockholm suburb of Husby before spreading to other suburbs in the capital and elsewhere.

However, the idea has received a decidedly chilly reception among politicians from parties of the governing Alliance coalition.

“I’m getting tired of the idea that one can find some well-thought through causes behind disturbances of this kind,” Johan Linander, a Centre Party MP and vice chair of the Riksdag’s Committee on Justice, told the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper.

“Other than that, there is no deeper cause; rather there are criminals and young people looking for thrills.”

Moderate Party MP Krister Hammarbergh who also sits on the committee argued an inquiry would simply be a veiled criticism of the police, adding that it’s too early to draw any conclusions as the police investigation is ongoing.

Alliance colleague Johan Pehrson of the Liberal Party (Folkpartiet), also panned the proposed inquiry, explaining it’s important “not to exaggerate the social misery”.

“We don’t need an inquiry into violent criminals who set cars on fire,” he said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Thousands Flee Flooding in Central Europe

Thousands of people have fled their homes in Germany, the Czech Republic and Austria as central Europe is hit by heavy flooding.

In Germany, raging waters from three rivers poured into the old town of Passau, one of the cities worst hit by flooding that has spread across a large area of central Europe.

Rescuers used boats to transport residents from flooded parts of the city to dry land as officials warned that water levels — already the highest in 70 years — could rise further. A spokesman for the city’s crisis centre said much of Passau was inaccessible on foot and the electricity supply had been shut down as a precaution.

“The situation is extremely dramatic,” spokesman Herbert Zillinger told The Associated Press.

Water from the Danube, Inn and Ilz rivers rose above markers set in 1954, when the city suffered its worst flooding in living memory. Zillinger said levels would continue to rise throughout the day.

Rivers in Saxony and Baden-Wuerttemberg, as well as in Bavaria, have burst their banks, according to a Sueddeutsche Zeitung report. A man was found dead in Salzburg, Austria, and two others are missing, according to the Salzburger Nachrichten. The army is also helping civil authorities.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UK: ‘These Women Seem Very Traumatised LOL’: Sickening Video Circulated by University Islamic Society Claims Lee Rigby Murder Was a Hoax Video Posted on You

An Islamic Society at one of Britain’s largest universities has promoted a video claiming the execution of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich was a hoax cooked up by the state, it was revealed today.

Hours after the death of the soldier, 25, a Muslim student group at London Metropolitan University (LMU) circulated a YouTube film arguing the crime was manufactured using ‘fake blood’.

The six minute video called ‘Woolwich false flag b*******. Masses are in a state-sponsored trance’, has been viewed by 300,000 people, and says that Scotland Yard detectives investigating the murder were Freemasons who were in on an anti-Muslim conspiracy.

The film even claims that traumatised witnesses were in on a hoax, taunting those who tried to comfort Drummer Rigby as he lay dying by saying: ‘These women look very traumatised lol (laugh out loud).’…

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes [Return to headlines]

UK: American Students Visit Mosque

American students were given a tour of one of Peterborough’s biggest Mosques when they visited the city.

The youngsters from Western Kentucky University were given a tour of the Faizan e Madina Mosque on Thursday during their trip to Peterborough as part of their studies of religion in England. The tour was lead by Mosque representative Ansar Ali, who said: “I hosted the visit as I do quite regularly at local Mosques from non Muslims. “We always get very positive feedback from our visitors and visits of this nature help to create better understanding of the Muslim community and Islam.”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Andrew Gilligan on Fiyaz Mughal

by Sarah AB

In today’s Telegraph Andrew Gilligan focuses his attentions on Tell MAMA. Gilligan has, in the past, certainly brought some very interesting stories to light — about Ken Livingstone and Lutfur Rahman, for example. But this latest piece is somewhat underwhelming…

[Reader comment by Mussi Buma on 2 June 2013.]

I wonder. Are Tell Mama/Faith Matters actually a commercial enterprise, rather than a charity? Is Fiyaz Mughal actually paid a salary for all of this? If there was a Tell Papa recording the hate crimes of muslims, might they not exceed any comparable crimes by non-muslims. In one of his recent interviews, I saw Tommy Robinson say that he had been to Bedfordshire Police with 200 death threats made against his children, his wife and himself. Befordshire Police did not arrest a single person.

But in the aftermath of the Lee Rigby death 3 non-muslims were arrested and charged for their “anti-muslim” comments.

It never changes. Even when muslims have committed far more and far worse racist murders against white people (yes, that’s what I mean: muslims who went out looking for a white man to kill), it’s always muslims who are portrayed as the victims. Remember Kris Donald, Ross Parker?

Just like with the murder of Lee Rigby. Brutal murders by muslims are just another opportunity for muslims and their Ansar to whine “muslims are the victims”. I am sure that muslim grievance-mongering is a lucrative business. Tell Mama was given £214k by the government last year. That pales, compared to the £63million Prevent programme, which tries to persuade muslims in Britain from trying to kill us.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Arrogant Drug Gang Jailed 47 Years for Laundering £19million and Funneling Money Through Legitimate Accounts

A gang who laundered £19 million for foreign criminals has been jailed for more than 47 years.

One of the gang was so brazen he sported a personalised ‘ARO6ANT’ number plate.

The eight men cleaned dirty cash for criminals from the Middle East and Pakistan by funneling the money from drug deals through legitimate bank accounts.

One member of the gang, Jalil Ahmed, 36, bought the personalised number plate for his £60,000 silver Mercedes.

Ahmed, of Solihull, West Mids., was jailed for eight years along with five other members of the gang in March after they were convicted of money laundering and drug offences.

On Friday Abid Hussain, 45, and Arshad Hanif, 52, both from Leeds, were caged for two years each at Birmingham Crown Court after they were also found guilty of money laundering offences.

Following the sentencing, restrictions were lifted to allow details of the case to be reported.

The court heard the group worked with criminals in the Middle East and Pakistan to transfer drug money for crooks in the UK and Europe.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

UK: Cyclist’s Jaw Broken in Manchester Rush-Hour Street Attack by Gang

The victim, 38, was left in pain when he spoke due to injuries suffered in the attack — and has since had surgery to screw metal plates into his jaw.

A witness reported seeing the cyclist being ‘hassled’ by a group of four 16-to-18-year-olds as he waited at red lights.

The witness, who did not wish to be named, said: “The cyclist went through the lights and waited at the central reservation to continue past 1 Angel Square. They were calling him names. At this point the gang crossed Miller Street and attacked him.

“They dragged the cyclist into the middle of Miller Street — luckily the lights were on red at this point — and proceeded to beat him before being dragged off by passers-by.”

Two men, thought to be regulars from the nearby Ducie Bridge pub, helped the cyclist.

The teenagers, who were all Asian, ran off and the victim was taken to the pub while the emergency services were called.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

UK: Man Who Threatened to Kill Prince Harry ‘Radicalised in Prison’

A white Muslim convert who admitted plotting to kill Prince Harry was radicalised while in prison, it was claimed last night.

