Gates of Vienna News Feed 11/23/2013

The Chinese government has claimed an air defense zone over a disputed group of islands, saying that aircraft entering the area must obey its rules. The islands are owned by Japan, which calls them the Senkakus, while China claims them as the Diaoyus.

In other news, the Italian government reports that copper thefts from rail lines and the electrical grid have risen by 12% since last year to 11,000 separate instances, causing serious economic damage.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Fjordman, heroyalwhyness, Insubria, JD, Jerry Gordon, JP, 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
» De Blasio and the Triborough Amendment: The Impending Fiscal Crisis for NYC
» Greece: Merkel Supports Creation of Development Bank
» Greek Hoteliers Look for Investors From Russia
» Letta Says Italy Vulnerable While 10-Year Bond Over 3%
» The Dying Dollar
» ‘US Hiding Real Debt, Worse Than Greece’ Economic Collapse is Here (Video)
» California Town Bans Smoking in Your Own Home
» Dallas Sheriff’s Dept. Lies About Assault on Peaceful Protestors
» Dashcam Footage Emerges of Arrest of Open Carry Army Sergeant
» Dems Hold ‘Closed-Door Discussion’ With NFL, NBA, NHL to Promote Climate Change Agenda
» High-Def Video: Rampaging Feds Attack Free Speech Demonstrators
» John Whitehead: A Government of Wolves (Video)
» New US Space Transportation Policy Stresses Private Spacecraft, Heavy-Lift Rocket
» NSA Infected 50,000 Computer Networks With Malicious Software
» NSA: Not Only Snooping But Infecting Computer Networks Worldwide
» NYPD Stats: 70% of Shooting Suspects in First Half of 2013 Were Black
» ObamaCare Official Admits Something So Incredible You’ll Wonder Why You’re Just Now Hearing About it
» Police Shoot and Kill Man Watering His Lawn
» Politico Reporter: ‘F*** the Troops’
» Rand Paul to Open African-American Engagement Office in Detroit
» Ringing the Dinner Bell for Russia, China and Iran
» Second Amendment Enables Bad Guys (Video)
» Shocked Business Neighbors Say Pharmacist Seemed Happy
» South Florida Muslim Youth Group Leader Faces 15 Years Sentence for Making Child Pornography New English Review
» Student, 14, ‘Used Tree Branch to Rape Teacher in School Bathroom Before Slitting Her Throat and Leaving a Note Saying “I Hate You All” Next to Her Staged Body’
» Subcontractor Working on ObamaCare Site Under FBI Investigation
» Teen Playing ‘Knockout Game’ Shot Twice by Victim
» This Massive Robot Could Soon Join Marines on the Battlefield
» Thomas Sowell: A Very Dangerous Game
» Under Obama, Your Electricity Costs Have Already Necessarily Skyrocketed
» US Internet Traffic Was Re-Routed Through Belarus
» Convicted Canadian Jihadi Omar Khadr’s Appeal Hits Roadblock in US
» Toronto’s Scandal-Hit Mayor Still Has 42 Percent Approval
Europe and the EU
» Copper Theft Hitting Italian Rail, Electrical Grid Hard
» Corruption Problem Among Some UK Minorities, Says MP
» France is on the Brink of Civil War, Warns Le Pen
» Greece: Three ATMs Destroyed by Arsonists in Separate Athens Suburbs
» Italy: Umbrian Flavours and Scents Seduce Americans
» Italy: Israelis Love Garda and Tuscany But Eye South
» Italy: Berlusconi Judge May Face New Disciplinary Measures
» Italy: Mayor Reported for ‘Usurious’ Traffic Ticket
» Italy: 6 Year 8 Month Sentence for Imam Abu Omar, Says Prosecutor
» Italy’s Premier Warned by Centre-Left Rising Star Renzi
» More Free Time for Prisoners in Italy
» New Weather Alert for Cyclone-Ravaged Sardinia
» Sweden: Agency Backs Halal Meat in School Lunch Spat
» Tourism Driving Economic Recovery in Spain
» UK: Corruption Rife in the Pakistani Community, Says Minister
» UK: Paedophile Who Evaded Justice for 30 Years Caught Because He Carried the Olympic Torch
» UK: Women Held as ‘Slaves’ Had Been Part of a ‘Collective’, Police Reveal
» Serbia-Bosnia: Improvement of Military-Economic Ties
Mediterranean Union
» Algeria: EU: 10 Mln for Agriculture and Development
» Egypt: EU: 47 Mln for Environment, Agriculture and Demining
» Germany Surpasses Italy in Trade With Med Region
» Italian Ports Losing Market Share to Southern Med
North Africa
» 35 Syrian Refugees in Egypt Start a Hunger Strike to Protest Their Detention
» Brotherhood Behind ‘Terrorist’ Attacks: Egypt Interior Minister
» Egypt Expels Turkish Ambassador
» Egypt Expels Turkish Envoy Amid Rising Tensions
» Egypt, Turkey Downgrade Relations
» Egypt Expels Turkish Envoy Over Erdogan Criticism of Morsi Ouster
» Italian Technology to Save Egyptian Museum Papyri
Israel and the Palestinians
» What 3,700-Year-Old Wine Tasted Like
» Wine Cellar 3,700 Years Old Hints at Ancient Royal Tastes
Middle East
» Bloodbath at Yemeni Wedding After Guests Are Shot Dead While Dancing to Gangnam Style When Reveller ‘Tries to Fire Ak-47 Into the Air to Celebrate’
» Corporate Media Ignores Massacre of Christians in Syria
» Iraq: Sunnis Close Their Mosques in Baghdad in Protest
» Planes: 20% of Finmeccanica’s Revenues From Gulf
» Saudi Arabia Would Not ‘Sit Idly By’ If West Fails With Iran
» Six Leading Rebel Groups Form Syrian Islamic Front
» Turkey: 300 Mine Workers Barricade Themselves in Protest
» Turkey Should Prepare Itself for Mass Exodus of Fighters From Syria
» UAE: Canadian Firm Hosts Physiological Workshop for Muslim Prayer
South Asia
» Horrors of India’s Brothels Documented
» Malaysia: Columnist Accuses Muslim Group of Defamation for Saying She Supports the Freedom to Leave Islam
» Pakistan: Christian Girl of 13 Abducted, Converted to Islam and Forced to Marry
Far East
» China’s New Air Defense Zone Above Senkakus “Very Dangerous” Escalation, Japan Says
» China Creates Air Defence Zone Over Japan-Controlled Islands
» China Establishes ‘Air-Defence Zone’ Over East China Sea
» China Tests First Stealth Combat Drone: Media
» Chinese Leaders Control Media, Academics to Shape the Perception of China
Australia — Pacific
» New Zealand: Minister Urges More Social Links With Muslims
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Zimbabwe Government Tells Foreigners to Close Shops, Make Way for Black Zimbabweans by Jan 1
Latin America
» Brazil’s President Shows Communist Colors
» Weekly Featured Profile — Dilma Rousseff
» Britain Must ‘Wake-Up to Endemic Corruption of Ethnic Minorities’, Says Attorney General Dominic Grieve
» UK: Grieve: Pakistani ‘Favour Culture’ Corrupts British Politics
Culture Wars
» Obama Awards Presidential Medal of Freedom to Abortion Activist Gloria Steinem
» Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich is Racist, Says Portland School Official
» The Evolution of Bitchiness
» UK: Children of 8 Are ‘Racist’ If They Miss Islam Trip: School’s Threatening Letter to Parents is Met With Outrage
» Dictator Style: How Tyrants Live Large on the People’s Backs
» E-Cigarettes Just More Smoke and Mirrors, Doctors Say
» Watch How the Major Religions Have Conquered the Entire World (Animation)

De Blasio and the Triborough Amendment: The Impending Fiscal Crisis for NYC

De Blasio’s recent mayoral victory was a sad day for New Yorkers. Electing him was proof that the constituency in NYC is morally, philosophically, and educationally bankrupt. And if the mayor sticks to his positions that he declared as candidate De Blasio, NYC will be financially bankrupt as well.

A strong argument can be made that the entire election was a public service union push. For four years now, the public service unions have waited to negotiate their contracts until Bloomberg was out of office. The time has come for the unions. De Blasio, from a position of patronage, will roll over and give the unions huge back-end and retroactive pay increases and benefits both undeserved and unaffordable. New York City could easily find itself in the same fiscal categories as Detroit and Chicago.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Greece: Merkel Supports Creation of Development Bank

In cooperation with German government’s KfW

(ANSAmed) — BERLIN, NOVEMBER 22 — German chancellor Angela Merkel said in a meeting with Greece’s prime minister, Antonis Samaras, in Berlin on Friday that Germany would continue to support Greece. One of the measures to be introduced is a bank for local development supported by the German Development Bank KfW.

“We are at a good point,” in talks on this issue, said Merkel. The Institute for Growth will receive an initial 500,000 euros in funding, “100,00 of which from the KfW,” said Samaras, noting that it would help to “bolster the economy and support Greek SMEs in a period in which liquidity is absolutely necessary”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Greek Hoteliers Look for Investors From Russia

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, NOVEMBER 22 — The owners of some 300 hotels in Greece are seeking investors in Russia to sell their units, daily Kathimerini reports quoting Nikos Angelopoulos, the honorary president of the Association of Hellenic Tourism Enterprises (SETE), as revealing on Thursday. Angelopoulos added that the hotel owners have already sent the relevant information to the Russian Embassy in Athens. He was speaking at a round-table discussion on tourism development that took place at a Thessaloniki hotel, organized by the German-Greek Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Given the major difficulties hoteliers are facing, SETE President Andreas Andreadis will meet with top officials of banks and the Hellenic Bank Association in the coming days in a bid to find a solution to the cash flow problem in the tourism sector.(

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Letta Says Italy Vulnerable While 10-Year Bond Over 3%

Premier says EIB needs to be reinforced

(see related Letta story) (ANSA) — Rome, November 22 — Premier Enrico Letta said Friday that Italy will remain vulnerable to financial turbulence while the interest rate on its 10-year bond is above 3%.

Italy risked enduring a Greek-style financial meltdown in 2011, when the rate on the 10-year-bond peaked at over 7%, with the spread between it and the German benchmark above 500 points.

Austerity polices introduced by the emergency technocrat government of Letta’s predecessor, Mario Monti, reassured investors and steered Italy out of the crisis.

The interest rate on 10-year bonds is currently a little over 4%, with the spread is over 230 points, but Letta says this is not good enough.

“We will continue to experience vulnerability until we have a rate on the 10-year bond that is at least as low as 3%, until that is a reference point for the system,” Letta told the assembly of Italian cooperative banks, Federcasse. He added that Italy will use its duty presidency of the European Union in the second half of next year to ensure that the EU moves to a period of promoting growth and fighting unemployment.

Rome will have more credibility in this bid thanks to its efforts to put its financial house in order, added Letta, who replaced Monti at the helm of a left-right coalition government in April to end two months of political deadlock after February’s inconclusive general election.

“We have to put the season of financial rigour behind us, but the season of growth has to be based on having the accounts in order,” Letta said.

“For the first time after many years, both our debt and deficit will be in decline next year,” added the premier, whose government is planning to raise 10-12 billion euros in privatizations and push through a round of spending cuts to reduce debt and finance growth-stoking measures.

