Gates of Vienna News Feed 11/30/2013

“Black Friday” was even more chaotic and violent this year than in previous years, with tasers and gunfire featured among the incidents in shopping malls and retail outlets. Some Britons are concerned that the Black Friday fad seems to be spreading to the UK, despite the lack of a Thanksgiving holiday in the Old Country.

In other news, 3,300 warheads along with bullet-making machines were seized in a raid on a freighter in the harbor at Kingston, Jamaica.

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

Thanks to Andy Bostom, C. Cantoni, heroyalwhyness, Insubria, JD, Jerry Gordon, JP, Kitman, Vlad Tepes, and all the other tipsters who sent these in.

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

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

Financial Crisis
» Italy: PM Letta Disapproves of European Legislature
» Privatizations: Greece: Qatar Out From Ellinikon Project
» Astroturfed Marxists Call for an Obama Dictatorship
» ‘Humans Evolved After a Female Chimpanzee Mated With a Pig’: Extraordinary Claim Made by American Geneticist
» Insane Black Friday Video: Women Get Into Stun Gun Fight Inside the Mall (Video)
» Mobs, Stampedes, Fights, Brawls, A Stabbing and Shooting: A Video Compilation of Black Thursday 2013 (Videos)
» NYC Alarms With Notice: ‘Immediately Surrender Your Rifle’
» Progressive Racism
» The Moral Decline of America (Video)
» Zombie: SF Protesters to Obama: Please be a Dictator!
» National Post: Canadian Iraqi Jews Fight US Return of Stolen Archives to Baghdad
Europe and the EU
» Archeology: Greece to Restore Ancient Sparta City Theater
» ATMs ‘Targeted in Most of Italy as Well as Romania and Denmark’
» Black Friday — Welcome to America, & Why Does Britain Want This?
» Challenges Face Italy After Berlusconi’s Senate Ouster
» French Haute Cuisine Increasingly Italian
» How Hunger Makes You Support the Welfare State (… But Doesn’t Make You Any More Likely to Share Your Cash)
» Italy: Palermo Judge Says Some MPs Colluding With Mob
» Italy: Bologna University Lecturer in Drugs Probe
» Italy: Autogrill Extends Asia Reach With Indonesia Deal
» Italy: Shows: Sensuality and Religion in Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Women
» Italy: Prosecutors Accuse Lega’s Leader Bossi of 40 Mln Fraud
» The Rise of the Far Right in Europe
» UK: Curb on Middle Class Students as Top Universities Join Scheme to Help Pupils From Poorer Families
» UK: Carole Waugh’s Murderer Rakesh Bhayani Sentenced to 27 Years
» UK: New Jimmy Savile Sex Abuse Claims Reported Every Week, As the Number of Hospitals Under Investigation Doubles to 32
» UK: Retired Teacher, 78, Died of a Massive Stroke After Teenage Thugs Set Fire to Her Car
» UK: Top Referee and Two Other Men Charged With Hacking Into Football Association Computers
» UK: The Split Second Before Lee Rigby is Mown Down (Video)
North Africa
» Egypt: Army Seals Off Cairo’s Tahrir Square Entrances
» Libya: Blast at Brak Al-Shati Arms Depot Kills 30
Middle East
» 41 Killed, 22 Wounded in Violent Attacks in Iraq
» Appeasement in Geneva?
» EU Ambassadors Hope to Repair Ties With Damascus
» Iran, U.S. To Open Joint Chamber of Commerce
» Sectarian Clashes Resume in Lebanon’s Tripoli
» Syrian PM Visits Iran, Praises Both Countries’ ‘Victories’
» The Finger of Doom
South Asia
» Old Etonian Army Officer Shot Dead at Point Blank Range Moments After Giving a Gun Back to Afghan ‘Ally’
» Sri Lanka: Christian Gypsy Wants to Use His Faith in God to Stop Discrimination
Far East
» China to Launch Moon Rover Mission to Scout Out Locations for a Lunar Base That Will One Day be Used for a Mission to Mars
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Nigeria: Spread of Terrorism — Army Uncovers Boko Haram’s New Tactics
Latin America
» Horrific Moment Three Gunmen Open Fire at a Disco in Colombia Killing Eight People as Dancers Flee for Cover
» ‘Ja Fighting a War’
» Jamaican Authorities Seize 3,300 Warheads
» Obamas Revert to Activist Mode for Thanksgiving 2013
» Obamas Visit Immigration Fasters
» Spain: Drones on Melilla Border Instead of Razor Wire, PSOE
» ‘We Are Not Second-Rate Citizens!’: Romanian Prime Minister Tells Britain Not to Discriminate Against ‘Migrant Wave’
Culture Wars
» ‘Genderqueer’ Rising: Colleges Welcome Kids Who Identify as Neither Male Nor Female
» Russia Gives Italy Sole Adoption Rights Over Gay-Union Ban
» Study: Same-Sex Households Endanger Kids
» New Social Network Where All Your Data is Encrypted to Stop Spying Vies for Users Turned Off Facebook by NSA Revelations
» Photograph of Giant Snake That Appears to Have Eaten a Human Sweeps the Internet… But Did it Actually Kill Anyone?

Italy: PM Letta Disapproves of European Legislature

(AGI) — Venice, Nov 29 — Prime Minister Enrico Letta voiced his disapproval of the European legislature on Friday. “We haven’t liked this European legislature. The past five years have been characterised by words such as austerity and rigour, and there have been steps back regarding Europeanism. Italy is a strong supporter of Europe and will become a European leader once again, looking to the model set by Altiero Spinelli. Populism and individualism are feelings that destroy the common good, focusing on a single person’s wellbeing. This issue involves several European countries”. Mr Letta also added he was the first Italian prime minister to speak at an SPD (Social Democratic Party) congress.

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

Privatizations: Greece: Qatar Out From Ellinikon Project

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, NOVEMBER 29 — Qatar is once again out of the competition for the exploitation project of the former Greek airport (Ellinikon International Airport) space, just before the end of the binding offer submission period. According to sources, as GreekReporter website informs, the company Qatari Diar, a subsidiary of Qatar Authority Investment, told the administration of the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (TAIPED), that they will not participate in the next phase of the process, the deadline for which officially ends on the 29th of November — informally, it has already received another extension given the size and complexity of the project. This new development confirms those who predicted from the start, that Qatar would not submit a binding offer when the time came. It is particularly apparent, given that from 2010, they seemed undecided for their participation in the competition. According to GreekReporter, it should be noted that even though Qatari Diar had expressed interest in the TAIPED contest in April 2012, a few months later in January 2013, they withdrew their interest and refused to sign the confidentiality agreement with the other three contenders. The remaining competitors are three investors: the Israeli company Elbit, Lamda Development and the British company London & Regional Properties.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Astroturfed Marxists Call for an Obama Dictatorship

