Gates of Vienna News Feed 7/23/2013

Scandal is swirling around the front-runner in the New York mayoral race after news emerged that a man who used the name “Carlos Danger” when sexting selected people and sending photos of his, ahem, apparatus, was in fact Anthony “Dangerous Dick” Weiner. Mr. Weiner insists that he has no intention of quitting the race.

In other news, a nursing student is suing a community college in Arizona for suspending her after she requested that her classes be conducted in English only.

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

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

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

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

Financial Crisis
» 28 States Saw Unemployment Rates Rise in June
» Greece: Troika Wants 18,000 Dismissals in Banks
» Greece: 2,000 Public High School Teachers Laid Off
» Italy Faces ‘Debt Restructuring or Leaving Eurozone’
» Italy Set for Net Loss of 250,000 Jobs This Year
» The Tip of the Iceberg of the Coming Retirement Crisis That Will Shake America to the Core
» As Invasive In-Store Tracking Technology Becomes More Common, Companies Attempt to Self-Regulate
» Black America’s Real Problem Isn’t White Racism
» Enough of the Tut-Tutting on Zimmerman
» Family Saved by George Zimmerman Grateful, But Terrified of Threats
» Former NSA Head: Snowden is Worse Than Every American Traitor in History (Video)
» If You Love Freedom Then You Are a Mentally Ill Terrorist — Your Government Says So
» Lawsuit: Arizona College Suspended Student Because She Wanted English-Only Classes
» Obama Strikes Out
» Owner of Small Utah ISP Describes How the NSA Got Him to Install Surveillance Equipment
» Weiner Says He is Not Quitting Mayor’s Race After New Allegations Emerge
» Canada’s Incoherent Foreign Policy Towards Cuba
» New Technology vs. Ancient Egyptian Mummies
Europe and the EU
» Aldi Netherlands Says Occupied Territory Boycott Info Was ‘A Mistake’
» Bronze Age Islanders in the English Channel Kept Sheep
» Cyprus: EU Censures Nicosia Over Landfills
» Dutch Court Forbids Terror Suspect Deportation to US on Torture Doubts
» Dutch Pedophile Exposer to Stand Trial, High-Ranking Pedophile Still Walking Free
» Fiat Hints Limiting Production in Italy After Loss to Union
» Italy: Naples Mayor Probed for America’s Cup Events Contracts
» Italy: Racist Leaflets Attacking Kyenge in Cortona
» Italy: Property Tax on First Homes ‘Must be Abolished’
» Italy: Priest in Palermo Arrested for Paying for Sex With Minors
» Netherlands: A 19-Year-Old Dutch Woman Has Been Arrested on Suspicion of Recruiting Jihadists to Fight With Muslim Rebels in Syria, The Public Prosecution Department Has Confirmed.
» Netherlands: Elite Pedophile Scandal Explodes (Video)
» Qatar Rushing to Invest in Europe, Greece and Italy Targets
» The Devil Wears Merkel
» Thracian Temple Unearthed in Central Bulgaria
» UK: In the Land of Serial Child Abuse by the Elites, Cameron Screws the Internet to Save Kids From Pornography
North Africa
» Egypt: Muslim Brotherhood Leader Calls for U.S. Embassy Siege to Protest Morsi Ouster
» Egypt: Modern Library Opens at Ancient Monastery
» Egypt: Cairo is on Fire While Blood is Shed Everyday
» Libya: Large Explosion Reported in Tripoli’s Embassy District
Middle East
» Iraq Arm of Al Qaeda Says it Was Responsible for Prison Raids Near Baghdad
» Iraq: Kurdistan: ‘Islamic’ Ambulance Driver Refuses to Take the Body of a Christian Woman to Church
» ‘Retaliation Campaign’: Erdogan Punishes Protesters in Turkey
» Total Failure of Foreign Intelligence as Spy Agencies Miss Massive Al Qaeda Prison Break
» Turkey: Opposition Against Intervention in Syria
» Turkey: Protests: 22 Reporters Fired, ‘Resignation’ For 37
» Turkey: Byzantine-Era Walls Reportedly Damaged in Istanbul
» Turkey: 715 Detained During Gezi Park Protests, Says Istanbul’s Public Prosecutor
» Turkish Red Crescent Head Retracts Statement, Says There is No Such Thing as ‘Halal’ And ‘Haram’ Blood
» Russia Orders Snap Drill of Missile Forces
South Asia
» Denmark: ‘Exit Afghanistan’
» Indonesia: Jakarta: For the First Time President Yudhoyono Criticizes Islamists
» Pakistan: Punjab: Catholic Couple Accused of Blasphemy
Latin America
» North Korean Ship, Cuba, Drugs, Missiles, Military Contraband
» Migrants: Agreement Between Canberra and Port Moresby. Church Anger: ‘Manus Island Another Lampedusa
» Syrian Migrants Land in Siracusa
Culture Wars
» Italy Divided Over Anti-Homophobia Proposals

28 States Saw Unemployment Rates Rise in June

The Department of Labor announced Thursday that unemployment rates increased in 28 states during the month of June.

Eleven states saw their unemployment rates fall, and the unemployment rates were unchanged in 11 states. Washington, D.C.’s unemployment rate did not change.

Red states that saw their unemployment rates rise include: Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Nebraska, Kentucky, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Greece: Troika Wants 18,000 Dismissals in Banks

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, JULY 22 — The administrations of major Greek banks are prompted by the heads of the Troika to proceed to a dramatic shrinkage of the staff serving in the Greek banking sector. As it was revealed today by the Greek newspaper Proto Thema, Poul Thomsen (Imf), Matthias Mors (EU) and Klaus Masuch (Ecb) have requested to launch, after the completion of the recapitalization, the required actions in order to achieve a reduction of the personnel in the Greek banks by 25%-30%. According to GreekReporter website, this means dismissals, either directly either through voluntary retirement schemes, which will reach the number of 18,000 employees out of the total of 60,000 people working in the Greek banking sector. The administrations of the Greek banks are requested to achieve this goal within the next two years.

Piraeus Bank has already announced a voluntary retirement scheme, in order to reduce its staff by 10%.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Greece: 2,000 Public High School Teachers Laid Off

60.6% of Greeks in favor of drastic public sector cuts

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS — A first wave of 2,000 technical public high school teachers, whose jobs parliament abolished last week, were laid off on Monday.

The cut is the first of a long series of workforce reductions international creditors have requested, and is part of a controversial government program to reduce public spending by laying off 15,000 public sector employees this year and another 40,000 by 2014.

School guards will be fired next, with city police to follow beginning on September 23. In spite of union protests, a Kapa Research survey found 60.6% of Greeks are in favor of drastically reducing the public administration sector. Currently employing 700,000 people out a total population of 11 million, it is seen by many as a useless, expensive bureaucratic dinosaur, a reservoir of votes accumulated during decades of nepotism and mismanagement by both the PASOK Socialist party and the center-right Nea Dimokratia party.

The troika (EU-ECB-IMF) on Monday asked Greek banks to cut 25-30% of their workforce, or 18,000 people out of the 60,000 currently employed in the banking sector, Proto Thema online newspaper reported. Paul Tomsen (IMF), Matthias Mors (EU) and Clauss Mazuch (ECB) called on bank directors to start laying people off once the lenders have been recapitalized.

The survey published in the Sunday edition of To Vima newspaper should be music to the ears of conservative Premier Antonis Samaras: 44.6% of respondents would vote him back into office, while 31.4% would prefer young radical left Syriza party leader Alexis Tsipras. Observers pointed to the survey as one of a series of positive signals coming Samaras’ way, both internally and from abroad. German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble, a long-time critic of Greece, recently admitted its government has taken “important steps”, even expressing his support of Samaras with an official visit to Athens. Samaras also scores points with the recent signing of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline agreement, with significant Chinese investments being made in the Athens port, and with his own imminent visit to the US.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy Faces ‘Debt Restructuring or Leaving Eurozone’

(AGI) Rome, July 23 — Italy faces a choice between debt restructuring and leaving eurozone, Five Star Movement founder Beppe Grillo said on Tuesday. Posting on his private blog, Grillo drew a parallel between the current situation and Italy’s exiting the European Monetary Union in 1978. “Now, as then, Italy has no other option but to attract investors by offering ever higher interest on its government bonds. Now, as then, the market will force a decision on us,” Grillo argues.

