Gates of Vienna News Feed 10/29/2013

The World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed an outbreak of polio in northeastern Syria. European public health officials are concerned that the disease might be imported to Europe and re-establish itself there.

In other news, Uighur extremists are now thought to be behind yesterday’s Jeep crash in Tiananmen Square, which killed three people in the vehicle and two tourists outside it.

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

Thanks to Andy Bostom, C. Cantoni, Caroline Glick, Fjordman, Insubria, JD, Jerry Gordon, Kitman, Steen, 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
» A Great Global Wine Shortage is Here — And it May Only Get Worse
» Food Bank CEO Suggests Welfare Cuts May Spark Riots
» Ignored Reality is Going to Wipe Out the Human Race
» Italy’s Absolute Poor Double to 4.8 Million, Reports ISTAT
» Italy: Living Standards Falling for One in Three Families
» Italy: Bond Yields Fall to Lows Not Seen Since May
» JP Morgan Sees ‘Most Extreme Excess’ of Global Liquidity Ever
» Papoulias: “Greece Would Not Give in to Blackmail”
» “Obama Built That” — Behold ObamaCare in All Its Lines of Code Glory
» AP Photo: Checkpoint Cops Point Guns at Americans’ Heads
» Black Mobs and the Coming Race War
» Bloomberg Gun Grabber Aims to Replace Recalled Colorado State Senator
» Common Core — New Name, Old Agenda
» Grandmother Was Burned Alive in Random Hate Crime
» Crony Capitalism on Steroids
» Hollywood Leftists Are Suddenly Concerned About Gov’t Overreach — Release Video to ‘Raise Awareness’
» New Domestic Threat: Food-Stamp Riots
» Oarfish’s Misfortune is Scientists’ Boon
» ObamaCare Causing 539% Increase in Health Insurance Costs for Texans (See Proof)
» One Florida Woman is Going From Paying $54 a Month to $591 Under ObamaCare, CBS Reports:
» Pentagon’s DARPA Works on Reading Brains in Real Time
» School Test Teaches Kids: “Commands of Government Officials Must be Obeyed by All”
» Sebelius: “I Don’t Work for the People” Who Want Me to Resign
» United Nations to Take Over the Alamo
Europe and the EU
» Aqueduct Explorers Map Rome’s ‘Final Frontier’
» Britain to Become First Non-Muslim Country to Launch Sharia Bond
» Brussels MEP Blames Eurosceptics for ‘Ugly Mood in Britain’
» EU Set to Monitor “Intolerant” Citizens
» Forced Islamization of Northern Cyprus Continues Unabated
» France: Government Freezes Eco-Tax on Trucks Across Territory
» France Fears New Case of Deadly MERS Virus
» France: Money Laundering Taints Wine Trade
» France: Front National Now Enjoys Equal Approval Ratings With Socialist Party
» Giulia Arena: 19-Year-Old Sicilian, Crowned Miss Italia
» Hollande Most Unpopular French President in Decades — Poll
» Is New Asterix Scotland’s Next Braveheart?
» Italy: Berlusconi is Our Leader, Says Deputy Prime Minister
» Italy: ‘Clear’ Problem With US Intelligence, Says Undersecretary
» Italy: Govt Budget for 2014 Threatens ‘Equity’, Says Audit Court
» Italy: Schifani Attacks Grasso in Senate
» Netherlands: “Antwerp University Threatened by Muslim Extremists”
» Norway: Breivik’s Mother’s Lawyer May Sue to Block Book
» Norway: Student Buys Oslo Flat With $27 Bitcoin Stash
» Norway: Father of Teen Jihadis Hires Breivik Lawyer
» NSA Chief Denies Collecting Millions of Phone Records on European Citizens
» Polio Risk Looms Over Europe
» Rationed Food and Purposeful Starvation
» Residents Slam Italy’s Vesuvius Escape Plan
» Spain Eyes Criminal Probe Into US Spying
» Switzerland: Wine Growers Dodge Bad Weather to Gather Grapes
» Telefonica CEO Promises to Invest in Italian Jobs, Networks
» UK: Cameron Hints at ‘Tougher Measures’ If Media Continues Publishing Snowden Leaks
» UK: Comfort Eating: The New Mental Illness.
» UK: NHS Pulls the Plug on Its £11bn IT System
Mediterranean Union
» EU is Promoting a Youth Photo Marathon in West Bank
North Africa
» Egyptian Judges Withdraw From Muslim Brotherhood Trial
» Egypt: Judges Recuse Themselves in Brotherhood Chiefs’ Trial
» Libya: Berbers Protest at ENI’s Mellitah Plant
» ‘Puppy Bombs’ Rescued From Egyptian Violence
Israel and the Palestinians
» Livni’s Political Strategy
Middle East
» 3-Year-Old Saudi Girl Gang-Raped
» Did Google Collude With Obama Administration to Censor Video?
» Grand Mufti of Syria: The Kidnapped Orthodox Bishops Are Alive and in Turkey
» How Iran Evades Oil Sanctions: Hacking AIS to Cloak Identity of Tankers
» Ignoring the Sharia Basis for Iran’s Persecution of Christians
» Iraqi PM to Discuss Arms Shipments, Help in Combating Insurgency During Meeting With Obama
» Polio Outbreak in Northeast Syria Confirmed by WHO
» Syria: EU Releases 85 Mln Euros in Aid to People
» Syria: Pro-Assad Activists Hack Into Obama’s Twitter Account
» Turkey Opens First Intercontinental Undersea Railway
South Asia
» Alleged Afghan Wedding Parade Killer Stoned to Death
» Germany Gives Afghan Interpreters Asylum
Far East
» China Hunts Tiananmen ‘Suicide Blast’ Suspects
Sub-Saharan Africa
» 128 Dead in Islamic Extremist Attack on Nigeria State Capital in State of Emergency
» Police Detain Five Over Kenya’s Westgate Mall Massacre
Latin America
» Lone Supporter of U. S. Cuban Embargo in U. N. Vote
» Belgium: ‘Nowhere Else Do Foreigners Work So Little’
» Danglish for Beginners
» DHS Whistleblower Reveals Fast-Tracked Visas for Foreign Investors Created National Security Risk
» Greek Police Alerted to Ship With 120 People
» Italy: Coastguard Rescue Hundreds More Migrants in Mediterranean
» Turkey Welcomes 7,000 Greek Doctors Looking for Job
Culture Wars
» ‘Uncomfortable Truth’ In Matthew Shepard’s Death
» Brain Decoding: Reading Minds
» Craig Venter: Why I Put My Name in Synthetic Genomes
» Global Cooling: Are We Headed Into a ‘Little Ice Age?’
» ‘Minicomputers’ Live Inside the Human Brain
» Root of Maths Genius Sought
» UN Sets Up Asteroid Peacekeepers to Defend Earth

A Great Global Wine Shortage is Here — And it May Only Get Worse

Last year saw the worst wine shortfall in a half-century. And there’s little indication that world production can keep pace with the oenophilic hordes.

It isn’t only France that’s suffering from a dearth of wine—it’s the entire world, says a report released on Monday (Oct. 28) by Morgan Stanley Research. And the shortage is only getting worse. Last year, global supply for wine already barely exceeded demand.

At the current pace, a global shortage of wine is fast approaching. “Data suggests there may be insufficient supply to meet demand in coming years, as current vintages are released,” the report says.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Food Bank CEO Suggests Welfare Cuts May Spark Riots

The CEO of the largest food bank in America has suggested that planned cuts in food stamp benefits set to take effect on Friday could spark riots.

Margarette Purvis, the president and CEO of the Food Bank for New York City, told that the expiration of stimulus funds, which will see the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program reduced by $5 billion dollars, will have an “immediate impact” and represent a recipe for civil unrest.

“If you look across the world, riots always begin typically the same way: when people cannot afford to eat food,” said Purvis, adding that families face the “daunting” prospect of losing a whole week’s worth of food every month.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Ignored Reality is Going to Wipe Out the Human Race

I have been trying to inform the American people, economists, and policymakers for more than a decade about the adverse impacts of jobs offshoring on the US economy. The word has eventually gotten out. Last week I was contacted by 8th grade students competing for their school in CSPAN’s StudentCam Documentary Contest. They want to interview me on the subject of jobs offshoring for their documentary film.

America is a strange place. Here are eighth graders far ahead of the economics profession, the President, the Congress, the Federal Reserve, Wall Street, and the financial press in their understanding of one of the fundamental problems of the US economy. Yet, people say the public schools are failing. Obviously, not the one whose students contacted me.

Is it too late? I know much, but not all. So this is not the final word. I think it might be too late. When skilled jobs are sent abroad, the skills disappear at home. So do the supply chains and the businesses associated with the skills. Things close down, and abilities are lost. Why take a major in collage for a job that is offshored. A culture disappears.

