Gates of Vienna News Feed 10/28/2013

An Iranian-born “Canadian” man was arrested at Ottawa airport after trying to bring suspicious luggage aboard a U.S.-bound flight. The package in question contained disassembled bomb components, but no explosives. The suspect is now in custody.

In other news, a Jeep crashed into a barrier in Tiananmen Square in Beijing, catching fire and killing five people.

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

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

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

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

Financial Crisis
» 29 Incredible Facts Which Prove That Poverty in America is Absolutely Exploding
» Italian Treasury Sells 2.25 Bn Euros of 2-Yr Zero Coupons
» The Real Transatlantic Confidence Crisis
» A Sacred Journey of Understanding to Mufreesboro?
» Experts: Cellphone Users Are ‘Guinea Pigs’ In Worldwide Test
» Federal Government Planning Black Box Vehicle Mandate to Track, Tax and Even Remotely Control All Personal Vehicles
» How That Luxury Handbag Can Influence Your Relationships
» Meet Valerie Jarrett Daughter Laura’s Computer Scandal Tinged Father-in-Law
» Obama’s Military Purge
» The Manipulation of Americans
» Watergate Reporter: “Secret” Government Under Obama Administration Needs to be Reviewed
» Words “Islam” And “Jihad” Taken Out of Counter-Terrorism Manuals by Obama Adminstration
» Suspicious Package at Montreal Airport; 1 Held
Europe and the EU
» American Eavesdropping: ‘NSA Spied on 60m Phone Calls in Just One Month in Spain’
» Black Players Demoralised in England, Says FIFA Vice-President
» Britain’s Prime Minister Threatens to Act Against Press Over NSA Surveillance Leaks
» ECB Headquarters: Skyrocketing Costs for Skyscraper Project
» European Reform: Merkel’s Surprising New Ally in Brussels
» Italian Provinces to Disappear This Year, Says Minister
» Italy: ‘46 Million Calls Monitored by US Security Services’
» Spain Summons US Ambassador Over NSA Spying Claims
» Sued Tiroler Volkspartei Wins Alto Adige Election
» UK: High-Profile Phone-Hacking Trial Opens in London
» UK: Trial Begins for Former British Tabloid Editors Accused of Phone Hacking
» US on Spying Scandal: ‘Allies Aren’t Always Friends’
North Africa
» Egypt: Three Policemen Killed in Nile Delta Region
» The Sahel Army Steps Up Against the Jihad
Israel and the Palestinians
» Palestinians Against Spain’s Investments in Territories
Middle East
» Beleaguered Syrian Christians Fear Future, Increasingly Targeted by Jihadis
» Kuwait Upholds 10-Year Prison Sentence for Twitter Insults Against Islam
» OPCW Inspects 21 of Syria’s 23 Chemical Weapon Sites
» Polio Returns to Syria as Health System Collapses
» Pro and Anti-Assad Groups Clash in the Lebanon
» Syria: Assad Can Contribute to Transition, Brahimi Says
» Tensions Rise as Saudis Fear US ‘Going Soft’
» Turkey: Clashes During an Anti Government Rally in Ankara
» Turkey: People Want More Democracy, Survey Says
» Turkish Kurds Hope for Linguistic Freedom
South Asia
» Modern-Day Slavery Widespread in India
» Myanmar Must Fight Religious Violence, Says UN
» Slavery in India — ‘An Uncomfortable Truth’
Far East
» 5 Dead After Jeep Crashes and Catches Fire in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square
» Fukushima is Here
» Hong Kong: ‘Sextortion’ Cases Increase as Asian Men Targeted in Steamy Internet Stings
» Tensions Run High Between Tokyo and Beijing Over Senkaku / Diaoyu
Sub-Saharan Africa
» More Than One Million Protest Kenyan Leniency on Rape
» Nigeria’s Bitter Battle With Boko Haram
» Nigeria’s EbonyLife TV Signs With Disney to Produce African Version of Desperate Housewives
» Scores of Bodies in Nigerian Morgue After Islamist Raid
Latin America
» 5 Dead After Mexican Vigilante Groups Confrontation in Cartel Stronghold
» Attackers in Mexico Blow Up Nine Electrical Plants
» 35 Migrants, Including Women and Children, Die of Thirst in Niger Desert
» Gateway to Europe: Syrian Refugees in Bulgaria
» Latino Group Targets $20m to Oust GOP: ‘We Know Who We’re Going After’
Culture Wars
» Federal Judge Blocks Part of Texas’ Abortion Law
» Ancient DNA Links Native Americans With Europe
» Fighting Hunger Through Sustainable Farming
» Ten Years of Jihad Watch

29 Incredible Facts Which Prove That Poverty in America is Absolutely Exploding

Did you know that the number of Americans on welfare is higher than the number of Americans that have full-time jobs? Did you know that 1.2 million public school students in the U.S. are currently homeless? Anyone that uses the term “economic recovery” to describe what is happening in the United States today is being deeply insulting to the nearly 150 million Americans that are considered to be either “poor” or “low income” at this point. Yes, things are great in New York City, Washington D.C. and San Francisco, but almost everywhere else economic conditions continue to steadily get worse. The gap between the wealthy and the poor is at a level that America has never seen before, and this is beginning to create a “Robin Hood mentality” that could cause a tremendous amount of social chaos in the years ahead. Anger at the “haves” in America continues to rise at a very alarming pace, and the “have nots” are becoming increasingly desperate. At some point all of this anger is going to boil over, and you won’t want to be anywhere around major population centers when that happens. Despiteunprecedented borrowing by the federal government in recent years, and despite unprecedented money printing by the Federal Reserve, poverty in the United States keeps getting worse with each passing year. The following are 29 incredible facts which prove that poverty in America is absolutely exploding…

1. What can you say about a nation that has more people getting handouts from the federal government than working full-time? According to the latest numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of people receiving means-tested welfare benefits is greaterthan the number of full-time workers in the United States.

2. New numbers have just been released, and they show that the number of public school students in this country that are homeless is at an all-time record high. It is hard to believe, but right now 1.2 million students that attend public schools in America are homeless. That number has risen by 72 percent since the start of the last recession…

17. According to one calculation, the number of Americans on food stamps now exceeds the combined populations of “Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Italian Treasury Sells 2.25 Bn Euros of 2-Yr Zero Coupons

Yield down, demand stable

(ANSA) — Rome, October 28 — The Italian treasury on Monday placed 2.25 billion euros of two-year zero-coupon bonds.