“At the time, [Italy] quit the EMU and devaluated [the lira].

The choice we now face is between restructuring debt and exiting the eurozone.” Common currency blocs “generally serve economic annexation purposes,” he said, arguing that thanks to the euro, Germany is protecting its foreign credit and its exports.

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

Italy Set for Net Loss of 250,000 Jobs This Year

750,000 new hires, but one million set to leave labour market

(ANSA) — Rome, July 23 — Recession-hit Italy is set to suffer a net loss of 250,000 jobs in the private sector this year, according to figures released Tuesday by the association of Italian chambers of commerce (Unioncamere) and the Labour Ministry.

According to the data, there will be 750,000 new hires in 2013 in the industry and service sectors, but almost one million people will leave the labour market because of redundancies, dismissals and retirements. The level of new recruitment was 112,000 lower than in 2012.

Italy’s unemployment level climbed to a new record high of 12.2% in May, national statistics agency Istat said, with 3.14 million people out of work.

Joblessness is particularly bad among young Italians, with around four in 10 under-25s out of work.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

The Tip of the Iceberg of the Coming Retirement Crisis That Will Shake America to the Core

The pension nightmare that is at the heart of the horrific financial crisis in Detroit is just the tip of the iceberg of the coming retirement crisis that will shake America to the core. Right now, more than 10,000 Baby Boomers are hitting the age of 65 every single day, and this will continue to happen every single day until the year 2030. As a society, we have made trillions of dollars of financial promises to these Baby Boomers, and there is no way that we are going to be able to keep those promises. The money simply is not there.

Yes, I suppose that we could eventually see a “super devaluation” of the U.S. dollar and keep our promises to the Baby Boomers using currency that is not worth much more than Monopoly money, but as it stands right now we simply do not have the resources to do what we said that we were going to do. The number of senior citizens in the United States is projected to more than double by the middle of the century, and it would have been nearly impossible to support them all even if we weren’t in the midst of a long-term economic decline. Tens of millions of Americans that are eagerly looking forward to retirement are going to be in for a very rude awakening in the years ahead. There is going to be a lot of heartache and a lot of broken promises.

What is going on in Detroit right now is a perfect example of what will soon be happening all over the nation. Many city workers stuck with their jobs for decades because of the promise of a nice pension at the end of the rainbow. But now those promises are going up in smoke. There has even been talk that retirees will only end up getting about 10 cents for every dollar that they were promised.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

As Invasive In-Store Tracking Technology Becomes More Common, Companies Attempt to Self-Regulate

A little-known industry built around tracking customers in and around physical stores has grown considerably over recent years and now the industry is supposedly going to regulate itself amidst privacy concerns.

Companies and the technologies they use are quite diverse, ranging from facial recognition cameras in mannequins to systems that track signals from Wi-Fi enabled smartphones.

The latter technology is used by a company called Euclid which bills itself as “Google Analytics for the physical world.”

If Wi-Fi is turned on, Euclid can collect information including the presence of the phone, the MAC address, the phone’s manufacturer, the signal strength, and the name of the Wi-Fi network it is connected to (if applicable), according to the company’s privacy statement.

While the company says they don’t capture personal information or real-world identity, they are able to produce some quite amazing information for their customers.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Black America’s Real Problem Isn’t White Racism

When Holder delivered his 2009 “nation-of-cowards” speech blaming racism for racial separation, Manhattan Institute’s Heather Mac Donald suggested that our attorney general study his crime statistics.

In New York, from January to June 2008, 83 percent of all gun assailants were black, according to witnesses and victims, though blacks were only 24 percent of the population. Blacks and Hispanics together accounted for 98 percent of all gun assailants. Forty-nine of every 50 muggings and murders in the Big Apple were the work of black or Hispanic criminals.

New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly confirms Mac Donald’s facts. Blacks and Hispanics commit 96 percent of all crimes in the city, he says, but only 85 percent of the stop-and-frisks are of blacks and Hispanics.

And these may involve the kind of pat-downs all of us have had at the airport.

Is stop-and-frisk the work of racist cops in New York, where the crime rate has been driven down to levels unseen in decades?

According to Kelly, a majority of his police force, which he has been able to cut from 41,000 officers to 35,000, is now made up of minorities.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Enough of the Tut-Tutting on Zimmerman

by Paul Green

One annoying thing that keeps popping up in the conservative commentary is the “now, to be sure Zimmerman is no angel” meme. I shall cite but two examples of this, though I’ve seen more. The first is by National Review commentator John O’Sullivan, who, in an article commenting on President Obama’s ostensibly impromptu July 19 homily on why blacks are so incensed over the verdict, cautioned, after excoriating the media for “journalistic sloppiness leading to a false picture of reality,” that “That is not to say that Zimmerman was guilty of nothing. His overzealous amateur sleuthing set in train a series of reactions that led to Martin’s death.”


Knocking Zimmerman for his supposed “overzealousness” ignores the fact that he was doing a job he had volunteered to do: supporting law enforcement by serving as a neighborhood watch captain.


Martin had completely subdued Zimmerman, but not satisfied with his thuggish triumph (“he aint breed nuff 4 me”), he jumped on his hapless victim and subjected his head to blunt-force trauma with deadly weapons: to wit, his fists and the hard concrete sidewalk. Zimmerman endured nearly a minute of this before he acted. His shot was not “punitive,” but preventive. He was quite reasonably convinced that his death was at hand.

He was being murdered — and he stopped it.

[Critics of Zimmerman ought to put themselves in the guy’s place. How much “ground and pound” by an MMA-style brawler would YOU want inflicted on your noggin before you tried to stop him? — PW]

           — Hat tip: Papa Whiskey [Return to headlines]

Family Saved by George Zimmerman Grateful, But Terrified of Threats

The family rescued by George Zimmerman last week after a rollover crash in Sanford, Fla., are terrified of any media attention they may attract and the hate mobs that could target them.

Mark and Dana Michelle Gerstle told friends and neighbors that though they’re thankful Mr. Zimmerman helped them, they do not want to talk publicly about him for fear they will be accused of portraying him as a hero, the Daily Mail first reported.

“They are very grateful to Zimmerman for what he did, but they do not want to get involved,” said a friend, who asked not to be named. “There is so much hatred directed towards him they have got to think about their own family. There are a lot of crazies out there. If they say anything in support of him it could backfire.”

Mr. Zimmerman was one of two men who came to the Gerstles’ aid and their two children, aged 4 and 8, trapped inside a blue Ford Explorer SUV that had rolled over after traveling off the highway in Sanford Thursday evening, less than a mile from where the shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin occurred.

Mr. Gerstle, a 52-year-old pharmacist, instantly recognized Mr. Zimmerman when he pulled him from the driver’s seat of his overturned vehicle, telling firefighters, “George Zimmerman pulled me out,” The Mail reported.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Former NSA Head: Snowden is Worse Than Every American Traitor in History (Video)

Says journalist is “co-conspirator” in constitution-trampling rant

Former head of the NSA and the CIA, General Michael Hayden, has said he believes that Edward Snowden is worse than any American “traitor” ever, including Benedict Arnold, for blowing the whistle on government spying.

In an op ed piece for CNN, Hayden, who many would agree has a deranged view of the Fourth Amendment, compares Snowden to a host of other Americans who notoriously released secrets, then he makes the argument that he is worse than every one of them because he released more information…

“The Guardian newspaper’s Glenn Greenwald, far more deserving of the Justice Department’s characterization of a co-conspirator than Fox’s James Rosen ever was…” Hayden writes.

