Gates of Vienna News Feed 7/27/2013

A new round of deadly violence erupted in Cairo and other Egyptian cities as Muslim Brotherhood supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi clashed with police. Witnesses said police fired live rounds into the crowd, and at least 74 people were killed.

In other news, Francisco Jose Garzon Amo, the driver of the train that derailed on Wednesday in Spain, has been charged with reckless homicide for the deaths of 78 people killed in the crash. Mr. Garzon is still in the hospital recuperating from his injuries.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Diana West, Fjordman, Insubria, JD, Vlad Tepes, and all the other tipsters who sent these in.

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

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

Financial Crisis
» Greece: Over 100 State Kindergartens to be Closed
» Greece: Jobs for 50,000 Unemployed Through OAED
» National Debt Stacked in Dollar Bills Would Stretch From Earth to Moon Five Times
» The Total Destruction of America From Within (Video)
» Diana West: Why Won’t the Media Cover Huma Abedin’s Ties to the Global Jihad Movement?
» Family of Murdered Border Patrol Agent: Nothing ‘Phony’ About Deaths Linked to Fast and Furious
» Feds Put Heat on Web Firms for Master Encryption Keys
» Hacker Found Dead Just Days Before He Was Due to Demonstrate Pacemaker Flaw at Conference
» Harvard is Only the Eighth Best College in America, According to Forbes
» Homeland Security is Now Regulating Live Entertainment
» Kidnapping: CPS’s Billion Dollar Industry
» National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Buys 72,000 Rounds of Ammo
» NBC Memphis: No Evidence of Car Production at McAuliffe Greentech Plant
» New DHS Headquarters Was a CIA MKUltra Test Facility
» NSA Surveillance Critics to Testify Before Congress
» Obama DHS Planned to Kill Peaceful Protesters in Sniper Attacks
» Obama Promises, Including Whistleblower Protections, Disappear From Website
» Oh, The Irony! IRS Agents Beg Out of ObamaCare
» Research: How You Respond to Stress Now Determines Your Health in 10 Years
» Roundup: The Sneaky and Cheap Contraceptive Hiding in Your Food
» Secret DHS Training Video Leaked
» Survey: Only 15% of Farmers Would Eat GMO Food
» The Amash Amendment Failed, But Civil Libertarians Won on Wednesday
» Zero for Hero: Judge Snubs Man Hurt Stopping ‘Butcher of Brighton Beach’
» Steveston Gift Shop Removes Offensive ‘Whale’ Signage Denoting Plus-Sized Clothing
Europe and the EU
» Air France Plans to Back Alitalia Turnaround Plan, CEO Says
» Italy: Bonino Says Countries Returning to Death Penalty a Concern
» Italy: Chemo Most Effective Treatment for Lung Cancer, Study Shows
» Italy: High Court Says No Penalty for Approaching Prostitutes
» Italy: Centuries-Old Balsamic Vinegar Passes Taste Test
» Italy: Bipartisan Solidarity With Kyenge Hit by Bananas
» Spain Train Crash: Driver Detained for ‘Reckless Homicide’
» Turkish Cypriots Seek EU Help on Peace Process
» UK ‘Porn’ Filter Will Blacklist Non-Porn Websites
Mediterranean Union
» Jordan: EBRD Finances Shopping Centre in Amman, 80 Mln Loan
» Research: Israel in Top Three Countries to Receive EU Grants
North Africa
» Egypt: This is No Time for Sissies
» Libya: Over 1,000 Escape From Benghazi Prison After Revolt
» Over 70 Dead in Egypt Clashes
Israel and the Palestinians
» Israel to Release 103 Palestinian Prisoners
Middle East
» As UN Reports More Than 100,000 Dead in Syria’s Civil War, Opposition Remains Divided Between Islamists and Secularist
» Face the Truth About President Bashar Al-Assad: He’s Not Going
» Turkey: Over Half of Women at Work Unregistered, Survey
» U.S. To Russia: We Won’t Seek Death Penalty for Edward Snowden
South Asia
» Afghanistan: Father of Seal Team Member Claims His Son Was Set Up (Video)
» India: Italian Dancer Attacked by Hindu Priests
Far East
» Church United in Demanding Universal Suffrage in Hong Kong, “Useless to Look for Internal Divisions”
» DHS to Reconsider Immigration Petitions for Gay Couples
» Italy: Bloody Racists’ Message Found on Mannequins
» Italy Has 4.4 Million Foreigners, But Many Returning Home
» Over 450 Immigrants Rescued Near Sicily Within 24 Hours
» Silicon Valley Steps Up Role in Immigration Debate
Culture Wars
» Italy: Gay-Rights Row Adds to Govt Headaches
» Mysterious NASA Video of Saturn Reveals Impossible Hexagon-Shaped Cloud Pattern Larger Than Planet Earth

Greece: Over 100 State Kindergartens to be Closed

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, JULY 25 — More than 100 state-run kindergartens and elementary schools are to be shut down all over Greece over the summer and almost 30 more will be merged, saving the government 228,000 euros a year. The Education Ministry said Wednesday that a total of 118 schools would be closed and 29 merged, while two new kindergartens and three elementary schools would be opened. The ministry, as Kathimerini online reports, decides each summer what changes to make to schools but this year saving public money has also played a role in the decision-making process.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Greece: Jobs for 50,000 Unemployed Through OAED

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, JULY 23 — A new program concerning unemployed people that come from families whose members are all unemployed will be implemented in August in Greece through the Manpower Employment Organization (OAED), as GreekReporter writes. The program concerns 50,000 unemployed people, who will work for five months. The program will be implemented by municipalities. The income will not be more than 500 euros per month. The total funding will be 170 million euros.

In the following days, the relative decisions will be signed so that 50,000 people will be absorbed by the municipalities through OAED. Some of the domains that the unemployed will find a job in are: forest protection, extracurricular programs for students, students’ road safety, social groceries, social services, maintenance works, cleaning and more.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

National Debt Stacked in Dollar Bills Would Stretch From Earth to Moon Five Times

The U.S. national debt would reach 1.1 million miles into space if stacked in one dollar bills.

According to the latest available data from the U.S. Treasury, the total public debt outstanding is $16,738,105,803,858.21.

A dollar bill is .0043 inches in thickness.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

The Total Destruction of America From Within (Video)

Paul Craig Roberts discusses the dismantling of the U.S. constitution and the current Great Recession.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Diana West: Why Won’t the Media Cover Huma Abedin’s Ties to the Global Jihad Movement?

Nationalized health care was one of the first programs enacted by the Bolsheviks after they seized power in 1917. Nearly a century later, the U.S. enacted “Obamacare.”

Who won the Cold War again? This is one of the questions I work over in my new book, “American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation’s Character” (St. Martin’s Press). Can we realistically claim liberty and free markets triumphed over collectivism when today there is only a thin Senate line trying to fend off Obamacare’s totalitarian intrusions into citizens’ lives? We see perhaps a dozen or so patriots led by conservative ace Sen. Republican Mike Lee of Utah, gallantly mustering forces to defund further enforcement of this government behemoth aborning. (Call your senators and ask them to join — or tell you why they didn’t at the next town hall.) How can we maintain that the republic endured when a centralized super-state has taken its place?

So, once more, who really won the Cold War? The question is better framed when we realize that the battleground where the Free World met Marx was also psychological. Consciously or not, we struggled against an insidious Marxist ideology that was always, at root, an assault on our nation’s character.