But we can start them back up, right? Perhaps not. When a First World country exports its technology and know-how abroad to a Third World country in order to benefit from lower cost labor, how does the First World country get the work back? Living standards and the cost of living in Third World countries are much lower than in First World countries. The populations of First World countries cannot pay their mortgages, car payments, student loans, medical care, and grocery bills with the wages of Third World countries.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Italy’s Absolute Poor Double to 4.8 Million, Reports ISTAT

(AGI) Rome, Oct 29 — The number of absolute poor in Italy doubled from 2.4 to 4.8 million between 2007 and 2012, said acting ISTAT President, Antonio Golini, during a Parliamentary Joint Budget Committee hearing. There has been a parallel worsening of the indicator of material deprivation, which had already dropped in 2011, and that doubled in only two years.

Almost half of the 2.347 million absolute poor, up from 1.828 million in 2011, reside in southern Italy.

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

Italy: Living Standards Falling for One in Three Families

Survey finds Italians struggling to keep employment, income

(ANSA) — Rome, October 29 — As many as one in three Italian families has seen their standard of living dramatically eroded by the economic crisis, according to a survey released Tuesday by a savings-bank association.

Rising unemployment and job insecurity are key factors contributing to the financial crisis facing many families, according to the ACRI survey conducted by pollster Ipsos.

As well, it found that almost half of respondents said they had difficulty maintaining their standard of living.

The survey showed that 30% of families stated they were facing income problems, an increase from the 26% reporting problems in a similar survey in 2012. As well, 40% of households said they were indirectly hit by the crisis, with 20% reporting loss of employment while 15% said conditions at work had worsened — an increase from the 9% facing similar problems in 2012.

This year, 3% said they had not been paid on a regular basis and 4% were forced to look for new jobs.

The category of workers reporting the greatest difficulty this year have included professionals, executives, and managers, with 24% saying conditions have deteriorated.

Pensioners have been hit hard by the crisis, with as many as 68% of those surveyed reporting financial difficulties, up from 65% in 2012.

The ACRI report came as Italy’s statistical agency Istat reported that the country is set to post negative growth again for the ninth consecutive quarter, with GDP expected to fall by 1.8% for 2013, just above the government’s forecast of 1.7%.

Lower growth poses further threats to Italian jobs and incomes.

In a separate report, Istat said that the number of people living in poverty in Italy has doubled since the start of the economic crisis to close to five million.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Bond Yields Fall to Lows Not Seen Since May

Italian Treasury sells all eight billion euros of bonds offered

(ANSA) — Rome, October 29 — The Italian Treasury sold all eight billion euros of six-month bonds offered at auction Tuesday morning, at the lowest yield in five months.

Yield slid to 0.629% compared with the previous sale at 0.781% in September’s auction.

Tuesday’s rate was the lowest at auction since May.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

JP Morgan Sees ‘Most Extreme Excess’ of Global Liquidity Ever

A new report by JP Morgan says the bank’s measure of excess global money supply has reached an all-time high.

“The current episode of excess liquidity, which began in May 2012, appears to have been the most extreme ever in terms of its magnitude,” said the report, written by Nikolaos Panigirtzoglu and Matthew Lehmann from the bank’s global asset allocation team.

They said the latest surge is far beyond anything seen in the last three episodes of excess liquidity: 1993-1995, 2001-2006, and during the Lehman emergency response from October 2008 to September 2010, all of which set off a blistering rise in asset prices.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

Papoulias: “Greece Would Not Give in to Blackmail”

‘Greek people cannot give anything more’

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS — Today’s Greeks are as firm in the face of crisis as they were during the second world war and would not give in to what he called foreign “blackmail”, President Karolas Papoulias said at the central national commemoration in Thessaloniki marking Greece’s entry into the war in 1940, as Eleftherotypia online reports. “We are honouring today the dead of this great battle against the cholera of fascism, the Italian fascism of 1940,” Papoulias told the press after the parade. “Greeks gave their blood and whatever they could (in 1940) and today have given what they could to overcome the crisis. This must be appreciated by Europe. Greek people cannot give anything more,” he said. “They should not think that we may yield to blackmail. Greek people have never surrendered to blackmail,” Papoulias said, without elaborating.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

“Obama Built That” — Behold ObamaCare in All Its Lines of Code Glory

“Obama built that”… And now good luck tearing it down and its several hundred million lines of code, and rebuilding it from scratch.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

AP Photo: Checkpoint Cops Point Guns at Americans’ Heads

After a gang member shot and injured several law enforcement officials before going into hiding in a Sacramento suburb on Friday, police responded by setting up a checkpoint and aiming guns at innocent people’s heads, an AP photo shows.

The photo, (credited to AP Photo/The Sacramento Bee, Randall Benton) is captioned, “A California Highway Patrol officer and another emergency responder stop a vehicle at a checkpoint near the neighborhood where a federal immigration officer was shot and three local police officers were wounded during a violent confrontation with a suspect in the Sacramento suburb of Roseville on Friday, Oct. 25, 2013.”…

As the photo below illustrates, even in Iraq the standard operating procedure at checkpoints is not to point guns at vehicles unless they are known to be suspect.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Black Mobs and the Coming Race War

Thomas Sowell highlights book exposing multi-city wave of attacks on whites

Paul Kersey, whose central theme is that whites have created thriving cities, which blacks subsequently took over and ruined. Examples include his books about Birmingham (“The Tragic City”) and Detroit (“Escape from Detroit”).

Kersey even takes a swing at Rush Limbaugh (and at yours truly) for saying that liberal policies destroyed these cities. He says that San Francisco and other cities with liberal policies, but without black demographic and political takeovers, have not been ruined. His books are poorly written, but raise tough questions.

It would be easy to simply dismiss Kersey as a racist. But denouncing him or ignoring him is not refuting him. Refuting requires thought, which has largely been replaced by fashionable buzz words and catch phrases, when it comes to discussions of race.

Thought is long overdue. So is honesty.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

Bloomberg Gun Grabber Aims to Replace Recalled Colorado State Senator

A Democrat running for the seat once held by a Colorado state Senate leader recalled for supporting gun control has promised to pick up where John Morse left off.

Democratic candidate Mike Merrifield officially announced his candidacy on Sunday, even though he made his intentions to run for Morse’s seat known several months ago.

Republican Bernie Herpin replaced Morse in the Sept. 10 recall election, but Herpin will only serve the remainder of Morse’s term, which ends next year. Morse would have been term limited if he’d survived his recall challenge.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Common Core — New Name, Old Agenda

It seems that parents, across the United States, are upset and angry about Common Core.

Ummmm, folks, I really have to ask — where you’all been all these years?

Systems education is called by lot of different names — Outcome-based Education; Proficiency-Based Education; Performance-Based Education, Competency-Based Education, Standards-Based Education … It’s called “education reform” by your local teachers and administrators who were around back in the early 1990’s. In the realm of education transformation, there are probably teachers and administrators from back then remaining; they’ve been drummed out as they realized the ultimate goal of systems education was not education for intelligence and objected. Parents, today, undoubtedly think education, as now conceived, is as it has always been. Nothing could be further from the truth. There was a day when education was for the purpose of producing a child who could access a broad spectrum of knowledge, and utilize that knowledge to formulate a reasoned conclusion as an individual. That concept is foreign to systems education, the focus of which, under the paradigm shift, is the exact opposite — the dumbed-down child, easily led, easily manipulated, easily used.

Full implementation if systems education, as opposed to the piece-meal programs tested and perfected in various schools and classrooms around the country, started with the tome, A Nation at Risk, under President Ronald Reagan in April 1983; full implementation continued under President George H.W. Bush (America 2000), President William J. Clinton (Goals 2000 and School to Work), President George H. Bush, and now Obama (who is not our legal president; therefore, I refuse to address him as such)…

In the realm of education reform, the names may change, the agenda does not. Every parent needs to understand this. Education reform is a system intended to produce a specific outcome; that outcome is the global citizen — a not too well-educated worker (vs. an employee) willing to labor for minimal compensation in the greater good of the collective whole in the sustainable global environment.


Parents continually hear the term, world-class standards. While such suggests higher standards, what the term really means is standards based on the lowest common denominator; in other words, substandard education, dumbed-down education. Under education transformation, shifting the paradigm, what parents think the terms mean, and what the terms really mean, are exact opposites — what was up is now down, and what was down is now up; what was good is now bad, and what was bad is now good; what was black is now white, what is white is now black.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Grandmother Was Burned Alive in Random Hate Crime

Jurors on Monday were shown the horrific moment a 76-year-old Dallas grandmother and convenience store clerk was doused in lighter fluid and set on fire during an early morning hold-up.

On the first day of the capital murder trial of Matthew Johnson, one member of the jury covered his mouth and another rubbed his hands together as they watched Nancy Harris frantically try to extinguish the fire that would ultimately kill her.

Johnson, 38, has confessed to the senseless slaying of the mother-of-four

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines] Crony Capitalism on Steroids

As it turns out, however, the Obamacare website was built by a private sector company, CGI Federal.

The vice president of the company is Toni Townes-Whitley, a Princeton classmate of first lady Michelle Obama. It is hardly surprising to learn that Townes-Whitley is a former big government employee. She worked for the General Accounting Office and the Peace Corps.

