Gates of Vienna News Feed 12/18/2013

As reported a couple of days ago, a15-year-old girl in Auckland, New Zealand was abused by her family and then forced to wear a burqa to hide her injuries. Now her father has been arrested and charged with kidnapping and causing grievous bodily harm for breaking her nose with an umbrella, her teeth with a stick, and then nailing the door of the house shut to keep her inside. It is also alleged that the Muslim community helped conceal what was happening to the girl.

In other news, 51 crew members of the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan are plaintiffs in a lawsuit against TEPCO, the Japanese power company responsible for the Fukushima nuclear plant. The sailors came down with cancer, leukemia, and other radiation-related diseases after the aircraft carrier unwittingly took in radioactive water and desalinated it. Crew members drank the water, cooked with it, and took showers in it without realizing they were being exposed to serious dosages of radiation.

Meanwhile, in retaliation for NSA spying as revealed by Edward Snowden, Brazil rejected a contract to buy Boeing jets, and will do business with Saab instead.

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

Thanks to Fjordman, Insubria, Jerry Gordon, Kitman, Michael Laudahn, TV, 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
» Bank of Cyprus Reports Nine-Month Net Loss of 1.94 Bln Euros
» Fed to Scale Back Stimulus as Economy Shows Steady Growth
» Italy: MPS on Brink of Gov’t Takeover Says Chairman
» Black Mob Violence Blamed on Collective ‘Mental Illness’
» Presidential Advisers Recommend New Limits on N.S.A. Surveillance
» Senate Dems Block Amendment to Restore Veteran Benefits by Closing Illegal Immigrant Welfare Loophole
» Southern Discomfort: U.S. Army Seeks Removal of Lee, ‘Stonewall’ Jackson Honors
» Twins Study Confirms Genetic Role in Political Belief
» White House to Nominate Senator Max Baucus as Ambassador to China
Europe and the EU
» $19 Million Grant Could Lead to First-Ever Image of Black Hole
» Albania: Denmark: EU Candidate Status to be Postponed
» Blast Blows Off Door at Sweden Democrat’s Home
» Britain’s ‘Great Train Robber’ Ronnie Biggs Dies at 84
» France Should Allow Headscarves, Arabic in Schools: Report to PM
» Italy: Alitalia to Get 300 Mn Euros From Etihad Airways
» Italy: Rome Tightens Security Ahead of Protests
» Natural Gas: Italy Becomes Med Energy Hub With TAP, Bonino
» Nazi Activity Increases in Sweden: Report
» New Trade Agreement Would Give US Influence Over Danish Law
» Norway: ‘My Gingerbread Village is Bigger Than Yours’
» Plastic Banknotes to Start in 2016, Bank of England Says
» Sweden: Zlatan Author to Pen New Millennium Book
» Swedes Plan New Anti-Nazi Rally After Attack
» Three Remanded for Swedish Nazi Attack
Israel and the Palestinians
» Phyllis Chesler: Why Did the Unnoticed, Far-Left and Very Minor American Studies Association Pick on Israel?
Middle East
» Bahrain Urged to Crack Down on Black Magic
» EU Pledges Readiness to Lift Iran Sanctions Swiftly
» Kuwait: ‘Prohibited’ Instruments
» Senior Saudi Diplomat Slams Iran Nuclear Deal, Says Kingdom May be Forced to Act Alone
» Turkey: Sons of Three Ministers Detained in Bribery Probe
» Why Sunnis Fear Shiites
» Why the Military Option May be the Only Way to Stop Iran’s Nuclear Program
South Asia
» NATO Says Would Have to Plan for Afghan Pullout by Spring
Far East
» 51 Sailors From USS Ronald Reagan Suffering Thyroid Cancer, Leukemia, Brain Tumors After Participating in Fukushima Nuclear Rescue Efforts
» China Confirms US Warship Near-Collision
» Chinese Police Rescue 92 Abducted Children in Crackdown on Human Trafficking
» Cockroaches: The New Miracle Cure for China’s Ailments
» Hunting for U.S. Arms Technology, China Enlists a Legion of Amateurs
» In Photos: China’s Terracotta Warriors Inspired by Greek Art
Australia — Pacific
» NZ: Father Arrested for Abuse After Burqa Teen’s Injuries Exposed
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Archbishop Tutu: Nelson Mandela Services Excluded Afrikaners
Latin America
» ‘NSA Ruined it!’ Brazil Ditches Boeing Jets, Grants $4.5 Bln Contract to Saab
» 1,000 Migrants Trying to Get Into Melilla Pushed Back
» America’s New Irish Immigrants
» EU Threatens Italy Over Migrant Treatment
Culture Wars
» A Formula for Happiness
» Global Governance at the World Policy Conference in Monaco

Bank of Cyprus Reports Nine-Month Net Loss of 1.94 Bln Euros

Bank of Cyprus (BoC) announced on Wednesday a nine-month net loss of 1.94 billion euros, mostly on the back of provisions for winding up its Greek operations and bad loans. The shortfall for the recession-hit Mediterranean island’s largest lender compared with 211 million euros in after-tax losses in the year-earlier period.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Fed to Scale Back Stimulus as Economy Shows Steady Growth

The Federal Reserve said Wednesday that it would reduce its monthly bond-buying campaign to $75 billion in January, beginning a retreat from its stimulus campaign, because it no longer sees the need for the full force of those efforts.

The Fed sought to offset concerns that it is once again pulling back too soon by reinforcing its intent to hold short-term interest rates near zero “well past the time that the unemployment rate declines below 6.5 percent, especially if projected inflation continues to run below the committee’s 2 percent longer-run goal.”

[Return to headlines]

Italy: MPS on Brink of Gov’t Takeover Says Chairman

‘Capital increase or bank gets nationalized’

(ANSA) — Rome, December 17 — The chairman of Italy’s scandal-ridden Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS) bank on Tuesday said shareholders must vote to recapitalize in January or see the firm nationalized.