“We’d all like to have more money (to invest), but that would mean breaking the (EU) deficit rules”. Letta also said the EU needed to bolster the European Investment Bank (EIB) as the efforts of the European Central Bank (ECB) to promote growth were insufficient on their own. “There is the risk of making a fatal mistake,” Letta said.

“That would be to give all the weight to a single instrument, the ECB, even though this made it possible to calm the crisis under the leadership of an authoritative Italian, Mario Draghi. “The ECB cannot promote development. It’s necessary to reinforce the EIB”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

The Dying Dollar

Since 2006, the US dollar has experienced a one-quarter to one-third drop in value to the Chinese yuan, depending on the choice of base.

Now China is going to let the dollar decline further in value. China also says it is considering undermining the petrodollar by pricing oil futures on the Shanghai Futures Exchange in yuan. This on top of the growing avoidance of the dollar to settle trade imbalances means that the dollar’s role as reserve currency is coming to an end, which means the termination of the US as financial bully and financial imperialist. This blow to the dollar in addition to the blows delivered by jobs offshoring and the uncovered bets in the gambling casino created by financial deregulation means that the US economy as we knew it is coming to an end.

The US economy is already in shambles, with bond and stock markets propped up by massive and historically unprecedented Fed money printing pouring liquidity into financial asset prices. This month at the IMF annual conference, former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers said that to achieve full employment in the US economy would require negative real interest rates. Negative real interest rates could only be achieved by eliminating cash, moving to digital money that can only be kept in banks, and penalizing people for saving.

The future is developing precisely as I have been predicting.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

‘US Hiding Real Debt, Worse Than Greece’ Economic Collapse is Here (Video)

This interview is with Lawrence Kotlikoff who knows what he’s talking about

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

California Town Bans Smoking in Your Own Home

A California ordinance that prohibits smoking in residences with shared walls may be the strictest anti-smoking law in the United States, city officials say.

The ban, passed by the city of San Rafael, applies to both owners and renters, ABC News reported Thursday.

It covers any multi-family residence with three or more units, including condominiums, co-ops and apartments. The ban took effect Nov. 14.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Dallas Sheriff’s Dept. Lies About Assault on Peaceful Protestors

The spokesperson for the Dallas Co., Texas sheriff completely distorted the department’s violent attack on peaceful demonstrators by stating that the deputies ordered the crowd to move and disperse when no such order was given prior to yesterday’s assault.

Carmen Castro, spokeswoman for Sheriff Lupe Valdez, told the Dallas Morning News that the deputies violently charged the free speech demonstrators because they were crowding “not only private citizens who were attempting to pay their respects but also equipment that was in place for the event.”

She further stated that the demonstrators was forcibly moved back after they “refused to obey.”

Yet the deputies gave no such orders to the crowd prior to their assault. As the beginning of our own footage shows, the deputies marched to the crowd with the intent to attack and nothing else…

Local police, however, are effectively federalized during special events, taking orders from federal agencies such as the DHS. The deputies didn’t decide anything.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Dashcam Footage Emerges of Arrest of Open Carry Army Sergeant

Police dashcam footage of the arrest of Army Master Sergeant CJ Grisham has surfaced, and reveals how dangerously close the decorated veteran came to losing his life in an altercation with Temple, Texas police officers.

The March 16, 2013 footage begins with officer Steve Ermis pulling up behind Grisham and his son, who were hiking down a road minding their own business.

As Grisham later explained, he was wielding an AR-15 rifle (legal to open carry in Texas) and a .45 caliber pistol (also legal with the proper permits) in case they encountered feral hogs, which are native to the Temple region, number in the millions and particularly destructive.

The footage shows Officer Ermis approaching the two hikers cautiously, and telling Grisham, “Don’t be touching it,” even though Grisham’s hands were nowhere near the gun. Ermis asks Grisham what he’s doing and reaches out to grab his rifle, examining it nervously before he asks, “Some reason why you have this?”

“Because I can,” Grisham replies.

The officer mumbles, “Well, okay,” before he reaches towards the stock of Grisham’s gun, startling Grisham, who at this point says, “Hey, don’t disarm me man,” and tries to secure his rifle by placing his hand on it.

Shocked by Grisham’s reaction, the officer draws his sidearm and begins yelling at Grisham to get his hand off the gun.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Dems Hold ‘Closed-Door Discussion’ With NFL, NBA, NHL to Promote Climate Change Agenda

Climate change alarmists have turned to recruiting sports leagues to promote eco-hysteria. Democrats in Congress are calling on the major sports leagues to promote climate change regulation and to answer what they are doing to limit greenhouse gases.

Democratic legislators from the Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change announced on Nov. 20 that they will host major sports league officials in “a closed-door discussion,” Nov. 21. Representatives from Major League Baseball, the NFL, NBA/WNBA, NHL and Olympics are expected to attend.

That will be followed by press availability. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) are expected to “discuss the effects of climate change on sporting activities and the work these organizations are doing to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions,” according to the task force website.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

High-Def Video: Rampaging Feds Attack Free Speech Demonstrators

Dallas Co., Texas sheriff’s deputies assaulted peaceful demonstrators almost immediately after arriving at the Dealey Plaza and proceeded to push the free speech activists back at least one city block in yesterday’s violent assault initiated by law enforcement.

The deputies marched in from behind the non-violent crowd to the very front of the rally, turned around, and opened up their own barricades to begin the assault, which continued from Dealey Plaza to the John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza at least one full city block away.

Prior to the attack, the protestors stayed behind the barricades and did not attempt to move them.

The intent of the police, apparently under orders by Homeland Security, was to create a “free speech zone,” in other words a zone banning the right to speak freely and assemble peacefully in a public place during the JFK 50th anniversary event.

One demonstrator said that after the deputies arrived in single file, they looked at each other, counted down from three and then charged the crowd.

“They begin to charge, to shove and grab indiscriminately,” J.W. stated. “I screamed at them and said ‘there are children here, there are children here!’“

“What I witnessed here today, I believe, is what happens all throughout history when truth is pushed to the head.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

John Whitehead: A Government of Wolves (Video)

John Whitehead (Rutherford Institute) is interview by historian Tom Woods (The Tom Woods Show) regarding his new book “A Government Of Wolves,” which details the rise of the American police state and the expansive deployments of militaristic SWAT teams.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

New US Space Transportation Policy Stresses Private Spacecraft, Heavy-Lift Rocket

The Obama administration has outlined its strategy for maintaining what it describes as the United States’ global leadership role in spaceflight and exploration.

The White House’s new national space transportation policy, released Thursday (Nov. 21), reinforces several previously stated administration priorities. It calls on federal agencies to continue supporting the development of private American spaceships to carry astronauts to and from low-Earth orbit, for example, and directs NASA to keep working on a heavy-lift rocket to send people much farther afield.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

NSA Infected 50,000 Computer Networks With Malicious Software

The American intelligence service — NSA — infected more than 50,000 computer networks worldwide with malicious software designed to steal sensitive information. Documents provided by former NSA-employee Edward Snowden and seen by this newspaper, prove this.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

NSA: Not Only Snooping But Infecting Computer Networks Worldwide

Not only does the NSA snoop your personal communications, the agency also excels at infecting computer networks with malicious software.

Recently discovered Snowden information reveals the NSA infected more than 50,000 computer networks worldwide with malware, the Dutch news outlet reports.

Edward Snowden, the former NSA analyst roundly excoriated by government as a dangerous leaker, has revealed that more than 50,000 computer networks worldwide have been infected.

A management presentation shows how the surveillance agency uses “Computer Network Exploitation” (CNE) in more than 50,000 locations. “CNE is the secret infiltration of computer systems achieved by installing malware, malicious software,” reports the Dutch website,

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

NYPD Stats: 70% of Shooting Suspects in First Half of 2013 Were Black

Data collected during the first six months of the year also reveal that 74% of the city’s shooting victims were black, and an additional 21.5% were Hispanic. NYPD top cop Raymond Kelly has used similar numbers to justify stop-and-frisk, while black community activists say the frustrating statistics reflect the stark reality of economics in poorer neighborhoods.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

ObamaCare Official Admits Something So Incredible You’ll Wonder Why You’re Just Now Hearing About it

A large portion of the error-riddled, multimillion dollar federal health insurance exchange system has not even been built yet, according to a senior official involved in the construction of the website…

“I don’t have an exact percentage,” said Henry Chao, deputy chief information officer of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. “I look at it in terms of overall marketplace systems.”

“I think it was a set of priority functions that needed to be in place,” Chao added.

“Well, how much do we have to build today?” Gardner pressed.

“Just an approximation, we’re probably sitting somewhere between 60 and 70 percent,” Chao said.

“Sixty to 70 percent that needs to be built still?” Gardner said.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Police Shoot and Kill Man Watering His Lawn

“Back in 2010, neighbors of Long Beach, California (are we surprised this happened here?) resident Douglas Zerby looked out their windows in the dim light of the setting sun and saw what they thought was a man standing in the yard waiving around a gun. They called police, who came and shot the man 12 times, without warning.

“Only after the man, Zerby, went down, did they realize he’d been watering his lawn, with this- exhibit A; “Zerby’s family sued and was awarded $6.5 million dollars in damages this week. However, it will never bring him back.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Politico Reporter: ‘F*** the Troops’

“So, 4000 rubes are dead. Cry me the Tigris. Another 30,000 have been seriously wounded. Boo ing hoo. They got what they asked for — and cool robotic limbs too.”

Thus begins a virulent anti-American soldier screed titled “ the Troops,” written by Politico Magazine reporter Ian Murphy during the Iraq War. His current offering for Politico, “How I Punked Scott Walker,” appeared yesterday as the number two profiled story in the website’s new magazine. It describes Murphy’s failed attempt to upend the Wisconsin Governor’s historic battle against public service union collective bargaining rights.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Rand Paul to Open African-American Engagement Office in Detroit

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., will open an African American Engagement Office in Detroit, Mich., as part of a Republican effort to improve their efforts to reach out to the traditionally-Democratic voters.

The office is the first-of-its-kind for the Republicans. “Every community in the United States should be engaged by the Republican Party and Senator Paul believes that the values of limited government, and more freedom have broad appeal,” Doug Stafford, one of Paul’s senior advisers, stated. “He is pleased to help lead this effort.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Ringing the Dinner Bell for Russia, China and Iran

Just when you think it can’ t get worse, Obama does something even more treasonous. What scares the literal crap out of me is that no one seems to care.

John Kerry announced on the 18th that the Monroe Doctrine was officially dead, throwing the doors open on this continent to Russia, China and Iran. This move will massively ramp up terrorist and communist infiltration. I look at the puzzle pieces of Obama’ s moves lately and a very cold chill runs down my spine. From Chinese troops in Hawaii for the Grid X II drill, to the purging of our military. From Amnesty for millions and the dissolution of our borders, to China’ s growing investments in Venezuela, Colombia, Peru and Chile, and in its bailouts of Venezuelan and Argentinian debt. From Russia’ s increased military sales to terrorist/communist countries such as Venezuela and their quasi-military bases being stepped up in Nicaragua and Cuba, to Iran bankrolling Hezbollah cells across the hemisphere, shipping people and materiel to Venezuela and laundering cash in Ecuador, while forging alliances wherever they can. Does anyone else see the preparations taking place here? Will anyone resist or will America succumb without the slightest push back?