Moreover, the president of the Canadian-based company, George Schindler, became an Obama 2012 campaign donor after his company gained the Obamacare website contract, according to The Daily Caller.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Hollywood Leftists Are Suddenly Concerned About Gov’t Overreach — Release Video to ‘Raise Awareness’

A veritable who’s who of Hollywood’s “hottest” stars — including John Cusack, Wil Wheaton, Oliver Stone, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and the long lost Phil Donahue — – — have joined forces with NSA whistleblowers to “raise awareness” about the surveillance state. Over a 100 public advocacy groups have come together under the “” umbrella to demand that 4th Amendment abuses come to an end. They’ve even dragged the ethically challenged Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) along for the ride.

Step one for the new organization is the release of “Stop Watching Us: The Video.” The three and a half minute clip targets the evils of the Richard Nixon as he continues to push the NSA to collect data on innocent Americans.

Wait…what? Nixon? Yes, Nixon.

You see, these are Hollywood leftists and, as such, they just can’t bring themselves to target Barack Obama, or even mention him by name. Since all of these guys endorsed him back in 2008, we can assume they know the current President’s name, they just don’t want to say it. Maybe they’re simply too ashamed of “their guy” to admit his culpability.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

New Domestic Threat: Food-Stamp Riots

With 20 percent of all American households on food stamps, amounting to 23.1 million households and 47.6 million individuals in July, a little-known across-the-board cut in food-stamp benefits is scheduled to go into effect in November…

The U.S. recently experienced a fit of social disorder related to the government food-stamp system.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

Oarfish’s Misfortune is Scientists’ Boon

Beached giant fish make for unusually fresh specimens of poorly studied deep-sea creature.

The US media reported gleefully this month that two real-life sea monsters had hit the beaches of southern California. But the two huge — and dead — giant oarfish have prompted an equally delighted reaction among the world’s ichthyologists, who are keen to know more about these little-studied animals.

Giant oarfish (Regalecus glesne) are generally thought to live below 200 metres of depth and can exceed 10 metres in length, which makes it the world’s longest bony fish.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

ObamaCare Causing 539% Increase in Health Insurance Costs for Texans (See Proof)

Obamacare is named the “Affordable Care Act,” after all, and the President promised the rates would be “as low as a phone bill.” But I just received a confirmed letter from a friend in Texas showing a 539% rate increase on an existing policy that’s been in good standing for years.

As the letter reveals (see below), the cost for this couple’s policy under Humana is increasing from $212.10 per month to $1,356.60 per month. This is for a couple in good health whose combined income is less than $70K — a middle-class family, in other words.

That’s a 539% rate increase!

$1,356.60 per month is not “affordable” health care. It’s monopolistic price gouging mandated by the Obama administration and enforced essentially at gunpoint. This isn’t health care; it’s highway robbery.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

One Florida Woman is Going From Paying $54 a Month to $591 Under ObamaCare, CBS Reports:

“For many, their introduction to the Affordable Care Act has been negative: A broken website, and now cancellation notices from insurance companies, followed by sticker shock over higher prices for the new plans,” says a CBS reporter. “It’s directly at odds from repeated assurances from the president.”

Obama is quoted as saying, “If you like your insurance plan, you will keep it. No one will be able to take that away from you.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Pentagon’s DARPA Works on Reading Brains in Real Time

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is investing $70 million to develop a new implant that can track, and respond to, brain signals in real time.

The goal of the new project, dubbed “Systems-Based Neurotechnology for Emerging Therapies” (SUBNETS), is to gather new information via more advanced brain implants in order to reach the next level of effective neuropsychological treatment. DARPA is hoping to have the new implant developed within five years.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

School Test Teaches Kids: “Commands of Government Officials Must be Obeyed by All”

Papers produced by global education corporation; Part of ‘No Child Left Behind’ program

A parent of a ten year old was shocked to discover a grammar and writing test paper that their child brought home from school reads more like document from an authoritarian country such as China.

The parent sent a portion of the test paper to Infowars, revealing that it contains sentences such as “The commands of government officials must be obeyed by all.”

The paper uses such sentences and asks school children to replace certain words in order to make the sentence contain a possessive noun.

Others within the paper include:

“The job of a president is not easy.”

“He makes sure the laws of the country are fair”

“The wants of an individual are less important than the needs of a nation”

Here is the portion of the paper Infowars received:…

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Sebelius: “I Don’t Work for the People” Who Want Me to Resign

“Affordable…together,” the two primary propaganda messages of Obamacare, and a phrase which might be the new Pledge of Allegiance, aren’t cutting it.

Sebelius said, “The majority of people calling for me to resign, I would say, are people I don’t work for and who do not want this program [Obamacare] to work in the first place.”

As head of the Dept. of Health and Human Services, she works for her boss, the President, who is supposed to work for the American people, but doesn’t.

No president works for the American people. If he did, he would risk life and limb to expose the criminals who really run this country.

And that’s the political tipping point we’ve reached. Actually, we tipped a long time ago. It’s just becoming a lot more obvious now.

The job of a Washington politician shouldn’t be about defending federal programs. It should be about exposing what government has become. It should be about highlighting psychopaths who hold office. It should be about explaining to the American people how, on the truly big issues, like Globalism, both political parties operate as one crime family.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

United Nations to Take Over the Alamo

UN flag may fly above shrine of liberty if designated as a World Heritage Site

San Antonio, Texas Mayor Julián Castro is currently negotiating with the United Nations to designate the Alamo as a UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site, meaning that a blue UN flag may fly above the historic shrine of liberty once it falls under UN control.

UNESCO, a specialized agency within the UN, created the World Heritage Site status out of a 1972 international agreement, which calls for nations to join together to manage historical sites through “collective assistance.”

“San Antonio has the opportunity for its five Spanish Colonial Missions [including the Alamo] to be nominated to be the first UNESCO World Heritage site in the State of Texas and the 22nd World Heritage designation in the United States,” the October 2013 City of San Antonio newsletter reads.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Aqueduct Explorers Map Rome’s ‘Final Frontier’

Armed with laser rangefinders, GPS technology and remote control robots, a group of speleologists is completing the first ever mapping of the aqueducts of ancient Rome on archaeology’s “final frontier”.

Only one of the aqueducts is still operational today — the Acqua Vergine — which can be accessed in various hidden locations near Rome including a doorway near the Villa Medici that leads down a spiral staircase to the water. It runs for a total of 20 kilometres and ends up in the Trevi Fountain, photographed every day by crowds of tourists.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Britain to Become First Non-Muslim Country to Launch Sharia Bond

David Cameron to unveil £200m Sukuk at the World Islamic Economic Forum in London on Tuesday

Britain is set to become the first non-Muslim country to sell a bond that can be bought by Islamic investors in a bid to encourage massive new investment into the City.

David Cameron will say in a speech on Tuesday at the World Islamic Economic Forum in London that the Treasury is drawing up plans to issue a £200m Sukuk, a form of debt that complies with Islamic financial law.

The new sharia-compliant gilt will enable Britain to become the first non-Muslim country to tap the growing pool of Islamic investments that is forecast to top £1.3 trillion by next year..

The Prime Minister will say that it would be a “mistake” to miss the opportunity to encourage more Islamic investment in the UK and that the City of London should rival Dubai as a centre for sharia-compliant finance.

“When Islamic finance is growing 50pc faster than traditional banking and when global Islamic investments are set to grow to £1.3 trillion by 2014, we want to make sure a big proportion of that new investment is made here in Britain,” Mr Cameron will tell an audience of senior officials from Islamic countries.

           — Hat tip: Steen [Return to headlines]

Brussels MEP Blames Eurosceptics for ‘Ugly Mood in Britain’

Hannes Swoboda, who leads a group of socialists and democrats in the European Parliament, blamed “negative rhetoric against foreigners” by British Eurosceptic politicians for Joele Leotta’s death.

Swoboda told MEPs in Brussels that his death was the consequence of “populist campaigns” by Ukip and the Conservatives which created an “ugly mood” for violence to flourish in….

Four Lithuanian men have appeared in court accused of beating Leotta to death. The incident was alleged to have happened only days after the teenager came to the UK to learn English and to work.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

EU Set to Monitor “Intolerant” Citizens

Controlling social behavior: Proposal could ban criticism of Islam, feminism

A frightening proposal currently being considered by the European Parliament would direct governments to monitor citizens deemed “intolerant” and could even lead to a ban on all criticism of Islam and feminism.

The European Framework National Statute for the Promotion of Tolerance (PDF), which was drafted by the European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation (ECTR), an NGO based in Paris, was presented to the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties committee last month and is thought to be on the verge of implementation.

According to the Gatestone Institute, the Statute represents an “unparalleled threat to free speech” and would have the impact of “effectively shutting down the right to free speech in Europe” by banning “all critical scrutiny of Islam and Islamic Sharia law, a key objective of Muslim activist groups for more than two decades.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Forced Islamization of Northern Cyprus Continues Unabated

Since the 1974 invasion, the 200 thousand Greek Cypriots forced to leave the area have been replaced by 300 thousand settlers from Anatolia, who lack education, but are devout Muslims. And even the original Turkish Cypriots are victims of discrimination at the hands of the Turkish occupiers and their settlers.

