Gates of Vienna News Feed 7/26/2013

Six people who produce or retail electronic cigarettes have gone on a hunger strike in front of the Italian parliament building in Rome. They are protesting the increase of the tax levied on their product, which is now set at 58.5%.

In other news, according to the latest crime statistics, 1.1 million people were murdered in Brazil in the 32 years from 1980 to 2011, making the country the seventh most violent in the world.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Caroline Glick, Fjordman, Insubria, JD, McR, Papa Whiskey, TV, 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
» Italy: Piedmont Ordered to Pay 36 Million Euros by London Court
» Italy to Cut Debt With Sale in Company Stakes, Says Letta
» Two Hotels Close Daily in Southern Italy, Assoturismo Says
 
USA
» As the Government Continues to Shut Down Family Farms, Your Ability to Make Good Food Choices Diminishes
» College Republicans Called ‘Security Threat, ‘ Banned From Obama Speech
» Conservative Movement to Liberal Media: IRS Scandal Deserves “Constant, Merciless Scrutiny”
» Elderly Woman Who Was Beaten, Raped Dies
» How Obama Poisoned Race Relations in America
» Obama Will Veto Defense Appropriations Bill Unless Health Premiums for Vets Are Hiked
» Obama Claims Ho Chi Minh Was Fan of Founding Fathers
» Pentagon to Deploy Huge Blimps Over Washington, DC for 360-Degree Surveillance
» Poll: Race Relations Have Plummeted Since Obama Took Office
» Professor Who Called God Racist Has History of Incendiary Statements, Is Despised by Students
» Teenagers Who Smoke Cannabis Damage Their Brains for Life and May be More Likely to Develop Schizophrenia
» Trayvon’s Mom: Law Let Zimmerman Off the Hook
» U.S. Army to Buy Millions of Russian Rounds of Ammo and Popular Civilian Firearms
» Vote on Amash Amendment Reveals Ruse of Two-Party System
 
Europe and the EU
» 588-Pound Corkman Sleeps on Floor as Council Fail to Provide New House
» Greece: Athens Mayor Stops Another Golden Dawn Food Handout
» ‘I F***** Up, I Want to Die’: Black Box Reveals Spanish Driver’s Agony Moments After 120mph Train Derailed Killing at Least 80 People
» Italy: Over Four in 10 Romans Want to Live Elsewhere
» Italy: Jailed Prelate Says Innocent in Letter to Pope
» Italy: Electronic Cigarette Makers and Sellers on Hunger Strike
» UK Web Censorship Filter Controlled by Communist Chinese Front Company
» UK: Cockney Accent Moves East: Dialect Now More Likely to be Heard in Essex Than London
» UK: Satanic Cult Blamed for Ritualistic Killing of Dartmoor Foal Which Was Horrifically Mutilated in Centre of Ring of Fire During Full Moon
 
North Africa
» In Egypt, Millions of Christians and Muslims to Protest Against Terrorism
» Libya: Three Wounded in Benghazi Police Station Bombing
 
Israel and the Palestinians
» Caroline Glick: How to Respond to EU Sanctions
» Israel Cuts Cooperation With EU in Response to Sanctions on Judea and Samaria
 
Middle East
» Al-Qaeda Launches PR Offensive by Hosting a ‘Fun Day’ In Syria Featuring Tug-of-War and Children’s Party Games
» Hezbollah: Iran Accuses EU of Following ‘Zionist Interests’
» Lebanon: EU Allocated 113.3 Mln So Far to Deal With Refugees
» Millions of Muslims Devoted to Our Lady and Eager for Exorcism
» Qatar: World’s Fattest Country, Diabetics Will Double by 2030
» Syria: Disillusioned Rebels Drift Back to Take Assad Amnesty
 
Latin America
» 1.1 Million Brazilians Murdered in 30 Years
 
Immigration
» 13-Year-Old Girl Raped by More Than a Dozen Illegal Aliens in Texas
 
Culture Wars
» Italy: Controversial Homophobia Bill Set to be Discussed in House
» Open the Floodgates: Pedophiles Arguing Their Sexual Orientation is No Different Than Homosexuals
» Parental Rights: God-Given and Unalienable? Or, Government-Granted and Revocable?
» Texas Senator Warns Hate Speech Charges ‘Next Step’ For Pastors Who Oppose Same-Sex ‘Marriage’
» The Name of Jesus Has Become a Dirty Word in Politically Correct America
 
General
» Friction Signals New Role for Superstar Planet-Hunter
 

Italy: Piedmont Ordered to Pay 36 Million Euros by London Court

Region sought to overturn last ruling on Dexia, Intesa payments

(ANSA) — Turin, July 25 — A London tribunal on Thursday rejected an attempt by the Italian region of Piedmont to overturn a previous court order to pay Dexia and Intesa Sanpaolo 36 million euros, according to the banks’ legal representatives Cleary Gottlieb Steen Hamilton.

The lawsuit was over interest-rate swap contracts.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Italy to Cut Debt With Sale in Company Stakes, Says Letta

Debt to be cut with real estate, shareholding sales

(ANSA) — Rome, July 25 — Premier Enrico Letta said Thursday that Italy would move to lower its massive national debt by selling government-owned real estate and stakes in public-controlled companies.

He added that Italy needs to accompany economic-growth boosting policies with rigour in management of the State budget, even if this is an unpopular.

“I say this even if it is not going to win support”, Letta said. “A good head of the household has a duty to say no. Public accounts need to be kept in an orderly fashion, and the 3% (deficit ceiling) is the condition required for more flexibility”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Two Hotels Close Daily in Southern Italy, Assoturismo Says

Data for first six months of 2013

(ANSA) — Rome, July 25 — Two hotels closed down each day in the first six months of the year, according to data released on Thursday by tourist association head, Claudio Albonetti of Assoturismo Confesercenti.

The outlook is even worse when it comes to restaurants, with some five closing each day for an approximate total of 146 a month, Albonetti said.

Albonetti urged southern Italian regions to promote low cost and social tourism efficiently in a bid to capture the attention of holidaymakers.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

As the Government Continues to Shut Down Family Farms, Your Ability to Make Good Food Choices Diminishes

(NaturalNews) Though much of it flies under the mainstream radar, there is a coordinated effort afoot to completely stamp out all private, small-scale food production in the United States, which means your ability to access the clean, high-quality foods of your choice is rapidly diminishing. In his new book Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Food Rights, investigative journalist David E. Gumpert covers this pertinent issue in depth, highlighting the ongoing string of government raids and other oppressive tactics regulators are taking to eliminate your freedom of food choice.

In a chapter entitled Is There Such a Thing as Private Food?, Gumpert paints a grim picture of what America’s harsh regulatory climate has and is doing to family farmers. What used to be a free and open system of private food production and distribution has devolved into a type of corporate food monopoly controlled by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and various other nanny state food agencies that have assumed authority over what people can eat.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]
 

College Republicans Called ‘Security Threat, ‘ Banned From Obama Speech

Members of President Barack Obama’s crack security staff like Colombian hookers — a lot — but they proved on Wednesday they are afraid of a few College Republicans.

At a recreation center at the University of Central Missouri, security personnel refused to admit 10 members of the College Republicans to a speech by the president on economic policy, The College Fix reports.

All 10 students reportedly had tickets to the event.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]
 

Conservative Movement to Liberal Media: IRS Scandal Deserves “Constant, Merciless Scrutiny”

RESTON, VA — Today, nationally syndicated radio host Rush Limbaugh, Citizens United President David Bossie, Tea Party Patriots Co-Founder Jenny Beth Martin, and Family Research Council President Tony Perkins joined Media Research Center (MRC) President and Founder Brent Bozell to demand that the liberal broadcast networks — ABC, CBS, and NBC — stop censoring coverage of the ongoing IRS targeting scandal.