Obama’s growing theme now of just get on with the revolution, ignore the Constitution and rule by executive diktat, is being screamed by people in his audiences. Funny thing though, they are astroturfed plants. Monday’s heckler at Obama’s pro-amnesty speech in San Francisco was Ju Hong, an approved guest of the White House and an illegal alien from South Korea who recently graduated from UC Berkeley. Ju Hong came to the US with his family on a tourist visa and never left. He has Marxist ties. Ju Hong also listed himself as an outreach coordinator at the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, as a legislative intern for San Francisco and as a senator at the Associated Students of the University of California. Marxists of a red feather…

So, let me get this straight. The one screaming for amnesty was a commie South Korean. Obama’s first fundraiser of the day in the City by the Bay, was at the Betty Ong Recreation Center, on the edge of San Francisco’s Chinatown. He’s now trying to appear that he is a man of the people and not just a wealthy, corrupt Marxist elitist. No… he is a Marxist for the down trodden as long as they are useful to him. But notice that he went to Chinatown. Now he has Chinese communists screaming for amnesty. Hmmm, I see a trend. Only about 40 showed for the blowhard, but you get the drift. Eventually this asshat will take full control because the people demanded it — er, well… a few Marxists any way.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

‘Humans Evolved After a Female Chimpanzee Mated With a Pig’: Extraordinary Claim Made by American Geneticist

The human species began as the hybrid offspring of a male pig and a female chimpanzee, a leading geneticist has suggested.

The startling claim has been made by Eugene McCarthy, of the University of Georgia, who is also one of the worlds leading authorities on hybridisation in animals.

He points out that while humans have many features in common with chimps, we also have a large number of distinguishing characteristics not found in any other primates.

Dr McCarthy says these divergent characteristics are most likely the result of a hybrid origin at some point far back in human evolutionary history.

What’s more, he suggests, there is one animal that has all of the traits which distinguish humans from our primate cousins in the animal kingdom.

‘What is this other animal that has all these traits?’ he asks rhetorically. ‘The answer is Sus scrofa, the ordinary pig.’

Dr McCarthy elaborates his astonishing hypothesis in an article on, a website he curates. He is at pains to point out that that it is merely a hypothesis, but he presents compelling evidence to support it.

Scientists currently suppose that chimpanzees are humans’ closest living evolutionary relatives, a theory amply backed by genetic evidence.

However, as Dr McCarthy points out, despite this genetic similarity, there are a massive number of divergent anatomical characteristics distinguishing the two species.

These distinguishing characteristics, including hairless skin, a thick layer of subcutaneous fat, light-coloured eyes, protruding noses and heavy eyelashes, to name but a few, are unmistakeably porcine, he suggests.

There are also a number of less obvious but equally inexplicable similarities between humans and pigs in the structure of the skin and organs.

Indeed, pig skin tissues and heart valves can be used in medicine because of their similarity and compatibility with the human body.

Dr McCarthy says that the original pig-chimp hook up was probably followed by several generations of ‘backcrossing’, where the offspring of that pairing lived among chimps and mated with them — becoming more like chimps and less like pigs with every new generation.

This also helps to explain the problem of relative infertility in hybrids. Dr McCarthy points out that the belief that all hybrids are sterile is in fact false, and in many cases hybrid animals are able to breed with mates of the same species of either parent.

After several generations the hybrid strain would have become fertile enough to breed amongst themselves, Dr McCarthy says.

Unsurprisingly, Dr McCarthy’s hypothesis has come in for substantial criticism from orthodox evolutionary biologists and their Creationist opponents alike.

One important criticism, which dubs his theory the ‘Monkey-F******-A-Pig hypothesis’, is that there is little chance that pigs and chimps could be interfertile. The two orders of creatures, according to evolutionary theory, diverged roughly 80million years ago, a ScienceBlogs post points out.

‘[J]ust the gradual accumulation of molecular differences in sperm and egg recognition proteins would mean that pig sperm wouldn’t recognize a chimpanzee egg as a reasonable target for fusion,’ PZ Myers writes.

Furthermore, the blogger explains, while chimps have 48 chromosomes, pigs have just 38.

He adds: ‘Hybridizing a pig and a chimp is like taking half the dancers from a performance of Swan Lake and the other half from a performance of Giselle and throwing them together on stage to assemble something. It’s going to be a catastrophe.’

Finally, he suggests rather impudently that Dr McCarthy do the experimental work himself and try mating with a pig to see how far he gets…

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

Insane Black Friday Video: Women Get Into Stun Gun Fight Inside the Mall (Video)

Black Friday shopping can be hazardous to your health.

One woman apparently used a stun gun on another after an all-out brawl inside of the Franklin Mills Mall in Northeast Philadelphia.

Mike Napolitano was in the mall with two of his friends when they came up on the fight…

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Mobs, Stampedes, Fights, Brawls, A Stabbing and Shooting: A Video Compilation of Black Thursday 2013 (Videos)

That greatest of all American traditions — the Black Friday Thursday stampede, this year accompanied with a stabbing and a shooting, is back. A quick review of all readers may have missed by not lining up in droves outside of stores that were selling products at just above cost instead of the usual massive pre-Thanksgiving markup, via the Mail:

  • The rush for Black Friday bargains has resulted in outbreaks of violence as shoppers clash over reduced price goods
  • Police in Virginia have reporting a stabbing incident after two men got into a fight in the car park over a space
  • Shoppers cutting in line sparked a Black Friday Brawl at another Walmart
  • Some retailers opened their doors as early as 6am on Thanksgiving Day

Some details before we get into the documentary evidence:…

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

NYC Alarms With Notice: ‘Immediately Surrender Your Rifle’

New York City authorities have been sending out notices to residents who own guns that now violate new ammunition capability laws, demanding they relinquish their weapons — and even though the notifications may just be standard police procedure, the text is a shocker.

At issue: Weapons that hold more than five rounds of ammo, The Blaze reported.

One such notice to a city resident, dated Nov. 18 and posted on The Blaze, reads: “Immediately surrender your rifle and/or shotgun to your local police precinct, and notify this office of the invoice number. The firearm may be sold or permanently removed from the City of New York thereafter. Permanently remove your rifle and/or shotgun from New York City.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Progressive Racism

Recently I’ve been researching the subject matter of socialism and how it has influenced the American political landscape since the nation’s founding. Many times when I research anything in depth I will uncover surprising or interesting details I didn’t know before. And they always say, “The devil is in the details,” don’t they?

It’s hard to study socialism and its influence on the United States and not run smack dab into the Progressive Movement. The history of “progressivism” in American politics goes back a long way.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

The Moral Decline of America (Video)

Paul Joseph Watson gives a British perspective on black Friday and how it is slowly infiltrating shopping habits across the pond.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Zombie: SF Protesters to Obama: Please be a Dictator!

When Obama’s motorcade rocketed around San Francisco on Monday, very few locals even noticed his presence, and fewer still cared. The crowds awaiting him at each presidential fundraiser were by far the smallest I’d seen in over five years of covering his visits here. Ticket sales to at least one of the events were so sluggish that prices had to be lowered to fill the empty seats. Out in the street, rubberneckers and protesters had dwindled to the bare minimum. This is what happens when a hero disappoints: you don’t turn on him in anger, but rather just tune him out and move on to other interests.

