Gates of Vienna News Feed 9/14/2013

Russia and the United States have agreed on a plan that will avert a war in Syria. The Russian plan includes a timetable for Syria to turn over its chemical weapons, and if the deadline is not met, the matter will be referred to the UN.

In other news, a tattoo parlor owner in Raleigh, North Carolina has been arrested and charged with fraud for accepting food stamps as payment for tattooing his customers.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Fjordman, Insubria, JD, JP, KGS, KP, 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
» As the Fantasy Dies: “Panic Will Ensue”
» Oregon: P.E.R.S.: Lies, Distortions, Half-Truths and Fraud
» The Myth of a California Renaissance
» A Documentary That Opens in Theaters Tuesday: ‘Letters to Jackie’ Shows Ordinary People’s Grief Over Kennedy’s Assassination
» Al-Qaeda Chief Calls for Attacks on US in 9/11 Speech to Followers
» Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif..) Recalls Drunken Arm-Wrestling Match With Putin
» Defeatism Insures Defeat
» Defund ObamaCare? Not Happening
» Eric Holder, IRS Officials Coached Tax-Exempt Black Ministers on How to Engage in Political Activity
» Las Vegas Installs 37 DHS Surveillance Cameras on the Strip
» Nelson Offers an Engaging Look at Islamic Art Through the Ages
» Raleigh Police Make Arrest in Food Stamps for Tattoos Fraud
» Rand Paul Criticizes Evangelical Christians Claiming They Want to Go to War for Israel
» Sinovel Charged With Shocking Cyber Espionage in US
» Somali Islamic Center Eulogizes American Jihadi, Backing Up Reports He Was Killed by Rivals
» Still No Definitive Answers for Dog-Killing Illness; Theory Points to New Virus
» Oldest Message in a Bottle May Have Been Found in Canada
Europe and the EU
» 20 Muslim Invaders Gang Rape 11-Year-Old Swedish Girl in Public Bathhouse
» Finland: Kemi Survivor Suspected of Explosives Offences, Manslaughter
» First Mosque to be Built in Slovenia
» France: Louvre Artworks to be Moved Amid Flood Fears
» Italy: Wine Production Up 7% for 2013
» Italy: Chinese Supermodels Star in Umbrian Reality Show
» Italy Wins Court Battle Over Italian in Recruitment Contests
» Italy: IPad App to Promote India Marines Solidarity Launched
» Italy Will Write Finance Bill Not EU, Says PM Enrico Letta
» Italy: Northern League Asked to Support Government Without PDL
» It’s Official: The “Nordryggen” Mountain Range
» One Person Dead in Explosion in Northern Finland
» Sweden: Appeal Against Racism and Discrimination
» Sweden: Two to Hospital After Malmö Grenade Detonates
» Switzerland: Tap Water Less Risky Than Bottled Water: Study
» The Italian Dodecanese, A Unique, Forgotten History
» UK: Police Face Court Over Refusal to Hand Over Reports on Anti-Muslim ‘Bias’
» UK: Viewers Left Disgusted After BBC Helps Paedophile Find a Luxury Home in Escape to the Country
» Wow! Sweden Might Beat Norway and the UK for the Largest Number of Rapes by Muslims
» Serbia: Exhibition: Synagogical Ritual Items at Jewish Museum
North Africa
» 1 Killed in Clashes Between Supporters, Opponents of Egyptian Ousted President
» Egypt: Scores of Brotherhood Supporters Cut Cairo’s Salah Salem Road
» Egypt: Minya: Wedding Breathes New Life Into Church Destroyed by Islamists
» Libya: “Concern on Stalled Investments”, Says Sace Insurer
» Morocco’s Booming Tanger Med Port a Huge Success
Middle East
» Assad is More Believable Than Obama
» Iraq: Two Roadside Bombs Kill 30 Outside Mosque in Baquba — Iraqi Police
» Italy Has Taken the Right Stance on Syria, Says D’Alema
» Italy: Bonino Satisfied With Russia-U.S. Accord on Syria
» Preempting the Next Round of Lies Against Syria
» Russia’s ‘Carrier Killer’ Ship Enters Mediterranean
» Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov Have Reached an Agreement on a Framework for Securing Syria’s Chemical Weapons on the Third Day of Intense Negotiations in Geneva.
» Suicide Bomber Kills 21 in Iraqi Kurdistan
» Syria: Al-Qaeda-Linked Rebels Execute Regime ‘Militia Men’ In Front of Children
» Syrian Rockets Strike Lebanese Hezbollah Stronghold
» The Christian Exodus: The Disastrous Campaign to Rid the Middle East of Christianity
» United States and Russia Agree on Framework for Securing Syria’s Chemical Weapons, Kerry Says
» Why Are We Supporting Guys Who Want to Blow Us Up?
» Senator John McCain to Write for Pravda
South Asia
» Malaysian Leader Bolsters Affirmative Action Program for Ethnic Malays
» Myanmar: Naypyidaw Optimistic About Cease-Fire With Rebels, Kachin Say Peace is “Illusion”
Far East
» China: Journalist Betrayed by Yahoo Released 15 Months Early
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Acid Thrown at Catholic Priest in Zanzibar
» Kenya: British Terror Suspect Cleared of All Charges
» Nigeria: Jonathan — We Are Winning the War Against Terrorism
» Zanzibar: Catholic Priest Doused With Acid in Latest Attack in Zanzibar
» 4600 Syrians Have Flocked to Italy So Far This Year
» Immigrants to be Respected and Reciprocate in Italy
» Syrian Immigrants Land After Ten Days at Sea
» Vatican: For the Pope, Those Who Are Forced to Seek Refuge Have “A Right” To Integration
Culture Wars
» AZ School District Pulls Sexually Explicit Book Recommended by Common Core Standards
» Homosexual Activists to Disrupt Olympics in Russia
» Pennsylvania Judge Orders Rogue Clerk to Stop Issuing Homosexual ‘Marriage’ Licenses Against Law
» Richard Dawkins Defends ‘Mild’ Pedophilia, Again and Again
» Rise of the Thought Police: Bullying Your Children Into Forsaking Their Values
» Socialist Publication: We Can ‘Change the World’ Through Abortion and Gay ‘Marriage’
» Functioning ‘Mechanical Gears’ Seen in Nature for the First Time

As the Fantasy Dies: “Panic Will Ensue”

The US government may have funded studies and propaganda material which says that people will not panic, loot or go hungry in the midst of a crisis, but the fact of the matter is that history has shown otherwise.

It’s often the case that, despite countless warnings from those considered to be fringe lunatics, the vast majority of the populace is blindsided by horrific, paradigm-altering events. The signs are almost always there, but people simply refuse to believe it can happen to them. “It” always happens somewhere else, and we get to watch it play out on television from the comfort of our living rooms.

But, as financial guru and strategic investor Bill Fleckenstein points out in the following highly insightful interview with King World News, America’s fantasy of unlimited borrowing, consumption and confidence will soon be revealed for the sham that it really is. And when the masses realize what has happened — that the government and Federal reserve are trapped and the “great unwind” finally begins — it will lead to nothing short of widespread panic on a level never before seen.

And this time, it’ll be right outside of our front doors.

“Right now, people continue to believe that the same idiots that created all of these problems, namely the central banks, are going to somehow get us out of it with the exact same policies that got us into it, only at a much higher (aggressive) level of pursuing those policies…”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Oregon: P.E.R.S.: Lies, Distortions, Half-Truths and Fraud

I have been researching PERS, or this Fraud and Swindling Scheme, as Kindleberger would say: for 12 years and in that time I have never found anyone in the State of Oregon who understands PERS including Paul Cleary…

PERS is really very simple. The key is the discount rate which calculates the capitalization for the pension. All PERS accounts in Oregon use the 8% discount rate. There are no exceptions. This is fixed and is not a variable. If you do this in the private sector you will go to prison. What states do is a lot worse than Wall Street, which is why PERS must be shut down.

What is a discount rate? It is an assumed rate, on future returns, on assumed future capital. It’s all based on assumptions. By law the private sector must use the AAA Corporate Bond Rate, which is usually between 3 — 5%. The reason is that, it is supposed to be a riskless rate of return to insure it will be paid and the company will not go bankrupt.

State Pensions use a risky rate of return because the taxpayer and his property becomes de facto the corporation or the insurance company for the pensions. In other words market risk is shifted to the private individual from the government employee regardless of the risky discount rate. Naturally when the private sector finds out these facts, he becomes outraged and the PERS sector goes into hiding & spews propaganda.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

The Myth of a California Renaissance

Are the recent raves about a new California renaissance true?

Rolling Stone magazine just gushed that California governor Jerry Brown has brought the state back from the brink of “double-digit unemployment, a $26 billion deficit and an accumulated ‘wall of debt’ topping $35 billion.”

Unfortunately, California still faces existential crises.

The unemployment rate just went back up in July to 8.7 percent. That is significantly higher than the current national average of 7.3 percent. Such a high rate of joblessness is a bad omen when the Democrat-controlled state legislature is pushing for the mandatory minimum wage to reach $9.25 in a little over two years.

The “wall of debt” is not $35 billion. According to the State Budget Crisis Task Force report that was issued in January, California’s debt ranges from a minimum of $167 billion to a staggering $335 billion.

[Comment: Good article.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

A Documentary That Opens in Theaters Tuesday: ‘Letters to Jackie’ Shows Ordinary People’s Grief Over Kennedy’s Assassination

By Annie Groer

Excerpt: Gabriele Gidion, a German-born Jew who ultimately settled in New York, wrote, “Dear Mrs. Kennedy: Twenty-six years of: escaping from Hitler — growing up in wartime China fleeing from Communism — watching my father’s futile struggle against cancer — seeing my roommate killed in an automobile accident — all these I deemed adequate preparation for some of life’s bitter moments. Yet NEVER, until last Friday, have I felt such a desperate sense of loss and loneliness.”

