Gates of Vienna News Feed 10/26/2013

When Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan attended the opening ceremony at a new shopping mall in Ankara, the lingerie outlet Victoria’s Secret lowered its shutters so its displays could not be seen from outside. The store’s manager insisted that the shuttering was not due to the visit from the Islamist prime minister, but because renovations in the store were not yet complete.

In other news, according to Der Spiegel, the NSA has been tapping Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone since 2002.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Fjordman, Insubria, JD, Jerry Gordon, Kitman, Steen, 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
» When the Have Nots Become the Haves
» A Child’s Tree Grows in the Forest
» Another Letter to Rabbi Schiftan of the Temple in Nashville
» As Europe Erupts Over US Spying, NSA Chief Says Government Must Stop Media
» Cruz Defends Self on ObamaCare Fight, Against GOP Establishment
» Leaked Video: FEMA Preparing Military Police for Gun Confiscations and Martial Law
» Michelle Obama’s Princeton Classmate is Executive at Company That Built Healthcare.Gov
» Silencing Dissent by SWATing Messengers of Truth
» The U.S. Post Offices Are Golden Real Estate
» Toxicology Expert Speaks Out About Roundup and GMOs
» U.S. Seizes $28 Million in Bitcoins From Man Linked to Online Drug Market
» Video: Unmarked Military Gunboats Patrol Louisiana Canals
Europe and the EU
» Ben Ammar: I Would Buy Italian Public Broadcaster RAI
» Ireland: Low-Cost Ryanair Unveils Kinder, Gentler Image
» Italy: Cash-Flight Prelate Gets House Arrest
» Italy: Berlusconi’s Party Plunged Into New Chaos
» Italy: Renzi, Grillo Up in Poll, Napolitano, Letta Down
» Italy: M5S Leader Calls for Impeachment of Italian President
» Merkel Calls for EU Bank Discipline, Binding Reforms
» Netherlands: Second Gay Man Beaten up in Amsterdam Park
» NSA Spied on Merkel From 2002, Der Spiegel Says
» UK: 150 Years of the Football Association
» UK: Disabled Pensioner Banned from Using Sainsburys Home Delivery Service for Calling Driver a “Coloured Gentleman”
» UK: Father Started Killer Blaze After Daughter Planned to Wed Lover He Didn’t Approve of
» UK: Liberal Democrat Politician Who Set Off Series of Explosions in His Neighbourhood is Jailed for 18 Years
» UK: Leaked Memos Reveal GCHQ Efforts to Keep Mass Surveillance Secret
» UK: Racist Killer Who Murdered Pensioner Within Five Days of Entering UK Told He Will Serve Minimum of 40 Years in Prison
» UK: Serial Burglar Jailed: Police Catch 40 Miles Away in Essex Thanks to Tracking App on Victim’s iPad
» Books: Croatian Cuisine by Sister Stella Okadar
North Africa
» Ansar Al-Sharia Tunisia Chief Captured
Middle East
» Four Christians Sentenced to 80 Lashes for Drinking Communion Wine in Iran
» Fourteen Iranian Guards Die in Clashes on Pakistan Border
» Syrian Kurds Take Back Iraq Border Crossing From Al Qaeda Affiliates
» Turkey: Erdogan in the Mall, Lingerie Store Lowers Shutter
» Greenpeace Asks Letta to Call Putin Over Detained Campaigner
South Asia
» ‘I Was Threatened With Imprisonment’: Ke$ha’s Warrior Tour is Banned in Kuala Lumpur by Malaysian Government Due to ‘Religious Sensitivities’
» Indonesia: Jakarta: By 2017 a Monorail to Combat Traffick
» Kim Jong-un Awarded Economics Doctorate by Malaysian University
» Pakistan: Christians Still “Insecure” And Isolated a Month After Peshawar Massacre
Australia — Pacific
» Sydney: Jewish Family of 5 Viciously Attacked in Street
» Migrant Vessel With 137 People Lands in Sicily
» ‘Refugees at Poland’s Gates’
» Sweden: Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Minors
Culture Wars
» Gay Art Student to Lose His Virginity Live on Stage
» 5 Creepy Ways Video Games Are Trying to Get You Addicted

When the Have Nots Become the Haves

Saul Alinsky the political thinker who seems to have had more impact on President Obama than any other was very clear in his most important book about what his motives were and what he was aiming at, “What follows is for those who want to change the world from what it is to what they believe it should be. ‘The Prince’ was written by Machiavelli for the Haves on how to hold power. ‘Rules for Radicals’ is written for the Have-Nots on how to take it away.”

With the November Revolution of 2008, which gave us one party rule for two years, the Progressive Democrat party saw their chance and they took it. Within the two years it took for the people to realize they needed some balance the Progressives passed ObamaCare which effectively gives government control of 1/6 of the economy. They passed Dodd-Frank which gives them extensive control over the financial sector. When they couldn’t push Cap-N-Trade even through a rubber-stamp Congress the President imposed it by executive order. When they likewise failed to muster enough of their own hacks to pass the Dream Act once again it was imposed by fiat.

The anti-capitalist programs of the Progressive Bush Administration’s final days were continued and amplified by the Obama Administration. TARP was followed by the Stimulus. The takeover of AIG was joined by the take-over of the auto industry and by force feeding money into the economy for years of quantitative easing as the casino we call the stock market soars.

Unemployment reporting has become totally unhinged from reality as the real rate stays at levels which would easily shine the light of truth on the fiction of a recovery.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

A Child’s Tree Grows in the Forest

There are many young and innocent things in this world, and predators don’t always hunt them with teeth and claws- in the world of man mostly they use deception. Sometimes they poison their minds with destructive thoughts or purposely mislead them in the name of power and profit.

I first became aware of these human predators on the innocent, these trained practitioners in the art of the lie, near an Alabama National Forest. Several of us were working in the area when a friend of mine reported that, just to see what they were about, he had latched onto an environmental tour for some city kids. All day long they had been told over and over and over again about how all the forests were endangered. At the end of the day they gave each child a seedling to plant. Once that child’s little tree was planted in the forest there was an emotional attachment. He said, “You could see it in their eyes. It was their tree!” It doesn’t matter that 68 % of Alabama is covered by forests. It doesn’t matter that there are more forests in America now than when Columbus landed. Those are only the facts.