“We will work through December 30 to make the capital increase happen,” Chairman Alessandro Profumo told reporters in an interview. Asked whether he would resign should majority shareholder Monte dei Paschi Foundation succeed in delaying the move to May, Profumo replied, “the Foundation’s vote at the shareholders meeting will be crucial. Let’s see what happens then”. MPS already had to recapitalize in 2012, when it lost over $2 billion in the first half in the wake of rising yields and declining valuations on Italian government debt. It did so again in January 2013, when news went public that top management had entered into secret derivatives contracts with Deutsche Bank and Nomura in order to hide estimated losses of 500-750 million euros in two of its divisions.

The firm sparked fresh controversy this year when it was accused of misleading Italy’s market regulator in October 2012, shortly before it received a 4.1-billion-euro State bailout.

MPS is already at the center of a judicial investigation into its acquisition of smaller rival Antonveneta in 2008 as well as the derivatives trades the bank allegedly used to conceal losses. Former Chairman Giuseppe Mussari and former director general Antonio Vigni, who left in early 2012, are both under investigation for market manipulation, false statements to the market and regulatory obstruction in relation to the Antonveneta deal and the derivatives trades. Both deny any wrongdoing.

Founded in 1472 by the magistrate of the city state of Siena, MPS is the oldest surviving bank in the world and Italy’s third-largest bank.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Black Mob Violence Blamed on Collective ‘Mental Illness’

‘Community still suffering from traumatic syndrome of slavery’

Wilmington, Del., has a big problem: Large groups of black people are going crazy. And this collective “mental illness” is causing record levels of crime and gun violence in this mostly black town of 70,000.

That is the official diagnosis of the city council, which, by unanimous agreement earlier this month, asked the Centers for Disease Control to investigate a wave of psychological mayhem that has turned this historic and once-charming city into an unrecognizable husk of its former self.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Presidential Advisers Recommend New Limits on N.S.A. Surveillance

A panel of presidential advisers who reviewed the National Security Agency’s surveillance practices urged President Obama on Wednesday to end the government’s systematic collection of logs of all Americans’ phone calls, and to keep those in private hands, “for queries and data mining” only by court order.

In a more than 300-page report made public by the White House, the group of five intelligence and legal experts also strongly recommended that any operation to spy on foreign leaders would have to pass a rigorous test that weighs the potential economic or diplomatic costs if the operation becomes public.

The decision to monitor those communications, it said, should be made by the president and his advisers, not the intelligence agencies. It also recommends new limits on surveillance of ordinary non-Americans. It argues for applying to foreign targets of intelligence the protections accorded to Americans under the Privacy Act of 1974, meaning the government could release very little information about them.

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Senate Dems Block Amendment to Restore Veteran Benefits by Closing Illegal Immigrant Welfare Loophole

Senate Republicans were unable to stop military pension cuts when Senate Democrats blocked a vote on an amendment to prevent the cuts by closing a welfare loophole for illegal immigrants Tuesday evening.

The two-year budget deal brokered by Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, would cut military pensions by $6 billion over ten years, leaving some Senate Republicans scrambling to stop the cuts.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Southern Discomfort: U.S. Army Seeks Removal of Lee, ‘Stonewall’ Jackson Honors

Revisionist history would remove portraits of Confederate legends

The U.S. Army War College, which molds future field generals, has begun discussing whether it should remove its portraits of Confederate generals — including those of Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson.

Nestled in rural Pennsylvania on the 500-acre Carlisle Barracks, the war college is conducting an inventory of all its paintings and photographs with an eye for rehanging them in historical themes to tell a particular Army story.

During the inventory, an unidentified official — not the commandant, Maj. Gen. Anthony A. Cucolo III — asked the administration why the college honors two generals who fought against the United States, college spokeswoman Carol Kerr said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Twins Study Confirms Genetic Role in Political Belief

(Medical Xpress)—A research paper appearing in the academic journal Political Psychology re-affirms the genetic underpinnings of political beliefs, refuting critics who challenged previous research that linked politics with genetics.

The new paper, “Genetic and Environmental Transmission of Political Orientations,” is the lead article in the December edition of the journal. It is based upon a 2009 survey of nearly 600 sets of twins in their 50s and 60s, sought through the Minnesota Twin Registry.

“The data from the twin studies is strong enough now that if you don’t believe political attitudes and behaviors are genetically inherited, you can’t believe that breast cancer is genetically inherited and you can’t believe that addictions are genetically inherited,” said Kevin Smith, a University of Nebraska-Lincoln political scientist who co-authored the study.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

White House to Nominate Senator Max Baucus as Ambassador to China

President Obama plans to nominate Senator Max Baucus, the Montana Democrat and chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, as his next ambassador to China, according to three officials familiar with the pending announcement.

Mr. Baucus, the chief Capitol Hill architect of Mr. Obama’s health care overhaul, had already decided not to seek re-election next year. He has served six terms and is Montana’s longest-serving senator.

[Return to headlines]

$19 Million Grant Could Lead to First-Ever Image of Black Hole

A team of European astrophysicists plans to capture the world’s first image of a black hole, and a newly awarded grant may help that dream come true.