The most recent manifestation of victory over the American character shows through the Anthony Weiner-Huma Abedin scandal. This scandal is a paradoxical double whammy of both exposure and cover-up.

Everyone knows (too much) about the exposure part: Anthony Weiner, candidate for mayor of New York City, turns out to be a recidivist pervert. The fatuous conversation that has followed this “news” has turned on the decision of Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin, to step forward to try to salvage her husband’s bid for public office. The Wall Street Journal’s response to Abedin’s decision was typical: “Watching the elegant Huma Abedin stand next to her man Tuesday as he explained his latest sexually charged online exchanges was painful for a normal human being to watch.”

The media want to know why the “elegant Huma” — Hillary Clinton’s longtime aide and former deputy chief of staff — would do such an inelegant thing. Was this couple’s therapy writ large? Was it for their child? Was it … love?

True, the barbs of Huma’s ambition — as naked as her husband’s dirty pics — have broken through the gauzy chatter. But cut off from context, they, too, end up perpetuating what is, in fact, the great Huma Abedin cover-up.

It is not enough to analyze Huma Abedin as a “political wife.” Abedin is also a veritable Muslim Brotherhood princess. As such, the ideological implications of her actions — plus her long and privileged access to US policy-making through Hillary Clinton — must be considered, particularly in the context of national security…

           — Hat tip: Diana West [Return to headlines]

Family of Murdered Border Patrol Agent: Nothing ‘Phony’ About Deaths Linked to Fast and Furious

Wednesday during a speech at Knox College in Illinois, President Obama referred to the many scandals surrounding his White House as “phony.” Obama’s comments came just hours after White House Press Secretary Jay Carney referred to the scandals as phony on MSNBC and said Republicans have gone too far in their efforts to investigate them.

“With an endless parade of distractions, political posturing and phony scandals, Washington has taken its eye off the ball,” Obama said.

In response to the comments, the family of murdered Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry is reminding President Obama that the hundreds of deaths linked to Operation Fast and Furious are far from phony. Guns trafficked during the operation were found at Terry’s murder scene in December 2010.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Feds Put Heat on Web Firms for Master Encryption Keys

Whether the FBI and NSA have the legal authority to obtain the master keys that companies use for Web encryption remains an open question, but it hasn’t stopped the U.S. government from trying.

The U.S. government has attempted to obtain the master encryption keys that Internet companies use to shield millions of users’ private Web communications from eavesdropping.

These demands for master encryption keys, which have not been disclosed previously, represent a technological escalation in the clandestine methods that the FBI and the National Security Agency employ when conducting electronic surveillance against Internet users.

If the government obtains a company’s master encryption key, agents could decrypt the contents of communications intercepted through a wiretap or by invoking the potent surveillance authorities of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Web encryption — which often appears in a browser with a HTTPS lock icon when enabled — uses a technique called SSL, or Secure Sockets Layer.

“The government is definitely demanding SSL keys from providers,” said one person who has responded to government attempts to obtain encryption keys. The source spoke with CNET on condition of anonymity.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Hacker Found Dead Just Days Before He Was Due to Demonstrate Pacemaker Flaw at Conference

Mystery surrounds the death of a celebrated computer hacker who claimed to know how to remotely kill someone fitted with a heart pacemaker — as happened in the fictional TV spy drama Homeland.

Barnaby Jack died in San Francisco on Thursday, just days before he was due to give a speech revealing how implanted heart devices were at risk from fatal hacking attacks.

The San Francisco Medical Examiner’s office confirmed the death last night but did not give any further details.

New Zealand-born Jack, 35, was scheduled to be one of the star guests at the Black Hat hacking convention in Las Vegas next week.

In a presentation called Hacking Humans, he was planning to highlight the shortcomings of commonly used pacemaker machines by demonstrating how he could hack into them and kill the heart patient from 50ft away with a deadly power surge triggered by a wireless transmitter.

Jack claimed it was possible to infect the pacemaker companies’ servers with a bug that would spread through their system like a virus.

‘We are potentially looking at a worm with the ability to commit mass murder,’ he added. ‘It’s kind of scary.’

The possibility of such attacks is being taken so seriously by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that it has asked manufacturers to ensure greater protection for newer pacemakers which use wireless technology.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Harvard is Only the Eighth Best College in America, According to Forbes

Forbes released its 2013 college rankings today, placing California schools Stanford University and Pomona College in the top two spots and moving Harvard University down towards the bottom of the top 10.

Forbes notes that there are many major shifts currently happening in higher education, but one overlooked change may be “the rise of non-Ivy League, West Coast colleges.” With an apparent dig at U.S. News & World Report’s rankings — which most recently had Harvard and Princeton tied at the top spot — Forbes writes that they are looking at “output” over “input.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Homeland Security is Now Regulating Live Entertainment

Indiana DHS demands restaurant owner get permit to play live music

Despite being created ostensibly as a response to the terror attacks on 9/11, the Department of Homeland Security has now expanded its role to include issuing permits without which restaurant owners are barred from playing live music.

Unbelievable as it sounds, in the state of Indiana, the DHS, which was supposedly founded to protect against and respond to terrorist attacks, man-made accidents, and natural disasters, now regulates live entertainment.

Mike Martin, the owner of Folly Moon, a restaurant in downtown Muncie, IN, claims that the DHS “is actually saying it is illegal to play music or operate a business where music is played for any reason without paying the Department of Homeland Security, and giving them much personal and private information.”

Last April, the Indiana DHS claimed Martin’s business had violated state law by failing to obtain an entertainment permit for live music. Martin charges that the DHS is selectively enforcing the rule in order to “shut down small business with outdated laws.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Kidnapping: CPS’s Billion Dollar Industry

Warning: This is Painful to Watch

Shaymus Crow’s film is an excellent overview of the treacherous acts committed by the government funded program known as Child Protective Services (CPS).

Social welfare-agencies have been allowed the right to remove neglected and abused children from the care of their families since the early 1800s.

A report by John E.B. Meyers describes the birth of the first governmental agency supposedly created to protect children. The agency, born in New York in 1875 was called the New York Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NYSPCC)…

The legislation soon turned the operation into a $12 billion a year business.

Legislation that was originally created for the purpose of helping children, has transformed into a financial operation aimed at kidnapping children for the financial benefit of the state.

The more children removed, the more money that’s made. The children while under the state’s care are prescribed an average of seven medications in an attempt to keep them chained to the system for a lifetime.

The state and federal government justifies the inflicted trauma arguing that children “adapt.”

The business is so lucrative that advocates like Nancy Schaefer, who aggressively took action against CPS exposing their crimes, were subsequently removed. The media reported that Nancy Schaefer’s husband, troubled by financial problems, shot his wife to death while she slept before turning the gun on himself in 2010.

A report by speculated on the circumstances surrounding the couple’s death, finding it odd that a suicide victim would shoot them self in the chest.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Buys 72,000 Rounds of Ammo

Weather agency makes another contract for even more hollow point bullets.

Not satisfied with last year’s purchase of 46,000 rounds of hollow point ammunition, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently solicited bids for an additional 72,000 rounds.

A solicitation by the scientific agency posted on July 8 on the Federal Business Opportunities web site requested “56,000 rounds of .40 caliber 180 grain jacketed hollow points” and “16,000 rounds of .40 caliber frangible lead free rounds.”

The NOAA appears to have had an immediate need for the rounds as their requested response date was only four days later on July 12.

Jacketed hollow points (JHPs) are not practice rounds.

