Gates of Vienna News Feed 10/27/2013

While visiting Kosovo, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan proclaimed, “Kosovo is Turkey and Turkey is Kosovo,” provoking an angry response from Serbia. The Turkish foreign minister told reporters that Mr. Erdogan’s words had been misunderstood, but Serbia was not mollified. The Serbian president says Serbia will pull out of further talks with Turkey on Balkan issues.

In other news, two French Femen activists got close to Marine LePen, the leader of the Front National, and then stripped to the waist while shouting slogans at Ms. LePen. The same slogans were also written on their bare chests.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Fjordman, Insubria, JD, LS, and all the other tipsters who sent these in.

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

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

Financial Crisis
» Italy: State-Appointed Commissioners Take Control of Banche Marche
» America the Ugly
» Beg Apple: Subways Overrun With Homeless
» Benevolent Masters and Controllers of Water
» Far More Americans Have Lost Health Insurance Than Have Enrolled
» Feds and Some States Are Militarizing American Policing
» Food Stamps Sold for Cash on Craigslist
» Legal Glitch “Has the Potential to Sink ObamaCare”
» Massive Barge on San Francisco Bay Likely Secret Google Facility
» ObamaCare Catastrophe Reveals Barack’s Entire Paper-Mache Fantasy World
» ObamaCare Wipes Out More Than 1 Million Plans
» Obama Dangerously Weakens U.S.
» Pictured: Remorseless Brooklyn Stabber Who Hacked to Death His Cousin’s Wife and Her Four Children With a Meat Cleaver Because He Was Jealous of Their Money
» Taking a Stand Against Real-Life ‘Terminators’
» Video: Obama’s Plan for National ID Card
» Yuri Bezmenov: Love Letter to America
Europe and the EU
» Austrian Police Seize Large Haul of Cannabis in Camping Van on Highway, Arrest 2 Italians
» Berlusconi Relaunches Forza Italia, Party Risks Split
» Dutch Scientists Hidden Away in a Top-Security Laboratory Are Seeking to Create Mutant Flu Viruses
» France: Femen Activists Confront Far-Right Leader
» Germans Want Obama Apology for NSA Phone Tapping
» Germany Tells U.S. Espionage is Prosecutable Crime
» Italy: PD Down But Still Top in Poll, M5S Overtakes PDL in Second
» Italy: M5S and Northern League Refuse President’s Invite
» Italy: Fonsai Won’t Take Part in 300 Mn Alitalia Capital Increase
» Letta Denies Row With Cameron
» Rome is a Hub of Alitalia’s Woes
» Thousands Protest in Spain at Release of ETA Prisoners After Court of Human Rights Ruling
» Twin NSA-CIA Networks Set Up in European Cities: Spiegel
» UK Braces for Severe Storm With Strong Winds and Possible Flooding
» UK Finds ‘Nuclear Power is the Cheapest Way’ To Reduce Emissions
» UK: Tower of London Beefs Up Security Arrangements After Fox Kills Two Ravens
» PM Erdogan’s Words on Kosovo Misunderstood, Says Turkish FM
North Africa
» 60 Minutes: Benghazi
» Tunisia: Salafi Chief Released After Arrest
Middle East
» Car Bombs Kill at Least 56 in Iraq
» Gulf Allies Losing Faith in the US
» Iran Metes Out 80 Lashes to Christians for Communion Wine Drinking
» Israel Issues Warning to Iran Over Nuclear Bomb Report
» Saudi Women Fined for Defying Driving Ban
» Syria: Loyalists Battle Jihadists for Christian Town of Sada
» A Global Power Can’t Have Porous Borders
South Asia
» Six Muslim Leaders Arrested for “Illegal Activities” In Nepal
Far East
» In China, Cockroaches Now Being Farmed, Powdered and Sold to Pharmaceutical Companies as Medicine
» Xia Yeliang: The China Americans Don’t See
Culture Wars
» Quebec’s Religion-Neutral Schools Caught Leading Students in New Age Practices
» Same-Sex Marriage is an Oxymoron
» U.S. Olympic Athletes Must Promise to Fight ‘Discrimination’ Based on ‘Sexual Orientation’
» UK: Prayers Now Axed in Most Town Halls: Just 22 Per Cent of Councils Still Have Bible Reading at Start of Meetings
» Lou Reed: Rock ‘N’ Roll Pioneer, Dies at 71

Italy: State-Appointed Commissioners Take Control of Banche Marche

Italian economy ministry announces removal of bank’s management

(ANSA) — Jesi, October 25 — The Italian economy ministry on Friday announced it has ordered the replacement of management at troubled Italian lender Banca Marche by state-appointed commissioners.

The dissolution of the Banca Marche’s management comes after a temporary, two-month suspension ordered by the Bank of Italy in August.

The economy ministry said the definitive removal of Banca Marche’s administration comes on the recommendation of the Italian central bank, which has also nominated the bank’s state-appointed commissioners.

Two of them, Federico Terrinoni and Giuseppe Feliziani, have been working to salvage the bank since August 27.

The ministry said the new maneuver was necessary in order to carry out the necessary measures to restore finances at the banking group, including capital reinforcement in the coming months.

The Banca Marche will continue normal operations as it undergoes restructuring.

The retail bank has roughly 3,000 employees and over 300 branches located throughout northeastern and central Italy, according to its website.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

America the Ugly

[WARNING: * Disturbing Content. *]

We all tend to live in ‘our space’ meaning where we live, work and pursue life, liberty and happiness. But, there is an ugliness out in America that is so vile, so obscene, that like my Killing Fields series [1], [2], [3], it literally makes me sick to my soul. Like Killing Fields, this is difficult to write, but Americans need to see how evil is strangling this country and becoming ‘common’ as a cold. Things so foul, so despicable, we simply cannot understand how it came to be. For us, it’s unthinkable, but the number of ‘incidents’ continues to grow. The carnage left behind is overwhelming for the victims, their families and our society.

