Gates of Vienna News Feed 1/11/2014

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has died at the age of 85. Mr. Sharon had been in a coma for the past eight years after suffering a stroke.

In other news, an unemployed Sardinian laborer hanged himself in back of the family home. He had become despondent over his inability to find work and support his family.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Fjordman, Insubria, JD, Jerry Gordon, Nick, 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
» Fed Up With Euro, France Flirts With Coupon Money
» How Red Ed’s Chum is Killing France
» Italy: Govt Mulls Selling 40% of Postal Service for 4 Bn Euros
» Italy: Fincantieri to List on Bourse Before Summer
» Italy: Unemployed Sardinian Labourer Hangs Himself in Garden
» Italy: Winter Sales Gain 10% vs Year Before
» More Aid to Greece in 2015, Says German Finance Minister
» No Jobs for Americans
» The Obama Jobs Index
» Turkey: Lira Slide Adds Pressure to Local Firms, Says Fitch
» What Caused the Crash in the Labor Participation Rate?
» A Guide to Obamacare’s Backstop for Anxious Insurance Companies
» ADHD a Fake Disorder, Neurologist-Turned-Author Says
» America’s Expanding Police State
» Beck’s Furious Response to Robert Gates’ New Book Isn’t What Conservatives Might Expect
» Christie’s Next Headache: A Class-Action Lawsuit
» Democrat Senator Udall Asked State to Cook Books on ObamaCare Numbers
» Don’t Waste Tears on the Insurance Industry
» Edward Snowden, V 1.0: NSA Whistleblower William Binney on Government Spying
» Expert: Obamacare’s Replacement Contractor ‘Doesn’t Have Strong Reputation’
» Family Watches Online as Iranian Woman Dies in US
» GMO Labeling to be Outlawed?
» Google Privacy Update: Strangers Might Now Reach You on Gmail
» Knockout: It’s a Crime, Not a Game!
» Lawmakers Press DOJ for Aaron Swartz Files
» Lawyer Says FBI Has Contacted Few Tea Party Groups, 8 Months Into IRS Scandal
» Neiman Marcus is Latest Victim of Data Breach
» Obama to Americans: You Don’t Deserve to be Free
» Policing the Police
» Ready for War: Parks and Wildlife Officers Now Heavily Armed as Military-Style “Force Multipliers”
» The 7 Most Toxic Ingredients in Everyday Cosmetic Products
» Uh Oh: Target Data Breach Worse Than We Thought
» Water in at Least Three U.S. States is Polluted From Fracking as Hundreds of Complaints Are Reported Across the Country
» Management of the Ontario Economy by the Liberal Government Has Been a Disaster
Europe and the EU
» Danish Police: Dead Cows Dumped From Lebanese Ship
» EU Vice-President Urges Reviewing FTA With India
» French Comedian Dieudonne to Go Back on Stage Despite Ban
» Italian Government Preparing to Move on Human Rights Ruling
» Italy: Grillo Calls TV Journalists Slaves to Parties
» Italy: Councillors to Boycott Meetings With Integration Minister
» Italy Racist Toward the North, Says Northern League Party
» Italy: L’Aquila Mayor Resigns Over Bribery Scandal
» Lib-Lab ‘Plot’ To Block Tory Referendum Bill Which Would Give Voters Say in Britain’s Membership of the EU
» Life in the UK Today
» Norway: Breivik Protests Jail ‘Grabbing Inspections’
» UK: ‘Devious’ Tory Councillor Who Squandered 92-Year-Old Widow Friend’s £154,000 Life Savings is Jailed for Five Years
» UK: Drink-Driving Ban for 6mph Spin in Toy Van: Father-of-One Banned for 12 Months and Fined £500 After Being Found Nearly Three Times Over the Limit
» UK: Father of 22 Children by 11 Women is ‘Neighbour From Hell Who Held Wild Boozy Parties in His Garden and Lives Life of Luxury With BMW, Speedboat and Holidays Abroad’
» UK: London Police to Trial Personal HD Micro Cameras
» UK: Largest Ship to Ever to Enter the Thames Docks at London’s Newest Port
» UK: Man Who Wrote on Facebook That He Had ‘Really Hurt Someone’ Is Jailed for 20 Years for Brutally Stabbing His ‘Gentle Giant’ Neighbour to Death 20 Times for No Reason
» UK: Three Months on and Worth 70% More Than Sale Price, Proof That Royal Mail Shares Did Go Cheap
» UK: Why Did My Vulnerable Sister Leave Her Home to Her GP’s Daughter… Then Die From an Overdose?
» UK: Woman Doctor Probed After Couple Claim She ‘Pushed Their Terminally Ill Daughter Over the Edge’ By Telling Her in Graphic Detail How She Was Going to Die
North Africa
» At Least 19 Dead as Rival Libyan Tribes Fight
» Egypt’s General Sisi Signals May Run for President
» I Will Run if People Demand it, Says Egypt’s General Sisi
» New Theory on How Egypt’s Pyramids Were Built Will Cause ‘War With Archaeologists’ [Video]
» The Innocence of Liberals
Israel and the Palestinians
» Ariel Sharon, Former Israeli Prime Minister, Is Dead
» Ex-Israeli PM Ariel Sharon Dies at 85
» Former Israeli Prime Minister Sharon Dies at 85
Middle East
» FM Davutoglu Slams ‘Jihadist Erdogan’ Translation in English Media
» Syria: First Lady Resurfaces at School for ‘Martyrs’ Children
» Turkey: Foreigners’ Share in M&A Drops Sharply
» Turkey’s Economic Development Does Not Stop the Plight of Child Brides
» U.S. Pilot Scares Off Iranians With ‘Top Gun’-Worthy Stunt
» Veto-Proof Iran Sanctions Legislation Possible in US Senate
South Asia
» Karzai’s Decision to Release 72 Taliban Worries US
» Pakistan Mourns the Death of Two Heroes of the Struggle Against Islamic Extremism
Far East
» Fukushima Radiation Reaches 8 Times Gov’t Standards
» Rolls-Royce Record Sales in China and the Middle East
Sub-Saharan Africa
» South Sudan Troops ‘Recapture Key Oil City of Bentiu’
» Three Killed Overnight in Central African Republic
» European Court Vetoes Swiss Refugee Deportation
» Sweden: Teen Politician Assaulted After Immigration Speech
» UK: Half of All Convicted Pickpockets on the Tube Are Romanian
Culture Wars
» American Street Preacher Arrested Again in Britain
» Gov’t Secret Chemical Warfare Against the Public Exposed (Video)
» New Tactics to Fight Agenda 21
» Texas Family Battles Judge Over Homeschooling