They are designed to expand (or “mushroom”) on impact and are more expensive than ball ammo used for practice…

As surreal as it sounds, the NOAA’s massive purchase of over 100,000 rounds of JHPs in the past two years follows the trend of other federal non-military agencies which combined have purchased conservatively 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition in little over a year.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

NBC Memphis: No Evidence of Car Production at McAuliffe Greentech Plant

An investigation by WMC-TV revealed GreenTech Automotive, the electric car company formerly headed by Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, told its employees in Northern Mississippi to pretend to build cars to fool foreign investors.

The allegations raise more questions about McAuliffe’s involvement with GreenTech and the firm’s transparency. McAuliffe promised GreenTech would create thousands of cars and hundreds of jobs, but investigators found no evidence of any major car production:

“If I can be successful and make 10,000 cars over the next 12 months here in Horn Lake and ship them over to Denmark, that’s a huge win for me, the company, and most importantly, Mississippi,” said McAuliffe in July 2012.

Twelve months later, the Action News 5 Investigators have uncovered no evidence of any major car production and a former Greentech employee raises new questions about the company’s operation.

“We were told, you know, when we first went in the fall of ‘11, we were going to build a 100 by Christmas, didn’t happen,” said the former employee, who asked to remain anonymous. “Then we were told we were going to build X amount through the year 2012 and that didn’t happen.”

The employee said he and other workers built cars, then deconstructed and rebuilt them to make it appear as though they were working. He also said there were photo shoots where workers were put on the assembly line holding tools, feigning production.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

New DHS Headquarters Was a CIA MKUltra Test Facility

DHS’s new digs used for secret mind-altering experimentation

The mammoth governmental entity, which has come to umbrella the offices of the Customs and Border Protection agency, Immigration, Customs and Enforcement, FEMA, the abhorrent TSA, and even the U.S. Coast Guard since its creation in 2002, is working to consolidate all of its agencies within one campus at a cost of $4.5 billion.

Little-reported, however, is the facility’s history of being used by the CIA (then known as the OSS) to carry out mind-altering and brainwashing experimentation on unwitting mental patients, a clandestine program better known as MKUltra.

The primary goals of the MKUltra experiments were to test the effects of drugs, namely hallucinogens, and other forms of psychotherapy — including electroshock therapy — on humans, and to research and perfect methods of torture which could best be used to create Manchurian candidates, or mind-controlled persons, who could be programmed to carry out any number of harmful acts, up to and including assassinating presidents of the United States.

A August 1977 New York Times article reported that the CIA used more than 80 facilities to carry out the hellish MKUltra projects, “including 44 colleges or universities as well as hospitals, prisons and pharmaceutical companies.”

The new DHS headquarters, St. Elizabeths Hospital, was one of these institutions.

[Comment: Was not Lubyanka formerly a mental facility also?]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

NSA Surveillance Critics to Testify Before Congress

Congress will hear testimony from critics of the National Security Agency’s surveillance practices for the first time since the whistleblower Edward Snowden’s explosive leaks were made public.

Democrat congressman Alan Grayson, who is leading a bipartisan group of congressman organising the hearing, told the Guardian it would serve to counter the “constant misleading information” from the intelligence community.

The hearing, which will take place on Wednesday, comes amid evidence of a growing congressional rebellion NSA data collection methods.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Obama DHS Planned to Kill Peaceful Protesters in Sniper Attacks

Feds, contractors and police prepared to carry out death squad operations

This document was obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund. Click on image to see enlargement.

In June, cited a report by revealing that the “FBI was aware of an organization, possibly a local police department or private security company, that had plans to assassinate peaceful protesters during the Occupy Movement.”

The classified document released by the FBI read:

“An identified [DELETED] as of October planned to engage in sniper attacks against protestors (sic) in Houston, Texas if deemed necessary. An identified [DELETED] had received intelligence that indicated the protesters in New York and Seattle planned similar protests in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin,Texas. [DELETED] planned to gather intelligence against the leaders of the protest groups and obtain photographs, then formulate a plan to kill the leadership via suppressed sniper rifles.”

“According to journalist David Lindorff, the FBI planned to assassinate the leaders of the now moribund Occupy movement ‘via suppressed sniper rifles,” a follow up report by Kurt Nimmo confirmed.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Obama Promises, Including Whistleblower Protections, Disappear From Website

Amid the Obama administration’s crackdown against whistleblowers,, the 2008 website of the Obama transition team laying out the candidate’s promises, has disappeared from the internet.

The Sunlight Foundation notes that it last could be viewed on June 8, which was two days after the first revelations from Edward Snowden (who had then not yet revealed himself) about the NSA’s phone surveillance program. One of the promises Obama made on the website was on “whistleblower protections:”

Often the best source of information about waste, fraud, and abuse in government is an existing government employee committed to public integrity and willing to speak out. Such acts of courage and patriotism, which can sometimes save lives and often save taxpayer dollars, should be encouraged rather than stifled. We need to empower federal employees as watchdogs of wrongdoing and partners in performance. Barack Obama will strengthen whistleblower laws to protect federal workers who expose waste, fraud, and abuse of authority in government. Obama will ensure that federal agencies expedite the process for reviewing whistleblower claims and whistleblowers have full access to courts and due process.

The White House did not respond to multiple requests for comment on why the page was deleted. The site had offered a way to compare Obama’s promises and administration actions and still can be viewed on the Wayback archive.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Oh, The Irony! IRS Agents Beg Out of ObamaCare

Even though they’ll be charged with enforcing its mandates, employees of the Internal Revenue Service are petitioning Congress to be exempted from Obamacare.

The National Treasury Employees Union, which represents employees of the IRS and several other federal agencies, is asking its members to sign letters to Congress objecting to H.R. 1780, a new bill proposed by Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., which would compel federal employees, including the president, Congress and IRS, to participate in the health plans and health insurance exchanges created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

“I am very concerned about legislation that has been introduced by Congressman Dave Camp to push federal employees out of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) and into the insurance exchanges established under the Affordable Care Act,” the form letters state. “The primary purpose of the Affordable Care Act was to provide a marketplace for the sale and purchase of health insurance for those who do not have such coverage — not to take coverage away from employees who already receive it through their employers.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Research: How You Respond to Stress Now Determines Your Health in 10 Years

Research now shows that the way you handle minor daily stressors — those little annoyances — has a tremendous impact on your long-term health.

Human nature is to justify the nasty little moods, childish reactions and general grumpiness because “life is so stressful.” We act like we can’t help it. Human nature is leading us to an early grave.

A study conducted at University of Pennsylvania reminds us that the stressful events themselves are not the real problem. Our reactions to those events are the problem — and a serious one at that.

“Our research shows that how you react to what happens in your life today predicts your chronic health conditions and 10 years in the future, independent of your current health and your future stress,” said David Almeida, professor of human development and family studies at University of Pennsylvania.

“For example, if you have a lot of work to do today and you are really grumpy because of it, then you are more likely to suffer negative health consequences 10 years from now than someone who also has a lot of work to do today, but doesn’t let it bother her.

“The research was rigorous, including eight consecutive daily interviews, along with four saliva-based cortisol tests during those eight days. For each participant, the test was conducted again ten years later to determine any changes in stress handling as well as to assess health outcomes.The results were clear. Those who handled stress better had fewer overall health issues, especially chronic pain and cardiovascular problems.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Roundup: The Sneaky and Cheap Contraceptive Hiding in Your Food

(NaturalNews) The dirty truth about glyphosate, the active chemical in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide formula, keeps rearing its ugly head, this time in a new study published in the journal Free Radical Medicine & Biology. According to this latest indictment of Roundup, researchers affirmed that Roundup is essentially a destroyer of fertility, particularly in men, and at levels far below what is commonly found as residue in the conventional food supply.