Ashraf Islam walked into a police station in Hounslow and made threats to kill the third in line to the throne a day after the murder of 25-year-old soldier Lee Rigby in Woolwich in London. Islam is thought to have changed his name from Mark Townley and converted to Islam while in jail in Northern Ireland. He spent time in the Middle East in 2010 where he “ingratiated” himself with Muslim groups. He then handed himself into police on fraud charges when he returned, it was reported…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: PM Who Filled UK With Muslims: “There is a Problem Within Islam”

by Daniel Greenfield

You don’t say, do you? A problem? My word…

[JP note: Hear, hear.]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: There’s a Problem Within Islam, Says Tony Blair. He Should Know. He Helped Create it

by Damian Thompson

There’s a problem “within Islam” that the Government needs to address, says Tony Blair. Perhaps I’m being unfair, but it’s as if Neville Chamberlain had revealed in 1940 that there was a problem with some of these German nationalists and what was Mr Churchill going to do about it?

This is what sticks in my throat. For many years there has been a spectrum of Muslim belief in this country ranging from unobtrusive Islamic observance to terrorist totalitarianism. The “problem” is that young British Muslims, some of them converts, are even now being propelled towards the terrorist end of the spectrum by preachers who embedded themselves here under the government of Tony Blair. Academics close to the New Labour project emitted flatulent platitudes while universities threw open their facilities to repulsive demagogues; prisons became recruiting grounds for extremists while their simpering chaplains said nothing; meanwhile, Blair’s ministers and their courtiers in the police poured countless millions of pounds into subsidising some of the very Islamists whose influence they needed to contain. Please, Mr Blair, return to the Middle East, where your mission as a “peace envoy” is yielding what might politely be described as modest results. You’ve done enough damage here.

[JP note: Reader comments are closed. In its descent into inestimable dhimmitude, the Daily Telegraph predictably stifles discussion of Islam: don’t mess with JIM.]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: The Wit and Wisdom of Boris Johnson

by Andrew Gimson

There are not yet nearly as many books about Boris Johnson as about Napoleon Bonaparte or Winston Churchill, and it is likely there never will be. But measured against politicians who are still alive and kicking, Boris is doing quite well. Tomorrow sees the publication of a slim volume called The Wit and Wisdom of Boris Johnson, edited and introduced by Harry Mount.

Is there another politician of the present day to whom such a compliment has been, or indeed could be, paid? As I laughed my way through Mount’s 149 pages, I was delighted to come upon a number of old friends, but also many unfamiliar examples of Johnsonian humour. Here are three, chosen almost at random:

“Hypocrisy is at the heart of our national character — without the oil of hypocrisy, the machinery of convention would simply explode.”

“It’s a very good way for a conservative to nuke his opponents. People are just sort of flummoxed when you turn out to be a militant cyclist.”

“I stood behind Posh in a ski queue and saw the tattoos on her bum. I like her.”

Those of us who have toiled for a number of years in the field of Johnson Studies are always happy to shout “Ave!” to a new arrival. Like small birds hopping about on the back of a lumbering monster in the African bush, we have developed what might be described as a parasitic relationship with our subject. For myself, I have long since ceased to conceal my ambition, in the fulness of time, to acquire a tenured post in some newly opened Department of Johnson Studies in the mid-west of the United States, or possibly in China…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: The Truth About the ‘Wave of Attacks on Muslims’ After Woolwich Murder

by Andrew Gilligan

Fiyaz Mughal runs a project called Tell Mama, which receives £214,000 a year from the Government to monitor anti-Muslim attacks in Britain. In the wake of Drummer Lee Rigby’s murder, he has been understandably busy.

There has, said Mr Mughal, been “a wave of attacks, harassment, and hate-filled speech against Muslims … an unprecedented number of incidents”, including “a rise in street harassment of Muslims — unprovoked, opportunistic attacks from strangers as Muslims go about their lives”…

“Islamophobic” is also a handy charge to throw at anyone who questions Islamist ideology. Tell Mama is not Islamist, though Mr Mughal has written in the Cordoba Foundation’s journal (he says it was a “mistake” which he will not repeat).

But part of its motivation appears to be an attempt to draw some of the sting from Islamist terrorism by equating it with the work of anti-Muslim extremist groups such as the English Defence League. As Tell Mama’s Twitter feed puts it, “whilst we need to tackle the narrative of hate inspired by al-Qaeda, we also need to tackle the thuggery and hate of the EDL”. Mr Mughal insists that “both groups are significantly problematic”.

Loathsome as the white extreme Right is, however, there is clearly no comparison. No one in Britain has been killed by the EDL; 53 people have been killed by Islamist terrorists. White racists, unlike their Islamist equivalents, do not control key religious institutions or have a significant presence in British universities. Over the past decade, half a dozen or so white British Right-wingers have been convicted of possessing explosives and other weapons. But all were loners not acting in concert with any group.

In contrast, there have, over the same period, been 150 convictions for Islamist-related terrorism in the UK, many relating to serious, carefully organised, often multinational plots against specific targets involving substantial numbers of people.

For some quarters of the Islamophobia industry, it has now become Muslims who are the main victims of the Woolwich horror. But while some innocent Muslims have of course become victims, the main victim was Drummer Lee Rigby. And in overhyping the backlash, some in the Muslim community are playing right into the hands of his killers.

[JP note: Too sensitive a subject for the dhimmi Daily Telegraph to allow reader comments.]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Thousands Gather in London to Mark Closer to Israel Celebration

Thousands of Israel supporters filled London’s Trafalgar Square today to celebrate the country’s 65th birthday. Sun-drenched revellers heard speakers including Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks, Israeli Ambassador to Britain Daniel Taub and Education Secretary Michael Gove praise Israel’s achievements.

The Closer to Israel event also saw hundreds of people march from Hyde Park through Piccadilly and into the square.

A fleet of open-top buses, floats depicting scenes of Israel and the band of the Jewish Lads and Girls Brigade led the way, with street entertainers performing along the route.

In a rousing address at the subsequent party in Trafalgar Square, the Chief Rabbi told the crowds: “Israel has not had one day without the fear of war, or terror, or missiles, or worse. Israel has stood firm and brave and strong. Because of Israel the Jewish people walk tall.”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Woolwich Murder: Two Suspects Held in Custody

The two men accused of murdering Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich have both appeared in separate courts in London.

Drummer Rigby was hacked to death near Woolwich Barracks in southeast London as he walked back to base on May 22 after a day working at the Tower of London.

At his first court appearance, Michael Adebolajo, 28, was remanded in custody until a bail hearing at the Old Bailey in 48 hours.

With his left arm fully bandaged, Adebolajo told Westminster Magistrates’ Court he wanted to be known as Mujaheed Abu Hamza.

He held a Koran and blew kisses to a man, believed to be his brother, in the public gallery, and they both pointed to the sky.