The yield was 1.392%, down from 1.623% at last month’s auction. Demand was stable, with an oversubscription rate of 1.78 compared to 1.77 at the last placement.

The Italian treasury also sold 750 million euros of 10-year bonds indexed to eurozone inflation. The yield on the BTP was 2.73% with demand registering 1.8 times supply.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

The Real Transatlantic Confidence Crisis

Il Sole-24 Ore Milan

Viewed from Europe, the NSA spying scandal is eroding US credibility and standing. But from the other side of the Atlantic, it is the EU’s continuing inability to solve the economic crisis that is worrying American decision-makers.

Alessandro Plateroti

The European outcry over the US intercepts case is embarrassing Washington. However, in New York, where the line between pragmatism and cynicism is extremely thin, the echo of the diplomatic crisis smashed against the walls of Wall Street: among traders and investment bankers, many of whom have studied at West Point or served in the Marines and the US intelligence before joining the financial industry, the new debate against America is not only considered “useless” (there is no government in the world that is not trying to spy on its neighbours), but as the umpteenth negation of the real European problems.

“What are they afraid of in Germany?” a trader at a global brokerage firm asked yesterday. “Are they worried that, after listening to [German Chancellor, Angela] Merkel on the phone about the prospects of the euro, the US Treasury will order us to immediately sell our government bonds?”

This is just a joke, of course. But behind the cynicism there is an objective reality which — from our point of view — would deserve the same concern prompted by the US spying case. Among the big portfolio managers in the US finance, among the speculators but also the economists and Wall Street analysts, there is a growing belief that Europe is again losing direction, that the eurozone is lacking its former drive towards a political union and the wind of the structural reforms, which allowed peripheral countries to start an economic and institutional modernisation, is blowing out for lack of interest.

The equation is well-known: where governance problems exist, the earning potential is always higher. But the problem is that those who pay the bill are always the weaker ones. In this situation, one of the big issues is that this game, played at the expense of governments and savers in Europe, does not have a jury to set the rules as well as a referee to enforce them.

Survival of the fittest

The European market, contrarily to the US market, today looks like a no-man’s land where only the rule of the survival of the fittest applies. Let’s take the Tobin Tax: only 11 countries in the eurozone, including Italy, have decided to approve a tax on financial transactions, opening a new competitive gap in a financial market which, on paper, operates as a single market….

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

A Sacred Journey of Understanding to Mufreesboro?

Comment by Mannie Sherberg:

‘What strikes me about suicidal Jews like Rabbi Schiftan and his merry band of retainers is the nonchalance, the insouciance, with which they acquiesce in their own destruction. Or are they so deluded that they don’t — even at some very deep level — sense that they are acquiescing in their own destruction? I wonder what the Jewish warriors in the Warsaw Ghetto would have thought had they known that some of their yet-unborn co-religionists would end up in such self-willed degradation. This palsy-walsy consorting with the enemy is nothing less than squalid.

According to Pete Doughtie, editor/publisher of the Rutherford Reader, three busses rolled into the parking lot at the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro Sunday afternoon at 2:00PM. Tucked in the parking lot at the adjacent Baptist church lot were vehicles from the Rutherford County Sherriff’s Department. Beside the busses that brought Rabbi Mark Schiftan and his congregants on this “Sacred Journey of Understanding,” there were perhaps upwards of three dozen vehicles in the Center’s parking lot according to Doughtie. That paled in comparison with a jammed parking lot for Friday Jummah prayers. Doughtie spotted someone in the Temple entourage who alighted from a bus hefting a video cam. Perhaps there may be a visual record up on The Temple’s website?

From a report published in today’s Tennessean it would appear that this was an encounter that would have made Deborah Lauter of the ADL’s Civil Rights Division proud. There were frequent references by Schiftan about the ICM Muslims being storm tossed minorities like Jews were when it came to discrimination seeking to exercise their First Amendment rights of freedom of worship. There were also the usual platitudes about Muslims being peaceful and not engaged in any extra judicial killings of Christians and Jews in the Middle East and the Ummah, let alone during the Holocaust. These liberal Jews also supported the chimera of a two state solution to slice through the Gordonian knot of a perennially stalled resolution of 65 year old the Israel Palestinian conflict . A controversy created by the five Arab armies that invaded the newly independent Jewish State of Israel on May 15, 1948 seeking to destroy it but failed…

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

Experts: Cellphone Users Are ‘Guinea Pigs’ In Worldwide Test

The average phone per person ratio inside of the United States is around 1.57, meaning that there are more cellphones in the nation than there are people — and the numbers are climbing. In the past, we have seen a number of alarming studies regarding the effects of cellphone radiation after it has permeated the human skull for hours on end. One study even found around a 290% increase in brain tumor risk through the use of a cellphone on the side in which it was used.

In rebuttal, telecom industries helped to prop up the opposition, stating that there was no increase in brain tumors after cellphone use. But what about overall brain changes? Or how about the environmental impact of mass cellphone use? We’ve seen research showing behavioral changes in children when their pregnant mothers are consistently using their cellphone, and we’ve even seen cell towers damaging wildlife through electromagnetic radiation in India.

I recently joined the international television network RT, which has an impressive reach of 53 million homes worldwide, to discuss the reality that mega cellphone providers are fully aware of the risks their inventions are presenting to the public. I also issued a prediction that we will begin to see a number of lawsuits come about regarding the damage from cellphone use, and telecom companies know this as they have already issued legal safeguards in their own safety manuals for the phone.

Just look at the Apple warning for the iPhone, which clearly states to never even use your phone near your head or even carry it in your pocket:

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Federal Government Planning Black Box Vehicle Mandate to Track, Tax and Even Remotely Control All Personal Vehicles

(NaturalNews) The federal government is working on a plan that would mandate black box tracking devices be installed in every vehicle, with real-time uploading of vehicle location, speed and mileage to government authorities. This Orwellian technology is already technically feasible and will be promoted as a way to increase “highway safety” while boosting government revenues from mileage taxation.

“The devices, which track every mile a motorist drives and transmit that information to bureaucrats, are at the center of a controversial attempt in Washington and state planning offices to overhaul the outdated system for funding America’s major roads,” reports the LA Times.