Greenwald hit back at Hayden immediately with the following tweet:

I’ve long thought Michael Hayden belongs in prison for implementing illegal warrantless eavesdropping at Americans

— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) July 19, 2013

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

If You Love Freedom Then You Are a Mentally Ill Terrorist — Your Government Says So

Over the course of its 69-year history, the Soviet Union was notorious for its heavy-handed suppression of political dissent — most infamously through its use of the Siberian GULAGs. But it was during the 1960s and 1970s that the Communist Party took their intolerance for ideological deviance to extremes by diagnosing and institutionalizing so-called counterrevolutionaries with mental illness.

It was a frightening episode in Soviet history in which perfectly healthy citizens could be deemed psychotic simply on account of their political views.

And indeed, what better way to deal with activists and naysayers than to diagnose them as being mentally unstable. Dissenters, who were often seen as both a burden and a threat to the system, could be easily discredited and detained…

Be that as it may, let me discuss nation-state governments for a moment. Governments eventually end up being run for the benefit of the folks who hold the reins of power (back when the USA was a free republic that would have been “we the people” — but those days are long gone). These days most Western countries are run by the “elites” — a loose consortium of corporate, media, and political agents shilling for the government/banking/corporate cabal that is the power behind the curtain (the preceding list of various types of agents is hardly exhaustive).

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Lawsuit: Arizona College Suspended Student Because She Wanted English-Only Classes

A nursing student at Pima Community College (PCC) has filed a lawsuit claiming that she was illegally suspended after she complained that her classmates were speaking in Spanish and orally translating English to Spanish so excessively that she was failing to learn.

In early April, the student, Terri Bennett, formally requested a rule limiting classroom discussion to English. Nursing program director David Kutzler allegedly responded by called her a “bigot and a bitch,” reports Courthouse News Service.

Kutzler allegedly charged that Bennett was “discriminating against Mexican-Americans” and threatened to report her complaint as a violation of the school’s policies against discriminatory behavior and harassment.

“You do not want to go down that road,” he said, according to the filing.

Bennett, 50, recalls leaving the meeting in distress and in tears.

A second meeting two days later involved Bennett, Kutzler and three more PCC staffers. The public school officials allegedly told Bennett that she would “not get a job” because of her desire to limit class discussion to English. She claims they said she should “seek counseling” and that she might have a learning disability.

Kutzler also allegedly produced an anonymous evaluation form that Bennett had filled out, also suggesting a “no Spanish in the classroom” rule.

Later in April, Bennett received critical feedback from a teacher—for the first time, she maintains. The critique chastised Bennett for “ineffective communication skills.”

Then, on April 22, Bennett received a suspension letter from the state-owned school. The charges levied against her included discrimination, “stalking” and “bullying.” She also allegedly argued with a professor about the correct answer to a test question.

Her indefinite suspension was to last “until she receives counseling to improve her communication style and to learn to be less abrasive,” the lawsuit states..

“Six armed” campus security officers promptly escorted her off PCC’s Desert Vista campus. The officers then allegedly followed her several miles down the road to Interstate 10.

Bennett sued the community college and its boards of directors in an Arizona state court under several causes of action including harassment, breach of contract, retaliation, discrimination and violations of the Arizona Constitution. The college and its board of governors are the only defendants.

Article 28 of Arizona’s state constitution establishes English as “the official language of the state.” Section 3 states: “A person shall not be discriminated against or penalized in any way because the person uses or attempts to use English in public or private communication.”

           — Hat tip: McR [Return to headlines]

Obama Strikes Out

by Heather Mac Donald

The president wastes a precious opportunity to speak frankly about race

The only question about President Obama’s surprise Trayvon Martin expostulation on Friday is whether it was the worst speech he’s ever given or simply the worst race-related speech. Obama has now put the presidential imprimatur on the crudest kind of racial victimology, in the process diminishing his office and undermining his own record of occasionally speaking the truth about inner-city dysfunction.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Owner of Small Utah ISP Describes How the NSA Got Him to Install Surveillance Equipment

For the first time since Edward Snowden leaked information on the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs, the owner of an ISP has publicly discussed how the NSA got him to install equipment to directly spy on one of his customers.

Pete Ashdown, the CEO of XMission, detailed his experience when he received a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant in 2010 which forced him to allow the federal government to monitor a customer of his.

Of course, like all FISA orders, it also contained a broad gag order, which still prevents him from telling all the details.

According to what Ashdown wrote for Buzzfeed, the request he received in 2010 was especially difficult because he was completely unable to fight it.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Weiner Says He is Not Quitting Mayor’s Race After New Allegations Emerge

A new scandal involving raunchy online messages engulfed Anthony D. Weiner, imperiling an improbable political comeback that had catapulted him to the top of the New York City mayor’s race.

Mr. Weiner, who left Congress amid revelations that he had engaged in a pattern of reckless online conduct, acknowledged during a hastily arranged news conference that the behavior had continued even after his resignation.

Mr. Weiner stood side by side with his wife, Huma Abedin, as the two spoke in unusual detail of how the scandal has affected their very public marriage.

“I said that other texts and photos were likely to come out and today they have,” Weiner said. “I want to again say that I am very sorry to anyone who was on the receiving end of these messages and the disruption this has caused.”

Ms. Abedin, smiling nervously, took to the podium soon after her husband, and said, “I love him. I have forgiven him. And as we have said from the beginning, we are moving forward.”

[Return to headlines]

Canada’s Incoherent Foreign Policy Towards Cuba

In January 1997, then Canadian Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy paid the “highest level Canadian visit to Cuba since 1976.” During his post-trip interview with PBS Newshour, Axworthy stated that the purpose of his trip was “to follow through on an engagement to see if we could help assist in changes taking place in that country, to open up a dialogue on human rights issues … it was primarily to open up a dialogue to see if we can support and produce changes that would open the system up.” Of note, American President Clinton and Senator Helms expressed serious doubts about the utility of Axworthy’s trip.

Axworthy went on to state that the process leading up to his trip “started with an invitation from the Cubans to hold a series of discussions. And during those discussions over the past several months we put on the table that they would have to take into account human rights questions. They agreed to do that. We have now established some very concrete measures … I believe that there are some changes taking place … at least we’re making an effort, and I would say we believe that it’s a more effective way of doing it than isolating Cuba totally from the rest of the community.” The interviewer — Margaret Warner — was apparently not convinced by Axworthy, and replied: “Do you think there’s any chance that Canada is perhaps being naive here? I mean, you’re going to give Cuba a great deal in the way of additional investment and other kinds of assistance, I think some medical assistance. Are you convinced that this is in good faith on the Cubans’ part?”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

New Technology vs. Ancient Egyptian Mummies

ONTARIO, CANADA—Andrew Wade and Andrew Nelson of the University of Western Ontario have studied radiological scans of 84 Egyptian mummies from museums around the world. They found that mummification practices varied widely over different times and places. The researchers also compared what they found with the accounts left by the Greek historian Herodotus, who wrote about the embalming process in 440 B.C. “Herodotus got some things right and some things wrong, but we are lucky we have his accounts at all. The mummification craft was kept within families controlled by guilds that kept hold of secrets, so we should appreciate any insight from those times that we can find,” Wade said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Aldi Netherlands Says Occupied Territory Boycott Info Was ‘A Mistake’

The Dutch branch of international supermarket group Aldi has withdrawn comments made in support of a boycott of goods made in the Occupied Territories. Newspaper Trouw, which produced the initial news article, says an Aldi spokeswoman has since said ‘incorrect information’ was supplied. The withdrawal of the comments followed international commotion about the claims, Trouw stated. Trouw says it made inquiries into Aldi’s policy following a report published by research group Profundo in April in which an Aldi staffer said the supermarket ‘no longer wanted to sell products from Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories’ and had ‘informed its suppliers’. The supermarket group said on Friday this position remained unchanged but on Monday evening said a mistake had been made. The German company is said to have been shocked by the international reactions to the boycott, particularly in the Israeli papers. The issue is also particularly sensitive in Germany. The other two supermarkets which are avoiding products from the Israeli settlements — Jumbo and Hoogvliet — have not changed their positions, Trouw said.