According to the MRC, when news first broke that the IRS was targeting conservative groups — particularly the Tea Party — the Big Three news networks jumped to cover the story, filling their evening and morning shows with a total of 96 stories in the first two weeks (May 10 through May 23). But after those two strong weeks, the broadcast networks predictably lost interest in the scandal, and the coverage slowed to a crawl — just 32 stories in the subsequent weeks (May 24 through June 17). From June 18 through June 28 there were a total of only 11 stories on the Big Three evening and morning shows about IRS abuses. There were zero stories from June 28 until July 24, when CBS Evening News gave the scandal a minute and a half — the only network coverage for the entire month of July so far.

And during all this time, the IRS scandal has actually been growing.

Multiple new IRS scandals emerged to feed the news cycle, such as $70 million in bonuses to IRS agents, hundreds of millions of dollars of contracts granted to a business owner with a friend inside the agency, and agents abusing IRS credit cards to pay for such things as diet pills, romance novels and even online pornography.

Last Thursday during the latest Congressional hearing, it was revealed that the IRS chief counsel’s office appears to have been directly involved in the IRS’s scheme to target Tea Party and conservative groups. This shatters the story that this was a scandal orchestrated by two IRS agents in Cincinnati.

This scandal has now reached the Obama Administration. The IRS chief counsel is one of only two Obama appointees in the agency. Neither ABC nor NBC has uttered a single syllable about it. Only CBS’s Scott Pelley has mentioned this connection on air during an interview with Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]
 

Elderly Woman Who Was Beaten, Raped Dies

[WARNING: Disturbing content.]

Prosecutors said 19 yr-old Sergio Martinez-Perez beat and sexually assaulted 93-year-old Louise Sollowin in her home Sunday. Sollowin died Wednesday.

Martinez-Perez is charged with first-degree murder. Charges were dropped for first-degree sexual assault and first-degree assault and burglary.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]
 

How Obama Poisoned Race Relations in America

A new poll by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal reveals that public perceptions about race relations in America have taken a devastating hit since the election of Barack Obama. At the beginning of the president’s first term, 79 percent of whites and 63 percent of blacks had a positive view of American race relations.

Those numbers have plummeted to 52 percent and 38 percent, respectively. Meanwhile, 45 percent of whites now consider race relations fairly or very bad, compared with 20 percent in 2009, and the negative views held by black Americans has jumped from 30 percent to 58 percent. Thus, the idea that the election of Barack Obama would usher in a golden age of so-called post-racial relations has exploded. And the president and his administration bear the lion’s share of the responsibility for lighting the fuse.

The poll, conducted in mid-July by Hart Research Associations and Public Opinion Strategies, has tracked Americans’ attitudes about race since 1994. And despite only a single poll question regarding the Zimmerman trial, which asked whether the outcome increased, decreased, or didn’t affect one’s confidence in the legal system, the steepest decline in positive views, and greatest increase in negative views, occurred in the last two years. That the timeframe largely coincides with the Trayvon Martin shooting controversy is likely no coincidence.

The Trayvon Martin case is one of the most visible examples of the Obama administration’s deliberate poisoning of race relations; all in coordination with the NAACP, the racial grievance industry and the corrupt leftist media. We now know that the administration had direct involvement in fanning the flames of racial discord that brought the case to the national stage.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]
 

Obama Will Veto Defense Appropriations Bill Unless Health Premiums for Vets Are Hiked

Politics: A veto of the defense authorization bill is threatened unless the president gets his way. He wants health care insurance premiums and co-pays increased for troops and scheduled military pay raises to be reduced.

Being used as photo-ops for presidential speeches and willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for your country apparently does not exempt our troops from the rising health care premiums that President Obama said, along with sea levels, would not rise under his administration. The next time a soldier hears “give me 50,” it might be dollars and not push-ups.

The White House has threatened to veto the 2014 Defense Appropriations Act in part because it does not increase premiums and co-pays associated with Tricare, the Pentagon’s in-house health system, and because it proposes a 1.8% pay increase instead of the 1% the administration demands.

Tricare, according to its website, “is the health care program serving Uniformed Service members, retirees and their families worldwide.” As the administration pushes for higher health care costs for military personnel, the benefits of unionized civilian defense workers remain unscathed.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]
 

Obama Claims Ho Chi Minh Was Fan of Founding Fathers

Obama was taking another hard kick at the America he seeks to fundamentally transform into just another socialist state

Move over Jane Fonda, President Barack Obama has all but toppled you from that iconic anti-aircraft gun perch as as America’s top Communist Viet Nam booster.

Talking to reporters as he stood beside Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang yesterday, Obama told his biggest whopper to date:…”we discussed the fact that Ho Chi Minh was actually inspired by the U.S. Declaration of Independence and Constitution, and the words of Thomas Jefferson.” (Fox News, July 25, 2013)

Facts, Barack Obama style, are more like something made up as Obama goes along surrounded by a mainstream media who let him away with it.

Truth is Ho Chi Minh was about as inspired by the U.S. Declaration of Independence and Constitution, and the words of Thomas Jefferson as Obama is.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]
 

Pentagon to Deploy Huge Blimps Over Washington, DC for 360-Degree Surveillance

A pair of high-tech Army blimps is coming to the greater Washington, DC area, and soon they will be able to provide the military with surveillance powers that spans hundreds of millions of acres from North Carolina to Niagara Falls, Canada.

The airships are part of Raytheon’s Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System, or JLENS, and when all is said and done they’ll offer the United States military what the defense contractor calls “an affordable elevated, persistent over-the-horizon sensor system” that relies on “a powerful integrated radar system to detect, track and target a variety of threats.”

Raytheon has just wrapped up a six-week testing period in the state of Utah and is now sending its JLENS fleet to the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland. Once there, the Army intends to get some hands-on experience that will eventually culminate in launching the pair of airships over Washington, DC.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]
 

Poll: Race Relations Have Plummeted Since Obama Took Office

Public attitudes about race relations have plummeted since the historic election of President Barack Obama, according to a new poll from NBC News and the Wall Street Journal.

Only 52 percent of whites and 38 percent of blacks have a favorable opinion of race relations in the country, according to the poll, which has tracked race relations since 1994 and was conducted in mid-July by Hart Research Associations and Public Opinion Strategies.

That’s a sharp drop from the beginning of Obama’s first term, when 79 percent of whites and 63 percent of blacks held a favorable view of American race relations.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]
 

Professor Who Called God Racist Has History of Incendiary Statements, Is Despised by Students

Anthea Butler, the religious studies professor who recently caused a stir by saying that Americans worship a “white racist god,” has a history of making inflammatory statements on current issues.

In the wake of the September 11, 2012 attacks on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya, Butler said that Sam Bacile should be held responsible and jailed.

Bacile made the anti-Islam movie “Innocence of Muslims,” which angered Muslims and was cited as a reason for the attack on the embassy, which killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens. Later reports have cast doubt on this explanation, however.

Butler, a religious studies professor at the University of Pennsylvania, said the filmmaker should “shut the f — k up about Islam,” and placed the blame for Benghazi squarely on his shoulders.

“Good Morning. How soon is Sam Bacile going to be in jail folks?” she asked on Twitter. “I need him to go now. When Americans die because you are stupid…”

When other Twitter users tried to inform her of the free speech protections in the First Amendment, she replied, “I know we have First Amendment rights, but if you don’t understand the Religion you hate, STFU about it. … And people do to jail for speech. First Amendment doesn’t cover EVERYTHING a PERSON says.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]
 

Teenagers Who Smoke Cannabis Damage Their Brains for Life and May be More Likely to Develop Schizophrenia

Teenagers who regularly smoke cannabis suffer long lasting brain damage and are in much greater danger of developing schizophrenia.

American researchers say the drug is particularly dangerous for a group of people who have a genetic susceptibility to the mental health disorder — and it could be the trigger for it.