The European Research Council has given 14 million euros (about $19.3 million at current exchange rates) to the team behind BlackHoleCam. This project aims to peer at the supermassive black hole at the core of our Milky Way galaxy and image its event horizon — the theorized boundary beyond which nothing, not even light, can escape.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Albania: Denmark: EU Candidate Status to be Postponed

France also ‘skeptical,’ Italy in favor of Tirana entry

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, DECEMBER 17 — The decision to grant EU candidate status to Albania will be postponed, according to Danish Minister for European Affairs Nick Haekkerup, who made the statement upon entering the EU General Affairs Council meeting. Haekkerup told journalists, “The Danish position is that Albania has made much progress, but we need to see long-term results before granting candidate status.” The Danish minister said his position is close to that of The Netherlands, another of the “skeptical” countries whose group also includes France, Germany, and Great Britain. Supporting Tirana’s candidacy are Italy, together with Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria, Croatia, Slovenia, Estonia and Ireland, who joined in writing a letter to Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, stating that they are “strongly” convinced that Tirana has satisfied “all of the conditions requested by the EU.” Without the unanimous vote of all 28 nations, required for any decisions regarding EU enlargement, General Affairs Council members could recognize that Tirana has made “much progress” in work towards EU accession, as evidenced by the latest report from the European Commission regarding EU enlargement. At the same time, EU sources say that it’s also possible there could be “a clear indication that a decision will be made in the first semester of 2014.”

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Blast Blows Off Door at Sweden Democrat’s Home

An explosive device blew the door off the home of a Sweden Democrat politician Tuesday evening, news agency TT reports. The man, along with two other residents, were inside the apartment in a Malmö suburban but were unharmed.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Britain’s ‘Great Train Robber’ Ronnie Biggs Dies at 84

Ronnie Biggs, known for his role in the 1963 Great Train Robbery, died Wednesday, his daughter-in-law said. He was 84.

He was free for 35 years before voluntarily returning to England in poor health in 2001. He was immediately arrested and imprisoned.

Biggs was part of a gang of at least 12 men that robbed the Glasgow-to-London Royal Mail Train in the early hours of Aug. 8, 1963, switching the signals and tricking the driver into stopping in the darkness. The robbery netted 125 sacks of banknotes worth 2.6 million pounds — $7.3 million at the time, or more than $50 million today — and became known as “the heist of the century.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

France Should Allow Headscarves, Arabic in Schools: Report to PM

(Reuters) — France should reverse decades of strict secularism to integrate its immigrant population better, allowing Muslims to wear headscarves in schools and promoting Arabic teaching, according to an iconoclastic report commissioned by the prime minister.

The document, part of a government review of integration policy, sparked an outcry among conservative opposition politicians and unease among the governing Socialists.

It said France, with Europe’s largest Muslim population, should recognize the “Arab-oriental dimension” of its identity, for example by changing street and place names, rewriting its history curriculum and creating a special day to honor the contribution of immigrant cultures.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Italy: Alitalia to Get 300 Mn Euros From Etihad Airways

(ANSAmed) — ROME, DECEMBER 18 — Troubled Italian airline Alitalia is about to get a capital increase worth 300 million euros from Etihad Airways, the flag carrier of the United Arab Emirates, Bloomberg reported Wednesday citing sources close to a deal that would make Etihad the majority shareholder of Alitalia. The two airlines are scheduled to meet Thursday. The capital increase was approved in October by Alitalia shareholders as part of a plan to pull the airline back from the brink of bankruptcy.

Alitalia had already been turned down by Air France-KLM. Last month Etihad announced it had bought a 33.3% stake in Swiss carrier Darwin Airlines, whose brand will become Etihad regional.

Etihad CEO James Hogan said at the time that the acquisition was a radical change which could be extended to other markets.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Rome Tightens Security Ahead of Protests

Security has been tightened across Rome amid fears of violence during protests planned by the so-called Pitchfork Movement later on Wednesday.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Natural Gas: Italy Becomes Med Energy Hub With TAP, Bonino

‘Diversify sources and supply transport routes for security’

(ANSAmed) — BAKU — Regarding the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), the gas pipeline between Azerbaijan and Europe, Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs Emma Bonino said, “It’s a strategic project that represents an important contribution for Italy, both for covering our energy demand as well as for becoming an energy hub in southern Europe and the Mediterranean.” Bonino spoke on Tuesday in Baku at the official signing ceremony for the final investment agreement of the Shah Deniz Consortium.

“Diversifying our sources and the supply transport routes is a key element for improved energy security,” Bonino said. She predicted “regular gas supply from traditional partners, but also from new, emerging partners.” Bonino said that energy security and the development of strategic European infrastructures will be a priority during the Italian semester of EU presidency in 2014, which will be preceded by the EU presidency of Greece, a partner in TAP development.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Nazi Activity Increases in Sweden: Report

Swedish neo-Nazi groups were more active in 2012, according to a new report, while the number of groups operating within the white power movement has declined.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

New Trade Agreement Would Give US Influence Over Danish Law

US and business lobby could have major influence on trade regulations

A proposal hidden in a proposed trade agreement between the US and EU could give the business community and the US major influence on future regulations in Denmark and other EU countries. According to a report by the Brussels-based NGO Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO), the Regulatory Co-operation Council (RCC), a joint regulatory commission that the agreement would put in place to oversee the agreement, will allow industry lobbyists to get very close to the legislative process.

“This model allows business organisations a seat at the table with regulators,” Kenneth Haar, a researcher at CEO told Information newspaper. “It will probably result in a deregulation offensive.”

The intent of the transatlantic free trade agreement is to align existing legislation in the EU and in the United States to remove trade barriers.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Norway: ‘My Gingerbread Village is Bigger Than Yours’

A battle has broken out between Bergen and New York over which city has constructed the world’s largest gingerbread village.

On 17 November, a 135-house village constructed in Queen’s, New York, was officially named “the world’s largest gingerbread village” by the Guinness Book of Records.

But Bergen on Tuesday unveiled a village more than ten times as big, with no fewer than 1,990 trains and buildings spread out over 380 square meters.