Later in the hearing, he held the Koran with his right hand and kissed it while holding his left arm in the air.

Adebolajo, of Romford, Essex, is also accused of the attempted murder of two police officers and possession of a firearm with intent to cause others to believe that violence would be used.

He was charged with the four counts on Saturday, having been discharged from hospital on Friday.

Adebolajo was shot by police on May 22 and spent just over a week in hospital being treated for his injuries.

As he was asked to stand in court, Adebolajo said: “May I ask why? May I ask why?”

When told it is customary to stand, he said: “I want to sit.”

After standing when asked to at the end of today’s short hearing, he asked Deputy Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot: “I would like to alleviate the pain if I may?”

Adebolajo’s co-accused Michael Adebowale, 22, from Greenwich, southeast London, later appeared at the Old Bailey via video link from Belmarsh Prison.

The judge, Mr Justice Sweeney, told the court the defendant would reappear for a preliminary hearing on June 28, when his case is expected to be joined up with that of Adebolajo.

As well as being charged with the murder of Drummer Rigby, Adebowale faces a charge of possession of a firearm with intent to cause others to believe that violence would be used.

           — Hat tip: Nick [Return to headlines]

UKIP is Hammering the Political Elite in Westminster

A MOOD of rebellion is sweeping the country, fuelled by anger at the treachery and incompetence of our rulers.

The three main parties are now paying the price for treating the British public with contempt for far too long.

The widespread fury at the Westminster establishment has been crystalised by a couple of recent factors. One was the murder by two Muslim fanatics of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich, an atrocity that exposed the devastating failure of the state’s official dogma of multiculturalism.

Another is the growing recognition that, due to the EU’s systematic demolition of our borders, no fewer than 29 million Bulgarians and Romanians will be able to settle here next year, with rights to claim housing, benefits, education and healthcare.

The public knows that Britain is facing an identity crisis. Our very integrity as an independent nation is under threat from European integration and mass immigration. In the face of this discontent, the politicians have reacted with a predictable mix of bullying and propaganda.

Prattling about the joys of diversity, politicians claim that millions of jobs are at risk if Britain does not remain under EU subjugation. But this bluster and blackmail is no longer effective. For voters now have a real alternative to the fashionable, destructive orthodoxy of the three main parties. The phenomenal rise in support for Ukip shows the strength of the public’s disillusion with a failing establishment. The latest poll, published at the weekend, shows Ukip on 21 per cent, far ahead of the Liberal Democrats on just six per cent, and just five points behind the Tories.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

Algeria: Tourism Makes Fresh Start With Roman Empire

Sites flooded by locals but eye on foreign market

(by Elisa Pinna) (ANSAmed) — SETIF (ALGERIA) — The landscape has remained unchanged since the Roman empire. Soft hills where barley and wheat are cultivated like 2.000 years ago surround Djemila, a city on an Algerian plateau built in 96 AD by the Roman army. The settlement, which was inhabited until the 6th century, is one of many archaeological sites in Algeria, which has an unparalleled heritage in Africa. And the continent’s largest country now means to exploit it in order to re-launch an international tourism business reduced to almost nothing in the past two decades. Moreover, all Roman cities are in northern and central Algeria, the safest areas in the country with no major security issues. Djemila hosts a number of important buildings: an amphitheatre from the 2nd century, where performances and music festivals are still held, temples, prisons, altars, an arch dedicated to Caracalla and a magnificent baptistery from the 4th century which is still intact.

On Friday, the Muslim weekly holy day, the site is flooded with local tourists: women wearing the Islamic veil or Maghreb-style face veil, bearded men wearing long kaftans, lots of children observe with admiration and respect the remains of a faraway, ancient civilization and are friendly in welcoming the rare foreign visitors. Inside the museum where extraordinary mosaics can be found depicting hunting scenes or joyous everyday scenes portraying men and gods, some glance elsewhere but most observe the figures with great attention.

What makes Algeria’s archaeological sites extraordinary — from Djemila to Tipaza, Timgad and Tiddis — is the beauty, almost primordial, of the surrounding landscape which is rare in other parts of the Mediterranean.

‘From a touristic standpoint, we are still children and need to become adult’, Said Boukhelifa, a high official with the Algerian tourism ministry, told ANSAmed. ‘One thing is certain, we don’t want to make mistakes which have been committed elsewhere. We are aiming for a tourism which respects nature, landscapes and our historic culture. This is the challenge we have to start from, after all the years that have been lost’.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Brother of Al Qaeda Commander Killed in Drone Strike a Major Candidate for Presidency of Libya’s Parliament

The brother of a top Al Qaeda commander killed in an American drone strike in Pakistan last summer is emerging as a strong candidate to become Libya’s top elected official.

Abd Al-Wahhab Muhammad Qaid is a former member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), jihadists who struggled for more than two decades to overthrow Muammar Qaddafi and mounted an insurgency in eastern Libya before seeking sanctuary in Afghanistan. He was nominated for the presidency of the country’s parliament, the General National Congress (GNC).

The killing last year of Qaid’s brother, Abu Yahya al-Libi, is thought to have been one of the motives for Libyan jihadists to attack the U.S. consulate in Benghazi last September, an assault that led to the deaths of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. Al Qaeda’s spiritual leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, focused his annual 9/11 message on America’s drone war just days before the consulate attack, eulogized al-Libi and called on “Libyan brothers” to avenge the loss.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Egypt: Former Deputy Chief Justice, Brothers Against Rights

Tahani El-Gebali, judiciary’s collision with Morsi inevitable

(by Luciana Borsatti) (ANSAmed) — ROME — The Egyptian Constitutional Court, which safeguards UN-ratified “public liberties and constitutional rights”, is on an inevitable “collision course with the Muslim Brotherhood’s project” as far as “fondamental rights” are concerned, because it “adopts extreme positions on women and religious minorities”, former costitutional judge Tahani El-Gebali said in a interview to ANSAmed.

Appointed as Egypt’s first female judge in 2003, El-Gebali subsequently became the highest court’s deputy chief justice.

She was recently removed under the new Constitution, which reduced the chief justices to ten in a measure analysts said was designed to remove her for her outspoken opinions. Her comments are even more significant following the umpteenth clash yesterday between the Brotherhood and the Court, which ruled the Upper House or Shura Council electoral law unconstitutional, as it had done previously for the Lower House.

While the latter was dissolved, the Shura Council will continue as lawmaker until new parliamentary elections. “The Court has an enlightened vision of sharia” or Islamic law, which Article 2 of both the old and the new charter says is the main source of all lawmaking, the former magistrate explained. “But the Brotherhood has an extremist vision, which is why it introduced norms that compromise the independence of the Court into the new text”, she added. One of these gives President Mohamed Morsi exclusive powers to appoint constitutional judges, unlike in the past. “The new Constitution led to the ousting of seven judges from the high court”, pointed out El-Gebali, who has since resumed working as a lawyer. She is also the co-founder of National Initiative, which is organizing a round table of constitutional experts to be held on June 11. Seven more constitutional judges will be removed, should the Shura Council pass a controversial bill lowering magistrates’ retirement age from 70 to 60, she went on.