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

Bronze Age Islanders in the English Channel Kept Sheep

SARK, GUERNSEY—Excavations of an ancient settlement on the island of Sark in the English Channel uncovered spindle whorls, which show that sheep have been raised there since the second millennium B.C. “People were living in the center and doing their spinning and their weaving and other industrial things around the limits of the site,” said Barry Cunliffe, an Emeritus Professor at Oxford University. Four and one-half beads of an amber necklace were also found this year. The string of the necklace may have broken. “He or she was able, I suppose, to get some of them back but lost some—and there they were for us to find,” added Cunliffe. The amber came from Denmark.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Cyprus: EU Censures Nicosia Over Landfills

(ANSAmed) NICOSIA, JULY 22 — The European Court of Justice has censured Cyprus for not decommissioning the islandâ€(tm)s uncontrolled landfills, or rendering them compliant with EU requirements on waste as Cyprus Mail reported. In an action brought in September 2012, European Commission vs Republic of Cyprus, the Commission declared that Cyprus had failed to fulfill its obligations. In the main arguments of the case, the Commission says that, according to the relevant directive, existing landfill sites already in operation at the time of its transposition may continue to operate only if the steps required by European legislation are accomplished by July 16, 2009.

Otherwise their operation must cease. It said two remain in operation in the districts of Nicosia and Limassol and they were not expected to be decommissioned before the middle of 2015 or the beginning of 2016. Therefore the infringement of Article 14 of the directive remains, and is not expected to cease at least for the next three years the Commission pointed out in its case. It said that although some improvement had been noted, that occurred only after a substantial delay since the necessary steps should have been completed by July 16, 2009. Furthermore, due to the fact that Cyprus is an island, it has no alternative but to deal with waste domestically, and thus the closing of the two uncontrolled landfills of waste is linked to the creation of new waste management units, which are not expected to be completed before the end of 2015 it added.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Dutch Court Forbids Terror Suspect Deportation to US on Torture Doubts

The appeal court in The Hague has called a halt to the deportation of terror suspect Sabir K to the US. The court said there is still too much uncertainty over the involvement of America in K’s torture following his arrest in Pakistan. ‘The court is of the opinion the Dutch state has not done enough to make sure the US was not involved with the torture of Sabir K in Pakistan,’ the judgment said. Conspiracy K is wanted in the US in connection with a conspiracy to attack US military personnel in Afghanistan. The 26-year-old was arrested in Pakistan in 2010 and sent back to the Netherlands eight months later, where he was arrested on his arrival. He claims to have been tortured while being held in Pakistan and says the US authorities knew about this. The Hague court in May delayed the extradition by calling for more information about his original arrest. The Netherlands and the US have signed an extradition treaty but the US and Pakistan have not. In addition, the US asked the Netherlands to extradite K well before he was deported home, news agency ANP said at the time. Green light After a lengthy legal battle, justice minister Ivo Opstelten said in February the extradition could go ahead if America guaranteed K would receive proper treatment. Medical experts say the 26-year-old is suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome and depression. K’s lawyer André Seebregts welcomed the court decision, saying this is the first time extradition to the US has been refused. ‘It is quite correct that these issues are looked at with a critical eye,’ he said. Opstelten can appeal against the decision. His spokesman told news agency ANP the minister is studying the verdict and will decide later whether or not to appeal. K was released from jail pending the court ruling but is required to report to the police on a daily basis.

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

Dutch Pedophile Exposer to Stand Trial, High-Ranking Pedophile Still Walking Free

[WARNING: * Disturbing Content *]

December 10* marks the trial of investigative journalist, activist and foremost Dutch Bilderberg Group hunter Micha Kat. The 49-year-old faces the Court in the Hague for alleged insults to the Dutch royal family, alleged discrimination of a lawyer whose fraudulent and corrupt activities he exposed, two alleged false bomb threats, alleged death threats against a journalist of Dutch mainstream newspaper Telegraaf, overall “instigation”, and for writing “danger: pedophile” in Dutch language on the house of known Dutch pedophile Joris Demmink who has been the most powerful man of the Netherlands for the last decade.

When arriving at Schiphol airport from Laos where he then lived, Kat was arrested in April this year over the above allegations. He was imprisoned until the beginning of September and his case was suspended till December 10.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Fiat Hints Limiting Production in Italy After Loss to Union

‘Industrial strategies under review’ says carmaker

(ANSA) — Rome, July 23 — Italian automaker Fiat said Tuesday a court battle it lost with the left-wing FIOM trade union could have an impact “on its industrial strategies in Italy”. What was seen as a threat to downsize production or move it out of Italy came after the Constitutional Court ruled earlier this month in favor of FIOM, the metalworkers’ arm of Italy’s biggest trade-union Confederation, the CGIL, in its petition against being excluded from Fiat’s company union representation body (RSA) for not having signed labour agreements.

Fiat failed to convince the court it could do this on the basis of article 19 of the 1970 workers statute.

FIOM has been engaged in a series of bitter fights with Fiat in recent years.

The union successfully petitioned last year for Fiat to hire 19 of its members at its Pomigliano d’Arco factory near Naples.

The carmaker did not take on any of its former FIOM workers when it set up a special subsidiary to run the Pomigliano plant in 2010 after a dispute with the union over the flexible labour practices it wanted to implement there.

In February Fiat told 18 of the workers to stay at home, saying they would still receive their salaries — the other member of the 19 was on leave of absence anyway for political activities.

This prompted FIOM to report the issue to prosecutors, who have opened the probe in the case for alleged discrimination.

“This initiative is the umpteenth expression of an unprecedented judiciary offensive directed by FIOM against Fiat, for more than two years, by filing, in connection with the sole issue of the enjoyment of the ‘union rights’, 62 lawsuits,” the carmaker said in a statement at the time.

In January Fiat announced that the special subsidiary set up to run Pomigliano, where Fiat builds the newest version of its Panda sub-compact, would be wound down and that control of the factory would return to the mother company.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Naples Mayor Probed for America’s Cup Events Contracts

Investigations widen to include regional governor

(ANSA) — Naples, July 22 — Investigations into suspected contract rigging for the America’s Cup events that took place in Naples in 2012 and 2013 have been widened to include Naples Mayor Claudio de Magistris, Campania Regional Governor Stefano Caldoro and ex-provincial president Luigi Cesaro.

Probes were opened in June that included the brother of the city’s mayor along with the mayor’s chief of staff Attilio Auricchio, the Chamber of Commerce President Maurizio Maddaloni, president of Naples Industrial Union Paolo Graziano and the Naples America’s Cup manager Mario Hubler following complaints filed by center-right mayoral candidate Gianni Lettieri and others, Naples investigators said.

Naples hosted stages of the America’s Cup World Series in April 2012 and 2013.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Racist Leaflets Attacking Kyenge in Cortona

Member of far-right signs leaflets against cabinet minister

(ANSA) — Cortona, July 22 ; Another attack was reported Monday against Italy’s first black cabinet minister, in the form of racist leaflets spread around the Tuscan town of Cortona.

The leaflets attacking Integration Minister Cecile Kyenge were signed by Mauro Turenci, former member of the MSI, a right-wing political movement.

Cortona’s mayor Andrea Vignini quickly dissociated the community from the leaflets, saying such writings have no place in the popular tourist town.

Turenci’s flyer said Kyenge should leave on a basket of bananas.