“Once again we have the record. It’s just totally amazing, we simply have the largest, most beautiful and best gingerbread city in the universe,” Steinar Kristoffersen, who leads the city’s ‘Pepperkakebyen’ project said at the opening.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Plastic Banknotes to Start in 2016, Bank of England Says

Plastic banknotes that can survive a spin in the washing machine are to be brought into circulation by the Bank of England in 2016. The Bank argues that the polymer notes stay cleaner and are more secure than cotton paper notes, which have been used for more than 100 years. The £5 note featuring Winston Churchill will be the first plastic banknote.

About 20 countries around the world have adopted polymer banknotes, starting with Australia in 1988.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Sweden: Zlatan Author to Pen New Millennium Book

Swedish crime-thriller fans will be able to snap up a new installment of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series after David Lagercrantz agreed to write a fourth book, in a move branded “tasteless” by Larsson’s surviving partner.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Swedes Plan New Anti-Nazi Rally After Attack

Several thousand Stockholmers say they will take to the streets of Kärrtorp on Sunday to protest racism anew, after a plethora of scrawled swastikas sprouted up again after last weekend’s violent counter-demo by neo-Nazis.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Three Remanded for Swedish Nazi Attack

Three people have been held on remand after taking part in a neo-Nazi attack against anti-racist demonstrators in Stockholm on Sunday.

Of the 26 people arrested in Sunday’s violent clash in the southern Stockholm suburb of Kärrtorp, all but three have been released. Those three men were held on remand on Wednesday afternoon, on the suspicion of violent rioting (våldsamt upplopp).

The Swedish Resistance Movement (Svenska Motståndsrörelsen — SMR) claimed responsibility for Sunday’s attack, where the 50 or so neo-Nazis attacked the demonstrators with fireworks, glass bottles, and sticks but were ultimately forced to retreat and flee.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Phyllis Chesler: Why Did the Unnoticed, Far-Left and Very Minor American Studies Association Pick on Israel?

The writer, a Fellow of the Middle East Forum, is the author of fifteen books, including Women and Madness, Woman’s Inhumanity to Woman, and The New Anti-Semitism. She has published three studies about honor killing and is work on a fourth. Her new book, An American Bride in Kabul, (Palgrave Macmillan) has just been published to great acclaim.

Our interview with Dr. Chesler and review of her memoir, An American Bride in Kabul will appear in the January 2014 issue of The New English Review…

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

Bahrain Urged to Crack Down on Black Magic

An official in Bahrain has demanded that his government take steps to warn its citizens about the dangers of witchcraft and crack down on its practice.

Bahrain is hardly alone in its embrace of, or perhaps belief in, witches and black magic, as places such as Saudi Arabia, Africa and Papua New Guinea have long tossed accusations of dark arts’ practices at purported sorcerers

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

EU Pledges Readiness to Lift Iran Sanctions Swiftly

(BRUSSELS) — The EU said Monday it was ready to suspend some sanctions against Iran as soon as experts check that Tehran is implementing the terms of an historic deal on its nuclear programme.

European Union foreign ministers meeting in Brussels said the 28-nation bloc backed the Joint Plan of Action reached on November 24 in Geneva as “a long-awaited signal of the commitment of all sides to build trust and reduce tensions” over Iran’s nuclear activities.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Kuwait: ‘Prohibited’ Instruments

By Suad Al-Mojel

I was hoping that a Kuwait University official would release a comment on what happened at the Faculty of Social Sciences since news about it were reported last week. According to reports, a function was organized as part of the humanitarian week at the faculty, and featured a musical segment.

Suddenly, members of the student’s society that organized the event ordered the musical segment be canceled under the pretext that it contains playing on instruments regarded ‘haram’ or prohibited under extreme religious interpretations, such as the keyboards.

The group follows the strongest students’ list in the KU, which represents political Islam in Kuwait. The same report also revealed that the political club in the faculty, which is affiliated to the National Union of Kuwaiti Students, refused applications of female students who applied to participate in a cultural trip to the European Parliament in Belgium. The girls were told that they should bring a male relative to travel with them as a legal guardian.

I will not discuss the different interpretations regarding Islam’s view of music — this topic has already had its enough share of debate.

Instead, I would like to point out the ridiculous ways in which religious regulations are circumvented. For example, my friend who believes that music is haram once invited me to her daughter’s wedding. I was surprised to discover that speakers were blasting music, and for a moment felt that my friend had changed her mind regarding her views on the subject.

But when I asked her about this, she said that she still believes music is haram, and that what I was hearing was music played by an ‘Islamic DJ’. What is an Islamic DJ?!

According to my friend, he is basically a sound specialist who uses computer software to remove sounds from songs played by ‘prohibited’ instruments such as the keyboard, making the song halal! The funny part was that the little modifications on the songs never affected the dancing or general atmosphere at the party. A second example is an experience of another woman I know.

Despite supporting the religious interpretation which states that a Muslim woman must only travel with a male companion, my friend had to take a trip to London alone. I asked her whether she had changed her mind on the subject, but her answer was no.

She explained that her niece lives in the United Kingdom, so technically speaking, she had a relative staying at the same geographical spot with her during the trip. The problem was that during her twoweek stay in London, she never came in contact with her niece who studies hundreds of miles away in Edinburgh!

These examples and many others reflect misinterpretation of religion and shallow way of dealing with religious teachings. A similar practice is found in some Islamic banks which take more interest on loans than traditional banks under religious excuses supported by ‘sharia consultants’ who perhaps make a fortune for the ‘fatwas’ that they give to these banks.

True Islamic values preach honesty, integrity and commitment to principles. Unfortunately, these values are largely ignored, and religion has become a cover for practices such as banning a musical performance or preventing female students from traveling alone, practiced by societies who have so far failed to address actual educational problems. — Al-Qabas

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Senior Saudi Diplomat Slams Iran Nuclear Deal, Says Kingdom May be Forced to Act Alone

Saudi envoy to UK claims in ‘NY Times’ op-ed that Western policies are threatening stability of Middle East; says Saudi Arabia can’t stand by as Western countries cooperate with Iran and hesitate to use force in Syria.