Fed Up With Euro, France Flirts With Coupon Money

Whether buying bread, filling a pharmacy prescription, getting a haircut or going to the doctor, some residents of Montreuil, France, are rejecting the euro in favor of ‘La Peche’, a local community currency.

In France, local currencies are growing in popularity as trust in state institutions erodes. An elaborate coupon system lets locals pay for services and goods with special local banknotes, which are recycled and kept within the community.

France, Europe’s second largest economy, has at least 20 different types of complementary currencies. Worldwide there are over 4,000 community-centered money schemes.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

How Red Ed’s Chum is Killing France

Unemployment soaring. Violent unrest. The far Right surging in the polls. And now the most despised President ever is mired in a sex scandal

France is in a deep economic crisis. It is London, not Paris, that is the dynamic capital. Even so, I was unprepared for the sense of malaise, political turmoil and evidence of social disintegration I have encountered during a visit to the country this week…

Meanwhile, this week French ministers and newspapers have reacted hysterically to an admittedly partly ill-informed blog by an American journalist in Newsweek magazine arguing that France is a hopeless basket case. A more stable and confident nation would surely have disregarded such criticisms.

A turbulent week was rounded off yesterday with the lurid story in a French magazine that the notably unglamorous President Hollande has been deserting the bed of his partner Valerie Trierweiler (who styles herself First Lady of France) for the charms of a married brunette film star almost 20 years his junior. It could only happen in France.

One way or another, France is a troubled country — and, as her troubles grow, so do the fortunes of Marine Le Pen, daughter of Jean-Marie, and leader of what is by far the most successful far-Right party in Europe. She strikes terror into the hearts of mainstream European politicians…

Some of her difficulties are historic. Labour costs are higher than in much more efficient Germany. Wildly generous welfare provision is unaffordable. Above all, membership of the Euro has locked France, as other weak European economies, into an uncompetitive currency. In previous generations she would have devalued the Franc, and exported herself out of trouble.