           — Hat tip: KP [Return to headlines]

Al-Qaeda Chief Calls for Attacks on US in 9/11 Speech to Followers

The leader of Al-Qaeda has called on Muslims to wage attacks inside the United States, to wreak instability that will “bleed America economically”.

In an audio message released on Friday, two days after the anniversary of September 11th, Ayman al-Zawahiri said America was not a “mythic power” and that it could be defeated even through small-scale strikes by “one brother or a few of the brothers”.

“We should bleed America economically by provoking it to continue in its massive expenditure on its security, for the weak point of America is its economy, which has already begun to stagger due to the military and security expenditure,” he said, according to SITE, a jihadist monitoring group. “America is not a mythic power and the Americans, after all, are humans who can be defeated, felled and punished.”

Zawahiri urged the Islamic world to “abandon the dollar and replace it with a currency of other countries that are not taking part in the aggression against us”. He also said that Muslims should refuse to buy goods from America and its allies, as such spending only helped to fund US military action in Muslim lands. As well as mounting small, “disparate” assaults, Zawahiri urged fellow members of his extremist group to “watch and wait” and seize any opportunity to conduct a large strike against the US, similar to the 9/11 attack that killed almost 3000 people…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif..) Recalls Drunken Arm-Wrestling Match With Putin

By Aaron Burke

Excerpt: Rohrabacher told KPCC-FM that [in 1990] Putin and two other Russian politicians were in Washington, D.C., and Rohrabacher invited them to play touch football. They all wound up at a local bar — Kelly’s Irish Times — afterward. But rather than summarize it all, we thought it best just to let Rohrabacher tell it:…

           — Hat tip: KP [Return to headlines]

Defeatism Insures Defeat

If any combination of words sounds as a leitmotif throughout the political tone-poems being played in “the alternative media” today, it is that America is inevitably, inexorably, irretrievably, and even already “doomed”: “The Constitution is dead.” “Martial law and the confiscation of firearms is just around the corner.” “Surveillance cameras…”; “constant NSA, CIA, and FBI surveillance…”; “FEMA camps…”; “drone strikes…”; “blah, blah, blah…”

ad nauseum. And worst of all: “There is nothing common Americans can do to stop it.”

This discordant theme is being performed with such overdone fortissimo in “the alternative media” that, on the subject of America’s imminent demise, “the alternative media” are no longer “alternative” at all, but merely a set of echo-chambers for the big “mainstream” media’s dirge that even those patriots who are not half-witted “extremists” and rustic buffoons are still helpless, hapless, and hopeless in their opposition to the fascistic police state now being erected at breakneck speed in the Disgrace of Columbia. It is not enough that the “mainstream” media are overrun with well-coiffed reincarnations of Josef Goebbels, in the viewers’ choice of sexes. The likes of Lord Haw-Haw, Axis Sally, and Tokyo Rose are over-represented in “the alternative media”, too…

As regular readers of my commentaries at are aware, for many years I have repetitively drawn Americans’ attention to the absolute and pressing need to revitalize the institutions which the Constitution itself declares to be “necessary to the security of a free State”: namely, “the Militia of the several States”. But apparently these many years of effort have not been enough, because the message is not sinking in — indeed, water off a duck’s back seems to have more chance of being soaked up. Some within “the patriot community” advocate electing better “representatives” to public office; others promote petitioning the government for a redress of grievances; still others champion free speech and a truly free press; many harp on the supposedly “individual” “right of the people to keep and bear Arms”, guaranteed by the Second Amendment; increasing numbers of them urge enforcement of the Tenth Amendment and “States’ rights”; and a few go so far as to call for a new constitutional convention, or even outright “secession”. But next to none of them says anything at all about the Militia. After a while, I have come to wonder whether these people are wearing the mental equivalent of tin-foil (or perhaps lead-foil) hats, through which ideas of this kind simply cannot penetrate; or whether they have had a probe implanted in their brains by a certain “poverty” law center, so that whenever a synapse threatens to fire over the concept “militia” they receive a warning shock that short-circuits their thinking.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Defund ObamaCare? Not Happening

ObamaCare is such an unbelievable bureaucratic nightmare

While Americans demand vociferously the defunding of ObamaCare in hopes of getting rid of the most destructive and freedom-robbing piece of legislation passed in modern times, Congressmen pretend to make valiant efforts to do so via various proposals that only low information and extremely naïve voters can believe to be true.

Their efforts are akin to a handful of people standing on the tracks of an oncoming speeding train, waving their hands in hopes that the engineer will see them in time and be able to stop thousands of tons of momentum at the last minute. Even Heritage President, Jim DeMint, called for an end to these ‘pretend votes’ and ‘gimmicks’ that have now been postponed until next week, supposedly as the result of concerned Americans’ calls. It is just another way of buying time until the bill comes fully into effect.

The reality is that ObamaCare is here to stay. Fourteen laws have already been signed that “amend, rescind, and otherwise change parts of ObamaCare.” The President has delayed his own law five different times. The law is “unfair, unworkable, and unaffordable.” It will eventually cause loss of current health coverage, reduction of full-time work to part-time work, and will allow faceless bureaucrats to control your health care and the denial of services.

Billionaire Mort Zuckerman said on McLaughlin Group, “Part-time employment is going to grow from 25 percent of the workforce to close to 50 percent of the workforce in part because of the problems of healthcare obligations.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Eric Holder, IRS Officials Coached Tax-Exempt Black Ministers on How to Engage in Political Activity

Attorney General Eric Holder and IRS officials advised black ministers on how to engage in political activity during the 2012 election without violating their tax-exempt status.

Holder, then-IRS commissioner Douglas Shulman, and Peter Lorenzetti, a senior official in the scandal-plagued agency’s exempt organizations division, participated in a May 2012 training session for black ministers from the Conference of National Black Churches at the U.S. Capitol hosted by the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC). Holder spoke at the event.

“We’re going to, first of all, equip them with the information they need to know about what they can say and what they cannot say in the church that would violate their 501(c)(3) status with the IRS,” said then-CBC chairman Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, a Democrat from Missouri. “In fact, we’re going to have the IRS administrator there. We’re going to have Attorney General Eric Holder there…the ACLU.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Las Vegas Installs 37 DHS Surveillance Cameras on the Strip

What happens in Vegas will be recorded by cameras provided by the Department of Homeland Security.

All along the storied Las Vegas Strip, 37 surveillance cameras watch and record every movement.

Such an expensive purchase might surprise citizens of Sin City given that the Metropolitan Police Department is in the middle of a hiring freeze and has laid off dozens of officers all over the city.

The effects of the deep budget cuts are likely to continue to be felt. The Las Vegas Sun reports, “The outlook only threatens to worsen, with Metro facing a $30 million budget deficit that could require it to shed as many as 250 additional officer positions over the next several years.”

Homeland Security has deep pockets, though, and the federal government loves using largesse to co-opt control of local law enforcement.

The Las Vegas Police Department received $300,000 from the federal Department of Homeland Security. This generous grant paid for the cameras and the sophisticated surveillance software that powers them.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Nelson Offers an Engaging Look at Islamic Art Through the Ages

Although Americans’ relationship with Islam is often fraught with fear and suspicion, a small but highly engaging exhibit at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art offers multiple points of positive contact, from the sheer beauty of historical works to the abhorrence of violence expressed in contemporary pieces.

Called “Echoes: Islamic Art and Contemporary Artists,” the exhibit brings the culture of Islam to life with stellar objects, striking pairings, moving images and music. Kimberly Masteller, the museum’s curator of South and Southeast Asian Art, has ingeniously crafted a cohesive whole from works spanning 13 centuries and three continents. And that’s no small feat: In addition to paintings, sculpture, ceramics, animation, photography and textiles, the exhibit includes a truck…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Raleigh Police Make Arrest in Food Stamps for Tattoos Fraud

By Caroline May, Daily Caller

Excerpt: Police say a Raleigh, North Carolina tattoo parlor accepted food stamps as payment for tattoo work, according to the Carolina’s WNCN. Raleigh police arrested Clifford Craig Tittle, the owner of Ink Addiction Tattooz, this week and charged him with buying and distribution of food stamps and conspiracy to obtain property under false pretenses. Raleigh police discovered early in 2013 that Ink Addiction Tattooz was accepting Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards, the vehicle for food stamps, as payment for tattoos, according to WNCN’s review of the warrants.

           — Hat tip: KP [Return to headlines]

Rand Paul Criticizes Evangelical Christians Claiming They Want to Go to War for Israel

Excerpt: Pandering to his dad’s base. Via Weekly Standard: In an interview with Buzzfeed’s McKay Coppins, Kentucky senator Rand Paul criticized “some” Christians who support Israel and the Jews and those Christians’ “overeagerness” to go to war. Adding to sentiments he expressed in a speech earlier this year, Paul told Buzzfeed:

           — Hat tip: KP [Return to headlines]

Sinovel Charged With Shocking Cyber Espionage in US

Sinovel Wind Group Company, China’s largest wind turbine manufacturer, has been accused of cheating US company American Superconductor out of more than US$800 million in a sordid tale of cyber espionage.

According to US federal prosecutors, in 2011 the Chinese company used money and women to entice Dejan Karabasevic, then a chief engineer for American Superconductor, to download the US company’s encrypted source codes onto a USB drive and then send them via email to Sinovel executives in China.

The stolen advanced codes were developed by American Superconductor to regulate the flow of electricity from wind turbines. Sinovel had been the US company’s biggest customer but once it illegally obtained the codes it suddenly cut off all business ties and refused to pay for contracted shipments, prosecutors said. The stolen software was later found operating in a Sinovel wind turbine that had been sold to the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority for US$4.7 million.