Yet even with the small turnout, there was a theme amongst Obama’s protesters/supporters (supportesters?): They didn’t want him to change his political agenda — instead, they demanded that he assume dictatorial powers so that he could finally implement the radical plans with which they already agree. The message of the day was: Stop dilly-dallying around, Mr. President: Ignore the Constitution and just make The Revolution happen, as you promised!

That message would be disturbing enough all on its own, but it becomes much more disturbing when you suspect (as I do) that many of these pro-totalitarian protesters were astroturfed. In other words: Is the White House scripting/encouraging/guiding protesters on the left to beg him to become a dictator? So that later, he can explain, “I had no choice — the people demanded it!” Or is Obama simply telegraphing to his supporters that they should not be so disappointed when he throws in the towel and gives up even trying to achieve anything in his second term?

Let’s see what happened on Monday, and you can judge for yourself.

[Comment: Article has lots of pics and entertaining commentary from Zombie.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

National Post: Canadian Iraqi Jews Fight US Return of Stolen Archives to Baghdad

It is auspicious and coincidental that we published today a New English Review interview with former Pentagon aide, Dr. Harold Rhode, entitled, “The Savior of the Iraqi Jewish Archives”. The National Post in Toronto published the story of an Iraqi Jewish refugee and Canadian citizen, Dr. Caroline Bassoon-Zaltzman, “Iraqi Jews Who Fled Persecution fight to stop US from Returning Stolen Artifacts to Baghdad”. Dr. Bassoon-Zaltzman as a 14 year old fled Iraq with her family in 1971 under the reign of the late Ba’athist dictator Saddam Hussein. Hussein had ordered his Mukhabarat (Intelligence service) to raid the synagogues, community centers and homes of Baghdadi Jews to build files for a so-called Israel and Jewish Section. Dr. Rhode, a civilian advisor to the Coalition Provisional Authority, and colleagues found a vast trove of sodden documents under water in the basement of the Iraqi Mukhabarat building in Baghdad in May 2003. Our interview with Dr. Rhode tells the story of the discovery and the generous efforts of the Bush government in facilitating the recovery and restoration of the Iraqi Jewish Archives by the National Archives and Records Agency (NARA). NARA has mounted an exhibit of selected items from the Iraqi Jewish Archives currently on display at the Lawrence F. O’Brien Gallery in Washington, DC. One of those items in the NARA exhibit is a report card of Dr. Basoon-Zaltzman that she will view when she visits Washington, next week. Perthaps she may even meet with Dr. Rhode who acts as a docent leading groups through the exihibit.

Both Drs. Rhode and Bassoon-Zaltzman are protesting the return of the Iraqi Jewish Archives to Baghdad under the terms of an agreement between the CPA of the US Government and the interim Iraqi government in July 2003. Rightfully, the Iraqi Jewish Archives should be returned to the Baghdadi Jewish Community, 85% of whom settled in Israel. Perhaps the archives be placed on permanent exhibit at the Babylonian Jewish Heritage Center. After all, the archives were stolen from the ancient Jewish community that numbered more than 130,000 in Baghdad at the time of their expulsion and expropriation of property and rescued in the wake of the Israeli War of Independence in 1950-51. There are perhaps a handful of elderly Jews left in Baghdad.

The National Post article quoted Dr. Rhode saying, “Like sending back art that Nazis looted”…

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

Archeology: Greece to Restore Ancient Sparta City Theater

One of the largest in antiquity, with 17,000-person capacity

(by Demetrio Manolitsakis) (ANSAmed) — ATHENS, NOVEMBER 29 — After centuries of neglect, another important classical Greek monument, the theater of the city of Sparta, will be restored to its ancient splendor thanks to a joint project by the Greek ministry of culture and tourism, the Diazoma citizens’ movement to save ancient theaters, and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.

The ministry’s Central Archeological Council has approved the restoration of the theater, one of the largest if not the largest in ancient Greece, to be carried out by a team of archeologists, architects, engineers, topographers and restorers led by architect Guglielmo Orestidis. Work is set to begin next year and will probably end in 2015, city authorities said.

Pausanias, the Greek traveler and geographer of the 2nd century AD, described the Sparta theater built in 30-20 BC entirely in local white marble, as “made of white stone, and worthy of being seen”. With its 17,000-spectator capacity, Sparta’s theater surpassed the most famous of ancient theaters, that of the city of Epidaurus, which had capacity of 12,000. After first phase restoration, which will cost five million euros, the theater will be able to hold 700 spectators, with capacity of 2,000 once work on the middle and upper portions is completed, Orestidis explained.

“Contemporary Sparta was built literally on the ruins of ancient Sparta, with entire chunks of the theater used to built nearby homes”, said Culture Ministry Secretary General Lina Mendoni. “The concave side even once held a Byzantine church.

The theater has been mistreated too long”, she concluded.

“We are here to fill in a historic gap, to right a historic injustice”, said Diazoma chief Stavros Benos.

“We all grew up with the values that determined ancient Athens and ancient Sparta. But the latter has never properly shown its historical wealth, which is what we want to rediscover”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

ATMs ‘Targeted in Most of Italy as Well as Romania and Denmark’

(ANSA) — Rome, November 29 — Italian police on Friday arrested 22 members of a transnational Romanian gang they said installed ‘skimmer’ equipment to syphon money out of cash machines across Italy and in other countries.

The organisation carried out “50 attacks” to steal credit and debit card details at ATMs in most of Italy in the last year, police said, naming the regions of Piedmont, Lombardy, Veneto, Emilia Romagna, Umbria, Marche, Lazio, Puglia and Calabria.

Arrests took place in Lazio, Lombardy, Piedmont, Emilia Romagna and Marche, as well as Romania and Denmark.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Black Friday — Welcome to America, & Why Does Britain Want This?

A curiously increasing custom stateside is Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving and the traditional kick-off of the American Christmas holiday season. But whereas there is no Thanksgiving in Britain (because it celebrates British pilgrims who left the UK behind), the nation’s retailers are still trying to emulate the American way.

In an attempt to get one up on the competition, American shops have elected to open increasingly early with outrageous special deals to get people in the door. Pre-dawn openings are common at large department stores and people line up for hours (and more) to get in on limited deals.