“This will give President Morsi the chance to choose Brotherhood loyalists, and this practice will be repeated in other areas of the justice system”, El-Gebali predicted. As for the difference between the judges’ and the Brotherhood’s approach to sharia, it lies in that “the Court has always held that community interests are an integral part of Islamic law, and has a wide-ranging vision on how sharia applies to daily life, with a view to both Sunni and Shiite schools of thought”. The Brotherhood on the other hand, wishes to restrict the number of those entitled to interpret sharia law, which for them means “whatever is acceptable to Sunnis”, the former judge explained. Article 4 of the new charter assigns Al Azhar, the country’s highest Sunni theological authority, the role of sharia consultant, a measure which “had been rejected by Al Azhar itself” because it is tantamount to laying the juridical basis for an Iranian-style theocracy. This is why, El-Gebali pointed out, the Brotherhood is hostile to Ahmed al-Tayeb, the grand imam of al Azhar. What should the international community do? “As a UN member state, Egypt is a signatory to all the conventions on the independence of the justice system”, El-Gebali noted. If the international community is unwilling to hold Egypt to its obligations, the US should at least “stop supporting the oppressors” both morally and financially.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Libya: Cyrenaica Council Declares Autonomy From Tripoli

Thousands take to streets of El Merj to support declaration

(ANSAmed) — TUNIS, JUNE 3 — The Cyrenaica Council, a political party in the eastern coastal Libyan region of the same name, has declared independence from the central government in Tripoli, Malian online newspaper L’Essor reported Monday.

The declaration was made by Ahmed Zoubar al-Senoussi, cousin to former King Idris, who was deposed by Gaddafi in 1969.

Thousands of people in the city of El Merj took to the streets in support of what was a largely symbolic but politically significant declaration, according to L’Essor.

Oil-rich Cyrenaica and its capital, Benghazi, were the hotbed of the 2011 armed uprising against Gaddafi. The Cyrenaica Council intends to reinstate a 1951 constitution separating powers between Tripoli and Benghazi, Senoussi said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

British-Educated Independent Rami Hamdallah Named New Palestinian Prime Minister

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas yesterday named British-educated political independent Rami Hamdallah as new prime minister.

A little known figure outside the Palestinian territories, Hamdallah has a doctorate in applied linguistics from the British university of Lancaster. He is a professor of linguistics who has been president of An Najah National University in the West Bank’s largest city since 1998…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

11 Killed in Clashes in East Lebanon

BEIRUT, June 3 (Xinhua) — At least one member of Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant group and 10 Syrian rebels were killed in clashes erupted Sunday on the outskirts of Baalbek in east Lebanon, a local security source told Al Joumhouriya daily on Monday. The source said that Hezbollah militants were setting up an ambush in the Baalbek valley about 2 kilometers from the border with Syria when they clashed with members of Al Nusra Islamic front fighters…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

17 Injured in Renewed Clashes in Lebanon’s Tripoli

BEIRUT, June 2 (Xinhua) — At least 17 people were wounded as armed clashes renewed suddenly Sunday in Lebanon’s northern port city of Tripoli after several days of relative calm, a local security source said. Fighting broke out in the evening between the rival neighborhoods of Alawite Jabal Mohsen and Sunni al-Amerkan and al- Baqqar before escalating and spreading to Bab al-Tabbaneh, Baal al- Darawish, Syria Street, al-Omari Street, Souk al-Qameh and Hariri Project, according to the source…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Al-Qaeda Sets Up Complaints Department

In an effort to show it takes its new responsibilities in government seriously, Al-Qaeda’s branch in Iraq and Syria has set up a complaints department.

The organisation is the leading militia in the north-eastern part of rebel-held Syria, and has taken control of parts of the civilian administration in the city of Raqqa. It posted a new notice there this week saying it was open to receiving complaints from members of the public…

[JP note: Why are you still on my planet?]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Finance: Turkey: New Tools for Islamic World

Multiply by three banks abiding by Sharia by 2023

(ANSAmed) — ISTANBUL — Turkey is trying to boost its political and commercial ties with the Gulf and Arab countries and diversify its debt by becoming one of the most dynamic economies in the Muslim world through the development of Islamic finance. The objective, as noted by a statement of the Italian foreign trade institute Ice, is to multiply by three the number of banks following Sharia, Islamic laws, by 2023. The Participation Banks — as banks not applying interest rates on loans are technically defined — operate according to Islamic doctrine. These rules have been recently proposed by the government to allow financial institutions, Turkish banks and the treasury to issue loans according to the rules of Islamic finance in order to access a market estimated at over 100 billion US dollars.

Turkey wants to turn Istanbul, currently its economic and cultural capital, into an important financial centre, with projects worth 350 billion dollars, mostly focusing on Islamic finance. Four banks operate in this sector already: Bank Asya, Turkiye Finans, Albaraka Turk and Kuveyt Turk for a total 5,3% of the Turkish banking sector. State banks Ziraat Bank and Halkbank also operate in this sector. In 2011, according to data by the Participation Banks Union, while the entire Turkish banking sector registered a 10% decrease in revenues, Islamic banks alone recorded growth and employed 13.857 people. The Turkish treasury also started issuing ‘sukuk’ — bonds abiding by Sharia — to be more aggressive on an international market which is increasingly interested in Turkish finance.

The main difference between Participation and Western banks is they can’t gain on interests (riba) and speculation (gharar).

In fact the sacred book of Islam, the Koran, considers interest rates a form of usury and does not allow money to generate other money by staying put. Moreover Islamic finance gives more relevance to the social nature of investments. For example, investments in weapons and drugs are banned along with those in alcoholic beverages, pork, gossip magazines and all other sectors which are banned by Koranic law.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Saudi Prince Spends €15m on Disneyland Trip

A young Saudi prince treated himself to a particularly memorable visit to Eurodisney, it emerged on Monday, spending €15 million for just 72 hours at the theme park near Paris. He is only the latest Saudi royal to make a splash in the city.

A Saudi prince spent €15 million for three days of fun at Disneyland near Paris to celebrate his degree, the group that runs the theme park said on Monday.

Prince Fahd al-Saud booked entire areas of the park between May 22nd and 24th for his 60-odd guests. The festivities included tailor-made events involving “rare Disney characters,” Euro Disney told AFP.

Special security was put in place for the prince, one of the park’s top customers, it added.

The theme park attracted 16 million visitors last year but Euro Disney has not made any profits since it was set up 20 years ago.

In the six months to March, the group had a net loss of €89.1 million compared with a loss of €11.8 million euros in the same period last year.

Prince Fahd is only the latest Saudi royal to make a splash in the French capital, however.