“They were out to kill my company,” said American Semiconductor CEO Daniel McGahn. “We thought we were playing by the Chinese rules. We didn’t anticipate outright theft as part of their business model.”

[Comment: “Didn’t anticipate”?…naive to say the least…]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Somali Islamic Center Eulogizes American Jihadi, Backing Up Reports He Was Killed by Rivals

A Somalia-based Islamic center says it is mourning the death of the American jihadi Omar Hammami, backing up reports the militant was killed Thursday by his rivals within the Islamic extremist group al-Shabab.

US and Russia reach agreement in Syria weapons talks

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Still No Definitive Answers for Dog-Killing Illness; Theory Points to New Virus

Chris Gatsios’ five-year-old black lab Bella, from Canal Fulton. Bella is recovering from a possible virus strain that nearly killed her and has killed three dogs in Cincinnati.

Symptoms associated with a new virus are similar to those exhibited in dogs that died in Cincinnati and others sickened in the Akron-Canton area over the past several weeks.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture said it has received calls from veterinarians and anxious dog owners throughout the state who are concerned their animals might have contracted the same illness, which can kill in as little as 48 hours from the onset of symptoms, said Erica Pitchford Hawkins, communications director for the department.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Oldest Message in a Bottle May Have Been Found in Canada

A Canadian man just out for a walk on the beach may have broken a world record without even trying. Steve Thurber, of Courtenay, British Columbia, said he was walking along Schooner’s Cove in Tofino when he found an old bottle in the sand, reported.

Thurber said he did not want to open or break the bottle, but was able to make out through the glass that there was a note inside and it was dated 1906. The current record for the oldest message in a bottle is one from 1914.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

20 Muslim Invaders Gang Rape 11-Year-Old Swedish Girl in Public Bathhouse

[WARNING: VERY Disturbing Content.]

MUSLIM immigration has turned Sweden into the rape capital of the world. Yet only 3% of Muslim rapists are ever convicted. Even worse, politicians continue to insist that more of these uneducated, uncivilized refugees are needed.

They were mainly Arab and African so called “child refugees”. However they are in most cases adults lying about there age to obtain better benefits. In some cases they are in the high 20s and 30s while claiming they are teens. Almost 100 % of them show false id’s or no id’s at all, therefore they are never truly identified.

Police didn’t seem very concerned, and said, “The (bathhouse) is a place where temptations are great.” Swedish taxpayers spend $150,000 per year per refugee to support these good-for-nothing Muslim invaders from the Middle East and Africa.

The government claims “we need more refugees” and similar mantra. The politicians have for many years forced mass immigration of biblical proportions. The voters have never given permission for the destructive immigration policy bringing in 100,000 mostly illiterates mostly from the Muslim world.

Even worse, Swedish public TV has started a new indoctrination series to teach the Swedes how to become good Muslims. Its called, “Islam for beginners”.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Finland: Kemi Survivor Suspected of Explosives Offences, Manslaughter

In the aftermath of Friday night’s deadly explosion in Kemi, police say they found and confiscated over 100 pieces of ordnance. One man was killed and another injured handling war era munitions in a local garage. The survivor now faces charges for unlawful possession of explosives and manslaughter.

Residents of the small town of Karihaara in Kemi tried to return to their Saturday routines after being evacuated from their homes on the back of fears that a large stockpile of wartime explosives and munitions found in their community could detonate.

According to Peräpohjola police, the injured survivor is now suspected of explosives infractions and of manslaughter in the death of his peer who died Friday night as the pair handled some of their explosives in their cache.

Police say they questioned the 24-year old man for the first time Saturday.

“At the same time his best friend died right in front of his eyes,” they noted.

Woman and child unhurt

The 27-year old brother of a woman living in the Karihaara house died in the incident as the men tried to dismantle a war era cannon projectile. The 24-year old was the woman’s partner. The woman and her young daughter were not injured.

The blast survivor told police that he had been a collector of military weapons for some years.

“Of course this is a case of ignorance more than malice,” said Detective Chief Inspector Miia Lehtinen of the Peräpohjola police.

She added that a thorough search of the premises had unearthed more than 100 different types of munitions.

“Explosives are illegal, and no one would be granted a permit for these kinds of explosives,” Lehtinen declared.

Finnish Defence Forces disarmed the explosives and removed them for disposal Saturday morning. An exclusive zone set up around the house was removed around 10.30 am Saturday, allowing nearby residents to return to their homes.

           — Hat tip: KGS [Return to headlines]

First Mosque to be Built in Slovenia

“This fulfills the decade-long dream of Bosniaks in Slovenia to have a mosque,” said the Mufti of Slovenia’s capital

The Islamic Cultural Centre and mosque in the Slovenian capital will be the center of interfaith dialogue and respect for the diversity of Slovenian society, Mufti of Ljubljana Nedzad Grabus told AA. Mufti Grabus spoke to AA ahead of Saturday’s ceremony in the capital Ljubljana marking the laying of the foundation of what will be the closest mosque in the Balkans to western Europe.

“This fulfills the decade-long dream of Bosniaks in Slovenia to have a mosque,” said Grabus. He added it will be a center for ‘‘mutually strengthening relationships within the community.” ‘‘We plan, if everything goes well, to finish the construction in three years by 2016,’’ said Grabus, adding that close to seven million Euros had been invested in the project so far. “The biggest donation we received was from Qatar, with the consent of Emir Al-Walid Sheikh Hamed bin Khalifa Al Thani. They will significantly finance the construction,” concluded Grabus…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

France: Louvre Artworks to be Moved Amid Flood Fears

France’s culture minister announced on Friday that the world-famous Louvre museum in Paris would be transferring its reserves to a location in northern France, amid fears that flooding of the Seine river could destroy the artworks forever.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Italy: Wine Production Up 7% for 2013

Italian vintners predicting good quality this year

(ANSA) — Rome, September 10 — Production of Italian wine has increased by 7% this year compared with 2012, although it remains a bit weaker than the five-year average, producers announced Tuesday.

Quality is good on average across the 45 million hectoliters of wine produced in Italy, said organizations representing wine producers.

Production of good quality of white wine has particularly increased, with reds likely to meet last year’s levels of production and quality, said the organizations.

This year’s grape harvest has been delayed by about 15 days compared with last year, but still remains within normal ranges, they added.

It’s also expected that Spain will report a larger harvest this year compared with 2012, while France is facing a decrease of as much as six million hectoliters.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Chinese Supermodels Star in Umbrian Reality Show

Region first stop for fashion models in China TV event

(By Sandra Cordon) (ANSA) — Perugia, September 10 — Umbria was the first stop for 10 aspiring supermodels from China competing in a new television reality show that will feature the region in four episodes.

“Top Model on the Road by Loren Models” is to be aired on television in the province of Guangxi in southern China before as many as 40 million viewers, some perhaps drawn by the title selected in honour of glamourous Italian movie star Sophia Loren.

The countryside and towns of Umbria will also be stars of the program that has been supported by the regional government of Umbria, which anticipates the economic and cultural benefits of hosting the program.

It is also expected to encourage greater cultural exchanges between Italy and China, promoted by the Italian ministries of Foreign Affairs and Economic Development.

The project is “a great opportunity” for Umbria, as millions of Chinese TV viewers will see the beautiful region, noted Fabrizio Bracco, who is councillor in charge of tourism and culture for the regional government of Umbria.

In fact, the region was a special favourite of the Italian ambassador in Beijing, Bracco told a recent news conference which included some of the super-models and their manager Steven Luo.

Luo, the young entrepreneur who founded the agency and created Top Model on the Road, was born in China but raised in Milan.

Bracco said that Umbria is a great fit for the program, which will link beauty, art and fashion.

Shooting was scheduled at communities across the Umbrian region, including Perugia, Terni, Gubbio, Gualdo Tadino, Panicale, Spello, and Bevagna.

The project will expose not only Italy but Umbria in particular to such important and growing tourism markets as China, said Bracco.

The region will also help to promote an exhibition in Bejing by photographer Steve McCurry, whose show in Perugia was very popular.

It is easy to understand why the Chinese television program selected Umbria for some of its episodes.

Umbria, which boasts a rich physical beauty as well as unspoiled historic hilltowns, exhibits many treasures.

Some of Italy’s finest medieval and Renaissance art and architecture is found in its frescos, painted by master artists inspired by the physical beauty of the region as well as its mystical heart.

Several saints, most notably St. Francis of Assisi, sprang from the lush forests and mountains of Umbria.

Assisi itself has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in part of its remarkable art history.

But the region is also known for some of Italy’s finest olive oil, truffles, wine and other food products.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy Wins Court Battle Over Italian in Recruitment Contests

Court says Italians “disadvantaged” because of language barrier

(ANSA) — Brussels, September 12 — European Union-wide recruitment competitions should be posted in all the EU’s languages and not only English, French and German, the European Court of Justice ruled Thursday in a case brought by Italy.

Italy claimed victory in the case over a number of recruitment competitions, the notices for which were only published in English, French and German. Limiting the number of languages in which EU notices appeared violated the rights of other candidates who had “legitimate expectations” of fair treatment, the court in Luxembourg said.

Anyone who did not speak one of the three languages used in such postings were “disadvantaged,” said the court.

Italy has staged a series of battles against efforts to limit the number of languages used in EU documents — at the expense of Italian and other languages — as part of efforts to cut massive translation costs.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: IPad App to Promote India Marines Solidarity Launched

App creator Boniver says thousands ‘offended and upset’

(ANSA) — Rome, September 12 — An iPad app has been launched through which Italians will be able to express their solidarity to two Italian marines currently in India where they stand accused of killing two fishermen, according to a statement made by parliamentarian Margherita Boniver.