Asaf Keller, of the University of Maryland School of Medicine, said the results highlight the dangers of teenagers smoking cannabis during their formative years.

The study, published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology, exposed young mice to the active ingredient in marijuana for 20 days.

It found that their brain activity was impaired, with the damage continuing into adulthood.

[…]

‘We also found impaired cognitive behavioural performance in those mice. The striking finding is that, even though the mice were exposed to very low drug doses, and only for a brief period during adolescence, their brain abnormalities persisted into adulthood.’

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]
 

Trayvon’s Mom: Law Let Zimmerman Off the Hook

(CNN) — Florida law kept George Zimmerman from being held accountable in last year’s shooting death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, the teen’s mom said Friday.

“Wrap your mind around no prom for Trayvon, no high school graduation for Trayvon … all because of a law — a law that has prevented the person who shot and killed my son” from paying “for this awful crime,” Sybrina Fulton said Friday afternoon at the National Urban League Conference in Philadelphia.

Zimmerman, a former neighborhood watch volunteer, was found not guilty in the 17-year-old Martin’s death on July 13.

[“No prom for Trayvon” — oh, the humanity! Yes, and no funeral for the guy he was in the processof beating to death, either. — PW]

           — Hat tip: Papa Whiskey [Return to headlines]
 

U.S. Army to Buy Millions of Russian Rounds of Ammo and Popular Civilian Firearms

The U.S. Army is now looking to stockpile nearly 3,000,000 live rounds of Soviet-era Russian ammo popular with civilian shooters…

As the solicitation implies, the 7.62x39mm and the 9x18mm Makarov are not standard-issue in the U.S. military or NATO.

Rather they are calibers developed by the former Soviet Union which are now commonly used by civilian shooters in the United States.

The 7.62x39mm in particular is extremely popular with private gun owners due to the wide availability and affordability of both military surplus ammo and firearms chambered for this round, such as the AK-47 and the SKS.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]
 

Vote on Amash Amendment Reveals Ruse of Two-Party System

For all those who still believe that Republican=Constitutionalist and Democrat=Liberty-hating liberal, something happened on Capitol Hill that might change your mind.

As was reported by The New American, the House of Representatives narrowly defeated an amendment to the defense appropriations sponsored by Republican Congressman Justin Amash (shown) of Michigan and Democratic Congressman John Conyers, also of Michigan.

The Amash Amendment would have revoked authority “for the blanket collection of records under the Patriot Act. It would also bar the NSA and other agencies from using Section 215 of the Patriot Act to collect records, including telephone call records, that pertain to persons who are not subject to an investigation under Section 215” of the Patriot Act.

Despite the threat to the Establishment (or perhaps because of it), Amash’s measure failed by a vote of 205-217.

It’s the identity of the “ayes” and “nays” that tells the rest of the story.

An analysis of the roll call reveals that a majority of Democrats voted in favor of restricting the Obama administration’s wholesale surveillance of Americans, while a majority of the GOP voted to uphold the NSA’s unconstitutional surveillance of all electronic communications.

Though the final tally was close, the fix was in. In a rare demonstration of meddling in the making of the legislative sausage, the White House issued a statement warning, in not-so-elegant language, that a vote for the Amash amendment was a vote for terrorism.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]
 

588-Pound Corkman Sleeps on Floor as Council Fail to Provide New House

44-year-old father of two with diabetes and asthma says the stairs in his how are too narrow to climb

A 44-year-old man from Bantry, County Cork, has become so heavy that he is forced to sleep on his floor downstairs. Ritchie Doyle, who has become too large to climb the stairs, is demanding his Cork County Council move him to a suitable new home.

Doyle, originally from Dublin, said he’s been on a waiting list for a new home for a year. He says his health condition is deteriorating every day. Severe asthma and diabetes has left Doyle bedridden and he now requires treatment from a nurse every other day.

He told the Mirror “I’ve been sleeping on the floor of this place for the past nine months. Me and my partner split up 18 months ago and that’s what happened.

“I had to sleep in my car for a couple of months before getting into this place. It’s rented accommodation but all I want is to be able to sleep in a bed.”

The father of two says the stairs of his home are too narrow for him to climb.

He told the local newspaper the Southern Star “The number of trucks and cars passing by each day has led me to hospital, where they diagnosed slight carbon monoxide poisoning. I find it harder and harder to breathe as the days go by.”

Now weighting 588-pounds (44 stone) Doyle can no longer climb the stairs in his home but has access to the bathroom which is on the ground floor.

Councillor Kathleen Tassyman is supporting him in his case. She told the paper “The house here simply isn’t suitable for Ritchie and his condition. He has to leave the front door open to let in air and in this heat it is very important that he can breathe properly.

“With the traffic going by, he [Ritchie] is exposed to the fumes from the many trucks and cars.”

“He has been waiting for over a year. Everyone is entitled to a home. Indeed, Ritchie doesn’t even have a proper bed.”

The Councillor is calling on the local authorities to visit and assess his housing conditions.

           — Hat tip: McR [Return to headlines]
 

Greece: Athens Mayor Stops Another Golden Dawn Food Handout

It “consciously promotes racism and xenophobia”, Kaminis says

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, JULY 24 — Athens Mayor Giorgos Kaminis looks set for another confrontation with neo-Nazi party Chrysi Avgì (Golden Dawn) after he said he would prevent the party handing out free food in Attikis Square, near the city center, on Friday afternoon. The handout, open “only to Greek citizens”, is due to take place at 6 p.m. but Kaminis issued a statement saying that Golden Dawn did not have permission from the City of Athens to hold the event, which he said “consciously promotes racism and xenophobia.” As daily Kathimerini reports, Kaminis spoke to Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias about Golden Dawn’s plans and received assurances that the police would not allow the handout to take place. The mayor prevented Golden Dawn from holding a similar event in Syntagma Square in May and the party was forced to hand out food in front of its headquarters. On that day, Golden Dawn MP Giorgos Germenis attempted to punch Kaminis and hit a 12-year-old girl instead.

Parliament voted earlier this month to lift Germenis’s immunity so he could be charged. Golden Dawn insisted that its plans for a handout were “100% legal” as it had informed authorities and that it would go ahead with the event. The party said that all its MPs and leader, Nikos Michaloliakos, would be at the event.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

‘I F***** Up, I Want to Die’: Black Box Reveals Spanish Driver’s Agony Moments After 120mph Train Derailed Killing at Least 80 People

[WARNING: Disturbing content.]

The black box of the Spanish train which crashed killing at least 80 people recorded its driver begging controllers what to do in the moments after it hurtled off the tracks, yelling: ‘I f***** up. I want to die.’

Francisco Jose Garzon, who was today ‘formally detained’ by Spanish police investigating the incident, was behind the controls when the Madrid to Ferrol high-speed rail link hurtled into a wall at 120mph near the city of Santiago de Compostela on Wednesday night.

The on-board recording device reveals Garzon’s desperate pleas to the Alvia Trains control room as the magnitude of the smash dawned on him, Spanish newspaper El Mundo reported.

‘I’ve derailed,’ he told the rail company’s nerve centre as the dust settled around the wreckage. ‘What do I do? What am I supposed to do? I f***** up. I want to die.’

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]
 

Italy: Over Four in 10 Romans Want to Live Elsewhere

Work opportunities, better services top list of reasons

(ANSA) — Rome, July 25 — Over four in 10 Romans want to live somewhere else. According to a study by the Censis research agency, 41% say they consider the prospect of leaving the Italian capital, mostly for better job opportunities they hope to find elsewhere.

Other reasons topping the list were a low opinion of Rome’s public services and its high cost of living.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Italy: Jailed Prelate Says Innocent in Letter to Pope

Scarano says never laundered dirty money

(ANSA) — Rome, July 25 — The Vatican prelate arrested for alleged involvement in a bid to bring 20 million euros into Italy illegally has written to Pope Francis to say he is innocent.