“[Congress is] exploring how, over the next decade, they can move to a system in which drivers pay per mile of road they roll over. Thousands of motorists have already taken the black boxes, some of which have GPS monitoring, for a test drive.”

There are three hugely important realizations to glean from all this:

Realization #1) The government wants to track your every move…

Realization #2) Government can turn EVERY road into a toll road…

Realization #3) Two-way communication allows government to control your vehicle…

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

How That Luxury Handbag Can Influence Your Relationships

Does purchasing a designer hand bag or a high-end sports car play a role in a romantic relationship?

In a new study, University of Minnesota researchers discovered some women also seek these luxury items to prevent other women from stealing their man.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Meet Valerie Jarrett Daughter Laura’s Computer Scandal Tinged Father-in-Law

For the record: Valerie’ Jarrett’s daughter Laura’s father-in-law Canadian Liberal politician Bas Balkissoon is not (thank God!) Canada’s Prime Minister. Nor, as some news outlets are indicating, is he a MP. (Member of Parliament). Balkissoon — one of many Canadian Liberals with deep ties to the Obama administration — is a minor player MPP (Member of Provincial Parliament ) at Ontario’s Queen’s Park, irreverently known to the plebes as the ‘Pink Palace’.

Before landing at the Pink Palace as a ready-made Liberal MPP, Balkissoon was a City of Toronto councillor involved in a computer leasing scandal.

Wow, what a coincidence!

Just as key Barack Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett’s fingerprints are all over the Obama administration, the Obama administration’s fingerprints are all over the Province of Ontario. And last time we checked, Ontario was still a duly recognized province in Canada.

If Obama’s presence by proxy in Ontario doesn’t give Canadians who believe in sovereignty the creeps, nothing will.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Obama’s Military Purge

Obama has made clear he will aggressively pursue anyone who defies his agenda.

Is the Obama administration in the midst of a military purge? This year alone, nine senior commanding generals have been fired by the administration, and retired generals and current commanders who have spoken to TheBlaze believe that political ideology is the primary impetus behind the effort. “I think they’re using the opportunity of the shrinkage of the military to get rid of people that don’t agree with them or not toe the party line,” a senior retired general told website. “Remember, as Rahm Emanuel said, never waste a crisis.” The general spoke on the condition of anonymity because he still provides the government with services and believes this administration would retaliate against him.

The terminations have a distinctly political odor surrounding them in at least three cases. In all three of these cases, Benghazi is at root. U.S. Army Gen. Carter Ham was heading the United States African Command when our consulate came under attack on September 11, 2012. Ham told Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) he was never given a “stand down” order preventing him from securing the consulate. Yet the Washington Times, citing sources in the military, said he was given the order and immediately relieved of command when he decided to defy it. The Times further noted that Ham “retired” less that two years after receiving the command when all other commanders of similar stature have stayed on far longer. Sources told TheBlaze Ham was highly critical of the Obama administration’s decision not to send reinforcements to Benghazi.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

The Manipulation of Americans

The stock market crash broke the Republican Party, and Franklin Roosevelt was elected president in 1932. In 1940, he was challenged by Wendell Willkie, an internationalist who had been a registered Democrat until 1940, and whom polls showed was favored by only 3% of Republicans just 7 weeks prior to the Republican Convention. On June 19, 1940, Congressman Usher Burdick wrote in the CONGRESSIONAL RECORD: “There is nothing to the Willkie boom for President except the artificial public opinion being created by newspapers, magazines, and the radio. The reason back of all this is money. Money is being spent by someone, and lots of it.” Thus, the power (moneyed) elite were the power behind both the Democratic and Republican candidates for the presidency, and the masses were being manipulated by something that would come to be called “groupthink.”

The term “groupthink” would be used by William Whyte, Jr. in IS ANYBODY LISTENING? (1950), in which he described the “social engineering movement” as “a machine for the engineering of mediocrity…It is profoundly authoritarian in its implications, for it subordinated the individual to the group.” This confirmed what Sigmund Freud said in his GROUP PSYCHOLOGY AND THE ANALYSIS OF THE EGO (1922), in which he quoted Gustave le Bon as stating: “As a part of the group, man regresses to a primitive mental state. His critical, intellectual ability and control yield to emotionalism, suggestibility, and inconsistency.”

The year after Whyte’s book was published, Bertrand Russell’s THE IMPACT OF SCIENCE ON SOCIETY was published and described how, through education, government “could control its subjects securely without the need of armies or policemen.” The next year (1952), the National Training Laborotries (NTL) became part of the National Education Association (NEA), and in 1962, the NTL published ISSUES IN (HUMAN RELATIONS) TRAINING, in which the editors wrote that human relations or sensitivity training “fits into a context of institutional influence procedures which includes coercive persuasion in the form of thought reform or brainwashing.” The book also includes information about “change agent skills” and “unfreezing, changing and refreezing” attitudes. In 1964, Roderick Seidenberg’s ANATOMY OF THE FUTURE describes how the masses of people could be controlled “by the ever increasing techniques and refined arts of mental coercion” to the level of mindless guinea pigs.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Watergate Reporter: “Secret” Government Under Obama Administration Needs to be Reviewed

BOB SCHIEFFER: What is so interesting, Bob Woodward, and you know, you and I have seen a lot of these things.


SCHIEFFER: The first thing that agencies tend to do is try to make sure they can’t be blamed for something. And, clearly, that is why the FBI and the CIA did not come clean with the Warren commission, and why maybe they didn’t even tell the agents in Dallas what was going on.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Words “Islam” And “Jihad” Taken Out of Counter-Terrorism Manuals by Obama Adminstration

Here is a video of Brooke Goldstein speaking out on the horrific persecution in Pakistan, Egypt, and the rest of the Muslim world, and on how while Obama refuses to speak against Islamic persecutions on Christians, he is supporting the Muslim cause.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Suspicious Package at Montreal Airport; 1 Held

A 71-year-old man who was booked on a flight to Los Angeles faces three charges after parts of a potential explosive device were found in his carry-on luggage at Montreal’s Trudeau International Airport.

Antony Piazza, a Canadian of Iranian origin, was charged Monday with mischief, endangering the safety of an aircraft or airport and being in illegal possession of an explosive substance. The incident partly shut down Montreal’s main airport for several hours on Sunday and caused a neighborhood to be shut down for a police search.