The policies which Hollande has pursued bear a striking resemblance to those which Ed Miliband and Ed Balls have been advocating in Britain for the past three-and-a-half years — and would doubtless put into practice if given the chance.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Italy: Govt Mulls Selling 40% of Postal Service for 4 Bn Euros

Capital injection would help ease massive public debt

(ANSA) — Rome, January 10 — The Italian government has been in talks to possibly sell off up to 40% of the postal service for at least four billion euros, according to a statement from Premier Enrico Letta’s office. Ministers met there late Thursday to discuss the possible privatization of 30-40% of Poste Italiane in exchange for much-needed capital in Italy, whose debt of over two trillion euros makes it one of the largest debtor nations in the world. Poste Italiane is a public company but in total control of the Italian government, whose sole shareholder is the economy ministry. It also provides financial in addition to postal services.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Fincantieri to List on Bourse Before Summer

Shipbuilder among govt assets being used to raise 12 bn euros

(ANSA) — Rome, January 10 — The minority share of Italian shipbuilding company Fincantieri that the government has announced plans to sell “will be listed on the stock exchange before summer,” said company president Vincenzo Petrone on Friday. Petrone was speaking outside a meeting of the International Business Advisory Council (IBAC) at the foreign ministry in Rome. “It is among the companies that will be listed before the summer with a non-controlling stake,” he added.

Fincantieri is currently controlled by Fintecna, a company owned by Italian State lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP).

Fincantieri shares were among government assets Premier Enrico Letta announced in November would be sold to raise up to 12 billion euros. Half the proceeds from those sales will be used for economic stimulus, and the other half will be used to pay down Italy’s debt, which is about 130% of gross domestic product, said Letta at the time Other investments to be sold include the State’s stake in STMicroelectronics and Enav, the Italian air traffic control company.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Unemployed Sardinian Labourer Hangs Himself in Garden

Serramanna, 3 January (AKI) — A 51-year-old jobless labourer hanged himself in the garden of his family’s home in Sardinia on New Year’s Day, the Nuova Sardegna daily reported Friday, citing police.

The man’s wife and daughter found his body at the property in Serramanna, near Cagliari, capital of the underdeveloped western island region, the paper said.

The man had returned to Sardinia after working in northern Italy for many years and had become depressed after struggling to find work.

Friends and relations said he had grown increasingly worried that he could no longer support his family.

Suicides have surged in Italy, whose stagnant economy is struggling to emerge from a double-dip recession that has seen over 1.8 million jobs lost since 2007 and a 9 percent contraction of gross domestic product (GDP).

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

Italy: Winter Sales Gain 10% vs Year Before

New report by retail group shows recovery

(ANSA) — Rome, January 10 — Italy’s winter sales saw revenue increase by some 10% for the 2013-2014 season compared to the year-earlier period, according to a new report by retail group Fismo-Confesercenti issued Friday.

The sales, which started only a few days ago, are generating an average per capita expenditure of between 80 and 100 euros per person, with peaks between 150 and 200 euros per person in central Italy.

“It’s a significant figure, which shows an inversion of the tendency when compared to last year’s sale season,” said Fismo-Confesercenti chief Roberto Manzoni. “Basically all the main cities have enjoyed an increase in sales, even though this could just be the initial spark before the stabilization of the levels in coming days”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

More Aid to Greece in 2015, Says German Finance Minister

(AGI) Berlin, Jan 11 — Greece may receive additional financial assistance if Athens meets its agreed budget commitments by the end of 2015, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told the German newspaper Rheinische Post. Mr Schaeuble said that if more financial support were needed, the aid would be much smaller than the bailouts given to Greece so far.

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

No Jobs for Americans

The alleged recovery took a direct hit from Friday’s payroll jobs report. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the economy created 74,000 net new jobs in December.

Wholesale and retail trade accounted for 70,700 of these jobs or 95.5%. It is likely that the December wholesale and retail hires were temporary for the Christmas shopping season, which doesn’t seem to have been very exuberant, especially in light of Macy’s decision to close five stores and lay off 2,500 employees. It is a good bet that these December hires have already been laid off.