“I wanted the creation of this app to allow each of us to express our convinced testimony on behalf of the two marines that are entrapped in an issue that is far larger than them, that creates huge apprehension above all to their families”, Boniver said in a Twitter posting.

“We would like to unite our voices to those of the armed forces and to those of the thousands of Italian citizens that are profoundly offended and upset”.

Marines Salvatore Girone and Massimiliano Latorre are accused of allegedly killing two Indian fishermen while on anti-piracy duty last year.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy Will Write Finance Bill Not EU, Says PM Enrico Letta

(AGI) Bari — The Italian government will write the finance bill, not Brussels, said Prime Minister Enrico Letta .

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

Italy: Northern League Asked to Support Government Without PDL

(AGI) Pian della Regina (Cuneo), Sept 14 — The centre-left Democratic Party (DP) asked the Northern League to support a government without the centre-right People of Freedom (PDL), claimed Northern League Senator Roberto Calderoli. “I said ‘Okay, give us the Prime Minister and important ministers’ .

Then I said, ‘Get lost, we won’t give you our votes, because can you see me in Cabinet alongside Kyenge?’“ He was speaking to party members at the Padania Peoples’ Festival in Monviso.

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

It’s Official: The “Nordryggen” Mountain Range

The hitherto nameless mountain range along the Swedish-Norwegian border has received a name. From now on it will be called “Nordryggen” or “Northern backbone”. The range stretches 1300 kilometers from Aster and Rogaland in the south to the province of Finnmark in the north, writes the Norwegian news agency NTB.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

One Person Dead in Explosion in Northern Finland

HELSINKI, Sept. 13 (Xinhua) — One person was killed in an explosion in Kemi in northern Finland Friday evening, Finnish Broadcasting Company Yle reported. The explosion occurred in the garage of an independent house, causing casualties. At least one person was killed and another wounded. The blast was said to be caused by unknown ammunition, and Finnish Defense Force experts were called to the site to defuse it, according to Yle Finnish language news bulletin. Rescue workers from local authority evacuated hundreds of residents, as there might be more explosive substances at the site.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Sweden: Appeal Against Racism and Discrimination

A call to fight racism, discrimination, and prejudice has been published in Saturday’s editions of the newspapers Aftonbladet and Expressen.

Signed by hundreds of prominent Swedes, the appeal says “It is high time to speak out! It is time to talk about a Sweden where everyone has equal value no matter what ethnic background, gender, disability, religion, or sexual orientation.”

Among those signing are Social Democrat party leader Stefan Löfven, Liberal EU Minister Birgitta Ohlsson, commentator Jan Scherman, and soccer national team coaches Pia Sundhage and Erik Hamrén. More than 5000 people have signed an online version of the appeal.

More than 5000 people have signed an online version of the appeal.

The appeal comes as the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats continue to attract just under 10 percent in public opinion polls, despite a series of scandals concerning racist and sexist incidents.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Sweden: Two to Hospital After Malmö Grenade Detonates

Two people have been taken to the hospital after a hand grenade exploded on Köpmansgatan in Malmö Friday night. According to the police one was injured by glass splinters, while the other was in shock. Two cars had their windows shattered by the grenade, which lay on the ground next to them.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Switzerland: Tap Water Less Risky Than Bottled Water: Study

A Swiss doctors group has revived concerns about bottled water with a new study that shows it is safer to drink water out of the tap, although the results have been contested.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

The Italian Dodecanese, A Unique, Forgotten History

Pignataro’s Vol. II focuses on Governor Mario Lago (1923-1936)

(by Patrizio Nissirio) (ANSAmed) — ROME, SEPTEMBER 9 — Strategically located in the Aegean Sea off the eastern edge of Crete, the Dodecanese Islands were colonized by Italy from 1912-1947: the second volume of historian Luca Pignataro’s “The Italian Dodecanese” (Solfanelli publishers, 655 pages, 40 euros) sheds light on an occupation that, at least until 1936, was marked by good administration, efforts to modernize a long-marginalized area, and tolerance towards local communities.

The second volume of a history narrated with accuracy and a wealth of materials focuses on Mario Lago, who was governor of the colony from 1923-1936.

“A man of culture as well as a diplomat”, says Pignataro, “because it must be said Mussolini wanted it that way, at least for a while. Mussolini wanted to establish good relations with Greece and Turkey, so he drew up some treaties with that purpose and unofficially decided to preserve a degree of autonomy for the inhabitants. In 1936, when the aim became challenging Great Britain for control of the Mediterranean, Italian foreign policy became more aggressive”. Why has this piece of Italian history in the once-Ottoman, now Greek islands fallen into oblivion? “The main reason is Italy lost the war, so it had to try to make others forget its previous superpower attitudes,” the historian explained to ANSAmed. “In the post-war period, Italy had to try to re-establish good relations with its neighbors, in this case with Greece. Then, the islands were far away, and there were few Italians living there. Also, the Italian rule of the Dodecanese became involuntarily linked with the 1940 attack on Greece. That was a very sad page, and everything that could become an obstacle to good relations between Italy and Greece had to be forgotten.” “Lago was a man of culture — says Pignataro — and he tried to make the islands flourish. He was fairly tolerant towards the various local communities, took a soft-handed approach, without political fanaticism. His period was not one of Fascism with a truncheon. Of course, as the representative of a foreign power his mandate was to ‘Italianize’ the inhabitants to a degree. But he respected local customs and tried to preserve them.” And the Greeks? How do they remember that period? “Educated, European-oriented Greeks are very interested in that history, while older educated Greeks berate it, out of ideological prejudice. On the contrary, the locals recall it as a time of good administration”, says Pignataro, who spent 10 months in the Rhodes island archives. “They recognize the quality of the architecture and urban planning. Now they are in disrepair, and they lament their loss.” Things changed with the arrival of Governor Cesare De Vecchi di Val Cismon in 1937. “De Vecchi imposed Italian as the only language in schools, which all became state-run. He sacked local teachers and brought others in from Italy. There were unpleasant episodes, with Fascist squads participating in repression. But even then, there was a concern for the material well-being of the locals. De Vecchi did not want Italy to declare war.

Personally he was not an anti-Semite, although he later applied the Racial Laws.” “De Vecchi’s policies and most of all, Italy’s entry into war ruined everything,” Pignataro recalls. “At that point, it became clear that whoever won the war would get to keep the islands. There was a measure of local hostility towards Italians, although peppered with stories of friendships being struck up with Italian soldiers. On the island of Kastellorizo a number of locals fought the British alongside the Italian troops, and were awarded medals of valor for it.”

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

UK: Police Face Court Over Refusal to Hand Over Reports on Anti-Muslim ‘Bias’

Watchdog seeks high court order over Met’s refusal to hand over results of investigations into alleged misuse of anti-terror powers

Scotland Yard is facing court action next week after refusing to hand over the results of investigations it was ordered to conduct into claims that it used counter-terrorism powers to discriminate against and harass innocent Muslims…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Viewers Left Disgusted After BBC Helps Paedophile Find a Luxury Home in Escape to the Country

[WARNING: VERY Disturbing Content.]

The BBC programme Escape To The Country helped a paedophile find a luxury home with enough land to keep alpacas, it has emerged.

Darren Robinson, 41, featured on the BBC Two programme and was helped by presenter Jonnie Irwin to find a lavish home in South Wales so he and his wife Kasia could start afresh.

Robinson, a former university administrator from south-east London, hid his sick crimes from programme producers.

But just weeks after the show was filmed in May, Robinson was jailed for 30 months for eight counts of abusing a child — thought to be just 15 — in his London home and one count of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

He had been charged with the crimes a year before filming began.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Wow! Sweden Might Beat Norway and the UK for the Largest Number of Rapes by Muslims

[WARNING: VERY Disturbing Content.]

SWEDEN’S SOARING CHILD RAPE WAVE: 1,000 rapes by Muslims were reported in Stockholm during just the first seven seven months of 2013. 300 of them involved girls under 15.

[Comment: This is just in Stockholm alone. Just one city.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Serbia: Exhibition: Synagogical Ritual Items at Jewish Museum

(ANSAmed)- BELGRADE, 10 SEPTEMBER — The Jewish Historical Museum in Belgrade opened on Monday an exhibition entitled Synagogical Ritual Items, which includes items from the museum depot that have never been on display before. Head of the museum Vojislava Radovanovic opened the exhibition by saying that it included all types of items from the museum’s ethnological collection and that it was very interesting, because some of the exhibits were on display for the first time, including some that rabbi Isak Aksiel had brought recently from the Belgrade synagogue. The Jewish Historical Museum in Belgrade is the only Jewish museum in Serbia and one of the best organized in the region, with the one in Thessaloniki possibly being the only better one, Radovanovic noted. The museum marks its 65th anniversary this year and has a number of significant collections, the ethnological one being the largest with 1,000 items, then there is a valuable collection of old and rare books, historical collection, Holocaust collection and a collection of paintings and drawings by jewish artists.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

1 Killed in Clashes Between Supporters, Opponents of Egyptian Ousted President

CAIRO, Sept. 13 (Xinhua) — At least one was killed and five others were injured on Friday in clashes between the supporters and opponents of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi in Alexandria governorate, official news agency MENA reported. One supporter of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood (MB) was killed during the clashes in Seadi Gaber district in the middle area of Alexandria. The supporters and opponents exchanged rocks and shootings, and the security forces managed to disperse them by force, the report said…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Egypt: Scores of Brotherhood Supporters Cut Cairo’s Salah Salem Road

Scores of the Muslim Brotherhood supporters demonstrated at Cairo’s al-Rahman al-Raheem Mosque on Friday, causing traffic to come to a halt in Salah Salem Road at that area. The demonstrators held yellow banners to show their solidarity with two Brotherhood camps that were cleared out in August. The National Coalition for Supporting Legitimacy called for demonstrations on Friday and Saturday to protest against what it called the coup against former President Mohamed Mursi…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Egypt: Minya: Wedding Breathes New Life Into Church Destroyed by Islamists

Mina and Justina are two young members of the Prince Tadros Coptic Orthodox Parish Church. Following their insistence and that of their families, local priests agreed to let them use the church made unsafe by an Islamist attack. In order to create a festive atmosphere for the newlyweds, the community decorated the interior of the building at their own expense. “From childhood, this was our church,” the couple said. “This is where we grew up”, where the “priests taught us to pray . .. . . Now we are happy.”