The American people need to see what they don’t see in their ‘space’ because the only way to stop it has to come from the we the people and future generations. Let me give you a small sample of what’s happening in America:


For decades, our culture has been driven by schools, corporations and the media to sexualize everything under the sun for decades. Here’s another small sample of America no one wants to read:

High School Play Portrays Sex With Goat.[url] A play about a man having sex with a goat. And guess what? While the parents were warned and some complained, the kids wanted the script and complained that parents complained!

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Beg Apple: Subways Overrun With Homeless

New York City’s subways have been overrun with homeless people as cops back off.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Benevolent Masters and Controllers of Water

Liberals with their control agenda: De-developing the U.S. to the level of third world nations

A lot of Americans take water for granted because it is relatively cheap and readily available in most areas. They count on turning on the water tap and the water flows. They also take for granted their water heaters — few people had to do without hot water in recent memory. Perhaps those who were the victims of tornadoes and hurricanes can better understand having to do without water, hot water, heat, and electricity for days and weeks at a time.

If you ask any Americans like me who grew up under communism and deprivation, we know what it’s like to go the entire summer, every summer, without any hot water and scheduled cold water because that is when the communist leadership decided that it was the best time to clean the cisterns of mineral deposits. At least that is what they told us. We had a few hours of hot water during winter time, 5-7 a.m. and 5-7 p.m. Cold water was also regulated in summer time. During the day, when everyone was assumed to be at work or school, there was no cold water for eight hours. I am not sure they did it out of incompetence, spite, or to make us as miserable as possible.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Far More Americans Have Lost Health Insurance Than Have Enrolled

The real story on Obamacare is beyond disastrous. It is apocalyptic for the U.S. economy and its citizens. Even wrote today that “More Americans In 3 States Have Had Their Insurance Canceled Under ObamaCare Than Have Filed An Exchange Account In All 50.”

“Over 500,000 individuals have seen their insurance policies cancelled in just 3 states. In all 50 states, only 476,000 applications have been ‘filed’ in an exchange. (Even though we are still learning the true definition of ‘filed.’)” writes Josh Archambault.

He happens to be correct… and maybe even too conservative on the numbers. It turns out that over 1 million Americans are losing their health insurance due to Obamacare, while only a few thousand have actually completed the process of purchase health insurance.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Feds and Some States Are Militarizing American Policing

American communities continue to be increasingly policed by law enforcement officers armed with the weapons and tactics of war, according to the left-wing activists at the American Civil Liberties Union.

However, utilization of military equipment by local police departments throughout the United States — some call it the “militarization” of American policing — has been going on for quite some time. Now, observers ask whether this trend might have repercussions that are making citizens uneasy, according to a Homeland Security Newswire report on Monday.

Police departments generally receive the equipment for free, according to the report. “The gear being sent to local police includes planes, helicopters, armored vehicles, grenade launchers, assault rifles, bullet-proof helmets, night-vision goggles, and more. A few sheriff departments ordered tanks,” the report states.

Last year’s authorization act all but erases decades of U.S. government compliance with the letter and the spirit of the Posse Comitatus Act 1878, a law that prohibits the use of the U.S. military to perform law enforcement functions within the United States, according to an Examiner news story that quotes police officials and others opposed to the militarizing of American law enforcement.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Food Stamps Sold for Cash on Craigslist

(NaturalNews) The Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, or SNAP — better known as food stamps — is the fastest growing federal entitlement program, and one of the most abused.

That’s according to Cato Institute scholar Michael Tanner, who just released an exhaustive report studying the issue []. Since 2000, the program has exploded — it has grown from 17 million Americans to more than 48 million, due largely to the Obama administration’s relaxing of qualification standards — so much so that a sizable percentage of those now receiving food stamps are not “poor,” by the government’s own definition.

What’s more, the combination of rapidly expanding SNAP rolls and lax oversight and standards has led to rampant exploitation of the system. As we’ve reported here at Natural News, a number of business owners have been caught in scams where they pay a reduced cash value for a recipient’s EBT card balance (food stamps have been replaced by a slick debit-style card called Electronic Benefits Transfer) and pocket the difference.

Now, it seems, the ripping off of U.S. taxpayers via the SNAP program has gone digital.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Legal Glitch “Has the Potential to Sink ObamaCare”

As if the technological problems facing Obamacare were not enough, a potentially major “legal glitch” could cause the healthcare law to unravel in 36 states. As the LA Times reports, The Affordable Care Act proposes to make health insurance affordable to millions of low-income Americans by offering them tax credits to help cover the cost. To receive the credit, the law twice says they must buy insurance “through an exchange established by the state.” But 36 states have decided against opening exchanges for now. Critics of the law have seized on the glitch. They have filed four lawsuits that urge judges to rule the Obama administration must abide by the strict wording of the law, even if doing so dismantles it in nearly two-thirds of the states. And the Obama administration has no hope of repairing the glitch by legislation as long as the Republicans control the House…”This has the potential to sink Obamacare. It could make the current website problems seem minor by comparison,” noted one policy expert.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Massive Barge on San Francisco Bay Likely Secret Google Facility

The U.S. Navy had its share of secrets on Treasure Island, but few were better kept than what’s taking place on a mysterious barge just off the island.

The barge, with a four-story stack of shipping containers, is out in the open for all to see. But the project’s purpose has been kept under wraps, and virtually no one wants to talk about it for the record, from the harbor office at Clipper Cove to the Treasure Island Development Authority to the U.S. Coast Guard.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

ObamaCare Catastrophe Reveals Barack’s Entire Paper-Mache Fantasy World

It is perhaps the most obvious conclusion in history to declare that Obama does not know what he is doing as president. When pondering how Barack allowed his signature piece of legislation, the perversely titled Affordable Care Act, aka “ObamaCare,” to overwhelmingly fail in plain sight, it is utterly incomprehensible. The options are not attractive to Barack boosters. Either he did not know the website for ObamaCare was non-functional, and therefore he is not in touch with the designers and builders of his own greatest legislation. Or, he knew it was simply a cardboard approximation, and went ahead and steered the boat of state directly into failure, anyway. Either option paints Barack as a pompous dolt.