Istanbul (AsiaNews) — News of an exchange of visits between Metropolitan Christoforos of Karpasia and the Grand Mufti of Cyprus after 18 months has met with positive reactions worldwide.

But the good intentions and the good will of groups and individuals aside, the small but vital world of Greek and Turkish Cypriots remains divided 40 years (1974) after Turkey’s invasion. The continued occupation by 40 thousand Turkish soldiers of the northern part of the island, accounting for 37 % of the territory, has also had serious consequence, such as the forced Islamization of the north.

Following the invasion by the Turkish Kemalist army — whose leader always described himself as a guarantor of secularism — 200 thousand Greek Cypriots were displaced to the south side of the island and 300 thousand of settlers from Anatolia with scarce education but devout Muslims settled in the north.

This forced Islamization has resulted in the destruction or conversion into mosques of dozens of monuments, churches and monasteries that attested to the continued presence of the ancient Greek -Hellenistic -Roman civilization, who embraced the message of Christ, founded the first churches after Palestine and created a bridge to the West.

Another very serious fact, as evidenced by the British historian and diplomat William Mallinson, who has a deep knowledge of the Cypriot universe, is that it all happened with the tacit consent of then U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and the British government. Kissinger’s now renowned statement is an example of this, when he claimed that with the Turkish invasion of 1974 and the partition of the island, the Cyprus issue was resolved.

It is the classic, cynical statement of someone who believes in and supports the geo-political and geo-strategic interests of the usual so-called Western powers. And Cyprus has always wet their appetites because of its geographical location. In total disregard for its cultural traditions and its Christian roots.

Thus, in the meantime, Erdogan’s neo- Ottoman party, the AKP , assisted by the Saudis is carrying forward, with meticulous expertise, the policy of forced Islamization of the northern part of the ‘ island. Furthermore, the ideologue of the dogma of neo-Ottoman foreign policy , Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, considers Cyprus an important player for Turkey’s geopolitical games “even if there were no Muslims on the island” , let alone now ..

Let us not neglect another fact , that even the original Turkish Cypriots are victims of discrimination at the hands of their Turkish occupants and settlers. Besides the fact that they have become the new minority (there are 150 thousand compared to 350 thousand settlers) they have deep rooted cultural differences with the settlers and military.

From their settlement on the island in 1572 , the long coexistence with the Christian community, despite periodic clashes (Christian populations in the Ottoman period served to fill the coffers of the empire , because only non-Muslims were taxed) fostered within their community a more open mindset and a deep respect for the religious beliefs of others. And if something Christian survives in the north of Cyprus is also thanks to them, as well as the 500 Greek Cypriots stranded in the region. Some refer to them as modern day crypto-Christians.

In short, what is happening in Cyprus, shows that , in spite of those who thought and still think the Greek roman and Christian roots of our civilization are important, what matters is the geopolitical strategy of the powerful of the earth. And Cyprus is only a hop, skip and jump from the Middle Eastern chessboard ..

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

France: Government Freezes Eco-Tax on Trucks Across Territory

Meeting with representatives after wave of protests

(ANSAmed) — PARIS, OCTOBER 29 — French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault on Tuesday decided to suspend an eco-tax on articulated lorries across the country after a wave of protests which kicked off in Bittany and spread throughout France. The decision was taken after a meeting with all actors involved and local authorities.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

France Fears New Case of Deadly MERS Virus

France said on Tuesday a person who had just returned from Saudi Arabia was likely infected by the deadly MERS coronavirus, in what would be the country’s third such case.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

France: Money Laundering Taints Wine Trade

Avi Jorisch says while vineyards in France are favoured investments for Chinese and Russian money launderers, it’s only the tip of the iceberg in terms of trade-based ‘dirty money’ schemes

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

France: Front National Now Enjoys Equal Approval Ratings With Socialist Party

François Hollande has fallen to 26% of favourable opinions, establishing a record unpopularity for a president of the 5th Republic, in the history of BVA polls.

“In this month of October 2013, François Hollande falls by 6 points, to 26% of favourable opinions (against 73% of unfavourable) breaching the mythical threshold of 30% and at the same time smashing the historical record of unpopularity for a president of the Republic,” underlined BVA, on Monday 28 October. The BVA polls began more than 30 years ago.

“In 32 years of polls, a president has never fallen below 30% of favourable opinions,” adds Gaël Sliman, general deputy director of the institute.

Source: Le Monde

           — Hat tip: Steen [Return to headlines]

Giulia Arena: 19-Year-Old Sicilian, Crowned Miss Italia

74th edition gets solid ratings despite enforced move from RAI

(ANSA) — Jesolo, October 28 — Giulia Arena, a 19-year-old Sicilian-born university student with a Dante quotation tattooed above her heart, was crowned the 74th Miss Italia in this seaside town near Venice Sunday night.

Arena’s triumph was the first shown on independent left-leaning broadcaster La7 after State TV RAI dropped it following a long row sparked by House Speaker Laura Boldrini accusing it of feeding perceptions of women as eye candy.

Amid talks on who would carry the show, Boldrini slammed it as sexist and anachronistic, saying: “only 2% of women on television voice their opinions or even talk. The rest are dumb and often scantily clad”.

The 63 contenders responded by parading along Jesolo’s seafront in T-shirts saying “Neither nude nor mute”.

One of the presenters, Neapolitan comedian Alessandro Siani, denied the show was a waste of taxpayers’ money, telling the audience Italy needed to cut taxes, political corruption, bank aid and the influence of the mafia before “dashing these girls’ dreams”. Arena, the green-eyed, light-brown-haired daughter of a tax-police officer and a homemaker in Messina, has just enrolled at Milan’s Catholic University to study law.

She said she was influenced in her choice by a “passion” for English fuelled by trips to the United States, Canada and Malta.

Arena is an animal lover who has two dogs, two parrots, two squirrels, a rabbit and several tanks of fish at her parents’ home in the southeastern Sicilian city.

The Dante tattoo just below her left shoulder bears some of the most famous lines in the Inferno, a stirring exhortation by Ulysses to his veteran crew to make one last daring trip in search of knowledge beyond the Pillars of Hercules.

“I’m a proud daughter of Dante,” said Arena, who succeeds another Sicilian, Giusy Buscemi from Agrigento, as Miss Italia.

Audience figures Monday showed that, far from flopping as many media critics had predicted after its migration from RAI’s flagship channel, the pageant won a sizeable 16% of ratings when the crown was placed on Arena’s head. Miss Italia, first broadcast on the radio in 1950, has tried to address feminist concerns since its first live TV show in 1987. Starting in 1990 the chest, waist, and hip measurements of the contestants have no longer been judged, and in 1994 the contest was opened to married women and mothers. The 1987 winner was disqualified when it was later discovered she was married. In 1996 Denny Mendez, originally from the Dominican Republic, became the first black Miss Italia before finding TV success and getting a small role in Ocean’s Twelve.

Among the other participants who achieved later success in cinema and entertainment, most of whom did not win the competition, are: Silvana Pampanini, Sophia Loren, Lucia Bosè, Stefania Sandrelli, Simona Ventura, Anna Falchi and Martina Colombari.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Hollande Most Unpopular French President in Decades — Poll

Francois Hollande has taken the spot of the most unpopular French president on record, according to an opinion poll. The main complaints about the leader include tax hikes, unemployment and immigration policy.

Hollande’s approval rating dropped to 26 percent of those surveyed in October, a BVA poll revealed, which is the lowest level in the 32 years the survey has been conducted.

“During the month of October 2013, Francois Hollande’s rating dropped 6 points to 26 percent approval rating (versus 73 percent against) crossing the historical threshold of 30 percent approval and setting a historical record for unpopularity in France,” the BVA survey said.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

Is New Asterix Scotland’s Next Braveheart?

The latest Asterix book, set in iron-age Scotland, is to be released on Thursday amid speculation that the story will reflect — if not influence — the country’s long-standing debate over independence from the United Kingdom.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Italy: Berlusconi is Our Leader, Says Deputy Prime Minister

(AGI) Rome, Oct 28 — Deputy Prime Minister Angelino Alfano has underlined his support for centre-right People of Freedom leader, Silvio Berlusconi. “The undersigned national council members accept the leadership of Silvio Berlusconi, obviously starting with me. This could be the first line of every document that I sign”, he told television presenter Bruno Vespa. He was appearing ahead of publication of his book “Salt, Sugar and Coffee. The Italy I Experienced from Grandma Aida to the Third Republic”, on Nov. 7 by Mondadori-RAI ERI.

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

Italy: ‘Clear’ Problem With US Intelligence, Says Undersecretary

‘End doesn’t justify means’ says Minniti

(ANSA) — Rome, October 29 — Marco Minniti, the Italian government’s undersecretary with the brief for intelligence, said Tuesday there was a “clear” problem over alleged spying on allies by US intelligence agency NSA. “It’s clear that there is a problem regarding US intelligence and the relationship between this world and Europe,” Minniti said.