The residual, the deep emotional attachment of a child and the desire to protect their little tree, will linger on, making them forever willing to believe, at some level, that the forests are threatened, that man made global warming actually exists and that it is because of our carbon footprint and that we are, even though we worked hard to accomplish it, undeserving of our prosperity. That day the seeds of rebellion against their parents and their way of life had been planted along with that seedling. Most of these kids would grow up to support environmental causes; and they would use their money and their votes to ease their consciences over a crime that neither they nor their parents had committed.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Another Letter to Rabbi Schiftan of the Temple in Nashville

When we sent a letter to Rabbi Mark Schiftan, spiritual leader of The Temple, Congregation Ohabei Sholom in Nashville, we tried to inform him of the Da’wah (proseyltizing) trap that he was leading busloads of his congregants into with “A Sacred Journey of Understanding to the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro (ICM). ICM, as we warned him, is headed by Imam Ossama Bahloul, an expert in Da’wah (the call to Islam) who finished a Master’s program in Da’wah at Al Azhar University, the 1000 year old bastion of Sunni Supremacism the incubator of Islamic clerics in the deposed Muslim Brotherhood in post-Morsi Egypt. Da’wah that anti-Semitic Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood preacher Yusuf Qaradawi said was stealth Jihad: “Conquest through Da’wah, that is what we hope for. We will conquer Europe, we will conquer America. Not through sword, but through Da’wah.”

We thought taking an educational rather than rhetorical approach might move him to reconsider the trip to the ICM tomorrrow, October 27th and perhaps distribute copies to his congregants to read on the bus ride to Murfreesboro. But, we received no reply. When asked by Bill Narvey, a co-religionist and Canadian lawyer whether we had received the courtesy of a reply, we told him that we had not. He said that he would send a letter to Rabbi Schiftan exorting him to re-read what we had written, distribute it and most importantly turn his encounter with the ICM Imam Bahloul, the mosque board and members into a teachable moment by engaging in inquiries into what lay behind their Da’wah. Below is the letter that Narvey sent yesterday to Rabbi Schiftan at The Temple, Ohabei Sholom in Nashville…

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

As Europe Erupts Over US Spying, NSA Chief Says Government Must Stop Media

In what might be the most explicit hostility to such freedoms yet — as well as the most unmistakable evidence of rampant panic — the NSA’s director, General Keith Alexander, actually demanded Thursday that the reporting being done by newspapers around the world on this secret surveillance system be halted.

The head of the embattled National Security Agency, Gen Keith Alexander, is accusing journalists of “selling” his agency’s documents and is calling for an end to the steady stream of public disclosures of secrets snatched by former contractor Edward Snowden.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Cruz Defends Self on ObamaCare Fight, Against GOP Establishment

Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz is charging ahead with his argument that attempts to dismantle ObamaCare needed to be part of the recent Washington budget negotiations and is firing back at the GOP establishment and others who say his tactics led to an unnecessary, partial government shutdown. Sen. Cruz giving a speech.

Cruz, who appears poised for a president bid, told hundreds at a GOP fundraiser in Iowa on Friday that efforts he led to “defund” ObamaCare will carry the fight through the 2014 congressional and 2016 White House races.

“One of the things we accomplished in the fight over ObamaCare is we elevated the national debate over what a disaster, what a train wreck, how much ObamaCare is hurting millions of Americans across this country,” Cruz said at the Iowa GOP’s annual fundraising dinner in Des Moines. “Senate Republicans didn’t stand together. Had we stuck together, the outcome might be very different. The House does now, but I’m confident that the U.S. senate will in time listen to the American people.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Leaked Video: FEMA Preparing Military Police for Gun Confiscations and Martial Law

MP told Constitution may be suspended by DHS

Infowars has confirmed the identity and authenticity of the source of the video below as a member of the U.S. Army military police in Arizona.

The video, shot in September 2013, shows an army commander briefing the MPs on their new command structure under the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Homeland Security for domestic operations with the National Guard.

The MP began recording the exchange after being shocked to hear that they were now under FEMA control.

In this video you can clearly hear the commander discuss the suspension of the Constitution for martial law and gun confiscations in America.

In essence, the military police is to provide security for FEMA while the agency confiscates our guns during a government-declared domestic crisis.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Michelle Obama’s Princeton Classmate is Executive at Company That Built Healthcare.Gov

First Lady Michelle Obama’s Princeton classmate is a top executive at the company that earned the contract to build the failed Obamacare website.

Toni Townes-Whitley, Princeton class of ‘85, is senior vice president at CGI Federal, which earned the no-bid contract to build the $678 million Obamacare enrollment website at CGI Federal is the U.S. arm of a Canadian company.

Townes-Whitley and her Princeton classmate Michelle Obama are both members of the Association of Black Princeton Alumni.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Silencing Dissent by SWATing Messengers of Truth

Tyranny does not appreciate dissent

What was taken from the home of Audrey Hudson was more valuable than any gun. What was taken from Audrey Hudson, in addition to her freedoms as an American citizen and a Pulitzer Prize nominee for her journalistic prowess, were her pages of notes and names of sources inside and outside of government who had confidentially provided her information over the years. Information that we, as Americans, could rely upon to keep our government in check. The identities of brave men and women who risked their careers and even their lives to expose what was — and is — taking place in the terminal of tyranny.

They SWAT team that descended upon her home in the pre-dawn dark of the night robbed Ms. Hudson of more than her weapons. They robbed her of her ability to tell her sources that their identities are safe with her.

Her sources, now exposed to the Gestapo-like fascist government we have allowed to hijack America, now knows who the whistleblowers are. What quiet fate might await them once inside the terminal of tyranny? What damage has been caused to all of America by this overreach? How many will turn up destitute, or worse, dead, from the blowback?

[Comment: Must read for Americans.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

The U.S. Post Offices Are Golden Real Estate

Going Postal: U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein’s husband sells post offices to his friends, cheap

If a simple agency of the U.S. government cannot operate successfully delivering letters and packages, should the government be running our healthcare system when it is already experiencing major enrollment and operational “glitches” that are everybody’s fault except the fault of those who wrote, pushed, and passed ObamaCare? What would the delivery of actual health care be like?