In March, The Local reported how authorities in Paris were to seize assets belonging to Saudi princess Maha Al-Sudairi, to help cover the cost of an eye-watering €6 million bill she left behind on a no-expense spared visit to the French capital.

Al-Sudairi, the former wife of the late Saudi crown prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, checked into the ‘palace’ hotel Le Shangri-La in Paris in December 2011, with her 60 attendants and assistants.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Turkey: Erdogan Denounces Uprising’s ‘Foreign Connection’

Premier leaving for Maghreb. Turkish stock market down

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, JUNE 3 — Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday that anti-government protests over the past week have ‘foreign connections’ and are organized by ‘extremist groups’. Hundreds of thousands of people have taken part in the past few days in demonstrations across the country.

‘Stay calm, relax, everything will be overcome’, Erdogan said on Monday, talking to reporters at the airport in Istanbul as he was leaving for a three-day visit to Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. Meanwhile the Turkish stock market plunged Monday and the Turkish lira registered its lowest value compared to the dollar in 18 months, Hurriyet reports. The Borsa Istanbul 100 Index fell 6,43% and the dollar was exchanged for 1,891 Turkish liras from Friday’s 1,87.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Turkey: New Clashes Last Night, Demonstrator Dies

Guerrilla in Ankara, Izmir, Istanbul. Stock market, lira down

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, JUNE 3 — One week after the beginning of protests over Gezi Park in Istanbul, the situation is still very tense. Last night, police and anti-government demonstrators clashed in Ankara, Izmir and Istanbul.

One of the demonstrators who reported serious injuries in recent clashes, Ethem Sarisuluk, who was being treated for a gunshot to the head, is brain dead, the secretary of the Turkish human rights foundation, Metin Bakkalci, announced. ‘Doctors declared him brain dead’, he said.

In spite of high tensions across the country, Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan maintained an official three-day visit to Maghreb and left Istanbul this morning after calling for calm. Erdogan also accused the protest movement of ‘foreign ties’ and being organized by ‘extremist groups’.

During the night thousands of protesters tried to reach Erdogan’s offices in Istanbul and Ankara but anti-riot police used teargas and water cannons to keep them away. In Izmir protesters attacked the headquarters of the premier’s AKP Islamic party throwing molotov cocktails. Violent clashes between police and demonstrators were also reported in the third city. Monday morning was calm but new demonstrations have been announced this afternoon.

Violence in the past three days and high tensions across the country led to a drop in Istanbul’s stock market which registered a 6,43% downfall in its opening session Monday, while the Turkish lira was at its lowest level in 18 months compared to the dollar.

Meanwhile photos and videos showing the brutal police repression against demonstrators in the past few days are continuing to be posted on social networks. Protesters, who are asking for the premier to step down, have denounced the ‘censorship’ by the main Turkish broadcasters of the protest movement, claiming they are following government orders. They also claim internet connections are being repeatedly interrupted in areas in which the excessive use of force against demonstrators has been denounced by international media outlets and by foreign capitals.

According to Amnesty International, five of the hundreds demonstrators who have reported injuries during the demonstrations are in critical condition and risk their lives.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Turkey: ‘Sultan’ Erdogan Trips Over 600 Trees

‘People of Ataturk’ against Islamic premier’s absolute power

(by Francesco Cerri) (ANSAmed) — ANKARA, JUNE 3 — ‘Erdogan is not all-powerful’ observes, almost with surprise, Hurriyet’s analyst Murat Yetkin.

A protest which began as a demonstration against the destruction of 600 trees in Gezi Park in Taksim, in the heart of European Istanbul, which was unilaterally decided by the local government controlled by the Islamic AKP party of Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has become a mass movement which has brought to the streets hundreds of thousands of Turkish citizens.

They are the ‘secular people’ of the founding father of the modern republic in 1923 , Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, over the ruins of the Islamic empire. They are now unexpectedly shaking the authoritarian government of ‘sultan’ Erdogan, who has been ruling without rivals since 2002. For the first time in 11 years, he was forced in just a few hours to recant his position. At midday he challenged tens of thousands of demonstrators in Taksim announcing that ‘police will remain today, tomorrow and the day after tomorrow’. Two days later, confronted with rage on the streets, the spreading uprising across Turkey, protests from abroad over police brutality, and the intervention of head of state Abdullah Gul, the ‘sultan’ changed stance. He recalled police and admitted ‘excesses’, promising an investigation. Ever since then, in spite of statements that remain muscular, he has been looking for a way out. He sent Istanbul’s mayor to talk to the demonstrators. But the country is now aware that the power of the most powerful premier since Ataturk is not unlimited. After many humiliations, secular Turkey, which was ousted from power 11 years ago, appears to have decided to take matters into its hands and take to the streets. According to polls, Erdogan would still win from 40 to 50% of the vote. The year 2014 will be one of local, national and presidential elections.

Erdogan wants to become head of state with a constitutional reform giving him sweeping powers. But his electorate is not monolithic. There are religious voters, the great masses of Anatolia who are proud of an Islamic government which has given them a voice. But there is also a part of the electorate who voted for him because he has given stability to the country since 2002, tripling pro-capita income and turned Turkey into the 17th world economy. However, these voters are not ready to give up on a secular state in favour of an Islamic republic. The disastrous management of the protests has acted as a detonator.

Erdogan ‘shot himself on the foot’, said analyst Sule Kulu. The premier ‘did what the opposition was unable to do in years’, he said, ‘he created a new opposition, formed by different groups of the population, including those who fully supported him in the past’.

In the third legislature in power since June 2011, the premier has adopted an increasingly authoritarian stance, promoting an Islamic society. Bans dating back to the Ataturk era on, among other things, the Islamic veil, fell one after the other, mosques are being built everywhere, the Ottoman past is being reevaluated and progress is being made towards the approval of Islamic-inspired laws changing people’s lifestyles.

The latest restrictions on alcohol were the last drop. There is also the Syrian crisis with Erdogan firmly siding with Sunni rebels against his former Alawite friend Bashar al-Assad while the country was asking him to remain neutral. The war is now threatening Turkey. As in the case of the Arab Springs, what sparked the revolt against Erdogan, according to political analyst Emre Uslu, is that secularists lost hope of ousting him from power through the vote. And they fear this will lead to a ‘re-Islamization’ of the country. The opposition now recalls how Erdogan used to say 20 years ago that democracy is like a bus, you get out of it when you want.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Turkey: 1,500 Arrested Overnight, Opposition MP Says

Herded onto buses ‘with no room to breathe’, unlawful conditions

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, JUNE 3 — At least 1,500 demonstrators have been arrested overnight and detained in unlawful conditions, Turkish opposition MP Aylin Nazliaka told Hurriyet online newspaper on Monday.

Security forces herded detainees onto city buses at Kizilay, in the center of the capital, where a demonstration was underway near the president’s office. “They were packed like sardines in a can, with no room to breathe”, Nazliaka told the newspaper.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

UAE: Construction Begins on Dubai’s Largest Mosque

Up to 25 per cent of the construction work on the Khalifa Al Tajer Mosque has been completed.