The Italian government was reportedly among many foreign administrations whose phone and Internet communications were monitored by America’s National Security Agency (NSA).

US President Barack Obama has said that national security operations were being reassessed to make sure the NSA’s spying was kept under control after reports of its activities in Europe caused a major furore.

“Intelligence cannot be a forest where everything is allowed,” Minniti said.

“It’s not true that the end justifies the means. If the means are not correct than the end is invalidated too. “We have asked our American allies what the situation is and we also have the independent capacity to verify what we are told. “It’s a very difficult, unprecedented time for the world of intelligence”. Renato Brunetta, the Lower House whip for ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi’s centre-right People of Freedom (PdL) party, called for Premier Enrico Letta to report to parliament on the spying scandal. “It’s fundamentally important to have clarity on such a delicate, serious affair,” Brunetta said via his Twitter account. “Letta should report to parliament as soon as possible”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Govt Budget for 2014 Threatens ‘Equity’, Says Audit Court

Around 25 million won’t benefit, says court

(ANSA) — Rome, October 29 — Premier Enrico Letta’s 2014 budget bill poses a threat to equity, as millions of Italy’s worst-off will not benefit from the package, the Audit Court said Tuesday.

The court said cuts in the bill to labour and income taxes will not benefit around “25 million”, including the self-employed and “people in greatest economic difficulty”, such as pensioners and people on disability benefits.

“This entails evident problems for income distribution and equity,” the court reported to a Senate hearing.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Schifani Attacks Grasso in Senate

(AGI) Rome, Oct 29 — Speaking in the Senate, the chief whip for the centre-right People of Freedom Party (PDL), Renato Schifani, raised his voice, indirectly addressing the Speaker, Senator Grasso, who was not present, to demand that all work be stopped immediately. Schifani said: “Rules cannot be changed as instead supported by the Speaker of the Senate. The committee’s work must stop, Grasso must assume responsibility for all that he is supporting and guarantee that the rules be respected by everyone.” Schifani warned: “I am addressing the Five Star Movement, because sooner or later the wheel will turn and it could happen to anyone.” ..

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

Netherlands: “Antwerp University Threatened by Muslim Extremists”

Antwerp public prosecutors have provided further information about threatening emails sent to Antwerp University on Monday. The emails’ author said he was speaking on behalf of a Muslim brotherhood and threatened to kill all unbelievers in Belgium. As a precaution Antwerp University evacuated all its premises on Monday.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Norway: Breivik’s Mother’s Lawyer May Sue to Block Book

Lawyers representing the dead mother of Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik are considering legal action to block the publication of a book about her relationship with her son Anders, the far-right terrorist behind 2011’s Utøya massacre.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Norway: Student Buys Oslo Flat With $27 Bitcoin Stash

A young Oslo electrical engineer made enough money from a $27 investment in Bitcoin, the digital currency, that he has been able to put down a deposit on a two bedroom apartment in the city’s upcoming Tøyen district.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Norway: Father of Teen Jihadis Hires Breivik Lawyer

The father of two teenaged Norwegian sisters who have run away to Syria to help in the country’s civil war has hired Geir Lippestad, the lawyer who represented far-right terrorist Anders Breivik, to bring his daughters home.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

NSA Chief Denies Collecting Millions of Phone Records on European Citizens

The head of the National Security Agency, testifying before a House committee on possible changes to a 35-year-old surveillance law, strongly denied Tuesday that his agency collected millions of phone records of European citizens.

Army Gen. Keith Alexander, director of the NSA, said reports to the contrary, based on revelations by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, were “completely false.” He said European intelligence services collected phone records in war zones and other areas outside their borders and shared them with the NSA.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Polio Risk Looms Over Europe

Cases in Syria highlight vulnerability of nearby countries to the viral disease.

To many Europeans, poliomyelitis is an ancient foe. But for the first time in years, there is a risk that the crippling paralytic disease is about to make an unwelcome return. Poliovirus has re-emerged on Europe’s southeastern flank — in Israel and Syria — leaving public-health officials concerned that the disease could be imported and again become established on the continent.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Rationed Food and Purposeful Starvation

Dr. Ileana Johnson Paugh on horrors of Communist Romania

[WARNING: Disturbing Content.]

The ruling elite, of course, was fat and happy, shopping at their own grocery stores, usually located underground at the local Communist Party headquarters.

It wasn’t that the country did not produce enough food in spite of its disastrous centralized communist party planning. The mad dictator Ceausescu was determined to industrialize the country at the expense of people’s food — he exported so much to the West in exchange for technology and hard currency that the Romanians had to make do with the leftover food not fit for export.

The agricultural five year plan was developed by communist bureaucrats who were community organizers with very little experience at producing anything and very little formal education. They were schooled in the fine art of radical agitation.

Around Christmas time and Easter, there would be more food sent to stores, the lines were shorter for a few days and the stores better stocked. But that did not last very long. People would wipe out the supply in no time and the store shelves would be empty again, with one very expensive salami hanging behind the counter or in the window, buzzed by flies.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Residents Slam Italy’s Vesuvius Escape Plan

Residents living around Mount Vesuvius, described as a “volcanic ticking timebomb”, have complained to the European Court of Human Rights that Italy has failed to come up with an adequate disaster relief plan should the volcano erupt.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Spain Eyes Criminal Probe Into US Spying

Spain’s public prosecutor opened a preliminary investigation on Tuesday into reported mass US eavesdropping on millions of telephone calls to determine if a crime was committed.

The probe comes amid European outrage over revelations that the United States snooped on the telephone and online communications of millions of ordinary citizens in Europe, and on allied world leaders like German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Switzerland: Wine Growers Dodge Bad Weather to Gather Grapes

A cold spring means a late harvest in Switzerland’s vineyards but wine growers are optimistic about the quality of the wine this year. Caroline Bishop joins a vigneron in Lavaux, on the slopes above Lake Geneva, to discover the traditions of cultivating and harvesting grapes in these centuries-old vineyards.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Telefonica CEO Promises to Invest in Italian Jobs, Networks

Premier Letta meets with Spanish telecom boss on future of TIM

(ANSA) — Rome, October 29 — Telecom Italia will maintain employment levels in Italy, despite its gradual takeover by Telefonica, the Spanish company’s chief executive officer said Tuesday.

Following a meeting with Italian Premier Enrico Letta, Cesar Alierta said that he has also committed to maintain investments in fiber-optic and fourth-generation mobile networks for Telecom Italia. “Telecom Italia will remain an Italian company,” Alierta told reporters outside the meeting. In September, Telefonica reached a deal to gradually take over Telco SpA, the investment vehicle that controls Telecom Italia through a 22.4% stake and is owned by Telefonica and Italian financial interests.

Many Italian politicians and unions are concerned by the Spanish company’s plan for growing control over Telecom Italia, particularly its plans for employment and national security.

On the Milan stock exchange, Telecom Italia shares rose by 5.59% in trading.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

UK: Cameron Hints at ‘Tougher Measures’ If Media Continues Publishing Snowden Leaks

British Prime Minister David Cameron has issued a veiled threat against media organizations, calling on The Guardian and other outlets to stop publishing the disclosures leaked by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.

“We live in a free country so newspapers are free to publish what they want,” Cameron told the House of Commons Monday, adding that The Guardian, in particular, has made “this country less safe.”

“I don’t want to have to use injunctions or D-Notices or other tougher measures. I think it’s much better to appeal to newspapers’ sense of social responsibility. But if they don’t demonstrate some social responsibility it would be very difficult for government to stand back and not to act.”

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

UK: Comfort Eating: The New Mental Illness.

You eat a biscuit — then can’t stop until you finish the packet. Don’t assume it’s lack of willpower. Doctors now say it’s a psychiatric condition that needs treatment

When life gets stressful, do you find yourself reaching for the biscuit tin, or for a large bag of crisps? Or maybe you’ll treat yourself to a big bowl of ice-cream after a bad day at work. But then that one biscuit leads to another — – — and another. Do you ever find you just can’t stop?

You are far from unique. Experts say that for a significant number of people — – — potentially 1.3 million in Britain — a treat can repeatedly turn into a full-blown food binge.

Indeed, so common is this behaviour that it has now been officially classified as a new type of eating disorder: binge eating disorder. The diagnosis has recently been added to the influential U.S. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (the psychiatrists’ ‘bible’), and it is widely expected that a similar classification will shortly be introduced in the UK by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: NHS Pulls the Plug on Its £11bn IT System

After nine years and with billions already spent, doomed computer system is abandoned

A plan to create the world’s largest single civilian computer system linking all parts of the National Health Service is to be abandoned by the Government after running up billions of pounds in bills. Ministers are expected to announce next month that they are scrapping a central part of the much-delayed and hugely controversial 10-year National Programme for IT.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

EU is Promoting a Youth Photo Marathon in West Bank

Open to 25-35 participants, 7th November the deadline to apply

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, OCTOBER 29 — The European Union is organizing a “youth photo marathon” in the Palestinian Territories for young European and Palestinian photographers.