Investor’ s Business Daily said it just right:

Diplomacy: Secretary of State John Kerry just scrapped 190 years of U.S. foreign policy in Latin America, casually declaring the Monroe Doctrine is over.Why didn’ t he just ring the dinner triangle for Russia, China, Iran and their terrorist catspaws to set up shop, too?

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Second Amendment Enables Bad Guys (Video)

So says the Brady Campaign in a recently released video. The bad guy, a cartoon character, is shown buying an illegal gun. The video, narrated by a child, insists this sort of behavior will be corrected by background checks.

Background checks do nothing to stop criminals from buying guns on the street. The NRA points to a Bureau of Justice Statistics report that surveyed inmates on how they acquired firearms. It reveals that 79 percent received firearms from a “street/illegal source” or from “friends or family.” In other words, using background checks will do next to nothing to stop criminal use of firearms.

The video insists “40% of gun purchases bypass lifesaving Brady Background Checks because the law doesn’t adequately cover guns sold by private sellers or over the Internet.” This myth has been widely debunked.

Obama and other gun grabbers keep using the figure. It is more than two decades old and is based on flawed data collected from a survey in 1994, the same year that the Brady Act background check law went online. A Washington Post fact checker trashed the study.

The Brady gun grabbers and their political allies like billionaire New York mayor Michael Bloomberg are not going to stop until every gun sale in America is recorded in a database.

Gun grabbers will not be satisfied with merely recording firearm sales. The final and logical step will be gun confiscation.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Shocked Business Neighbors Say Pharmacist Seemed Happy

HYDE PARK — The last time they saw him, business owners who knew Abbas Lodhi say he seemed content.

“He was happy,” Shirley Lansing, co-owner of L&L Assembly on Violet Avenue here, said of the Hyde Park pharmacist police say shot his wife and two sons before killing himself.

Lodhi, 49, and his younger son, Zain Lodhi, 9, were found dead of gunshot wounds in a car in front of a Pleasant Valley supermarket Thursday, state police said. His elder son, Mujtabah Lodhi, 13, was found dead at the family residence in Pleasant Valley later that day.

And on Friday, his wife, Sarwat Lodhi, 43, was found dead of a gunshot wound on Route 376 in Wappinger.

Police described the incident as a murder-suicide.

There were few signs of family strife, say the business owners who operated next to Hyde Park Pharmacy, a small, unassuming storefront in Haviland Shopping Center.

State records show the business was established Jan. 26, 2010, and that Abbas Lodhi was licensed as a pharmacist in 1993. His license was current through March 31, 2014.

“Great neighbor,” said Mark DeLucca, co-owner of Haviland Auto Repair. “Good customer. Very friendly.”

Not as much is known about the victims, Sarwat, Mujtabah and Zain Lodhi.

Sarwat Lodhi was a homemaker and was not employed, state police said.

Abbas Lodhi enrolled his two sons in the Sunday Islamic School at the Al-Noor Mosque on All Angels Hill Road in the Town of Wappinger about two months ago, said Nasir Mahmood, who attends the mosque regularly.

His two sons attended school in the Arlington Central School District. Mujtabah Lodhi was an eighth-grader at LaGrange Middle School. Zain Lodhi was in fourth grade at Joseph D’Aquanni West Road Intermediate School.

Counseling was available Friday for all Arlington students, Superintendent Brendan Lyons said. Lyons said Arlington staff and students described Zain as a personable, hardworking student who was always smiling. Mujtabah Lodhi was described as kind, funny and athletic and was planning to try out for the basketball team, Lyons said

Mahmood, who owns Pine Plains Pharmacy in Pine Plains, said he met Abbas Lodhi when he came to the area to open the pharmacy in Hyde Park.

“He asked for advice and guidance,” Mahmood said.

He said Abbas Lodhi seemed happy when he sold his pharmacy a few weeks ago and was thinking about opening another pharmacy.

Jean McArthur, owner of Pay-less Oil and McArthur’s Wine and Liquors a few doors down from the pharmacy, said she knew the boys’ father as an “average guy trying to make a living.”

“I am really in shock,” she said. “That’s not the same person that I knew from working with him in the business community. We just don’t know what goes on behind closed doors in their home life.”

The business owners said Abbas Lodhi appeared committed to his family’s well-being. They said the family relocated from Goshen, Orange County, to Pleasant Valley because the long hours and commute were keeping him from his sons. Sometimes he slept at the pharmacy before the move, they said.

“He was always complaining that he was not spending enough time with his kids,” Shirley Lansing said.

They said he expanded into a vacant, neighboring store and did well selling prescriptions. But the retail business did not keep pace, they said. About three weeks ago he sold his business, they said. Inside the locked storefront, the shelves were bare..

“He said he was in good shape financially,” said Melvin Lansing, Shirley’s husband and co-owner of L&L Assembly, next door to the pharmacy. “He made a profit on his house. He made money selling his business. He seemed happy.”

Melvin Lansing said there was one possible sign of problems. He said Abbas Lodhi confided in him that his wife was suffering from “mental issues.”

“He did tell me a few months ago that his wife had some type of mental issues. He was having concerns about that,” Melvin Lansing said.

The Lansings said Abbas Lodhi had entertained the thought of moving back to Pakistan to be closer to family. They said he also was deeply saddened by the death of his father from cancer earlier this year.

However, McArthur and the Lansings said Abbas Lodhi also was considering working as a pharmacist again, this time in LaGrangeville.

“What could be so wrong in somebody’s life?” McArthur said. “I don’t understand it.”

           — Hat tip: heroyalwhyness [Return to headlines]

South Florida Muslim Youth Group Leader Faces 15 Years Sentence for Making Child Pornography New English Review

According to a report in the Sun Sentinel, 24 Year Old Pakistani born Umair Tayyab Sheik of Cooper City, Florida pled guilty to Child Pornography charges for “coercing a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct to make child pornography.” He could be sentenced up to 15 years at a Federal Sentencing hearing in Miami scheduled for February 11, 2014. Sheik Tayyab was the youth group director for a local Mosque.

The Sun Sentinel headline masked the fact that Sheik was a Muslim, “South Florida religious youth group leader admits he made child porn video of student”…

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

Student, 14, ‘Used Tree Branch to Rape Teacher in School Bathroom Before Slitting Her Throat and Leaving a Note Saying “I Hate You All” Next to Her Staged Body’

The 14-year-old student accused of raping, robbing and murdering his high school math teacher used a tree branch to sexually assault her and left a hate note next to her body, it has been revealed.

Philip Chism left a folded piece of paper with the words ‘I hate you all’ next to the corpse of Colleen Ritzer after he slit her throat in a bathroom and left her body in a ‘sexually staged’ position at Danvers High School in Massachusetts, according to court court papers.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Subcontractor Working on ObamaCare Site Under FBI Investigation

One of the subcontractors working on the Obamacare website is currently under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Client Network Services Incorporated (CNSI) became a sub-contractor on the Obamacare website in 2012, working hand in hand with QSSI, according to its website. QSSI was one of several contractors hauled before Congress to address the sites troubled rollout in October.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Teen Playing ‘Knockout Game’ Shot Twice by Victim

As Breitbart News previously reported, the “Knockout Game” thrives in areas where victims are unarmed. In the “game,” teens approach a stranger on the sidewalk or in an alley and punch the stranger in an attempt to knock him or her out. A punch that results in a knockout scores one point.

WILX in Lansing reported that teenager Marvell Weaver, who is black, tried to knock out a father who was standing at a bus stop waiting for his daughter to arrive. Instead of simply punching the father, Weaver tried a variation on the “game” by trying to taze the man. The taser malfunctioned, and the father pulled a .40 cal handgun and shot the teenager twice.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

This Massive Robot Could Soon Join Marines on the Battlefield

The future doesn’t always arrive with a gasp and a boom like Skynet inTerminator. No, sometimes it’s more like Office Space.

At least that’s the idea I get watching this video of the Marines’ testing the Legged Squad Support System. DARPA built the LS3 to act as an autonomous pack horse that “can carry 400 lbs of a squad’s load, follow squad members through rugged terrain and interact with troops in a natural way, similar to a trained animal and its handler.” Author

Its headless form has always disturbed me in its … headlessness. (Like, did Haruki Murakami design these things in a fever dream? Robots galloping across the plains.)

And yet, in the hands of real Marines, it sounds like they’re testing a new network printer out, or maybe putting the office fob system through its paces.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Thomas Sowell: A Very Dangerous Game

Young blacks who attack people of other races for fun are getting no media attention.

The way the game is played: One of a number of young blacks decides to show that he can knock down some stranger on the streets, preferably with one punch, as they pass by. Often some other member of the group records the event, so that a video of that “achievement” is put on the Internet, to be celebrated.

The New York authorities report a recent series of such attacks and, because Jews have been singled out in these attacks, are considering prosecuting these assaults as “hate crimes.” Advertisement

Many aspects of these crimes are extremely painful to think about, including the fact that responsible authorities in New York seem to have been caught by surprise, even though this “knockout game” has been played for years by young black gangs in other cities and other states, against people besides Jews — the victims being either whites in general or people of Asian ancestry.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Under Obama, Your Electricity Costs Have Already Necessarily Skyrocketed

Actually, in the last 10 years, electricity costs have gone up 42%. I noticed, did you? While not all the blame can be put on Obama (Bush was enabling the EPA as well), a great deal of it can and who can forget his famous quote on coal and energy in general:

– From CNS News:

The price of electricity hit a record for the month of October, according to data released Wednesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That made October the eleventh straight month when the average price of electricity hit or matched the record level for that month.

The average price of electricity in October was 13.2 cents per kilowatt hour (KWH), up from 12.8 cents per KWH in October 2012 — and up from 9.3 cents per KWH in October 2003.

Americans now pay 42 percent more for electricity than they did a decade ago.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

US Internet Traffic Was Re-Routed Through Belarus

(Washington Post) In 2010 a Chinese ISP momentarily hijacked the Internet. Due to a misconfiguration, some traffic that should have gone to Dell, CNN, Starbucks and Apple was sent to China instead. The incident lasted for only a few minutes and the responsible party claimed it was an accident. But it highlights a dangerous security weakness in one of the Internet’s fundamental protocols.

Research released this week has revealed two more cases in which misconfigurations re-routed traffic far from their intended destination. For example, in one of the attacks, traffic traveling from Mexico to the United States took a circuitous and illogical route to Belarus.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Convicted Canadian Jihadi Omar Khadr’s Appeal Hits Roadblock in US

Canadian Omar Khadr, who as a teen age Jihadi mortally wounded an American Special Forces Medic in a grenade attack at the battle of Khost in 2002 in Afghanistan, lost an appeals round on Friday in a decision by the US Court of Military Commission Review. Khadr, scion of an Al Qaeda terrorist Canadian family ,was convicted in October 2010 by a GITMO tribunal in a controversial deal that resulted in his being transferred to Canada to serve an eight year term in a Federal Canadian high security prison in Edmonton, Saskatchewan. We had followed the Khadr saga in a series of New English Review articles. Khadr, captured as a 15 year old at the battle of Khost, is now 27 years old. Both his Canadian and US counsels have filed appeals seeking to overturn the GITMO tribunal sentence and in the interim transfer him to a Canadian facility for youthful offenders . Federal Canadian authorities considers him a dangerous terrorist and want to keep him where he is to serve out the balance of the agreed upon sentence. We wrote about the controversial circumstances of Khadr’s return to Canada in an October 2012 Front Page Magazine article, “A Canadian terrorist’s Homecoming”…

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

Toronto’s Scandal-Hit Mayor Still Has 42 Percent Approval

(Reuters) — More than 40 percent of Toronto voters still approve of the job Mayor Rob Ford has done, even after he admitted smoking crack cocaine and city council stripped him of much of his authority.