Minya (AsiaNews) — A young couple got married in the church where they were baptised, a garden table for an altar, carpets and icons provided by various families in lieu of the sacred ornaments destroyed by Islamists, the building itself turned into a shell on 14 August.

Mina and Justina are young Copts from Minya (Upper Egypt) who were supposed to celebrate their wedding in the Prince Tadros Parish Church, one of the city’s most important, but their dream was crushed when members of the Muslim Brotherhood attacked the local Christian community (see video).

“The fire set by Islamists has destroyed everything, even the huge iron chandelier hanging from the centre of the ceiling,” said Macarius, Bishop of Minya, in an interview with el-Badil, an Arabic-language newspaper. “Columns were hot for days,” he added.

In the end, the authorities had to declare the building unfit for use, the prelate said; yet, within a few days, residents were already clamouring to return to their church to pray.

The marriage between Mina and Justina was just an opportunity to bring the Christian pastoral ministry back to the centre of community life.

The young couple was told that they could marry in the churchyard, Bishop Macarius said, because smoke and soot still hung in the air inside the church, which itself was in danger of collapsing. Nonetheless, bride and groom refused, saying that their families wanted a church wedding.

The couple’s parents and friends decked out the ruins. Guests brought chairs from home and those who had not had their carpets, curtains and lamps stolen brought those as well.

About 60 people attended the service held in early September. At the end, the bishop invited the newlyweds and their families to offer their joy and their prayers to the Christians of Minya and to their persecuted Church.

After Mass, a crew from el-Badil interviewed the couple, asking them why they had insisted on getting married in the building and their feelings in front of the nave full of people.

“From childhood, this was our church,” they explained. “This is where we grew up. [This is where] Priests taught us to pray . . . . Now we are happy.”

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

Libya: “Concern on Stalled Investments”, Says Sace Insurer

Cautious on Egypt pending Gulf aid, gov’t plan, auction results

(ANSAmed) — ROME, SEPTEMBER 12 — The latest country update by Italy’s SACE business insurance group gave Libya a negative review, but held out hope for Egypt.

“The situation in Libya is a cause for concern. The oil sector data is negative and expected large-scale Italian investments never resumed. We’re cautious on Egypt,” Giulio Dal Magro, chief economist at SACE, told ANSAmed in an interview. Since the beginning of 2013, SACE has intervened in a very slight number of operations in Libya, whose crucial oil sector is in disarray following strikes by security forces posted to Es Sider, Ras Lanuf, Marsa al-Brega and Zueitina oil export terminals. “We believe oil is a strategic sector for the country, making up 65% of its GDP, 95% of exports and 96% of tax revenue”, Dal Magro explained.

“Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) on August 18 invoked a force majeure clause, announcing it may not be able to fulfill September crude and refined oil delivery contracts. Es Sider, which at capacity of 350,000 barrels a day is Libya’s largest oil terminal, Ras Lanuf (220,000 b/d) and Zueitina (150,000 b/d) remain shut down. Exports from Marsa al-Brega port terminal are back to normal.” The strikes and plant and terminal closures will cause losses of 4 billion dollars in 2013, the NOC president said recently. Libyan oil production fell from 1.3 million barrels a day to 800,000 a day between June and August alone, according to Bloomberg news agency. The outlook remains negative in spite of the government’s efforts to regain control of the sector “by any means necessary”, analysts said.

The outlook on Egypt remains positive in spite of the past two months’ political uncertainty and street violence.

“We’re cautious, but we’re staying”, said Dal Magro. “We need to understand the fallout from the events at the end of August, and we also need to evaluate the impact of the government’s 3.2-billion-dollar emergency plan to restart the economy in the next 10 months, as well as the 12-billion-dollar capital injection from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates after the fall of (President Mohamed) Morsi, and the Bank of Egypt’s 1.3-billion-dollar emergency auction a few days ago”. Italians’ desire to invest in Egypt however hasn’t flagged since the revolution that began on January 25, 2011, said Dal Magro pointing to a positive trend in SACE’s operations in the nation on the Nile. Insurance coverage for political risk and bad credit rose from 6.8 million euros in 2010 to 27.8 million in 2011, to 31 million the following year. Between January and July this year, SACE has already issued contracts totaling 35.8 million euros, in what could be a sign that perhaps all is not lost.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Morocco’s Booming Tanger Med Port a Huge Success

Double-digit outperformance across the board

(ANSAmed) — RABAT, SEPTEMBER 11 — The Moroccan port of Tanger Med rewarded its investors by posting remarkable growth through August, recent Port Authority statistics showed.

In the first eight months of 2013, 2.7 million tons of hydrocarbons came through the terminal and could reach 4.3 million tons by the end of the year, against one million in 2012. This was because the port has started ship fueling services, analysts said.

From the end of August 2012 to the same period this year, container traffic rose 39%, with 1.6 million containers being moved.

The positive numbers were due to a surge in world maritime trade, Tanger Med’s recovery following a wave of strikes in 2011, and expansion at a Renault plant in Tangiers that turns out cars for export to the rest of Africa, Europe and South America.

Between January-August 2013 more than 86,000 Renault vehicles, or twice as many as the previous year, transited through Tanger Med, as did another 15,000 cars of other makes.

Car traffic will reach an estimated 130,000 units by the end of the year, against 81,000 in 2012.

Passenger traffic is also expected to outperform last year’s two million people thanks to a new station in the Tanger Med business center and a rail connection to Tanger Ville, analysts said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Assad is More Believable Than Obama

Charlie Rose said to Assad: “…some have suggested that it [U.S. military strikes] might tip the balance in the favor of the rebels and lead to the overthrow of your government.” Assad replied, “Exactly. Any strike will be as direct support to al-Qaeda offshoot that’s called al-Nusra, Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic state of Iraq and Syria. You’re right about this. It’s going to be direct support.”…

Former CIA officer Larry Johnson reports, “My friends in the CIA are still around and they are now warning me that both the United States and the United Kingdom know that Bashar Assad is not responsible for the incident on 21 August that killed and maimed Syrian civilians. While it is true that a chemical of some sort caused the fatalities and injuries, it was not the result of an attack by the Syrian Army using military quality chemical weapons from the Syrian arsenal. The CIA knows that this is the case yet, with John Brennan at the head of the Agency, is deliberately lying and misleading members of Congress, the media and the public.“…

Obama also said on Tuesday that “The Assad regime has now admitted that it has these weapons, and even said they’d join the Chemical Weapons Convention, which prohibits their use.” The implication was that Obama’s threats forced the Syrians to make that admission.

In fact, Syria admitted having these weapons over a year ago, and pledged not to use them in the civil war. Syria’s then-Foreign Ministry spokesman, Jihad Makdissi, told reporters, “Any stock of WMD or unconventional weapons that the Syrian Army possesses will never, never be used against the Syrian people or civilians during this crisis, under any circumstances.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Iraq: Two Roadside Bombs Kill 30 Outside Mosque in Baquba — Iraqi Police

(Reuters) — Two roadside bombs killed 30 people outside a mosque in the Iraqi city of Baquba just as Sunni Muslim worshippers were leaving following Friday prayers, police said.

The civil war in neighbouring Syria has strained relations between Islam’s two main denominations across the region, contributing to a resurgence of sectarian violence in Iraq. A further 25 people were wounded in the Baquba explosions, which occurred about ten minutes apart in the ethnically and confessionally mixed city, situated around 65 km (40 miles) northeast of the capital Baghdad. 䀀 The second explosion tore through a crowd of people who had rushed to help those hurt in the first blast…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Italy Has Taken the Right Stance on Syria, Says D’Alema

(AGI) Modena — “Italy has taken the right stance on Syria”, said PD Party’s D’Alema, “a strike by U.S. and France is no solution”.

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

Italy: Bonino Satisfied With Russia-U.S. Accord on Syria

(AGI) Rome — Foreign Minister Bonino said she was pleased with the Russian-American agreement on Syrian disarmament ..

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

Preempting the Next Round of Lies Against Syria

What the UN report on Syria will say & what the liars in the West will claim it says.

The bottom line regarding the UN’s upcoming report regarding the August 21, 2013 chemical weapons attack in Damascus, Syria is best summed up by the BBC’s article, “Syria crisis: UN report to confirm chemical arms attack” [emphasis added]:

Ban Ki-moon made no comment on who was to blame for the 21 August attack in the Ghouta area of Damascus, as that is not part of the report’s remit.

Despite this, the United States and its axis of collaborators are already trying to spin the report as confirmation that the Syrian government was responsible.