This has also brought about rising tensions as people full of turkey from the day before with insufficient sleep jostle for position in the dark with strangers who are competitors and tend to be viewed as the enemy.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Challenges Face Italy After Berlusconi’s Senate Ouster

‘No excuses left, we want reforms’ says center-left rising star

(By Christopher Livesay) (ANSA) — Rome, November 28 — Supporters of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi were “in mourning” Thursday, the day after the Senate voted to eject him, while a rising star in the rival center left said his ouster now left no excuses for the coalition government to move slowly with promised reforms. “Coup d’état” was the headline in Il Giornale, owned by the billionaire media magnate’s brother Paolo. “I’m coming back soon,” was the headline in right-wing daily Libero, which featured a rendering of the three-time premier’s political foes shooting at a cardboard cutout of him, only to reveal the real Berlusconi was smiling and unscathed. The right-leaning Il Foglio daily, which is edited by Berlusconi’s close friend Giuliano Ferrara, called the Senate vote a “political assassination”, recalling Berlusconi’s call Wednesday to “mourn the death of freedom and democracy”. His ejection from parliament kicked in following the supreme Cassation Court’s four-year sentence for tax fraud at his Mediaset group in August. The sentence was commuted to one year for an amnesty, and Berlusconi has requested to perform community service in that time. Berlusconi, who is embroiled in several other legal cases, says he fears allegedly leftist prosecutors will now take advantage of his loss of parliamentary immunity from arrest.

In the meantime however he says that won’t keep him from leading his resurrected center-right Forza Italia (FI) from outside parliament, in opposition to the left-right government he supported until earlier this week. On Tuesday, FI confirmed its switch from government to opposition by voting against the government’s 2014 budget bill in the Senate. Now with Berlusconi’s departure from both the coalition and parliament, centre-left Democratic Party (PD) leader-in-waiting Matteo Renzi said Thursday that nothing should hold back PD members in the government, led by Premier Enrico Letta, from pushing for quicker reforms and bigger growth-stoking moves.

The Florence mayor, expected to become leader of the PD in a December 8 primary, said the government could “change tack” since it was no longer subject to constant sniping from the ex-premier.

If the PD does not see a change of pace and direction, Renzi said it should pull the plug on its coalition with a conservative rump, the New Centre Right (NCD), that split with FI because of Berlusconi’s threat to sink Letta after the PD insisted on applying an anti-corruption law for the media magnate’s ouster.

“The grand-coalition government is over after Forza Italia’s exit and Berlusconi’s expulsion,” Renzi told the Corriere della Sera daily.

“So this government can’t keep on pretending everything has stayed the same. We have to change tack. We must finally do the things Italy needs”.

Renzi said since the coalition with Berlusconi’s now-defunct People of Freedom (PdL) party was formed to end a two-month post-election impasse in April, “the PD has been very prudent, patient and responsible.

“Ok, we were the good guys. But now it’s time to get things done and we will make our voice heard”.

Now that the PD was senior government partner by a much bigger margin, Renzi said, it must “implement its ideas…otherwise it will be the end”.

To create jobs in Italy’s longest recession in 20 years, “we must remove the obstacles to firms,” he said.

Red tape must be slashed, “fiscal oppression removed” and Italy’s snail-paced justice system, which slows business and discourages foreign investment, has to be streamlined and accelerated.

The 2014 budget, now going through parliament, does not meet these needs, said the Florence mayor, whose charisma and centrist appeal has invited comparisons to former British prime minister Tony Blair, as well as to Berlusconi. NCD leader Angelino Alfano, who was Berlusconi’s long-time protege’ and seeming heir-apparent before he broke with his patron, appealed to Renzi not to bring down the government “and make Italians pay the price”.

He said the NCD would shortly agree a new deal on a faster reform agenda including a new electoral law — another of Renzi’s top demands — to replace the one widely blamed for February’s inconclusive result.

The NCD, which voted against Berlusconi’s expulsion, is also pressing for justice reforms.

Polls say the combined appeal of FI and the NCD, who are expected to run together at the next election, is bigger than the PdL’s was.

The centre right has nudged ahead of the PD-led centre left in recent polls.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

French Haute Cuisine Increasingly Italian

Carniato Europe, wholesale numbers since July up 15%

(ANSAmed) — ROME — French haute cuisine is increasingly Italian with menus in Paris rarely foregoing dishes with balsamic vinegar from Modena, Italian extra-virgin oil, ricotta, burrata and mozzarella di bufala cheese or mascarpone for tiramisu’.

Italian wines are also gaining the spotlight not just in bistrots or wine lists at Michelin-starred restaurants but also in the homes of French wine connaisseurs, as noted at a forum on the internationalization of wine and food — Food and Book — by Bruno Colucci, who has led the sales department of wine and food distributor Carniatio Europe for the past 30 years, the ‘valve delivering to France over 2,500 Italian-made products’.

On July 1 this year Carniato Europe renewed its retail place inside the Rungis general markets — the largest in Europe which replaced Les Halles in Paris — to open the first Italian Cash and Carry in France, investing some 1.5 million euros in the operation.

‘They are beautiful spaces conceived by two Italian architects to enhance our excellent food and wine products so they can become ‘jewels’ on display along linear counters’, said Colucci, adding that ‘in the first four months of activity, turnover went up 15% and we believe will touch 7 million euros at the end of the year although the crisis is also affecting the French’.

‘We have 8,500 clients — 80% pizza places — a high percentage which is however decreasing due to the growing number of haute cuisine operators, not just Italian emigrants as happened when the group was founded’.

Colucci said Carniato worked hard to make Italian restaurants more relevant abroad by encouraging them to use top quality products — something which he believes was key in the growing influence of Italy in haute cuisine. ‘We decided to abandon large-scale retail trade and tried to improve what was offered to Italian pizzerias to reintroduce Italian noble products’, he said.

Now pizza is made with real mozzarella and not with “analogue” cheese produced in Belgium and the Netherlands. And this first Cash and Carry will be the Trojan Horse to bring Italian hand-made products to France and to introduce them without intermediaries to an increasingly savvy consumer, who is curious and often has great food and wine culture, said Colucci: ‘Entering into everyday French consumption is our future and the development force for Italian-made exports’.

The group was founded in the 1950s by the Carniato brothers from Treviso and bought in 1987 by leading cooperatives including wine producers, starting with Gruppo Italiano Vini (Giv, which has 65% of shares), which is among top Italian producers with 2.5 million high-quality bottles from the prized Valtellina cellars Nino Negri to Sicily’s Rapitala’ for a total of 14 cellars in 11 regions and 1,340 hectares of vines.

Grandi Salumi Italiani, Gruppo Cevico and Cantine Riunite Civ are also important shareholders.

Overall Carniato Europe has 170 employees, 15,000 square metres used as deposits or for logistical purposes for a turnover totalling 57 million euros.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

How Hunger Makes You Support the Welfare State (… But Doesn’t Make You Any More Likely to Share Your Cash)

People who are hungry are more inclined to support of the welfare state policies that help the poor, new research suggests.

The extraordinary results of a Danish study suggest that the state of our bodies has a significant influence on our position on specific political issues.

The researchers behind the study say their findings could revolutionise perceptions of how people come to adopt a political stance, with our ideological views apparently swayed by basic biology.