On the other hand, according to Yves Smith, the USPS’ financial status is a fabrication. What gives it the appearance of insolvency is a 2006 Congressional measure that forces the USPS to “prepay retiree benefits 75 years in advance. It has to fund benefits now for workers who haven’t even been hired.” He believes that a “looting opportunity” is in place to turn the post office into a public-private partnership.

Peter Byrne, in his yearlong investigation has uncovered dealings involving closures and sales of post offices around the country. He describes one such closure in downtown Berkley.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Toxicology Expert Speaks Out About Roundup and GMOs

As discussed by Dr. Huber, research clearly shows that the novel proteins created in genetically engineered plants are highly allergenic, with the capability to promote diseases like cancer and liver or kidney failure. But Dr. Huber points out that there are other factors involved as well, which have some scientists concerned about the spread of those genes into the human gut… Not only do GMOs alter your intestinal microflora, but research shows that human cells are also able to transfer those novel genes, thereby affecting the human genome.

“Especially with generation two genetic engineering, called gene silencing — that section of the nucleic acid can actually be picked up or attached to your own genes, and then start shutting down your own physiology in that process… It’s well-documented in the scientific literature.”

Indeed, last year, University of Canterbury Professor Jack Heinemann released results from genetic research he conducted on this type of GE wheat, which showed without “any doubt” that molecules created in the wheat, which are intended to silence wheat genes to change its carbohydrate content, may match human genes and potentially silence them. If that’s not a concern, I don’t know what is! University Professor Judy Carman agreed with Heinemann’s analysis, stating in Digital Journal:6

“If this silences the same gene in us that it silences in the wheat — — well, children who are born with this enzyme not working tend to die by the age of about five.”

Heinemann reported that his research revealed over 770 pages of potential matches between two GM genes in the wheat and the human genome. Over a dozen matches were “extensive and identical and sufficient to cause silencing in experimental systems,” he said. Experts warned that eating the wheat could lead to significant changes in the way glucose and carbohydrates are stored in the human body, which could be potentially deadly for children and lead to serious illness in adults.


There is simply no question and there is irrefutable evidence that genetic engineering is not the solution to feed a growing world population. Rather, it actually increases disease susceptibility of plants by impairing their immune response. It also reduces, not increases, yield potential. There’s never been a genetically engineered plant that increases the intrinsic yield of a plant. Improved plant yield is accomplished through traditional breeding programs that promote improved gene expression.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

U.S. Seizes $28 Million in Bitcoins From Man Linked to Online Drug Market

(Reuters) — U.S. authorities have seized an estimated $28 million in the digital currency bitcoins from the alleged owner of “Silk Road,” the online marketplace for drugs and criminal activity that law enforcement shut down three weeks ago.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Video: Unmarked Military Gunboats Patrol Louisiana Canals

A video shows unmarked military gunboats patrolling the canals around Slidell, Louisiana.

Apparently, the residents have never seen this in the area before.

Is this part of some kind of drill or is it just normal now in the new Amerika to see armed troops patrolling public canals?

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Ben Ammar: I Would Buy Italian Public Broadcaster RAI

Tunisian entrepreneur eyeing LA7 as well

(ANSAmed) — MILAN, OCTOBER 25 — The Tunisian film and television entrepreneur told Radio 24 in an interview that he would be willing to buy Italian public braodcaster RAI if it was up for sale. Ammar, who owns the French production and distribution company Quinta Communications, said that he thought that privatising the broadcaster would serve to get politics out of the television sector. “Sawiris bought Wind,” he said, referring to the powerful Egyptian entrepreneur. “Telecom is owned by the Spanish, so why can’t two Arabs be partners with Italians for a privatised RAI?”. Concerning the prospects for 2016, when the state concession granting television fees exclusively to RAI comes due, the entrepreneur said that “to renew the concession we will have to see the editorial line that the public service should have.” The union of RAI journalists, the USIGRAI, replied to the Tunisian businessman’s comments in saying that “RAI is not up for sale. We are sorry to disappoint the entrepreneur Tarak Ben Ammar, but no large European country is without its own public radio and television service.” The remark was made in a statement released by USIGRAI chief Vittorio di Trapani, who underscored that “in order to free RAI from parties we don’t need to privatise it, we need to bring in some reforms.” On Friday Ammar then expressed interest in another Italian television channel, LA7, which “isn’t up for sale,” he said.

“However, if Urbano Cairo wants a partner, I am here.” Long a close friend of former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, he went on to say that Italians would be “surprised” by him. “Berlusconi’s political adventure is not yet over. Remember De Gaulle: there were three right-wing parties and he was able to manage France. Everyone thought he was old and done with.

Berlusconi has more going for him — strength of character and a great deal of courage, and those who voted for him for twenty years know this better than me.”

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Ireland: Low-Cost Ryanair Unveils Kinder, Gentler Image

(AGI) Dublin, Oct 25 — The low-cost airline Ryanair will now allow its passengers to bring a handbag or a small bag on board, as well as hand luggage, and will reduce exorbitant prices for reprinting boarding cards or storing baggage in the hold, said CEO Michael O’Leary.

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

Italy: Cash-Flight Prelate Gets House Arrest

Msgr Scarano suspected of trying to bring back laundered money

(ANSA) — Rome, October 25 — A Rome court on Friday upheld a request by Msgr Nunzio Scarano, a disgraced Vatican prelate at the centre of a money-laundering scandal, to be released to house arrest.

Scarano was arrested in June on suspicion of planning to elude customs with 20 million euros in cash for a family of boat-builders he was friends with. He has denied charges that he conspired with a former Italian spy and a financial broker to try to secretly repatriate 20 million euros of laundered money from Switzerland to Italy.

The court has rejected an appeal for house arrest for Giovanni Maria Zito, an agent in the AISI intelligence agency, and Rome broker Giovanni Carenzio, who were also arrested along with Scarano.

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

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

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

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

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Berlusconi’s Party Plunged Into New Chaos

Fresh talk of split after ex-premier indicted this week

(By Paul Virgo) (ANSA) — Rome, October 25 — Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Freedom (PdL) party again looked on the brink of splitting Friday, with possible consequences for Premier Enrico Letta’s grand-coalition government.