A high-ranking Saudi diplomat criticized the West’s nuclear deal with Iran, saying that Saudi Arabia may be forced to act alone to maintain stability in the Middle East in an opinion article published in The New York Times on Wednesday. Mohammed bin Nawaf bin Abdulaziz al Saud, the Saudi ambassador to Britain, expressed his frustration at the West’s lack of interference in Syria and the United States’ new deal with Iran.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Turkey: Sons of Three Ministers Detained in Bribery Probe

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, DECEMBER 17 — Turkish police detained the sons of three cabinet ministers as part of an investigation into alleged bribery linked to public tenders on Tuesday, Turkish newspapers reported on Tuesday. Police carried out dawn raids in the main commercial city Istanbul, detaining at least 18 people including well-known businessmen, and also searched the headquarters of state-run lender Halkbank in the capital Ankara, sources said. Hurriyet and other newspaper websites reported that the sons of Interior Minister Muammer Guler, Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan and Environment and City Planning Minister Erdogan Bayraktar were detained. Police declined to comment on the reports. It was not immediately clear if there was a link between the investigation at Halkbank’s offices in the capital Ankara and the reported detentions.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Why Sunnis Fear Shiites

Hillel Fradkin & Lewis Libby

The recent Arab revolts in the Middle East and the concomitant “Islamic Awakening” have not merely shaken up the order of an already violent and unstable region. They have reanimated the bloodiest and longest-running dispute in Muslim politics: which branch of Islam, Sunni or Shia, is to rule the Muslim polity.

This rivalry dates back some 1,300 years to the death of Muhammad, and while it has occasionally been set aside for reasons of expedience, it has never been resolved. The continuing conflagrations following the mislabeled Arab Spring, increasingly shaped by this ancient Sunni—Shia tension, are set to rage on indefinitely. Affairs in the Middle East are accelerating back to the old normal: a state of hot holy war.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Why the Military Option May be the Only Way to Stop Iran’s Nuclear Program

The other night I attended a Shiva (Memorial Service) for a revered member of the local Jewish community here in Pensacola. During the collation that followed I was approached by two acquaintances, and asked for my views on the US engagement with Iran. There was a lunch and learn session sponsored by the local Federation the following day on the Iran P5+1 interim agreement to halt its nuclear program.. In response to this question from my acquaintances, I said I believed in the reverse of the Reagan doctrine, i.e., “verify then trust’“. I cautioned one of my acquaintances how can you trust a country whose Islamic extremist rulers never miss an opportunity to spout propaganda to wipe the Zionist enterprise off the map of the world.

What I also expressed is that the US and the West has been consistently deceived about the Iranian nuclear program and intentions…

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

NATO Says Would Have to Plan for Afghan Pullout by Spring

(Reuters) — NATO would have to start planning for a complete withdrawal from Afghanistan by early next spring if President Hamid Karzai refuses to sign a security pact allowing foreign troops to stay on, the alliance’s top military commander said on Tuesday. Karzai’s ties with Washington have been strained by his refusal to sign a security agreement that will shape the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan beyond 2014 when most international troops will leave.

The United States and NATO say that, without these agreements, they would have to pull all of their forces, currently 84,000-strong, out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

51 Sailors From USS Ronald Reagan Suffering Thyroid Cancer, Leukemia, Brain Tumors After Participating in Fukushima Nuclear Rescue Efforts

Crew members in their mid-20’s from the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan are coming down with all sorts of radiation-related illnesses after being deployed less than 3 years ago to assist with earthquake rescue operations off the coast of Japan in 2011. It looks as though the onboard desalinization systems that take salt out of seawater to make it drinkable, were taking-in radioactive water from the ocean for the crew to drink, cook with and bath-in, before anyone realized there was a massive radiation spill into the ocean. Charles Bonner, attorney representing sailors from the USS Ronald Reagan said “the crew members were not only going to the rescue by jumping into the water and rescuing people out of the water, but they were drinking desalinated sea water, bathing in it, until finally the captain of the USS Ronald Reagan alarmed people that they were encountering high levels of radiation.”

Bonner says that as a result of this exposure, the 51 sailors have come down with a host of medical problems, “They have testicular cancer, they have thyroid cancers, they have leukemias, they have rectal and gynecological bleeding, a host of problems that they did not have before … people are going blind, pilots who had perfect eyesight but now have tumors on the brain. And it’s only been 3 years since they went in.” Bonner pointed out that these service men and women are young people, ages 21, 22, 23 years old and no one in their family had ever suffered any of these kinds of illnesses before.

At present, 51 sailors from the USS Ronald Reagan are named as Plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) and Bonner says he anticipates adding twenty additional Sailors soon, bringing the total to 70 to 75 because “The Japanese government is in a major conspiracy with TEPCO to hide and conceal the true facts.”

[I learned of this from a family member in the Navy. The silence from the MSM is deafening. — PW]

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China Confirms US Warship Near-Collision

China says one of its warships “encountered” a US vessel, confirming US reports of a near-collision in the South China Sea earlier this month. The US said its guided missile cruiser USS Cowpens was forced to take evasive action as the two ships neared each other on 5 December. It has been described as the most serious Sino-US confrontation in the South China Sea since 2009.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Chinese Police Rescue 92 Abducted Children in Crackdown on Human Trafficking

Over 300 suspects were detained in latest operation by Chinese authorities to crack down on chronic problem of child trafficking linked to the country’s one-child policy.

Police forces from 11 provinces were involved in the operation to break up a massive network that stole, bought and sold children in Henan province in central China and other provinces.