A Forum Research survey of 1,049 Toronto voters released on Friday showed that 42 percent of respondents approve of the job Ford has been doing as mayor of Canada’s largest city.

That’s down from 44 percent in a similar poll two weeks ago, but up from 39 percent in late October, just before Ford admitted he smoked crack cocaine while in office.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Copper Theft Hitting Italian Rail, Electrical Grid Hard

Some 11,000 robberies in first half of 2013

(ANSA)- Rome, November 22 — Italy’s train service, as well as its electrical grid, are suffering severe economic effects of copper thieves. According to government data released Friday, there were 11,000 separate instances of copper theft in Italy, up 12% since the same period in 2012. Some 2,000 of those thefts were on Italian rail lines, while 5,000 were on property belonging to utility provider Enel, up 80% since 2011.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Corruption Problem Among Some UK Minorities, Says MP

Attorney General Dominic Grieve has said politicians need to “wake up” to the issue of corruption in some minority communities. Mr Grieve told the Daily Telegraph it was not restricted to “any one community” but he was referring mainly to “the Pakistani community”.

He said it must be made “absolutely clear” that a “favour culture” is unacceptable in Britain.

British Asian politicians, including a fellow Tory, criticised the comments. Mr Grieve told the Telegraph he would be “wary of saying” it was just a Pakistani problem, pointing out corruption was found in the “white Anglo-Saxon” community too.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

France is on the Brink of Civil War, Warns Le Pen

France is on the brink of full-scale insurrection and bankruptcy after decades of selling out to immigrants and opening its borders to foreign trade, the leader of the French National Front has told The Times, warning that the country would be “put to the fire and the sword”.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Greece: Three ATMs Destroyed by Arsonists in Separate Athens Suburbs

Three ATMs were targeted by unknown assailants in the early hours of Saturday in Athens. The cash dispensers were located in the areas of Kallithea, Neos Cosmos and Illioupoli. Police said the ATMs were doused with flammable liquid and set on fire.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Italy: Umbrian Flavours and Scents Seduce Americans

Steve McCurry photos demonstrate beauty, tradition of region

(By Sandra Cordon) (ANSA) — Perugia, November 18 — The tastes, smells and sights of the region of Umbria, known as Italy’s “green heart”, are featured until November 30 in New York City’s Eataly outlet.

Eataly, an international outpost of Italian food and wine, has currently focused its New York store on Umbrian products, which are presented alongside photos from internationally acclaimed photojournalist Steve McCurry’s Sensational Umbria project.

Eataly, which has stores all over the world, draws as many as seven million visitors annually to the New York outlet, where this month they can taste such Umbrian products as the regional heritage grain farro, wines such as its Sagrantino, as well as pastas and olive oil particular to the mountainous region.

Special themed dishes that represent the culture of Umbria include strangozzi with butter and truffles, pumpkin with lentils and onions, Umbrian lentils and sausage, farro salad with truffles and local cheese, and chicken with mushrooms and dandelion — all washed down with Umbrian wines.

“It’s a great operation,” said Dino Borri, a senior manager at Eataly which recently welcomed Umbrian visitors including regional Governor Catiuscia Marini and the councilor responsible for tourism, Fabrizio Bracco.

Borri says this presentation at Eataly is important to raising Umbria’s profile among American consumers, which he described as a good fit for what the region has to offer.

He says that with Umbria, Eataly has “a special relationship in the sense that working with the Umbrians, who are entrepreneurs or representatives of institutions, we find an empathy between what we do here, our philosophy,” with that of the Umbrians.

“In Umbria, there are people who have a passion for food and wine, with a modern vision of how they are to be presented and promoted…it is the same philosophy at Eataly,” he added.

Cooking classes, olive-oil tastings, and even presentations on artisanal chocolate from Umbria are included in the current presentation at Eataly, where the emphasis is not only on selling food products but assisting with ideas for cooking and presentation.

The McCurry exhibition Sensational Umbria opened earlier this month at the New York office of Italian foreign trade agency ICE, and featured a selection of the 100 shots commissioned by Umbrian authorities as part of their international marketing campaign for the region.

His photos celebrate treasures of Umbria’s art history, sublime landscapes, centuries-old traditions along with avant-garde industries of this central Italian region.

Meanwhile, the American magazine Wine Enthusiast has joined in on the rising interest in Umbria, with a special issue dedicated to the region in the works for February.

That will include a contest with the main prizes including wine trips to the region.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Israelis Love Garda and Tuscany But Eye South

Buyers from Israel at Borsa Paestum event discover new resorts

(ANSAmed) — PAESTUM, NOVEMBER 19 -Israeli tourists love northern Italy, from Lake Garda to Venice and Verona, but are now eyeing the South, including the port city of Naples, the Gulf islands and archaeological treasures in Pompeii and Paestum. According to 2012 data, 4.387,200 Israelis travelled worldwide and 492,000 visited Italy at least for an overnight stay.

And the event on Sunday Borsa Mediterranea focusing on archaeological tourism which took place in Paestum is eyeing this phenomenon and invited eight top tour operators from the country to take part in business-to-business workshops with tourism authorities, promoters and southern Italian operators.

‘New offers for the next touristic season concern southern Italy with two new tours, from Naples to Rome, and Naples with the Gulf islands and Amalfi coast’, Chayuta Markovitz, a manager with tour operator Isst based in Tel Aviv and with 15 agencies across Israel, told ANSAmed. The operator’s clientele includes family groups and youths: ‘Israelis feel more of a connection with destinations like Lake Garda, tours of the Liguria coast, the French Riviera and Cinque Terre’ in Italy. ‘This is why charter flights during the summer mostly land in Verona. But Rome is also very much sought after and it is from there that we want to expand towards the South, including Sicily with the seaside and monuments’.

Rome is also the venue of choice for Israelis to go shopping. ‘Israelis love monuments in the capital but mostly the shopping’, said Tali Benyishay of the Ophirrtours travel agency in Jerusalem who stresses the importance of touristic packages coming directly from different territories. ‘Israelis love Italy and very much love Italian food. Many travel to Tuscany where there are monuments and a wonderful landscape as well as tastings of local products and typical cuisine’.

And this was the starting point for a number of ideas launched at the event in Paestum for tours with tastings around the area of Paestum’s archaeological excavations or a five-day tour of monuments around Salerno including special eateries in the region.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Berlusconi Judge May Face New Disciplinary Measures

Esposito in hot seat over post-trial interview

(ANSA) — Rome, November 22 — An Italian supreme court judge faces possible new disciplinary measures for a controversial interview he gave after leading the panel that upheld a tax-fraud conviction against ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi in August, Italian media reported Friday.

According to the daily Il Messaggero, a Cassation Court prosecutor has launched a probe into Antonio Esposito, whose interview with Naples-based daily Il Mattino caused a massive furore, coming so soon after Berlusconi received his first-ever binding conviction following two decades of legal battles.

It was a highly unusual move as a court usually only comments on its sentences in a written explanation generally published over a month after the verdict is announced.

Esposito said that during the interview, he was talking only in general terms and the newspaper had misconstrued his comments to make it seem as if he had been referring specifically to Berlusconi’s case.

Last week the Italian judiciary’s self-governing body (CSM) announced a large majority of senior committee members had voted to drop its own case against him.

But the case lodged against Esposito at the Cassation court may lead to bringing the judge back before the CSM’s disciplinary panel.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Mayor Reported for ‘Usurious’ Traffic Ticket

Commuter incensed over 323-euro fine, 10-euro postage

(ANSA) — Turin, November 22 — A lawyer in the Northern Italian region of Piedmont on Friday reported a local mayor to police for for alleged usury after an unpaid traffic fine nearly doubled to 323 euros.

The man was fined after he was caught on camera running a red light last April in the town of Montalenghe, near Turin.

“The increase applies usurious rates,” the lawyer said when he filed the complaint with prosecutors. Mayor Valerio Grosso said the local authorities had simply applied the increases as required by the road norms in Italy.

In addition to demanding compensation for the fine, the lawyer was suing for an additional 10 euros in postage.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: 6 Year 8 Month Sentence for Imam Abu Omar, Says Prosecutor

(AGI) Milan, Nov 22 — Deputy Prosecutor Maurizio Romanelli has called for a 6 year and 8 month sentence on the grounds of international terrorist offences for the former Imam of Milan, Abu Omar. Mr. Omar was kidnapped by the CIA over 10 years ago, on Feb 17 2003, which then led to an enquiry into several Italian secret service agents led by Niccolo’ Pollari. Abu Omar is being tried in absentia as he is currently in Egypt.

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

Italy’s Premier Warned by Centre-Left Rising Star Renzi

(AGI) Rome, Nov 22 — Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta has received a warning from Democratic Party (PD) rising star Matteo Renzi. “If we want the government to go forward, it is necessary to cut political positions and costs, if we want the government to go forward, it is necessary to start doing things, otherwise….we’ll get angry”. He was quoting from a Bud Spencer and Terence Hill slapstick cowboy film. “I’m not against Letta; I am for Italy, and I am willing to take a step back from my personal ambitions for the good of the country.

The government can go on until 2018; it is sufficient for it to do things and not only play hide-and-seek with the IMU (property) tax. “I don’t want to vocalise a duet with Letta; I said something very simple: that to privatise as they are doing is no good,” he said. On the privatisation of public broadcaster, Rai, he said: “Before privatising, we need a test of political maturiy, halving the costs and seats of parliament. Selling a three percent stake in Eni is a cashflow operation and has no strategic value.” The privatisation of Telecom and Alitalia were “bad privatisations”, however. The privatisation of Alitalia was “a disgrace, a privatisation in which private enterprise failed. It was a mistake because it was based on the wrong business strategy, focused on domestic flights instead of on the international market”. He went on that “the privatisation of Telecom was a blunder: the company was an Italian family jewel and it was closed out.” He concluded that Justice Minister Anna Cancellieri “made a mistake [after an accusation of grafting] and the fact that some insist on not recognising it is something that hurts, and it mainly hurts Minister Cancellieri”. Mr Renzi, who is Mayor of Florence, continued: “The prime minister went to the PD parliamentary group and gambled his reputation on it. I had told him not to — he didn’t go at my request.” He said: “I thought I would have fewer supporters among PD registered members and my target is to get 50 percent of the votes on Dec. 8 [the date of the primaries].” Mr Renzi, who is a candidate to become leader of the centre left PD, said: “We need a gigantic reform of the justice system. We are willing to give a hand.

The reform of justice cannot be led by Berlusconi”. Finally on judges’ liability, he said: “Magistrates’ civil liability already exists but it is insufficient and we need to upgrade it to European legislation”.

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

More Free Time for Prisoners in Italy

(AGI) Milan, Nov 23 — The Italian government is trying to ensure that by April 80 percent of prisoners will be able to spend eight hours away from their cells, Justice Minister Anna Cancellieri said. Addressing a conference in Milan on the prison system, she said that prisoners should be able to work and be involved in sports and cultural activities as part of the re-education process that will enable them to leave prison in better shape than they arrived in. Italian prisoners are currently allowed a maximum of two hours free time a day, no matter what crime they have committed.