Kyenge has been the victim of numerous racial slurs and attacks since her cabinet appointment in April.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Property Tax on First Homes ‘Must be Abolished’

(AGI) Rome, July 23 — The People of Freedom Party “is not alone in pledging to scrap property tax on first homes,” the party’s Maurizio Gasparri said on Tuesday. In the wake of proposals to offset the scrapping of property tax via higher registry fees and taxes, the centre-right party’s deputy Senate speaker acknowledged the tax’s impact on state revenues, but underscored centre-left Prime Minister Enrico Letta’s “repeated pledge” to reform the controversial tax reinstated by the Mario Monti government. With Gasparri’s party proposing that four in every five households be spared the tax, the deputy speaker said “the government needs to tread carefully and avoid engaging in tricks or lies.” .

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

Italy: Priest in Palermo Arrested for Paying for Sex With Minors

Former religion teacher sought boys in poor neighborhoods

(ANSA) — Palermo, July 23 — Police arrested a priest in Palermo on Tuesday for allegedly paying for sex with underage prostitutes.

Father Aldo Nuvola, formerly from the Regina Pacis church in Palermo and an ex-religion instructor at one of the city’s high schools, allegedly sought young prostitutes in impoverished Palermo neighborhoods. Last year Nuvola was charged with first-degree molestation after repeatedly approaching a 17-year-old and for “obscene acts” after being caught in the middle of “intimate acts” in a car with another man.

Police said that Nuvola planned meetings with boys to have sex in his car or home daily, and was also tracked regularly approaching boys on the street.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Netherlands: A 19-Year-Old Dutch Woman Has Been Arrested on Suspicion of Recruiting Jihadists to Fight With Muslim Rebels in Syria, The Public Prosecution Department Has Confirmed.

The woman has been remanded in custody for two weeks as the investigation into her continues. She was picked up in Zoetermeer, near The Hague, after several people made complaints, the department statement said.

Earlier this year, the Dutch security service AIVD said around 100 Dutch young men may have travelled to fight abroad. Several are thought to have died.

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

Netherlands: Elite Pedophile Scandal Explodes (Video)

[WARNING: * Disturbing Content *]

Paul Joseph Watson talks to We Are Change’s Luke Rudkowski about how the elite pedophile scandal in Holland is being blown wide open. Rudkowski conducted a shocking interview with one of the victims of the scandal, who says he was sexually abused by politicians and other prominent elitists.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Qatar Rushing to Invest in Europe, Greece and Italy Targets

Risanamento denies bid on its assets from Qatar Holding, Hines

(ANSAmed) — DOHA- Qatar is continuing to invest in Europe and is aiming in particular at Italy and Greece.

Qatar Petroleum International (QPI) wrapped up its first investment in Greece, signing an accord with the GEK TERNA group to buy 25% of Greek electrical plant Heron II. According to Doha daily Gulf Times, Qatar’s Energy and Industry Minister Mohamed bin Saleh Al-Sada took part in the agreement’s signing ceremony yesterday in Doha.

‘This is an objective not just for our group but for all of Greece because it is the first time that a government company of Qatar and a worldwide protagonist invests directly in Greece’s energy assets’, said George Peristeris, CEO of GEK TERNA. ‘I hope this is the first phase in the construction of a sustainable and productive partnership’, added Peristeris.

Another Qatari company, Qatar Holding, allegedly contacted shareholders in Italy’s Risanamento to buy part of its real estate assets. In particular, Qatar’s real estate giant is allegedly interested in Risanamento’s properties in France.

Though the total value of such assets is not known yet, the offer for the French properties should top 1.3 billion euros — the estimate given of real estate in France according to the public buying offer presented by Risanamento founder Luigi Zunino, today a minority shareholder after the entrance of banks Intesa Sanpaolo and UniCredit.

But Italian developer Risanamento on Monday denied press reports of a bid on its Paris assets and its Santa Giulia redevelopment area from Qatar’s sovereign fund and real estate company Hines, the company made known in a statement to the Italian Securities and Exchange Commission (Consob).

“Risanamento has not so far discussed the sale of its French assets. However, as the company has in the recent past been the recipient of certain requests for negotiation on said assets from foreign investors, a structured process for their evaluation has been undertaken”. The statement came after Risanamento shares rose almost 8% on weekend news reports of a possible offer from Qatar and Hines as an alternative to a bid by Risanamento founder Luigi Zunino, who still holds a significant stake in the company. Lenders Intesa Sanpaolo and UniCredit are the company’s biggest shareholders. Zunino reportedly proposed they take over the company. The banks are considering his offer.

The Italian real estate market remains a difficult business, especially for foreign investors. According to Riccardo Dallolio, head of European transactions for Axa real estate, one of the main problems for Italian real estate is lack of transparency.

‘An effort by operators to provide more detailed and clear information would benefit the entire Italian market’, he said.

‘Another important point is the complexity of carrying out operations in Italy compared to other markets. There is a study by the World Bank according to which Italy ranks 73rd on how easy it is to do business and the same report puts it in 160th position out of 185 countries as far as the possibility of enforcing contracts is concerned’, Dallolio told the Casa24 insert of Italian financial daily Il Sole 24 Ore.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

The Devil Wears Merkel

The last time there was a default in Italy was 3 September 1992 when the President of the Council, Amato went on TV and announced the devaluation of the lira. Devaluing the currency that you control and that is used to give a value to your public debt is equivalent to restructuring the debt in relation to foreign creditors. Italy’s devaluation was triggered by the fact that it couldn’t pay the interest on the public debt at the exchange rates fixed by the European Monetary System (EMS). Twenty one years later, Italy still has its hands tied, then it was the EMS, now it’s the Euro. Italy has to pay interest on the public debt amounting to 2,047 billion, and that amount is increasing. Just in the month of May, the debt increased by 32 billion and we’ll have to pay about 1.5 billion euro extra in interest for the year.

What’s happened in the past is useful to understand what’s going to happen in our country in the future. In the ten year period from 1982 to 1992, the debt/GDP ratio nearly doubled: it went up from 60% to 110%, and this happened because in 1981 the Treasury gained full autonomy (in what is referred to as a “divorce”) from the Bank of Italy. Since that moment, the State has not been able to count on an internal lender to borrow from and it has had to offer ever increasing interest rates to finance the debt. If in 1982 Italy paid real interest rates close to zero on its debt, in the ten year period that followed, that reached an average of 5.5% with spikes of 8%. It is thus the explosion of the interest on the accumulated debt that has taken the debt to unsustainable levels. An immense Ponzi-scheme where, in the absence of growth, the interest is paid by issuing new debt. As Alberto Bagnai says in his book “Tramonto dell’Euro” Sunset of the Euro, basically, the result is a net transfer of national income from the provision of primary services to the tax payers (health, education, security) to those to whom the debt is owing, mainly Italian and foreign banks. But why is there this absurd divide? Because that’s what Europe is asking us to do , the Europe of the EMS that we joined in 1978 tying our hands and feet to a rigid and penalising exchange rate that obliged us to give up the possibility of using devaluation as a tool.


It would have been enough to insist on the equalization of the balance of trade rather than having a requirement to balance the budget, to have a completely different story that would have clipped the wings of Northern Europe’s mercantilism. Because Italian politics is bowing down to the will of Germany, what has become the priority is the protection of the debt (public or private) held abroad, and most of this debt is generated by the perverse mechanism of the Euro and the EMS. Italian politics has sold its soul to the Teutonic devil in exchange for its own survival but at the expense of the population that is suffering under the conditions of austerity and deflation that have been imposed on it.

If Italy doesn’t react, then the market will do so using its universal language: there’ll soon be a rise in the interest rates required to such a point that our debt will not be sustainable.