A team of scientists from the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina in Florianopolis-Santa Catarina, Brazil, set out to verify the merits of an existing body of research on glyphosate, which has previously determined the chemical to be a powerful endocrine disruptor. They looked specifically at how exposure to low doses of glyphosate affects Sertoli cells, which live in the testicles, sustain healthy sperm, and are required for normal and healthy male sexual development.

As it turns out, when Sertoli cells are exposed to relatively low doses of glyphosate, they end up dying through a series of glyphosate-induced changes. According to the team’s analysis, Roundup exposure at a mere 36 parts per million (ppm), or 0.036 grams per liter (g/L), led to both oxidative stress and the activation of multiple stress-response pathways that ultimately led to Sertoli cell death in test mice. The herbicide also increased levels of intracellular calcium (Ca2+) in cells, an overload of which can also lead to cell death.

[Comment: this may be the reason fertility rates are dropping in the West.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Secret DHS Training Video Leaked

The depths of evil depicted in this production does not even scratch the surface of crimes committed against humanity by the corporate, globalist New World Order.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Survey: Only 15% of Farmers Would Eat GMO Food

(NaturalNews) The British survey was funded by Barclays Bank and done in collaboration with Farmers Weekly.

Only 15% of farmers polled said they would eat GMO food. Talk about a blanket rejection. It can’t get much clearer than that.

Obviously, these backward farmers want to protect their own health. Who ever heard of such a thing! How dare they! They’re supposed to follow the party line. They’re supposed to say, “Yum yum, give me some GM.”

Well, funny things happen when people consider their own bodies. They tell you what they really think.

You see, 61% of the farmers said they’d grow GMO crops “if they had the opportunity.” In other words, they’d willingly endanger other people’s health, but not their own.

“Just business, nothing personal.”…

The farmers survey should have included the following questions, for the 61% of farmers who said they’d grow GMO crops if given the chance: “Would you eat what you sell every day of your life?”

“And if not, what is wrong with you?”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

The Amash Amendment Failed, But Civil Libertarians Won on Wednesday

Wednesday’s vote on NSA funding was a big victory for civil liberties.

That may sound like an odd statement since the Amash amendment to stop all funding for the NSA’s warrantless spying programs ultimately failed. Yet in politics, success shouldn’t be determined solely by the final outcome of legislation. There are several reasons why civil libertarians should be encouraged by the debate over the Amash amendment — and the vote count. We just need to examine the big picture.

The fight to restore the Fourth Amendment is winning on multiple fronts. First, the majority of Americans are now outraged that the NSA is infringing on our privacy rights. According to a McClatchy-Marist poll, 56 percent of Americans believe that the government has gone too far in its collection of personal data. Judging by public opinion polls and social media activism, it is probably safe to say that most Americans support efforts to defund NSA spying programs.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Zero for Hero: Judge Snubs Man Hurt Stopping ‘Butcher of Brighton Beach’

He’s a bona-fide hero who stopped the so-called “Butcher of Brighton Beach” at the end of a 28-hour city killing spree — but a Manhattan judge yesterday said a father of two is entitled to zero from the city for his injuries in the harrowing 2011 subway encounter.

Joseph Lozito sued the NYPD in January 2012, claiming police officers did nothing to help him as he confronted violent madman Maksim Gelman on a packed No. 3 train.

But Judge Margaret Chan tossed the case yesterday, saying that while she lauded Lozito’s bravery, cops did not have a specific charge of saving him from Gelman.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Steveston Gift Shop Removes Offensive ‘Whale’ Signage Denoting Plus-Sized Clothing

Denoting plus-size area as ‘Whale’ section leaves customer outraged

A Steveston gift shop that rippled the waters with its in-store signage for plus-sized clothing has removed the offending signs.

Local resident Sharon Arnold said a section of Lulu Island Designs featuring a hand-written sign denoting XXL- and XL-sized clothing as the “Whale” section was not appropriate and should be removed.

“I felt that it doesn’t belong here, because it’s sending the wrong message. It’s ostracizing large women,” said Arnold, adding there is also a “shrimp” sign for smaller-sized clothing in the store.

On Friday, a man who identified himself as the owner but refused to give his name told The Vancouver Sun that the signs had been taken down, despite being there for over 20 years with only the one recent complaint.

The man said “nobody complained” about the signs and that customers liked them, finding them humorous.

However, Arnold, 58, who has lived in Steveston for the past two years, said the signs hit a personal note with her since she has worn plus sizes for many years. Two years ago, she had gastric bypass surgery that limits how much she can ingest to deal with her weight.

Arnold, who weighed at one time about 455 pounds, said she has lost about 100 pounds since the surgery, and is committed to losing more.

She said the challenge to slim down, for her and others in a similar situation, is undermined by signage poking fun at overweight people.

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes [Return to headlines]

Air France Plans to Back Alitalia Turnaround Plan, CEO Says

Support not unconditional, close attention to financial aspects

(ANSA) — Paris, July 26 — France’s flagship carrier Air France on Friday said it would back Alitalia’s reorganization plan though it will pay close attention to the “financial and economic conditions” related to the turnaround project.

The comments were made by Air France Chief Executive Officer Alexandre de Juniac. Air France holds a 25% stake in the lossmaking Italian airline.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Bonino Says Countries Returning to Death Penalty a Concern

China leads world in executions, but number down on the year

(ANSA) — Rome, July 26 — An increase in the number of countries returning to the death penalty is a concern, said Foreign Minister Emma Bonino Friday.

“Countries that were in a de facto moratorium (on the death penalty) are resuming executions,” Bonino said during a presentation of research by the non-government organization Hands Off Cain. It found that while the numbers of executions are falling, several countries that had stopped applying death sentences were backtracking.

Last year, seven countries resumed executions with at least one reported in Botswana, nine in Gambia, seven in Japan, one each in India and Pakistan.

Bonino appealed for a renewed effort to abolish executions as the data showed that in 2012, almost 4,000 officially recorded executions were conducted.

China led the way by carrying out about 3,000 of those, which is believed to be a reduction of about 25% from the previous year.

Iran placed second with 580 executions in 2012, followed by Iraq at 129 and Saudi Arabia with 84.

The NGO says it hopes that a positive trend is developing towards the abolition of the death penalty in the world, noting that the raw numbers of executions have been dropping.

Compared with the almost 4,000 in 2012, there were 5,004 in 2011, at least 5,946 in 2010 and at least 5,741 in 2009, the agency said. Italian President Giorgio Napolitano praised the organization for its “tenacity” in tracking executions and repeated Italy’s opposition to the death penalty.

“Italy is a staunch supporter of human rights and civil liberties. Our opposition to the death penalty stems from a solid and ancient belief in the inviolability of the person,” he said in a statement.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Chemo Most Effective Treatment for Lung Cancer, Study Shows

Italian research ‘could improve care, cut costs’

(ANSA) — Milan, July 22 — An Italian study released Monday suggests that traditional chemotherapy is the most effective treatment for most cases of lung cancer. The study, which was published in the Lancet Oncology journal of medicine, shows that for 90% of lung tumors that are not small-celled, standard chemo is more effective than expensive alternatives that target only sick cells such as a treatment known as erlotinib. “We assessed the efficacy of erlotinib compared with a standard second-line chemotherapy in such patients,” said the research, which was conducted by the Oncology department of Milan’s Fatebenefratelli hospital and led by Marina Garassino.