Construction on Khalifa Al Tajer Mosque, set to become Dubai’s largest mosque, is 25 per cent complete with concrete pouring for the main ceiling, pier and beam foundations set in place. Billed as the Middle East’s first eco-friendly mosque, it is being constructed by the UAE’s Awqaf and Minors Affairs Foundation (AMAF). Concrete pouring for the mosque’s minarets up to a height of 23 metres, and a concrete slab in the ablution block have also been completed, AMAF said in a statement. The electrical transformer room is also ready and is set for delivery to Dubai Electricity and Water Authority…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Russian Pacific Fleet Unit Starts “Cruise of Memory”

VLADIVOSTOK, June 3 (Xinhua) — A unit of Russian Pacific Fleet ships left Vladivostok on Monday for a “Cruise of Memory.” The unit includes the missile destroyer Bystry, large landing ship Oslyablya and sea tug Kalar. The so-called “Cruise of Memory” is dedicated to three historical events: the Victory Day, the 282nd anniversary of Russia’s Pacific Fleet and the 200th anniversary of the birth of Russian explorer Admiral Gennady Nevelskoy. The ships will visit Sakhalin, the Kuril Islands, the Kamchatka Peninsula and Okhotsk during the cruise.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Afghan Family of 7 Killed in Roadside Bombing in Laghman

MEHTARLAM, Afghanistan, June 3 (Xinhua) — Seven members of an Afghan family were killed Monday morning when their car was hit by a roadside bomb in the country’s eastern province of Laghman, said the provincial government. “Four women, two children and a man were martyred as their car ran over a roadside bomb in Hakim Abad area of the Laghman province at around 7 a.m. local time Monday,” the provincial government said in a statement…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Indonesia: Poso: Suicide Bomber Blows Himself Up in Front of Police Headquarters

The suicide bomber blew himself up in the early morning, during the flag raising. There are no casualties or injuries among the police and civilians. Civil society increasingly concerned about the marked similarities between Indonesia and Iraq. The gesture seen as an attempt at revenge for the anti-terrorism blitz that led to the death of seven extremists.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) — A suicide bomber blew himself up this morning near the police headquarters in Poso, Central Sulawesi province. Today’s attack is the latest in a long series of violent incidents that have characterized the last few weeks in Indonesia. A phenomenon that has raised alarm among institutions and concerns within civil society, which fears a progressive “mutation” of the archipelago into a country like Iraq, battered by violence and civil war. The suicide bomber was on a motorcycle and on being ordered to stop by one of the guards detonated the device before he could reach the front door of the building.

From initial reports there are no casualties or injuries among the police. The explosion took place in conjunction with the flag raising ceremony, with dozens of police present in the square. This leads investigators to believe that the bomber wanted to cause serious casualties, not only among police but also among civilians given that many civilians attend the morning ceremony.

Suhardi Alius, police spokesman in Jakarta, confirmed that the bomber was carrying two devices, the first of which “smaller” and the second more powerful, which caused “a loud explosion.” So far there are no official claims, however, suspicions converge on the Islamic extremist groups that have targeted the police, to avenge the raid of the past weeks in which at least seven fundamentalists were killed. Among these, the group’s leader Abu Roban, responsible for trafficking of arms with the southern Philippines.

Other details also emerge from the attack early May against the Burmese embassy in Jakarta in response to the violence against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. It seems that the terrorists had used an explosive (hexamine) far more powerful than those used up to now, the discovery was made during a raid against an extremist cell, led by Islamist leader Sigid Indrajit.

Poso has been the scene of renewed sectarian violence. The port city has seen attacks against Christian-owned buildings, including places of worship. Two law enforcement agents have also been murdered under mysterious circumstances. They went missing whilst investigating a recent attack against a prominent member of the Christian community. Their bodies were found after eight days on the side of a road near a training centre connected to an extremist Muslim group.

Between 1997 and 2001, Christians and Muslims were involved in a violent conflict on Sulawesi Island and neighbouring Maluku Islands. Thousands of people died and hundreds of churches and mosques were destroyed. Thousands of homes were also razed. About half a million people found themselves homeless, 25,000 in Poso alone.

On 20 December 2001, the two sides reached a truce that was signed in Malino, South Sulawesi, following a peace initiative by the government. The local population is evenly split between Christians and Muslims.

Despite the peace deal, terrorist incidents continued on and leaving a trail of innocent victims. One of the most horrific cases, which caused indignation around the world, was the beheading by Muslim extremists in October 2005 of three Christian girls on their way to school.

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

Schoolchildren Die After Suicide Bomb at Afghanistan Market

Nine pupils and a police officer killed in an attack apparently aimed at a passing US military patrol

Nine school pupils and a policeman have been killed in a suicide bombing outside a market in east Afghanistan, police said. The attacker was reportedly targeting a passing US military patrol but it was unclear if there were any American casualties…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Sri Lanka: Obesity Alarm: Nearly One-Sixth of Young People Are Overweight

The authorities in Colombo make public the data on obesity in the country. An expert from the government denounces the lack of nutritional education. In June, national nutrition month begins.

Colombo (AsiaNews) — In Sri Lanka, 15% of students and 22% of women are overweight. This was revealed by Dr. Palitha Mahipala (pictured), director general of health services, according to who the abuse of salt and sugar, combined with the scarcity of fruits and vegetables in the diet of Sri Lankans, is one of the main causes of obesity.

The Director General also announced that the National Nutrition Month it will begin in June, explaining that “weight problems should be a priority for Colombo.”

The picture painted by dr. Mahipala shows a total lack of nutritional education and food culture in the country. The messages transmitted by television commercials exert a strong influence on Sri Lankan women, causing them to alter their own diets in the illusion of nutrition to achieve better physical form. AsiaNews has met with a group of volunteers who aim to assist women suffering from psychological disorders related to food. One of them explains that “many of these have fallen victim to these diseases in an unconscious way, the desire to emulate television characters.” He adds that “very often, these unhealthy eating behaviors affect the nutritional value of breast milk and education delivered to children.”

For his part, Palitha Mahipala explains that “the first three years of a child’s life are crucial for its development and growth. Feeding problems at this stage can have an impact on the health of the individual in an irreversible way.” In this context, the National Nutrition Month is an initiative launched to counter this trend and stimulate the maturation of a greater food culture.