It’s inconceivable, even if the government websites and programming of ObamaCare are somehow resurrected by a hi-tech wizard, that his reputation as a competent leader could survive. Who in their right mind would repeat Barack’s early reputation as the genius of the age? In fact, his listlessly incompetent performance is downright disturbing. Even stranger was his seeming capitulation to the state of the broken website as if it were no big deal and should simply be accepted with a shrug and a smile. Peggy Noonan’s article mentions Barack’s weird lack of a commitment to excellence in her essay, ObamaCare Is Taking On Water: It’s not just a buggy website, it’s a disaster of Titanic proportions. She says, “It is disorienting to not see this in a president. It is another thing about this story that feels not only historic, but historically strange.”…

Believe it, or not, Barack has some things in common with other Leftist leaders, such as Chairman Mao Zedong. The main trait Obama shares with Mao is both have an overwhelming enthusiasm to change the world in areas of which they have no knowledge. Further, both seem incapable of taking a realistic or educated view of what they wanted to change.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

ObamaCare Wipes Out More Than 1 Million Plans

Cancellation notices from insurers continue to mount

Owners of individual health-insurance policies already have received more than 1 million cancellation notices, according to a compilation of news reports.

But the pain likely won’t end there.

Health-policy expert Bob Laszewski has concluded that about 16 million Americans will lose their current plans because of Obamacare.

Laszewski explained that about 19 million Americans are in the individual health insurance market.

“Because the Obama administration’s regulations on grandfathering existing plans were so stringent about 85 percent of those, 16 million, are not grandfathered and must comply with Obamacare at their next renewal,” he said.

The 16 million, he said, will receive letters from their carriers saying they are losing their current coverage and must re-enroll to avoid a break in coverage .

“Most of these will be seeing some pretty big rate increases, he said.

Blue Cross in New Jersey, alone, is dropping more than 800,000 customers due to Obamacare.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Obama Dangerously Weakens U.S.

Warns nation ‘extremely vulnerable’ as readiness sinks to historically low levels

“The Air Force, at one time, grounded a third of all their squadrons because of the cost savings driven by sequestration. That means their readiness is declining in almost dramatic terms,” said retired U.S. Air Force Gen. Tom McInerney, who served as both assistant vice chief of staff and commander in chief of U.S. Air Forces Europe during his time in uniform…

“We will have the least ready military since the end of World War II, the 1948-49 time period,” he explained. “We (also) had that drop-down under President Carter, but this will go below the Carter readiness problems. This administration will have the lowest since 1948.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Pictured: Remorseless Brooklyn Stabber Who Hacked to Death His Cousin’s Wife and Her Four Children With a Meat Cleaver Because He Was Jealous of Their Money

[WARNING: * Disturbing Content *]

A woman and her four children were hacked to death with a meat cleaver by a crazed relative in a horrific killing spree late Saturday night in Brooklyn just because of their wealth.

The gory slaying ended with deaths of Qiao Zhen Li and her children aged one year, 5, 7, 9, and 37 and the agonized screams of their father, who arrived too late to stop the killer.

Ming Dong Chen, 25 — reportedly the surviving father’s mentally ill cousin — remained ‘bizarrely calm’ as he was dragged past his family’s corpses and during his confession to police in which he said he was jealous of his victims’ money…

‘The family had too much. Their income (and) lifestyle was better than his,’ a source told the New York Post, where it was reported that the 1-year-old victim was also decapitated.

The man had reportedly been staying with the family for a week since arriving to New York from Chicago.

The victims were found unresponsive around 11pm after police who happened to be investigating a robbery nearby caught the confessed killer fleeing the scene.

Ming Dong Chen showed ‘no remorse’ as he told police what he’d done…

‘The father was freaking out,’ May Chan, a neighbor, told the New York Daily News. ‘He just came home from work and saw the police and they told him. He was hysterical.’

The father learned the horrifying news though a police interpreter of Chinese.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Taking a Stand Against Real-Life ‘Terminators’

RPI expert signs petition against the use of “killer robots”

As head of computer science at RPI, James Handler knows more about robotics and artificial intelligence than most people. So when he says the time is now for a ban on so-called “killer robots” — — machines with weaponry and decision-making power to kill, without human oversight — — it’s reasonable to listen.

Last week, Hendler was among nearly 300 scientists from three dozen countries who signed a statement to the United Nations calling for governments to stop such robotic technology, which has long been the stuff of dystopian science fiction and films as far back as the 1927 silent German classic “Metropolis.”

While the public might envision something along the lines of Arnold Schwarzenegger in the “Terminator” movies, the military term for such weapons is “lethally autonomous robots,” or LARS, meaning the machine’s artificial intelligence would select and destroy targets, human or otherwise. The lethal machine could be a flying drone, tank, vessel, vehicle or fixed weapon that could sense its surroundings and fire based on its findings.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Video: Obama’s Plan for National ID Card

When a former police detective (Terry L. Cook) joined a best-selling prophecy writer and investigator (Thomas R. Horn), you can’t even guess what top secret plan they uncovered involving widespread adoption of human biometric tracking beginning in the year 2017. The research findings look into all emerging fields of related technology including smart tattoos, biochips with smart genetic components, etc.

But what is disturbing is how a plan to use some form of this technology has been on the drawing board for some time with the target year 2017, as illustrated in this video. And now that the government shutdown is over, president Obama says he will begin pushing hard for immigration reform, which is a Trojan Horse for a national identification system without which nobody will be allowed to work (buy or sell).

[Comment: video is at the top of the page.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Yuri Bezmenov: Love Letter to America

(Yuri’s book “Love Letter To America” is now available online for free)

Yuri Bezmenov, a ex-KGB officer warns America about Communist subversion and ideology.

My dear friends, I think you are in big trouble. Whether you believe it or not, YOU ARE AT WAR. And you may lose this war very soon, together with all your affluence and freedoms, unless you start defending yourselves. I hope you have noticed on your color televisions that there is in fact war going on right now all over this planet. This war has many faces, but it’s all the same it’s war. Some call it “national liberation”, some title it “class struggle” or “political terrorism”. Others call it “anticolonialism” or “struggle for majority rule”. Some even come up with such fancy names as “war of patriotic forces” or “peace movement”. I call it World Communist Aggression.