Child abduction is a major problem in China, where such police operations have become regular occurrences as authorities crack down on child trafficking. Strict family planning laws, a traditional preference for boys, ignorance of the law, poverty and illicit profits drive a thriving market in babies and children.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Cockroaches: The New Miracle Cure for China’s Ailments

Cockroach farming is booming in China as the country looks for new, cheaper medicines for its rapidly ageing population

The cockroach, whose innards resemble cottage cheese, has an earthy taste, with a slight twinge of ammonia. But they have become popular in China not for their taste, but for their medicinal benefits.

“They really are a miracle drug,” said Liu Yusheng, a professor at the Shandong Agricultural university and the head of Shandong province’s Insect Association. “They can cure a number of ailments and they work much faster than other medicine.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Hunting for U.S. Arms Technology, China Enlists a Legion of Amateurs

By Duff Wilson and John Shiffman

SEATTLE — In its quest to bypass embargoes and obtain the latest U.S. military technology, China isn’t only relying on a cadre of carefully trained spies. It’s also enlisting a growing army of amateurs.. Their orders come indirectly from the Chinese government and take the form of shopping lists that are laundered through companies with ties to Beijing.

The recruits who buy the weapons and system components for those companies are scientists, students and businessmen, and they appear to be motivated more by profit than ideology. As one U.S. Homeland Security official put it, the Chinese “flood the zone with buyers” — a strategy that significantly complicates U.S. efforts to stop the flow of American armaments to China.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

In Photos: China’s Terracotta Warriors Inspired by Greek Art

By Owen Jarus

About 8,000 Terracotta Warriors were buried in three pits less than a mile to the northeast of the mausoleum of the First Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huangdi. They include infantryman, archers, cavalry, charioteers and generals. Now new research, including newly translated ancient records, indicates that the construction of these warriors was inspired by Greek art.

By 323 B.C., about a century before Qin Shi Huangdi unified China, Alexander the Great had conquered an empire that stretched as far east as central Asia. In doing so he didn’t just conquer territory but left behind Greek people, new cities and Greek cultural ideas. These people, cities and ideas remained after Alexander’s death.

Among the ideas the Greeks brought east with them was that of building life-sized human sculpture. This particular work is of Alexander the Great himself, it dates from the third century B.C. and is now in the Istanbul Archaeology Museum.

Before the First Emperor of China came to power life-sized sculpture had never been used in China. Lukas Nickel, a reader with the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, argues in a newly published paper that this idea came from Greek-influenced kingdoms in central Asia. This image shows a Terracotta civil official.

In his paper Nickel translated several Chinese records into English that tell of the “appearance” of 12 giant statues in Lintao, a town in western China. They are said to have stood 38 feet (11.55 meters) high, with feet 4.5 feet (1.38 meters) in size. The First Emperor was so impressed with them that he ordered the creation of duplicates to stand in front of his palace.

Unfortunately the statues no longer survive, having been destroyed in the centuries after the First Emperor’s death. Nickel said that these records suggest contact, of some form, between China and Greek-influenced kingdoms in central Asia.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

NZ: Father Arrested for Abuse After Burqa Teen’s Injuries Exposed

The father of a 15-year-old Muslim teenager has been arrested after allegedly beating and detaining her, and forcing her to hide her facial injuries beneath a burqa.

It is alleged he broke his daughter’s nose with an umbrella, broke her teeth with a stick in a separate incident, and locked her in the house by nailing a door shut.

The man’s partner was also arrested yesterday, when police and the armed offenders squad swooped on the family’s Mangere home.

The girl’s 43-year-old father, who cannot be named as it would identify his victim, appeared in Manukau District Court yesterday afternoon, charged with kidnapping, wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, and injuring with intent.

His 33-year-old partner was charged with failing to keep the girl safe. She will appear in court on Friday.

Five other children at the property — ranging from pre-school to intermediate-school age — have been removed from their care by Child, Youth and Family.

The 15-year-old was previously removed from the adults’ care and placed in “secure care” with another Muslim family.

Detective Inspector Jim Gallagher, officer in charge of Counties Manukau child abuse and sexual violence, said the girl’s injuries and the alleged abuse were serious.

The armed offenders squad was included in the arrest because police anticipated hostility from the father.

However, the arrest was without incident, Mr Gallagher said.

Police claim the 15-year-old was subjected to sustained physical abuse over two or more months.

The court charges reveal the alleged abuse occurred through August and September.

The kidnapping charge faced by the father relate to the police allegation the daughter was unlawfully detained for a period after her injuries were sustained…

           — Hat tip: Michael Laudahn [Return to headlines]

Archbishop Tutu: Nelson Mandela Services Excluded Afrikaners

Archbishop Desmond Tutu has said that Nelson Mandela would have been appalled that Afrikaners were excluded from memorial services marking his death. He highlighted the absence of the Dutch Reformed Church and the limited use of the Afrikaans language at the services. A mainly Afrikaner party introduced white minority rule, which Mr Mandela opposed, spending 27 years in jail.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu has always seen himself as the moral voice of South Africa. He was a fierce critic of the white minority regime and won the Nobel peace prize in 1984. Since apartheid ended, he has turned out to be just as critical of the African National Congress (ANC), the liberation movement now in power. He has criticised ex-Presidents Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki but, most of all, incumbent Jacob Zuma. He appears to have become increasingly disillusioned with the ANC. In June, he lamented that people were surrendering to the “altar of power and wealth”, and lauded the formation of the Agang opposition party. Now, he has raised concern about the future of nation-building, condemning the “blatant exclusion” of Afrikaner church leaders during services to honour Mr Mandela after his death. It was typical of “The arch”, as he is affectionately known by South Africans. He speaks his mind and his critics are reluctant to hit back at him. They know he has moral authority, but very little political influence to change the course of the nation. Archbishop Tutu also strongly criticised the prominence of the governing African National Congress (ANC) during the week of events following Mr Mandela’s death on 5 December. “I also believe it may have sent out a more inclusive message had the programme directors at the Memorial and Funeral — both national and State events — not both been senior office-bearers of the ruling party,” he said. Archbishop Tutu fought apartheid, along with Mr Mandela and the ANC, but has become increasingly critical of the party, welcoming the launch of a new opposition party in June. He almost did not attend Sunday’s funeral for his close friend, saying he had not been invited. In a statement, he described Mr Mandela as a “nation builder” who “went out of his way” to include Afrikaners after the end of apartheid. “We were amiss in not being as inclusive as Madiba [Mandela’s clan name] would certainly have been,” he said. “To the extent that I can do so meaningfully, I apologise to our sisters and brothers in the Afrikaner Community,” he added.