This event, according to the Enpi website ( comes under the framework of the Euromed Youth Programme.

The participating European and Palestinian photographers, aged 25-35, will visit projects funded through the Euro-Med Youth Program across the West Bank and document their work. The photos taken during the visit will be exhibited in Jerusalem, Ramallah and Gaza. This is a great opportunity for young photographers to meet their European and Palestinian colleagues, discover Palestine and help promote the work of young Palestinians. Interested European and Palestinian candidates are invited to apply by sending an email to The deadline for receiving applications is 7th November, 2013. The final selections will be held by 11th November, and the visit to the projects will take place between 26th November and 2nd December.

Euro-Med Youth is a regional programme of the European Union.

Its phase IV is funded by the EU with a budget of 5 million euros and covers 8 Mediterranean countries. The programme aims at stimulating and encouraging mutual understanding between young people in the Euro-Mediterranean region, fighting against stereotypes and prejudices, promoting active citizenship among young people and enhancing their sense of solidarity.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Egyptian Judges Withdraw From Muslim Brotherhood Trial

(AGI) Cairo, Oct 29 — The three judges presiding in the trial of Muslim Brotherhood leader, Mohamed Badie, and his two deputies have withdrawn from the proceedings. After ordering that the defendants continue to be detained in prison, they announced their decision to step down at the start of a hearing on Tuesday. Badie and his two aides, Khairat al-Shater and Rashad al-Bayoumi, face charges for the deaths of protesters who rallied at the Brotherhood’s Cairo headquarters on June 30, a few days before president Mohamed Morsi was removed from office.

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

Egypt: Judges Recuse Themselves in Brotherhood Chiefs’ Trial

Charged with inciting violence

(ANSAmed) — CAIRO — Judges at a high court in Cairo on Tuesday recused themselves in the trial against Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie and his deputy Khairat el Shater. The judges chose not to hear the case and let another court take over the trial in future, citing ‘awkwardness’.

The trial against Badie, el Shater and another four high officials with the Brotherhood started two months ago. The second hearing was Tuesday.

The defendants are charged with inciting the murder of demonstrators and possession of weapons and explosives during a protest against ousted president Mohamed Morsi in front of the Brotherhood’s headquarters on June 30. Nine people died and 91 were injured in clashes during the protest.

A judicial source told ANSA that the judges’ decision was connected with the absence of the six defendants who were not in court on Tuesday for security reasons.

On November 4, the trial against Morsi is scheduled to begin. Morsi is accused of being responsible for violence in front of the presidential palace last December. Under Egyptian law, a defendant must be in court during the first hearing in order to hear all the charges against him or her.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Libya: Berbers Protest at ENI’s Mellitah Plant

They demand constitutional rights, threaten shutdown

(ANSAmed) — TRIPOLI — A group of 20 armed men from the indigenous minority Amazigh or Berber people have threatened to shut down a Libyan oil terminal operated jointly with Italy’s ENI unless their demands for more constitutional rights are met, sources close to the situation told ANSA on Monday.

The protest began Saturday night at the Mellitah complex, a joint venture between ENI and Libya’s state National Oil Corporation near the port city of Zuwara. The Berbers are calling for more representation on the Constituent Assembly, where they hold just two out of 60 seats, and for official recognition of their language, Tamazight, in the new Constitution along with Arabic.

After talks with the General National Congress (GNC) energy committee, the Amazigh protesters have agreed to give authorities a week before shutting down the plant.

“Mellitah is running normally at the moment, and peaceful negotiations with the protesters are ongoing”, the sources explained.

The Amazigh on Wednesday had threatened to boycott municipal as well as Constituent Assembly elections. Along with the Tebu and the Tuareg indigenous peoples, the Berbers were marginalized under the previous regime of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

‘Puppy Bombs’ Rescued From Egyptian Violence

Two puppies rescued after nearly being used as living firebombs by Muslim Brotherhood.

Two puppies from Egypt were rescued just moments before they were to be used by the Muslim Brotherhood in their protests as “puppy bombs” dipped in gasoline and set on fire.

The revelation about the Brotherhood’s cruel tactic used two weeks ago at Tahrir Square during demonstrations against the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi’s was made known by Robyn Urman, a pet rescuer in Tenafly, New Jersey, as reported by CBS 2.

Urman, who works with Pet ResQ Inc., was contacted by Mervat Said, an animal rescue volunteer in Egypt, and flew the puppies to New Jersey to find homes.

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes [Return to headlines]

Livni’s Political Strategy

by Caroline Glick

For Justice Minister Tzipi Livi, all politics are personal.

She can be trusted, because she is good. Her opponents must be rejected, because they are evil.

In her speech at The Jerusalem Post’s Diplomatic Conference in Herzliya last Thursday, Livni insisted that the only “legitimate” basis for opposing a Palestinian state is ideological. Livni stridently rejected the notion that one can oppose the establishment of a Palestinian state — in the two-state solution framework — for security reasons.

As she sees it, everyone cares equally about security. And since she cares about security just as much as her political opponents do, the question of whose policy will better protect the country is illegitimate.

She’s nice. She cares. So she’s just as competent as the next guy.

There’s just one problem with Livni’s claim.

She has a track record…

           — Hat tip: Caroline Glick [Return to headlines]

3-Year-Old Saudi Girl Gang-Raped

Girl still in intensive care unit

Several men abducted a three-year-old Saudi girl and took turns in raping her before dumping the child near a hospital in a serious condition. Disclosing the crime on Monday, police said they had arrested three suspects and two women and that more could be arrested in connection with the rape.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Did Google Collude With Obama Administration to Censor Video?

Clip exposing atrocities of US-backed rebels in Syria was sent out by Obama’s hijacked Twitter account

In a possible act of collusion between the Obama administration and Google-owned YouTube, a video exposing US-backed rebel atrocities in Syria — which was sent out from Obama’s official Twitter account after it was hijacked by hackers — was quickly censored by YouTube.

As Infowars reported first exclusively, Obama’s official Twitter, Facebook and campaign website were hacked by the Syrian Electronic Army earlier today. The accounts were hijacked and used to promote a video to Obama’s combined total of 76 million followers.

The clip was a 24 minute compilation of rebel atrocities and terrorist attacks committed in Syria.

Within hours, the video was removed for “shocking and disgusting content,” despite having already been hosted on YouTube for months.

Only after the video started receiving attention as a result of Obama’s hijacked Twitter account did YouTube see fit to delete the video, suggesting collusion between YouTube and the White House at some level.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Grand Mufti of Syria: The Kidnapped Orthodox Bishops Are Alive and in Turkey

Ahmad Hassoun Badreddin’s words reported by directors of a Russian humanitarian organization engaged in the Middle East and who met the Syrian spiritual leader in Moscow. “Chechen militants and the Turkish authorities behind kidnap”.

Moscow ( AsiaNews) — The Grand Mufti of Syria, Ahmad Hassoun Badreddin , the spiritual leader of Sunni Islam, claims he has information that the two Orthodox bishops of Aleppo, kidnapped in April, are alive and outside the country. The news was reported by Interfax -Religion. Elena Agapova, vice president of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society, the Russian Orthodox organization that plays an active role in the Middle East and takes care of delivering aid to the Syrian population reports: “According to information from the mufti they are in Turkey.”

Agapova states that 28 October Hassoun met in Moscow with representatives of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society. The Grand Mufti believes that “there is the hand of the Chechen militants and Turkish services behind the kidnappings” . According to the Syrian spiritual leader, the kidnapping may be linked to Ankara’s request to transfer the seat of the patriarchate of Antioch from Syria to Turkey. During his visit to the Islamic University of Moscow, the same Hassoun complained that at least 2 thousand Russians, mostly from the North Caucasus , are fighting in the ranks of the armed opposition in Syria.

The Metropolitan Boulos Yazigi (the Orthodox Church of Antioch ) and Metropolitan Mar Gregorios Youhanna Ibrahim (the Syrian Orthodox Church ) were seized by a group of militants, who killed their driver . The two Orthodox leaders were engaged in humanitarian work in the village of Kafr Dael , near the Turkish -Syrian border. The Russian Orthodox Church has expressed “deep concern” about their fate. “In all this time we have had no news of where they are and how they are . There have been many rumors, but none of them has never been officially confirmed” Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk , chairman of the Department for External Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate told AsiaNews late August. ( N.A. )

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

How Iran Evades Oil Sanctions: Hacking AIS to Cloak Identity of Tankers

International Business Times discloses in an article how Iran craftily evades oil sanctions by hacking the Automated Identification System, used in the maritime trades to track vessels globally. They change the identities of Iranian tankers when entering the Straits near Singapore and Malaysia, “Iran’s Clandestine Operations Take To The High Seas: How Iran Is Getting Its Crude Oil Out”:…

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

Ignoring the Sharia Basis for Iran’s Persecution of Christians

by Andrew Bostom

Iran’s application of the Sharia across a continuum of five centuries—with a brief hiatus under the Pahlavi Shahs from 1925-1979—is manifested by the ongoing persecution of its contemporary Christians, and other non-Muslim minorities. Now after three decades of strict re-application of the Sharia in Iran, since the retrograde “Khomeini Revolution” (which has included stoning to death for adultery, execution for homosexuality, abrogation of freedom of conscience and religious minority rights, etc.), and notwithstanding delusive arguments that these phenomena had engendered mass public rejection of Islamic Law, Pew polling data released June 11, 2013 (from face-to-face interviews with 1,522 adults, ages 18 years of age and older), reveal an entirely different reality. When asked, “Do you favor or oppose the implementation of Sharia law, or Islamic law in our country?”, 83% favored its application. A largely concordant finding demonstrated that only 28% of Iranians were at all concerned (i.e., 9% “very,” and 19% “somewhat” concerned) about “extremist religious groups” in the nation.