That’s in direct contradiction to the Enlightenment view that people make up their minds about politics by considering their options and carefully and weighing the pros and cons.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Italy: Palermo Judge Says Some MPs Colluding With Mob

‘Mafiosi everywhere, even our public institutions’

(ANSA) — Pescara, November 29 — The president of the Palermo tribunal on Friday said there are members of Italian parliament colluding with the mafia. “The mafiosi aren’t just (the notorious bosses). Those who collude with the mafia are everywhere. They’re in our public institutions, they sit in parliament,” said Leonardo Guarnotta at a conference devoted to organized crime.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Bologna University Lecturer in Drugs Probe

‘Gave narcotics, drink to favoured clique’, students claim

(ANSA) — Bologna, November 29 — A Bologna University lecturer in psychiatry has been placed under investigation on suspicion of giving drugs to post-graduates he allegedly favoured in research work, according to local media reports.

Other postgrads in psychiatry claimed the associate professor, Alessandro Serretti, passed around drugs and alcohol during meetings with his protege’s.

They also claimed he had “affectionate relationships” with some female members of the clique — an allegation prosecutors are assessing, the Corriere di Bologna reported.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Autogrill Extends Asia Reach With Indonesia Deal

Benetton-led group in $90-bn deal for 16 outlets in 3 airports

(ANSA) — Milan, November 29 — Benetton’s catering and retail giant extended Autogrill its reach in Asia Friday by landing its first three contracts in Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populous country.

The northern-Italian-based multinational signed three five-year deals to run 16 outlets in the airports of Bali, Surabaya e Balikpapan. The activities will be run by Atg Indonesia, a newco formed by a joint venture between Autogrill’s HmsHost International division and Taurus Gemilang, a major local operator of airport restaurants and other eateries.

The deals are expected to generate profits of $90 million between 2014 and 2018, Autogrill said. Autogrill is the world’s largest player in the travel dining sector.

It is controlled with a 59% stake by the Edizione Holding investment vehicle of the Benetton family.

Autogrill runs operations in 40 different countries, primarily in Europe and North America, with over 250 licensed and proprietary brands.

Over 90% of the company’s business derives from outlets in airport terminals and motorway service areas.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Shows: Sensuality and Religion in Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Women

‘Daughters of the king’ inaugurated Tuesday

(by Virginia Di Marco) (ANSAmed) — ROME — Ultra-Orthodox Jewish women can be sensual, feminine and even coquettish. There is more to see in a ‘yiddish mame’, as shown by Federica Valabrega’s photos on show from Tuesday through January 15 at the Ermanno Tedeschi Gallery in Rome.

The small but prestigious art gallery overlooking a square of the old Jewish ghetto on Tuesday night inaugurated the exhibit ‘Daughters of the King’ dedicated to Hasidic Jewish women portrayed during religious festivities, weddings and everyday life — images in which there is a fine line between earth and spirit.

‘I am a Jewish woman born to a non-Jewish mother who converted’, Valabrega told ANSAmed. ‘I live in Brooklyn and meet very religious women every day. I wanted to discover their femininity: what lies behind covering up in long dresses, closing themselves in their own world?’ ‘Certainly these women are also ‘yiddish mame’ (a term referring to the traditional idea of an over-protective Jewish mother) but they are first and foremost women. Sensual, full of life and in a certain way women of their time. You see them as they walk down the street with their heads down and get a certain idea; then you walk into their homes, you see how they dress and understand you can’t close them inside a cliche’.

The photographs were taken in five different countries: United States, France, Israel, Tunisia and Morocco. Some girls and women were willing to have their picture taken while others were shy.

‘Usually ultra-Orthodox women are not easy to photograph.

This in part depends on the community they belong to: there are the Lubavich, the Chabad who are more open; the Satmar, who are more difficult; the Dati Leumi, Israeli religious Zionists and so on. Ultra-Orthodox Judaism is not monolithic’.

And the photographer said she convinced the shiest women to have their pictures taken by talking to them ‘woman-to-woman’.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Prosecutors Accuse Lega’s Leader Bossi of 40 Mln Fraud

(AGI) — Milan, Nov 29 — Milan’s public prosecutors claim that Lega’s leader Umberto Bossi should be charged for ‘aggravated fraud to be assigned public allocations’ following parliamentary audits of reimbursements to fund his party in 2008 and 2009. The fraud seems to have been perpetrated jointly with the late administrative secretary Maurizio Balocchi in 2008, and with the then Lega treasurer Francesco Belsito in 2009 and 2010. Public prosecutors maintain that Bossi and other individuals under investigation deceived the Chairs of both the House and Senate.

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

The Rise of the Far Right in Europe

by Katie Engelhart

In August 2010, dozens of far-right politicians from across Europe flew to Tokyo for a week of plotting and scheming. They were invited by Japan’s right-wing Issuikai group, famous for its denial of Japanese war crimes during the Nanjing Massacre, in which hundreds of thousands of Chinese civilians were murdered, and tens of thousands raped, by Japanese soldiers. The occasion was a conference: “The Future of Nationalist Movements.”

By all accounts, it was a success. A who’s who of European nationalists showed up: delegates from theBritish Nationalist Party (BNP), Jobbik (Hungary), Tricolour Flame (Italy), Attack (Bulgaria), Freedom (Ukraine) and Flemish Interest (Belgium). Jean-Marie Le Pen—former president of France’s Muslim-bashing, European Union-trashing Front National—gave the keynote address. The congress, said an Issuikai spokesperson, was focused on “how we can protect the national identity in our respective countries and co-operate to win the battle against globalization.”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Curb on Middle Class Students as Top Universities Join Scheme to Help Pupils From Poorer Families

Middle class students face losing out on places at top universities as growing numbers of them adopt a scheme which prioritises disadvantaged pupils for places.

Top universities are signing up to a scheme that means disadvantaged teenagers don’t need to obtain the same grades as their better-off rivals to get a place.

Twelve universities including Birmingham, Warwick, King’s College and Bristol are already involved in the Realising Opportunities programme which involved them giving ‘alternative offers’ to disadvantaged students.

And it has now been revealed that three more universities have entered the scheme — Goldsmiths, University of London; Sheffield and Sussex.

The Universities say the scheme promotes ‘fairer access’ and will increase the number of pupils from working-class families and poorly performing state schools going to university.

But critics say it is unfair to discriminate against hard-working pupils from middle class backgrounds, and say the scheme does nothing to solve the root cause of educational disadvantage…

OFFA has the ultimate power to fine universities £500,000 or ban them from charging tuition fees of more than £6,000 if they fail to widen access to under-represented groups.

Earlier this week, Bahram Bekhradnia, director of the Higher Education Policy Institute, claimed that UK universities should be more explicit in attempts to ‘socially engineer’ admissions in favour of poor students.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Carole Waugh’s Murderer Rakesh Bhayani Sentenced to 27 Years

[WARNING: Disturbing Content.]

Rakesh Bhayani, 41, befriended ‘lonely’ Carole Waugh, 49, before killing her at her London flat and hiding her body so he could steal her identity and blow her money on gambling and prostitutes.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: New Jimmy Savile Sex Abuse Claims Reported Every Week, As the Number of Hospitals Under Investigation Doubles to 32

[WARNING: Disturbing Content.]

New sex abuse claims against Jimmy Savile are being made weekly, it emerged today as the number of hospitals under investigation over the scandal more than doubled to 32.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said an extra 19 hospitals had been caught up in the scandal, in addition to 13 already subject to an urgent inquiry.