Police found wires, bullets, and a powder inside the bag, his attorney, Louis Morena, said.

Piazza, who is originally from Tehran, changed his name in the 1980s from Houshang Nazemi, said Morena. He previously served a 10-year-sentence under that name in Canadian prison for smuggling drugs into the country.

Morena told reporters Piazza maintains his innocence in the airport case and that the carry-on bag didn’t belong to him. “He said somebody gave the baggage to him,” Morena said.

Prosecutor Alexandre Gauthier said Piazza could face up to 10 years in prison and that the investigation is ongoing. He didn’t rule out the possibility of additional charges.

“There may be more serious accusations, but it’s hard to tell what’s going to come out of the investigation right now,” Gauthier said.

Piazza, a stocky man with a clean-shaven face, wore a black suit and dress shirt in his brief appearance at the Montreal courthouse. He addressed the court in English.

Piazza is set to appear again Tuesday for a bail hearing.

Police said they searched the suspect’s apartment and car in a residential area near the airport Sunday evening after the package was spotted earlier in the day.

They seized some documents but Ian Lafreniere, a Montreal police spokesman, said they have found “nothing obvious” so far…

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes [Return to headlines]

American Eavesdropping: ‘NSA Spied on 60m Phone Calls in Just One Month in Spain’

El Mundo, 28 October 2013

El Mundo has obtained access to a document entitled “Spain — last 30 days,” which shows the flow of calls intercepted by the American NSA between December 10, 2012, and January 8, 2013. On December 11, a day when the flow was “at its highest”, 3.5 million phone calls were recorded, reports the daily.

Violation of privacy is “a crime under the [Spanish] Penal Code,” adds El Mundo, which claims that it has exclusive rights to publish the documents concerning Spain disclosed by former NSA agent, Edward Snowden. For the outraged newspaper, the revelations —

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

Black Players Demoralised in England, Says FIFA Vice-President

The head of Fifa’s anti-racism task force says he was left “disheartened” after meeting “demoralised” black and ethnic minority players in England. Jeffrey Webb said many non-white players felt they did not get chances to move into coaching or management.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Britain’s Prime Minister Threatens to Act Against Press Over NSA Surveillance Leaks

British Prime Minister David Cameron has threatened unspecified action over the Guardian newspaper’s remarkable disclosures of American intelligence material, saying officials would find it tough to stand back if the media don’t show enough restraint over what they publish.

Although Britain has no First Amendment-like protection guaranteeing freedom of the press from official interference, governments have generally relied on informal lobbying to keep sensitive national security stories out of the papers.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

ECB Headquarters: Skyrocketing Costs for Skyscraper Project

Estimated costs for the European Central Bank’s new headquarters in Frankfurt have more than doubled. As has been happening with so many major projects in Germany, its construction has been plagued by poor planning, oversight and execution — and endless delays.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

European Reform: Merkel’s Surprising New Ally in Brussels

In her third term, Chancellor Angela Merkel hopes to shape her legacy — by reforming the European Union and reinvigorating the Continent’s economy. Now she’s found an unexpected ally in Social Democrat Martin Schulz, but the two have a long road ahead of them.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Italian Provinces to Disappear This Year, Says Minister

(AGI) Rome, Oct 28 — Provinces will be eliminated by the end of the year and powers will be devolved to municipalities, said Regional Affairs Minister Graziano Delrio in an interview with the daily newspaper La Repubblica. “Provinces will be eliminated immediately and I don’t know how to respond to what constitutionalists say. We are reducing political positions, it’s no tragedy if a few politicians go back to working”, he said. He pointed out that abolishing provinces was one of the key points on the agenda of former Democratic Party Secretary Pier Luigi Bersani. “It wouldn’t be serious to step back now”, he added. “There will be no vote for provinces in May because they will have been downgraded to a lower order. The provincial administrations will group mayors into an assembly and they will choose their new president at zero costs This means that the mayors and not the citizens will vote for the president.

This is a very important reform”. He continued: “From the first of January we will institute metropolitan cities.

Municipalities will be competent for schools while the upkeep of roads, a typically inter-municipal competence, will continue to be attributed to provinces. Provinces will thus become a sort of operational agency at the service of municipal authorities. Is the project being criticised? Of course, also within the Democratic Party.”

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

Italy: ‘46 Million Calls Monitored by US Security Services’

Rome, 28 Oct. (AKI) — A total of 46 million phone calls in Italy were spied on by the US National Security Agency between December last year and January, according to data cited by the Cryptome website, Italian media reported.

A total of 61 million phone conversations in Spain, 70.2 million in France, ,361 million in Germany and 1.8 million in the Netherlands were reportedly monitored by the NSA between 10 December 2012 and 8 January, out of a total of 124.8 billion calls worldwide.

Italian intelligence sources in Rome said Monday that they had “no evidence” to back claims that 46 million telephone calls in Italy were monitored by the NSA over the period, claiming that spying and monitoring were not the same.

Cryptome digital-library website alleges the metadata of the 46 million calls were monitored, referring to information gathered on the number called, the identity of the caller and the receiver of the call as well as duration of calls rather than their actual content.

The data published on Cryptome came after left-leaning Italian magazine L’Espresso reported last week that US and British intelligence services had monitored Italian telecoms networks, targeting the government and companies as well as suspected terrorist groups.

Espresso said it would release “a great deal of information” on the control of Italian telecommunications in the next few weeks based on evidence from former US intelligence analyst-turned whistleblower Edward Snowden.

As well as the NSA surveillance, a separate programme dubbed Tempora and run by Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) also monitored telephone, Internet and email traffic carried through three undersea fibre-optic cables in Sicily, L’Espresso said.

The report claimed Italian intelligence services had knowledge of the information collected by Britain’s GCHQ under an information sharing agreement but it gave no details.

Rome police said Monday that they had bolstered security around diplomatic offices, especially the United States embassy in the Italian capital, amid tension over reports.

Reacting to the Espresso claims, Italian prime minister Enrico Letta said last Thursday that alleged monitoring of Italian telecommunications by US and British intelligence was “inconceivable and unacceptable”.

The mass surveillance revelations have been fuelling growing anger among Washington’s European partners.