I know what I am talking about, because I was on the side of the aggressor before I decided to take YOUR side. I do not believe I KNOW that in this war no one is being “liberated, decolonised or made equal”, as Soviet doctrine proclaims. You may notice, if you give yourselves the trouble to observe, that the only “equality” and “liberation” this war produces is the equality of death and the “liberation” from freedom. Look at Russia, Poland, Hungary, Afghanistan would you say the people of those countries celebrated and rejoiced when the Soviets brought them equality and liberation? Of course not. We must take a clear and honest look at what Soviet “liberation” actually means.

This war of Communist World Aggression is not fought against some mythological “capitalists” as Communist propaganda claims. No, my dear friends, this war is fought against YOU personally…

The reason that I am so certain of the real goal of Communist aggression is that I was actually a part and an unwilling instrument of Soviet subversion tactics. Having been trained and used by the KGB for their global ideological subversion campaign, I have some first- hand knowledge about the people behind this war and the methods they use. I know very well the way the Communists, whom the Western media call “freedom fighters” and “rebels”, operate. I know their mentality and their methods, I know their ultimate goals, which are very far from the liberty, equality and freedom they verbally espouse. Because I have seen the tragic consequences of this war of ideological subversion, I would like to offer some suggestions as to how we in the United States can DEFEND ourselves against this deadly war and how we can SURVIVE in this “final struggle for minds and hearts”

“What’s in it for Tomas Schuman,” you may ask. Well, I’ve asked myself. What do I get for defecting from the winning side (the Soviets) … and joining the losers? (I hope I don’t have to tell you, that at least a dozen countries have succumbed to the Communists since my defection.) In reality, dear friends, 1 have gained nothing materially from my defection. What I have gained is a firm commit- ment to the United States as the last real frontier of freedom. This is it, dear Americans, your country (and mine now) will be the last to be “liberated” by Marxists, socialists, and domestic “do-gooders”. If the “liberationists” succeed in bringing their “New Order” to America, chances are you and I will meet in front of a firing squad or worse in a “re-education” forced labor camp in the Alaskan Peoples Democratic Republic.

You have too many concrete examples of what Communist “liberation” has done for other countries to believe that I am wrong when I warn you that we are on the brink of disaster. From one that has lived, worked and seen first-hand the realities of day to day life in a communist/ socialist state you must wake up now and start defending the rights and freedoms you now have. No matter how many problems you think the U.S. may have, believe me when I say that they are nothing in comparison to the troubles you will experience if the U.S. continues to agree and sympathize with communist/socialist doctrines.

[Comment: Yuri Bezmenov, pseudonym for Tomas Schuman, wrote the book in 1984. There is also an interview with him on youtube which is quite informative. Considering the socialist policies being promoted by progessives (Obama et al) you can see Yuri was prescient in his warning to America. A must read book for Americans. The pdf is the scanned book, other formats are from Optical Character Recogition programs, so expect typos and minor errors in this first draft.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Austrian Police Seize Large Haul of Cannabis in Camping Van on Highway, Arrest 2 Italians

Authorities have seized 500 kilograms (about 1,100 pounds) of cannabis during a routine check on a camping van entering southern Austria from Slovenia. Two Italian men were arrested.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Berlusconi Relaunches Forza Italia, Party Risks Split

Confirms faith in Alfano, says will keep supporting govt

(By Paul Virgo) (ANSA) — Rome, October 25 — Silvio Berlusconi on Friday pressed ahead with moves to relaunch his party under its former name, Forza Italia, despite speculation this could lead to a split within the centre-right group.

A meeting of bigwigs of the People of Freedom (PdL) party agreed to suspend the group’s activities in view of the arrival of the new Forza Italia, a statement said. This move also entails the suspension of posts within the PdL, including that of party secretary — Deputy Premier and Interior Minister Angelino Alfano.

Alfano is the leader of the so-called doves in the PdL, moderates who in recent months have been embroiled in a tussle with hawks in the party, many of whom are in favour of breaking off the government alliance with Premier Enrico Letta’s centre-left Democratic Party (PD). The deputy premier, who did not attend Friday’s meeting, led the doves when they staged a mutiny this month 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.

Many moderates in the party have said they are against moving to a resuscitated Forza Italia. Berlusconi said Alfano “continues to enjoy my esteem” after Friday’s meeting.

But he stressed that his faith in Alfano and the other four centre-right ministers in Letta’s cabinet, all of whom are moderates, was dependant on them “keeping by the decisions of the majority of the party”. He said the new Forza Italia’s first national assembly will take place on December 8, the day the PD is set to hold a primary to elect its new leader.

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 do not think the party should torpedo the government over Berlusconi’s legal problems, as the country struggles to emerge from its longest recession in over two decades.

Berlusconi appeared to try to keep the doves on board as he stressed that “we will continue to give our support to the government”. Berlusconi tried to bring the government down after the 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.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Dutch Scientists Hidden Away in a Top-Security Laboratory Are Seeking to Create Mutant Flu Viruses

Ron Fouchier and Ab Osterhaus say the benefits of this gene mutation research far outweigh the risks.

The experiments, designed to explore H7N9’s potential to develop drug resistance and find which genetic modifications might enhance its ability to spread, could offer the know-how to halt a lethal flu pandemic, they say…

Steven Salzberg, a professor of medicine and biostatistics from John Hopkins School of Medicine, accused them of “an outrageous display of chutzpah” and says Fouchier “is deeply confused about the possible benefits of this work”, which Salzberg argues are marginal at best.

“The notion of ‘gain of function’ research on pathogens is very, very dangerous,” he told Reuters.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

France: Femen Activists Confront Far-Right Leader

The leader of France’s far-right party, Marine Le Pen, came within inches of two topless Femen activists on Saturday, whilst on a visit to the town of Fougères in Brittany.