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

Thracian Temple Unearthed in Central Bulgaria

SREDNA GORA, BULGARIA—Archaeologists have discovered a Thracian temple and a sanctuary dedicated to Zeus and Hera in the central region of Bulgaria. The sanctuary of Zeus and Hera dates to the eighth to sixth centuries B.C., and was probably destroyed in the fifth century by Christians who built a church on the site. Pottery fragments and coins have also been recovered.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UK: In the Land of Serial Child Abuse by the Elites, Cameron Screws the Internet to Save Kids From Pornography

[WARNING: * Disturbing Content *]

Successive British governments, including the current one, given that it shares a number of key member from previous administrations, showered favors and rewards on the recently exposed serial pedophile Jimmy Savile.

Now we have David Cameron informing us that child pornography is so rampant on the Internet it needs to be censored, which means of course nothing less than a stop gap to prevent anything which happens to bother or concern the ruling authorities from reaching the light of day.

The Jimmy Savile affair involved many high-level establishment figures. We have only seen the tip of the iceberg so far and it is a fair guess that’s about as much as we shall ever discover. The fact that Savile was using primetime BBC children’s programs to pimp was the worst kept secret in modern times.

Like the Cliveden scandal of the 60’s, which similarly involved the elites, including members of the royal family, romping with prostitutes at Lord Astor’s country estate, the Savile business could only have happened with the knowledge and concurrence of the Secret Services.

Are we saying they never knew that judges, MPs, Lords, royalty and so forth were up to indescribable and horrific practices in the Savile fold? Where were they? Asleep in their ivory towers? Of course not.

Savile was closely allied with the spooks who allowed him to get away with his filthy and disgusting activities for the best part of two decades.

Everyone on the ITV independent network, which employed me, knew that there was something very wrong with Savile. His attacks on women on BBC premises were common knowledge. Not a hair of his head was harmed.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Egypt: Muslim Brotherhood Leader Calls for U.S. Embassy Siege to Protest Morsi Ouster

He thinks the U.S. wanted Morsi out. Has he ever heard of a great friend of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, a man who has favored them in innumerable ways, a chap by the name of Barack Obama?

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Egypt: Modern Library Opens at Ancient Monastery

WADI EL NATRUN, EGYPT—A new library building has opened at the Coptic monastery of Deir al-Surian. Established in the sixth century, the current structure dates to the tenth century. Its 1,000 bound manuscripts and 1,500 manuscript fragments in Coptic, Syriac, Ethiopic, and Arabic had been stored in a ninth-century tower. The new building includes a reading room, a display area, conservation facilities, and basement storage, all with modern security and environmental controls. Some of the earliest texts in the collection date to the fifth century.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Egypt: Cairo is on Fire While Blood is Shed Everyday

(Editor’s note: Egyptian journalist Ali Al-Sharnoby who worked as a deputy editor for English-speaking newspapers in Egypt, sends this report from the ground to Canada Free Press . Al- Sharnoby studied at University of Cairo, faculty of law and is the author of a number of books about the political trends in Islam).

Cairo, Egypt — The Ministry of Health in Egypt announced that 9 people were killed and 86 others were injured in clashes between supporters of former President Mohamed Morsi, and other civilians in the areas of Cairo, Giza and Qalyubia, on Monday evening and continued through Tuesday morning.

The Ministry said that 6 people were killed and 33 others injured in the events that occurred in the vicinity of a sit-in at Alnahda square in Giza, where a number of the Muslim Brotherhood supporters exist, while one person was killed and others injured in the clashes that took place in the vicinity of Tahrir Square and around the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, killing two and injuring 44 others in incidents at Qaliubiya, near Cairo.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Libya: Large Explosion Reported in Tripoli’s Embassy District

(AGI) Tripoli, July 23 — Eye witnesses have reported a large explosion in Tripoli’s embassy district, more specifically located in a residential complex close to the so-called Tripoli Towers, a building that hosts a number of foreign embassies including those of Great Britain and Canada.

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

Iraq Arm of Al Qaeda Says it Was Responsible for Prison Raids Near Baghdad

Al Qaeda’s branch in Iraq claimed responsibility Tuesday for brazen raids on two high-security prisons on the outskirts of Baghdad this week that killed dozens and set free hundreds of suspected militants, including some of its followers. The raids, which killed at least 25 members of the Iraqi security forces, appear to be more evidence the terrorist group is regaining strength and becoming a primary threat to destabilize an already fragile government

It said months of planning went into the highly coordinated assaults on the prisons in Abu Ghraib and Taji that began late Sunday.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Iraq: Kurdistan: ‘Islamic’ Ambulance Driver Refuses to Take the Body of a Christian Woman to Church

The woman’s body had to be transported from a hospital in Erbil to an Assyrian Church in Ankawa. In the country, violence is up as Sunnis and Shias clash. Some 500 prisoners, many of them members of Al Qaeda already sentenced to death, escape.

Erbil (AsiaNews/Agencies) — A Kurdish ambulance driver refused to transport the body of an Assyrian woman from the hospital to the church, saying it was forbidden in Islam. The incident occurred in Iraqi Kurdistan, a symptom of the country’s growing ethnic-religious polarisation.

The body of the Assyrian woman, who died last Sunday at Zarkari hospital in Erbil, had to be brought to the town of Ankawa, but the Muslim ambulance driver refused to drive to the church because it is “haram” (forbidden) in Islam.

Marivan Naqshbandi, media director at the Ministry of Religious Affairs of the Kurdish Regional Government in north of Iraq, asked the Health Ministry to open an investigation into the case.

“The Committee for promoting religious coexistence, which was formed recently in the region, should follow up on this case to insure that civil servants carry out their duties professionally and impartially and not on the basis of personal religious beliefs,” he said.

Insecurity and violence are rising in the country, especially after US and international troops left in 2011.

Between April and June of this year, at least 2,500 people were killed in violent attacks, many blamed on the conflict between Sunnis and Shiites.

On Sunday, armed groups attacked two prisons in Baghdad, Abu Ghraib and Taji, freeing about 500 prisoners, many of whom al Qaeda members, already sentenced to death.

The situation returned to normal after several hours of fighting in which at least 20 police officers were killed. At first, Iraqi authorities denied that prisoners had escaped; then admitted that “some” had.

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

‘Retaliation Campaign’: Erdogan Punishes Protesters in Turkey

Following mass anti-government protests in Turkey, Ankara is now taking revenge on its critics. Activists and demonstrators are being investigated and intimidated, while journalists are getting fired and insubordinate civil servants transferred far afield.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Total Failure of Foreign Intelligence as Spy Agencies Miss Massive Al Qaeda Prison Break

They’ve spent hundreds of billions of dollars to monitor the activities of every single American by turning their listening networks on purported domestic terrorists operating in the United States.

They know your underwear size. They know where you drove your car today. They know what you put up on Facebook, texted to your wife and emailed to your friends. And they’ve done it all in the supposed interest of “national security.”

If, however, you were an Al Qaeda terrorist coordinating a large-scale prison break to free senior members of your mid-east terror organization, you would have been able to operate with impunity.

As you read the following report from Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq keep in mind that the National Security Agency operates under authorization from Executive Order 12333.The agency was originally tasked not with “acquiring information concerning the domestic activities of United States persons,” but with analyzing information and data of foreign intelligence and counterintelligence value.

“Hundreds of convicts, including senior members of al Qaeda, broke out of Iraq’s Abu Ghraib jail as comrades launched a military-style assault to free them, authorities said on Monday…

“The number of escaped inmates has reached 500, most of them were convicted senior members of al Qaeda and had received death sentences,” Hakim Al-Zamili, a senior member of the security and defense committee in parliament, told Reuters.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Turkey: Opposition Against Intervention in Syria

CHP wants Foreign Minister Davutoglu removed from office

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, JULY 23 — The main Turkish opposition party, the Republican People’s Party (CHP), has accused Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government of preparing for possible military intervention in Syria and has asked that the country’s foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, be removed from office. CHP Deputy Chairman Faruk Logoglu, reports the Hurriyet website, said that the latest developments in northern Syria — where the armed wing of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) defeated Al Qaeda-linked Jabhat Al-Nusra jihadists in Ras Al-Ayn, and where the Kurds may set up an autonomous region — are a result of the mistakes made in Syrian policies by Erdogan and Davutoglu. “These developments [in the northern part of Syria], which we think are progressing to some extent under the control of Turkey, give the impression that comes to establish grounds for intervention in Syria,” Logoglu said. Ankara has warned Syrian Kurds not to declare any sort of autonomous region in northern Syria, saying that serious repercussions would result and that Turkey would not allow such a thing to happen, Davutoglu said last week. The Turkish army has since sent reinforcements to the border. Logoglu said that the government should change its foreign minister, or at least adopt a new Syrian policy under the current one.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Turkey: Protests: 22 Reporters Fired, ‘Resignation’ For 37

Union, they had covered Gezi Park protests

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, JULY 23 — At least 22 Turkish reporters have been fired over their coverage of anti-government protests in the past few weeks and another 37 have been forced to resign, according to the union representing Turkey’s journalists, Tgs.