German chancellor Angela Merkel was among 35 world leaders who calls were allegedly put under surveillance.

She reportedly telephoned US president Barack Obama to complain at reports judged credible by the German government that her mobile phone had been bugged.

US secretary of state John Kerry said in Rome last Wednesday that US was seeking to “find the right balance between protecting the security and privacy of our citizens” and that consultations with partners including Italy would continue.

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

Spain Summons US Ambassador Over NSA Spying Claims

Spain has followed Germany in summoning the US ambassador to Madrid to discuss allegations of spying on Spanish citizens. Like Berlin, Madrid says the claims could have a significant impact on Trans-Atlantic trust.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Sued Tiroler Volkspartei Wins Alto Adige Election

(AGI) Bolzano, Oct 28 — The Sued Tiroler Volkspartei, the South Tyrolean People’s Party, has a 45.7 percent lead in the Alto Adige elections, followed by the Freiheitlichen with 17.9 percent and the Green Party with 8.7 percent.

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

UK: High-Profile Phone-Hacking Trial Opens in London

The long-awaited trial of defendants implicated in the phone-hacking scandal that spelled the end for British tabloid News of the World has begun in London. The court case could run for half a year.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UK: Trial Begins for Former British Tabloid Editors Accused of Phone Hacking

Two former editors of Britain’s now-defunct tabloid “News of the World” were in a London court Monday, facing charges of phone hacking and bribery.

Jury selection began in the trial of former editor Andy Coulson and ex-News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks at London’s Central Criminal Court. A team of prosecutors are expected to call 100 witnesses in the proceedings, which could take up to six months, Sky News reported.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

US on Spying Scandal: ‘Allies Aren’t Always Friends’

Many commentators in the US see surveillance like the NSA’s alleged tapping of Chancellor Merkel’s phone as a necessary fact of life. The White House is trying to limit the damage — but the snooping will go on.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Egypt: Three Policemen Killed in Nile Delta Region

Mansoura, 28 Oct. (AKI) — Gunmen on Monday killed three police officers in the city of Mansoura in Egypt’s northern Dakahlia governorate at a security checkpoint, according to media reports.

Daily Al-Ahram’s website cited eyewitnesses as saying around four gunmen on motorcycles opened fire at the checkpoint on the outskirts of the Nile Delta city.

The area was under a security lockdown after the attack, where investigators recovered 60 bullet casings at the scene, Al-Ahram said.

An Egyptian police officer died and four conscripts were injured on 22 October in a bombing in lawless North Sinai amid a surge in attacks by suspected militants in the province, security sources said.

Militants have stepped up their attacks on security personnel in North Sinai province and elsewhere in the country since the army ousted democratically elected Islamist president Mohamed Morsi on 3 July amid mass protests against his rule.

Strategic areas with a heavy police and military presence such as the Suez Canal cities have also been attacked, Al-Ahram reported.

More than 100 members of Egypt’s security forces have been killed in the Sinai Peninsula since early July, the military said last month.

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

The Sahel Army Steps Up Against the Jihad

Mali, Algeria, Tunisia and Niger join their elite forces

(by Diego Minuti) (ANSAmed) — TUNIS, OCTOBER 28 — Tunisia, Algeria, Mali and Niger have jointly deployed 8,000 troops along their borders to fight the jihadist insurgency in the region.

The Sahel Army, as an Algerian daily has dubbed it, is made up of elite units from each country’s army and police, and shores up the view of countries in the region — such as Algeria — who believe the jihadist guerrilla must be fought collectively or not at all.

Participating countries have stepped up their efforts to fight organized Islamic terrorism after several simultaneous attacks in geographically distant locations in Tunisia, recently exacted a high cost in terms of human lives.

These well-organized attacks also showed an ambitious jihadist insurgency has taken the field, bringing war-toughened foreign militias in to bear on young Tunisians with a lot of fanaticism but little training: the fact that one of the terrorists killed by security forces in Sidi Ali Ben Aoun after a deadly jihadist attack on National Guardsmen was Algerian confirms that the jihad sees the border area as a single battlefield.

The Sahel Army is carrying out the most important anti-terrorist offensive in the region since the French-African operation in northern Mali. Algeria, which has been fighting the jihad for more than 20 years, will most probably be the leader, passing its expertise on to countries with less know-how in terms of terrorist counter-insurgency.

It is also the country that is adding to its arsenal, sending it deputy defense minister and chief of staff, Ahmed Gaid Sallah, to Russia for a possible weapons deal.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Palestinians Against Spain’s Investments in Territories

PNA campaign aimed at 50 countries after EU directive

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, October 28 — The Palestinian Authority has protested against Spanish investments in Israeli settlements as part of a campaign aimed at convincing some 50 countries to pass measures against companies with commercial or financial relations with settlements in the West Bank.

In a letter sent to these countries, Spanish daily El Pais reports, the Palestinian foreign ministry cited the case of Spanish company NaanDanJail, which makes irrigation systems and is based in Santa Maria del Aguila in Almeria. The enterprise has six branches in Spain and Portugal and depends on the group by the same name which was created in the Naan kibbutz, charged by Palestinian authorities with “providing services to farmers and settlers in the Jordan valley, on Mount Hebron and the Golan Heights’, in Territories ‘illegally’ occupied by Istrael, thus ‘violating international law’.

The company in Almeria, which is active since 2001 in Andalusia and since 2007 under its Israeli name, has 600 clients in Spain and a turnover estimated at around 135 million euros.

The management of NaanDanJain said they have not received any notification or information regarding the Palestinian government’s protest.

The Palestinian Authority’s campaign was launched after an EU directive was approved last July banning funding, investments or scholarships to institutions or companies operating in the settlements, in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, recognized by the United Nations.

Before the directive is scheduled to become effective on January 1, 2014, the EU is discussing a labelling system to differentiate products coming from settlements with those produced in the rest of the Israeli territory.

Spain is among EU countries with the lowest number of companies listed by the Palestinian government. Overall, 504 have been listed including major groups like Germany’s Siemens and France’s Veolia.

Britain and the Netherlands have been urging their companies over the past few months not to invest or forge joint ventures with Israeli companies operating there. ‘Our aim is not a boycott but to show Israel that violating international law has a price’, Nabil Shaath, a member of the PLO’s political committee, told El Pais.