The team said its research could improve cancer treatment as well as reduce public health costs.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: High Court Says No Penalty for Approaching Prostitutes

Municipal fine struck down for curb-crawling motorist

(ANSA) — Rome, July 26 — A municipal fine against a motorist who slowed down to cruise prostitutes was rejected Friday by Italy’s highest appeals court.

The Court of Cassation ruling came following an appeal of a 2008 case where a man was fined in the town of Montesilvano for slowing his vehicle to check out prostitutes.

The town’s mayor had passed a law against stopping a vehicle near a prostitute on a public highway.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Centuries-Old Balsamic Vinegar Passes Taste Test

Experts ‘stunned’ by quality of lost ampule

(By Christopher Livesay) (ANSA) — Modena, July 26 — A 273-year-old phial of Modena’s prized balsamic vinegar has been uncovered in the northern Italian city and experts say it’s delicious. The viscous, gourmet grape reduction was found two years ago along with a handwritten note inside an 18th-century chest inherited by a Modenese family. The note read: “Vinegar taken from a bottle of the Gregori family of Modena in 1740. Today, February 17, 1943, the vinegar is 203 years’ old. Signed: Giulio Jacoli fu Cesare”. After extensive chemical tests, the ampule was approved for an official taste by the Consorteria dell’Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale (Traditional Balsamic Vinegar Consortium) to judge its texture, flavor and appearance.

The consortium gave it 307 points, just 10.8 points below the balsamic vinegar that won this year’s top prize at the Palio di San Giovanni, the industry’s top competition. Tasters said they were stunned by its high quality given nearly 300 years of unaccounted-for conservation records. True balsamic vinegar must be aged for a minimum of 12 years in a series of successively smaller barrels. “To make balsamic vinegar, you need a line of five to seven barrels of diminishing size, or what we call a battery. They have different capacities and are made of different woods,” says Luca Gozzoli, grand master of the Modena consortium and agriculture councilor for the province. The first and largest barrel is usually made of hard wood, like chestnut. As they get smaller, the woods also get softer, like cherry and gelsum. The different woods add different aromas and overtones.

The smallest barrel at the end of the line usually has a capacity of 10 to 25 liters.

Each spring, one 10th of the last barrel — or one to 2.5 liters — is withdrawn for consumption throughout the year. If any more is taken, the delicate ferment inside will not withstand the next steps required to have a new batch of balsamic vinegar the following year.

A new batch is created by refilling the barrels all the way down the line. Contents from the second-smallest barrel are used to refill the smallest. Contents of the third-smallest is used to refill the second, and so on and so forth, until the newest cooked grape must, which has wintered in the basement, is used to refill the largest barrel in the line up.

Sitting with a kerchief-covered hole, the stuff evaporates and ferments quickly in hot summer months, and chills and settles its sediments during the winter.

Once a good balsamic vinegar gets going in one’s own barrels, it can last for generations to come, as additional aging only helps the flavor.

“The duration is infinite, if you take care of the reduction and its bacteria. There are barrels as old as 300 or 400 years old,” says Gozzoli.

The process of creating high-quality balsamic dates back to the Middle Ages when locals in Modena and neighboring Reggio Emilia found a way to transform the sour, acidic liquid into an aromatic, mild, slightly sweet condiment as thick as syrup and as complex as fine wine.

Traditional balsamic vinegar is a breed apart from other vinegars, whose bite would cause serious facial contortions were it deployed in a similar way: paired with pork or Parmesan, sprinkled on rice dishes, dabbed on strawberries, trickled on creamy desserts or swallowed straight.

“My favorite way to have balsamic vinegar is in a spoon,” Maurizio Torreggiani, President of Modena’s Chamber of Commerce, told ANSA.

Such a declaration would cause wincing even with the balsamic vinegar normally found on grocery shelves, and commonly used to dress salad.

Grocery store balsamic vinegar — usually with an officious “I.G.P.” on its label — contains wine vinegar and, often, uncooked grape must, thickening agents, caramel coloring or preservatives.

Despite the low-tech nature of traditional production, no one has figured out how to industrialize it.

“One generation makes balsamic vinegar for the next,” says Cristina Quartieri, director of the balsamic vinegar museum Museo del Balsamico Tradizionale Spilamberto.

Bottles of balsamic aged for 25 years or more can go for hundreds of euros. There has been no word on selling the recently discovered 18th-century ampule.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Bipartisan Solidarity With Kyenge Hit by Bananas

(AGI) Rome — Bananas thrown at minister Kyenge triggered a show of bipartisan solidarity, while Forza Nuova denied any involvement .

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

Spain Train Crash: Driver Detained for ‘Reckless Homicide’

The driver of a speeding train that hurtled off the rails killing 78 people in Spain has been detained for “reckless homicide”, the country’s interior minister has said.

“He has been detained since 7:40pm on Thursday for the alleged crimes of reckless homicide,” Jorge Fernandez Diaz told a news conference on Saturday in the northwestern city of Santiago de Compostela, where the accident happened.

The announcement came after it emerged that the driver, Francisco Jose Garzon Amo, would not appear before a judge as hoped on Saturday as he was still undergoing medical treatment in hospital.

Spain has been awaiting his official explanation for deadliest rail crash the country has seen in decades.

Blame has increasingly fallen on the driver amid reports that the train was travelling at more than double the speed limit and that he admitted after the accident that he had “f——d it up”.

On Friday police said that the 52-year-old driver refused to answer their questions in his hospital bed and that the case had been passed to the courts…

[Return to headlines]

Turkish Cypriots Seek EU Help on Peace Process

BRUSSELS — Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu is urging the EU to give his people a greater role in upcoming talks on the 45-year-old Cypriot conflict.

Eroglu met with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, EU enlargement commissioner Stefan Fuele and a handful of ambassadors from some of the larger EU member states in Brussels on Thursday (25 July).

His spokesman, and the Turkish Cypriots’ head negotiator in the talks, Osman Ertug, told EUobserver that Greek Cypriots are using EU structures to pass on their own solutions on the frozen conflict directly to Ankara.

“They are trying to use the European Union as a vehicle to send some proposals to Turkey, not to us … It is the Turkish Cypriots that they should address,” he said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UK ‘Porn’ Filter Will Blacklist Non-Porn Websites

Rights group slams system as “sleepwalk into censorship”

The blacklist of banned websites set to be included in the UK’s new “porn filter,” which will be managed by a company with close ties to the Communist Chinese government, will also censor content that has nothing whatsoever to do with pornography.

The British government has demanded that the porn filter, which is being justified as a means of protecting children against harmful online content, be automatically enforced by ISPs from the end of next year. Customers will have to contact their service providers to opt out of the system.

“According to ISPs speaking with the Open Rights Group, the filter will target a range of other content too,” reports TorrentFreak.

The risk of controversial websites being caught up in the porn dragnet mimics how Internet censorship has been applied in other countries, including Australia where activist websites were blocked as a result of being included on a government blacklist.

After liaising with Internet Service Providers who will be mandated to implement the “pornwall” system, the Open Rights Group has confirmed that the blacklist of websites will by no means be restricted to pornography.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Jordan: EBRD Finances Shopping Centre in Amman, 80 Mln Loan

project should lead to energy and water savings of about 50%

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, JULY 26 — The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is supporting the development of a new shopping and entertainment centre in Amman that will create employment opportunities and help spur economic activity in the Jordanian capital.

