Gates of Vienna News Feed 7/6/2013

A driverless train pulling fuel tank cars derailed in the Quebec town of Lac-Megantic early this morning, generating a huge fireball and destroying at least sixty buildings. The train was traveling far too fast for that stretch of track, and police have opened a criminal investigation into the accident.

Meanwhile, south of the border, an Asiana Airlines passenger jet en route from South Korea crash-landed at San Francisco airport, killing two people and critically injuring at least ten others. The cause of the crash has not been determined, but witnesses say the pilot had difficulties just before the landing, and the tail broke off as the plane touched down on the runway.

In other news, for a brief period interim Egyptian President Adly Mansour was said to have named Mohamed Elbaradei as interim prime minister, but that announcement was later withdrawn. Mr. Elbaradei is best known for his stint at the IAEA, where he was instrumental in preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

While Mr. Mansour considers his options, the deadly violence between supporters and opponents of former president Morsi continues.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, DS, Fjordman, Insubria, JD, Jerry Gordon, JP, Mary Abdelmassih, McR, 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.

» Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 Crashes While Landing at San Francisco Airport, F.A.A. Says
» Blackmail? NSA, Obama, Roberts & Congress — How Deep Does it Go?
» Chokwe Lumumba, Van Jones, Rev. Jeremiah Wright — Race Radicals, Marxist Militants
» Cincinnati Judge Orders All Speed Cameras Confiscated, Manufacturer Held in Contempt
» Democrat Governor Vetoes Bill That Nullified Fed Gun Laws
» How the Tea Party Can Save America and the World — A Plea From New Zealand
» Militarized Police Gone Wild Across America
» Motorola is Listening
» North Carolina National Guard Rapid Reaction Force Civil Unrest Training Photos
» Obama Enables Russian Troops on US Soil — Treason? (Video)
» Ted Cruz’s Dad Compares Obama to Castro (Video)
» Two People Dead and More Than 100 Sent to Hospitals After San Francisco Plane Crash
» Why We Should All Switch Back to Ethernet Cables: Wireless Internet Poses Serious Chronic Health Risks
» Canadian Town Center ‘Wiped Out’ As Freight Train Carrying Hundreds of Tons of Crude Oil Derails and Explodes
Europe and the EU
» A Brain Drain That Will Cripple Europe
» Ballistic Defence Interceptor Deployed in Sabaudia, Italy
» Ireland: Snowden Would Not be Extradited During Asylum Process
» Italy: Swiss Money Flight Prelate Ordered to Stay in Jail
» Italy: Cabinet OKs Bill to Scrap Provinces
» Italy: Police Arrest Registered Blind Man Riding a Bicycle
» UK: Betrayal of My Friend the Hero: How the Army Has Turned Its Back on the Suffering of One of Its Bravest Men After He Was Nearly Killed by a Taliban Bomb
» UK: Girl, 14, Diagnosed With Dehydration After Suffering Severe Headaches and Poor Vision Died Months Later From Brain Tumour
» UK: Son Jailed for Life for Murdering His Mother in a Fit of Rage Claimed His Anti-Depressants Made Him ‘Homicidal’
» UK: The BBC is Edging Closer to Criminality
» UK: Who’s Running Labour?
» Whales Flee From Military Sonar Leading to Mass Strandings, Research Shows
North Africa
» 24 Killed, Hundreds Injured in Egyptian Clashes Over Ousted President
» Coptic Priest Gunned Down in Egypt, Christian Villages Attacked
» Deposing Morsi Won’t End the Chronic Rejection of Secularism in Egypt
» Doubts Over Elbaradei’s Appointment as Egypt PM
» Egypt Crisis: At Least 29 Killed as Muslim Brotherhood Clash With Ousted Mohammed Morsi’s Enemies
» Egypt: It is Capitalism, Not Democracy, That the Arab World Needs Most
» Morsi Ouster in Egypt ‘Invalid’: Qaradawi Fatwa
Israel and the Palestinians
» The Al-Dura Blood Libel Affair: An Interview With Nidra Poller
Middle East
» Iraqi Farmer, 92, And Father of 16 Marries for a Second Time… to a Woman 70 Years Younger Than Him
» Turkish AKP Lawmaker: ‘Germany Applies Double Standards’
» Turkish Police Use Water Cannons and Tear Gas on Crowd
South Asia
» Four Taliban Killed in Attack on Italian Copters
Far East
» China: Government Gives Shanghai ‘Free Port’ Status
» China and Russia Increase Military Co-Operation
Australia — Pacific
» Australian Woman Bridges Differences in Love
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Islamic Extremists Attack School in Nigeria, Killing 30
» Islamists Attack Nigerian School and Burn Students Alive
» Nigeria School Massacre: 41 Children Killed, Some Burned Alive
Latin America
» Brazil: Referee Beheaded by Fans After He Kills Player
» The Cubanization of Venezuela: Cuban Intelligence Sets up to Monitor Opposition in Venezuela
» Around 7,800 Migrants Landed in Italy So Far This Year
» UK: Immigrants Create Overcrowding and Fuel Tensions, Report Finds
Culture Wars
» Church of England Must Accept Gay Rights, Archbishop Welby Says in First Speech to Synod
» UK: Welby Calls for Church to Join the Sexual ‘Revolution’

Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 Crashes While Landing at San Francisco Airport, F.A.A. Says

A Boeing 777 operated by the Korean airline Asiana crashed Saturday afternoon while landing at San Francisco International Airport, the Federal Aviation Authority said.

Images and video posted by eyewitnesses to the crash showed the plane, apparently on fire, billowing smoke.

It was not clear, in the immediate aftermath of the crash, how many people were on board and whether anyone had been killed or injured. The F.A.A. said it could not immediately provide further details.

[Return to headlines]

Blackmail? NSA, Obama, Roberts & Congress — How Deep Does it Go?

For those of us following the plethora of stories on NSA’s spying on Americans and government officials, the scope of their treachery has become breathtaking. The million dollar question I and many others have is as serious as it can get:

Has the NSA, meaning past and current directors and a close cabal, used information illegally harvested to blackmail Barry Soetoro aka Obama, Chief Justice John Roberts and members of Congress?

Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, John Roberts, stunned the country when he hallucinated Obamacare is a tax. Literally from coast to coast, everyone from court watchers to tv pundits to the man on the street were absolutely shocked. How could he? How could he, indeed. I know people who live in Virginia, but work in Washington, DC. It has long been openly discussed Roberts is a sexual deviant and that his marriage is only for public consumption. Add a couple of adorable little girls he and his wife adopted and there you have the picture of the all American family…

“Russ Tice, a former intelligence analyst and Bush-era NSA whistleblower, claimed Wednesday that the intelligence community has ordered surveillance on a wide range of groups and individuals, including high-ranking military officials, lawmakers and diplomats. He also made another stunning allegation. He says the NSA had ordered wiretaps on phones connected to then-Senate candidate Barack Obama back in 2004.

“They went after — and I know this because I had my hands literally on the paperwork for these sort of things — they went after high-ranking military officers; they went after members of Congress, both Senate and the House, especially on the intelligence committees and on the armed services committees and some of the — and judicial,” Tice told Peter B. Collins on Boiling Frog Post News.

“He went on: “But they went after other ones, too. They went after lawyers and law firms. All kinds of — heaps of lawyers and law firms. They went after judges. One of the judges is now sitting on the Supreme Court that I had his wiretap information in my hand. Two are former FISA court judges. They went after State Department officials. They went after people in the executive service that were part of the White House — their own people.”…

“Among the unexpected findings of the Sheriff Arpaio cold case was this one:

“Records of Immigration and Naturalization Service cards filled out by airplane passengers arriving on international flights originating outside the United States in the month of August 1961, examined at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. are missing records for the week of President Obama’s birth, including the dates Aug. 1, 1961 through Aug. 7, 1961.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Chokwe Lumumba, Van Jones, Rev. Jeremiah Wright — Race Radicals, Marxist Militants

What do Jackson Mississippi’ s radical new Mayor Chokwe Lumumba, former Obama “ Green Jobs Czar” Van Jones, and former Barack Obama pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright have in common?

All of them are veterans of the Communist instigated Black Radical Congress.

The US. black Left is small, ultra-militant and both fractious and incestuous.

In March of 1997, some 70 activists from more than twenty cities across the country came together in Chicago to begin planning for a Black Radical Congress. Participants came as individuals, but represented connections to groups ranging from New Afrikan People’ s Organization, Black Workers for Justice, The Labor Party, The Communist Party USA, the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, African American Agenda 2000, the Chicago Ida B. Wells Forum, Democratic Socialists of America and the Communist Party splinter Committees of Correspondence.

This group agreed to host a Black Radical Congress and constituted itself as the continuations committee… Three subsequent national meetings of the continuations committee were held in Washington, D. C., in May of 1997, in Atlanta in September, 1997, and in New York City in January of 1998. A “ Call for the Congress” was drafted and issued with the names of over 100 conveners.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Cincinnati Judge Orders All Speed Cameras Confiscated, Manufacturer Held in Contempt

(NaturalNews) Chalk one up for privacy, at least in one part of the country.

Traffic cameras have been a part of the urban scenery for years now, but in Elmwood Place — a suburb of Cincinnati — they are history. Finally.

In a recent court hearing, Judge Robert Ruehlman ordered them not only to be shut off but to be impounded — taken off the streets for good.

The ruling comes as a result of a contentious legal battle over the speed cameras. Both sides of the case were back before Ruehlman during a contempt hearing June 27, “where the judge ruled that Elmwood Place and the speed camera contractor Optotraffic were in contempt of court,” WLWT reported.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Democrat Governor Vetoes Bill That Nullified Fed Gun Laws

Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed legislation Friday that would have made it a Missouri crime for federal agents to attempt to enforce federal gun laws in the state and could have landed journalists in jail for publishing the names of gun owners.

The Democratic governor said the bill passed by the Republican-led Legislature violated the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution, which generally gives preference to federal laws over conflicting state ones. He said it also infringed in the First Amendment rights of free speech and press.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

How the Tea Party Can Save America and the World — A Plea From New Zealand

Many Tea Partiers and American patriots understand that the fate of the United States of America hangs in the balance.

No melodrama here. If the US loses its position as the world’s number one military super power, another country, or countries, will take its place.

Realistically, that can only be Russia or China, or more likely, an alliance of Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Vietnam and whoever ever else climbs aboard.

As the U.S. Dollar slowly sinks and America’s prestige and power goes with it, the “ Evil Axis” grows bolder.

But why should I care? I’ m safe aren’ t I? Way down at the bottom of the South Pacific, in New Zealand.

Well, maybe not so safe. China is steadily advancing through the Pacific. It now has several footholds in our region, particularly in Fiji, which is my country’ s nearest major island neighbor. To any thinking Aussie or Kiwi, this is cause for major concern.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Militarized Police Gone Wild Across America

Terrorizing citizens, shooting pet dogs, behaving like occupying military force

America is rapidly devolving into the oppressive police state we’ve been warning readers about. Right now, cops are exhibiting thuggish, out-of-control “mafia” behavior as they run loose across America, terrorizing innocent citizens, shooting up the vehicles of people who are merely driving cars on public roadways, taking warrantless blood draws from drivers, shooting pet dogs of people who are merely filming police, raiding farmers at gunpoint over raw milk and terrorizing young women for buying bottled water and cookie dough.

All of these are real and happening right now in America. The cause behind them? Police are being “militarized” through federal training while being given weapons of war through federal grants. Police departments across the country are now being handed armored assault vehicles, surveillance drones and full-auto assault rifles. Along with this equipment comes a training and engagement posture that is increasingly aggressive and militaristic, subjecting more and more Americans to the kind of “theater of war” engagement tactics that the U.S. military would typically use at a roadblock in Afghanistan, for example. (See latest example, below.)

Military tactics and equipment now used by your local police

“In recent years, police departments have widely adopted military tactics, military equipment (armored personnel carriers, flash-bang grenades) — and, sometimes, the mindset of military conquerors rather than domestic peacekeepers,” writes…

As part of all this, federal law enforcement have been training with so-called “no hesitation targets” that train them to instinctively shoot pregnant women, children, young moms and old men. These targets — whose existence was first denied, and then downplayed when the denials didn’t work — offer irrefutable proof that the corrupt, criminal government currently running the USA is actively planning to engage women, children and senior citizens with weapons of war.

This is, of course, on top of the long-confirmed two billion rounds of ammunition the Department of Homeland Security has ordered (and partially acquired) in an attempt to stockpile enough ammunition for a twenty-year war with the American people. Once again, this stockpiling of hollow-point ammo by DHS was first denied, then downplayed, and now has been called a “conspiracy theory” even thought it is confirmed by the federal government iself which says it needs the ammo for “training purposes.”