It suggests the disgraced former BBC presenter’s abuse of children on NHS premises may have been more regular and more serious than those offences committed at the Corporation.

Lawyers representing some of his victims have claimed Savile’s offences on NHS property were just as bad as those committed on the BBC premises and in some cases much worse.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Retired Teacher, 78, Died of a Massive Stroke After Teenage Thugs Set Fire to Her Car

[WARNING: Disturbing Content.]

A retired teacher collapsed and died of a stroke after teenage thugs set fire to her car in the middle of the night, an inquest heard.

Gillian Dudley-Smith, 78, a talented botanical artist, dialled 999 after a passing taxi driver alerted her to the Ford Fiesta ablaze on her driveway.

As she stood helplessly watching the car go up in flames from her window, the grandmother of five suffered a massive stroke. She died a few hours later in hospital.

An inquest was told two boys aged 14 and 15 were arrested in connection with the arson attack outside the £250,000 North Wales home that Mrs Dudley-Smith shared with her husband of 50 years, Eric.

But they were later released without charge and no-one has ever been brought to justice for the crime.

Coroner John Gittins said the stress of the blaze led to Mrs Dudley-Smith’s stroke. ‘Whoever set fire to the car on that night has played a part in her death,’ he said.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Top Referee and Two Other Men Charged With Hacking Into Football Association Computers

A referee has been charged after FA computers were allegedly hacked.

Dean Mohareb has been charged with perverting the course of justice and unauthorised access to computer data.

Mohareb, a senior member of the Football Association’s referee department and a football league official, was due to take charge of Barnsley against Peterborough on Tuesday night.

But the 29-year-old was stood down from the match following his arrest at home on Sunday.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: The Split Second Before Lee Rigby is Mown Down (Video)

[WARNING: Disturbing Content.]

CCTV video of the split second before car mows down Lee Rigby.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Egypt: Army Seals Off Cairo’s Tahrir Square Entrances

Cairo — Army forces sealed off entrances to Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Friday and intensified security measures before the start of planned protests which the Muslim Brotherhood called for.The army closed the square with barbed wire and metal barriers, the Egyptian Radio and Television Union’s Akhbar Masr website reported…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Libya: Blast at Brak Al-Shati Arms Depot Kills 30

At least 30 people have been killed in an explosion at a weapons depot in southern Libya, officials say.

The blast is believed to have occurred after a group of people, reportedly including African immigrants, were trying to steal copper. A hospital near the depot in Brak al-Shati, near the city of Sabha, says it is treating the injured. Meanwhile, four soldiers have been killed in another day of violence in the restive eastern city of Benghazi…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

41 Killed, 22 Wounded in Violent Attacks in Iraq

BAGHDAD, Nov. 29 (Xinhua) — At least 41 people were killed and 22 others wounded in the latest wave of violent attacks across Iraq, police said on Friday. In the capital city of Baghdad, a total of 18 people were killed and 22 others were injured in bombing and shooting attacks, a police source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Appeasement in Geneva?

by Jerry Gordon and Mike Bates, with Jonathan Schanzer and Shoshana Bryen

The topsy turvey developments in the Middle East made for high drama on the international and regional stage in the waning months of 2013.

Desperate to stave off swooning domestic poll approval ratings caused by the unraveling the Affordable Care Act, the Obama Administration was hopeful that an Interim agreement via the P5+1 in Geneva might bolster public opinion of its conduct of foreign affairs. On November 10, 2013, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius upended discussions in Geneva calling the interim deal by the P5+1 with a Iranian delegation a “fool’s game.”…

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

EU Ambassadors Hope to Repair Ties With Damascus

(AGI) Beirut, Nov 30 — European ambassadors have resumed discreet trips to Damascus a bid to repair ties with the Syrian regime. One of the ambassadors, who has been based in Beirut since December 2012, said that they had gradually started to return, at first cautiously for a day, then for a few days, and were now returning to the area once or twice a month.

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

Iran, U.S. To Open Joint Chamber of Commerce

According to Hejazi, the project which he said had already been registered in the United States would allow the two countries to work towards restoring ties.

Hejazi also said the government has authorized the private sector to launch joint activities and that Iran was ready to establish direct flights to the United States.

Flights would connect Kish Island in southwest Iran with New York, he said.

“This is because Kish Island is a free trade zone and Iranian passengers who have U.S. citizenship will not need to obtain visas to enter it,” he said.

Hejazi said direct flights would “enable us to export domestic products to the US and import high-tech products and raw materials from the country.”

[Soon maybe we’ll be shipping them uranium—just like the Soviet Union under lend lease! — AB]

           — Hat tip: Andy Bostom [Return to headlines]

Sectarian Clashes Resume in Lebanon’s Tripoli

BEIRUT, Nov. 30 (Xinhua) — A new round of clashes erupted Saturday in Lebanon’s northern port city of Tripoli between the rival Sunni neighborhood of Bab El Tebbaneh and mostly Alawite area of Jabal Mohsen, killing a man and injuring five others, a local security source told Xinhua. The clashes took place following an attack on a Jabal Mohsen resident who was shot in his feet in the Bab El Tebbaneh neighborhood…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Syrian PM Visits Iran, Praises Both Countries’ ‘Victories’

‘Axis of resistance against global, imperialist war’

(ANSAmed) — BEIRUT, NOVEMBER 29 — Syrian prime minister Wael Al-Halqi said Friday in Tehran that the strategic relations between the two countries had led to “extraordinary victories” of the two countries: in nuclear talks for Iran and in the “war against global war” for Syria. The Syrian prime minister was on a visit to the Iranian capital Friday to speak to leaders of the Islamic Republic, the main supporter of President Bashar Al-Assad. Among the mission’s objectives, Al-Halqi was quoted by Syrian state news agency SANA as saying, is to activate an Iranian credit line for Damascus and to sign new cooperation accords. Other members of the Syrian delegation include Foreign Minister Walid Al-Moallem as well as the electricity, oil and health ministers

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

The Finger of Doom

The finger on the Iranian nuclear button is by no stretch of the imagination a rational finger. Rather it is the finger of doom.

It was President Carter in 1979 who naively misunderstood the internal politics of Iran and let the Shah, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, be overthrown by Islamists. Carter was overjoyed to let the Ayatollah Khomeini return from his exile in France to take over the Iranian state. Astonishingly as we look back now at his actions, Carter believed that he was undertaking a human rights agenda.

In return, the United States was to be deeply humiliated as its embassy in Tehran was overrun and its diplomats held as prisoners by Iranian “students” among whom were numbered many of the present day anti-American Iranian regime members, including the ex-Iranian president and certified fanatic, Mahmoud Ahmadenijad.

But Carter was clueless and gullible, believing that the Iranian Islamists, now that the Shah was removed, would usher in a period of western style democracy. President Obama is neither clueless nor gullible. On the contrary, he full knows what he is about and his unbecoming rush to embrace the Iranian mullahs is destined to become an historic catastrophe for the Free world, the West and for America’s few remaining allies in the Middle East, especially Israel.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Old Etonian Army Officer Shot Dead at Point Blank Range Moments After Giving a Gun Back to Afghan ‘Ally’

[WARNING: Disturbing Content.]