The aim of the 80 million loan dollars is to stimulate environmentally friendly regeneration in the city. The new centre will help stimulate further investment in Amman and support the city’s development as a regional business hub.

The EBRD financing will place a high priority on efficient use of energy and the recycling of water at the new complex — the Abdali Retail and Entertainment Centre. Efficient energy and resource utilisation is crucial in Jordan, given that it imports 97 per cent of its energy, and is one of the driest countries in the world. The construction will involve advanced technology aimed at ensuring environmental sustainability, including the use of natural heating and cooling, natural lighting and extensive water recycling, which should lead to energy and water savings of about 50 per cent in comparison to similar projects in the country. The new centre is likely to create up to 2,000 new jobs, mainly in retail, facilities management and other related sectors, in addition to 2,000 construction-related jobs.

he mall is expected to attract international and local retailers, and will incorporate restaurants, cinemas and a children’s entertainment area. It will also provide space for small producers and traders to sell local products.

This is the EBRD’s second largest investment in Jordan to date.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Research: Israel in Top Three Countries to Receive EU Grants

after Uk and Germany, up to 2 mln each for 32 young researchers

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, JULY 26 — The European Research Council announced the selection of 287 top scientists from around the world in its sixth Starting Grant competition. The grants to the Israeli researchers placed Israel in the third place in the total number of grants received after the United Kingdom and Germany. As of the end of June 2013, ERC grants made up almost 44% of the 636.89 million euros FP7 funding awarded to Israeli research institutions and companies. According to the Enpi website (, thirty-two young Israeli researchers have received grants worth up to 2 million euros each from the European Research Council (ERC). The research topics ranged from developing molecular imaging probes for MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) for cancer through mutational and functional analysis of the melanoma genome to exact results in quantum field theory. The ERC grants form part of the 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development. The Weizmann Institute of Science led the list with 10 grants, followed by the Hebrew University which received eight. Other Israeli institutions receiving grants were Tel Aviv University, Bar Ilan University, the Technion, Ben Gurion University, the Hadassah Medical Centre, and the Interdisciplinary Centre (Herzliya).

Set up in 2007 by the EU, the European Research Council aims to stimulate scientific excellence by encouraging competition for funding between the very best, creative researchers of any nationality and age.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Egypt: This is No Time for Sissies

No Time for Smelling Salts

Washington — This is no time for sissies — be they couch potatoes watching what’s going on in Egypt on TV or pyramids of power like President Barack Obama doing his best to give minimal attention to the hinges of history swinging.

At the beginning of July Gen. Abdel Fatah al-Sisi , Egypt’s senior military commander, kicked Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s elected president, out of office and locked him up just to make sure.

Lilly-livered liberals everywhere got the vapors and reached for smelling salts. Coup, horrible hideous coup, the death of democracy on the Nile they wailed and donned their mourning weeds.

In Cairo, by contrast, the military commander and de facto ruler of the country probably took a swig of Scotch or spiked lemonade but certainly not any potion to sooth the emotions.

He must have been cool and certainly was dead-serious when he decided to take on the Muslim Brotherhood.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Libya: Over 1,000 Escape From Benghazi Prison After Revolt

(AGI) Benghazi — Over 1,000 prisoners escaped in a mass breakout from the Benghazi prison .

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

Over 70 Dead in Egypt Clashes

At least 74 supporters of Egypt’s ousted Islamist president have been shot dead during clashes with security forces, officials say, as rival rallies were staged for and against Mohamed Morsi.

In the heaviest bloodshed since Morsi’s July 3 overthrow, Ahmad Aref, spokesman of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, on Saturday said 66 people died in the violence and another 61 were left ‘clinically dead’.

The health ministry gave a death toll of 65 in Cairo and another nine in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria since Friday.

An AFP correspondent earlier counted 37 bodies in an Islamist-run field hospital at Cairo’s Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque, and the emergency services said other hospitals received an additional 29 corpses.

In the wake of the Muslim weekend bloodshed, Egypt’s interior ministry insisted security forces had not used live fire, and blamed the clashes on Islamists.

Interior minister Mohammed Ibrahim, for his part, warned that pro-Morsi demonstrations, which his supporters have vowed to keep up until he is reinstated, would ‘soon’ be dispersed.

The death toll prompted international consternation and condemnation from a key Egyptian cleric as well as Mohamed ElBaradei, a former opposition leader now serving as vice president in a transitional government…

[Return to headlines]

Israel to Release 103 Palestinian Prisoners

(AGI) Israel, July 27 — As a goodwill gesture in light of renewed Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, set to begin in Washington on Tuesday, Benjamin Netanyahu’s government will finalise the release of 103 Palestinian prisoners on Sunday.

The detainees have been in prison since before the Oslo accords in 1993, and have spent between 19 and 30 years behind Israeli bars. The news was reported on the Yedioth Ahronoth website.

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

As UN Reports More Than 100,000 Dead in Syria’s Civil War, Opposition Remains Divided Between Islamists and Secularist

Nearly two-thirds of the dead are civilians. Since the beginning of Ramadan, the month of peace, more than 2,000 people have been killed. The Free Syrian Army, which wants a secular and democratic future for Syria, is fighting with Islamist insurgents, who want a future dominated by Sharia. Prospects for a peace conference remain dim.

New York City (AsiaNews) — More than 100,000 people have been killed in the conflict in Syria, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said as he called for an international peace conference. The figures is unofficial though because both sides usually do not release their casualty numbers.

UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that since the start on 10 July of Ramadan, a month of prayer, fasting and peace, more than 2,000 people have been killed. Most of them are combatants, but 639 are civilians, including 105 children and 99 women.

The idea of a peace conference, backed mainly supported by the UN and the Vatican, is the only way to end the conflict. However, both the United States and Russia are dragging their feet in the matter because they cannot agree on who should participate (including Iran and Assad himself).

The parties to the civil war are also causing delays. As it gains ground in the fighting, the Assad regime appears bent on capturing the city of Homs, a Sunni stronghold, before coming to the meeting.

For its part, the opposition is delaying because it is divided over who should represent it, members of the secular Free Syrian Army (FSA), or people from Islamist groups linked to Al Qaeda.

In recent weeks, radical Muslim groups have murdered some leaders in the FSA, which is fighting for a secular regime and wants Western support. Conversely, Jihadists want to destroy any secular system, including the current ruling Baa’thist regime, in order to impose Islamic law.

Divisions within the opposition, and the fear of a strong Islamist wing, are also cooling any enthusiasm there might have been in the West for a ‘Libyan’ approach to the Syrian crisis (i.e. the creation of a ‘humanitarian corridor’, direct targeting of Assad’s forces and safe havens for refugees and rebel fighters)

In fact, at a time when many Western powers are in an economic crisis, a ‘Libyan’ solution would come with a price tag of billions of dollar per week and would amount to a virtual declaration of war.

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

Face the Truth About President Bashar Al-Assad: He’s Not Going

With bitter fighting continuing to afflict large tracts of Syria and an estimated 5,000 people losing their lives each month, predicting the outcome of the country’s brutal civil war might appear somewhat premature. And yet, for all the sacrifices made by rebel fighters during the past two years, the likelihood that the conflict will end with President Bashar al-Assad still clinging to power in Damascus grows stronger by the day.