The IRS is now being trained with AR-15 rifles, and DHS has also purchased thousands of armored assault vehicles that are mine resistant and bulletproof…

…I’ve worked with police, trained with police and volunteered with police. I know that most police officers across the country are honorable men and women who are trying their best to keep the peace. But the number of “good” police seems to be shrinking while the number of “rogue” cops is on the rise.

This highly disturbing trend is an intentional one put in place by the Obama administration that’s trying to militarize police all across the nation in a run-up to something very, very big: an event that is expected to cause nationwide rioting and social unrest.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Motorola is Listening

In June of 2013, I made an interesting discovery about the Android phone (a Motorola Droid X2) which I was using at the time: it was silently sending a considerable amount of sensitive information to Motorola, and to compound the problem, a great deal of it was over an unencrypted HTTP channel.

If you’re in a hurry, you can skip straight to the Analysis — email, ActiveSync, and social networking section — that’s where the most sensitive information (e.g. email/social network account passwords) is discussed.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

North Carolina National Guard Rapid Reaction Force Civil Unrest Training Photos

The following photos depict soldiers from the 252nd Combined Arms Battalion training in June for their role as a “rapid reaction force” capable of responding anywhere in the state of North Carolina within “four to eight hours with additional forces arriving within 24 to 36 hours.” The same unit trained in March to respond “to an emergency ahead of federal assets by providing site security, establishing roadblocks or checkpoints, and assisting civilian authorities in controlling civil disturbances.”

The exercises depicted below were held from June 10-14 at an abandoned shopping mall and a water treatment facility in Charlotte. Soldiers trained to suppress protesters who perform a sit-in as part of a fictional group called “The Pink Panthers.” According to the North Carolina National Guard, the exercise at the water treatment facility tests soldiers’ “ability to use nonlethal force to disperse a crowd of aggressors.” Photos of the exercise show soldiers operating from Be On the Look Out (BOLO) notices with the identities of specific individuals in the crowd, listed as “AIN Members,” that are to be targeted for arrest.

[Comment: Practising a future round up of dissidents?…]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Obama Enables Russian Troops on US Soil — Treason? (Video)

An excellent video from the Western Center for Journalism

Is this part of the “ flexibility” Obama promised the Russians if he was re-elected?

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Ted Cruz’s Dad Compares Obama to Castro (Video)

Rafael Cruz, father of U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, delivered a fascinating speech at FreedomWorks “Free the People” event in Salt Lake City recently.

Having experienced and escaped Castro’s Cuba, the elder Cruz drew comparisons between the island communist regime and the Obama administration.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Two People Dead and More Than 100 Sent to Hospitals After San Francisco Plane Crash

At least two people died after an Asiana jetliner from Seoul, South Korea, crashed while landing Saturday at San Francisco International Airport, according to the authorities. Pieces of the airplane broke off as it careened down the runway.

As smoke poured from the plane carrying 291 passengers and 16 crew members, passengers scrambled out of emergency exits. Roughly 130 were rushed to area hospitals, including 10 people in critical condition, fire officials said. Another 60 people remained unaccounted for hours after the crash, officials said, highlighting the chaos of the crash site and rescue effort. The crash of Flight 214 was the first in the United States since February 2009.

[Return to headlines]

Why We Should All Switch Back to Ethernet Cables: Wireless Internet Poses Serious Chronic Health Risks

(NaturalNews) While the proliferation of wireless devices has made accessing the internet more convenient and less obtrusive (no unsightly cables lying around), studies are now revealing the trade-offs that come with convenience. More specifically, the dangers that the widespread adoption of wireless technology has created in regards to our health. Simply put, most people underestimate the dangers of wireless technology to our health and well-being.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Canadian Town Center ‘Wiped Out’ As Freight Train Carrying Hundreds of Tons of Crude Oil Derails and Explodes

The center of a Quebec town has been wiped out, according to the mayor, after a freight train carrying crude oil derailed and exploded in a fireball at 1am on Saturday.

Parts of the town were evacuated as fireballs shot several metres in the air, flames spread to nearby homes and thick acrid smoke filled the air.

Emergency workers helped about 1,000 residents escape Lac-Megantic, which is close to the Maine border and about 250km from Montreal.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

A Brain Drain That Will Cripple Europe

We keep being told the eurozone crisis is over, but it manifestly isn’t. The refusal to admit that the euro can’t survive in its present form is poisoning the whole European economy…

In the meantime, the eurozone’s rigid economic policies are having a devastating effect on the young — with youth unemployment heading for 30 per cent across the single currency area, and in Greece it is just under 60 per cent.

German ministers are so jittery about this latest crisis that they have invited young people from across the continent to work in Germany — even though their own economy is in recession.

Although many of these desperate young Europeans are looking for possible employment in Britain (which, thankfully, is freed from the shackles of the euro), many more are considering moving to the U.S. and Latin America.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Ballistic Defence Interceptor Deployed in Sabaudia, Italy

(AGI) — Sabaudia, July 5 — The Surface-to-Air Missile Platform/Terrain (SAMP/T), a sophisticated joint Franco-Italian defence system, was deployed in Sabaudia, south of Rome. The land-based system has missiles equipped with a seeker. It is effective against high-speed threats and is capable of stopping short- to medium-range ballistic missiles.

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

Ireland: Snowden Would Not be Extradited During Asylum Process

Former US intelligence analyst could apply for asylum if arrested at Shannon airport

Former US intelligence analyst Edward Snowden would likely be protected from extradition to the US if he were granted refugee status in Ireland.

And any asylum application he might make would have to be processed before he could be extradited, legal experts have said.

The Government received a request from the US authorities to arrest Mr Snowden earlier this week should his flight land at Shannon airport for refuelling. The warrant has been issued as a pre-emptive strike against any effort by Mr Snowden to evade the US authorities by flying from Moscow to Havana on a commercial flight.

He is wanted for questioning in the US following his release of information outlining how the US government was engaged in the wholesale interception of email and telephone messages.

Barrister Siobhán Stack said it would be open to Mr Snowden to apply for refugee status if he were arrested by gardaí in Shannon and he would be entitled to remain in the State while that application was examined. She said any extradition application would likely be halted pending the asylum application because of human rights obligations.