Shaath said Palestinian authorities were meaning to show Madrid with their initiative that, after ‘strongly investing in the creation of Palestinian institutions, in order for such efforts to have results, it must implement existing laws that already condemn human rights violations and don’t accept the violation of such rights’.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Beleaguered Syrian Christians Fear Future, Increasingly Targeted by Jihadis

The shelling and recent rebel assaults on predominantly Christian towns have fueled fears among Syria’s religious minorities about the growing role of Islamic extremists and foreign fighters among the rebels fighting against President Bashar Assad’s rule. Christians believe they are being targeted — in part because of the anti-Christian sentiment among extremists and in part as punishment for what is seen as their support for Assad.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Kuwait Upholds 10-Year Prison Sentence for Twitter Insults Against Islam

A Kuwaiti appeals court has upheld a 10-year prison sentence against a Twitter user for comments considered offensive to Islam and the Sunni monarchies of fellow Gulf states Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, a rights activist in the country told The Associated Press.

Hamad al-Naqi, a Shiite, claimed he was not guilty and his Twitter account was hacked. He was found guilty on all charges and sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment on June 4, 2012, for “insulting the Prophet, the Prophet’s wife and companions, mocking Islam, provoking sectarian tensions, insulting the rulers of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain and misusing his mobile phone to spread the comments,” Reuters reported at the time.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

OPCW Inspects 21 of Syria’s 23 Chemical Weapon Sites

(AGI) The Hague, Oct 28 — Inspectors from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons have visited 21 of Syria’s 23 chemical weapon sites where the Bashar al-Assad regime stores the non-conventional weapons it has promised to destroy.

The two remaining sites cannot currently be inspected due to ongoing fighting and therefore for “security reasons.” .

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

Polio Returns to Syria as Health System Collapses

Aid workers in Syria are calling for comprehensive humanitarian access nationwide as outbreaks of infectious diseases surge. Though eradicated in Syria in the 1990s, 22 cases of polio are now being investigated.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Pro and Anti-Assad Groups Clash in the Lebanon

(AGI) Tripoli (Lebanon), Oct 28 — Clashes between Bashar al-Assad’s local supporters and opponents have been taking place for over a week in Tripoli, northern Lebanon, with a death toll that has no risen to at least 17 and over 100 wounded. Clashes mainly occur in the districts of Bab al-Tebbaneh, mainly inhabited by Sunnis, and Jabal Mohsen, where members of the Shiite Alawite sect favoured by Assad and his close advisers live.

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

Syria: Assad Can Contribute to Transition, Brahimi Says

Chemical arms accord changed him ‘from pariah to partner’

(ANSAmed) — BEIRUT — UN and Arab League Syria negotiator Lakhdar Brahimi told Jeune Afrique website in an interview on Monday that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should not be written off just yet.

“President Assad can make a contribution to the transition from the Syria that came before, the one he and his father built, to the one I call the new Republic of Syria”, Brahimi said the day he arrived in Damascus for talks with the regime ahead of the Geneva 2 international peace conference on November 23-24. Syria’s agreeing to turn its chemical weapons over under a deal with Russia and the US has changed Assad “from a pariah to a partner”, Brahimi pointed out. “What I tell all Syrians is that you can’t go back after a crisis such as this one”, the international envoy went on. “Bashar has not yet been unseated, and there is no reason to think he will be”. Although Assad has not commented on this, “many of those around him take it for granted” that he will run for president in 2014. Right now, though “he is focusing on finishing his current mandate”, Brahimi said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Tensions Rise as Saudis Fear US ‘Going Soft’

The Arab Spring is causing tensions in one of the Middle East’s most enduring alliances — between the United States and Saudi Arabia. And the cracks are beginning to show over Syria, Egypt and Iran.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Turkey: Clashes During an Anti Government Rally in Ankara

Tensions at the trial of slain Gezi protester’s murderer

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, OCTOBER 28 — Squabbles erupted inside and outside the Ankara courthouse today during the first hearing of the trial of a police officer over the death of Ethem Sarisuluk, a demonstrator who was killed at a protest during the Gezi Park unrest. As daily Hurriyet online reports, the court ruled that police officer A.S., who shot Sarisuluk to death in Ankara’s Guvenpark on June 2, will give his testimony via an audio and visual conference system due to his posting to the southeastern city of Sanliurfa. The court also refused the demand for A.S.’s arrest.

Sarisuluk’s family as well as spectators at the court room protested the court ruling with applause. Some family members shouted “We want justice,” and “Shame on you,” after the announcement of the ruling.

Hundreds of demonstrators wearing Sarisuluk’s masks gathered in front of the Ankara courthouse carrying banners that read “Ethem Sarisuluk is immortal.” Tensions erupted outside the courthouse when the court ruling was heard. The police used a substantial amount of water cannons and pepper gas to disperse the crowd when some protestors managed to break glass windows surrounding the courthouse. Police dispersed another group of protestors with pepper spray and water cannons when they attempted to block traffic passing by the front of the courthouse on Ataturk Boulevard. Some protestors who were slightly injured during the police intervention were taken to the hospital by ambulance. The pepper spray was so intense, that it had even affected staff and visitors inside the courthouse building.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Turkey: People Want More Democracy, Survey Says

While for 40% of society the situation is deteriorating

(ANSAmed) — ISTANBUL, OCTOBER 28 — The Turkish government’s recently unveiled “democracy package” is deemed “sufficient” by only 48% of the country, according to a poll, while respondents are divided over a question of whether the country is getting better or worse. As financial daily Radikal reports, according to the public opinion poll conducted by Metropoll Strategic and Social Research Center with 1,200 people in 31 provinces, 49.5% of supporters of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) said the package was insufficient, while the number was around 80% among the supporters of the three main opposition parties, the Republican People’s Party (CHP), the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP). On the other hand, a majority supports the government’s democratization steps. The research still indicates that the reforms announced as part of the package, such as education in Kurdish language or permission for headscarves for public servants, have substantial public support. While 40% of Turkish society says they see the situation in the country as deteriorating, 45% says it is improving. Seventy-three percent of AKP supporters see the country as going well, while CHP and MHP supporters feel the situation is worsening. As for the BDP voters, 48% are optimistic about the country’s future, while 38% are negative.