Le Pen, who was in Fougères to meet with local members of the Front National party, was greeting town residents when the two protesters surged forwards from the crowd, removed their tops and shouted “Marine repent!” The same slogan that was also scrawled across their chests. Le Pen’s security team swiftly intervened, pulling the women away from the political leader, as they continued their chants including “sexremism not faciscm.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Germans Want Obama Apology for NSA Phone Tapping

(AGI) Berlin, Oct 27 — Over three-quarters of Germans (76 percent) would like U.S. President Barack Obama to apologise for the NSA’s phone tapping of Chancellor Angela Merkel. An Emnid poll for Sunday newspaper Bild am Sonntag (BamS), shows that just 17 percent of Germans do not consider an apology necessary.

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

Germany Tells U.S. Espionage is Prosecutable Crime

(AGI) Berlin, Oct 27 — Tension is mounting between Germany and the United States, after the revelation that Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile was wiretapped from 2002 to mid 2013 and that Barack Obama knew about it from 2010. German Interior minister Hans-Peter Friedrich said that surveillance is a crime and those accountable must face the law. Foreign Affairs minister Guido Westerwelle also pointed out that German law is enforced on German soil, and this goes for citizens, enterprises, diplomats and embassies.

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

Italy: PD Down But Still Top in Poll, M5S Overtakes PDL in Second

Govt squabbling hurts ruling partners

(ANSA) — Rome, October 25 — The centre-left Democratic Party (PD) of Premier Enrico Letta dipped 0.6% to 27.8% but still topped a weekly poll for public broadcaster RAI Friday.

The anti-establishment 5-Star Movement of ex-comedian Beppe Grillo gained 2.8% to 24.6% to place second, overtaking ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Freedom (PdL) party which fell 1.4% to 23.1%.

Pollsters said continuing squabbles had hurt the PD and PdL, uneasy partners in an unprecedented right-left government.

Grillo benefitted from PD-PdL bickering over the budget and Berlusconi’s looming ban from office, they said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: M5S and Northern League Refuse President’s Invite

Populist groups snub Napolitano talks on electoral law

(ANSA) — Rome, October 25 — The anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) and the populist Northern League party on Friday refused to meet Italian President Giorgio Napolitano who had invited them to the Quirinale Palace to discuss an electoral reform.

“We are not an absolute monarchy nor a presidential republic”, said Senate M5S whip Paola Taverna.

M5S founder Beppe Grillo called for Napolitano’s impeachment on his blog, the movement’s mouthpiece, angered by the president’s decision to first meet on Thursday with government coalition partners — the center-left Democratic Party (PD) of Premier Enrico Letta and People of Freedom (PdL) party of ex-premier Berlusconi — and subsequently talk with opposition groups “therefore excluding 9 million people” who voted for the party, Grillo wrote.

The anti-immigration Northern League party also said Napolitano had made a “grave mistake”.

The government wants to change the electoral law, known as “porcellum” or pigsty, which failed to produce a clear majority and forced longtime foes PD and PdL to form a grand coalition in April to make Letta’s cabinet possible and end two months of political deadlock after February’s inconclusive general election.

The fractious cabinet has so far been unable to reform the law and a new vote is likely to produce another inconclusive result.

Napolitano has set his face against calling fresh elections and has threatened to resign if he is forced to do so, angering Grillo who wants a new vote to take place as soon as possible with the current law.

The so-called porcellum, passed in 2005, does not allow the electorate to choose candidates directly, voting instead for a set list selected by party leaderships under a proportional system.

Northern League Deputy Senate Speaker Roberto Calderoli introduced the law.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Fonsai Won’t Take Part in 300 Mn Alitalia Capital Increase

Not strategic, says insurance company CEO

(ANSA) — Bologna, October 25 — The Italian insurance company Fonsai has chosen not to participate in a 300-million-euro capital increase for Italy’s troubled flagship airline Alitalia, Chief Executive Carlo Cimbri said on Friday.

Fonsai owns 4.4% of Italy’s teetering flagship airline.

“No. I have already said that the holding is not strategic,” Cimbri said on the fringes of a shareholder assembly to approve a merger of insurance companies to reorganize a constellation of assets that once made up the insurance dynasty of former majority owners Salvatore Ligresti and his family.

Ligresti and several others have been accused of accounting fraud and market manipulation at Fonsai that enabled Ligresti, according to the indictment, to acquire illegal dividends of 200 million euros.

Earlier this month Alitalia shareholders approved an emergency 300-million-euro capital hike to pull the airline from the brink of bankruptcy.

The State-owned post office, Poste Italiane, will buy up to 75 million euros in any unsubscribed shares in the capital increase. Italian banks Intesa Sanpaolo and Unicredit will guarantee to take a stake worth up to 100 million euros.

The capital boost is part of a government-engineered 500-million-euro rescue package, which also includes 200 million euros in loans, and prompted International Airlines Group last week to urge the European Commission to intervene to suspend what it said was “flagrant State aid”, a charge Italian Transportation Minister Maurizio Lupi has denied.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Letta Denies Row With Cameron

Premier doesn’t say if Britain’s role in spy scandal discussed

(ANSA) — Brussels, October 25 — Italian Premier Enrico Letta on Friday denied rumours of a row with his British counterpart David Cameron at the European Council summit in Brussels.

“I was surprised when I heard reports about arguments that did not take place,” he said. Letta did not say whether he discussed with Cameron Britain’s alleged role in a US spy scandal allegedly involving tapped communications of Italian and other European governments.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Rome is a Hub of Alitalia’s Woes

MILAN—Alitalia is scrambling to survive by trying to coax more cash out of Air France-KLM SA. But new capital from its industry partner wouldn’t solve one of the unprofitable Italian carrier’s biggest problems: the lack of a viable hub.