The obligations include the principal of non-refoulement, which originates from article 33 of the Geneva Convention.

“It means no one can be turned back at the border or expelled if they are at risk for any of the reasons that would render them a refugee,” she said.

The broad grounds on which an application for refugee status could be made might be on the basis that any prosecution would be persecution for a political opinion and not legitimate prosecution for a criminal offence. “Until that claim is examined it would probably be a breach of non-refoulement to return that person or refuse them entry.”

The area was complex, she said, and though processing times for applications had “speeded up here quite remarkably”, an individual would be entitled to litigate and the case could go as far as Europe, causing further delays.

If that process also failed, an applicant could seek subsidiary protection. Subsidiary protection prohibits the return of an individual if he or she is facing the death penalty or execution.

Ms Stack also said it could be “strongly arguable” that Mr Snowden could not be returned to the US if he was successful in his asylum application.

Remy Farrell SC said a grant of asylum would be “an immediate bar to extradition”. “If he were granted asylum then he couldn’t be extradited,” he said.

Mr Farrell said he did not believe a situation where someone has been resisting extradition and been in the process of seeking asylum at the same time had occurred in Ireland before, but he believed if it did the asylum application would have to be considered first.

He also said there was an agreement between Ireland and the US that if an individual was accused of an offence that attracted the death penalty, an undertaking could be given by the US that this would not be applied if the Irish courts agreed to extradite him or her.

           — Hat tip: McR [Return to headlines]

Italy: Swiss Money Flight Prelate Ordered to Stay in Jail

Judge denies Scarano’s request for house arrest

(ANSA) — Rome, July 5 — A judge in Rome rejected an appeal Friday from Msgr Nunzio Scarano to move him to house arrest after he was jailed on suspicion of planning to elude customs with 20 million euros in cash. The prelate had reportedly said he was not comfortable in Rome’s Regina Coeli prison, and Scarano’s lawyer said he would appeal the judge’s decision. Scarano was arrested last week along with Giovanni Maria Zito, an agent in the AISI intelligence agency, and Rome broker Giovanni Carenzio.

Police said Scarano and Zito got a private jet to fly back from Switzerland to Italy 20 million euros in cash for a family who were friends with Scarano.

Zito is suspected of getting 400,000 euros for arranging cover for the flight.

Scarano has been named in a separate probe into receiving money in Salerno near Naples.

The arrests have been linked by the Italian media to past probes into alleged irregularities at the Vatican Bank, IOR.

Vatican Spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said last week that the prelate had been suspended from his job as head of analytic accounts at the Holy See’s asset-management agency APSA “more than a month” before his arrest.

He added that the Vatican will cooperate “fully” with the probe.

Scarano denies the charges.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Cabinet OKs Bill to Scrap Provinces

Move would remove layer of government from Constitution

(ANSA) — Rome, July 5 — The cabinet on Friday launched a bill to get rid of provincial administrations, widely seen as an unnecessary and expensive layer of administration.

Italians voted to scratch the superfluous level in a referendum but the Constitutional Court last month ruled plans to scrap them were against Italy’s Constitution.

So the government has been forced to present a bill to change the Constitution to remove them.

Eliminating the provinces would leave the central government to deal with the regions and municipalities without having to go through the provinces, cutting costs and red tape.

Premier Enrico Letta’s left-right government has pledged to cut political spending in the face of widespread voter ire over pork-barrel scandals that produced a huge protest vote in February’s general election.

Skeptics claim the savings from the move will be less than hoped and provincial workers will have to find jobs elsewhere in the civil service.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Police Arrest Registered Blind Man Riding a Bicycle

Perugia, 3 July (AKI) — Police in central Italy on Wednesday arrested a man who was drawing a monthly state disability pension for the blind after spotting him riding a bicycle, reading and walking briskly.

The man from the city of Perugia purportedly had a disease that had left him almost completely blind and requiring assistance to go shopping and perform other tasks, for which he received a 500 euro monthly pension.

Italy’s finance police have seized over 16,500 euros of pension payments made to the man since 2010.

He is accused of defrauding the Italian state.

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

UK: Betrayal of My Friend the Hero: How the Army Has Turned Its Back on the Suffering of One of Its Bravest Men After He Was Nearly Killed by a Taliban Bomb

Lieutenant-Colonel Stewart Hill hands me the classified casualty list for the Light Dragoons Battle Group in the Babaji area of Afghanistan between 4 and 8 July 2009.

The numbers are staggering for a low intensity war: 66 names, ranging from battlefield evacuations for heat exhaustion to KIA (killed in action).

Third on the list is Hill’s own name. Beside it is the acronym WIA (wounded in action). Then come the more doom-laden specifics: Head injury. Shrapnel on brain.

Hill came within a millimetre or two of joining those KIAs on the bloodiest day of what remains the biggest British ground offensive of our soon-to-be-ended Afghan adventure. He led the infantry assault. I know, because I was there, covering the war for the Mail — only a field away when a soldier next to Hill stepped on a huge IED (improvised explosive device) and, by so doing, effectively wiped out the HQ of the British spearhead.

Hill, the leader of his supporting armoured unit, his Company sergeant major, the SAS forward air controller and several other soldiers were either killed or incapacitated in the incident. The military censor didn’t allow me to report that at the time. Operationally ‘too damaging’, I was told.

Hill is the most senior Afghan war neurological casualty to have been treated at the renowned Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre at Headley Court in Surrey…

Stewart Hill is a remarkable man. But his life has been turned upside down. When he joined the Army, he accepted the possibility of serious injury or death in the line of duty. What he did not expect, though, was what he alleges to have happened: abandonment at the time of his greatest need.

The facts that are accepted by the Ministry of Defence are shaming enough. In the five-and-a-half months after he first left Headley Court, Hill did not receive a single care visit from his unit. According to regulations, they should have been fortnightly.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Girl, 14, Diagnosed With Dehydration After Suffering Severe Headaches and Poor Vision Died Months Later From Brain Tumour

A hospital has today apologised to the family of a schoolgirl who died from a brain tumour after she was wrongly diagnosed.

Olivia Wicks, 14, went to the hospital with severe headaches, sickness and poor vision last July, but a triage nurse downgraded her symptoms, resulting in her having a six hour wait to see a doctor.

She was then wrongly diagnosed with suffering from dehydration and sent back to her aunt’s house in Bournemouth, Dorset, where she was staying.