Relying entirely on the momentum of its massive media networks and their ability to “will” reality into any shape they please, headlines such as “United Nations’ Syria chemical weapons report “overwhelming,” shamelessly attempt to link two out of context statements by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon regarding the Syria government’s “crimes against humanity” and the confirmed use of chemical weapons in Damascus Syria, to place in the mind of readers assigned blame for the attacks…

Examining the UN’s role in the Syrian crisis must also include its 2011 UN Human Rights Council’s report (full text .pdf), and its most recent report published August of this year (.doc). These are nothing more than a collection of “interviews” conducted abroad with “witnesses” provided by Syrian “opposition groups” and alleged defectors, augmented with fabrications and biased spin provided by Western-funded “NGOs” openly working for armed militants inside Syria.

In other words, the very underwriters of the armed militancy that is consuming Syria, US, Saudi, Qatari, and Israeli interests, are sitting along side the head of the UN commission producing reports portraying the Syrian government as guilty of “war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Russia’s ‘Carrier Killer’ Ship Enters Mediterranean

Russia’s Moskva missile cruiser — called a “carrier-killer” by NATO — passed through the Straits of Gibraltar this week and is headed toward the Mediterranean to command the Russian naval force, reported.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov Have Reached an Agreement on a Framework for Securing Syria’s Chemical Weapons on the Third Day of Intense Negotiations in Geneva.

They say some elements of the deal include a timetable and how Syria must comply — and that if Syria fails, they will seek a Security Council resolution that could authorize military action.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Suicide Bomber Kills 21 in Iraqi Kurdistan

(AGI) Mosul, Sept 14 — A suicide bomber has killed at least 21 people at a funeral of the minority Shabak group in the town of Bartella about 25 km from Ninevah’s provincial capital of Mosul in Iraqi Kurdistan.

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

Syria: Al-Qaeda-Linked Rebels Execute Regime ‘Militia Men’ In Front of Children

It is one of the most chilling images to emerge from rebel-held Syria. In front of an audience of schoolchildren, the masked executioner pushes his trembling victim to the ground and slices his blade across the man’s throat.

A series of photographs, too graphic to publish in these pages, show the slaughter of four prisoners held by jihadist groups at different public execution sites outside Aleppo. Little is known about the victims; only that they were accused of being Shabiha — pro-government paramilitaries.

Grim footage depicting a litany of crimes — murders, torture and mass killings — now emerge on YouTube on an almost daily basis from the Syrian civil war. Their authenticity is often impossible to verify, but these pictures, first published in the French magazine Paris Match, were taken by an independent photojournalist whose name, for his own safety, has not been publicly revealed. His photographs graphically illustrate the callous barbarism of al-Qaeda-linked rebels that have now grown dominant in large parts of northern Syria…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Syrian Rockets Strike Lebanese Hezbollah Stronghold

(AGI) Baalbek, Sept 14 — Three Syrian rockets exploded in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley on Saturday, but nobody was hurt. The area is a Hezbollah Shiite stronghold. The Hezbollah Shiites are the Syrian regime’s closest allies and have changed the face of the conflict since joining forces with Bashar al-Assad’s troops. The rockets landed 30 kilometres north of Baalbek, known as Heliopolis when it was part of the Roman empire, and still home to the ruins of many splendid temples.

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

The Christian Exodus: The Disastrous Campaign to Rid the Middle East of Christianity

At the start of World War I, the Christian population of the Middle East may have been as high as 20 percent. Today, it is roughly four percent. Although it is difficult to be exact, there are perhaps 13 million Christians left in the region, and that number has likely fallen further, given the continued destabilization of Syria and Egypt, two nations with historically large Christian populations. At the present rate of decline, there may very well be no significant Christian presence in the Middle East in another generation or two.

[Return to headlines]

United States and Russia Agree on Framework for Securing Syria’s Chemical Weapons, Kerry Says

The United States and Russia have reached an agreement that calls for Syria’s arsenal of chemical weapons to be removed or destroyed by the middle of 2014, Secretary of State John Kerry said on Saturday.

Under a “framework” agreement, international inspectors must be on the ground in Syria by November, Mr. Kerry said, speaking at a news conference in Geneva after nearly three days of talks with the Russian foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov.

American and Russian officials have also reached a consensus on the size of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile, an essential prerequisite to any international plan to control and dismantle it.

“If fully implemented,” Mr. Kerry said, “this framework can provide greater protection and security to the world.”

[Return to headlines]

Why Are We Supporting Guys Who Want to Blow Us Up?

We knew that the Syrian rebels are mainly Al Qaeda, and that the U.S. has been supporting these terrorists for years.

And we knew that rank-and-file Syrian rebels have:

  • Burned American flags
  • Threatened to attack America
  • Said: “When we finish with Assad, we will fight the U.S.!”
  • And said: “We started our holy war here and won’t finish until this [Al Qaeda] banner will be raised on top of the White House. Keep funding them, you always do that, remember? Al Qaeda for instance.”

But even we were shocked to learn that the head of the Syrian rebels is also the global boss of Al Qaeda … and that he is calling for fresh terrorist attacks on America.

CBS News reports:

Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahri called has called on Muslims to continue attacking Americans on their own soil in order to “bleed” the U.S. economy.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Senator John McCain to Write for Pravda

(AGI) Washington, Sept 14 — The U.S. Senator John McCain will contribute an opinion piece for Pravda. As confirmed by a spokesperson, McCain intends to submit an editorial to the paper that was founded by the Bolsheviks in 1912, in response to a Putin’s article published by the New York Times on Thursday Sept. 12. The official forum of the Russian Communist party accepted immediately the senator’s proposal, despite McCain’s well known anti-Russian stance. “He is welcomed,” said Dimitri Sudakov, editor-in-chief of the English version of the paper.

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

Malaysian Leader Bolsters Affirmative Action Program for Ethnic Malays

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on Saturday announced cash aid and a raft of measures to bolster the economic status of ethnic Malay majority, deepening a decades-old controversial affirmative action program.

Najib said the measures were necessary to close the wealth gap between Malays and minority Chinese and Indians.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Myanmar: Naypyidaw Optimistic About Cease-Fire With Rebels, Kachin Say Peace is “Illusion”

By the end of October, the Burmese government plans to sign a joint nationwide agreement. Talks next week with Kachin leaders crucial. Meanwhile, skirmishes continue between military and militias. Violence and police abuses against the civilian population .

Yangon (AsiaNews) — The Burmese government is “ optimistic” about the possibility of reaching a joint ceasefire on a national scale, which will affect “all” armed rebel groups in the country, by the end of next month. So says an executive consultant in Naypyidaw, according to who — “fingers crossed” — next week’s talks with Kachin rebels will be “ crucial “ in achieving a “turning point” . However, in spite of the official announcements the situation remains critical as sources in the Northern State refer to AsiaNews. They confirm clashes between the Burmese army and Kachin rebel militia members . In recent days there was an escalation in tension and a return to large-scale conflict cannot be ruled out.

The United Nationalities Federal Council ( Unfc ), a federation of 11 armed rebel groups in Myanmar, stressed that the peace process can not continue without an agreement between the government and Kachin . Last May, the Kachin Independence Organization ( Kio ) and the central government — which wants to reach a truce with all 16 minority groups — signed a preliminary agreement between their armed forces to stem the violence, but it was not successful .

Hla Maung Shwe , government consultant at Myanmar’s Peace Center , reported that the much longed for national ceasefire may soon arrive. “If all goes well on both sides [government and Kio members, the only ethnic group that has not reached a peace agreement ] , the talks at a national level will be held in Myitkyina [capital of Kachin State ] the first week of October “ .

Meanwhile , however, battles continue on the ground with dead and wounded on both sides. AsiaNews sources in Kachin State report of a bitter battle between a battalion of 50 men from the Kachin Independence Army (KIA ) €‹€‹and a group of soldiers from the Burmese army , which took place on 10 September in the southern state . The clash lasted for over six hours and caused the death of an Army officer. According to the Kachin the battle was sparked by the Burmese troops invading ( with artillery shells ) an area guarded by the rebels. “We are on the third day of battle — says a resident of the area — things are not going well and peace remains a mere illusion”. A cease-fire at the national level , he adds, will only be “waste paper “ if the Burmese army does not stop fighting.

In a second incident , five officers of the Burmese police from Myitkyina division detained an ethnic Kachin boy of 16 — for no reason -, torturing him to extort a confession relating to a crime he did not commit. The young man was beaten, kicked and punched, causing serious injuries. He was released after a few days of captivity and now is in a serious condition , although it is not life threatening .. It is not the first time Burmese officers and security agents blatantly violate and abuse the Kachin civilian population.

The current fighting between government troops and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), the armed wing of the Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO), broke out in 2011, causing dozens of civilian casualties and displacing at least 100,000 people, mostly Kachin civilians. The leaders of the independence movement and representatives of President Thein Sein’s semi-civilian central government have met on several occasions but have failed so far to reach tangible and lasting results. A final ceasefire has yet to be worked out. However, fighting has reached the KIO’s southern division, as well as a northern area of €‹€‹ Shan State, not far from the Shwe Gas Pipeline, a key component in the strategic energy sector.

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

China: Journalist Betrayed by Yahoo Released 15 Months Early

The blogger, a government critic, was arrested in 2005 and charged with “divulging state secrets .” At the time his case caused a sensation because the man was identified thanks to the active complicity of Yahoo! which gave the Government his real data. His release does not stop the campaign of repression against freedom of expression in the country

Beijing ( AsiaNews) — The Chinese government has released the journalist and blogger Shi Tao 15 months early. The man was arrested in 2005 and sentenced to 10 years in prison on charges of “ divulging state secrets .” The case sparked uproar , given that the arrest came about thanks to the active complicity of the computer giant Yahoo! which provided Beijing with the data necessary to identify him.

The group PEN International, which defends freedom of expression around the world , has confirmed Shi’s release. A human rights activist , anonymous for security reasons , said the dissident was released “about a week ago” and “is not going to give interviews”. The reason for the reduction of sentence is unclear, even if sometimes the Chinese prison authorities release inmates on good behavior.