Willful blindness to this reality by our media and policymaking elites is a moral perversion that assures such Sharia-sanctioned oppression will continue indefinitely.

           — Hat tip: Andy Bostom [Return to headlines]

Iraqi PM to Discuss Arms Shipments, Help in Combating Insurgency During Meeting With Obama

Iraq’s prime minister says he will seek help in combating his country’s insurgency and ways to accelerate U.S. arms shipments during his visit to Washington.

Violence has spiked in Iraq since April, with over 5,000 people killed, and al-Qaida’s local branch appears stronger than it has been in years.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Polio Outbreak in Northeast Syria Confirmed by WHO

(AGI) Geneva, Oct 29 — The World Health Organisation has confirmed a polio outbreak among children in northeastern Syria. “Out of those 22 being investigated, 10 are now confirmed to be polio type one,” a WHO spokesman told a news briefing in Geneva. We are now awaiting the results of the analysis of the other 22 reported cases in Deir Ezzor, the spokesman added, concluding that there was a high risk of the disease spreading throughout the region.

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

Syria: EU Releases 85 Mln Euros in Aid to People

Funds for refugees, students, UNICEF, UNESCO

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, OCTOBER 28 — The European Commission on Monday released 85 million euros out of a total Syrian aid fund of 400 million euros to alleviate the consequences of the ongoing Syrian civil war. Of these, 40 million euros will be funneled to UNICEF and UNESCO health care and education programs in Syria, 40 million will aid Syrian refugees in Jordan, and five million euros will support Syrian students currently in Europe.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Syria: Pro-Assad Activists Hack Into Obama’s Twitter Account

@BarackObama now back to normal, CNBS reports

(ANSAmed) — NEW YORK, OCTOBER 28 — Internet pirates from the pro-Assad Syrian Electronic Army (SEA) on Monday said they hacked US President Barack Obama’s Twitter account. A tweet with a link to a Washington Post article was in fact briefly rerouted to a You Tube video on “terrorism in Syria”, CNBC reported.

The @BarackObama account is now back to normal. The SEA has claimed responsibility for hacking various US websites including that of the New York Times, the Associated Press and the Washington Post.

In September, it claimed it hacked into the US Marines website.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Turkey Opens First Intercontinental Undersea Railway

Turkey formally opened a rail link under the Bosphorous Sea on Tuesday, the first underwater railway linking two continents. The project, which links the Asian and European sides of Istanbul, cost €3 billion to complete.

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was also present at the official opening ceremony as the Japan Bank for International Cooperation was the main financer contributing 735 million euros ($1 billion) to the project.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Alleged Afghan Wedding Parade Killer Stoned to Death

(AGI) Kabul, Oct 29 — The inhabitants of an Afghan village stoned to death the man who was allegedly responsible for Sunday’s slaughter in the central province of Ghazni, where a bomb was detonated at the passing of a wedding parade, local sources reported. “The residents accused the man of having exploded a roadside bomb killing 18 people, including 14 women, three men and a child”, explained the spokesman of the provincial governor. Witnesses saw a man running away after the explosion and followed him to his house, where they found suspicious cables. Shortly after the man admitted he had exploded the bomb, provoking outrage among the residents, the spokesman added.

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

Germany Gives Afghan Interpreters Asylum

The German government said on Tuesday that it will allow 150 Afghan interpreters who worked for the Bundeswehr to leave Kundus and live in Germany, after receiving Taliban death threats.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

China Hunts Tiananmen ‘Suicide Blast’ Suspects

Chinese police are seeking two suspects believed to be members of China’s Uighur ethnic minority in connection with an apparent suicide car crash Monday in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square that killed two tourists and the vehicle’s three passengers.

Radicals among the Muslim Turkic Uighurs have been fighting a low-intensity insurgency against Chinese rule for years. This summer saw an unusually large number of violent incidents and Chinese security forces say they have been guarding against attacks outside of Xinjiang.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

128 Dead in Islamic Extremist Attack on Nigeria State Capital in State of Emergency

Nigerian military and hospital reports indicate a 5-hour-long battle between Islamic extremists and troops in the capital of Nigeria’s Yobe state killed at least 95 militants, 23 soldiers and eight police officers.

Details still trickling in days after the Thursday and Friday attack on Damaturu raise doubts about military claims that they have the upper hand in the fight to halt an Islamic uprising in northeast Nigeria, nearly six months after the government imposed a state of emergency.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Police Detain Five Over Kenya’s Westgate Mall Massacre

Kenyan police said Tuesday they were holding five suspects in connection with a September attack on Nairobi’s Westgate mall that left at least 67 people dead while two Kenyan soldiers faced charges for looting at the mall during the stand-off.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Lone Supporter of U. S. Cuban Embargo in U. N. Vote

(AGI) New York, Oct 29 — The U.N. General Assembly has voted 188 to 2 with 3 abstentions against the U.S. embargo against Cuba. This is the 22nd time the General Assembly has voted against the American economic blockade of the island. The only other country to side with the U.S. against the overwhelming vote was Israel. The Americans had one less vote than last year when the Pacific island nation of Palau supported the American position. This time Palau abstained, joining Micronesia and the Marshall Islands.

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

Belgium: ‘Nowhere Else Do Foreigners Work So Little’

De Standaard, 29 October 2013

Less than two thirds (62 per cent) of non-European immigrants living in Belgium had a job in 2012, notes De Standaard, in a report which cites and analyses figures from Eurostat.

This proportion, which is significantly lower than the average for other EU states (73 per cent), can be explained by industrial decline in the country, and by the language skills demanded by Belgian employers. However, according to an expert quoted by the daily, immigrants also have to endure “persistent discrimination” —

Employers are prejudiced against people with immigrant backgrounds whom they believe make less good employees. As a result, immigrant workers tend to end up in jobs that non-immigrants do not want, working in services or for recruitment agencies. In countries with a higher proportion of ‘bad’ jobs of this kind, immigrants have higher rates of employment.

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

Danglish for Beginners

Immigration debate has a powerful new voice

by Peter Stanners

The 18-year-old poet Yahya Hassan reignited the immigration debate a few weeks ago when he told Politiken newspaper that he was “****ing angry” at his parents’ generation.

“As soon our parents landed in Kastrup, their role as parents ended. We watched as they passively rotted on the sofa with the remote in their hand while receiving welfare,” Hassan said, describing the experience of some immigrants who moved to Denmark in the 1980s.

“Those of us who dropped out of school, those of us who became criminals, and those of us who became bums, we were not failed by the system, but by our parents.”

Hassan touched a nerve. With low performance in school and over representation in the criminal statistics, the problems facing the immigrant communities are well known. But correctly attributing the blame has been tricky.

The right-wing, for their part, are overjoyed that someone from the immigrant community has admitted that they are a lazy bunch who sponge off welfare and show little interest in Danish culture.

“Do these people even want to be integrated, or do they want to live in a parallel society and only enjoy a social system that is already under pressure?” Jyllands-Posten newspaper stated in an editorial.

“It’s about time that things are called out for what they are; this newspaper for years has tried to cover what has been happening in these closed environments.”

The right-wing in Denmark has accused the left of political correctness and letting immigrants set themselves apart in parallel societies. Indeed the left has shied away from addressing the cultural problems brought about by immigration, instead favouring to cast the problems as a structural issue.

For example, Anna Rytter on the far-left website Modkraft wrote that the world Hassan portrayed resembled the small town she was brought up in, where alcoholism, neglect and abuse was rife among its white middle-class inhabitants.

“It’s wrong to blame neglect on a culture. Social degradation is not derived from a particular cultural background, but from a socio-economic condition.”

Both sides have an agenda and Hassan’s testimony gave the right-wing the evidence they needed to show non-Western migrants were a lazy drain on public resources. The left-wing, on the other hand, saw him as a product of a society that had not done enough to empower marginalised groups after arriving in Denmark.

These polarised arguments are an unsubtle oversimplification of the immigration debate. It is unproductive to talk about a group of people in the third person and insinuate that there is something about their ‘otherness’ that makes them less scrupulous than the average Dane, while completely overlooking the role of poverty, poor language skills and the lack of a strong network within mainstream society.