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

New Weather Alert for Cyclone-Ravaged Sardinia

EU ready to grant more funds

(ANSA) — Cagliari, November 22 — The civil protection authority issued a 24-hour weather alert for Sardinia starting on Friday night, when heavy rains are forecast across northwest Sardinia and areas in the centre.

A cyclone tore through the Italian island on Monday, killing 16 and destroying houses, roads and bridges.

Over 2,000 were displaced and a shepherd is still missing.

Heavy rainfall, just as the situation is slowly returning back to normal, is expected in the night between Friday and Saturday in the areas of Anglona and Gallura, according to regional meteorological centre Arpas.

Gale winds have also been forecast along with snow in mountain areas.

On Friday, EU Commissioner for Regional and Urban Policy Johannes Hahn said the EU would consider providing more funding to the region after massive damage caused by the cyclone in Sardinia.

“We are ready to change the regional programme if necessary,” Hahn told ANSA after Sardinia Governor Ugo Cappellacci asked to revise the allocation of European Regional Development Funds (ERDF) following the cyclone.

“We will look at the proposal and we will do everything possible to take into consideration the extraordinary situation in Sardinia”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Sweden: Agency Backs Halal Meat in School Lunch Spat

The Swedish schools agency has ruled that serving of halal meat in schools does not break the law in response to complaints from parents who argued the practice breaches the non-denominational praxis of the Swedish education system.

The Swedish Schools Inspectorate ruled that the law does not regulate the method of slaughter used for the meat served in schools, according to a report in the agricultural magazine ATL.

Parents in Svedala in southern Sweden had reported a school to the agency for serving halal chicken arguing that the school meals fall under the non-denominational praxis of the Swedish education system.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Tourism Driving Economic Recovery in Spain

54.3 mln foreign visitors this year so far, highest ever

(ANSAmed) — MADRID — Tourism continues to be the driving force behind Spain’s moving closer to an exit from its economic crisis. Since the beginning of the year, 54.3 million foreign tourists came to the country. This figure is expected to result in a record high at the end of the year, with a 4.3% increase in 2013. The tourism ministry’s Frontur office reports that there were 5.5 million tourists in October, a 6.9% increase on the previous year. The office noted that the figure marked a record high for the first ten months of the year. Nordic countries and Great Britain accounted for the bulk of the tourists. The national statistics institute noted that hotels charged 0.2% less in October than they had in the same month in 2012.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

UK: Corruption Rife in the Pakistani Community, Says Minister

Corruption in parts of Pakistani community is growing problem that politicians have underestimated, Government’s chief legal adviser says

Corruption in parts of the Pakistani community is “endemic” and a growing problem that politicians have underestimated, the Government’s chief legal adviser has said.

Dominic Grieve QC, the Attorney General, said ministers should “wake up” to the threat of corruption in public life, which he attributed to “minority communities” that operate a “favour culture”.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UK: Paedophile Who Evaded Justice for 30 Years Caught Because He Carried the Olympic Torch

A paedophile who evaded justice for 30 years has finally been jailed after his victim discovered he had been chosen to run a leg in the London 2012 Olympic torch relay.

The sudden fame enjoyed by Graham Cooper ‘incensed’ a woman who had suffered sex attacks at his hands as a girl from the ages of ten to 13 in the early 1980s.

A previous complaint that she made about the 69-year-old was not pursued by police, but after seeing him basking in the glory of the Olympics torch relay she contacted officers again.

Cooper, a grandfather from New Romney, Kent, pleaded guilty to two counts of indecent assault on a girl aged under 14 and one count of indecency with a child.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Women Held as ‘Slaves’ Had Been Part of a ‘Collective’, Police Reveal

Scotland Yard says two victims originally met alleged captors through a “shared political ideology” and youngest captive held only a birth certificate, and no other papers

Women allegedly held as slaves for 30 years in south London were living in a “collective” with their captors after meeting them through a “shared political ideology”, police have disclosed.

Commander Steve Rodhouse, of Scotland Yard, also revealed the couple accused of holding the three women against their will were of Indian and Tanzanian origin, and came to live in Britain in the 1960s.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Serbia-Bosnia: Improvement of Military-Economic Ties

(ANSAmed) — BELGRADE, NOVEMBRE 22 — Serbian Defence Minister Nebojsa Rodic and his Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH) counterpart Zekerijah Osmic stated that there is room for improvement of military-economic cooperation. At a meeting in Belgrade, Rodic and Osmic expressed satisfaction with the cooperation conducted so far in the defence sector, stating that there is ground for further improvement, the Serbian Ministry of Defence reported. Rodic underscored that the exchange of experiences and engagement of teachers in national training centres in Belgrade and Butmir would create better basis for potential joint engagement in peacekeeping missions under the EU and UN auspices. He underscored the willingness to discuss the possibility of realisation of joint simulation or field military exercises, both on the bilateral basis and with participation of neighbouring armies in the region.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Algeria: EU: 10 Mln for Agriculture and Development

Focus on the areas of Ain-Témouchent,Laghouat, Setif and Tlemcen

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, NOVEMBER 22 — The European Commission adopted the programme of pilot projects for rural development and agriculture in Algeria, under ENPARD (the European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development), worth an amount of 10 million euros.

The political objective in the field of agriculture is to achieve an increase in production and yields for basic produce, but also to foster a renewed interest in traditional products neglected today by urban consumers. The overall objective of the programme is to improve living conditions by increasing income and local employment of the rural population of the following provinces in Algeria: Ain-Témouchent, Laghouat, Setif and Tlemcen, with the specific aim to better use, development and diversification of local resources.

The programme will be implemented through a participatory process to identify projects for sustainable rural development.

The ENPARD programme will also support the enhancement of local food, craft, culture and tourism and their placement on the market with better quality. Finally, the programme aims to promote and communicate the experiences of rural entrepreneurship and successful projects. Capitalising on these experiences of the pilot programme and ENPARD should help the national rural development programme. This programme is the second part of the 2013 Action Programme for Algeria. The first part, the “Support programme for local development and social action”, worth 20 million euros, was adopted in August 2013.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Egypt: EU: 47 Mln for Environment, Agriculture and Demining

Aim is to improve socio-economic conditions of the people

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, NOVEMBER 22 — The European Union is investing in the critical areas of waste management and rural development cooperation with Egypt, with a total funding of 47 million euros in order to improve socio-economic conditions for the Egyptian people.

The first project, the “National Solid Waste Management Programme (NSWMP)”, contains a comprehensive set of measures.

Planned actions include the construction and rehabilitation of solid waste management facilities such as recycling, composting plants, transfer stations, landfills, and other solid waste infrastructure required for an integrated waste management system. The programme will also support the closure and rehabilitation of existing uncontrolled dumpsites.

The EU will help to tackle some of those issues by supporting concrete actions, investing a total of 20 million euros out of the total project, amounting to 51 million euros. The other 31 million euros will be provided by the KFW Bankengruppe, German Technical Cooperation (GIZ) and the Government of Egypt. The project is expected to begin in mid-2014.

The second project, the “Joint EU Rural Development Programme”, will contribute to the development of rural areas in three of the most vulnerable Governorates of the country (Matrouh, Minia and Fayoum). It will provide training for rural associations and other community-based organisations and promoting the sustainable management of local resources.

In addition, a programme component in the Matrouh governorate will provide support to the mine clearance activities, as well as assist land-mine victims and conduct awareness campaigns. In the longer term, it will also contribute to make land available for agricultural/other use. The EU will provide 27 million euros for the programme, out of the total project amounting to 36 million euros, with 9 million euros coming from the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Germany Surpasses Italy in Trade With Med Region

SRM study shows Italian trade fell by 4.3% in 2013

(ANSAmed) — NAPLES — Italy will lose its leadership among EU countries in terms of trade with Mediterranean area countries to Germany at the end of 2013, according to the “Economic Relations between Italy and the Mediterranean Area” report presented Friday in Naples. The report was published by the Studi e Ricerche per il Mezzogiorno (SRM) economic studies and research center, whose main partners include the Intesa-San Paolo group and Banco di Napoli. The date show that in 2012 (the last year for which official date are available) Italy was the top EU country for overall trade with the Mediterranean area at 61 billion euros, but in the first six months of 2013 Germany surpassed it through 7.4% growth. Italian trade to the area fell by 4.3% in the same period. At the end of 2013, SRM estimates say Italy will slide to 58.3 billion euros in trade with Med countries, while Germany will rise to 61.2 billion and the United States to 68.9 billion.

The area nevertheless remains an important trade partner for Italy and accounts for 7.7% of total foreign trade in 2013, compared with 6.2% in 2001. The estimates in the SRM report reflect the substantial drop in imports seen in the first six months of 2013 (-10.8%), compared with a slight growth in exports towards the area (+3.9%). The report also notes that a large part of trade depends on the energy component, which accounts for about 44%, while for Germany, France and the US the figures are instead 15% and 23%.

Excluding energy, therefore, in 2013 Italy is in third place among EU partners of southern Mediterranean countries, with an approximately 20-billion-euro gap between its trade in the manufacturing sector and Germany’s. “The figure,” said SRM director Massimo Deandreis, “gives us an idea of the market potential currently covered by German manufacturing that our country could gradually recover if a more active and positive strategy is applied towards these countries.” However, the report also underscores that International Monetary Fund growth outlooks for Italy and its competitors (+1.4% in 2014 for Italy, +6.7% for Germany) may lead to Italy slide to fourth place among the main trade partners of the Mediterranean area in 2015, surpassed by China as well. The SRM report notes that southern Italy is losing less in trade than the national average: according to the SRM figures, in 2013 southern Italy will rack up 14.7 billion in trade with the Mediterranean area and is second only to the north-western area of the country, at 19 billion.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italian Ports Losing Market Share to Southern Med

SRM report recommends less red tape and more funds allocated

(ANSAmed) — NAPLES — Italy is being taken down a few notches in the field of commercial shipping in the Mediterranean by its competitors, and not only European ones. The “Economic Relations between Italy and the Mediterranean Area” report by the Naples-headquartered SRM center for economic studies and research shows that between 2005 and 2012, the main hubs for port traffic in the southern Mediterranean saw their market share increase from 18% to 27%, thanks to the progress made by such facilities as Tanger Med and Port Said — ports posing stiff competition for transhipment hubs in southern Italy. The gap may grow even wider, as the report shows that southern Mediterranean countries are investing in development of their infrastructure. Tunisia, for example, allocated over 4.2 billion euros for the transport sector for the 2012-2014 period.

The study notes that the Mediterranean boasts 19% of world maritime traffic, and that the area is becoming ever more an obligatory route for large shipping companies, which continue to focus on large ships for economies of scale and thus give preference to the Suez Canal in the East-West route. Italy could relaunch itself as a strategic axis for Mediterranean traffic, as not only does it meet geographic requirements but also trade ones since 76% of trade in the Med area is ‘via sea’. The report recommends that Italy seek to take advantage of development opportunities connected with maritime traffic by getting rid of infrastructural problems at Italian ports. To do so, Italy should improve efficiency of the logistics process and reduce the amount of time needed for goods to go from ports to consumers, streamline bureaucratic and procedural regulations for port operations, and ensure that funds are allocated for the development of facilities.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

35 Syrian Refugees in Egypt Start a Hunger Strike to Protest Their Detention

An activist doctor in Egypt says 35 detained Syrian refugees are on a hunger strike to protest their captivity in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria.