‘These layoffs and resignations are mostly connected with censorship policies followed by many media outlets over the Gezi Park protest,’ the president of Tgs in Istanbul, Gokhan Dumus, was quoted as saying by Cumhuriyet. ‘Our colleagues worked hard to guarantee the public’s right to be informed and they paid a high price for it when they lost their jobs. Some were censored, others saw their TV shows closed’.

Dumus added that ‘some journalists were fired for some Tweets including one who tweeted ‘hi’ to a demonstrator in Gezi’.

Anti-government demonstrations were ignored by the main Turkish television networks under government pressure, mostly in the initial phase of protests, according to demonstrators. The main news channel broadcast a documentary on penguins during the first violent clashes in Gezi Park. Ever since then, penguins have become the symbol of the revolt of Turkish youth.

According to the international Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), the government of Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan ‘is engaged in a major offensive to silence critical journalists through detention, legal procedures and official intimidations’ in ‘one of the most sweeping campaigns against freedom of the press in recent history’. Turkey, said CPJ, has the highest number of jailed reporters in the world.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Turkey: Byzantine-Era Walls Reportedly Damaged in Istanbul

ISTANBUL, TURKEY—The Byzantine-era walls in the historic Yedikule Gardens have been damaged by earthmovers constructing a new park, according to a warning issued by the Istanbul branch of the Association of Archaeologists. “The area lies in a protected strip of land walls that are on UNESCO’s World Heritage List and is also a part of the historical peninsula, which is protected,” reads the report. Vegetable plots had been growing in the area, which is slated for a decorative pool.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Turkey: 715 Detained During Gezi Park Protests, Says Istanbul’s Public Prosecutor

A total of 715 people have been detained over the course of the Gezi Park protests, Istanbul’s public prosecutor said July 23, as Interior Minister Muammer Güler issued a warning to all security personnel with regard to the use of tear gas and violence against protesters.

The prosecutor’s statement came in the afternoon hours as a response to “the reports and comments on the media outlets that are damaging, and that have impacts on fair trials,” according to the statement, which added that the overall number of detentions added up to 715.

Of those detained, 179 were sent to court with arrest demands and 41 have been arrested, the prosecutor’s office added. Of the 41 arrested 10 were then released. Overall, 57 people have been released on probation.

According to the statement, 110 investigations have been launched into insulting publications, with the majority of offenses committed against high-level state officials.

The prosecutor’s statement accused media outlets of exaggerating the process, “claiming that detainments and arrests were against the law” and falsely accusing authorities, including the prosecutors, of protecting police officers.

Meanwhile, Turkey’s Interior Minister Muammer Güler issued a warning to all police officers with regards to the Gezi protest interventions, calling on all personnel to be careful about the use of tear gas, and about individuals launching attacks on protesters.

The warning called on all personnel to not shoot tear gas canisters at groups closer than 40 meters away, and not to use devices that went against the guidelines on protesters. Güler also said that officers should not directly aim at groups or individuals when firing tear gas canisters, and ensure that a form of recording was present during intervention to provide footage later on.

Officers were also told to wear their uniform vests, and stay within the set guidelines when intervening against groups.

Police forces should also prevent outsiders from attacking protesters, using knives, machetes or bats, the statement further said.

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

Turkish Red Crescent Head Retracts Statement, Says There is No Such Thing as ‘Halal’ And ‘Haram’ Blood

Ahmet Lütfi Akar had announced that the Turkish Red Crescent would engage in a factory-supported production of drugs made with blood, in order to end importation from countries like Britain. Hürriyet photo

There is no such thing as halal blood, the head of the Turkish Red Crescent has said, after coming under fire over reports that his organization was planning to make drugs with Turkish blood in order to eliminate the risk of non-Islamic dietary impacts.

“At the [Turkish] Red Crescent there is no concept such as ‘halal’ and ‘haram’ blood. This has never been uttered. A distinction between ‘halal’ and ‘haram’ is out of the question,” Ahmet Lütfi Akar told Anadolu Agency on July 22.

He said the main purpose of establishing a factory producing drugs based on blood, which are used in cases such as liver failure or injuries involving heavy blood loss, was to eliminate Turkey’s dependency and end the costly importing of these medicines. “I don’t what I have said, but there is no concept such as ‘halal’ and ‘haram’ blood, neither in the world nor here [in Turkey]. It’s a marketing expression that was used about products manufactured with blood. It’s like halal food. It was not about blood, it was about products containing blood,” Akar said.

He had previously announced that the Red Crescent, Turkey’s number one blood donor, would engage in a factory-supported production of drugs made with blood, in order to end importation from countries like Britain. Eventually, the blood could be exported to other Islamic countries, he had added.

“For instance, if we are buying medicine from Britain, it is made out of the blood and plasma of the blood of the people of that country. We have different dietary habits from those countries. Being a Muslim nation, we do not eat pork. We don’t eat some of problematic foods, but these exist in the medicine that we import,” Akar had told daily Hürriyet.

However, he has since said that he has been dismayed by the criticism that his statements led to. “We are rushing blood to millions of people. One vulnerability, or a few people giving up donating blood, can result in the loss of life of people waiting for blood on the operating tables. I am worried that this situation could affect blood donations,” he told Anadolu Agency.

In the interview, Akar also stressed that the Red Crescent did rigorous tests before using donated bloods in patients, adding that they also kept a detailed database on which everyone could check whether their blood had been accepted or not.


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

Russia Orders Snap Drill of Missile Forces

New maneuvers follow largest military exercise since cold war

Just days after it concluded the biggest military exercise since the cold war, Russia has ordered its missile forces to conduct a snap drill in order to ascertain the readiness of putting intercontinental ballistic missiles on “high-alert” within a short time frame.

“The headquarters and two missile divisions of the Orenburg Missile Army in Russia’s Urals region have been put on high-alert as part of snap combat readiness drills,” reports RIA Novosti.

The drills, which will run until Saturday, involve the redeployment of missile units which include those armed with nuclear-capable Topol (SS-25 Sickle) intercontinental ballistic missiles and RS-20V Voyevoda (SS-18 Satan) ballistic missile systems…

Russia has dramatically stepped up its military spending, with arms industry expenditure expected to soar nearly 60% over the next two years while the US military budget is cut by 15 per cent.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Denmark: ‘Exit Afghanistan’

Berlingske Tidende, 23 July 2013

The Danish contingent of peacekeeping forces in Afghanistan began their withdrawal from the country on July 22. As of August 1, only 300 of the 650 troops will continue to be stationed in Helmand Province. They will help ensure the departure of all western troops scheduled by the end of 2014.

Since 2002, writes Danish daily Berlingske, 43 soldiers have died and 211 were wounded in Afghanistan.

Yet, admits the paper, it is difficult to avoid the question of whether the effort was worth the price. But this is impossible to answer —

These 43 Danes did not die in vain… We cannot ignore the war or terrorism and offer only humanitarian aid once peace is established. […] We have shown in practice that we dare to and can be there with the best to battle injustice. Danish soldiers deserve thanks for that.