Pro-government doves won a big tussle with so-called hawks in the party early this month when they staged a mutiny that forced Berlusconi to back down on a bid to scupper the left-right executive in the wake of the supreme court’s decision to uphold a tax-fraud conviction against the ex-premier.

The two factions pulled back from a split then, but the rifts within the party bubbled up again this week when Berlusconi was indicted in Naples for allegedly bribing a Senator to change political sides.

The doves and hawks both believe that Berlusconi is the victim of a campaign of persecution by left-wing judges who are trying to wipe him off the political scene.

But the doves, led by Deputy Premier and Interior Minister Angelino Alfano, do not think the PdL should torpedo the government over Berlusconi’s legal problems, as the country struggles to emerge from its longest recession in over two decades.

Berlusconi tried to bring the government down after Letta’s centre-left Democratic Party (PD) — which the PdL joined in a fragile, unnatural alliance in April to end two months of deadlock after February’s inconclusive general election — backed moves for the 77-year-old to be stripped of his Senate seat after his tax fraud conviction became definitive.

As a result the three-time premier looks set to be ejected from parliament next month.

Berlusconi has requested to serve his one-year tax-fraud sentence — reduced from four years because of an amnesty — by doing community service, rather than house arrest. He is too old to actually go to jail.

He is also appealing against prison convictions for paying for sex with an underage prostitute and abusing his power to cover up the affair and for involvement in the publication of an illegally obtained wiretap. A party meeting in Rome later on Friday could lead to a rupture between the doves, including all five of the PdL’s ministers in Letta’s cabinet, and the hawks, political pundits say.

At the meeting Berlusconi is set to outline how he intends to press forward with plans to abandon the PdL and create a revamped version of the party under its former name, Forza Italia.

Many moderates in the party have said they are against moving to a resuscitated Forza Italia. Alfano, who is also the PdL secretary — a role he would probably not have in the new Forza Italia — and the four other centre-right ministers met Berlusconi ahead of the planned party meeting Friday.

There are reports the doves may desert the party meeting and some PdL lawmakers have called for it to be postponed, given the tension.

PdL Senator Roberto Formigoni, one of the senior doves, said he would not attend it. “It is painful that a separation between Silvio Berlusconi and Angelino Alfano is developing,” said Formigoni, the former governor of Lombardy. “Berlusconi is a point of reference for our history, but Alfano has an important role because he’s our secretary.

“I fear this meeting represents revenge after the vote in the Senate of October 2,” he added, referring to the confidence vote in which the PdL backed the government after the Alfano-led rebellion.

“Then we voted to support the government until 2015 on the basis of input from the former head of government (Berlusconi)”.

Letta relies on the PdL’s support to keep his executive afloat in the Upper House, but he may be able to get by in the case of a split in the centre-right party, if enough doves join the breakaway group.

The premier refused to comment on the turbulence at the end of an EU summit in Brussels, saying he was focusing on the questions he and the other European leaders addressed.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Renzi, Grillo Up in Poll, Napolitano, Letta Down

Alfano up, Berlusconi steady

(ANSA) — Rome, October 25 — Democratic Party (PD) leader-in-waiting Matteo Renzi gained three points to overtake President Giorgio Napolitano at the top of a weekly approval-rating poll for RAI TV Friday.

Florence Mayor Renzi, who is set to launch his bid for the PD leadership Friday, got 52% while Napolitano dropped 5% to 48%.

PD Premier Enrico Letta fell 2% to 42% while anti-establishment 5-Star Movement leader Beppe Grillo rose 6% to 30% after continued squabbling in the PD-PdL government.

Angelino Alfano, the secretary of Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Freedom party, rose 1% to 29% while his boss was steady on 21% amid renewed strains in the centre-right group.

Alfano recently forced Berlusconi into a U-turn over a confidence vote on the media magnate’s looming ban from the Senate.

The three-time premier has called a meeting Friday where some think the PdL could split.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: M5S Leader Calls for Impeachment of Italian President

(AGI) Rome, Oct. 26 — President Giorgio Napolitano will be served with an impeachment notice as soon as possible, Beppe Grillo, leader of Italy’s anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S), said on Facebook. Mr. Grillo has been pressing this particular button for the last three days. The document with which the Democratic Party of the Left (PDS) called for former Prime Minister Francesco Cossiga’s impeachment in 1991, which was read out in Bolzano on Friday afternoon, has been posted on Mr. Grillo’s Facebook page and on his blog.

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

Merkel Calls for EU Bank Discipline, Binding Reforms

No banking union without stricter eurozone surveillance

(by Chiara De Felice) (ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS — Newly re-elected German Chancellor Angela Merkel brought her old rigor to bear at her first post-electoral EU summit, where she called for stricter oversight of economic policies and reforms within the eurozone.

In exchange, Germany will consent to completion of the EU banking union by June 2014, with its methods and timing to be decided upon at the December summit. As always, the chancellor dictated the EU summit’s agenda and priorities with a view to boosting centralized control over eurozone countries, to make sure they stick with their commitments and don’t deviate from Brussels-imposed discipline.

“The economic coordination system we have developed is not enough. We want quality surveillance, tighter coordination of economic policies and more binding agreements on reform”, Merkel said at the end of the summit, which should have focused on the next phases of banking unification.

European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi was there to press leaders on. Italian Premier Enrico Letta and French President Francois Hollande were the only leaders able to give assurances that they will find an agreement on the single banking union mechanism, and that it will be approved by April.

Merkel remained silent on the issue.

Draghi made no effort to hide his concern, for the process that will make the ECB responsible for overseeing 130 leading European banks is underway.

Before that can happen, the ECB will assess those banks’ assets next month. A stress test will follow in mid-2014, to be carried out jointly with the European Banking Authority (EBA). Banks will have to have an 8% capitalization coefficient, and prove they can withstand financial ups and downs. Draghi’s concern is that banks that fail the ECB “exam” will need to be recapitalized following yet-to-be-defined rules. Europe’s central banker has already criticized the EU’s sole new rule on the matter, which says struggling banks can only access public funding after they’ve made private shareholders take their losses. This only foments distrust in the credit system, according to Draghi.

EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia has assured there will be “exceptions” to this rule in case of financial instability. But what Draghi fears is an earthquake might follow the stress tests if these are carried out in the absence of common rules on banking bailouts, which is the second phase of banking union: the EU’s central banker called for some kind of “financial parachute” or “backstop” mechanism to be put in place, ultimately defining who pays for bailouts. The debate is currently between leaders wanting national parachutes — Finland, Holland, Germany, and Sweden — and leaders who favor a European parachute, i.e. the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) or another banking bailout fund as proposed by the European Commission.

The summit’s draft conclusion appears to favor national parachutes.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Netherlands: Second Gay Man Beaten up in Amsterdam Park

A second man has been beaten up in the gay cruising area of Amsterdam’s Vondelpark, the Parool reports on Friday.

The incident happened on October 20 but has only just been made public, the paper says. The victim, a 45-year-old man, was in the park looking for a casual sexual contact. One man demanded cash and then he and another man attacked the victim when he refused to pay.

The victim was kicked and punched before a witness sounded the alarm.

In September, a 55-year-old man was stabbed 15 times in his face, back, arm and hand. Police said the two incidents do not appear to be connected.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

NSA Spied on Merkel From 2002, Der Spiegel Says

(AGI) Berlin, Oct 26 — The NSA started tapping Chancellor Angela Merkel’s telephone as early as in 2002, German weekly Der Spiegel reported on Saturday. Quoting classified material, Der Spiegel said orders to tap the German Chancellor’s conversations were still effective days prior to U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to Berlin, in June this year.

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

UK: 150 Years of the Football Association

In celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Football Association, we’re taking a look at the initial meeting at which the FA was formed, and some of the characters that helped to establish it, with some extracts from The Victorian Football Miscellany.

On Monday 26 October 1863, a meeting took place at the Freemasons’ Tavern in London ‘for the purpose of forming an association with the object of establishing a definite code of rules for the regulation of football’.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UK: Disabled Pensioner Banned from Using Sainsburys Home Delivery Service for Calling Driver a “Coloured Gentleman”

A disabled pensioner claims she has been banned from using the Sainsbury’s home delivery service after describing one of their drivers as a ‘coloured gentleman’.

Marian Burke, 73, says she used the term entirely innocently to refer to a ‘lovely’ deliveryman who works for the supermarket.

But she says a manager at Sainsbury’s immediately branded her a racist for saying the word and said her custom was no longer welcome.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

UK: Father Started Killer Blaze After Daughter Planned to Wed Lover He Didn’t Approve of

A father tried to wipe out his family and killed his wife after their daughter said she wanted to marry for love, a court heard.

Mohammed Inayat flew into a rage when his daughter Kalsoom Bibi told him she planned to move to Dubai to marry a policeman.

He said she had brought ‘dishonour on the family’ and allegedly threatened to kill her, before pouring gallons of petrol over his family home and setting it alight.

On the night of April 17 Inayat killed his wife Naika and injured his three daughters in a blaze that took seconds to engulf the house, Birmingham Crown Court heard.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Liberal Democrat Politician Who Set Off Series of Explosions in His Neighbourhood is Jailed for 18 Years

As a former mayor, Liberal Democrat councillor and a prominent member of the Neighbourhood Watch group, John Larsen was at the forefront of those condemning the attacks.

Yesterday, however, the shame of the unlikeliest suspect for the terror in Denbigh, north Wales, was complete.

Unmasked as the man behind the campaign, he has now been jailed for 18 years.

Larsen, 46, a married father-of-one was found guilty of three counts of arson, one charge of causing an explosion and a further count of possessing explosive substances.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

UK: Leaked Memos Reveal GCHQ Efforts to Keep Mass Surveillance Secret

The UK intelligence agency GCHQ has repeatedly warned it fears a “damaging public debate” on the scale of its activities because it could lead to legal challenges against its mass-surveillance programmes, classified internal documents reveal.

Memos contained in the cache disclosed by the US whistleblower Edward Snowden detail the agency’s long fight against making intercept evidence admissible as evidence in criminal trials — a policy supported by all three major political parties, but ultimately defeated by the UK’s intelligence community.

Foremost among the reasons was a desire to minimise the potential for challenges against the agency’s large-scale interception programmes, rather than any intrinsic threat to security, the documents show.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Racist Killer Who Murdered Pensioner Within Five Days of Entering UK Told He Will Serve Minimum of 40 Years in Prison

A Ukrainian who murdered a Muslim pensioner and bombed three mosques was jailed for 40 years today — but avoided a whole life term because the white supremacist had worked alone.

Just five days after arriving in the country, Pavlo Lapshyn, 25, killed 82-year-old Mohammed Saleem because he hated ‘non-whites’ and wanted to start a race war.

The ‘evil and calculating’ PhD student also ordered bomb-making materials online as he plotted mass murder in a series of mosque attacks.

Lapshyn told police that he had wanted to stab him in the heart and while he was at large for the killing, he planted three bombs near mosques in Walsall, Wolverhampton and Tipton in the West Midlands.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Serial Burglar Jailed: Police Catch 40 Miles Away in Essex Thanks to Tracking App on Victim’s iPad

A burglar has been jailed following a string of break-ins after a Find My iPhone app was used by police to help finally capture him.

Ion-Liviu Radita broke into 11 properties over the course of just three weeks, stealing more than 100 pieces of jewellery.

In two break-ins, he left an unusual calling card by relieving himself on the homeowners’ beds.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

Books: Croatian Cuisine by Sister Stella Okadar

‘Il Dragoncello e L’Acqua Santa’, from the sea to inland

(ANSAmed) — ROME, OCTOBER 24 — Calamari broth with polenta, ‘scarpina’ broth, potato soup ‘alla zagorje’, Slavonia goulash, Dalmatian ‘pasticciada’, Istrian lobster, Musakà and prune stew, ‘visir salad’, cabbage rolls with meat and poppy-seed strudel are just some of the delicacies found in the recently released ‘Il Dragoncello e L’Acqua Santa’ (‘Tarragon and Holy Water’, published in Italy by Rai Eri, 167 pg, 11 euros). From the Mediterranean to the inland areas, from Greek and Italian influences to Hungarian and Ottoman ones, the recipes contained within this book focus on traditional Croatian starters, snacks and sweets and was written by Sister Stella Okadar, known for her many television appearances including on ‘La Prova del Cuoco’. The nun will be at the Croatian embassy in Rome at 5pm on Thursday for the presentation of her latest work.