Many battered airlines around the globe have staged comebacks by exploiting a strong home airport. A decade ago, British Airways and Swiss International Air Lines used the high-margin business traffic generated by their hubs in London and Zurich, respectively, to turn themselves around, focusing on their best routes. Australia’s Qantas Airways Ltd. and Japan Airlines Co. now are attempting to do the same…

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

Thousands Protest in Spain at Release of ETA Prisoners After Court of Human Rights Ruling

Several thousand people have gathered in downtown Madrid to protest the release from jail of Basque separatists who were convicted of attacks but freed under a European Court of Human Rights ruling.

The Strasbourg-based court found that prisoners who had served time and completed sentence reduction programs couldn’t have their jail terms re-interpreted by Spain’s judiciary.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Twin NSA-CIA Networks Set Up in European Cities: Spiegel

(AGI) Berlin, Oct 26 — The National Security Agency and the CIA activated around 80 spy and phone-tapping networks around the world in 2010, all modelled on those set up in enemy countries towards the end of the 1970s. Nineteen of these ‘listening’ groups were located in European capital cities, Rome included.

Twin NSA-CIA networks were also set up in countries the U.S. had always officially regarded as firm allies, in cities such as Berlin, Madrid, Paris, Prague and Geneva, the weekly Spiegel reported.

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

UK Braces for Severe Storm With Strong Winds and Possible Flooding

Britain is taking precautions for a storm that is expected to hit the country with heavy rain and hurricane-force winds.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UK Finds ‘Nuclear Power is the Cheapest Way’ To Reduce Emissions

The Daily Telegraph, Financial Times, The Times & 4 others

While Germany and France are trying to reduce their reliance on nuclear power, the UK has announced a deal to build its first new nuclear power plant in almost 20 years. A risky choice, but one for which the economic rationale is clear, writes the European press.

The controversial deal with French energy firms EDF and Areva and their Chinese partners CGN and CNNC to build a new nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point C in Somerset (south-west England) will create 25,000 much needed jobs, but comes at a high price: an electricity price guarantee that is twice the current wholesale price, concerns at the large scale Chinese investment in the project (30-40 per cent of the total amount), not to mention the environmental risks inherent with nuclear power.

“We may be paying over the odds for new nuclear power, but at least it provides the certainty that has been lacking for so long,” writes The Daily Telegraph, bemoaning the fact that “in order to attract state-owned French and Chinese firms, we have had to stuff their mouths with gold”. It continues -…

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

UK: Tower of London Beefs Up Security Arrangements After Fox Kills Two Ravens

The eight ravens kept at the Tower of London are used to being treated like royalty.

Because according to legend, their very presence protects our monarch and stops the kingdom from collapsing.

So when two were killed by a fox in May, the birds were quickly replaced — and staff decided it was time to beef up their security arrangements.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

PM Erdogan’s Words on Kosovo Misunderstood, Says Turkish FM

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s recent words on Kosovo have been misunderstood, Turkey’s foreign minister said after Serbia declared it would not take part in a Balkan initiative with Turkey and would also seek an apology.

Erdogan gave a speech this week during a visit to Prizren, Kosovo, saying, “Kosovo is Turkey, and Turkey is Kosovo.”

The comment was widely criticized in Serbia, which is sensitive about the Ottoman past in the Balkans and to any acknowledgement of Kosovo’s independence.

“Those words were misunderstood. Remarks which have been cut out from the whole speech were taken to grounds we don’t want. We also aim to have good relations with Serbia. Turkey maintains an equal distance to all Balkan countries,” Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told state-run TRT television today. “Prime Minister Erdogan talked about the common fate of Balkan nations. All Balkan countries should move all together for peace and stability,” he said.

The foreign minister said he had a lengthy telephone conversation with his Serbian counterpart, Ivan Mrkic, over the situation, adding that they supported Belgrade-Pristina dialogue.

Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic on Oct. 26 sought an apology for the “scandal,” saying he would pull out of talks with Bosnia and Herzegovina and Turkey on post-war Balkan stability.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

60 Minutes: Benghazi

The following script is from “Benghazi” which aired on Oct. 27, 2013. The correspondent is Lara Logan. Max McClellan, producer.

When Chris Stevens was killed in Benghazi, Libya, on the anniversary of September 11th last year, it was only the sixth time that the United States had lost an ambassador to its enemies. The events of that night have been overshadowed by misinformation, confusion and intense partisanship. But for those who lived through it, there’s nothing confusing about what happened, and they share a sense of profound frustration because they say they saw it coming.

Tonight, you will hear for the first time from a security officer who witnessed the attack. He calls himself, Morgan Jones, a pseudonym he’s using for his own safety. A former British soldier, he’s been helping to keep U.S. diplomats and military leaders safe for the last decade. On a night he describes as sheer hell, Morgan Jones snuck into a Benghazi hospital that was under the control of al Qaeda terrorists, desperate to find out if one of his close friends from the U.S. Special Mission was the American he’d been told was there.

Morgan Jones: I was dreading seeing who it was, you know? It didn’t take long to get to the room. And I could see in through the glass. And I didn’t even have to go into the room to see who it was. I knew who it was immediately.

Lara Logan: Who was it?

Morgan Jones: It was the ambassador, dead. Yeah, shocking…

           — Hat tip: LS [Return to headlines]

Tunisia: Salafi Chief Released After Arrest

PM expected to resign; terrorism looms

(ANSAmed) — TUNIS, OCTOBER 25 — On a tense, chaotic day in Tunisia during which a suspected jihadist chief was arrested only to later be released, Prime Minister Ali Laarayedh seemed close to resigning. The decision was made in a letter in which he reportedly agreed to resign in compliance with the mediators’ ‘road map’, and thus within the next three weeks. However, on Thursday evening Laarayedh said he would leave office only when the new Constitution worked on for the past two years had been approved, a better electoral law brought in, authorities tasked with election monitoring elected and a date set for elections: all of which will likely require more than a few weeks.