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

Indonesia: Jakarta: For the First Time President Yudhoyono Criticizes Islamists

After the incidents of Patehan, where the with population forced out extremists of the Islamic Defender Front, the leader intervenes in Jakarta: “Islam does not allow political or religious violence.” But civil society retorts: “Too little too late, this is an instrumental move to help his political career.”

Jakarta (AsiaNews) — For the first time in nine years in power, the Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has openly criticized the Islamic Defender Front (FPI), an extremist group that seeks to achieve the introduction of sharia (Islamic law) throughout the country. The Muslim faith, he said at a dinner with the orphans of the capital, “does not allow its followers to carry out attacks and violence against other people or against their property.

Indonesian civil society has always accused the president of being “unable” to stop the violence against religious minorities perpetrated by the FPI. Yudhoyono’s words followed the latest case which involved the group: “Islam is not a religion based on violence, it does not allow its members to be violent and does not allow its followers to take the law into their own hands. “

In recent days, a group of FPI militants was forced to seek refuge in a mosque in Patehan after the people — angry for their constant provocations and for a car accident caused by fundamentalists in which a woman died — mobilized to drive them out by force. Only the intervention of the police prevented a lynching.

The president’s declaration has not convinced social media. Internet users have called Yudhoyono’s words “instrumental to his political career, an attempt to manipulate events to his own benefit and advantage” and pointed to the politician that a similar intervention “should have been pronounced years ago.”

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

Pakistan: Punjab: Catholic Couple Accused of Blasphemy

Shafqat and Shagufta Masih live in Gojra, a town in Punjab where eight Christians were burnt alive in 2009. Instead of investigating the affair, police forced the two to accept the charges. A local priest warns that “false allegations like this lead to years in prison for the innocent. Concrete steps must be taken once and for all to stop the misuse of the blasphemy law.”

Gojra (AsiaNews) — The authorities in the town of Gojra (Punjab province) charged a local Catholic couple of blasphemy after a local Muslim man complained that the two sent him blasphemous text messages, insulting the Prophet Muhammad. Under Pakistani law, the two could be sentenced to death if found guilty.

Rana Muhammad Ijaz filed a complaint against Shafqat Masih, a disabled person who works as a caretaker at a local school, and his wife Shagufta, a waitress.

Police officers went to the couple’s home and brought them to a police station. Both of the accused deny any wrongdoing. Shafqat complained that police put enormous pressure on them to accept the accusations against them.

Gojra is infamous for the atrocities committed in the name of the blasphemy law. On 31 August 2009, an angry mob attacked the town’s Christian colony and set fire to Christian homes. Eight Christians were burnt alive whilst 40 houses and a church were destroyed in the fire.

For years, the Catholic and Protestant Churches in Pakistan have been calling for the repeal of the sectarian law, which has increasingly been used as tool of personal revenge.

According to data collected by the Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace of Pakistan, from 1986 to August 2009, at least 964 people have been charged under the law: 479 Muslims, 119 Christians, 340 Ahmadis, 14 Hindus and 10 of unknown religion. At least 33 extra-judicial killings were carried out by individuals or mobs.

“This is not the first time that things like this happen,” a local priest, Fr John Samuel, told AsiaNews.

“We are close to the fourth anniversary of Gojra massacre,” he said. “Minorities in Pakistan have been victimised in many ways. False allegations like this one lead to years in prison for the innocent. Concrete steps must be taken once and for all to stop the misuse of the blasphemy law. We strongly condemn what happened, and ask for an independent inquiry into the matter.”

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

North Korean Ship, Cuba, Drugs, Missiles, Military Contraband

John Kerry and Chuck Hagel — Are you Watching?

A North Korean ship trying to sneak missiles through the Panama Canal after leaving Havana was seized by Panamanian authorities this week. Somebody tipped off the Panamanians that the vessel was carrying illegal drugs.

Instead, while searching under sacks of Cuban sugar the Panamanians found the ship crammed with missiles and mucho military contraband. (Nuke-rattling North Korea has been under a UN arms embargo since 2006.)

Upon getting caught red-handed the ship’s North Korean captain and crew went berserk. The hysterical captain was crippled by a heart-attack then tried committing suicide by slitting his throat. The crew ran amok sabotaging the ships unloading cranes and battling with the Panamanian police in the best Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and Seven Samurai manner.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Migrants: Agreement Between Canberra and Port Moresby. Church Anger: ‘Manus Island Another Lampedusa

The island of Manus will become a temporary shelter for all asylum seekers in Australia, who will them be spread out among the islands. The Church condemns the agreement reached between Australia and Papua New Guinea. Fr. McDonough, of the Congregation of the Passionists, appeals to the Episcopal Conferences of their respective countries: “Call both governments to that sense of justice on which our societies and our nations are founded.”

Port Moresby (AsiaNews) — An agreement signed between Australia and Papua New Guinea for the absorption of refugees, has sparked the anger and dismay of Fr. Phillip Gibbs a long time missionary in Papuan land, who has recalled the ‘globalization of indifference’ condemned by Pope Francis on his recent trip to Lampedusa. “ Our Holy Father Pope Francis recently thanked the people of Lampedusa for taking in refugees and setting an example of solidarity to a selfish society sliding into “the globalization of indifference — he writes in his capacity as Secretary of the Commission for Social Issues at the Bishops’ Conference — call the Church and the people to insist for a humane solution. “

Friday, July 19, Kevin Rudd and Peter O’Neill — Prime Ministers of Australia and Papua New Guinea — agreed that all refugees who land on Australian shores will be shipped to the Papuan island of Manus. The asylum-seeker processing centre on the island of Manus, after having studied all the individual asylum applications, will then distribute suitable cases between Papua and other Pacific islands. The measure, which Canberra has justified as a “preventive measure against clandestine smuggling and continuous ship wrecks from attempted landings in Australia,” has also garnered criticism High Commission for Refugees at the United Nations, which warns of a social destabilization of the same island of Manus.

Fr. John Glynn, of the Papuan Episcopal Conference, was one of the first Irish missionaries to help street children in Port Moresby and is well aware of the social and economic problems that plague the island. He now asks “how it is possible to think that Papua can absorb such a flow of refugees, when the same country is in need of jobs, health care and education for its own citizens”. Papua New Guinea is the poorest among the islands that are located off the coast of Australia, but many agree that, in the region, it can boast one of the most advanced constitutions in terms of migration policies. However, as raised by Fr. Glynn, considering the backwardness of the economic and social structures, it is impossible to claim that the nation has the means to accommodate thousands of refugees each year (15 thousand in just the past 12 months).

“Refugees have made an enormous contribution to Australia and could do the same here. — adds Fr. Gibbs, who criticized the agreement between the two countries as the more powerful neighbour enslaving the weaker nation — but an agreement that aims to bring a person within a nations borders against his or her own will, is offensive to the country itself and will seriously damage its international image”.

On July 8, Pope Francis travelled to the island of Lampedusa, where every year tens of thousands of migrants land, to “raise awareness” and express his closeness to those who braved the sea and those who welcome them . On that occasion, celebrating mass close to the ‘cemetery of the boats’, the Holy Father condemned the ‘globalization of indifference’, which has deprived us of the “ability to cry” and “our fraternal sense of responsibility.”

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

Syrian Migrants Land in Siracusa

(AGI) Siracusa, July 23 — Two-hundred Syrians landed at the port of Siracusa on Monday night. A financial police patrol boat intercepted the migrants 5 miles from Cape Murro di Porco.

Three officers boarded the 40-foot wooden fishing boat and led it to Siracusa, where it landed shortly after midnight. The migrants included a number of women and children, all in good health. The boat was impounded and officers are trying to identify the traffickers.

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

Italy Divided Over Anti-Homophobia Proposals

(AGI) Rome — Italy’s centre-right politicians voiced their opposition to anti-homophobia proposals on Tuesday ..

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