Six weeks later Olivia became so ill she was rushed to another hospital, but this time she had a CT scan.

It revealed an inoperable brain tumour which could not be removed as it was dangerously close to her spine.

Despite radiotherapy treatment, the teenager lost her 10 month battle against the tumour and died last week.

In a letter of apology to Olivia’s family, Bournemouth Hospital said the nurse who saw her has since undergone ‘full training’.

Olivia’s devastated parents believe that more could have been done for her if she had been diagnosed earlier…

In his letter to the family Tony Spotswood, chief executive of Bournemouth Hospital, explained the nurse gave Olivia a triage score of four when it should have been two to signal a high-priority patient.

He said: ‘The triage score of four was not appropriate.

‘We accept that we got this wrong and that Olivia should have had a higher priority to be seen by a doctor.

[Commenter: you would think a triage nurse would have had full triage training BEFORE being let loose on patients — Lynne , Amersham, ]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Son Jailed for Life for Murdering His Mother in a Fit of Rage Claimed His Anti-Depressants Made Him ‘Homicidal’

[WARNING: * Disturbing content *]

A son who claimed he was driven to kill his own mother by anti-depressant drugs which made him ‘homicidal’ has been jailed for life today.

Former hotel manager Paul Stones, 38, strangled accounts clerk Marian Stones, 58, in a fit of rage after they argued at their home in Sharples, near Bolton.

Manchester Crown Court heard he then tucked her body up in bed and told her he was sorry.

Stones told the jury: ‘I sat on the bed and talked to her for a while. I said how sorry I was and I didn’t know why I did it and how much I loved her.’

At the time of the killing, the father of one had been prescribed the anti-depressant Sertraline for almost three and a half years to combat his low mood.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: The BBC is Edging Closer to Criminality

by Damian Thompson

On Wednesday, a news story was published online that began as follows: “The BBC reflects a ‘remarkable and impressive’ range of voices in its coverage of religion, immigration and Europe, an independent review for the BBC Trust has found.”

I’m sorry? Would this be the same report, commissioned by the BBC Trust, that uncovered “deep liberal bias” on the subject of immigration? Yup. But that doesn’t feature in the news story, which includes a sub-heading “No liberal bias”.

Let me explain. The news story is in Ariel, the BBC’s in-house magazine. As a piece of journalism, it’s so laughably twisted as to be useless: the phrase “deep liberal bias”, a quote from none other than the BBC’s former director of news Helen Boaden, is nowhere to be found. But it has cleared up a question in my mind.

I used to think that, when the BBC denied liberal bias, it was so blind to reality that it believed its own fantasies. The Ariel article, however, methodically airbrushes anything in the report that might embarrass the BBC. The result is a premeditated failure to tell the truth; a lie in all but name. This is the year in which the terms of the debate about the BBC have subtly shifted. Accusations of bias and waste have sharpened into questions about trickery and corruption…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Who’s Running Labour?

Ed Miliband was tonight locked in an extraordinary public battle with Labour’s biggest trade union backer after calling for a criminal inquiry into Len McCluskey’s Unite.

The Labour leader and Mr McCluskey today clashed over allegations that members of the Unite union tried to fix the selection of a Labour candidate in the Falkirk constituency. As both men faced questions about what they knew about allegations of wrongdoing in Falkirk, a dispute over local party management escalated into a fight to establish who controls Labour…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Whales Flee From Military Sonar Leading to Mass Strandings, Research Shows

Whales flee from the loud military sonar used by navies to hunt submarines, new research has proven for the first time. The studies provide a missing link in the puzzle that has connected naval exercises around the world to unusual mass strandings of whales and dolphins.

Beaked whales, the most common casualty of the strandings, were shown to be highly sensitive to sonar. But the research also revealed unexpectedly that blue whales, the largest animals on Earth and whose population has plummeted by 95% in the last century, also abandoned feeding and swam rapidly away from sonar noise.

The strong response observed in the beaked whales occurred at noise levels well below those allowed for US navy exercises. “This result has to be taken into consideration by regulators and those planning naval exercises,” said Stacy DeRuiter, at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, who led one of the teams.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

24 Killed, Hundreds Injured in Egyptian Clashes Over Ousted President

CAIRO, July 6 (Xinhua) — At least 24 people were killed and hundreds of others injured late Friday in clashes across Egypt amid the country’s political and social turmoil after President Mohamed Morsi was ousted by the military on Wednesday.

In Cairo, a witness told Xinhua at least three people were killed and dozens injured outside the Republican Guards House, where Morsi is reportedly under house arrest, during clashes between security forces and Morsi’s advocates.

Later in the evening, pro-Morsi protesters marching toward 6 October Bridge near Tahrir Square on their way to the state TV building clashed with Morsi’s opponents celebrating his removal. The state TV quoted anti-Morsi protesters as saying that at least two were killed and 70 injured in the clashes before police and army security forces with armored vehicles arrived at the scene and dispersed the protesters.

Meanwhile, a local security source told Xinhua five police officers were killed in North Sinai. Earlier on Friday, hundreds of gunmen attacked Arish International Airport, a security camp in Rafah, a police station and two security checkpoints in Sheikh Zuwaid by heavy artillery and rocket-propelled grenades.

Tarek Khater, undersecretary of health ministry in North Sinai, told Xinhua that at least 20 were injured in clashes between Morsi’s supporters and security forces outside the governorate headquarters in Arish. According to reports from the official Middle East News Agency (MENA), 12 people were killed in Alexandria, one in Assiut and one in Suez while hundreds of others were injured in these areas.

The turmoil nationwide was sparked by the ouster of Islamist-oriented President Morsi by the military in response to millions of protesters who took to the streets and public squares across the country demanding his removal. Islamist supporters of Morsi rejected the ouster as “a military coup” and demanded that Morsi be reinstated. Similar clashes took place in Damietta, Fayoum, Beheira, Qena and other governorates across the country, injuring hundreds.

Meanwhile, the Egyptian security forces arrested several Muslim Brotherhood (MB) leaders and other Islamist figures on charges of inciting violence against anti-Morsi protesters. On Friday evening, the police arrested MB’s deputy chief Khairat al-Shater, following the nabbing of MB’s official lawyer Abdel-Moneim Abdel-Maqsood and former Salafist presidential candidate Hazem Salah Abu Ismail.