“I never laundered dirty money, I never stole, I tried to help someone who asked for help,” Mons. Nunzio Scarano wrote in a letter from Rome’s Regina Coeli prison dated July 20.

Scarano, who until recently led a key Vatican accounting unit, was arrested in June in a probe over allegations he conspired with a former Italian spy and a financial broker to try to secretly repatriate the cash, allegedly the fruit of tax evasion by a family close to the prelate.

The prelate, from the port city of Salerno near Naples, had been suspended a month before his arrest from his job as head of analytic accounts at the Holy See’s asset-management agency APSA after being named in a separate probe into receiving money in Salerno.

Police reportedly started sifting through his assets because of his suspiciously large financial holdings and artistic trove.

He was arrested June 28 on suspicion of planning to elude customs controls along with Giovanni Maria Zito, a recently transferred agent in the AISI domestic intelligence agency, and financial broker Giovanni Carenzio.

Police said Scarano and Zito set up a private jet to fly the cash for three Salerno-based shipowner brothers, the D’Amicos, whose family was friendly with Scarano.

Zito is suspected of getting 400,000 euros for arranging cover for the flight, which never took place.

The prelate has told prosecutors he “acted in good faith” and was only “trying to do a favour for the D’Amicos”.

The Vatican has said it would cooperate “fully” with the probe.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Italy: Electronic Cigarette Makers and Sellers on Hunger Strike

Rome protest to proposed 58.5% tax in work decree

(ANSA) — Rome, July 23 — Six people who produce or retail electronic cigarettes continued a hunger strike on Tuesday in front of the Italian parliament building.

The demonstrators are protesting a 58.5% tax that is part of a law decree on work and value added tax (VAT) reforms, a bill that has passed the cabinet and is now sitting in parliament.

“We are asking for a meeting with government institutions to save our right to work,” explained one of the demonstrators, Massimiliano Federici.

“There are 5,000 stores that have opened at the cost of great sacrifice and it is absurd that now they ask us to turn back,” Federici lamented.

“The protest will continue until we hear from (government institutions),” Federici said, who added that the tax measure would be self-defeating.

“The decree will not bring in the revenue expected for the state, because many companies will move abroad and consumers will begin to buy products online at a lower cost,” he explained.

The National Association of Electronic Smoking (Anafe) said the hunger strike was adopted by members on the basis of personal decision as efforts to make institutional negotiations continue.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

UK Web Censorship Filter Controlled by Communist Chinese Front Company

Founder of Huawei Technologies is former PLA officer

Fears that the UK is moving towards the kind of web censorship system imposed by Communist China have increased after it was revealed that the website filtering blacklist set to be imposed by the end of next year will be controlled by a company with close ties to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

“The pornography filtering system praised by David Cameron is controlled by the controversial Chinese company Huawei,” reports the BBC, noting that Huawei’s founder is Ren Zhengfei, a former officer in China’s People’s Liberation Army and and a Communist Party member.

As we reported last week, every Internet user in the UK will have their traffic run through a filtering system that will blacklist pornographic websites. The system set to be used is called Homesafe, which is run by Huawei-subsidiary Talktalk.

Even if the user opts out of the filter, they will “still have their traffic routed through the system.” In other countries that have attempted to impose similar systems, political and activist websites have also ended up on the blacklist.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]
 

UK: Cockney Accent Moves East: Dialect Now More Likely to be Heard in Essex Than London

Cockney speakers are now more likely to live in Essex than in the traditional heartlands of inner London’s East End, according to research.

Historically the dialect was used by people from the central-eastern boroughs of the capital, but a new multicultural way of speaking has emerged there in recent years.

Dr Sue Fox, a socio-linguistic expert from Queen Mary, University of London, found features of the traditional Cockney dialect are now more likely to be heard in Basildon or Barking than within the sound of Bow Bells or modern-day Tower Hamlets — where it originated.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

UK: Satanic Cult Blamed for Ritualistic Killing of Dartmoor Foal Which Was Horrifically Mutilated in Centre of Ring of Fire During Full Moon

[WARNING: Disturbing content.]

A Satanic cult has been blamed for the sickening death of a pony, which was found horrifically mutilated and laying in the remnants of a ring of fire after full moon.

Police are investigating after the young male had its genitals, right ear and tongue sliced off, and eyes gouged out. It is thought the animal may have been alive when the atrocities were committed.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]
 

In Egypt, Millions of Christians and Muslims to Protest Against Terrorism

Fr Rafic Greiche, spokesman for the Egyptian Catholic Church, told AsiaNews that “up to 20 million Egyptians could take to the streets” in late afternoon. Large rallies against recent episodes of violence are expected in Cairo and Egypt’s main cities. Tonight, after dusk, Catholic and Coptic Churches will ring their bells as a sign of friendship to Muslims who are fasting for Ramadan.

Cairo (AsiaNews) — After Friday prayers, “up to 20 million Egyptians could take to the streets,” Fr Rafic Greiche told AsiaNews. In the country, tensions are indeed running high with Islamists expected to show their opposition to the military in the streets of Cairo. In fact, for the clergyman, who is the spokesman for the Egyptian Catholic Church, although most Egyptians “are against extremists, the people is divided”.

In an address to the nation on Wednesday, Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said that “every honourable and honest Egyptian must come out” against “terrorism” and “violence”.

Many from the moderate secularist parties have already said that they would take part in this afternoon’s rally.

Conversely, the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists have expressed their intention to continue demonstrating in favour of Morsi’s reinstatement, but they plan to protest after sunset, when the fasting for Ramadan ends.

Mohammed Badie, the Muslim Brotherhood’s supreme leader, who on Wednesday slammed al-Sisi’s words as a clear “call to civil war”, asked his supporters not to escalate their protest to the point of violence, urging them instead to demonstrate in favour of ‘freedom’ and ‘legitimacy’.

Many Egyptians and foreigners are concerned that Morsi’s ouster is a military coup dressed up as people’s power.

For Wael Farouq, an Arabic professor at the American University in Cairo, “The danger that the military might ‘steal’ the Revolution is real.” Yet, “the dangers associated with a Morsi government are worse and more realistic,” he told AsiaNew.

“When Mohammed Morsi was deposed, the Muslim Brotherhood blamed it on Christians and Shias. Those who voted for Morsi represent 13 per cent of Egyptians; those who deposed him represent 30 per cent of the country,” he explained.

Tonight at sunset, when Ramadan fasting is broken during the iftar, Catholic and Coptic Churches will ring their bells as a show of friendship to Egyptian Muslims.

“The military’s action is backed by the Egyptian people,” Prof Farouq noted. “The Catholic and the Coptic patriarchs as well as al-Azhar are united. Christians and Muslims have realised that is a fight against violence and terrorism.”

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

Libya: Three Wounded in Benghazi Police Station Bombing

Fourth attack this year on Birkah police station

(ANSAmed) — ROME, JULY 26 — A bomb exploded in Birkah police station in the Libyan city of Benghazi yesterday, wounding three detainees, Libya Herald newspaper reported Friday. It was the fourth attack this year on the same police station. The bomb destroyed the building’s facade, damaging windows and cars parked nearby.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Caroline Glick: How to Respond to EU Sanctions

THIS WEEK the EU took three steps that together prove Europe’s ill-intentions toward the Jewish state.

First, last Friday the EU announced it is imposing economic sanctions on Israel. The sanctions deny EU funds to Israeli entities with an address beyond the 1949 Armistice Lines. They also deny EU funds to Israeli entities countrywide that carry out activities beyond the 1949 Armistice Lines.