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

Suicide Attack Rocks Afghan’s Samkani Town, Over a Dozen Killed or Injured

GERDEZ, Afghanistan, June 3 (Xinhua) — A suicide bomber blew himself up next to a school in Samkani district of Afghanistan’s Paktia province on Monday, leaving over a dozen people dead or injured, provincial police chief Zalmai Oryakhil said.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

China: Shenzhou-10 Spacecraft to be Launched in Mid-June

JIUQUAN, June 3 (Xinhua) — The Shenzhou-10 manned spacecraft is scheduled to be launched in the middle of June, a spokesperson for China’s manned space program announced on Monday. The mission has entered the final phase of preparations, with the modified model of the Long March-2F carrier rocket and spacecraft being transported to the launch site on Monday morning, said the spokesperson. The spacecraft, which will be launched in mid-June from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China, will carry three astronauts and dock with the Tiangong-1, a target orbiter and space module sent to space in 2011…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Chinese Wonder Why Their Tourists Behave So Badly

(Reuters) — From faking marriage certificates to get honeymoon discounts in the Maldives to letting children defecate on the floor of a Taiwan airport, Chinese tourists have recently found themselves at the center of controversy and anger.

Thanks to microblogging sites in China, accounts of tourists behaving badly spread like wildfire across the country, provoking disgust, ire and soul-searching.

While in the past such reports might have been dismissed as attacks on the good nature of Chinese travelers, people in the world’s second-largest economy are starting to ask why their countrymen and women are so badly behaved.

“Objectively speaking, our tourists have relatively low-civilized characters,” said Liu Simin, researcher with the Tourism Research Centre of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

“Overseas travel is a new luxury, Chinese who can afford it compare with each other and want to show off,” Liu said. “Many Chinese tourists are just going abroad, and are often inexperienced and unfamiliar with overseas rules and norms.”

When a story broke recently that a 15-year-old Chinese boy had scratched his name into a 3,500-year-old temple in Egypt’s Luxor, the furor was such that questions were even asked about it at a Foreign Ministry news briefing.

“There are more and more Chinese tourists travelling to other countries in recent years,” ministry spokesman Hong Lei said on Monday.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Are Young Australian Muslims Being Radicalised on Home Soil?

Up to 100 Australians are thought to be fighting in Syria at the moment and authorities fear young Australian Muslims are being radicalised on home soil as a program in a Western Sydney bookstore suggests.

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: The spectre of home-grown terror has haunted security agencies in countries like Australia since 2001. It was revived last week in London by the horrific knife murder of a British soldier and this week in Sydney by the arrest of a man accused of threatening to kill a Commonwealth officer. Authorities’ concerns are being heightened by the bloody conflict in Syria. It’s become a magnet and a new training ground for militants around the world, including in Australia…

[JP note: As if adherents of the religion of permanent offence require a magnet.]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Australia ‘Should be a Republic Once Queen’s Reign Ends’

Australia’s should become a republic once the Queen’s reign ends, two political foes have said in an unprecedented alliance that reignites the republic debate a decade after it was defeated at referendum.

Treasurer Wayne Swan and senior opposition figure Malcolm Turnbull, who once was Australia’s Republican Movement president, came together in the capital Canberra on Monday to launch a book of essays called ‘Project Republic: Plans and Arguments for a New Australia’. Mr Turnbull, who sits on the front bench for the conservative opposition, described this latest push as “simply, purely patriotic” and called for an ‘interactive plebiscite’ to use cyberspace to better inform Australians of the issues surrounding constitutional change…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Nigeria: Boko Haram Pardon — 23 Women, 35 Kids Freed

damaturu/Maiduguri — The Joint Task Force (JTF) yesterday in Maiduguri, Borno State, handed over women and children who are relatives of suspected Boko Haram members to the Borno State Government following the directive by President Goodluck Jonathan. In neigbouring Yobe State, about the same time, the Join Task Force (JTF) yesterday also released 38 Boko Haram suspects detained under its custody in compliance with the directives of the Defense Headquarters. Military authorities had last week announced that some suspected sect members would be freed from detention and handed to state governments to “rehabilitate” and subsequently reunite them with their relations…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Unidentified Gunmen Attack Prison in Niger

Local witnesses have reported gun fire and explosions at a prison in Niger’s capital. It was not immediately clear whether the assault was linked to unprecedented twin bombings which left over 20 dead last week. Gunmen launched a raid on the Niamey central prison Saturday afternoon, according to eye witnesses. At least two guards died in the attack. The number of wounded was not immediately available…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Black Leaders: Immigration Bill Will ‘Harm’ African American Workers

Several black leaders of various political persuasions have banded together to warn Congress of the harm they think the “Gang of Eight” immigration bill will inflict upon black workers if passed. The group, the Black American Leadership Alliance, wrote to members of the Gang of Eight, the Congressional Black Caucus, and members from states with the highest levels of black unemployment.

“Given the fact that more than 13% of all blacks are unemployed — nearly double that of the national average, it is our position that each Member of Congress must consider the disastrous effects that Senate Bill 744 would have on low skill workers of all races, while paying particular attention to the potential harm to African Americans,” the letter argues. “Credible research indicates that black workers will suffer the greatest harm if this legislation were to be passed. We are asking that you oppose Senate Bill S.744 because of the dramatic effect it will have on the availability of employment for African American workers.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Israel Reaches Deal to Deport Immigrants

Israel has reached an agreement with a foreign country to transfer North Sudanese illegal immigrants to its territory, and similar deals with two additional countries are in the works, it was revealed on Sunday in the High Court of Justice.

During a debate over a petition to cancel the Infiltration Prevention Law, which allows the State to jail illegal immigrant for three years without trial, The State’s representative said that 2,100 North Sudanese immigrants have already been transferred.

The attorney noted that out of the 2,100 already transferred, 500 were taken out of hodling facilities.

The petition asking to annul the law was filed with the High Court by human rights groups against the Knesset, the interior minister and the defense minister.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

UK: Home Office Legal Blunder Allows Violent Criminal to Stay in Britain Under Human Rights Law

Hazhar Hassan Taha, a 24 year-old Iraqi man, was jailed for 17 months for violent disorder and after his release won a legal challenge against deportation on human rights grounds.

However the Home Office appealed to a senior judge, as part of a policy of being determined to fight cases of apparent abuse of human rights legislation.

But immigration officials then made a critical error by failing to submit the legal paperwork, and subsequently failed to respond to requests from the court.

The error meant Upper Immigration Tribunal Judge Richard Chalkley dismissed the Home Office case without a hearing, and Taha is now free to remain in this country indefinitely.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

UK: Two Books, One Conclusion. Immigration Has Been and is Too High.

Peter Smith is a lawyer who works in central London. He has previously worked in Parliament for Edward Leigh MP.

The first of April saw two new books launched on the perennial problem of large-scale, permanent migration into Britain. Despite the inauspicious publication date, their authors are no fools. They demonstrate that the gap between intellectual Left and Right has now narrowed substantially on the question of immigration.

Ed West’s The Diversity Illusion sets out, blow-by-blow and in a racy journalistic style, the social and cultural impact of foreign settlement. West, who writes for a bevy of titles including The Spectator and Daily Telegraph, seeks to explain, as the subtitles put it, what we got wrong about immigration and how to set it right.