Earlier reports had said that Mohamed Badei, the general guide of MB, was arrested, but the man delivered a speech to throngs of Morsi’s advocates in Rabia al-Adawiya Square in Cairo on Friday evening, denying the news of his escape and arrest as “fake.”

After Morsi’s ouster, the army appointed Adli Mansour, head of the Supreme Constitutional Court, as interim president until a new one is elected. Mansour on Friday dismantled the Islamist-dominated Shura Council, the country’s upper house of parliament, in his first constitutional declaration as caretaker president. He also issued presidential decrees appointing Mostafa Hegazi as his adviser for political affairs, Mohamed Raafat Shehata as adviser for security affairs, Ali Awad Saleh as adviser for constitutional affairs and Mohamed Ahmed Farid as chief of the general intelligence agency.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Coptic Priest Gunned Down in Egypt, Christian Villages Attacked

by Mary Abdelmassih

(AINA) — This morning masked men gunned down Father Mina Cheroubim, pastor of the Coptic Orthodox church, as he left his church building in el-Arish North Sinai, 344 kilometers northeast of Cairo. Yesterday Muslims attacked Coptic inhabitants in the village of Nag Hassan, Dabayaa, in Luxor province. This attack was prompted by news that allegedly four Copts killed 45-year-old Muslim H. Hefny, whose body was found near the river. The attack killed four and wounded three. 16 homes and shops were torched, including the home of a Coptic family who are accused of being involved in the killing of the Muslim man. Police and ambulances were sent to the village as hundreds of scared Coptic inhabitants left the village. One of the villagers said that the dead Muslim was not killed by Copts but by Muslims in order to cause sedition and force Christians to leave the village.

Muslims have continued terrorizing Christians. On July 3rd, in the village of Delga in Deir Mawas, Minya Province, which has a population over 65,000, the services building of the Coptic Catholic Church of St. Georges was looted and torched, and the El-Saleh Church in Delga was heavily fired at. The villagers had their homes and businesses looted and torched. Most of the Copts, the majority in Delga, left their homes in fear. Two Christians were wounded from the fires.

Rev. Ayub Saleh, pastor of Delga Catholic Church, who was smuggled out across rooftops by the neighbors, said that supporters of former President Morsy are engaged in continuous and unprecedented harassment of Copts. He said that a number of those people broke into the homes of Christians at gunpoint, terrorizing women, children and seizing gold jewelry and furniture. He contacted security forces, pleading for help. Witnesses said security arrived next morning.

“Every Coptic home they loot, they torch afterwards — Muslim homes are spared,” said a village Copt to activist Mariam Ragy in an aired interview. “Most Copts are outside of the village, not knowing whether their homes are still there or looted and torched.” He said that Muslims walk normally in the streets, they just go to Christian homes and take what they want.” He said the situation and persecution of the Copts is still the same, before and after the 30th June Revolution, as it is now dubbed.

           — Hat tip: Mary Abdelmassih [Return to headlines]

Deposing Morsi Won’t End the Chronic Rejection of Secularism in Egypt

by Andrew Bostom

Vatikiotis lucidly chronicled Egypt’s 150-year experience (through 1981) of failed experiments with secularization imposed by forceful despots, beginning in the 1820s with Muhammad Ali (and including his equally “vigorous” grandson, Khedive Ismail). The process reached its apogee with the adoption of a constitutional parliamentary system in 1923. However, as Vatikiotis observes, the “very small group” attempting to impose this “borrowed secularism” never tried to resolve the contradiction between their adopted foreign ideology and “the native religious tradition.”

Worse still, a more fundamental defect in the process emerged, which, unresolved ever since, continues to plague Egyptian society, engendering sectarian violence against the non-Muslim minority Christian (primarily Coptic) population, and bloody internecine conflicts between members of Egypt’s dominant Muslim majority.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Doubts Over Elbaradei’s Appointment as Egypt PM

Egypt’s new president says pro-reform leader Mohamed Elbaradei has not yet been appointed as interim prime minister despite earlier reports.

A spokesman for interim President Adly Mansour said consultations were continuing.

Officials had earlier named Mr ElBaradei — a former head of the UN’s nuclear watchdog — for the post.

News of his appointment had been criticised by the Salafist Nour Party, which said it would not work with him.

It came three days after the army removed Islamist leader Mohammed Morsi following growing public unrest.

The appointment of Mr ElBaradei caused anger among supporters of Mr Morsi, who want to see him returned to power.

“Interim President Adly Mansour met today with Dr ElBaradei but so far there has been no official appointment,” Agence France-Presse news agency quoted presidential advisor Ahmed al-Muslimani as saying.

But he added that Mr ElBaradei was “the logical choice” among a list of names being considered, the news agency said.

Mr ElBaradei and other party leaders attended a meeting called by Mr Mansour on Saturday.

He leads an alliance of liberal and left-wing parties, the National Salvation Front.

In a BBC interview on Thursday, Mr ElBaradei defended the army’s intervention, saying: “We were between a rock and a hard place.”

“It is a painful measure, nobody wanted that,” he said. “But Mr Morsi unfortunately undermined his own legitimacy by declaring himself a few months ago as a pharaoh and then we got into a fist fight, and not a democratic process.”…

[Return to headlines]

Egypt Crisis: At Least 29 Killed as Muslim Brotherhood Clash With Ousted Mohammed Morsi’s Enemies

Egypt faced a descent into chaos as violent clashes broke out across the country leaving 29 dead and dozens more injured.

Running battles between those supporting the overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Morsi and those demanding his reinstatement were most intense in Cairo where tens of thousands took to the streets. The two sides briefly fought for control of the northern entrances to Tahrir Square…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Egypt: It is Capitalism, Not Democracy, That the Arab World Needs Most

by Fraser Nelson

Property rights for aid: this could be the most effective anti-poverty strategy in history

To watch events in Egypt is like seeing a videotape of the Arab Spring being played backwards. The ballot box has been kicked away, the constitution torn up, the military has announced the name of a puppet president — and crowds assemble in Tahrir Square to go wild with joy. The Saudi Arabian monarchy, which was so nervous two years ago, has telegrammed its congratulations to Cairo’s generals. To the delight of autocrats everywhere, Egypt’s brief experiment with democracy seems to have ended in embarrassing failure…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Morsi Ouster in Egypt ‘Invalid’: Qaradawi Fatwa

AFP — Influential Muslim cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi on Saturday issued a religious decree, or fatwa, urging Egyptians to support overthrown Islamist president Mohamed Morsi who was toppled by the army on Wednesday.