Taher Mokhtar, a member of the Alexandria doctors’ syndicate, said the refugees he visited in a police station on Saturday demanded to be released or to be granted asylum in Europe. Mokhtar said they started the hunger strike on Friday.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Brotherhood Behind ‘Terrorist’ Attacks: Egypt Interior Minister

Mohamed Ibrahim says evidence shows that the Muslim Brotherhood sponsored a series of attacks targeting security forces following the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Egypt Expels Turkish Ambassador

Egypt has told the Turkish ambassador to leave the country and downgraded relations between the two countries.

It follows remarks by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that Cairo deemed “provocative”. Egypt’s foreign ministry said relations with Ankara would be lowered to charge d’affaires, blaming Turkey’s continued “interference” in its internal affairs. Turkey has been a vocal critic of the military overthrow of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in July…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Egypt Expels Turkish Envoy Amid Rising Tensions

Egypt on Saturday ordered Turkey’s ambassador to Cairo to leave, accusing Ankara of meddling in its affairs after criticising the Egyptian regime’s crackdown on Islamists. Turkey has vowed to reciprocate.

Diplomatic relations between Egypt and Turkey came to near freezing point on Saturday after Ankara’s ambassador to Cairo was expelled amid mounting tension over the ousting of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Egypt, Turkey Downgrade Relations

Cairo expels Turkish ambassador, and Ankara declares Egypt’s envoy a ‘persona non grata.’

Egypt on Saturday expelled the Turkish ambassador to Cairo and downgraded diplomatic relations with Turkey, prompting Turkey to declare Cairo’s ambassador a “persona non grata,” reported Al Arabiya.

Egypt’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said his country took the step due to Turkey’s continued “interference” in Egyptian internal affairs.

Turkey was “attempting to influence public opinion against Egyptian interests, (and) supported meetings of organizations that seek to create instability in the country,” said the spokesman on Saturday, in an indirect reference to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Turkey is a fierce opponent of the ouster of former Egyptian president Mohammad Morsi, calling it an “unacceptable coup.”

Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, which has been staging protests calling for his reinstatement, has close ties with Turkish Prime Minster Tayyip Erdogan’s AK Party.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Egypt Expels Turkish Envoy Over Erdogan Criticism of Morsi Ouster

In an abrupt, but long simmering, move, Egypt’s foreign minister announced it was reducing diplomatic ties and expelling the Turkish Ambassador. Turkey’s Premier Recep Erdogan has been highly critical of Egypt’s interim government ousting of former President Morsi, a regional Muslim Brotherhood ally. Ties between the two major regional Middle East countries, once allies, have been frayed since the July 3, 2013 takeover fomented by Tammarud (Rebellion) movement and Egyptian defense minister Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi that led to formation of an interim government under Adly Mansour. Mansour will not seek the Presidency in new elections, while according to a recent report in Al-Ahram, Gen. al-Sisi does not rule out a possible run.Dr. Harold Rhode , a former Pentagon Turkish and Islam expert in the Office of Secretary of Defense, in an interview to be published in the December New English Review , noted Erdogan’s backing of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the region:

“Erdogan is a fundamentalist. He is basically an ally of the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria, Egypt, and elsewhere. He supported Morsi in Egypt; he supports the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria. It is not surprising to me. It just fits in to hand in glove. He loathes Ataturkism which was the idea of separating religion from state.


Remember he is a fundamentalist and as a fundamentalist, he has natural allies with the Muslim Brotherhood, with Hamas and Morsi. Therefore the idea of reconciling with Israel is an existential problem. It can’t be done.”…

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

Italian Technology to Save Egyptian Museum Papyri

High tech instruments part of cooperation project

(ANSAmed) — CAIRO, NOVEMBER 18 — Italian technology will allow the restoration and preservation of thousands of very delicate papyri at the Egyptian museum in Cairo.

The initiative was presented on Monday morning during a ceremony at the museum attended by Gianpaolo Cantini, director general for the cooperation for development, Egyptian antiquities minister Mohamed Ibrahim, Italian ambassador Maurizio Massari and the museum’s director Tarek el Awadi. It is part of the ‘commodity aid’ programme of Italian cooperation.

High tech instruments in particular provided by Italtrend Spa and produced by Bresciani Srl, which will play a role in saving the museum’s secular papyri, were shown during the ceremony. They are a laser and a portable instrument. The laser, an Italian-made groundbreaking tool in the preservation of artwork, uses non-invasive technology to clean very delicate and sensitive surfaces and allows not to use chemical products. The spectrometer is used for chemical-physical measurements and to analyze material without the extraction of samples.

In order to save and preserve the precious papyri of the Egyptian museum, a low-pressure table with a humidifier to restore paper documents has been provided together with ten humidifiers and thermometers and five climatic chambers to preserve the findings to recreate the same condition as in the tombs where the papyri were found.

They were also especially planned for the museum overlooking the famous Tahrir square, one of the busiest in Cairo, and were made with special gas filters against pollution.

The initiative in favour of the Egyptian antiquities ministry is part of a programme of aid which aims to import to Egypt high tech Italian products and train specialized personnel in a number of sectors.

The programme which spans almost two decades was agreed in 1994, kicked off in 1996 and has funded until today the importation of Italian goods worth 37 million euros. The instalment for the Egyptian museum has a value of 300,000 euros.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

What 3,700-Year-Old Wine Tasted Like

Archaeologists reveal the “sweet, strong” flavor of ancient booze, and wonder whether they might be able to recreate it.

Excavating a ruined palace in Tel Kabri, Israel, this summer, a group of archaeologists made a discovery: an old wine cellar. A very old wine cellar. A cellar they estimate—according to findings presented today at the annual meeting of the American Schools of Oriental Research—to be some 3,700 years old. Within the cellar, over a period of six weeks, the team found 40 wine jugs, each one just over three feet tall.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Wine Cellar 3,700 Years Old Hints at Ancient Royal Tastes

Nov. 22 (Bloomberg) — A 3,700-year-old wine cellar still holding vestiges of the drink has been unearthed in the Near East, potentially offering modern man a true taste of the past.

The excavation in the ancient city of Tel Kabri, in Israel uncovered 40 jars in sizes that could have filled about 3,000 modern wine bottles. The residue suggested they once contained both white and red wine, made with additives that included juniper berries, cinnamon bark, mint and myrtle.

The group had been digging since 2005 at the site, believed to be an ancient Canaanite palace and decorated with Aegean- style frescoes, the only such art to be found in Israel so far, according to a presentation today in Baltimore at the annual meeting of the American Schools of Oriental Research.

“We’re thinking it’s a palatial wine cellar,” said Eric Cline, one of the archaeologists and the chairman of the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at George Washington University. Two-thousand liters of wine isn’t enough for the general population. “It’s just enough for the ruler and his household.”

Researchers located the cellar near the ruins of what was likely a banquet hall. The hall and cellar were destroyed in what may have been an earthquake.

Andrew Koh, an assistant professor of classical studies at Brandeis University, extracted the residue at the site and brought the samples to analyze at a lab at the Waltham, Massachusetts-based university. The consistency of the leftovers suggested the wine mix was made using a closely followed recipe.

The additives were probably there to preserve the wine, and some came from non-local plants, suggesting thriving trade routes.

It was “a very luxurious drink reserved for special occasions,” said Assaf Yasur-Landau, the chairman of the department of maritime civilizations at the University of Haifa, and co-director of the excavation.

The recipe was similar to medicinal wines used in ancient Egypt, the researchers said. “We can imagine it was like if you take a resinated wine and pour cough syrup in,” Yasur- Landau said.

Researchers plan to continue analyzing the residue, in hopes of discovering enough information to recreate the flavor.

The archaeologists had to work quickly to get the jugs out before winter, when the weather likely would destroy them. Working in two teams, they finished just before the scheduled end of the dig.

There may be more wine containers yet to be found. A few days before the dig ended, the team discovered two doors leading out of the wine cellar, which may point toward additional storage rooms. A dig is scheduled for 2015 to explore further.

[Return to headlines]

Bloodbath at Yemeni Wedding After Guests Are Shot Dead While Dancing to Gangnam Style When Reveller ‘Tries to Fire Ak-47 Into the Air to Celebrate’

A wedding in Yemen became a scene of carnage when a reveller dancing to Gangnam Style shot dead at least three people after apparently losing control of his AK-47.

Horrific footage of the incident has emerged showing a group of guests performing the moves to the hit song by South Korean pop star Psy.

Among them is one man waving his assault rifle as he gyrates on the dancefloor while others look on.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Corporate Media Ignores Massacre of Christians in Syria

Western media outlets have come under criticism from Christians in Syria for turning a blind eye to atrocities carried out by Takfiri terrorist groups against the Christian community in the war-torn country.

A new report by the news service of the Pontifical Mission Societies highlights the massacre of 45 Christians in the village of Sadad, northeast of Damascus.

The killing marks the biggest massacre of Christians in the Syrian conflict which began in March 2011.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Iraq: Sunnis Close Their Mosques in Baghdad in Protest

Sunni religious leaders say they have decided to close down the sect’s mosques in Baghdad indefinitely to protest attacks targeting clerics and worshippers, highlighting Iraq’s deepening sectarian rift.

Sheik Mustafa al-Bayati, member of the Iraqi Doctrine Council where senior Sunni scholars sit to issue religious edicts, says the decision was taken on Thursday and came into effect on Saturday.

Sectarian violence has spiked in Iraq over the past seven months. The bloodiest attacks have targeted Shiites but Sunnis have also been killed in apparent reprisals.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Planes: 20% of Finmeccanica’s Revenues From Gulf

Multi-mission MC-27J presented at Air Show Dubai

(ANSAmed) — DUBAI — Alenia Aermacchi, AugustaWestland and Selex Es are Finmeccanica’s representatives at the Dubai Air Show, the most prestigious air expo in terms of participation and orders placed in the Middle East, which opened on Sunday with the Emirate’s highest institutional and military officials.

Finmeccanica has been operating in the region for 40 years and just inaugurated new offices in the capital Abu Dhabi, sign of its growing relevance in the Arabic peninsula’s market, with further potential for growth both in civil aviation and defence.

‘The Arabic Gulf area, in terms of revenues, is worth between 20 and 25% of our business’, said Finmeccanica’s CEO Alessandro Pansa, recalling the offer produced by Finmeccanica’s companies.

‘Ours is a contribution dealing with the highest level of technological offer, here fly over 150 helicopters of Augusta Westland, Eurofighter Typhoon are being negotiated, the Emirati navy uses our integrated systems’, explained Pansa, stressing that the strong point ‘is not dimension, rather the diversification of the offer’.

Alenia Aermacchi is presenting multi-mission carrier MC-27J at the expo while AugustaWestland is launching new-generation helicopter mock-ups Aw169 and AW189. The latter is becoming the new top vehicle for offshore transport for the Oil&Gas market with over 70 orders placed in the past two years.