A Franciscan, Croat nun from Bosnia, two years ago Sister Stella published ‘Quel che Passa il Convento’ (Rai Eri, 2011) on Bosnian cuisine. In this second of her cookery books she has instead decided to focus on Croatia — a country that is much more than simply clean sea, thousands of nearby islands and a cheap holiday.

“For me, a Bosnian Croat, Croatian is a linguistic, cultural and religious identity, as well as culinary heritage that ranges from coastal, Mediterranean cuisine (with a great deal of Greek influence in its fish, molluscs and vegetables) to continental, Mitteleuropa cuisine based on products from the land (meat, legumes, tubers and flour),” writes the nun in the preface. The work is meant as a way to get to know the country and its multifaceted nature. Proceeds from the book will go to a home for abandoned children and poor families in the Bosnian city of Vares.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Ansar Al-Sharia Tunisia Chief Captured

Security forces foil bombing attacks on Sheraton, state TV HQ

(ANSAmed) — TUNIS — Tunisian security forces last night captured al-Khatib al-Idrissy, who is thought to be the chief of outlawed fundamentalist Islamist militia group Ansar al-Shariah Tunisia, sources said Friday.

He was captured in the central town of Sidi Ali Ben Aoun, where Islamic militia killed six national guardsmen on Wednesday. A police officer was gunned down in a separate clash on the same day.

Idrissy is thought to be the brains behind jihadist Salafism in Tunisia. Investigators believe Ansar al-Sharia organized the assassinations of leftist politicians Chokri Belaid and Mohamed Brahmi, who were both felled by unknown gunmen in identical hits.

He was found hidden in a residence in the Sidi Bouzid governorate town, where police seized large quantities of explosives during house to house searches following the deadly attack on the national guardsmen.

Another Ansar al-Sharia Tunisia leader, Seifallah Ben Hassine (aka Abu Iyad al-Tunisi), has been a fugitive from justice as of September 2012 thanks to what investigative reporters allege are solid links with some elements within the police. Also on Friday, police discovered a large stash of explosives in the capital of Tunis, foiling what they said was an imminent attack on the Sheraton Hotel — which is largely frequented by foreigners — and on state TV headquarters in the El Menzah neighborhood, Tunisie Numérique website reported.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Four Christians Sentenced to 80 Lashes for Drinking Communion Wine in Iran

Four Christians in Iran will get 80 lashes each for drinking wine during a communion service and possessing a satellite antenna.

The charges come as a United Nations report criticised the Islamic republic for persecuting non-Muslims.

Behzad Taalipasand, Mehdi Reza Omidi (Youhan), Mehdi Dadkhah (Danial) and Amir Hatemi (Youhanna) were arrested during in a house church in December. Taalipasand and Omidi were detained during the Iranian government’s crackdown on house churches according to the Christian Solidarity Worldwide.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Fourteen Iranian Guards Die in Clashes on Pakistan Border

(AGI) Tehran, Oct 26 — At least 14 Iranian border guards were killed on Saturday night in clashes in the Saravan region of the south-eastern Sistan-Baluchistan province, near the border with Pakistan. Iran’s state news agency Irna added that five others were injured in the clashes, and that investigations were under way to determine whether the attackers were bandits or armed opposition groups.

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

Syrian Kurds Take Back Iraq Border Crossing From Al Qaeda Affiliates

In a battle this week, Syrian Kurdish Peoples Defense Unit (YPG) forces took back control of the Syria-Iraq border crossing at Yarubiyah from units of al-Qaeda affiliates, al-Nusrah Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. The border town is located east of Qamishli, the largest Kurdish city in Syria with a mix of Kurdish-Arab population. The Yarubiyah crossing adjoins the neighboring autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan, governed by the Kurdish regional Government. The northeastern governorate of Hasakah constitutes the heartland of Syrian Kurdistan. It contains much of Syria’s oil reserves and valuable arable land for commercial agriculture.

Syrian Kurdish fighters in July 2013 had ousted Islamist units from the Turkish Syrian border crossing at Ras Al-Ayn. According to a report of the UNHCR over 300,000 Syrian Kurds have fled into the sanctuary of Iraqi Kurdistan because of the Jihadist threat and the likelihood of starvation this winter. The Assad forces had granted de facto local control in the northeastern province to local Kurdish militias.. That enabled his forces to contend with rebel units of the FSA and al Qaeda affiliates, Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant elsewhere in Syria. This latest success of Syrian Kurdish fighters demonstrates why their region should be granted formal autonomy in any global resolution of the more than 32 month long civil war that began in March 2011. Meanwhile there is a clear and present danger that these al-Qaeda affiliates who have free transit into the predominately Sunni Anbar province could contribute to rampaging sectarian warfare roiling the volatile province in Western Iraq.

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

Turkey: Erdogan in the Mall, Lingerie Store Lowers Shutter

Victoria’s secret staff told to stay closed during ceremony

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, OCTOBER 25 — The widely renowned lingerie brand Victoria’s Secret lowered its shop-front shutter store yesterday during the opening of Ankara’s new shopping mall, Next Level. The ceremony was attended to by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The store personnel waited inside the shop until a prime ministerial bodyguard told them that they could raise the store’s shutter, daily Hurriyet reported. However the shopping mall’s director denied that Erdogan’s bodyguard asked them to lower the store’s shutter. “I gave the instruction,” the director told reporters that assembled in front of the store, adding that he made the request given renovation work at the works at the store had yet to be completed. The store reportedly did not showcase any lingerie and displayed predominantly cosmetic products. Next Level was built as a residential complex and a shopping mall on the Eskisehir highway, a congested artery which is home to more than five malls.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Greenpeace Asks Letta to Call Putin Over Detained Campaigner

Protester held in Russia facing hooliganism charges

(ANSA) — Rome, October 25 — The president of Greenpeace Italy on Friday called on Italian Premier Enrico Letta to put pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin to release an Italian member of a group of Greenpeace activists facing hooliganism charges in Russia after staging a protest at a Russian Arctic offshore platform last month.

Letta now has to “ send out a strong signal”, said Ivan Novelli, asking the premier to call Putin.