“Their every action is invalid,” Qaradawi said of “those who have overthrown the president, suspended the constitution and imposed another president and constitution” on Egypt.

The Qatar-based but Egypt-born cleric published the fatwa on his Internet site.

He urged “all parties and political groups in Egypt to support correctness and restore President Morsi to his legitimate post”.

“Sharia (Islamic law) imposes on all believers allegiance to the elected president, to carry out his orders and conform to his directives.”

Morsi “must remain president, and nobody can claim the right to remove him in the name of the people”, Qaradawi added.

“I call on all Egyptians, men and women, young and old, rich and poor, Muslim and Christian, liberal and Islamist to join ranks to protect the gains of the revolution” that overthrew Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

Qaradawi, 86, is regular commentator on Al-Jazeera satellite television and has backed the Arab Spring uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Syria.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

The Al-Dura Blood Libel Affair: An Interview With Nidra Poller

Nidra Poller is an historian by training, writer by profession and journalist by necessity with a unique view of major developments in Europe, Israel and America. Her latest novel is Karimi Hotel and Other African Equations. She is a frequent contributor to the New English Review. Articles by her have appeared in The Wall Street Journal Europe, Commentary, National Review On-line, and The American Thinker, among others. She is the Paris correspondent for Dispatch International. Her chronicle of the Mohammed Al-Dura affair, Notes of a Simple Citizen will be forthcoming. It is based on her 13 years of involvement with the unfolding drama behind the Al-Dura video hoax .

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

Iraqi Farmer, 92, And Father of 16 Marries for a Second Time… to a Woman 70 Years Younger Than Him

A 92-year-old Iraqi farmer has married a woman 70 years his junior in a triple wedding ceremony with his two teenage grandsons.

Musali Mohammed al-Mujamaie married his 22-year-old bride Muna Mukhlif al-Juburi in a four-hour ceremony.

His grandsons, aged 16 and 17, also got married in the ceremony north of Baghdad on Thursday, according to AFP.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Turkish AKP Lawmaker: ‘Germany Applies Double Standards’

Kiliç, a German-born member of Turkish parliament, says that reports of the protests in the Western media are skewed.

Akif Çagatay Kiliç, a member of the Turkish parliament for Prime Minister Erdogan’s AKP party, was born and raised in Germany. In a SPIEGEL interview, he criticizes the foreign media’s coverage of the protests in Turkey as being skewed and one-sided, and defends Erdogan’s response to them.

SPIEGEL: Mr. Kiliç, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused the foreign media of making false reports about the protests. What prompted him to make this accusation?

Kiliç: Of course we have seen how the major TV broadcasters — CNN, the BBC and Al-Jazeera, but also German media — have reported on the situation in Turkey. There, for example, the impression was created that the protests were taking place all over Istanbul, even though only a few districts were affected. A demonstration by supporters of the AKP (Erdogan’s Islamic-conservative Justice and Development Party) was identified as an anti-Erdogan demonstration.

SPIEGEL: In your opinion, was this deliberate misinformation?

Kiliç: When a major European newspaper writes that the prime minister no longer knows his own people, that is a malicious accusation. Or when it’s reported that the government is throwing people out of their homes because something new is going to be built there — that is a distorted picture. We don’t know what lies behind such statements, but they are not helpful. And why is it always the violence of some police officers that is shown? What about the violence of demonstrators who have broken the law? What bothers us most is the accusatory and negative language of the correspondents.

SPIEGEL: But what about Erdogan’s language? He has described the demonstrators as riff-raff and looters…

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

Turkish Police Use Water Cannons and Tear Gas on Crowd

(AGI) Rome — Turkish police on Saturday used water cannons and tear gas to prevent a crowd from entering Gezi Park .

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

Four Taliban Killed in Attack on Italian Copters

One chopper hit, no one hurt

(ANSA) — Rome, July 5 — Four Taliban were killed after attacking Italian helicopters in Afghanistan Thursday, military sources told ANSA Friday.

One of the choppers was hit by seven rounds but no one was hurt, they said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

China: Government Gives Shanghai ‘Free Port’ Status

State Council gives go-ahead to expand bonded area in the mainland’s largest city, undermining efforts by Hong Kong and Taiwan to become the vital gateways for foreign capital into mainland markets.

Beijing (AsiaNews) — China’s state council (cabinet) gave the green light to the country’s first free-trade zone. Home to mainland China’s main stock exchange, Shanghai will now have a ‘free port’ to rival Hong Kong and Taiwan in attracting foreign investment. Like a handful of Chinese cities (Beijing, Guangzhou and Hong Kong), China’s largest city will not require a visa from businessmen who stay less than two days.

In a press release, the State Council said after a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Li Keqiang that the free-trade zone would be a snapshot of an “upgraded Chinese economy”.

Economists said the plan, aimed at eventually creating a “mini-Hong Kong” in the mainland’s commercial hub, would benefit Shanghai as the city sought new engines to revive its slowing economic growth.

Initially, Shanghai will upgrade and expand its existing four bonded areas, set up under Deng Xiaoping to free China from Maoist economics. Here, goods will be imported, processed and re-exported without the intervention of customs authorities.

At a later stage, the four areas could form a single region to benefit from further financial liberalisation.

Shanghai is the only major Chinese province or municipality to grow at a slower pace since 2008. In part, this might be due to political enmity by the “Fourth Generation”, i.e. Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao, who took over from Jiang Zemin, a major backer of the city.

The city’s ambition to become a global financial centre by 2020 remained a dream for many years, one that now might become reality but at the expense of Hong Kong and Taiwan.

The former British crown colony has always been considered “the” entry point for foreign capital into Chinese markets. Its stock exchange, greater freedom and the rule of law effectively made it one of the best places in the world to do business.

Taiwan just signed a free trade agreement with mainland China to attract investors through lower taxes, “convinced” that it could be the pathway to the mainland.

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

China and Russia Increase Military Co-Operation

US Defense and Foreign Policy was long based on the notion that Russia and China are antagonistic.

If that was ever truly the case, it certainly isn’ t now.

If America ever gets into a War with either Russia or China (which is almost certain, unless America pre-emptively surrenders) it will become very quickly a multi-front war against both powers.

– From USAToday:

China will join Russia later this week for its largest-ever naval drills with a foreign partner, underscoring deepening ties between the former Cold War rivals along with Beijing’ s desire for closer links with regional militaries.