Atr and GE Capital Aviation Services (Gecas) on Monday signed an agreement for the acquisition of ten planes ATR-72-600s for a total value of 241 million dollars. The agreement, signed by Filippo Bagnato, CEO of Atr — a joint venture between Alenia Aermacchi and Eads — includes an order for five carriers and an option for another five. ‘This new order by Gecas highlights the constant confidence in Atr products, and in particular the modern and efficient ATR 72-600’, said Bagnato when the agreement was signed on the second day of the Dubai Air Show, the most important aviation event in the region known for the record orders placed by Gulf air carriers.

Monday’s contract follows another signed Sunday by Atr with Saudi private operator Alpha Star Aviation Services. The terms of the agreement provided for the sale of two planes of the same model plus one as an option, both designed to carry 66 passengers. The Saudi orders will be delivered in 2014 while delivery of Gecas’ orders will begin in 2015.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Saudi Arabia Would Not ‘Sit Idly By’ If West Fails With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the UK said on Friday that the kingdom would not “sit idly by” if world powers fail to halt Iran’s nuclear program, calling the Obama administration’s “rush” to embrace Tehran as “incomprehensible.”

“We are not going to sit idly by and receive a threat there and not think seriously how we can best defend our country and our region,” Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf bin Abdulaziz, who is the Saudi ambassador to the UK and King Abdullah’s nephew, told British newspaper The Times.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Six Leading Rebel Groups Form Syrian Islamic Front

(AGI) Beirut, Nov 22 — The six leading Islamist rebel groups in Syria have announced that they are merging to form a new group called the Syrian Islamic Front. The merger appears to be a joint response to the Assad regime’s successful recapture of several towns around Damascus and Aleppo, which the regime ascribed to divisions among the rebel forces. The formation of a single front also follows the death of the military head of Liwa Al-Tawhid, Abdel Qader Saleh, who had urged rebel groups to join forces to combat the regime.

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

Turkey: 300 Mine Workers Barricade Themselves in Protest

At weak job safety measures and poor working conditions

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, NOVEMBER 22 — Around 300 mine workers in the Turkish Black Sea province of Zonguldak have barricaded themselves inside a coal mine in protest at weak job safety measures and poor working conditions, as Turkish Dogan news agency reports. The protest, which was initiated by night shift workers at the mine, also gained wide support from day shift workers, who were supposed to start work at 8 a.m. this morning, but were unable to as their colleagues were refusing to leave the 170-meter deep pit. The miners of the Turkish Hard Coal Authority’s (TTK) Uzulmez district directorate object to a number of practices, including poor safety conditions, the late arrival of ambulances in accident cases, and the lack of extra clothes and boots. Mine Workers Union (GMIS) Chairman Eyup AlabaS and GMIS Uzulmez branch head Osman Tutkun visited the workers to hear their complaints. Speaking to press after talking with workers in the mine, Tutkun claimed the miners had been exposed to psychological pressure for a year. He said the workers “reached the end of their rope” when an ambulance arrived 35 minutes late after a worker suffered a heart attack at the facility. “No manager has been appointed to the business for the past five months, and nobody says anything about it. The main paths inside the mine collapsed six months ago and mining was halted for five days. Moreover, locking the doors is cruel for the workers,” Tutkun said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Turkey Should Prepare Itself for Mass Exodus of Fighters From Syria

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime has been making significant advances on the ground against opposition fighters in a civil war of over two-and-a-half years, raising the possibility of the potential risk of a massive exodus of opposition fighters to neighboring countries including Turkey. Reports coming from both NATO as well as Turkish military sources provide important evidence of the Syrian regime’s advances against the opposition, in particular in the past several months.

An Ankara-based Western diplomat told this columnist that surface-to-air Patriot missiles based on Turkish soil have seen Scuds being launched by the Assad regime forces against opposition targets almost every day. Similarly, Patriots are detecting an increased number of long-range artillery rockets being fired at opposition targets as well as seeing helicopters and aircraft belonging to the Syrian Air Forces (SAF) flying very frequently supporting the ground troops in their offensive against the opposition.

According to Turkish military sources who spoke to this columnist, the Syrian Air Forces are able to generate 100 sorties a day with helicopters and aircraft. Fifty percent on average comprise combat sorties and 25 percent general transport aircraft sorties, while the remaining 25 percent constitute training of Syrian army personnel. The usual suspects behind Syria regaining military strength are partly Russia and Iran as they have been giving technical assistance including training for new pilots joining the SAF.

Given that many international observers thought the SAF would soon lose capability to maintain operations, 100 sorties a day on average, which makes 700 sorties a week, is massive, says an Ankara-based Western military official.

This is a big number. The SAF has become very effective in avoiding the Free Syrian Army [FSA] in opposition air defense, which is composed of mostly small guns, air defense shoulder-launched missiles seized from the Syrian army, as well as medium to low-range missile systems, says a Turkish military source.

At the start of the conflict in Syria until January of this year, we have been constantly seeing on various TV channels Syrian military helicopters and aircraft being shot down by the opposition. But not anymore. The increased strength of the Syrian Air Forces has also been making it possible for Syrian ground forces to get more support from helicopters and aircraft, hence enabling good coordination between the Syrian artillery and air force.

This is the biggest morale booster for ground forces when they get help from aircraft to drop bombs on opposition targets when they are struck, says an Ankara-based Western military attaché.

As the Syrian military has been regaining strength, opposition fighters have been on the losing side.

One of the reasons for the opposition losing strength has been internal divisions, with some of them behaving like warlords getting engaged in looting activities, in addition to the involvement of extreme Islamist groups such as the Al-Nusra Front in the fight against the Assad regime, complicating the opposition’s coordinated fighting strategy. The other has been the betrayal of the Syrian opposition by Western powers, which refrained from giving military support to opposition fighters partly out of a concern that the arms supplied by them would go into the hands of extreme Islamist groups such as Al-Nusra.

In short, the opposition was abandoned by the West at the expense of brutal dictator Assad gaining significant strength in the civil war.

Turkey, which has an approximately 900-kilometer border with Syria on its south, is unfortunately among the losers of the Syrian war since it has pursued an ill-conceived policy by purely backing the Syrian opposition, while basing its strategies on the quick fall of the Assad regime. On the contrary, Assad has appeared to have been regaining ground, while the opposition lost its fighting edge. It is not surprising that we have been seeing the beginning of the end of the Syrian opposition.

In the meantime, as Ankara has lately begun to realize that there is no guarantee that military supplies via Turkish territory destined for the Syrian opposition are going into the right hands once they cross the Turkish border, it has appeared to have slowly been taking measures to prevent Turkish soil from being a supply route for the opposition fighters. Turkey’s increased security measures against smugglers crossing the Turkish border from Syria are among the evidence that Turkey is tightening its control of supply routes via its territory. Turkey might have been saying enough is enough.

However, as the Syrian regime has been recapturing some opposition strongholds and re-gaining significant military strength as outlined above, we may begin seeing in the near future a mass exodus of fighters to the neighboring countries including Turkey.

Turkey might be preparing itself for a worst-case scenario of mass exodus from Syria, examining the spare area if any is left in the refugee camps where it has already been hosting over 700,000 Syrian war refugees. Alternatively, Ankara may begin facilitating the return of defeated extreme Islamist groups who have escaped to Turkey to where they came from.

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

UAE: Canadian Firm Hosts Physiological Workshop for Muslim Prayer

Timez5 claims workshop enables greater comfort during daily ritual

Dubai: A Canadian company has launched what it describes as workshops that will enable Muslims to pray with greater comfort. Timez5 said the workshops, involving stretching and flexing exercises, are “specifically designed” to enable “a more comfortable joint and muscle pain-free enjoyable prayer experience.” The firm hosted four complementary sessions at Raffles Hotel Dubai following an official launch of the workshop. Timez5 CEO Nader Sabry told Gulf News some Muslims with underlying ailments find prayers less easy to perform. Muslims pray five times a day in a ritual that involves standing, bowing, prostrating and sitting resting on the forelegs…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Horrors of India’s Brothels Documented

British photojournalist Hazel Thompson has spent the last decade documenting the lives of girls trafficked into India’s thriving sex industry. She spoke to Atish Patel about her experiences.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Malaysia: Columnist Accuses Muslim Group of Defamation for Saying She Supports the Freedom to Leave Islam

KUALA LUMPUR — Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir has issued a legal ultimatum to Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (ISMA), promising to haul the Muslim activist group to court unless it retracts allegedly false and “defamatory” claims against her by next week.

The leaflets also slammed Comango for calling for the freedom to renounce Islam.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Pakistan: Christian Girl of 13 Abducted, Converted to Islam and Forced to Marry

The kidnapper, a Muslim of 32 , acted out of revenge against her mother. There has been no trace if the child, Saba Waris, since June. A court has issued an arrest warrant against the torturer , who has disappeared.

Faisalabad ( AsiaNews) — For more than five months there has been no news of Saba Waris , a 13 year old Christian girl from Jameelabad . The little girl was abducted, forcibly converted to Islam and forced to marry Syed Munawar Hussain, a Muslim of 32 years . Naseem Bibi, the child’s mother asks AsiaNews for “any help possible. I want my daughter back and I want justice.” So far, the woman has gone to the police, but without success.

It all started on 20 June. Saba ‘s family is poor and had to remove her from school because of economic difficulties. Usually she would accompany her mother to work, but that day she was not well and preferred to stay at home. In the few hours in which she was alone, Hussain broke into the house and abducted her. Naseem Bibi returned home in the afternoon and not being able to find her daughter was on her way to report her missing, when the Muslim kidnapper’s a mother, sister and a brother showed up and told her that Munawar Hussain had taken Saba .

Naseem wanted to go to the police, but the others asked her to wait four days, during which they would try to find a way to bring back her daughter. A couple of days later , she received a phone call from Saba, who said: “ Munawar Hussain has kidnapped me and tried to force me convert to Islam”. Soon after, the call was cut off.

Once the four days were up, the man’s mother and sister returned to Naseem Bibi and said that Saba was married to Munawar and that she had converted to Islam. “Do not go to the police or court — they threatened her — or you will be responsible for serious consequences. She is a Muslim now: stop thinking about her, forget her”. As proof, the Christian woman received a marriage certificate, also signed by her daughter .

On June 28, Naseem went to the police to register an FIR (First Information Report) against Syed Munawar Hussain , under Article 365B (kidnapping a woman for forced marriage ) of the Criminal Code . To assist in her legal battle she turned for help to Human Rights Focus Pakistan ( Hrfp ), which provided proof of the kidnapping and forced conversion of the littkke girl to the court of Sargodha . On October 17 , the court issued an arrest warrant for Syed Munawar Hussain Since then, officials have not been able to track down the man.

According to Naseem Bibi , the Muslim kidnapped her daughter for revenge : “ My son Moon Waris worked with him, but was not paid . I told him not to work with Hussain, and they took my child.”

“Forced conversions to Islam — Christian activist Shazia George tells AsiaNews — have become a common practice in Pakistan. The main reason for this increase is the presence of a legal and judicial system that does not provide support for minorities”.

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

China’s New Air Defense Zone Above Senkakus “Very Dangerous” Escalation, Japan Says

BEIJING — The government branded as “very dangerous” China’s announcement Saturday that it has set up an East China Sea air defense identification zone that includes the Japan-held Senkaku Islands.

The Chinese Defence Ministry said the zone was created to “guard against potential air threats,” but the move will only inflame a bitter sovereignty row over the islets, which China claims as Diaoyu.