The areas beyond the 1949 Armistice Lines delineated by the EU directive include the Gaza Strip, which Israel abandoned eight years ago; the Golan Heights, which has been under Israeli sovereignty since 1981; eastern, northern and southern Jerusalem, which have been under Israeli sovereignty since 1967; and Judea and Samaria, over which Israel has shared governance with the PLO since 1994 in accordance with signed agreements witnessed by EU representatives.

The EU’s second action was the publication Tuesday of EU foreign policy commissioner Catherine Ashton’s letter to her fellow commissioners informing them that by the end of the year, the EU will publish binding requirements for specially labeling Israeli goods produced by Jews beyond the 1949 Armistice Lines exported to EU member states…

?utm_source=MadMimi&utm_medium=email&utm_content=How+to+respond+to+EU+sanctions+against+Israel&utm_campaign=20130726_m116744213_Untitled+Promotion&utm_term=Continue+reading___

           — Hat tip: Caroline Glick [Return to headlines]
 

Israel Cuts Cooperation With EU in Response to Sanctions on Judea and Samaria

In response to the EU decision to re-erect ghetto walls around Judea, Samaria, East Jerusalem and the Golan, Israeli defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon had a highly appropriate response. He instructed the IDF and the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories to stop cooperating with EU representatives in the West Bank and Gaza:

“The IDF cannot prevent EU officials from traveling in and out of Palestinian Authority-controlled territories, but it can prevent them from entering or leaving the Gaza Strip via Israel, as well as from promoting projects.

According to a defense establishment source, the decision was taken in a bid to send a clear message to the EU, stressing that any move to boycott Israeli actions beyond the green-line “turns the organization into a biased mediator in negotiations, and as such, it must accept the results.”

Ya’alon decided the freeze in cooperation between Israel and the EU will include Area C as well as the crossing between Israel and Gaza.

A security source said: “We cannot prevent anyone from traveling freely; we cannot freeze their movement, but from now on they are tourists.”

Area C is the part of Judea and Samaria that is directly under full Israeli sovereignty and is approximately 96% Jewish.”

The EU,of course is howling about this:

[…]

NOTE: Story continues at URL, above.

[Return to headlines]
 

Al-Qaeda Launches PR Offensive by Hosting a ‘Fun Day’ In Syria Featuring Tug-of-War and Children’s Party Games

In an shameless public relations exercise to gain support in war-town Syria, Al-Qaeda has hosted a ‘fun day’ in the capital Aleppo.

The terrorist group’s Syrian arm organised a friendly Ramadan festival with a tug of war and a hands-free cream-eating competition.

According to the Middle East analysis site EA World View, the group ‘is attempting to win over local hearts and minds.’

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]
 

Hezbollah: Iran Accuses EU of Following ‘Zionist Interests’

Wrong decision against Lebanese people, FM says

(ANSAmed) — ROME — Tehran has slammed the European Union for listing the military wing of Lebanese militant group Hezbollah as a terrorist organization saying it followed ‘Zionist interests’. A statement signed by Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said Tuesday that Iran ‘firmly condemns the decision (of the EU) and considers it part of illegitimate interests of the Zionist regime’.

‘Because of the lack of an adequate judgement on the crisis in the region, the European Union took the wrong decision against the Lebanese people and Hezbollah, which defended the country against the Zionist aggression’, also said the statement.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Lebanon: EU Allocated 113.3 Mln So Far to Deal With Refugees

Funds are channeled through Un agencies and NGOs

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, JULY 25 — The European Union has allocated 113.3 million euros so far to help Lebanon deal with the growing number of refugees coming into the country.

According to the Enpi website (www.enpi-info.eu), out of the more than 1,831,024 Syrian refugees in the region (registered or awaiting registration by the UNHCR) more than 629,569 were in Lebanon by 19 July 2013.

The EU funds are channelled through UN agencies and NGOs in coordination with the Ministry of Social Affairs. Of these funds: 45 million euros have already been contracted for Lebanon through the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) budget. In addition, 2,570,750 euros has been contracted from the Instrument for Stability (IfS) and more funds are currently being identified under both instruments. The Humanitarian Office of the European Commission ECHO has earmarked 65.8 million euros for assistance in Lebanon.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Millions of Muslims Devoted to Our Lady and Eager for Exorcism

Fatima, Harissa, Damascus, Samalut, Assiut, Zeitun and many other places where the Virgin appeared are the destination of incessant pilgrimages from Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Iran. Pilgrims in search of physical but also spiritual healing; spontaneous and mystical prayer and not the schematic and formal verses of official Islam. The iconoclast Salafists destroy places of pilgrimage every year. But the devotion to Mary is growing, also fueled by the stories of the Koran. The spiritual dialogue between Christians and Muslims is much more promising than cultural, theological or political dialogue.

Beirut (AsiaNews) — Each year millions of Muslims come on pilgrimage to the Catholic Marian shrines. Not only to the major shrines such as Fatima in Portugal or Harissa in Lebanon, but also to Egypt, Syria, Iran. Muslims — especially Muslim women — go to give thanks to the Madonna or great Christian saints, like St. Charbel or St. George.

In the eyes of many Westerners these gestures seem ridiculous or false: they speak of apparitions, of prayers, but then there are massacres, killings, violence in the name of religion!

Like it or not, the religious phenomenon is alive in Latin America, in Africa, in Asia. When you see millions of Hindus go to bathe in the dirty water of the sacred river it may seem like a ridiculous thing. Yet for those who do it is an act of purification, of prayer. The West is tolerant and benevolent towards other religions, but its attitude towards Christians is increasingly hypercritical. The West is not post-Hindu, post-Islam. It is only post-Christian!

The point is that in the West, the supernatural is considered outdated, it is branded as mythology, illusion, instead the West is forever denouncing the difficulties that neither miracles nor pilgrimages can erase.

But in the rest of the world the spiritual dimension is alive and well. In the East, the religious sentiment is very much alive among Muslims, Christians and other religions. But in most of the West — especially on the part of intellectuals — the religious sentiment is seen as a thing of the past, irrational, naive. We must state this clearly: this interpretation is wrong.

The Marian devotion of Muslims

In Egypt, there are at least a dozen places of pilgrimage dedicated to the Virgin, which commemorate the journey of the Holy Family in Egypt. The tradition is very rich in the apocryphal texts of the fourth and fifth centuries. You can read some passages in the article by then Msgr. Ravasi (now Cardinal) of 28 December 2007, the feast of the Holy Innocents, published in the L’Osservatore Romano.

Every year in August, the Feast of the Dormition (Assumption of Mary) at least one million pilgrims go on pilgrimages to various shrines of Our Lady. The most famous are in Upper Egypt (in the South), at Jabal al-Tair, near Samalut, about 200 kilometers from Cairo. The festival lasts for 15 days, people pray, baptize infants (the parish priest has also built a species of baptistery, for Muslims, given the demand for baptisms from them as well) and celebrate.

More to the south, about 380 km from Cairo and 7 km from Assiut, there is another similar place of pilgrimage at Deir Dronka where tradition holds that the Holy Family stayed and the Virgin rested in a cave.

A few appearances have been reported in recent times:

On 22 January 1980 the Virgin appeared to a deacon.

On 10 January 1988 he appeared in the church tower to an Australian tourist, and Jesus appeared with a dove to the workers of the monastery.

On 7 August 1990, the Virgin appeared to the monks, surrounded by light, in a cave of the convent.

The annual pilgrimage is made during the “fasting of the Virgin” (7 to 21 August, the feast of the Dormition being the 22 in the Coptic rite). More than half a million pilgrims come, among them tens of thousands of Muslims. One of the monks is “specialized”, so to speak, in baptisms, because he manages to make the 36 liturgical signs of the cross on the child’s body in a minute (he showed me how some years ago!).

Even there, Muslims constitute a large number of participants, it is said that they are at least a quarter of the total number of pilgrims.