Novelli was speaking at a press conference with the parents of Italian activist Cristian D’Alessandro, who was among 30 environmentalists arrested on a ship on September 19 after two of the campaigners tried to climb Gazprom’s Prirazlomnaya platform, Russia’s first offshore Arctic oil platform.

Russia on Wednesday dropped piracy charges against the 30 activists and replaced them with a lesser offense, hooliganism, thus cutting the maximum jail sentence they could face from 15 to seven years. Thanking Foreign Minister Emma Bonino and her staff for their support since D’Alessandro’s arrest, the president of Greenpeace Italy said November 24, the time limit of the group’s preventive detention measure, will be key in the case. On November 26, Novelli said, “an EU-Russia summit has been scheduled and we hope the problem will be solved by then”.

He also stressed hooliganism charges were “groundless and defamatory to Greenpeace”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

‘I Was Threatened With Imprisonment’: Ke$ha’s Warrior Tour is Banned in Kuala Lumpur by Malaysian Government Due to ‘Religious Sensitivities’

She’s long been known for her risqué performances, outfits and lyrics, though on the scale of one to Miley, Ke$ha hardly makes a blip on the radar.

But it seems not everyone feels the same way.

The singer, known for hits such as Your Love Is My Drug, Die Young and Blow, has been banned from taking her Warrior Tour to Malaysia after the government deemed that it ‘touched on religious sensitivities and Malaysian values’.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Indonesia: Jakarta: By 2017 a Monorail to Combat Traffick

A $ 1.5 billion project capable of transporting 247 thousand people every day to and from the Indonesian capital . On paper for 25 years, work will now begin thanks to the initiative of the governor Joko Widodo .. Today commuters take up to two hours to travel 20 km on the bus ; congested trains , passengers forced to climb on the roof.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) — After 25 years of waiting, stalls, referrals and the passing of the buck for the delays and lack of decisions, the monorail project, for daily commuters to Jakarta, has got a green light. A commute that, to date, implies hours of traffic and risks for the safety of travelers. From Ciledug in Tangerang regency , about 20 km away from the city center it can take up to two hours to complete the journey by bus, commuters are forced to get up at dawn to get to work on time . The most crowded time slots range from 5.30 am to 9.30; with the return flow in the evening , between 4:30 and 9. Coming from Bekasi , Bogor , Tangerang , Depok there is no alternative to the overcrowded train wagons, and many travelers prefer to sit on the open roof.

That’s why many prefer scooters and motorcycles, thus creating the effect of a human tsunami that every morning invades the center of the capital , and every evening returns home. A common practice, as stated in the popular anecdote according to which “you age every day from 3 to 4 hours in traffic” in an attempt to cover the distance that “separates home from the office .” And so the traffic is still one of the major problems in Jakarta and the entire urban area , inhabited by over 15 million people .

Hence the idea of €‹€‹making the fast train, able to absorb some of the traffic that now moves by road, but for a quarter of a century has remained buried beneath bureaucracy and a passing of the buck between investors and authorities in Jakarta . Today, however, the intervention of the governor Joko Widodo seems to have unlocked the situation and the fast train monorail project could be a reality by 2017.

At first it seemed that five years ago the former Governor Fauzi Bowo had obtained the go ahead of the project only for it to be “frozen” after a while with no particular explanation , which is proved by the vision of poles planted in the ground and some trees cut down to make room for them but nothing more than that. The new phase kicks off this month, for a total of 15 km along the commercial district of Jakarta and will cause some other problems to traffic already on the edge of collapse. At the forefront of the implementation of the Monorail fast train are two Chinese companies, the Chinese Changcun Railway Vehicles and the China Communications Construction Company , in collaboration with German , Indonesian , Thai and Singapore companies for a total cost ( 2007 estimates ) of 1, $ 5 billion and capable of carrying 247 thousands commuters a day.

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

Kim Jong-un Awarded Economics Doctorate by Malaysian University

Private HELP university in Kuala Lumpur attracts criticism for honorary award to the North Korean leader

A Malaysian university is facing public criticism after it awarded an honorary doctorate in economics to the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un.

The private HELP University said a simple ceremony to mark the award was held in early October at North Korea’s embassy in Kuala Lumpur. The event initially went unnoticed, but it was reported briefly by North Korea’s official KCNA news agency.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Pakistan: Christians Still “Insecure” And Isolated a Month After Peshawar Massacre

Despite the proclamations of the provincial government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa measures to protect the minority’s churches and places of worship are still scarce . Bishop of Islamabad : “There is no trace of greater protection .” A Christian says: “I’m not afraid of dying in church, but I’m afraid for my children .”

Peshawar (AsiaNews) — In spite of the claims made by the provincial government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa , in northern Pakistan , which announced the strengthening of security measures for churches and Christian places of worship , the real situation for the religious minority remains fragile and critical. It’s been a little over a month after the 22 September massacre at All Saints Church in Peshawar, when two suicide bombers blew themselves up in the vicinity of the building causing more than 140 deaths and 161 injured. Moreover, further investigations confirm the “real threat” of attacks on churches. However, after weeks characterized by statements of solidarity and (empty) promises, the community “is not satisfied” with the measures put in place by the local authorities and are clamoring for more protection.

The Christian minority feels “insecure” and laments the lack of attention from heads of government. The community also challenges the (alleged) measures relating to the security taken so far. One month on from the carnage, the wave of indignation and emotion has given way to the everyday reality. Since the beginning of the war on terror Peshawar has been a target of fundamentalist violence, the Pakistani government is seeking peace with the Taliban, but such attacks bring into question the seriousness of any talks.

Speaking to AsiaNews on the matter Msger. Rufin Anthony , bishop of Islamabad / Rawalpindi , stresses that it is “sad” to see that in spite of repeated threats to churches “security measures are not yet satisfactory”. Police claim the opposite but the prelate adds “there is no visible trace of sny improvement!”. “We ask the competent authorities — said the bishop — to take the necessary measures to ensure that such incidents do not happen again”.

Fr. John Gill, of the Diocese of Peshawar, was present during the attack. “I heard a huge explosion — he says — and ran immediately to help the victims. Since that day we have repeatedly asked for help and protection to the churches, but so far we have not seen any tangible result.” This is echoed by John Naveed , a parishioner, who says that “ there are only two or three police on guard” at Sunday Mass, “ I’m not afraid of dying in the church, I am not worried about me” , he concludes, but for the health and the future “ of my children .”