The resilience of the Assad clan in withstanding the rebels’ desperate attempts to end its 50-year domination of Syria’s political landscape has taken most Western leaders by surprise. This time last year the White House confidently predicted that the regime could only survive for a few more weeks after the president’s brother-in-law and the Syrian defence minister were killed in a bomb attack against the country’s national security headquarters.

On reflection, though, that event seems to have been the turning point in the revival of the regime’s fortunes, not least because it persuaded Iran to take urgent action to prevent its long-standing regional ally from biting the dust. Teams of Revolutionary Guard officers were dispatched to Damascus to turn Syrian loyalists into competent fighters, while Hizbollah, the Iranian-controlled militia based in southern Lebanon, was ordered to send experienced combatants to reinforce the president’s cause.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Turkey: Over Half of Women at Work Unregistered, Survey

(ANSAmed) ANKARA, JULY 23 — Almost half of female employees work informally in Turkey, according to state-run statistics body TUIK(tm)s data compiled by Anatolia news agency. Over half of women who are employed, 52.6%, work informally. The ratio of informal employment to the total employment decreased to 37.6% in April from 38.8% the same month a year earlier. There are 25.7 million employees above the age of 15, of whom 37.8% (9.6 million) work informally, the data for April show. While there are 17.8 million male employees, 31% (5.5 million) of them work informally. However, of the 7.8 million female employees, 52.6% (4.1 million) of them are informal workers. The unpaid family workers make up the major part of informal employment. A significant majority, 91.8%, of around 3.2 million unpaid family workers work informally. While this rate is 83% for men in this category, it rises to 94.5% for women. Those who are not registered at any social security institution, but work in their own job, also constitute a large proportion of informal workers.

While 58.9% of around 3.9 million men, who work in their own job, work informally, 88.9% of the 888 women in this category work informally. A minority of 20% of casual and paid workers and 16% of employers were not registered to any social security institution.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

U.S. To Russia: We Won’t Seek Death Penalty for Edward Snowden

Attorney General Eric Holder has assured the Russian government that the U.S. has no plans to seek the death penalty for former National Security Agency systems analyst Edward Snowden.

In a letter dated Tuesday, the attorney general said the criminal charges Snowden now faces in this country do not carry the death penalty and the U.S. will not seek his execution even if he is charged with additional serious crimes.

Holder says his letter follows news reports that Snowden, who leaked details of two top secret U.S. surveillance programs, has filed papers seeking temporary asylum in Russia on grounds that if he were returned to the United States he would be tortured and would face the death penalty.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Afghanistan: Father of Seal Team Member Claims His Son Was Set Up (Video)

Charles Strange, the father of one the 22 SEALs killed when their helicopter was shot down by Afghan insurgents in August, told Michael Savage on his radio broadcast that he undoubtedly believes that his son and the rest of the SEALs were set up.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

India: Italian Dancer Attacked by Hindu Priests

‘Struck me in the head, pushed me’

(ANSA) — New Delhi, July 22 — An Italian dancer says she was attacked by Hindu priests at a religious festival in India over the weekend. “Fortunately I don’t have any injuries, but I was struck in the head and violently pushed. I’m shocked by this violent attack on the part of clergy in a holy place,” Ileana Citaristi told ANSA. Citaristi, who was attending the Lord Jagannath festival in the city of Puri in the eastern state of Orissa, has lived in India for 32 years and is an acclaimed performer of classical Indian dance. In her account, two priests asked her to pay what she considered to be an exorbitant offering because she was a foreigner. The attack ensued after she refused, she said. Reports of the incident made headlines across India on Monday. That dancer’s father Severino Citaristi is the former national treasurer of the once-dominant and now-defunct Italian Christian Democrat party.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Church United in Demanding Universal Suffrage in Hong Kong, “Useless to Look for Internal Divisions”

In its statement yesterday, the Diocese of Hong Kong expressed a clear point of view, namely that without formal consultations for true democracy, there will be civil disobedience. Speaking to AsiaNews, several sources said that the diocese’s position was “balanced and fair”. For them, Beijing wants to use the “old tactics of internal divisions” but has failed because “We are all united in seeking truth and justice.”

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) — The Catholic Church in Hong Kong “has expressed in a clear manner a common opinion, namely If we do not act now, then when?” The diocese in fact is still hopeful “that the government of China and that of the territory will open a real channel for talks in response to the demands of the people. However, should it fail, it should be clear that even Catholics are ready for civil disobedience,” a priest told AsiaNews, as he commented an appeal issued yesterday by the diocese led by Cardinal John Tong.

Published in the diocesan weeklies Kung Kao Po and Sunday Examiner, the statement looks at the chances of achieving universal suffrage for the post of chief executive by 2017.

“We are still hopeful, but we have to admit that for now, prospects look unfavourable. The authorities continue their delaying tactics whilst the government is more concerned about its internal corruption scandals than in setting a timetable for universal suffrage,” the source explained.

“The press conference in which the appeal was made was a great success with more than 40 journalists from different media outlets,” another source close to the diocese said. “In the evening, all the television channels reported it, and today the papers are full of reactions. It is worth noting that, Tai Kung Pao, a paper close to the Chinese government, published an editorial on the matter.”

From the article, “it is clear that they looked closely at the statement. They did not come out against the diocese’s position because the latter has always held a very balanced point of view. They just wanted to remind readers that in Hong Kong the Church has been ‘cooperating’ with the government for a long time. They appear to be suggesting that we “give up” Card Zen’s combative positions and remain docile and obedient. They use the same old Communist tactics, creating ‘contradictions’ within the diocese in order to divide their target.”

However, the statement “is backed by the entire diocese,” the source said. “There are no internal controversies or oppositions. We all worked together, in consultation with various people, to establish and make public a common position. This is important, because it must be clear to everyone that it is useless to look for internal divisions.”

“We have done everything and will continue to do everything possible to avoid oversimplification in the matter,” the source said in concluding to AsiaNews.

“We need not say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to Occupy Central. We need formal consultations to reach a model of electoral reform that is appropriate. We want an honest dialogue and we shall do our best to avoid undesirable actions. But it must be understood that, even if we ‘Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s,’ we are faithful to God.”

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

DHS to Reconsider Immigration Petitions for Gay Couples

The Obama administration is beginning a system-wide review of cases where U.S. citizens were denied green cards for their same-sex couples.

Shortly after the Supreme Court struck down portions of the federal Defense of Marriage Act last month, the Department of Homeland Security announced that gay and lesbian couples would for the first time be able to secure green cards for their foreign spouses as other couples can.

In new guidelines issued Friday morning, the department said it would initiate a “concerted effort” to review all applications that were filed, and denied, by same-sex couples after Feb. 23, 2011. The department said it has tried to keep track of all denials based on the Defense of Marriage Act after that date, which is when President Obama decided his administration would not defend the act in court.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Italy: Bloody Racists’ Message Found on Mannequins

Warnings found as Kyenge arrives in Italian town of Cervia

(ANSA) — Ravenna, July 26 — Mannequins smeared with blood-red paint and anti-immigrant messages were found in the town of Cervia just before Italy’s first back cabinet minister arrived there for meetings, police said Friday.

The far-right political group Forza Nuova claimed responsibility after mannequins, dressed with jackets and dark jeans, were found smeared with blood red-paint over their chests and bearings signs reading: “immigration kills”.

The mannequins were left in the central square of Cervia on the coast of Ravenna just a few hours before Integration Minister Ccile Kyenge arrived for Democratic Party meetings.