A job gain of 74,000, even if it is real, is about half of what is needed to keep the unemployment rate even with population growth. Yet the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the unemployment rate fell from 7.0% to 6.7%. Clearly, this decline in unemployment was not caused by the reported 74,000 jobs gain. The unemployment rate fell, because Americans unable to find jobs ceased looking for employment and, thereby, ceased to be counted as unemployed.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

The Obama Jobs Index

The official unemployment rate has become a joke, what with massive numbers of people dropping out of the workforce and therefore becoming invisible. The latest report of a decline in unemployment in the face of a pathetic 74,000 new jobs indicates the uselessness of the figure.

Fortunately, the editors of Investor’s Business Daily have come up with their own indices, and they are well worth a look. For example:

A) 6.3 million: Net new jobs created since Obama’s recovery started in June 2009.

B) 13.8 million: New jobs that would have been created had Obama’s kept pace with the average of the previous 10 recoveries.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Turkey: Lira Slide Adds Pressure to Local Firms, Says Fitch

(ANSAmed) — ISTANBUL, JANUARY 10 — Fitch Ratings issued a second statement about Turkey in three days, saying a further prolonged decline in the currency would put pressure on Turkish companies’ ratings, as daily Hurriyet online reports. “Turkish corporates are historically and structurally vulnerable to FX volatility, in part due to currency mismatches between debt, cash flow and under-hedged positions on foreign-currency debt,” the statement release by the agency said. The Turkish Lira has been under intense pressure since the U.S. Federal Reserve announced it will begin winding down, or tapering, its USD 85 billion-a-month money-printing program and Turkey’s high-level corruption probe has added to that pressure. The lira dropped approximately 15% against the dollar and 20% against the euro over 2013, the agency calculated. Despite the lira’s fall, it will have a limited impact on credit metrics, when it will be combined with the potential for other domestic shocks from the country’s political crisis, it constitutes risks to ratings in the coming year. “As most rated Turkish corporates are raw material importers, especially of energy and intermediate goods, margin pressure from rising costs is likely to be seen across the market. The impact of a prolonged decline will be worse for companies with little or no foreign currency revenues to offset rising costs,” the ratings agency noted.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

What Caused the Crash in the Labor Participation Rate?

So, what’s going on? One theory is that the weak job market is causing people to simply give up looking for work — they’re crumpling up their résume’s and going home. An recent study from the Boston Fed suggested that these “non-inevitable dropouts” might even account for most of the decrease. Among other things, the authors noted that the labor-force decline has been far sharper for all age groups than simple demographics would predict.

So, why does the size of the labor force matter? If people are leaving the labor force for economic reasons (and they’re not going back to school), it would mean that the economy is in much worse shape than the official unemployment rate suggests. The jobless rate is officially 6.7 percent, but that only counts people who are actively seeking work — not labor-force dropouts. [Remember, you have to include labor-force dropouts in order to arrive at a useful unemployment number.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

A Guide to Obamacare’s Backstop for Anxious Insurance Companies

The third program, called risk corridors, is a temporary way to limit insurers’ potential losses and profits. It applies only to insurers selling plans on the health exchanges. The mechanics are complex, but the gist is this: If it turns out a health plan set its rates too high — collecting much more in premiums than it paid out — the carrier pays a portion of the excess to the government. On the other hand, if insurers set rates too low, the government will backstop some of their losses. “It’s sort of a safe harbor for actuaries to not have to price too high to make sure they don’t get it wrong,” says Joel Ario, former director of the federal Office of Health Insurance Exchanges now working with advisory firm Mannatt Health Solutions. “That program then could cost the federal Treasury some money, or it could give the Treasury some money.”

Though the Congressional Budget Office predicted that Obamacare’s Three Rs would be budget-neutral — a wash — that changes if the risk pool is tilted with people who need more medical care. That prospect led Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida to float a bill killing the risk corridor program. In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, he says it enables a “taxpayer-funded bailout of the health insurance industry.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

ADHD a Fake Disorder, Neurologist-Turned-Author Says

Zero: That’s the percent of children suffering from attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, a neurologist said in his new book, “ADHD Does Not Exist: The Truth About Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder.”