Peace mission

Both Archbishop Tutu and Mr Mandela won Nobel Peace Prizes for their work in bringing an end to apartheid. The former Anglican archbishop of Cape Town was awarded the prize in 1984 and has since gone on to become the recipient of other awards, including the Templeton prize which honours a living person who has “made an exceptional contribution to affirming life’s spiritual dimension”. Mr Mandela won the Nobel award jointly with the former President FW de Klerk, an Afrikaner from the National Party, in 1993. Archbishop Tutu said Mr Mandela’s belief in reconciliation was evident in the composition of the new national anthem, which has a verse in Afrikaans, and his involvement in “the 1995 Rugby World Cup, the lunch and tea engagements with the widows of apartheid presidents.” Rugby was closely associated with Afrikaners and Mr Mandela’s decision to wear the national team shirt in 1995 won him great respect in the community. “Madiba was a nation-builder. I pray that we will uphold this critical aspect of his mission forever,” the archbishop concluded.

           — Hat tip: TV [Return to headlines]

‘NSA Ruined it!’ Brazil Ditches Boeing Jets, Grants $4.5 Bln Contract to Saab

Brazil has rejected a contract for Boeing’s F/A-18 fighter jets in favor of the Swedish Saab’s JAS 39 Gripens. The unexpected move to reject the US bid comes amid the global scandal over the NSA’s involvement in economic espionage activities.

Brazil is currently probing reports released by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden that the spy agency monitored the personal communications of President Rousseff and hacked into government ministries to gather information. Among the institutions targeted by NSA espionage were state oil giant Petrobras and the Ministry of Mines and Energy, contradicting claims by Washington that it did not engage in “economic espionage.”

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

1,000 Migrants Trying to Get Into Melilla Pushed Back

Sub-Saharans wanted to enter Spanish enclave in Morocco

(ANSAmed) — MADRID — About one thousand migrants of Sub-Saharan origins tried but failed to get over a six-meter tall border fence that separates Morocco from the Spanish-held north African territory of Melilla on Tuesday night. Spanish and Moroccan security forces pushed the migrants walking in a single-file line back, with the Moroccan ones — according to sources from the government delegation of the autonomous city — making use of a helicopter to disperse the migrants and stop them from approaching the double-layer border barrier. Around 11:30pm, Guardia Civil officers sighted the massive group of migrants coming down from Mount Gurugù, in Moroccan territory, where hundreds are camped out to await a suitable moment to try to climb over the high border fence.

In two parallel, single-file lines (a method they had employed in a previous attempt to charge the fence on November 20) the migrants headed calmly towards the double barrier fence — forcing officers to split into two groups — to exploit the element of surprise and to increase their chances of getting past the surveillance and climbing over the fence. Nevertheless, they were dispersed by Moroccan and Spanish security forces before managing to reach it. Around 3am, the two lines of migrants went back further inland into Morocco. Since late November the government delegation has been speaking out against the “extreme migratory pressure” along the Melilla border and has raised the level of alert, especially in light of the approaching holiday season, when attempts to get over the barrier increase — as they do for the Muslim festivities as well, which are celebrated every year in the Spanish enclave. Government delegate, Abdelmalik El Barkani, has reiterated the need to bolster anti-intrusion measures along the border, including controversial razor blades spread out along the barbed-wire fence. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has meanwhile announced that 2013 was a very bad year for migrants seeking better living conditions in other countries. At least 2,600 lost their lives, many of whom died “nameless in the desert, ocean, or other incidents”, said the IOM in a press release.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

America’s New Irish Immigrants

Ireland may no longer need bailout money as its economy emerges from recession, but a wave of emigration that began in 2008 is continuing. And as in the 1980s, many thousands of those moving to the US may be becoming illegal immigrants.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

EU Threatens Italy Over Migrant Treatment

Hosing-down video ‘appalling and unacceptable’

(By Elisa Cecchi) (ANSA) — Brussels, December 18 — The European Commission and Italy have opened probes into the treatment of migrants at a reception centre on the Italian island of Lampedusa after a video showed migrants there stripping outdoors before being hosed down with disinfectants.

Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom on Wednesday said the Commission has opened an inquiry and threatened to stop EU support for Italy in dealing with the thousands of migrants who arrive every year on the island between Tunisia and Sicily.

Malmstrom said that the images in the video, shot with a cell phone by a Syrian refugee and aired by Italian State broadcaster Rai on Monday night, were “appalling and unacceptable”.

“The EU has already started an inquiry,” she added. “We will not hesitate to open an infraction procedure to ensure that European standards are being respected. “We will contact the Italian authorities to have more information about these events and ask them to shed full light on what happened.

“Our assistance and support to the Italian authorities in managing migrant flows can only continue if the country guarantees humane, dignified conditions in the reception of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees”.

The State attorney’s office in Agrigento, Sicily, on Wednesday opened a probe into suspected mistreatment of migrants at the centre.

The prosecutor’s office will obtain a copy of the film, partially shown on the Tg2 newscast, revealing migrants queuing in a crowded courtyard and then having to strip naked in mixed company in the cold winter weather while a worker sprayed them with medication.