Meanwhile, at dawn in Sidi Ali Ben Aoun (where seven National Guard officers were recently killed) Al-Khatib Al-Idrissy was captured, a man held to be the head of Tunisian Salafi jihadists and spiritual leader of Ansar Al-Sharia, a group that has been outlawed for acts of terrorism. Al-Idrissy was released in the afternoon. A more serious incident occurred in the afternoon at the Ennasr high school in Tunis’s northern suburbs, where a police patrol shot at a group of individuals said to be ‘Salafis’. One was killed whose parents have now accused the police of shooting in cold blood, saying the group were simply youths returning in high spirits from a party. Explosives were also found in a tunnel in central Tunis. Security sources played down the incident in a radio interview, but others say that a massive attack was thwarted at the Sheraton Hotel (frequented mainly by foreigners and politicians) and the national TV offices.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Car Bombs Kill at Least 56 in Iraq

A new wave of car bombs hit Shiite neighborhoods of Baghdad and a suicide bomber targeted soldiers in a northern city in attacks that killed at least 56 across Iraq on Sunday, officials said.

Coordinated bombing onslaughts killing scores of people have hit Iraq multiple times each month, feeding a spike in bloodshed that has left over 5,000 since April. The local branch of Al Qaeda often takes responsibility, although there was no immediate claim for Sunday’s blasts.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Gulf Allies Losing Faith in the US

The GCC would like to see a nuanced and holistic approach by Washington that addresses a gambit of issues from Syria and Iran to the Palestinian issue

Last week was a week to remember in the testy relationship between the Gulf states and the US. I was in Washington and witnessed the drama unfold live; something is amiss nowadays, between the US and its allies in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

We see a non-committal, wavering, fatigued US. A dysfunctional and stalemated Washington, which is worrying its allies, not only over security and strategic issues, but even financially, since most of US allies’ sovereign wealth funds are being invested in US Treasury Bills and stocks.

For instance, most of the GCC assets, including the Saudi central bank’s net foreign assets of $690 billion (Dh2.53 trillion) are thought to be denominated in dollars, much of them in US Treasury bonds.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Iran Metes Out 80 Lashes to Christians for Communion Wine Drinking

Christian group urges Iran to reconsider punishment, not infringe on civil rights.

An Iranian court sentenced four Iranians to 80 whips for drinking wine during communion and possession of a satellite antenna. Christianity Society Worldwide, an advocacy organization for religious freedom, reported on the punishment last week on its website.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Israel Issues Warning to Iran Over Nuclear Bomb Report

An Israeli defense official says a new report claiming Iran could produce enough weapons-grade uranium to build a nuclear bomb in less than a month is further justification for why Israel will take military action before that happens.

Danny Danon, Israel’s deputy defense minister told USA Today that Iran is speedily moving to develop advanced centrifuges that will enable it to enrich uranium needed for nuclear weapons within weeks.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Saudi Women Fined for Defying Driving Ban

At least 16 Saudi women have been fined for defying a ban on female driving after they responded to an online campaign and got behind the wheel in protest, police sources said Sunday.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Syria: Loyalists Battle Jihadists for Christian Town of Sada

Strategic town on Damascus-Homs highway

(ANSAmed) — BEIRUT, OCTOBER 25 — Jihadist rebels and loyalist forces are fighting for the historic Syriac Orthodox Christian town of Sadad, activists cited eyewitnesses as saying Friday.

Sadad is strategically located between the central city of Homs and the Syrian capital of Damascus. Sadad is key to controlling the Damascus-Homs highway and the Qalamoun Mountains, which border with Lebanon.

Islamic fundamentalist insurgents have been attacking the western outskirts of Sadad for days, driving part of the population to flee to Damascus or Homs.

Regime forces are continuing their offensive against “terrorists” in Sadad, official SANA news agency reported Friday.

“Armed men are continuing their siege”, Sadad inhabitants wrote on Facebook.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

A Global Power Can’t Have Porous Borders

In the aftermath of ethnic riots in Biryulyovo, Mayor Sergei Sobyanin has proposed searching private apartments for illegal aliens. Not only does this initiative violate the Constitution, which protects private homes from unwarranted searches and seizures, it constitutes an admission that the Russian state does not enforce its borders.

Opposition leader Alexei Navalny is collecting signatures for his petition to introduce a visa regime with the countries of Central Asia and the Caucasus as a civilized way to deal with illegal immigration.

The problem, however, is that Russia does not really have well-policed borders to be able to enforce a viable visa and immigration control regime. We allow travelers from many of the post-Soviet states to enter the country without a foreign passport, accepting all sorts of bogus travel documents, many easily forged.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Six Muslim Leaders Arrested for “Illegal Activities” In Nepal

Police arrested the men during a raid against a mosque in Bara (southern Nepal). For the authorities, they were not involved in religious activities, but in “illegal work”. For the country’s Muslim community, the government violated ‘religious freedom’.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) — Nepali police arrested six Muslim leaders at s mosque in Bara (southern Nepal) for engaging in illegal activities in the country. The men are from Pakistan and had been in Nepal for about two months. After they were detained, they accused the government of violating their rights.

“The six Islamic leaders do not have a work permit and without such a document no one can work in Nepal,” said Bara District Chief Kailas Bajimaya.

Under Nepali law, those who enter the country for religious reasons are not required a work permit. However, many of those who entered the country as religious eventually began working in other fields.

In view of this, the authorities recently launched an awareness campaign to get leaders from religious minorities to hire people only for religious purposes and not other tasks.

“We are not making illegal arrests,” said Communications Minister Madhav Poudel, who is also the government’s spokesman.

“Anyone detained must show that their activities fall within the terms of the law,” Poudel explained. “Many foreign Christians and Buddhists work as religious in our country. However, the government monitors all religious activities for security reasons. This way, we can check for criminals who use religion for illegal activities.”

“If the authorities determine that the six Muslim leaders came to Nepal for religious reasons, they will release them immediately,” the minister added. “Otherwise, they will be expelled from the country.”

The Muslim community reacted to the situation by criticising both the arrest and the manner in which it was carried out.

According Nazrul Hassan, secretary general of the Islamic Federation of Nepal, the police stormed the mosque scaring the faithful.

“The government,” he noted, “has the right to check the legality of our activities and maintain security, but arresting someone inside a religious building breaches the principle of religious freedom.