The book’s due out in February — and controversy is already generating, The New York Post reported…

The number of ADHD diagnoses has increased in recent years simply because doctors are failing to probe deeply enough and question patients about related health matters — and because ADHD has become an embraced, accepted catch-all diagnosis, he said. And more bluntly: Mr. Saul said parents seek an easy way to get their children to sit down and shut up, and the treatments for ADHD — Adderall and Ritalian — do the trick.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

America’s Expanding Police State

Do police need tanks and armored vehicles like the ones used in battle in Iraq to protect its citizens from drunks, bar brawls, home invasions, convenience store robberies, and traffic violations? Yes, criminals have outgunned police at times, as was the case years ago in California during a bank heist gone terribly perilous.

For every lazy and novice cop who hides in quiet neighborhoods to catch residents going 2-3 miles over the speed limit or not stopping long enough (What is long enough and who decides?) at the stop signs, there are thousands of policemen who put their lives on the line to really serve and protect innocent citizens from harm. And they do it for modest remuneration.

As a law abiding citizen who has nothing to fear, I find myself more and more afraid of the police. It’s a feeling of dread I had growing up under communism.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Beck’s Furious Response to Robert Gates’ New Book Isn’t What Conservatives Might Expect

While many on the right are heralding former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ new book, “Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War,” as confirmation of what they have been asserting about the Obama administration for years, Glenn Beck wasn’t interested in what Gates had to say.

As Beck sees it, if Gates truly had a problem with the actions of the administration, he should have tendered his resignation and told the American people what was happening at the time, rather than act as a “shield” and write a tell-all book later.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Christie’s Next Headache: A Class-Action Lawsuit

As if he did not have enough headaches, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is facing a potential class-action lawsuit arising from the monster traffic jams his aides are accused of creating, although experts question the strength of the case.

A personal injury lawyer from Fort Lee, New Jersey, filed the case in federal court on behalf of six local residents who missed work or suffered other alleged damages due to the traffic jam last September. Many more people could join the plaintiffs if the court allows the case to become a class action.

The lawsuit was filed on Thursday, a day after New Jersey officials released emails that appeared to show the Republican governor’s staff plotting a massive traffic jam in September, seemingly to retaliate against the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee for not endorsing Christie’s re-election campaign.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Democrat Senator Udall Asked State to Cook Books on ObamaCare Numbers reports that emails show U.S. Senator Mark Udall’s (D-CO) office pressured the Colorado Division of Insurance to downplay the number of insurance cancellations caused by the rollout of ObamaCare. A full 249,199 Colorado citizens were victimized by ObamaCare’s cancellations. According to the emails, Udall’s office hoped to change the definition of a “cancellation” as a way to lower the number. All of this occurred late last year as the storm around cancellations was engulfing Democrats and the president.

– From an email inside the Colorado Division of Insurance (DOI), Director of External Affairs Jo Donlin bluntly stated to her colleagues:

“Sen. Udall says our numbers were wrong. They are not wrong. Cancellation notices affected 249,199 people. They want to trash our numbers. I’m holding strong while we get more details. Many have already done early renewals. Regardless, they received cancellation notices.”

Donlin’s email was sent November 14.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Don’t Waste Tears on the Insurance Industry

If you have, out of the goodness of your heart, been concerned for the continued welfare of the insurance industry in America under ObamaCare, don’t waste the tears nor the time worrying.

Believe me, they have been well cared for under the ACA.

I recently discovered just how well the insurance industry has been provided for by ObamaCare by way of an article at The article was written by John Tozzi and it is entitled: “A Guide to ObamaCare’s Backstop for Anxious Insurance Companies” It is an eye opener! We hardily recommend that every American read and thoroughly digest the contents of Mr. Tozzi’s article. You will find it here:


Senator Marco Rubio has called the risk corridor a “taxpayer-funded bail out of the health insurance industry.” Rubio had introduced a bill that would kill the risk corridor program for insurance companies. But frankly, there’s not much chance that Rubio’s bill will get anywhere in the Democratic Party controlled US Senate.

Washington denies there will be a bail out, but, dear reader, that bail out is already written into the ObamaCare law!

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Edward Snowden, V 1.0: NSA Whistleblower William Binney on Government Spying

“Where I see it going is toward a totalitarian state. You’ve got the NSA doing all this collecting of material on all of its citizens — that’s what the S.S., the Gestapo, the Stasi, the KGB, and the MVD did,” says William Binney referencing the National Security Agency’s (NSA) collection of personal data on American citizens.