Eton-educated Lieutenant Edward Drummond-Baxter, 29, from County Durham, pictured, returned an AK-47 to an Afghan he believed to be an ally who then shot him at close range, an inquest heard.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Sri Lanka: Christian Gypsy Wants to Use His Faith in God to Stop Discrimination

Shanthakumara, 21, is married and living in the settled community of Kudagama. With great willpower and love for Christ, he got an education and opened a store which employs other young people. His goal is to help fellow Gypsies empower themselves “without losing our culture and traditions.”

Colombo (AsiaNews) — Erannaage Shanthakumara Jayarathna, a 21-year-old Christian Gypsy, wants to a change a social system that discriminates against his community, helping it to grow along with the rest of the country, without sacrificing its traditional culture and values.

The young man lives in Kudagama, a Gypsy village in Anuradhapura District (Northern Central Province), of some 300 families. Like him, almost all residents are Christians, members of the Assembly of God Church.

Despite his young age, Shanthakumara is already married with a woman from his own community. In accordance with tradition, on their wedding day, the couple received a hunting dog, a snake with its box, a monkey and a donkey as wedding presents.

Each gift has a specific meaning (and use) because gypsies are nomadic. The dog provides protection and helps find food; the snake and the monkey are part of magic shows and dance, allowing their masters to earn money; the donkey is the means of transport par excellence.

In his village, Shanthakumara is one of the few guys with an education. “After going to school, I took a course for electricians in Galgamuwa. That’s where I learnt how to fix radios, televisions and other stuff. I also attended photography class”.

With this training, he opened his own electronics store, SK Studio and Electronics, and with it he earns a living, employing two other men.

“In my family,” he explained, “prayer is very important and we devote ourselves to it at least an hour a day.” But “all graces and accomplishments in my life . . . I owe them all to God’s blessings. I am really happy with my life, my family and my friends. What I do is not just for me but also for our community.”

His biggest dream, he said, “is to help young people like me to build their lives and face society holding our heads high. In Sri Lanka, the Sinhalese majority discriminates against us saying that we belong to the lowest caste . . . . When our parents travel, presenting shows with snake charmers or dancing monkeys, they are always insulted. Sometimes, they are even attacked.”

“I want to change this sad system,” Shanthakumara said, “but I also want our parents and our community to protect our heritage and our values, not as professions, but as an integral part of our culture and our tradition.”

The first group of Gypsies arrived in Sri Lanka from southern India. In fact, they still speak Telugu, which is spoken mainly in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.

As one might expect, the first communities travelled. Eventually, some settled down, establishing the villages of Kudagama, Andarabedda, Kalawewea, Aligambe and Sirivallipuram.

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

China to Launch Moon Rover Mission to Scout Out Locations for a Lunar Base That Will One Day be Used for a Mission to Mars

China will become the just third country is history — and the first since 1976 — to soft land an unmanned probe on the moon, officials have announced.

The probe has been named Yutu or ‘Jade Rabbit’, after the character that Chinese folklore says lives on the Moon’s surface.

The mission forms part of a plan in which China hopes to build a permanent lunar base in order to launch future missions to Mars within the next 15 years.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Nigeria: Spread of Terrorism — Army Uncovers Boko Haram’s New Tactics

The Chief of Army Staff Lt General Azubike Ihejirika, has advised Nigerians not to panic over speculation of the spread of terrorists into other regions of the country, assuring that security moves were in top gear to monitor terrorists movements just as the Director of Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Ibrahim Attahiru also alerted Nigerians that Boko Haram terrorists have come out with new tactics to circumvent security measures put in place towards curtailing their activities in the North East. The new methods according to General Attahiru include resorting to attacks on soft targets and erecting snap road blocks on major highways in the north east…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Horrific Moment Three Gunmen Open Fire at a Disco in Colombia Killing Eight People as Dancers Flee for Cover

[WARNING: Disturbing Content.]

This is the terrifying moment a trio of gunmen stormed into a disco and opened fire on a crowd of terrified dancers.

CCTV captured the moment when the men pull out their guns and push past bouncers to get inside the disco in Cali, Colombia, before they start spraying bullets around the room.

The victims’ blood flowed out of the nightclub and into the street after the gruesome 20-minute long attack.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

‘Ja Fighting a War’

Seizure of bullet-making machines, warheads signals frightening plot by criminals — law enforcer

Livern Barrett, Gleaner Writer

There was a chilling warning yesterday from senior law-enforcement personnel and a top security consultant that the seizure of bullet-making machines, along with over 3,000 warheads, at the ports on Thursday could be an indication that criminal elements are preparing for an onslaught.

Up to late yesterday, investigators probing the incident said they were following several leads, but confirmed that the two machines and 3,300 warheads seized were destined for the criminal underworld.

Investigators also confirmed that the barrels in which they were hidden were shipped from the United States and were consigned to Oneil Schrouder, a Mandeville man who has been listed as a person of interest.

Sources close to the investigation have revealed that the machines are used primarily to make and/or reload ammunition for the 9mm handgun, the firearm of choice among criminals and gun enthusiasts locally.

Noting that the confiscated items were “not something the average criminal can afford”, one high-ranking law-enforcement officer cautioned that it points to a sinister plot by those involved in organised crime.

“We are fighting a war … and this (the seizure) tells the public what is happening in our society,” said the law-enforcement officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“Three thousand three hundred warheads. … That could have been 3,000 lives. So if you look at it in that way, you see how significant this find is,” the law enforcer continued.

While agreeing that the items seized could have been destined for the criminal underworld, security consultant Robert Finzi-Smith argued that it could also be the work of an “enterprising businessman”.

“Could this be the beginning of an assault [by criminals]?” Finzi-Smith questioned. “Or could it be that some enterprising businessman believes that they can make some money from this?”

Either way, Finzi-Smith said this development raises troubling concerns about the way ammunition are accounted for in Jamaica.

Shortly after noon on Thursday, X-ray machines at the wharves detected something unusual in a barrel in one of the containers, which was searched and the cache found.

           — Hat tip: heroyalwhyness [Return to headlines]

Jamaican Authorities Seize 3,300 Warheads

KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) — Police in Jamaica say authorities have seized 3,300 missile warheads and a machine to make missiles and bullets.

Deputy Police Superintendent Steve Brown said Friday that custom officials discovered the weapons late Thursday aboard a ship at Kingston Wharf.

He declined to say where the shipment originated from or its destination. No one has been arrested.

Brown told reporters that police are seeking helping from international agencies after their findings.

He said it was the first time authorities had made such a discovery.

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes [Return to headlines]

Obamas Revert to Activist Mode for Thanksgiving 2013

Barack and Michelle Obama Thanksgiving hypocrisy hit an all time high this year.