China has long been a key customer for Russian military hardware, but only in the last decade have their militaries begun taking part in joint exercises.

China’s Defense Ministry said Tuesday that its navy will send four destroyers, two guided missile frigates, and a support ship for the “Joint Sea-2013” exercises, which start Friday in the Sea of Japan and run through July 12. The ships departed Monday from the port of Qingdao, where China’ s Northern Fleet is based, headed for the rallying point in Peter the Great Bay near Vladivostok.

“This marks our navy’s single biggest deployment of military force in a China-foreign joint exercise,” the ministry said.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Australian Woman Bridges Differences in Love

AN AUSTRALIAN woman has found a bridge to love, marrying the 14th century Le Pont du Diable Bridge in southern France.

Known as The Devil’s Bridge, Jodi Rose says she visited about a dozen bridges for her Singing Bridges music project before she made her choice.

“He makes me feel connected to the earth and draws me to rest from my endless nomadic wanderings. He is fixed, stable, rooted to the ground, while I am nomadic, transient, ever on the road,” she said. “He gives me a safe haven, brings me back to ground myself, and then lets me go again to follow my own path, without trying to keep me tied down or in thrall to his needs or desires. I am devoted to him.”

And while the devil may care Ms Rose says “He understands that I love other bridges — and men.”

About 14 guests attended the ceremony, which received the blessing of the mayor of neighbouring town Saint-Jean-de-Fos

“The Devil’s Bridge is everything I could desire in a husband — sturdy, trustworthy, sensual, kind and handsome,” she added. “This is not a decision I undertake lightly, just as our curves complement, we truly bring joy to each other, and the strength of his pylons will always carry me home.”

Ms Rose did not say how she determined the gender of the bridge.

           — Hat tip: McR [Return to headlines]

Islamic Extremists Attack School in Nigeria, Killing 30

(AGI) Lagos — Islamic militants attacked a school in northeast Nigeria on Saturday, killing 29 students and one teacher .

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

Islamists Attack Nigerian School and Burn Students Alive

(AGI) Damaturu (Nigeria) — At least 42 were killed when Islamist extremists attacked a school and burnt the students alive.

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

Nigeria School Massacre: 41 Children Killed, Some Burned Alive

[WARNING: * Disturbing content *]

41 students and an English teacher have been killed in an Islamic extremist attack on a boarding school in northeast Nigeria. Some students were burned alive, according to survivors being treated for burn and gunshot wounds.

“We received 42 dead bodies of students and other staff of Government Secondary School [in] Mamudo last night. Some of them had gunshot wounds while many of them had burns and ruptured tissues,” Haliru Aliyu of the Potiskum General Hospital told AFP.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Brazil: Referee Beheaded by Fans After He Kills Player

[WARNING: * Disturbing content *]

According to reports in Brazil, referee Otavio Jordao da Silva (20) fatally stabbed footballer Josenir dos Santos Abreu (30) during a heated moment of a match.

It is believed the referee was carrying a knife throughout the match and fatally stabbed the player in retaliation.

Santos Abreu was rushed to hospital but died from injuries on the way.

According to reports, the referee was tied up, beaten, stoned and quartered. They then put his head on a stake and planted it in the middle of the pitch)

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

The Cubanization of Venezuela: Cuban Intelligence Sets up to Monitor Opposition in Venezuela

By Alberto de la Cruz

The intelligence operation of the Castro dictatorship has set up shop in Venezuela to monitor the opposition and ensure that country’s continued Cubanization…

           — Hat tip: DS [Return to headlines]

Around 7,800 Migrants Landed in Italy So Far This Year

Most came from North Africa, says UNHCR

(ANSA) — Rome, July 5 — Around 7,800 migrants and asylum-seekers landed on Italy’s shores in the first half of 2013, UNHCR said Friday, while some 600 more arrived in Malta.

The United Nations refugee agency said that most of the migrants came from North Africa, principally Libya. It said around 40 people have died trying to make the crossing from Tunisia to Italy so far this year.

In 2012, almost 500 people were reported dead or missing at sea. UNHCR attributed the decrease in deaths so far in 2013 to the efforts of the Italian and Maltese authorities to better coordinate sea rescues.

The crossing between Italy and North Africa is very dangerous and every year people die attempting it. On Monday Pope Francis will visit the Sicilian island of Lampedusa to pray with migrants and local people and will throw a wreath into the sea to pay tribute to the migrants who die at sea.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

UK: Immigrants Create Overcrowding and Fuel Tensions, Report Finds

Asylum seekers, refugees and low-skilled immigrants are creating overcrowding, fueling community tensions and putting pressure on the NHS, a government report has found.

Home Office researchers have assessed for the first time the ground-level impact of immigration on British communities by conducting a survey of local authorities and service providers.

They found that immigrants were likely to lead to longer waiting times at GP surgeries, be involved in anti-social behaviour and create pest control issues because of overcrowding.

Mark Harper, the immigration minister, said: “This report highlights the significant impact high levels of migration have had on UK communities.

“It emphasises the importance of protecting our public services and taking a robust approach against those who come here to exploit our welfare system.

“While we have always recognised and believed in the benefits of immigration, uncontrolled immigration causes a number of problems for the United Kingdom.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Church of England Must Accept Gay Rights, Archbishop Welby Says in First Speech to Synod

The Archbishop of Canterbury yesterday warned leaders of the Church of England that they must learn to accept the sexual revolution over gay rights.

The Most Reverend Justin Welby said there is hostility to the churches because of their opposition to gay rights and same-sex marriage, adding that some of the criticism was ‘uncomfortably close to the bone’.

In the Archbishop’s first major speech to the Church’s parliament, the General Synod, he promised a new campaign to stamp out anti-gay bullying in more than 5,000 church schools.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Welby Calls for Church to Join the Sexual ‘Revolution’

The Archbishop of Canterbury has warned the Church of England that it had to face up to a “revolution” in attitudes to homosexuality.

In his most widely anticipated address since taking over the leadership of the Church, the Most Rev Justin Welby insisted that it was now “absurd and impossible” to ignore an “overwhelming” change in social attitudes. In a deliberate echo of Harold MacMillan’s 1950 speech which attacked apartheid in South Africa, the Archbishop warned church leaders that they needed to reassess their own attitudes to gay people — even if they do not “like it”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]