Binney, a former intelligence official, left the NSA in 2001 after more than 30 years with the agency. Since resigning, he has gone before Congress and the Department of Defense in an effort to bring accountability to the NSA.

For the full 50 minute interview, click here

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Expert: Obamacare’s Replacement Contractor ‘Doesn’t Have Strong Reputation’

Reuters reports that CGI Federal, the contractor behind the disaster that is the federal ObamaCare website, is out and another large contractor, Accenture, will take its place with a new $91 million contract.

One expert in this area of federal procurement and IT told Reuters that Accenture is no better than CGI, “We’ll see how well they do,” He said, “but Accenture doesn’t have a strong reputation of doing this stuff successfully.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Family Watches Online as Iranian Woman Dies in US

A nurse in a Michigan hospital kissed the patient’s forehead. More than 6,000 miles away, Sanaz Nezami’s family in Iran watched the simple act over a laptop computer and wept.

Nezami, a vibrant 27-year-old woman who could speak three languages, wanted to pursue an advanced degree in engineering at Michigan Technological University. Instead, she was brain dead just a few weeks after unpacking her bags in a remote area of the United States, a victim of a fatal beating by her new husband, according to police.

Nezami’s time in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula can be marked in days. Her impact, however, will last much longer. Technology allowed family in Iran to watch her final hours and build an emotional bond with nurses whose compassion for a stranger from an unfamiliar culture gave great comfort to shocked, grieving relatives a world away.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

GMO Labeling to be Outlawed?

The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) is scheming to criminalize state-by-state GMO labeling laws in a deviously evil effort to keep consumers ignorant of what they’re eating. Remember, the GMA is the same organization that got caught running an illegal money laundering scheme in Washington state, secretly funneling money from big food manufacturers into a campaign to defeat GMO labeling initiative I-522.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Google Privacy Update: Strangers Might Now Reach You on Gmail

If you use Gmail, Google’s email service, chances are you also have a Google+ account — whether or not you know how or attempt to use it, that’s a different story.

Regardless, the combination of the two in an update by Google could send some emails from people you might not know your way.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Knockout: It’s a Crime, Not a Game!

Here we go again. It’s another case of black on white violence, and it’s another case of teenagers who have absolutely no direction or discipline. In this case, not only is an older white woman attacked, but the whole incident is caught on Facebook for the attacker’s friends to see.

As reported by The Daily Caller, the attack which occurred in Rochester, New York is being classified as “harassment” rather than an “assault.” All someone has to do is watch the actual video. You tell me… is this an assault or not?

What’s so disturbing about all this is that the video was made and distributed for all to see. There was no fear of consequences. There was no remorse. There was no apparent sense of what is right or what is wrong. If you are laughing and joking and dancing, then clearly you are doing something for fun… or sport. Is that what America has come to?

What’s equally frustrating is not only are these assaults continuing, but they are constantly being downplayed. Oh, that is unless the attacker is white. Then, as reported in The Washington Times, the feds will be all over the case and label it as a “hate crime.”

Society is decaying before our very eyes. There is no accountability or discipline any more, and the only thing liberals do is blame the situation on racism or not enough government involvement.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Lawmakers Press DOJ for Aaron Swartz Files

A bipartisan group of lawmakers is demanding answers from Attorney General Eric Holder about the Justice Department’s treatment of the late Internet activist Aaron Swartz.

Eight lawmakers from both chambers wrote to Holder on Friday ahead of the anniversary of the programmer’s death and charged that the department has not been forthcoming about its treatment of Swartz.

They called the late programmer a “brilliant technologist and activist” and demanded that Holder explain how the department’s conduct toward Swartz was “appropriate,” as a U.S. attorney’s office has described it.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Lawyer Says FBI Has Contacted Few Tea Party Groups, 8 Months Into IRS Scandal

A lawyer representing dozens of Tea Party groups said Friday that only a few of his clients have been approached by federal investigators over the IRS targeting scandal, in the latest complaint about the slow pace of the probe eight months after the original admission.

Concerns continue to mount that the government is slow-walking its investigation into unfair practices by the IRS. The latest complaint comes a day after lawmakers revealed that the individual leading the Justice Department probe is a political supporter of President Obama.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Neiman Marcus is Latest Victim of Data Breach

Luxury merchant Neiman Marcus confirmed Saturday that thieves may have stolen customers’ credit and debit card information and made unauthorized charges over the holiday season, becoming the second retailer in recent weeks to announce it had fallen victim to a cyber-security attack.