Handbills strewn about also claimed that Italy’s future growth depends on “protecting the Italian identity”.

Police say they already have six suspects.

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

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy Has 4.4 Million Foreigners, But Many Returning Home

Economic crisis driving many to leave the country

(ANSA) — Rome July 26 — Italy recorded a significant rise last year in the number of newcomers moving into the country, even as many were giving up and moving back home, the national statistical agency said Friday.

The number of foreigners living in Italy rose by 8.2% in 2012 compared with the previous year, lifting the total foreign-born population as of January 1, 2013 to almost 4.4 million, Istat reported.

That means about 7.4% of the Italian population was considered foreigners at that point.

The number of foreign residents in 2012 grew mainly due to immigration from abroad (321,000 individuals), but in part also due to the births of foreign children (80,000), the agency said.

However, the economic crisis also mean that 17.9% of foreigners in Italy, or about 38,000 people, left the country last year said Istat, adding its researchers suspect the number may have been even higher.

That’s because many foreigners in Italy are not officially registered with authorities.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Over 450 Immigrants Rescued Near Sicily Within 24 Hours

(AGI) Palermo — Over 450 illegal immigrants were rescued off the coast of Sicily in less than 24 hours ..

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

Silicon Valley Steps Up Role in Immigration Debate

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg — one of the world’s richest tech innovators — will break new ground next month by speaking publicly for the first time on a political issue when he delivers an address on immigration reform in San Francisco at the West Coast premiere of a film about undocumented immigrants.

Zuckerberg’s Aug. 5 appearance at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, where “Documented” will be shown, will also mark the entrance by Silicon Valley, which previously has been mostly concerned with obtaining visas for foreign high-tech workers, into the wider debate on immigration.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Italy: Gay-Rights Row Adds to Govt Headaches

Figures from Berlusconi’s party call for ‘moratorium’

(By Paul Virgo) (see related stories on government) (ANSA) — Rome, July 22 — Premier Enrico Letta had another headache to deal with on Monday after a call for his fragile right-left executive to impose a moratorium on “ethical issues”, such as gay rights.

Senior members of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi’s centre-right People of Freedom Party (PdL), whose support Letta needs to keep the government afloat, said the moratorium would enable the administration to focus on pressing economic issues, as the country tries to emerge from its longest recession in over two decades.

Top PdL figures, including Transport Minister Maurizio Lupi, ex-labour minister Maurizio Sacconi, former equal opportunities minister Mara Carfagna, and ex-education minister Mariastella Gelmini, proposed suspending “ethical measures”, including a bill against homophobia.

Elements in the PdL are unhappy about the bill and fear it could pave the way for legislation legalising same-sex unions. Debate has also raged over Congo-born Integration Minister Cecile Kyenge’s calls for more liberal migration and citizenship rules. Kyenge has spoken about the possibility of introducing new hate speech laws to combat racism and xenophobia too. “Ethical issues and homophobia? I think today the priorities are economic issues,” the PdL’s House whip Renato Brunetta told Sky television. “My colleagues and I, who have requested the moratorium, wonder, well, in this climate in which economic problems prevail, is it useful to fight over so-called ethical issues?”. But the call for an ‘ethical moratorium’ was criticised by some within the PdL and Relations with Parliament Minister Dario Franceschini rejected it.

“A law to fight homophobia has nothing to do with ethical issues,” said Franceschini, a member of Letta’s centre-left Democratic Party (PD). “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”. The controversy has joined a long list of potential pitfalls for Letta’s government, which is based on an unprecedented PD-PdL alliance cobbled together in April to end two months of political deadlock after February’s general election failed to produce a clear winner.

The PdL may pull the plug on the government if the supreme Court of Cassation next week upholds a four-year prison term against Berlusconi for fraud at his media empire that also comes with a five-year ban from holding public office.

Letta has also received a demand from Brunetta for him to have a cabinet reshuffle to increase the number of PdL ministers in the executive.

At the moment there are five ministers from the PdL, which came a narrow second to the PD in February, compared to 10 cabinet members for the centre-left. PD Lower House whip Roberto Speranza called Brunetta’s request a “fantasy”. “The PdL must demonstrate the ability to put the interests of the country above those of their party and Silvio Berlusconi,” Speranza told daily newspaper Il Corriere della Sera.

There is some good news for the government as well though. Regional Affairs Minister Graziano Delrio said the executive is close to reaching an agreement to scrap the IMU property tax, one of the thorniest issues it has faced since it took power. The PdL has repeatedly threatened to pull its support from the government and sink it if the unpopular tax is not scrapped and the 2012 revenues from it returned to respect a pledge made in the campaign for February’s general election. Letta has suspended this year’s payments of the tax until December to allow time for it to be revised, but has not yet said the tax will be scrapped completely. The government needs to find around four billion euros to cover the revenues that were destined to be raised by IMU in the already tight State budget. Economy Minister Fabrizio Saccomanni has said it will be difficult to scrap IMU and hit other policy targets, such as preventing a 1% rise in the top band of value added tax scheduled for later this year. Delrio, a PD man, told Turin daily La Stampa that IMU will be abolished on all primary residences, except for luxury homes.

It will also stay in place on holiday homes and other properties that are not the owners’ main place of residence. He said the question now was not whether IMU would be scrapped, but whether it would abolished this year or next.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Mysterious NASA Video of Saturn Reveals Impossible Hexagon-Shaped Cloud Pattern Larger Than Planet Earth

(NaturalNews) Here at NaturalNews, we normally report on Earthly events, but right now some rather grand events are taking place in our solar system that you may want to know about.

Check out what NASA’s Cassini spacecraft first noticed in 2007. There is a large rotating hexagon circling the north pole of Saturn. Visit the NASA webpage that explains all this at:

This isn’t some conspiracy theory. It’s not some sort of far-fetched interpretation of random organic structure. It is quite clearly a massive hexagon, and it’s circling the north pole of Saturn as we speak. And by “massive”, I mean this hexagon is larger than the planet Earth.

Straight from the NASA website: “This is a very strange feature, lying in a precise geometric fashion with six nearly equally straight sides,” said Kevin Baines, atmospheric expert and member of Cassini’s visual and infrared mapping spectrometer team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. “We’ve never seen anything like this on any other planet. Indeed, Saturn’s thick atmosphere where circularly-shaped waves and convective cells dominate is perhaps the last place you’d expect to see such a six-sided geometric figure, yet there it is.”

The hexagon, according to NASA, is 60 miles thick (deep) and an astonishing 15,000 miles wide.

That means four Earths would fit inside it. Yes, it’s really that big. And of course, it seems entirely unnatural. Clouds don’t form hexagon shapes and then maintain those structures as the edges orbit the center. Looking at this shape, it is difficult to explain it as “natural.”

But that’s not all there is to see here.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

One thought on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 7/27/2013

  1. ““They are trying to use the European Union as a vehicle to send some proposals to Turkey, not to us … It is the Turkish Cypriots that they should address,” he said.”

    Turkey is the occupying force with 40,000 troops on the island. Turkey is paying the budget of your “government”. And if Turkey doesn’t agree… you know how much weight Turkish Cypriots (i.e. you) have.

    And don’t mouth off too much because the colonists Turkey settled on the island after the invasion and ethnic clearing out of the Greeks from the occupied area you call “country” will be instructed to vote against you in the next free-and-fair “elections”.

    Ah.. and one more thing. How is the EU going to send you don’t have a postal address? That’s what not being recognized means. The same holds true for your title.

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