The government’s lifting of the headscarf ban in public institutions as part of the democracy package was one of the most favored articles in the reforms, with 76% supporting the decision. The government’s paving the way for private schools to educate in Kurdish was one of the divisive factors, with 48% saying they were for it, while 42% were against it.

Two issues that were expected to be included in a future package, the official recognition of Alevis’ worship places, cemevis, and the reopening of the Halki Seminary on Heybeliada, also netted public support. Fifty-four percent are in favor of the reopening of the seminary, while 63% support the state recognizing cemevis as houses of worship. The strongest opposition was toward the government’s lifting of the primary school oath uttered by Turkish schoolchildren at the beginning of every school day. Fifty-three percent of respondents said they opposed the move, while one-third viewed it with favor.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Turkish Kurds Hope for Linguistic Freedom

For Turkey’s Kurdish minority, the official recognition of their language is a key issue. While the country’s government has taken some steps in this direction, many claim that the reforms are only symbolic.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Modern-Day Slavery Widespread in India

India is home to some 14 million modern-day slaves, nearly half the total worldwide, according to a newly compiled index. Experts say more aggressive laws need to be passed and enforced to tackle this ‘shameful’ issue.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Myanmar Must Fight Religious Violence, Says UN

Violence against Muslims in Myanmar has triggered international outrage. A report by UN Special Rapporteur Tomas Ojea Quintana stresses the necessity and urgency for the government in Naypyidaw to find a solution.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Slavery in India — ‘An Uncomfortable Truth’

Despite India’s rapid economic growth, millions of its citizens live in slave-like conditions, according to a new index. Economist Ravi Srivastava attributes this to a lack of political will to enforce existing laws.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

5 Dead After Jeep Crashes and Catches Fire in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square

Beijing (CNN) — Five people are dead after a jeep plowed into a crowded part of Tiananmen Square and caught fire Monday, authorities said.

The crash temporarily blocked off a busy area in the heart of the Chinese capital as rescuers and police rushed to the scene.

Police said the crash happened around noon local time in front of the Tiananmen Rostrum, a structure that stands at the entrance to the Forbidden City bearing a giant portrait of Mao Zedong.

The vehicle hit the guardrail of the Jinshui Bridge over the moat of the Forbidden City before it burst into flames, the state-run news agency Xinhua reported.

The driver of the jeep and two passengers were killed, Beijing police said in a statement. The other two fatalities were tourists — a Filipino woman and a Chinese man, according to state media reports. At least 38 people were injured, state media said. Eleven injured people, a mixture of tourists and police officers, have been taken to the hospital, Xinhua said.

Photographs circulating on social media showed a vehicle engulfed in flames in Tiananmen Square. CNN wasn’t immediately able to verify the authenticity of the images.

Authorities moved quickly to tackle the blaze and clear up the scene. But the cause of the deadly crash remained unclear.

Around 2:30 p.m., authorities were barring tourists from entering the area in front of the Tiananmen Rostrum and the center of Tiananmen Square. Both areas are usually packed with mostly Chinese tourists.

Dozens of police vans, along with uniformed and plainclothes officers, were gathered at the site of the crash. Workers scrubbed the concrete, and there was no sign of the vehicle or any residue from the fire.

The Tiananmen East subway station and part of the Tiananmen West station were temporarily closed, the subway operator said. Roads in the area soon reopened, and traffic was flowing normally by midafternoon.

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes [Return to headlines]

Fukushima is Here

While many people assume that the ocean will dilute the Fukushima radiation, a previously-secret 1955 U.S. government report concluded that the ocean may not adequately dilute radiation from nuclear accidents, and there could be “pockets” and “streams” of highly-concentrated radiation.

Physicians for Social Responsibility notes:


Last year, scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory and 3 scientists from the GEOMAR Research Center for Marine Geosciences showed that radiation on the West Coast of North America could end up being 10 times higher than in Japan:

[Comment: Check out the animated gifs.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Hong Kong: ‘Sextortion’ Cases Increase as Asian Men Targeted in Steamy Internet Stings

Cases of “sextortion” increased seven-fold in Hong Kong in the first eight months of the year, but not a single arrest has been made, prompting police to contact Interpol to try to bring the overseas criminals responsible to justice.

Young men targeted in Southeast Asia-based blackmail epidemic involving webcam videos.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Tensions Run High Between Tokyo and Beijing Over Senkaku / Diaoyu

Four Chinese Coast Guard ships enter into the disputed waters. Shinzo Abe gives permission to the armed forces to shoot down Chinese drones or planes flying over Japanese airspace without permission. And Beijing responds: “We will respond to any act of war”

Tokyo ( AsiaNews / Agencies) — Tensions between China and Japan over disputed islands in the East China Sea are once again running high. This morning the Chinese Navy sent four Coast Guard vessels into the waters of the Senkaku / Diaoyu . It is a response to statements made by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who gave permission to his own troops to shoot down “drones or foreign aircraft entering our airspace without permission .”

Soon after, on October 26, China issued one of the strongest statements in recent weeks: “if Japan fired on its unmanned aircraft it “would constitute a serious provocation, an act of war of sorts. We would have to take firm countermeasures, and all consequences would be the responsibility of the side that caused the provocation”.

Tokyo bought three of the five islands from private owners in September 2011, a move that angered Beijing, which responded with a campaign to assert its political and military sovereignty over the area.

Taiwan is also involved in the dispute. Taipei has proposed to develop the area jointly without focusing on ownership.

The value of the archipelago is not clear. Some consider it strategically important given its location in one of the busiest shipping lanes. Others believe that in addition to rich fishing grounds, the seafloor around the islands hold vast gas reserves.

In 2008, in a gesture of détente, Beijing and Tokyo signed an agreement for joint development and research on the islands, which, however, was never implemented.

The tension in the area is in direct contrast to the foreign policy of both China and Japan. In fact in recent years both governments have pursued a policy of regional and continental détente. Beijing has signed a peace agreement with India on the Himalayan border to improve the transit of persons and equipment between the two countries , while Tokyo is in talks with South Korea to create — with American blessing — a kind of “countervailing power” to China’s advance in the east.

Analysts think that the controversy over the Senkaku / Diaoyu is being exploited by both governments to gain support from patriotic fronts within the two populations ..