Later Saturday, China scrambled air force jets, including fighter planes, to patrol the new zone.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

China Creates Air Defence Zone Over Japan-Controlled Islands

Beijing on Saturday announced it was setting up an “air defence identification zone” over an area that includes islands controlled by Japan but claimed by China, in a move that could inflame the bitter territorial row.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

China Establishes ‘Air-Defence Zone’ Over East China Sea

China has demarcated an “air-defence identification zone” over an area of the East China Sea, covering islands that are also claimed by Japan. China’s defence ministry said aircraft entering the zone must obey its rules or face “emergency defensive measures”. The islands, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, are a source of rising tension between the countries.

Japan lodged a strong protest over what it said was an “escalation”.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

China Tests First Stealth Combat Drone: Media

China has tested its first stealth combat drone, state media said Friday, citing online photos of an aircraft resembling a shrunken US B2 bomber and hailing the advance toward Western-level technology.

The test flight of the “Sharp Sword” unmanned aircraft is another step in China’s years-long military build-up, with its defence spending now the second highest in the world and growing by double-digit percentages each year.

It comes weeks after Tokyo said a drone had flown near East China Sea islands claimed by both it and Beijing, ratcheting tensions between the rivals up another notch.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Chinese Leaders Control Media, Academics to Shape the Perception of China

By Fred Hiatt

It’s well known that Chinese censors shape and limit the news and history their people can learn. What may be more surprising is how Chinese officials shape and limit what Americans learn about China.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

New Zealand: Minister Urges More Social Links With Muslims

Ethnic Affairs Minister Judith Collins says New Zealanders need to form more social links with Muslim people.

Judith Collins made the comment while opening the first Muslim world forum in Auckland, which address what it calls a climate of suspicion and stereotypes after the 9/11 attacks in the United States in 2001. Ms Collins said the country needs to maintain social cohesion with Muslims, because it is evident what happens in other countries when that isn’t successful. “We also know that all people in New Zealand, whether they’re Buddhist, whether they’re Christian, or various denominations of any of those, that it is really important they don’t feel that they’re not part of New Zealand.”

Islamic Association president Dr Anwar Ghani said acceptance of Muslims is increasing but there is room for improvement…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Zimbabwe Government Tells Foreigners to Close Shops, Make Way for Black Zimbabweans by Jan 1

Zimbabwean authorities say they have given foreign shop-owners — mostly Chinese and Nigerian nationals — an ultimatum to shut down their businesses by Jan. 1.

A top official of the black empowerment ministry said only Zimbabweans had the right to run shops that have sprung up across the country and are termed foreign businesses targeted under the nation’s black empowerment laws, the state-controlled Herald newspaper reported Friday.

Those laws, passed in 2007, demand foreign businesses to cede 51 percent control to local blacks.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Brazil’s President Shows Communist Colors

Brazil is generally regarded as a moderate, pro-Western country. In fact, it has been under communist leadership and has been since 1994, when Luis Ignacio Lula da Silva first came to power — with the help of Democratic Socialists of America and the AFL-CIO.

Democratic Socialists of America member Stanley Gacek was a labor attorney and AFL-CIO International Affairs Assistant Director, responsible for the Federation’s relations with Latin America and the Caribbean.

He has spoken and written extensively on Brazilian labor and politics and has been a friend and adviser to President Luis Ignacio Lula da Silva and his Workers Party since the early 1980s.

Now current president former communist terrorist Dilma Rousseff shows her true red colors.

– — From The New American:

Between confiscating land from its owners at gunpoint and collaborating with the world’s most ruthless despots in the ongoing conquest of Latin America for socialism, supposedly “moderate” Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff (shown) found time to rally the troops and re-affirm her alliance with Marxists at the Communist Party of Brazil’s 13th Congress. Virtually nobody noticed it — especially in the establishment press — but the dramatic scene featuring the radical Brazilian leader speaking next to giant posters of Karl Marx and mass-murdering Soviet dictator Vladimir Lenin was captured on camera and posted online.


Critics of the Brazilian president, who are working to expose her extremism and the role she plays in the ongoing conquest of the region for socialism, said the video showed Rousseff’s true colors. “The ideology that Dilma and her guerilla comrades tried to foist on Brazil in the 1960s, and are now trying to impose through peaceful schemes, has become very clear,” noted a Brazilian Judeo-Christian anti-communist group known as Right Now in comments about the video. “We are walking toward a dictatorship of the proletariat.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Weekly Featured Profile — Dilma Rousseff

Dilma Rousseff was elected as President of Brazil on Oct. 31, 2010. Her father, Pedro Rousseff, was a political exile from Bulgaria, where he had been a member and activist with the Communist Party of Bulgaria.

Dilma’s political awakening began in high school, where she was influenced by the writings of French political theorist Régis Debray and by a teacher and future comrade who taught her Marxism. In 1967, Rousseff joined a radical faction of the Brazilian Socialist Party

Rousseff joined Marxist anti-government guerrillas in the 1960s in an armed struggle against the then military government. In early 1969, the police invaded the group’s house and the militants responded by using a machine gun, which killed two policemen and wounded another. Dilma went underground, later participating in the formation of the Revolutionary Armed Vanguard Palmares. After that group split, Dilma was sent to Sao Paolo, where she was charged with guarding the group’s weapons — which she hid under her bed.

In this period, Rousseff instructed her comrades on Marxist theory and wrote for an underground newspaper. She denies carrying out any acts of violence during this period and says she opposed such actions and notes she was never accused by the military regime of violent acts…

Following a March 2009 meeting with Barack Obama in the United States, Obama promptly asked his campaign strategists to reject a request by Brazil’s Social Democrats (PSDB) and to instead advise Dilma’s campaign.[2]

[Comment: Obama meeting is from wiki page: ]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Britain Must ‘Wake-Up to Endemic Corruption of Ethnic Minorities’, Says Attorney General Dominic Grieve

The Government’s senior law officer has warned that politicians need to “wake up” to the problem of corruption in ethnic minority communities.

Attorney General Dominic Grieve, who said he was referring “mainly to the Pakistani community” in his remarks, claimed some immigrants came from communities where corruption was “endemic”.

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph the Tory MP pointed out that it could also be found in the “white Anglo-Saxon” community but he said it was a growing problem “because we have minority communities in this country which come from backgrounds where corruption is endemic. It is something as politicians we have to wake up to.”

The MP for Beaconsfield said: “I can see many of them have come because of the opportunities that they get. But they also come from societies where they have been brought up to believe you can only get certain things through a favour culture. One of the things you have to make absolutely clear is that that is not the case and it’s not acceptable.” Asked if he was referring to the Pakistani community in his comments Mr Grieve told the newspaper: “Yes, it’s mainly the Pakistani community, not the Indian community. I wouldn’t draw it down to one. I’d be wary of saying it’s just a Pakistani problem.”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Grieve: Pakistani ‘Favour Culture’ Corrupts British Politics

Attorney general Dominic Grieve says British Asian communities are bringing corruption to local politics. His comments have been branded as “alienating” and “not based on fact”.

Pakistanis in the UK are more likely to be involved in electoral fraud than other communities, the government’s chief legal adviser has told the Telegraph.

Migrants coming from “a favour culture” has led to the growth of corruption in Britain, Dominic Grieve, the Attorney General and Conservative MP for Beaconsfield in Buckinghamshire, said. The comments have been branded as “offensive” and “not based on fact” by a member of Mr Grieve’s own party — Sajjad Karim, a Conservative MEP for the North-West…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Obama Awards Presidential Medal of Freedom to Abortion Activist Gloria Steinem

Longtime pro-abortion activist Gloria Steinem today received the highest honor the Untied States can bestow upon a citizen who is not a member of the U.S. military. Obama today awarded sixteen recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom and those recipients included abortion activist Gloria Steinem.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is “presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors,” and Obama apparently believes dedicating one’s life to promoting abortion is a part of that list…

After learning of the news, pro-life advocates on Twitter were dumbfounded that Steinem received the honor:

Obama gives medal of freedom to a woman who described killing her unborn child as a “pivotal and constructive experience.” — Elisha (@ElishaKrauss) November 20, 2013

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich is Racist, Says Portland School Official

Did you know that eating or even talking about a peanut butter and jelly sandwich could be considered racist?

That’s right.

Apparently, it’s because people in some cultures don’t eat sandwich bread. Verenice Gutierrez, principal of Harvey Scott K-8 School in Portland explained in and interview with the Portland Tribune.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

The Evolution of Bitchiness

Women engage in indirect aggression and slut-shaming, even in clinical research studies. Why?

One day in Ontario, 86 straight women were paired off into groups of two—either with a friend or a stranger—and taken to a lab at McMaster University. There, a researcher told them they were about to take part in a study about female friendships. But they were soon interrupted by one of two women.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UK: Children of 8 Are ‘Racist’ If They Miss Islam Trip: School’s Threatening Letter to Parents is Met With Outrage

Parents were ordered to send their children to a workshop on Islam or have them labelled as racist for the rest of their school career.

They were sent a letter warning that the primary school pupils would have a ‘racial discrimination note’ put on their records if they did not go.

Families were told to pay £5 per child for the Explore Islam trip next Wednesday to Staffordshire University, which would involve Year 4 and Year 6 children being shown Islamic artefacts.

Mothers and fathers were warned: ‘Refusal to allow your child to attend will result in a Racial Discrimination note being attached to your child’s education record, which will remain on this file throughout their school career.

‘All absences on this day will be investigated for their credibility and will only be sanctioned with a GP sick note.’

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Dictator Style: How Tyrants Live Large on the People’s Backs

Dictators may be hated, but there’s no denying they live large on the backs of the people.

Based on Peter York’s coffee table book, “Lifestyles of the World’s Most Colorful Despots,” Fox Files looked at the style and panache of the rulers who treat their nations’ treasuries like ATMs and their people like dirt. Airing on Fox News Channel Saturday and Sunday, the segment looks at the late Libyan strongman Moammar Qaddafi, Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and some of the lesser known potentates who control former Soviet Republics.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

E-Cigarettes Just More Smoke and Mirrors, Doctors Say

E-cigarettes are marketed to smokers as a means to wean them off of tobacco (although studies show they don’t help much); yet the same devices, some with fruity flavors, are marketed to young people who don’t smoke, which could get them hooked.

Hooked? Yes, e-cigarettes are a nicotine-delivery system, highly addictive and ultimately harmful because of their nicotine.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Watch How the Major Religions Have Conquered the Entire World (Animation)

– From 3000BC to now, it shows 5,000 years of religion in 90 seconds.

How has the geography of religion evolved over the centuries, and where has it sparked wars? Our map gives us a brief history of the world’s most well-known religions: Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Judaism. Selected periods of inter-religious bloodshed are also highlighted. Want to see 5,000 years of religion in 90 seconds? Ready, Set, Go!

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

One thought on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 11/23/2013

  1. On Marine Le Pen’s astute warning for civil unrest and probably civil war – when in France in 2008 couldn’t help but notice the dislocation that the country French felt about Paris and its; as in general terms – out of control Paris government!

    In short there was much angst against the ‘traitors in Paris’ felt by those in country France that we were able to converse with!

    And on New Zealand’s dhimmi ethnic affairs minister? Shouldn’t that be assimilation affairs minister! Maybe if she stepped outside the box she has built around herself with the help of taxpayer money, she could actually see that the problem is not with her own kind but emanates from the importee’s who have no intention of fitting in!

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