The man who filmed the scene told State broadcaster Rai the procedure is repeated every few days on both men and women against scabies, a skin condition, at the permanently overcrowded centre which houses migrants from Africa and the Middle East who survive the perilous crossing to Italy by boat.

He said migrants residing at the centre are treated “like animals”. Meanwhile the Italian government has vowed to investigate the incident and that those behind the degrading treatment will be held responsible.

Justice Minister Anna Maria Cancellieri on Wednesday called for caution, saying a “probe needs to take place before we can judge what happened” while acknowledging the images were “upsetting”.

On Tuesday Italian Premier Enrico Letta said he was “shocked” by the footage and that the cabinet would carry out an “in-depth probe and sanction wrongdoing, if proven”.

Italian Deputy Premier and Interior Minister Angelino Alfano said “we will find out who is responsible and we will make them pay”.

Prosecutors on the case have requested a detailed report from the private company the government hired to run the detention center, the deputy premier also said Tuesday.

Cono Galipò, the chief executive of the Lampedusa Accoglienza cooperative that runs the reception centre, said Wednesday that the migrants decided on their own to strip down.

“The treatment we were doing, performed under the terms of a protocol, was taking an hour and a half and, at a certain point, some of the immigrants ran out of patience and took off their clothes,” Galipò told local radio Città Futura. Management at the Lampedusa immigration centre was to be fired on orders sent Wednesday afternoon from the Sicily chapter of the Legacoop federation of cooperatives.

Lampedusa Accoglienza (Lampedusa Welcome)belongs to the Gruppo Sisifo Group, which in turn holds various Legacoop companies.

The State reportedly pays Lampedusa Accoglienza 21,000 euros a day to care for the more than 700 people currently being detained in the center.

Lampedusa, which is closer to North Africa than mainland Italy, is often the first point of European arrival for migrants, who make the crossing in all types of vessel, from rubber rafts to fishing trawlers, which are almost always overcrowded.

The flow of migrants attempting to reach the EU has moreover been fuelled by unrest in Egypt and civil war in Syria.

Some of the migrants currently residing at Lampedusa’s centre — which was made to accommodate a maximum of 300 people but has often housed as many as 800, especially during the summer — survived one of the worst boat disasters ever in Europe in October.

An estimated 366 children, women and men, mostly Eritrean nationals, died when their boat sank off Lampedusa.

The disaster was just one thread in a pattern of desperate and often fatal attempts by migrants fleeing war and famine in the hope of finding a better life in Europe. It prompted the EU to pledge an additional 30 million euros to help Italy cope with the tens of thousands of refugees arriving from North Africa every year. On Tuesday, the Italian Navy rescued 110 migrants from Africa aboard an overcrowded dinghy off Lampedusa. A passenger died during the crossing.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

A Formula for Happiness

For many years, researchers found that women were happier than men, although recent studies contend that the gap has narrowed or may even have been reversed. Political junkies might be interested to learn that conservative women are particularly blissful: about 40 percent say they are very happy. That makes them slightly happier than conservative men and significantly happier than liberal women. The unhappiest of all are liberal men; only about a fifth consider themselves very happy.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Global Governance at the World Policy Conference in Monaco

Montecarlo, in the Principality of Monaco, hosted the sixth edition of the World Policy Conference (WPC). Debates and workshops were centred around the main crises currently affecting the world. Around 300 politicians, businessmen and representatives of international organisations gathered to develop a geopolitical and economic analysis of all the regions of the world.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

8 thoughts on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 12/18/2013

  1. I have to wonder if the cause was that radioactive water. The ocean is large. The reactor is small. The concentration of radioactive isotopes of hydrogen and oxygen in the desalinated water cannot have been all that high.

    Do not people get cancer without being exposed to radiation? Is the crew of the RR experiencing unusually high incidence of these diseases? Among thousands of men, even young men, there are normally some with the bad luck to come down with leukemia, for instance.

  2. Re NZ: I wonder what our detractors now have to say, who swore every perjury here that the news had been a misunderstanding, and that ‘all of the media’ (there is basically only the Herald and state tv) had withdrawn them, without ever furnishing a piece of evidence, though, although asked to do so more than once…

  3. The last highlight of the ‘News Feed’ really says it all! The mongrels are still trying it on as far as one world government goes. How many wars do we have to fight before the worlds elite can finally bring themselves to utter, enough?


    Several people are still trying to post comments here saying that such-and-such New Zealand news outlet has “corrected” the news story about the beaten girl in the burqa, saying that in fact the family are Maoris.

    In this case, I did the research. There are NO such media articles or videos. These assertions are FALSE.

    That’s why I’ve been deleting your comments without approval, because they are pure disinformation.

    I defy and dare anyone to leave a link to a story confirming the “corrections”. If you can, I won’t delete your comment.

    And I mean a link to a real news story, not to some other forum or blog where posters are leaving the same kind of disinformation.

    You can’t do it, because no such story exists.

    • Hey, welcome to the modern world.

      You Been Trolled!

      Given that half of the posts you DO post are almost completely without substance, and are racist fantasies spawned by the campaigns you run…why complain when others do it.

      • Not that the Baron needs me (or anyone) to defend him, but as one of the few lefties posting here, this is hyperbolic, in my opinion.

        Not over 45% by any means! (I think I’m supposed to say “sarc/off” here, but I’m still quite new to blogs & posting, and of course Americans don’t get irony!)

        • Hi Mark, I’d like to see a middle-left, pro-gay, pro-feminist but islam-critical movement. I’ve been islam-critical for a long time, and more of of us are waking up. I see sharia-run states a as extremely right wing, fascist,misogynist, homophobic theocracies – how can other lefties support that c**p?

          Isn’t Geert Wilders actually defending traditionally left-wing, liberal values?

  5. PS, none of my gay friends are happy about the rise of islam, they just don’t know what do to about it.

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