Marian Botsford Fraser , PEN president, said: “We welcome the news of Shi Tao’s early release. Shi was treated relatively well in prison during the last few years, and wrote many poems, including Song of October written from prison after he learned that Liu Xiaobo had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Shi’s release comes at a time when there seem to be increasingly long shadows over freedom of expression in China. “

In fact, in recent months the Chinese government seems committed to the “mission impossible” of muzzling freedom of expression on the internet. The Chinese blogosphere, the second largest in the world by number of users, is increasingly a place of confrontation and protest against government abuses and corruption: at first the Party hailed it as “useful place to flush out the criminals, “but shortly after launched a fierce campaign against overly active or informed users.

The latest blogger to fall from grace was Charles Xue , a popular Chinese- American industrialist with 12 million “followers “ on Sina Weibo , the micro- blogging site used in the country. Immediately after arresting him on charges of “causing trouble by spreading rumors” , the government has started a campaign to demolish him : he was described in all the major media as a “ porn addict obsessed with prostitution and orgies .”

Nicholas Bequelin , a researcher for Human Rights Watch , based in Hong Kong , explains that “ free voices like that of Xue have created a hierarchy of alternative information to that under the control of the Party , which consequently felt challenged . This is why it has launched a campaign to attack and destroy all those who seek to use the freedom provided by the Internet to access an alternative truth to that of Beijing. “

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

Acid Thrown at Catholic Priest in Zanzibar

(AGI) Dar es Salaam — A Catholic priest had acid thrown at him in Stone Town, the capital of the island of Zanzibar .

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

Kenya: British Terror Suspect Cleared of All Charges

A British national, Jermaine John Grant has been acquitted by a Nairobi magistrate of terror charges and other counts after the prosecution failed to provide evidence of his alleged terrorism activities. Grant who was arraigned before magistrate Kiarie Waweru this morning at the Milimani Law Courts was cleared of terror charges as well as robbery with violence charges after the prosecution failed to show a clear link between him and the al Shabaab who the prosecution had accused him of colluding with.

Despite the prosecution proving that Gant was in the country illegally and had not identification, since he had not been charged with those, Waweru cleared him of all charges. Grant was first arrested in Kenya on May 31, 2008 at a roadblock in Dadajabula area along the Garissa-Moyale road.

Grant was in the company of two men and was disguised as a woman. Police believed that Grant was making his way to Somalia for training by the al Shabaab militia. The three were booked at an AP post nearby. However, the camp was raided by 50 militia who along with freeing Grant and the two other men, stole munitions and a government vehicle.

Grant was re-arrested in Mombasa in 2010 and was charged with robbery with violence and four other counts. Grant however got his acquittal today because while the prosecution proved that he was in the country illegally, they could not prove that he had a hand in the raid on the AP post where he had been booked before it was raided by the 50 militia believed to be al Shabaab…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Nigeria: Jonathan — We Are Winning the War Against Terrorism

President Goodluck Jonathan Thursday said the federal government was already wining the war against insurgency and other security challenges in some parts of the country. Jonathan, who made the declaration in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, while declaring open the standing committee meeting of the Bishops Conference of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion at Saint Peter’s Deanery, also used the occasion to condemn the recent kidnap of the Dean, Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion and Archbishop of the Niger Delta Province, Archbishop Ignatius Kattey, at Aleto, Eleme, Rivers State last Friday…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Zanzibar: Catholic Priest Doused With Acid in Latest Attack in Zanzibar

A Catholic priest has been doused with acid in Zanzibar, a month after a similar attack on two British teenagers on the predominately Muslim island.

The elderly priest, Amselmo Mwangamba, was burned by the acid on his face, chest and arms, as he walked on the streets of Stone Town, the historical centre of the capital. “He had just left the Internet cafe, but a few minutes later he came back screaming and begging for help,” said Rukia Abbasi, who was working at the cafe. “We gave him water and rushed him to hospital.” Doctors said on Friday they were treating the cleric for the burns.

Mkadam Khamis, a spokesman for the city’s police, called the attack “another sad story”, and said his forces were investigating.

Last month, two young British women were attacked with acid thrown by men on a motorcycle, in an attack described by officials as “a shame on the people of Zanzibar”.

The teenagers, who were on a month-long break volunteering for a charity when two men on a moped threw the substance over them, suffered injuries to their faces, hands, legs, backs, necks and chests. The two were flown back to the UK, where they received treatment for burns and were given skin grafts. A number of people were questioned over the attack but no one has yet been charged.

Tensions between the majority Muslim population and Christians — some three percent of the 1.2 million people on the islands — have been on the increase in recent years, as well as on mainland Tanzania. There have been a series of attacks in the archipelago, including an acid attack on a Muslim cleric in November, and the shooting dead of a Catholic priest in February. In December another priest was shot and wounded.

Tourism is the main foreign currency earner for Zanzibar, famed for its white-sand beaches and historical buildings in Stone Town, listed as a world heritage site by UNESCO…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

4600 Syrians Have Flocked to Italy So Far This Year

Two-thirds arrived in August alone, says UNHCR

(ANSAmed) — Geneva, September 13 — The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) calculates that more than 4,600 Syrians have arrived in Italy by sea since the beginning of the year. About two-thirds came in August alone, said a UNHCR spokesman in Geneva today.

“We have observed a marked increase of Syrians who come to southern Italy by boat. In the last 40 days, 3,300 Syrians have arrived, among whom there were more than 230 unaccompanied children, especially in Sicily but also in Calabria,” said UNHCR Spokesman Adrian Edwards.

Last week, about 670 arrived in more than 30 boats, he added. Most embarked from Egypt, but also from Turkey. The refugees were predominantly families with children.

Several people have needed hospital treatment due to dehydration, Edwards said, noting that last week a nurse from Damascus died during the crossing. Her husband gave permission to transplant her liver and kidneys, aiding three patients in Italy, he said.

The majority of Syrians reaching Italy, with whom UNHCR staff has spoken, report mainly coming from Damascus and include many Palestinian refugees born in Syria.

On their arrival, the people are placed in migrant centers.

From the beginning of the year through September 6, a total of 21,870 people arrived in southern Italy, the UNHCR said.

The number marks “a significant increase” compared to 2012 levels, when total arrivals reached 7,981.

This year, the main groups have been Eritreans (5,778 versus 594 in 2012), Somalis (2,571 versus 1,280 in 2012) and Syrians (3,970 versus 369 in 2012).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Immigrants to be Respected and Reciprocate in Italy

Interior minister says breaking country’s laws ‘intolerable’

(ANSA) — Rome, September 13 — Deputy Premier and Interior Minister Angelino Alfano said on Friday that while immigrants’ rights should be respected, they should reciprocate with the same respect for Italian law. “We respect the rights of immigrants, but they must respect our law,” Alfano, the People of Freedom (PdL) party No. 2, said following a meeting of European interior ministers in Rome.

“It will no longer be tolerated that migrants see their rights respected but they do not do the same with our laws,” Alfano said.

Alfano referred to an incident “some days ago” when immigrant’s being held in an identification and expulsion centre (CIE) in Milan damaged the structure.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Syrian Immigrants Land After Ten Days at Sea

(AGI) Roccella Jonica, Sept 14 — A total of 171 Syrian immigrants, 44 women, 63 men and 64 children, landed in Calabria on Friday evening after spending ten days at sea.

Their journey was characterised by terrible weather conditions and it is thought they were obliged to change boats three times after allegedly paying between USD 3,000 and USD 4,000 each.

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

Vatican: For the Pope, Those Who Are Forced to Seek Refuge Have “A Right” To Integration

Francis visited the Astalli Center, which provides shelter to those forced to leave their country. “Dear men and women religious, empty convents do not serve the church when they are turned into hotels to earn money. Empty convents are not ours; they are for refugees who are the flesh of Christ. The Lord has called upon us to live with generosity and courage the act of welcoming [others] to empty convents.”

Rome (AsiaNews) — Integration “is a right” for those who seek refuge because “true mercy, the one God gives us and teaches us, calls for Justice, and demands that the poor find a way not to be so anymore.” Mercy “demands this from us, the Church; us, the city of Rome; the government. It demands that no one be needful any longer of a cafeteria, a shelter, or legal aid in order to see recognised his or her right to live and work, to be a full person.”

During his visit this afternoon to the Astalli Centre, Pope Francis strongly defended refugee rights. At the Jesuit-run shelter that has helped for more than 30 years people who left their countries and made their way to Rome, he called in particular on men and women “religious” to take seriously and responsibly “this sign of the times.”

“The Lord calls upon us to live with greater courage and generosity in order to welcome [others] into [our] communities, homes, empty convents . . . Dear men and women religious, empty convents do not serve the Church when they are turned into hotels to earn money. Empty convents are not ours; they are for refugees who are the flesh of Christ. The Lord has called upon us to live with generosity and courage the act of welcoming [others] to empty convents.”

During his visit the pontiff met the volunteers who hand out food, advisers who provide legal aid, physicians who receive and visit the sick, the pharmacist who prescribes drugs, i.e. caring that does not only “offers a sandwich” but also “accompanies”.

“To accompany. During this time, the Astalli Centre has come a long way. At its inception, it offered initial reception services: a cafeteria, beds, and legal aid. Then, it learnt to accompany people in search of work and social integration. Later, it offered cultural activities in order to contribute to the growth of a culture of caring, a culture of encounter and solidarity, starting with human rights protection. [But] caring is not enough. It is not enough to give a sandwich if it is not accompanied by the possibility of learning to stand on one’s own two feet. Charity, that leaves the poor the way he is, is not enough. True mercy, the one God gives us and teaches us, calls for justice, demands that the poor find a way not to be so anymore.”