In Egypt, another pilgrimage to modern places of Marian apparitions is in Zeitun, near Cairo. The apparition, which began in 1968, lasted for several months. Various sociologists — not Egyptians — have called the phenomenon a kind of affective compensation, psychical consolation for the harshness of life. But people went there, Muslims and Christians, because they saw a white shape on the dome of the Church of Zeitun, which they interpreted as being Sittina Mariam, Our Lady Mary. The fact is difficult to explain, but was seen by thousands of people and there are also pictures. Another apparition of the Virgin is celebrated in Imbaba, a populous neighborhood.

From 1982 to today, reports of Our Lady’s apparitions in the Damascus neighborhood of Soufanieh continue. Oil flows from the icon of the Madonna, and the hands of a normal, well-balanced girl of 18, Myrna Nazzour, also sweat oil. The parish priest of the time, quite against it at first, has become the icons’ greatest enthusiasts. There too, Muslims and Christians flock in great numbers.

Near Damascus there is also a sanctuary to visit the mausoleum of Settena Zainab, the daughter of Ali and Fatima, the founder of Shiism. This is a pilgrimage to the roots. But when you go to places of apparition of the Virgin, the reasons are far deeper.

For years now plane loads of Muslim women from Iran have been landing at Fatima, Portugal. They come to pray before Our Lady who appeared to three shepherd children. The reason is that the Madonna was named after the daughter of Muhammad and wife of Ali Ibn Abi Talib.

In Harissa, Lebanon, Iranian women constantly come to pray to Our Lady, to the point that the rector of the shrine has a chapel prepared especially for them, with icons, signs and prayers to the Virgin in Persian, to facilitate their devotion.

Last year, during the month of May, as I waited for evening Mass to begin in Harissa, I saw hundreds of Muslim families — probably Shiite — who stopped to listen to the hymns before Mass and who only left at the end.

When I was in Morocco, I found that many women, during pregnancy and after childbirth, continued the so-called “fast of Our Lady,” inspired by the Koran, which speaks of this fast.

Mary in the Koran

The Muslims make their way to these shrines, knowing that Mary is the woman most praised in the Koran, the only woman mentioned by name, called “SiddÄ”qah” (true, believer, holy), a title reserved for men (siddÄ”q). She is the only one whom the Koran states that God has “chosen” (inna Allāh istafāqÄ”), and twice, and that God has preferred her to all the women of the earth (wa-faddalaki ‘ala nisā’ al-’ālamÄ”n); moreover that she was consecrated (innÄ” nadhartu mā fÄ” batnÄ” muharraran) in her mother’s womb before birth. Indeed, a scared saying (attributed to Muhammad and thus regarded as a certainty) says that every child, when born, is “touched” by Satan, with the exception of Mary and her son; a saying that draws very close indeed to the concept of the Immaculate Conception.

In the Koran Mary is “the most pure”, because God has made her pure. In the Annunciation, in two different chapters, Mary says to the angel,: “How can I have a baby, when no human being has ever touched me?”. Thus, in the Koran, Jesus is called: “The Christ Jesus, son of Mary” (al-MasÄ”h ‘Īsā Ibn Mariam): never in Arabic is a person referred to as “son of … (a woman)”, but always. .. a man, and therefore Jesus being born of a woman who has not known a man, could not be called “son of Joseph”!

Therefore, the last verse (12) of Chapter 66 (al-TahrÄ”m) of the Koran, reads: “And Mary the daughter of Imran, who guarded her chastity; and We breathed into (her body) of Our spirit; and she testified to the truth of the words of her Lord and of His Revelations, and was one of the devout. “

When Mary is referred to in Islam, “‘Alayhā l-salām” (peace be upon her) is added, a title that is not given to any saint. This title is also given by Christians to Mary. There is an entire body of literature on Mary in the Koran, written by both Muslims and Christians.

Popular devotion for Christians saints, even among Muslims

What drives Muslims to undertake these pilgrimages? First of all people are looking to rediscover their faith in the essential; they are looking for a renewal of faith. This is also followed by a desire for physical healing. But the question of a spiritual healing is much stronger. This is very similar to the sense of Christian pilgrimages.

It must be said that pilgrimages have no value for the orthodox Muslim, apart from the pilgrimage to Mecca (hajj). With the exception of Mecca, they consider this practice a kind of idolatry. This is why radical Muslims destroy all the places of pilgrimage, especially the tombs of Sufi sages, which Muslim mystics visit every year. Such destruction is typical of the Salafis, who are constantly carrying out iconoclastic raids in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Mali, Jordan, Pakistan, etc. …

This trend in radical Islam is somewhat similar to early Protestantism: they despise popular piety as overly naive and distorted. In reality, the people seek God through everyday things, but also through certain phenomena or testimonies overtime. It does not matter that they are Christians or Muslims.

There are regular visits to St. George in Egypt, to the shrine of St. Charbel Makhlouf in Lebanon, to the house of the Virgin Mary in Ephesus, visited every day by Muslims, usually women. Sometimes these pilgrimages are made to ask for the grace to have a child at other times to ask for physical healing. And it is always the Muslims to go to the Christians.

Monk exorcists for Muslims

Another spiritual element present in the faith of the people is fear of the devil. An episode that I experienced many years ago when I was a religious, but not yet a priest, is a very significant example of this. I was at the American University in Cairo and had entered and exited the building several times during the day for some research. At a certain point the doorman stopped me and gently asked me a favor. “My sixteen year old daughter — he says — is possessed by a demon.” It was the first time I heard this expression in my entire life. He told me of how this demon would fling her on the ground, and hurt her. He adds: “I took her to our imams and they could not do anything. They themselves have told me that the only one can free her is a monk.” He begged me to do something.

I promise him that I would pray for them, but I saw that he was disappointed by my answer. When I told the story to my brothers, they all criticized me, because they believed I should have preformed an exorcism, according to the established liturgical rite. And I discovered that many monks and religious are approached by Muslims and asked to cast out demons from a family member and that this practice is very common.

Usually, Muslims go to Coptic Orthodox monks or priests and often these exorcisms take place in public. I once witnessed one of these in front of the station square in Cairo (Bāb al-HadĔd), today called MĔdān Ramsis, with candles and holy water. A man lying on the ground, rigid, who swore and was a cripple, at a certain point, became calm.

A few years ago, in September 1994, a Canadian priest of the charismatic movement, famous for miracles, came to Lebanon. He was Father Emilien Tardif (1928-1999) of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart. Tens of thousands of people, many Muslims, followed him asking for his help. His cause for beatification is proceeding. This phenomenon is a fact that I can not explain. But I think that God gives a supernatural gift to some, to be put at the service of all. These gifts are distributed only in a Christian environment, but they are certified, verified by non-Christians.

Miracles are made for the benefit of anyone who has faith, the faith that leads God to grant the miracle.

In the human being there is a need that is not satisfied in Islam, but which is alive in Christianity. There is a need for spirituality, mysticism and beauty that is offered with greater ease in the Christian world than in Islam.

Sincere piety unites people. Mary as a bridge between Christians and Muslims

The most symbolic example of this was the decision of the Lebanese parliament to set up a national holiday for all three years ago, choosing the feast of the Annunciation of Mary. It was a deliberate decision by Christians and Muslims. The Koran twice refers to the account of the annunciation (in Chapters 3 and 19), almost in the same terms of the Gospel, and with a much more elegant and solemn style. In these texts the Virgin Mary is attributed is described as being strongly submissive to God and amazed at what happens to her, so much so that God Himself comforts her.

These experiences lead to great collaboration and a spiritual harmony with many Muslims. If it is not taken over by Islamic radicalism — which mixes religion and power, religion and state, religion and politics — the Muslim, just like any other believer, nourishes as openness to the supernatural, the spiritual, in his heart. But this aspect is not freely expressed in Islam: the spiritual is planned, the five daily prayers are predefined and must be done with pre-set words, so much so that if make a mistake while reciting them, you have to start all over again. Official Islam lacks spontaneity. For this reason, when a Muslim looks for something more intimate, they look towards Christianity.