One day after gorging along with “undisclosed” guests on a traditional Thanksgiving dinner replete with “turkey, ham, stuffing and plenty on the side” (New York Times) and also “going heavy on the pies” (pecan, pumpkin, peach, sweet potato cream and huckleberry) Barack and Michelle Obama, reverted to the activists they really are, putting in a personal appearance at the Fast For Families group in a tent on the National Mall.

– From December 1st-3rd, thousands of people will join the days of fasting for a day to be part of the Fast for Families in an effort to urge Congress to pass new immigration laws — “NOW!”…

Make that the same National Mall where World War 11 Vets, who travelled from all over the world to see their War Memorial, were denied access during last month’s government-imposed shutdown.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Obamas Visit Immigration Fasters

President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama visited Friday with a group of protesters who are fasting in an effort to pressure Congress to pass an immigration bill.

The Obamas praised organizers Eliseo Medina and Dae Joong Yoon and thanked “all of the fasters for their sacrifice and dedication, and told them that the country is behind them on immigration reform,” according to a White House statement.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Spain: Drones on Melilla Border Instead of Razor Wire, PSOE

To prevent migrants from injury; greater use of technology

(ANSAmed)- MADRID, NOVEMBER 28 — Spain’s socialist PSOE made a parliamentary proposal Thursday to put drones instead of razor wire along the border between Morocco and the Spanish enclave of Melilla. The measure would be to prevent “mutilations and serious injury” to the migrants trying to get over the barrier.

The proposal was made in response to conservative PM Mariano Rajoy’s statement that the government was prepared to remove the polemical razor wire along the triple separation barrier along the border, if “equally effective” means could limit migrant crossings. The motion signed by the spokesperson for the socialist group in the lower house, Soraya Rodriguez, suggests bolstering the “intelligent border” by raising the use of “surveillance technology along the border through the use of remote-controlled aircraft”, as well as the installation of radar at strategic points, and movement sensors and high-intensity acoustic and light alarms along the entire perimeter. The ‘intelligent border’ would entail a change in customs facilities to separate access for vehicles, motorcycles, bicycles and people. The socialists would also like to raise the number of security forces stationed along land borders and that of boats for sea patrols, especially ones used by the special submarine unit, as well as strengthen cooperation with Morocco in the struggle against clandestine immigration and broaden the EU’s collaboration with countries from which migrants come and through which they transit.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

‘We Are Not Second-Rate Citizens!’: Romanian Prime Minister Tells Britain Not to Discriminate Against ‘Migrant Wave’

Romania’s prime minister has told Britain not to treat Romanians as ‘second-rate citizens’ when curbs on Romanian and Bulgarian workers are lifted on January 1.

Victor Ponta said last night that research showed no evidence that there would be large numbers of migrants moving from his country to the UK, despite mounting fears.

And he reiterated the claim, made elsewhere, that Romanians were more likely to seek work in southern European states like Italy and Spain, where the language is far more similar to Romanian.

David Cameron this week announced measures to toughen welfare rules for migrants from the European Union amid concern that migrants from Romania and Bulgaria would exploit the benefits system.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

‘Genderqueer’ Rising: Colleges Welcome Kids Who Identify as Neither Male Nor Female

OAKLAND, Calif. — The weekly meetings of Mouthing Off!, a group for students at Mills College in Oakland, Calif., who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, always start the same way. Members take turns going around the room saying their names and the personal pronouns they want others to use when referring to them — she, he or something else.

It’s an exercise that might seem superfluous given that Mills, a small and leafy liberal arts school historically referred to as the Vassar of the West, only admits women as undergraduates. Yet increasingly, the “shes” and “hers” that dominate the introductions are keeping third-person company with “they,” “ze” and other neutral alternatives meant to convey a more generous notion of gender.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

Russia Gives Italy Sole Adoption Rights Over Gay-Union Ban

‘Because country refuses to recognize same-sex marriage’

(ANSA) — Moscow, November 29 — Italy will be the only country allowed to adopt children from Russia because it does not recognize gay marriage, a Kremlin official said Friday. “It turns out that Italy is currently the only country whose citizens are able to adopt Russian children because, first of all, this country refused to recognise same-sex marriage, which, for its part, does not require Russia to change the existing agreement, and, secondly, (the Italians) abide by the terms of this treaty. That is all,” Children Rights Commissioner Pavel Astakhov told Russia’s Interfax news agency. “It is not our fault. (Other countries) should work harder if you want international adoption to continue.

“Our priorities differ from yours. We generally prioritize the adoption of children inside the country”. The official specified that the policy does not amount to an outright ban on adoption in other countries.

Currently the United States is the only country banned from adopting Russian children. Italy’s left-wing SEL party lashed out at Italian Premier Enrico Letta, who wrapped up a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin and ministers from both governments in Trieste Wednesday, where a number of accords were signed. “Putin continues to astound with his homophobic regurgitations, announcing that Russia will allow foreign adoptions only to Italy because it’s among the few European countries not to recognize gay couples,” said Cathy La Torre from the national directorate of SEL, who called on Letta to condemn Russia’s adoption decision. “If these are the results of the bilateral accords recently stipulated between Italy and Russia, there’s very little to be happy with”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Study: Same-Sex Households Endanger Kids

A new study, authored by Associate Professor Mark Regnerus from the University of Texas, shows alarming child endangerment in same-sex households:

  • Parental pedophilia is widespread: 23 percent of children with a lesbian mother reported having been touched sexually by a parent or adult, compared to 2 percent of those raised by biological parents.
  • Rape is rampant: 31 percent of children raised by a lesbian mother and 25 percent raised by a homosexual man report that they were forced to have sex against their will, compared to 8 percent from intact families.
  • Sexually transmitted disease (STD) is epidemic: over 20 percent of those brought up by two women and 25 percent raised by two men reported having contracted an STD, compared to 8 percent from natural families.
  • Suicidal tendencies are startling: 24 percent of children raised by homosexual men and 12% of children raised by lesbian mothers admitted to having recently contemplated suicide, compared to 5 percent of those raised by biological parents or even a single parent.

Published in the journal Social Science Research, the study of nearly 3,000 young adults is perhaps the most scientifically credible study on the topic ever conducted.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

New Social Network Where All Your Data is Encrypted to Stop Spying Vies for Users Turned Off Facebook by NSA Revelations

A new encrypted social network aims to entice web users put off Facebook and Google Plus by revelations of NSA spying and fears of lack of privacy.

Syme encrypts all user content — including status updates, messages and photos — allowing only those invited to a user’s group to see it.

Even Syme’s admins claim they are unable read the content uploaded to the site unless they, too, are invited to…

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Photograph of Giant Snake That Appears to Have Eaten a Human Sweeps the Internet… But Did it Actually Kill Anyone?

[WARNING: Disturbing Content.]

This incredible photograph has sparked debate and confusion across the internet.

The image, which has sweeped across social media sites, appears to show a python that has just finished a human-sized meal.

While suggestions about where the picture may have been taken range between Asia, Africa and America, the general consensus is that this snake’s food was human.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]