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

In China, Cockroaches Now Being Farmed, Powdered and Sold to Pharmaceutical Companies as Medicine

[WARNING: Disturbing content.]

(NaturalNews) The mere thought of unexpectedly encountering one in a dark hallway or bedroom is probably enough to send shivers up your spine, seeing how there are likely many more of the nasty critters where that one came from. But in China, cockroaches have become big business, with prodigious entrepreneurs now intentionally raising them by the millions for the purpose of selling them to pharmaceutical companies as a form of medicine.

The U.K.’s Telegraph reports that the cockroach industry is simply booming in many parts of China, as news about the alleged health benefits associated with their consumption spreads like wildfire. Everything from blood clots and gastroenteritis to tuberculosis and heart disease are considered eligible conditions for treatment with cockroaches, which is why so many people want to get their hands on them these days.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Xia Yeliang: The China Americans Don’t See

A Peking University economics professor who was sacked for his political views explains the underside of elite Chinese higher education.

Western academic ties provide China with “a kind of coating or makeup,” says the professor. “Because in Chinese universities we don’t have real freedom of academic research, so there’s no way to train great masters. Whether it’s in science or in humanities and arts—no way.”

“Within 10 to 15 years,” he believes, China’s Communist Party will collapse. “I’m very optimistic about that.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Quebec’s Religion-Neutral Schools Caught Leading Students in New Age Practices

Georges Buscemi, president of Campagne Québec-Vie, called the New-Age-like activities in the schools an “obvious” indication of the failure that was bound to happen when a government imposes a so-called neutral version of religion and morality.

“It was obvious then, and it is obvious now, that the neutral program is not ‘neutral’ and was bound to collapse into one religion or another,” he told

The Quebec government stripped Catholics and Protestants of their right to religious education in public “confessional schools” in 1997, successfully requesting that the government of Canada exempt the province from Article 93 of the 1867 Constitution Act that guaranteed the right to denominational religious schools. Denominational religious instruction was allowed to continue, but its days would be numbered.

By 2000, all school boards were required to hire “spiritual animators.” Christian “services” in the schools were to be replaced by a so-called neutral “spiritual care and guidance” program.

Then in 2005, the province passed a law eliminating denominational religious education in public schools altogether.

At this time a “neutral” course in ethics or religious culture was proposed. The province mandated in 2008 that all provincial schools, whether public, private, or at home, teach its Ethics and Religious Culture course (ERC) from grade one until end of high school. Hailed as a “secular” and “neutral” program by its creators, the course was criticized for promoting moral relativism as well as ethical positions violating Christianity.

Buscemi said that the program has “collapsed” into the teachings of “paganism.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Same-Sex Marriage is an Oxymoron

What we have been witnessing in America has been a systematic attack on its most fundamental civil foundations.

In their book, “America 3.0”, the authors, James C. Bennett and Michael J. Lotus, assert that “The impact of marriage and family practices on our American life and our history have been overwhelming. It has caused Americans to have a uniquely strong concept of each person as an individual self, with an identity that is not bound by family or tribal or social ties. Most cultures historically and around the world today have nothing like this American spirit of individualism. Our distinctive type American nuclear family has made us what we are.”

The American nuclear family has always been defined as a man, a women, and children resulting from that bond.

In September, in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report released by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stated that only about two percent (2%) of the U.S. population are men who have sex with men. In addition, it stated that 80% of all new HIV infections in 2010 were men and that 78% of those were among men who have sex with men.

In total, only about 3% of the population is homosexual. Given the constant media attention given to this vocal minority as news and on television and in films, one might be led to believe that they constitute are a far larger portion and yet they have managed to alter public opinion significantly regarding their sexual orientation and “rights” they claim have been denied.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

U.S. Olympic Athletes Must Promise to Fight ‘Discrimination’ Based on ‘Sexual Orientation’

U.S. athletes who want to participate in the Olympics must now take a vow that they will not engage in “discrimination” based on “sexual orientation.”

USOC CEO Scott Blackmun said the committee changed the rules last week “to address the legislation in Russia prohibiting advocacy of non- traditional relationships among minors,” its anti-gay propaganda law.

Last Friday, the U.S. Olympic Committee( USOC) announced it had altered the “Commitment to Integrity” portion of the code to read:


Steve McConkey, a Christian pastor who ministers to top track and field athletes, says he worries that the new USOC rules may set the stage for discrimination against those whose religious beliefs oppose homosexuality and other non-traditional sexual orientations.

“The policies are set-up for discrimination against gay athletes, but there could be reverse discrimination in the future,” McConkey said in a said, adding that it “is a matter of time” before traditional morality is discriminated against by “the law of the land.”

McConkey said he found it disturbing that the Olympic Committee took no similar action in 2008, when the games were held in Beijing, where Christians are jailed or even executed for their beliefs.

“The IOC allowed the Olympic Games to be in China in 2008 while hundreds were in prison for being Christian and the country has 100 million underground Christians,” McConkey said. “They did not speak up about this, but now a sin category is added to non-discrimination policies.”

McConkey summed up the difference in public reaction to the two host nations in one word: “Hypocrisy.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Prayers Now Axed in Most Town Halls: Just 22 Per Cent of Councils Still Have Bible Reading at Start of Meetings

Christian prayers are dying out at town halls, despite Government attempts to save them.

A Mail on Sunday investigation has found that just 59 of 271 councils, or 22 per cent, still have a Bible reading or prayer at the start of meetings.

Several have abandoned the practice since atheists won a landmark legal case last year. Many authorities now have only informal prayers or options that do not mention God, such as ‘silent reflection’ or even poetry.

[Comment by matlock, : How many have got prayer rooms for other religious bodies. You are paying for that in your taxes.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Lou Reed: Rock ‘N’ Roll Pioneer, Dies at 71

Lou Reed, the principal singer and songwriter in the Velvet Underground, has died, his literary agent, Andrew Wylie, said on Sunday. He was 71.

Mr. Reed died on Long Island, Mr. Wylie said. He is survived by his wife, Laurie Anderson, a songwriter and a performance artist.

[Return to headlines]