Devotion creates feelings of friendship and not antagonism. In the West it is often said that religions, especially the monotheistic religions, are a source of wars and divisions. This thesis is false from the historical point of view and from the point of view of content. Of course, wars have been waged in the name of religion. But man has also launched wars in the name of many other ideologies, religion itself does not wage wars. We only have to think of nationalism, the divisions and the world wars fought in Europe, we are forced to admit that nationalism has been the cause of a far worse violence than any religion, and that the atheistic ideologies of the twentieth century, have produced more deaths than religions.

Even the religious wars fought in Europe were based on political phenomena that exploited religion (“cuius regio, eius religio “). It was the common view of the time, not the vision suggested by the Gospel. This connection between politics and religion is still very strong in Islam and Judaism as well. Identifying one State with a religion and an ethnic group, generating Zionism, has created a violent movement that was fueled by religion, and that creates problems for many Jews who to not back Israel’s politics. On the Islamic side, the Palestinian cause has been identified with Islam and has created the same difficulty, and it is perhaps for this reason that the peace process and a possible reconciliation have stalled.

To date, it seems to me that Christianity as a religion distinctly separates faith and politics, though not always perfectly … like everything that is human. Benedict XVI also writes about this in his Apostolic Exhortation for the Middle East: “A healthy secularity, on the other hand, frees religion from the encumbrance of politics, and allows politics to be enriched by the contribution of religion, while maintaining the necessary distance, clear distinction and indispensable collaboration between the two spheres” (Ecclesia in Medio Oriente, No. 29).

In fact, with the Muslims, as soon as you mention Mary, there is a notable change in attitude: there is an atmosphere of piety, of silence, of brotherhood, as if after chatting about many things, you were entering a place of worship, and there is silence.

Some might see this as a kind of syncretism. But in fact, devotion is a phenomenon that is open to all. Even in the West, Marian shrines do not only attract Christians, but also other believers, or people who have left the Church, even non-believers. Even though the liturgies are clearly Christian. And if I, as I pray to Our Lady, see a Muslim praying next to me, what’s the problem? On the contrary: it is a great comfort because devotion is a far stronger foundation for a relationship and friendship than ideological, political or cultural bonds. Those who think the of Christian faith in an exclusive way, as do some Catholic traditionalists, have yet to fully understand Christianity.

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

Qatar: World’s Fattest Country, Diabetics Will Double by 2030

70% of Qataris are overweight

(ANSAmed) — DOGA, JULY 25 — The number of diabetic patients in Qatar could double by 2030, according to doctor Mahmoud Ziries, who heads the endocrinology department of Qatar’s health authority, the Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC). The authority recently launched the campaign ‘Action on Diabetes’ to warn the population on the risks posed by diabetes.

About 16% of Qatar’s population reportedly has diabetes and the emirate is considered as having the largest overweight population worldwide, 70% of the total.

‘It is estimated that by 2030 the number of diabetics in Qatar will have doubled’, said Zirie. ‘Through initiatives like check ups and screenings we are trying to reduce the number of diabetics, also working through awareness campaigns, education and early diagnosis’, he added.

An alarming fact that emerged from the campaign is that almost 10% of those tested for diabetes were completely unaware of having high levels of sugar in their blood.

Qatar will invest 10.5 billion dollars in the next five years in a national health plan whose priorities include the promotion of a healthy lifestyle and the fight against diabetes.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Syria: Disillusioned Rebels Drift Back to Take Assad Amnesty

Hundreds of men who took up arms against President Bashar al-Assad are defecting back to the government side, The Telegraph has learnt.

Disillusioned by the Islamist twist that the “revolution” in Syria has taken, exhausted after more than two years of conflict and feeling that they are losing, growing numbers of rebels are signing up to a negotiated amnesty offered by the Assad regime.

At the same time, the families of retreating fighters have begun quietly moving back to government-controlled territory, seen as a safer place to live as the regime continues its intense military push against rebel-held areas.

The move is a sign of the growing confidence of the regime, which has established a so-called “ministry of reconciliation” with the task of easing the way for former opponents to return to the government side.

Ali Haider, the minister in charge, said: “Our message is, ‘if you really want to defend the Syrian people, put down your weapons and come and defend Syria in the right way, through dialogue’.”

Mr Haider, who has a reputation as a moderate within the regime, has established a system in which opposition fighters give up their weapons in exchange for safe passage to government-held areas.

Rebel fighters have privately said that they are aware of the amnesty offer, and that some men had chosen to accept it, although they say that the numbers involved remains a small proportion of those fighting the government.

“I used to fight for revolution, but now I think we have lost what we were fighting for,” said Mohammed, a moderate Muslim rebel from the northern town of Raqqa who declined to give his last name. “Now extremists control my town. My family has moved back to government side because our town is too unsafe. Assad is terrible, but the alternative is worse.”

The prevalence of extremist Islamist groups in rebel-held areas, particularly in the north, has caused some opposition fighters to “give up” on their cause…

           — Hat tip: TV [Return to headlines]
 

1.1 Million Brazilians Murdered in 30 Years

BRASILIA, Brazil (AFP) — More than one million people were murdered in Brazil between 1980 and 2011, making it the world’s seventh most violent country, a survey showed Thursday.

During the period, homicides soared 132 percent to claim 1,145,208 lives, from a rate of 11.5 murders for 100,000 inhabitants in 1980 to 27 per 100,000 in 2011, according to the Map of Violence report,

Among those aged between 14 and 25, homicides skyrocketed 326 percent to reach 53 per 100,000 inhabitants, said the study published by the Latin American Studies Center (Cebela).

In 2011, Brazil, now home to 194 million people, recorded 51,198 homicides, ranked seventh among the world’s most violent nations after El Salvador, the US Virgin Islands, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, Colombia and Guatemala.

[Return to headlines]
 

13-Year-Old Girl Raped by More Than a Dozen Illegal Aliens in Texas

[WARNING: Disturbing content.]

The girl, a runaway, who lives at the Settlement Home for Children, was picked up by three Latino men and driven to the Avalon Arms apartments, where she was raped by a large group of men for several hours, according to police.

As many as 13 men took turns sexually assaulting the girl. Many cheered and filmed the sickening crime on their cell phones, according to court documents.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]
 

Italy: Controversial Homophobia Bill Set to be Discussed in House

Parts of Berlusconi’s party unhappy with draft legislation

(ANSA) — Rome, July 23 — The floor of Italy’s Lower House is set to start debating a controversial bill that will make homophobia a criminal offence if it is approved. The bill was given the green light late in Monday by a parliamentary commission with the votes of Premier Enrico Letta’s centre-left Democratic Party (PD), ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Freedom (PdL) party and the left-wing SEL group.

But several Catholic figures within the centre-right PdL are unhappy about the bill, fearing it could curtain freedom of speech and opinion. The Catholic Church considers homosexuality a sin.

So there is a possibility that the bill’s passage through parliament after it reaches the floor of the House Friday could be blocked by a long series of amendments presented by opponents.

Some senior PdL figures at the weekend suggested the government impose on “moratorium” on legislation on ethical measures, including the homophobia bill, although this was not backed by all of the party. Relations with Parliament Minister Dario Franceschini rejected the idea too.

“A law to fight homophobia has nothing to do with ethical issues,” said Franceschini, a PD member. “It regards the criminal code and the introduction of effective measures, which it has taken too long to approve.

“These are urgent and cannot be delayed any longer”.