From the Left, David Goodhart, the former editor of liberal Prospect magazine and now head of Demos, examines in The British Dream “the tension between solidarity and diversity in rich, liberal societies”. His conclusion is much the same as West’s, but delivered with the additional force of an apostate condemning his religion.

“[U]nlike most members of my political tribe of north London liberals I have come to believe that public opinion is broadly right about the immigration story. Britain has had too much of it, too quickly, especially in recent years, and much of it, especially for the least well off, has not produced self-evidence economic benefit.”

The migration both authors consider fits broadly into two historical trends. From the end of the Second World War until the mid-1990s, about four million ethnic minority Britons either moved or were born here to migrant parents. Most came from former colonies and particularly the Caribbean, India, Pakistan or Africa.

Since 1997, a second wave has risen and crashed onto our shores. Approximately an additional four million people have arrived in Britain since New Labour came to power, or were born as the fruit of these newcomers. Incredibly, fewer than a quarter are from EU countries and the majority are likely to become permanent citizens — including about half of the 1.5m East Europeans who arrived after regulatory changes in 2004. As Goodhart notes, this is indeed a “demographic revolution”, and one which will only worsen in 2014, when Romanians and Bulgarians will have the unrestricted right to live and work in the UK…

[JP note: For more see here and here ]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Obama Issues Proclamation Declaring June LGBT Pride Month

WASHINGTON — The White House on Friday issued a proclamation by President Barack Obama, declaring June as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month, saying his administration has been “a proud partner in the journey toward LGBT equality.”

“We celebrate LGBT Pride Month at a moment of great hope and progress, recognizing that more needs to be done,” Obama said, the fifth consecutive year he has issued the proclamation:



For more than two centuries, our Nation has struggled to transform the ideals of liberty and equality from founding promise into lasting reality. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Americans and their allies have been hard at work on the next great chapter of that history — from the patrons of The Stonewall Inn who sparked a movement to service members who can finally be honest about who they love to brave young people who come out and speak out every day.

This year, we celebrate LGBT Pride Month at a moment of great hope and progress, recognizing that more needs to be done. Support for LGBT equality is growing, led by a generation which understands that, in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” In the past year, for the first time, voters in multiple States affirmed marriage equality for same-sex couples. State and local governments have taken important steps to provide much-needed protections for transgender Americans.

My Administration is a proud partner in the journey toward LGBT equality. We extended hate crimes protections to include attacks based on sexual orientation or gender identity and repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” We lifted the HIV entry ban and ensured hospital visitation rights for LGBT patients. Together, we have investigated and addressed pervasive bullying faced by LGBT students, prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in Federal housing, and extended benefits for same-sex domestic partners. Earlier this year, I signed a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in the implementation of any VAWA-funded program. And because LGBT rights are human rights, my Administration is implementing the first-ever Federal strategy to advance equality for LGBT people around the world.

We have witnessed real and lasting change, but our work is not complete. I continue to support a fully inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act, as well as the Respect for Marriage Act. My Administration continues to implement the Affordable Care Act, which beginning in 2014, prohibits insurers from denying coverage to consumers based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, as well as the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, which addresses the disparate impact of the HIV epidemic among certain LGBT sub-communities. We have a long way to go, but if we continue on this path together, I am confident that one day soon, from coast to coast, all of our young people will look to the future with the same sense of promise and possibility. I am confident because I have seen the talent, passion, and commitment of LGBT advocates and their allies, and I know that when voices are joined in common purpose, they cannot be stopped.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2013 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. I call upon the people of the United States to eliminate prejudice everywhere it exists, and to celebrate the great diversity of the American people.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirty-first day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand thirteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-seventh.


           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

Secretary General of the OIC: Combating Islamophobia

This is a bit long, but worth watching. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu is the secretary general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). He explains how criticizing Islam is abuse of freedom of speech and must be suppressed. No doubt US Attorney Bill Killian would agree…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

The Immoderate Moderation of the “Moderates”

by David Solway

In an article I posted on FrontPage Magazine, in which I was at pains to suggest that from the standpoint of the ongoing war of Islam against the West—anyone who doubts this has not been paying attention—the distinction between Islam and Islamism is functionally moot, if not chimerical. I was by no means implying that “moderate Muslims” are in conscious league with their jihadist co-religionists. Rather, my argument was that “moderate Muslims” are essential to maintaining the vigor and power of a faith that is inherently militant and expansionist, and provide the medium their jihadist counterparts are able to exploit to their advantage. In other words, the contextual environment of “moderate Muslims” furnishes precisely the ambient culture in which those we call “extremists” can operate effectively, taking shelter therein when necessary and relying on the very existence of the unreformed, and possibly unreformable, faith they claim to represent…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

2 thoughts on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 6/3/2013

  1. Islamic Society Claims The Murder of Lee Rigby is a Hoax
    They are busy like bees.

    Patricio Lebarbu · Ecole des Beaux-Arts

    The media tell us that the two killers were from the car before attacking army behead witnesses in two …

    You may wonder, how are these two individuals are not injured at least after such a shock when you see the State of the vehicle? It could be marked on the face or hands?

    A person who has been clipped so the head, this is the first version that was given initially, and then abandoned (why they believe in the decapitation? What was the purpose?) that a person does not have that was struck by a vehicle in fact?

    We see that the vehicle is seriously hurt before, especially on the left side (Street), while the field in front of the vehicle stop is not damaged? It should be at least twisted view down, nothing would … It is therefore not a shock with a post, what then?

    There are traces of blood in the front of the vehicle on the sidewalk instead of on the road, where the body was left where it was executed, as we have already explained how to explain this?

    He was certainly the first struck the vehicle? Who was driving? There is no evidence that one of the two suspected killers, if not the testimony of two people he says he got out of the vehicle (which just puts me in doubt)?

    In the case of the Merah we had two stories that match says that the killer had blue eyes, stout, while Merah has a black/brown eyes, we did not consider dwarfed by two witnesses, then you must take my word! Especially since we have not seen these. witnesses, while in the case of Merah we saw two people who face hidden, but they have seen and heard …

    Why do I say? Because I found it strange that we will describe some moments with such precision, weird? I think that they were not in the vehicle.

    It would be interesting to know who is the owner of the vehicle, don’t you think? This could be the key to the mystery? He said he was troubled that we don’t hear about a damaged vehicle?

    Two perpetrators of murders London a strangely similar to the name of the “jihadis” in Libya, Syria and perhaps soon mercenaries Algeria. Have been paid to play its role in this matter?

    The official version is corrupted, how is it possible that this man, who killed with a machete and a knife man does not have a drop of blood on his clothes or shoes, or how is it possible??
    On the other side of the body on the ground does not have any blood or from him or about him?

    too many quirks and inconsistencies in this nedomyšleném scenario.

    Working for MI5.
    Posted on Czech website (in crude Czech).

  2. Hey, I just got Ed West’s book and here it is being mentioned – check out the excellent price on Amazon for the Kindle version btw!

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