But of course people have to take responsibility for their lives, and Hassan describes how many people he knows in the immigrant communities knowingly cheat the system in search of an easy life.

Some immigrants break into mainstream society, others don’t, and the factors that affect this are also probably desperately complex. But I think a major factor is how skilled the individual migrant happens to be at navigating the highly homogenous Danish society.

Danes relish their cultural rituals: from getting the flag out on birthdays to stamping their feet on the floor at weddings. They also have strong social norms, such as flat management structures, a lack of hierarchy and inclusive policies. But these norms are unspoken, unconscious, unquestioned and, most importantly, not universal.

So while Danes might assume they have an inclusive society, their lack of cultural perspective prevents them from reaching out to explain what their norms are. To foreigners coming from patriarchal societies, the benefits of inclusion over hierarchy may not be immediately clear.

An increased cultural perspective is central to breaking down the barriers to integration. Jyllands-Posten’s attitude is that foreigners should assimilate into the Danish way. But how can Danes promote cultural norms that immigrants are supposed to adopt, if these norms are unconscious?

Integration is complex and if we are going to develop solutions to social problems caused by immigration, we need to listen to other people’s stories. I agree with Politiken newspaper when they wrote that Hassan’s biggest contribution wasn’t necessarily the content of his poetry, but the fact that he was a new voice in the integration debate.

Hassan adds an extra angle that helps reflect more accurately the complexities of immigration and how the state, Danes and migrants are all to blame for the social problems facing society’s newest and least experienced members.

           — Hat tip: Steen [Return to headlines]

DHS Whistleblower Reveals Fast-Tracked Visas for Foreign Investors Created National Security Risk

Virginia Gov. candidate and Clinton pal McAuliffe’s former company tied to possible “green-card-for-sale” scam

A former DHS employee has cried foul on a suspected “green-card-for-sale” program, in which green card applications for high-dollar foreign investors were expedited at the behest of DHS officials, potentially creating dangerous gaps in national security.

DHS officials suspected of putting investments before national security when they expedited green card applications. The former citizenship service analyst, whose name has been withheld from a recent Washington Times report, says he witnessed more than 30 EB-5 visa program applications approved within an average of 4.3 days, a process that normally takes weeks or even months to complete.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Greek Police Alerted to Ship With 120 People

Boat located in international waters made it to Italy

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, OCTOBER 29 — The Hellenic Coast Guard reported that a boat carrying 120 immigrants which was located in international waters on Monday afternoon, about 110 nautical miles south southwest of Pylos, has entered Italian waters as daily To Vima online writes. According to the report, the boat captain refused assistance from the Coast Guard and was monitored by a nearby Danish merchant vessel, which updated the Greek Search and Rescue services. Meanwhile the Coast Guard is searching for immigrants in the area around the Louros peninsula of Kos, where about 15 people were saved late at night. The salvaged immigrants of unknown nationality reported that one person was missing.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Coastguard Rescue Hundreds More Migrants in Mediterranean

Pozzallo, 29 Oct. (AKI) — Coastguard intercepted nearly 400 migrants in the Mediterranean over the past 24 hours, authorities in Italy said on Tuesday.

Forty-one African migrants from Ghana and Nigeria including five women were rescued from a packed boat around 75 nautical miles south of the tiny southern Italian island of Lampedusa,.

Over 200 migrants of unspecified nationality were picked up aboard a boat around 80 nautical miles south of Lampedusa, while 133 Syrians and Eritreans were intercepted some 100 nautical miles off the Calabrian coast.

All the migrants were being transferred to Pozzallo, a small coastal town on Sicily’s south-eastern tip, aboard an Italian navy ship.

The influx of migrants to southern Europe fleeing conflict and poverty in Africa and the Middle East has continued despite the drownings of over 400 people earlier this month in two shipwrecks off Lampedusa and Malta.

The tragedies prompted Italy to step up its operations to rescue migrants in the Meditterranean and a pledge of “determined action” from European Union leaders at a summit in Brussels last week including boosting border patrols.

A total of 36,278 boat migrants reached Italy this year, as of 24 October, according to the interior ministry.

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

Turkey Welcomes 7,000 Greek Doctors Looking for Job

(ANSAmed) — ISTANBUL, OCTOBER 28 — Turkey is ready to welcome Greek doctors who are seeking jobs abroad, daily Hurriyet reports today quoting Turkish Health Minister Mehmet Muezzinoglu as saying yesterday. “Some 7,000 doctors in Greece are seeking jobs abroad. And we need them. (Turkey’s) doors are open to Greece’s 7,000 doctors. I invite them to serve this country and nation with their knowledge,” Muezzinoglu said. “Turkey used to take Greece as an example,” Muezzinoglu said. “But since 2002, Turkey has begun to achieve far and far beyond what Greece succeeded (at doing).” A statutory decree issued October 2, 2011, permitted the employment of foreign doctors and nurses in Turkey, as new regulations on the working conditions were approved in 2012. The regulations require foreign doctors to obtain a residence and a work permit, vocational liability insurance, as well as a certificate of equivalence from relevant state offices to demonstrate that their diplomas and other documents of expertise are in line with Turkish university standards. Foreign doctors are obliged to receive a minimum score of ‘B1’ from Turkish language tests administered by universities’ Turkish Teaching Application and Research Centers (TOMER) in accordance with criteria set forth by the European Language Portfolio. The regulations are valid for all foreign health workers except dentists, pharmacists, midwives and nurses, according to reports.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

‘Uncomfortable Truth’ In Matthew Shepard’s Death

Jimenez unearthed a story that few people wanted to hear. And it calls into question everything you think you know about the life and death of one of the leading icons of our age. Matthew Shepard, college student. Killed, at 21, for being gay.Or was he?

Jimenez’s “The Book of Matt: Hidden Truths About the Murder of Matthew Shepard,” out last month, challenges every cultural myth surrounding Shepard’s short life and unspeakable death. After some 13 years of digging, including interviews with more than 100 sources, including Shepard’s killers, Jimenez makes a radioactive suggestion:

The grisly murder, 15 years ago this month, was no hate crime.

Shepard’s tragic and untimely demise may not have been fueled by his sexual orientation, but by drugs. For Shepard had likely agreed to trade methamphetamines for sex. And it killed him.

Why dredge this up now? Jimenez’s answer surprised me.

“As a gay man,” he said, “I felt it was a moral thing to do.”

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

Brain Decoding: Reading Minds

By scanning blobs of brain activity, scientists may be able to decode people’s thoughts, their dreams and even their intentions.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Craig Venter: Why I Put My Name in Synthetic Genomes

Synthetic biologist Craig Venter, famous for creating the first synthetic organism, says it’s time to find the operating system for the DNA software of life

How has the definition of life changed during your lifetime?

Even when Watson and Crick published their structure of DNA in 1953 it wasn’t settled that DNA was the genetic material. It has gone from that at the start of my life, to sequencing the first genomes and then writing the first genomes to prove that DNA is the basis of life.

Is there a single advance that has shaped your understanding of what life is?

When we were able to move the DNA from one cell to another, converting one species to another, that was the proof that life is a DNA software system. If you change the software, you change the species.

Why do you think people find the idea of life as an information system hard to accept?

Because we like to think of the complexity of things. When we sequenced the human genome, a lot of people were angry that we only had 22,000 genes instead of 300,000. That is more complexity than any of us could even imagine, but linear thinkers wanted one gene for each trait.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Global Cooling: Are We Headed Into a ‘Little Ice Age?’

Global warming? More like global cooling, according to a leading U.K. scientist.

Professor Mike Lockwood from Reading University told the BBC that at the current rate of decline in solar activity, there is a risk that Northern Europe could become much colder and enter a new “Little Ice Age.”

The “Little Ice Age” refers to a period during the 1600s when winters were harsh all across Europe. The cold weather that plagued the continent coincided with an inactive sun, called the Maunder solar minimum.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

‘Minicomputers’ Live Inside the Human Brain

The brain may be an even more powerful computer than before thought — microscopic branches of brain cells that were once thought to basically serve as mere wiring may actually behave as minicomputers, researchers say.

The most powerful computer known is the brain. The human brain possesses about 100 billion neurons with roughly 1 quadrillion — 1 million billion — connections known as synapses wiring these cells together. Neurons each act like a relay station for electrical signals.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Root of Maths Genius Sought

Entrepreneur’s ‘Project Einstein’ taps 400 top academics for their DNA.

He founded two genetic-sequencing companies and sold them for hundreds of millions of dollars. He helped to sequence the genomes of a Neanderthal man and James Watson, who co-discovered DNA’s double helix. Now, entrepreneur Jonathan Rothberg has set his sights on another milestone: finding the genes that underlie mathematical genius.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UN Sets Up Asteroid Peacekeepers to Defend Earth

If a deadly asteroid takes aim at Earth, the United Nations will be on the case. The UN General Assembly last week agreed to set up an International Asteroid Warning Group that will compile and share information about potentially dangerous space rocks. Should an asteroid place our planet in peril, a UN committee will discuss options and oversee plans to launch a deflection mission.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

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