With a population of over 180 million people (97 per cent Muslim), Pakistan is the sixth most populous country in the world and the second Muslim nation after Indonesia. Just under 80 per cent are Sunni Muslim, and 20 per cent are Shia. Hindus are around 1.85 per cent; Christians are 1.6 per cent and Sikhs 0.04 per cent. Violence against ethnic or religious minorities is commonplace across the country, especially Christians a favorite target for Islamic fundamentalists. There have been dozens of incidents of violence, including targeted attacks against entire communities — Gojra in 2009 or Joseph Colony Lahore in March last year — or abuses against individuals, often perpetrated under the pretext of blasphemy laws that end up hitting innocent victims (the case of the Christian minor Rimsha Masih).

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

Sydney: Jewish Family of 5 Viciously Attacked in Street

Police charged three people Saturday over an anti-Semitic attack in Sydney’s eastern suburbs that left one man seriously injured.

Four men and a woman were walking on Blair Street, Bondi, at about 12:30 AM Saturday, on their way home from a Sabbath eve meal, when a group of about eight young men began yelling anti-Semitic insults at them, and then attacked them.

The five suffered injuries including a fractured cheekbone, broken nose, concussion, lacerations and bruising. Police said the victims are four men, aged 27 to 66, and a 62-year-old woman. One man, who is in his sixties, suffered serious internal head injuries. According to Israel’s Channel 2 television, he is in critical condition.

Police arrested two 17-year-olds and a 23-year-old man at the scene, but the rest of the attackers managed to run away.

The two teenagers were charged with affray — fighting or terrorizing people in a public place — and breach of bail. They were refused bail and will appear in children’s court tomorrow.

The 23-year-old was charged with affray and granted bail.

St Vincent’s Hospital spokesman David Faktor, a member of the Bondi Jewish community, told the Sydney Morning Herald that the victims told him the attack was unprovoked and racially motivated.

He said the victims were members of a family, and that they did not know their attackers or do anything to incite the violence. He said the male victims were wearing skullcaps and told him the attack felt like it went for about 15 minutes.

“Any kind of serious unprovoked attack is of great concern but the fact it was racially motivated is all the more concerning,” Faktor said.

“It is extremely shocking that an attack like this could happen in Australia, let alone in Bondi being such a multicultural area.”

Faktor said the families of the victims are “very upset” and cannot understand why people would want to hurt them.

“You certainly don’t come to Bondi and expect that,” he said. “Maybe in Germany in the 1930s and Russia in the 1970s but certainly in Sydney, Australia, Bondi you just don’t expect an unprovoked attack.”

Beach Road Hotel licensee Ben Pearce told the Morning Herald that four bouncers and two managers from the hotel jumped into the brawl in an effort to break it up and were able to restrain a couple of the attackers before the police arrived.

“The guys did the best they could to grab as many of [the attackers] as possible,” Pearce said. “The fact that it had that extra component [was racially motivated] makes it even more ugly. ‘If it ever happened again we’d do the same to try and help.”

           — Hat tip: Steen [Return to headlines]

Migrant Vessel With 137 People Lands in Sicily

(AGI) Palermo, Oct 26 — One hundred and thirty-seven people landed in Sicily near Ragusa at 1.45 a.m. on Saturday morning.

A boat was spotted by a Dutch freighter at 3 p.m. on Friday off the coast of Portopalo, and the passengers were taken aboard Italian Coast Guard cutters at 7 p.m. Reportedly there were 19 women and 38 children amongst those board the migrant vessel.

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

‘Refugees at Poland’s Gates’

Rzeczpospolita, 25 October 2013

“A record number of immigrants without visas, documents and money, are storming Poland’s borders,” warns Rzeczpospolita.

In the first half of this year alone, Poland turned away 52,000 people from the East, mostly Russians of Chechen origin, Ukrainians, Bulgarians and Georgians, according to data from the Border Guard, the nation’s border security agency.

Meanwhile, the Office for Foreigners has received a flood of asylum applications, with more than 14,000 filed by mid-October.

“This is twice as many as the previous year. A historic record,” says Rafa Rogala, head of the Office pointing to “economic factors” — ie, poverty — as the primary factor behind this influx. According to the daily,

Poland is just a transit country for the majority of immigrants who are heading for Germany.

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

Sweden: Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Minors

Municipalities criticise new refugee law

Several municipalities in Sweden are having trouble finding accommodations in time for when the Swedish Migration Board can start forcing municipalities to accept and care for unaccompanied, asylum-seeking minors, next year, Swedish Radio News reports.

“They are forcing us to come up with solutions that don’t exist, and those kinds of solutions are never good,” Agneta Bode, social democratic chair of the Social Services Committee in Arboga says.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Gay Art Student to Lose His Virginity Live on Stage

A student from London’s Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design has set out to explore the “ideal of virginity”, announcing his intention to lose his own virginity live on stage. According to the Daily Star, Clayton Pettet, 19, “plans to have sex in front of a crowd of between 50 and 100 people” in London early next year.

“Art School Stole My Virginity” is scheduled to take place on 25 January 2014, according to the paper, which goes on to say, “He and his anonymous partner will have sex until completion and then hold a Q&A with the audience afterwards.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

5 Creepy Ways Video Games Are Trying to Get You Addicted

Look, I’m not saying video games are heroin. I totally get that the victims had other shit going on in their lives. But, half of you reading this know a World of Warcraft addict and experts say video game addiction is a thing. So here’s the big question: Are some games intentionally designed to keep you compulsively playing, even when you’re not enjoying it?

Oh, hell yes. And their methods are downright creepy.

5. Putting You in a Skinner Box

If you’ve ever been addicted to a game or known someone who was, this article is really freaking disturbing. It’s written by a games researcher at Microsoft on how to make video games that hook players, whether they like it or not. He has a doctorate in behavioral and brain sciences. Quote:

“Each contingency is an arrangement of time, activity, and reward, and there are an infinite number of ways these elements can be combined to produce the pattern of activity you want from your players.”

Notice his article does not contain the words “fun” or “enjoyment.” That’s not his field. Instead it’s “the pattern of activity you want.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]