Letta’s government is based on a fragile alliance between the PD and the PdL, two parties who were long-standing bitter rivals until they decided to work together to end two months of deadlock in April after February’s inconclusive general election.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Open the Floodgates: Pedophiles Arguing Their Sexual Orientation is No Different Than Homosexuals

Using the same tactics used by “gay” rights activists, pedophiles have begun to seek similar status arguing their desire for children is a sexual orientation no different than heterosexual or homosexuals.

Critics of the homosexual lifestyle have long claimed that once it became acceptable to identify homosexuality as simply an “alternative lifestyle” or sexual orientation, logically nothing would be off limits. “Gay” advocates have taken offense at such a position insisting this would never happen. However, psychiatrists are now beginning to advocate redefining pedophilia in the same way homosexuality was redefined several years ago.

In 1973 the American Psychiatric Association declassified homosexuality from its list of mental disorders. A group of psychiatrists with B4U-Act recently held a symposium proposing a new definition of pedophilia in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders of the APA.

B4U-Act calls pedophiles “minor-attracted people.” The organization’s website states its purpose is to, “help mental health professionals learn more about attraction to minors and to consider the effects of stereotyping, stigma and fear.”

In 1998 The APA issued a report claiming “that the ‘negative potential’ of adult sex with children was ‘overstated’ and that ‘the vast majority of both men and women reported no negative sexual effects from childhood sexual abuse experiences..”

Pedophilia has already been granted protected status by the Federal Government. The Matthew Shephard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act lists “sexual orientation” as a protected class; however, it does not define the term.

Republicans attempted to add an amendment specifying that “pedophilia is not covered as an orientation;” however, the amendment was defeated by Democrats. Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fl) stated that all alternative sexual lifestyles should be protected under the law. “This bill addresses our resolve to end violence based on prejudice and to guarantee that all Americans, regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability or all of these ‘philias’ and fetishes and ‘isms’ that were put forward need not live in fear because of who they are. I urge my colleagues to vote in favor of this rule.”

           — Hat tip: McR [Return to headlines]
 

Parental Rights: God-Given and Unalienable? Or, Government-Granted and Revocable?

Our Declaration of Independence says:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it… (2ndpara) [emphasis mine]

So! Rights come from God; they are unalienable; the purpose of government is to secure the rights God gave us; and when government takes away our God given rights, it’s time to “throw off such Government.”

That is our Founding Principle.

Let us now compare our Founding Principle with the U.N.’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It enumerates 30 some “rights”, among which are:

Article 8 Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.

Article 21 … 3.The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections…

Article 29 … 2.In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.

3. These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations. [all boldface mine]

So! Rights are enumerated; they come from man [constitutions or laws]; governments may do whatever a majority of people want them to do [instead of securing rights God gave us]; and rights may be limited by law & are subject to the will of the United Nations [not God].

Now, let’s look at the Parental Rights Amendment (PRA) from the website of parentalrights.org and compare it with the U.N.’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights:[1]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]
 

Texas Senator Warns Hate Speech Charges ‘Next Step’ For Pastors Who Oppose Same-Sex ‘Marriage’

In an interview with David Brody of CBN, Senator Ted Cruz was asked if he sees the issue of homosexual “marriage” leading to other concerns for pastors.

“There are a lot of Christian scholars, when they talk about the marriage issue, they see it in essence going down this line of potential hate speech from the pulpit,” Brody said. “What is your sense about where this potentially could be going?”

“Well, if you look at other nations that have gone down the road towards gay marriage, that’s the next step where it gets enforced,“ Cruz replied. “It gets enforced against Christian pastors who decline to perform gay marriages, who speak out and preach biblical truths on marriage.”

“And that has been defined elsewhere as hate speech, as inconsistent with the enlightened view of government,” he continued. “And I think there’s no doubt that the advocates who are driving this effort in the United States want to see us end up in that same place.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]
 

The Name of Jesus Has Become a Dirty Word in Politically Correct America

In the United States today, there are very few words that provoke as much outrage as the name of Jesus. It is being banned from graduation ceremonies, chaplains all over America are being forbidden from using His name in their prayers, and many school officials all over the nation have become absolutely fanatical about eliminating every trace of Christian expression from their schools. One elementary school in North Carolina even ordered a little six-year-old girl to remove the word “God” from a poem that she had written to honor her grandfathers. Political correctness is spreading like a cancer in this country, and our “freedom of religion” is rapidly being transformed into a guarantee of “freedom from religion” for those that hate the Christian faith.

Without a doubt, there is a war on the Christian faith in America today. It is being waged in classrooms, courtrooms and churches all over the nation.

The following is an excerpt from a speech that Rand Paul gave earlier this year…

There is a war on Christianity, not just from liberal elites here at home, but worldwide.

And your government, or more correctly, you, the taxpayer, are funding it.

Evidence of this war on Christianity is everywhere these days. The following are just a few examples…

[jaw-dropping list of examples here — see article url]

[…]

And one of the biggest battlegrounds for religious freedom in America at the moment is the U.S. military.

Right now, there are some very powerful forces that are trying to eradicate all expressions of the Christian faith from the U.S. military…

The MRFF [Military Religious Freedom Foundation ] is a very insidious organization. It is headed up by a man named Mikey Weinstein. He has called Christians “human monsters” and “enemies of the United States Constitution”. Weinstein is convinced that sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ while in the military is “sedition and treason” and should be punished as such.

[Comment: A must read article.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]
 

Friction Signals New Role for Superstar Planet-Hunter

There may be life in the old girl yet. There’s a slim chance that NASA’s hugely successful planet-hunter, the Kepler space telescope, may recover from a recent glitch that ended its planet-hunting activities. Even if it doesn’t, the telescope may still have a role — uncovering more details of the planets it has found so far.

Launched in 2009, Kepler was designed to stare at a patch of sky and look for the minuscule dips in starlight as a planet passes in front of, or transits, its host star. The telescope has so far discovered 135 transiting planets, and thousands more candidate worlds await confirmation.

Until recently, the mission had been edging closer to its ultimate goal of finding a planet the same size as Earth in a sunlike star’s habitable zone, the region where liquid water — and maybe life — can exist. In April, for instance, the Kepler team revealed a pair of habitable worlds orbiting a star slightly cooler than our sun.

Two wheels down

Then in May the team announced that one of the telescope’s four reaction wheels had stopped turning. The telescope needs at least three of these wheels to keep its gaze steady, and one had already been switched off last year as it was not spinning smoothly. With only two functional wheels left, it looked like it was curtains for Kepler.

But Kepler’s researchers haven’t given up yet. After giving the hobbled telescope a rest, the team started exploratory tests on 18 July to see if either of the malfunctioning wheels could be coaxed back into service.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

0 thoughts on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 7/26/2013

  1. Regarding “Greece: Athens Mayor Stops Another Golden Dawn Food Handout”
    Golden Dawn was prohibited doing the good deed in a public square. But they did it at their offices. 10,000 people shoed up violating the restrictions on assembly. Yes, that’s right – the government issued orders prohibiting “gatherings” in a large area of the city center. The oxymoron occurred where old people were asking the police – tasked with not allowing people in this area – for directions to the headquarters of Golden Dawn. And the police – knowing that the order was illegal, were giving them directions.
    Not to mention a very angry police force being under a 40C sun in order to obey their political leaders. Golden Dawn prohibited the main TV channels from taking footage because they don’t give them any time as the law requires. Only 2 TV channels were allowed in the area. They are the only ones that give the party MPs some air-time.
    The decision backfired. It basically advertised that the state has turned against the ethnos.
    photo:
    http://www.xryshaygh.com/index.php/enimerosi/view/defencenet-enischumenh-h-chrush-augh-apo-thn-apagoreush-omologia-kubernhtik#.UfNlFc8o44c

  2. “Elderly Woman Who Was Beaten, Raped Dies”

    We many such cases in Greece.
    Culprits are mostly Pakistanis.