“Each of you, dear friends, brings a life story that speaks of the tragedies of wars, conflicts, which are often linked to international politics,” the pope said as he greeted the refugees. “But each of you brings especially a human and religious wealth that must be welcomed, not feared. Many of you are Muslims, or from other religions. You come from different countries, different situations. We should not be afraid of differences! Brotherhood allows us to discover that they are an asset, a gift for everyone! Let us live this brotherhood. “

To accompany is one of the three “words”, along with to serve and to defend, Francis cited as a way to follow in relating to those who seek a new land.

“To serve. What does that mean? To serve means accepting the person who arrives, with care. It means leaning over those in need and reaching out to them, without second thoughts, without fear, [but] with tenderness and understanding, as Jesus did when he washed the apostles’ feet. To serve means working alongside the most in need, establishing with them first of all a human relationship, closeness, and bonds of solidarity. Solidarity! A word that scares the more developed parts of the world, [where people] try not to say it, [as if it was] almost a dirty word for them. But it is our word! To serve means to recognise and uphold the calls for justice and hope, and to look together for ways, concrete paths towards liberation. “

“The poor are also privileged masters of our knowledge of God. Their fragility and simplicity expose our selfishness, our false certainties, our claims of self-sufficiency; they guide us to experience God’s closeness and tenderness, to give in our life the love and mercy that come from our Father who, with discretion and patient trust, takes care of us, all of us.”

“From this place of caring, meeting and service, I have a question for everyone, for all the people who live here in this diocese of Rome. Do I lean over those who are in difficulty, or am I afraid to get my hands dirty? Am I closed onto myself, and my things, or do I see those who are in need of help? Do I please only myself, or do I serve others, as Christ did when he came to serve, and gave his life? Do I look in the eyes of those who ask for justice or look away in order not to look into those eyes?”

“To defend. To serve. To accompany also mean to defend. It means being on the side of those who are weaker. How many times have we raised our voices to defend our own rights, but how many times have we been indifferent to the rights of others! How many times have we been unable or unwilling to give voice to those who, like you, have suffered and are suffering; those who have seen their rights trampled; those who lived through so much violence that their desire for justice has been stifled!”

“For the entire Church,” the pope noted, “it is important that caring for the poor and promoting justice not be entrusted only to ‘ specialists’, but that they be part of pastoral work as a whole, of the training of future priests and men and women religious, of parishes’ usual activity, of Church movement and groups.”

After asking that empty convents be opened, the pope went on to say, “Certainly it is not something simple. It takes judgement, responsibility, but also courage. We do so much, [but] perhaps we are called to do more, caring and sharing resolutely what Providence has given us to serve,” so that we can “overcome the temptation of spiritual worldliness in order to be close to ordinary people, especially those who are last. We need supportive communities that live love in a concrete way.”

“Every day,” he said by way of conclusion, “here and in other centres, many people, especially young people, get in line for a hot meal. Those people remind us of humanity’s suffering and tragedies. But that line also tells us to do something. Now, everything is possible. All it takes is knocking at the door, and try to say, ‘I am here. How can I help?’“

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

AZ School District Pulls Sexually Explicit Book Recommended by Common Core Standards

[WARNING: Disturbing content.]

An Arizona school district has pulled from its reading list a sexually explicit novel that is recommended as an “exemplar text” in the Common Core Standards. Parents and community members at Buena High School in Sierra Vista, Arizona expressed concern about the novel Dreaming in Cuban by Cristina Garcia.

According to the Sierra Vista Herald, school district curriculum director Terri Romo informed the school board Tuesday that she contacted the Arizona Department of Education to find out how the book came to be placed on the list of Common Core recommendations. Romo said she was told the “exemplar texts” are intended to show the correct reading level and are not recommendations for purchase…

Dreaming in Cuban by Cristina Garcia is listed as a Grades 11-CCR Text Exemplar on page 140 of the Standards.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Homosexual Activists to Disrupt Olympics in Russia

Thanks to the reporting of Brian Camenker and his pro-family organization, MassResistance, Russian authorities have been warned that radical American and Canadian homosexual activists intend to disrupt the winter Olympics in Russia. MassResistance attended the national homosexual journalists’ meeting in Boston late last month and recorded an activist announcing plans, with specifics omitted in order to avoid tipping off the Russians.

– From the MassResistance report:

Homosexual activists in the U.S. are working with media groups, “out LGBT athletes,” and both the US and Canadian Olympic hockey teams in a secret plan to smuggle rainbow flags, homosexual propaganda, etc. into Russia. Their intent is to disrupt the 2014 Winter Olympics with homosexual symbolism, according to a presenter at the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Convention in Boston on August 24. The planned disruption is a retaliation by the homosexual movement to Russia’s recent ban on the public promotion of homosexuality.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Pennsylvania Judge Orders Rogue Clerk to Stop Issuing Homosexual ‘Marriage’ Licenses Against Law

A Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court judge has ordered a rogue county clerk to stop illegally issuing marriage licenses to homosexuals, stating that he lacks the authority to do so.

“A clerk of courts has not been given the discretion to decide that a law … he or she is charged to enforce is a good idea or bad one, constitutional or not,” Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court President Judge Dan Pellegrini wrote in the opinion released today. “Only courts have the power to make that decision.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Richard Dawkins Defends ‘Mild’ Pedophilia, Again and Again

[WARNING: VERY Disturbing Content.]

Richard Dawkins defended “mild pedophilia” in an interview this weekend. And while the quote itself is quite jarring, especially to those who look to Dawkins for his influential writings on atheism (but haven’t noticed some of his other strange stances), it’s far from the first time that the scientist has launched a defense of the behavior — or talked about his own abuse at the hands of boarding school teachers. First, here’s what Dawkins said to The Times magazine, as condensed by the Religion News Service:…

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Rise of the Thought Police: Bullying Your Children Into Forsaking Their Values

Proposed “anti-bullying” legislation creates a powerful new bureaucracy to police students’ values and remediate politically incorrect beliefs.

Five-year-old Suzie heads off to kindergarten in rural Minnesota. She settles into her class routine full of activity, discovery, and friendship.

Then the day takes a turn. As part of newly mandated diversity training, Suzie’s teacher brings out Heather Has Two Mommies for some light mid-morning reading. A typically precocious kindergartener, Suzie pipes up during the story to correct the teacher’s telling. “God gave us a mommy and a daddy,” she exclaims.

Though no student takes exception to Suzie’s remark, the teacher cringes and becomes keenly aware of her state-mandated role to report any incident which could be construed as bullying. So Suzie gets pulled out of class and taken to the principal’s office, where she’s met by a counselor.

There begins a process of formative intervention and remedial discipline. More than correction for objectively inappropriate behavior, this intervention focuses on changing who Suzie is, on correcting her values to ensure that she accepts each of her classmates and values their diverse backgrounds.

Confused, disturbed, and teary-eyed, Suzie comes away from the experience convinced she has done something wrong. Worse, she feels the very sense of rejection which her accusers claim to deplore. She learns her lesson, that the values taught at home are not welcome in school. A bit of her innocence dies. She grows more guarded, less expressive, and unfairly subdued.

Such a tale may be among the tamest of experiences awaiting children in Minnesota, if a task force of social engineers commissioned by Governor Mark Dayton succeeds in lobbying for legislation which has already been approved by the state House. House File 826, misleadingly titled the Safe and Supportive Schools Act, serves as a trial balloon modeling what its supporters would like to implement nationally — a radical transformation of schools from institutions of academic achievement into political reeducation camps which correct Orwellian Wrong Think.

Sold colloquially as an “anti-bullying bill,” the proposed legislation actually institutionalizes bullying, targeting political minorities with suppressive badgering. The bill would repeal existing anti-bullying statutes which have proven effective. It would create an invasive, overbearing, and unfunded new state bureaucracy to impose politically correct values upon students, teachers, parents, staff, and anyone serving in or around the educational system.


To accept is to choose. To value is to judge. These acts occur inside an individual’s heart and mind. As warm and fuzzy as unconditional acceptance may seem, such a goal ignores objective reality. The mind cannot be compelled to consent, only badgered into acquiescence. What Governor Dayton thus proposes is the police of thought, the subjugation of judgment, and an imposition of official state attitudes. By definition, the promotion of certain values and attitudes occurs at the expense of others.

[Comment: Long article — well worth reading.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Socialist Publication: We Can ‘Change the World’ Through Abortion and Gay ‘Marriage’

September 11, 2013 ( — A publication of the international socialist movement has explicitly stated it is promoting abortion and gay “marriage” as part of a multi-pronged campaign to “replace global capitalism” with Marxism.

The admission came on Monday in an article entitled “How Can We Change the World?” by Todd Chretien in the Socialist Worker, which is published by the International Socialist Organization. The ISO proudly “stands in the tradition of revolutionary socialists Karl Marx, V.I. Lenin, and Leon Trotsky.”

The article was putatively about the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s March on Washington. However, it hailed the socially liberal views of young people, women, and minorities — the same groups President Obama appealed to during the 2010 and 2012 campaigns.

The article cited the contributions of a number of young people, including Martin Luther King Jr., Communist Manifesto authors Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Cuban Communist leader Ché Guevara, Nelson Mandela, Malcolm X, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, Angela Davis (a black militant and Communist Party member who was on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted List), and Black Panther Elaine Brown.

Today’s young people, Chretien hoped, would carry on a social revolution by waging war on the family.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Functioning ‘Mechanical Gears’ Seen in Nature for the First Time

Previously believed to be only man-made, a natural example of a functioning gear mechanism has been discovered in a common insect — showing that evolution developed interlocking cogs long before we did.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]