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

More Than One Million Protest Kenyan Leniency on Rape

More than one million people have signed a petition demanding justice after three of six men accused of brutally raping a Kenyan teenager before dumping her in a ditch were ordered only to cut grass in punishment before being set free.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Nigeria’s Bitter Battle With Boko Haram

Boko Haram’s raids claim multiple innocent victims and spread fear and panic. The government says fighting the group is a priority and has mounted a display of military force. The impact has been largely temporary.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Nigeria’s EbonyLife TV Signs With Disney to Produce African Version of Desperate Housewives

Nigeria’s EbonyLife TV and Disney Media Distribution EMEA say they will co-produce a new series called Desperate Housewives Africa. EbonyLife TV’s CEO Mo Abudu says the series will have “an African soul” featuring a cast of new and established pan-African talent that will showcase fashion by Nigerian dress designers. It is to air in summer 2014.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Scores of Bodies in Nigerian Morgue After Islamist Raid

Some 35 bodies in military uniform have been brought to a Nigerian morgue following an Islamist attack targeting security forces last week in the country’s northeast, hospital sources said Monday.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

5 Dead After Mexican Vigilante Groups Confrontation in Cartel Stronghold

Five men have been found dead and power has been cut to hundreds of thousands of residents of the western Mexico state of Michoacan, following clashes in which self-described “self-defense” forces are seeking to oust the Knights Templar drug cartel.

The clashes follow a daring march over the weekend by self-defense force vigilantes into the city of Apatzingan, the central stronghold of the Knights Templar.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Attackers in Mexico Blow Up Nine Electrical Plants

Assailants early Sunday blew up at least nine electrical power plants in one of Mexico’s largest states, triggering blackouts that gunmen then used as cover to torch gasoline stations, residents and authorities said.

The attacks in Michoacan state, west of the capital, did not cause deaths or serious injuries, authorities said. But they served as a pointed reminder of the strength of drug gangs and other criminals.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

35 Migrants, Including Women and Children, Die of Thirst in Niger Desert

About 35 African migrants believed to have been traveling to Europe died of thirst and dehydration in the Sahara Desert after mechanical problems left them stranded, a local official in northern Niger said Monday.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Gateway to Europe: Syrian Refugees in Bulgaria

Bulgaria is seen as an interim stop for refugees trying to enter Europe. Its borders with Turkey mean that it has become a favored destination of late, but what it is like inside the official refugee camps?

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Latino Group Targets $20m to Oust GOP: ‘We Know Who We’re Going After’

Calling it a “pivotal moment,” a band of Latino donors has launched a $20 million campaign to unseat those in the House who stand against President Obama’s immigration proposals and oppose Democratic Party reform bills.

Leaders of the group met just recently with a few dozen of their key donors, including union leaders, to lay out their plans for the 2014 mid-term elections, naming 10 Republicans in the House they would like to see go.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Federal Judge Blocks Part of Texas’ Abortion Law

A federal judge in Texas on Monday blocked an important part of the state’s restrictive new abortion law, which would have required doctors performing the procedure to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.

The decision, one day before the provision was to take effect, prevented a major disruption of the abortion clinics in Texas.

But the court did not strike down a second measure, requiring doctors to use a particular drug protocol in nonsurgical, medication-induced abortions that doctors called outdated and too restrictive.

[Return to headlines]

Ancient DNA Links Native Americans With Europe

Where did the first Americans come from? Most researchers agree that Paleoamericans moved across the Bering Land Bridge from Asia sometime before 15,000 years ago, suggesting roots in East Asia. But just where the source populations arose has long been a mystery.

Now comes a surprising twist, from the complete nuclear genome of a Siberian boy who died 24,000 years ago—the oldest complete genome of a modern human sequenced to date. His DNA shows close ties to those of today’s Native Americans. Yet he apparently descended not from East Asians, but from people who had lived in Europe or western Asia. The finding suggests that about a third of the ancestry of today’s Native Americans can be traced to “western Eurasia.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Fighting Hunger Through Sustainable Farming

Until now, many have believed that intensive farming is the answer to famine and malnutrition around the world. But now experts are challenging this idea, propagating quality and variety over quantity.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Ten Years of Jihad Watch

by Robert Spencer

Ten years ago, on October 28, 2003, I started Jihad Watch. Since then I’ve been at this every day (except for two or three days out of 3,650, missed due to travel), putting up 34,056 posts (out of a total of 44,415) containing news and commentary about jihad activity, domestic and international, violent and stealthy.

I have done what I set out to do: document and chronicle a certain level of violence and thuggery, as well as supremacist calls for and predictions of conquest and domination, and show how they derive their inspiration and impetus from Islamic texts and teachings. The point of doing this was not (as the relentless cliche has it) to “demonize” Islam or Muslims, but to prove that there is a problem within Islam that needs to be addressed by people of good will, Muslim and non-Muslim — a problem that would not be solved by concession, accommodation, or appeasement. By refusing to address this problem, and instead defaming those who have dared to raise it, Muslim and Leftist organizations in the U.S. and Europe have demonized themselves.

While I was impatient with George W. Bush’s “Islam is a religion of peace” posturing, it seemed so self-evidently absurd to me and so many others at the time that it never occurred to me when I started this site that the broad mainstream of the public discourse would ever consider the Jihad Watch effort, or the three books I had published about Islam before starting this site, to be remotely controversial. The point was blazingly obvious; it just had to be reinforced since it was being so brazenly denied, in the face of so much evidence.

Now, 44,415 Jihad Watch posts later, the evidence has been marshaled with numbing repetition, and yet the point is more elusive than ever — smothered in an avalanche of propaganda from well-heeled Leftist and Islamic supremacist propaganda mills loudly claiming that to discuss this issue, to amass this evidence, to make this blazingly obvious point, is “hatred,” “bigotry,” “Islamophobia.” The timid cower and scuttle away, afraid of being connected with something so “controversial.” The opportunistic mouth the currently acceptable pieties, and climb the ladder of success to the extent that they’re willing to sell their souls.

In the face of this moneyed propaganda barrage, the task is sisyphean, and perhaps pointless. At the same time, because of the ubiquity of this propaganda barrage, the task has to be done more than ever. The truth remains as obvious as it always was; it is the minds of human beings that can be so clouded that they cannot see it. And so here’s to another ten years — or as much time as we have — of truth and clarity.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]