The hacking, coming weeks after Target Corp. revealed its own breach, underscores the increasing challenges that merchants have in thwarting security breaches.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Obama to Americans: You Don’t Deserve to be Free

President Obama’s Kansas speech is a remarkable document. In calling for more government controls, more taxation, more collectivism, he has two paragraphs that give the show away. Take a look at them.

“there is a certain crowd in Washington who, for the last few decades, have said, let’s respond to this economic challenge with the same old tune. “The market will take care of everything,” they tell us. If we just cut more regulations and cut more taxes — especially for the wealthy — our economy will grow stronger. Sure, they say, there will be winners and losers. But if the winners do really well, then jobs and prosperity will eventually trickle down to everybody else. And, they argue, even if prosperity doesn’t trickle down, well, that’s the price of liberty.

“Now, it’s a simple theory. And we have to admit, it’s one that speaks to our rugged individualism and our healthy skepticism of too much government. That’s in America’s DNA. And that theory fits well on a bumper sticker. (Laughter.) But here’s the problem: It doesn’t work. It has never worked. (Applause.) It didn’t work when it was tried in the decade before the Great Depression. It’s not what led to the incredible postwar booms of the ‘50s and ‘60s. And it didn’t work when we tried it during the last decade. (Applause.) I mean, understand, it’s not as if we haven’t tried this theory.”

Though not in Washington, I’m in that “certain crowd” that has been saying for decades that the market will take care of everything. It’s not really a crowd, it’s a tiny group of radicals — radicals for capitalism, in Ayn Rand’s well-turned phrase.

The only thing that the market doesn’t take care of is anti-market acts: acts that initiate physical force. That’s why we need government: to wield retaliatory force to defend individual rights.

Radicals for capitalism would, as the Declaration of Independence says, use government only “to secure these rights” — the rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness. (Yes, I added “property” in there — property rights are inseparable from the other three.)

That’s the political philosophy on which Obama is trying to hang the blame for the recent financial crisis and every other social ill. But ask yourself, are we few radical capitalists in charge? Have radical capitalists been in charge at any time in the last, oh, say 100 years?

I pick 100 years deliberately, because it was exactly 100 years ago that a gigantic anti-capitalist measure was put into effect: the Federal Reserve System…

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Policing the Police

If you don’t think there is a problem with the police in America, then you simply aren’t paying attention.

This may seem like an odd thing for someone on the Right to say. However, I don’t think anyone who has been keeping up with current events can deny that in recent years, America has seen an increase in the heavy-handedness of police agencies at every level. The situation is even to the point where many consider us to already be a de facto police state, and one cannot credibly deny that in many cases, the police have acted more like Nazi or Soviet thugs than peace officers upholding the laws of a constitutional republic. In fact, the police often patently disregard the Constitution.

According to news reports, Boiling Spring Lakes police officers responded to a call at a home, placed by the father of a young man with diagnosed mental illness who was acting strangely. The father was simply seeking help from the police to get his son calmed down. Two officers arrived, and succeeded in calming down the young man (who had picked up a small electronics screwdriver). Unfortunately, it was at this point that an officer from the Southport Police Department arrived, and instructed (illegal, it would seem, as he was from an entirely different agency) the two officers to taser the young man, who if you will recall was already calmed down and cooperating with the officers. Then, while the two officers held the young man down after the tasering, the third officer reportedly said, “We don’t have time for this,” pulled his service weapon, and shot the young man to death in cold blood…

Consider these things, the next time somebody argues that local police departments need military-grade armored personnel carriers armed with 50-caliber machine guns “for our safety.”…

How did it get this way?

I think there are a number of reasons why we see the police acting the way they do today…

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Ready for War: Parks and Wildlife Officers Now Heavily Armed as Military-Style “Force Multipliers”

You best not be a terrorist or homegrown radical extremist hiding out in the boonies of the Texas wilderness, because if you are you may well come face-to-face with the Parks and Wildlife Department’s newest rapid deployment “Scout Team.”

The unit is made up of 25 highly trained game wardens capable of deploying anywhere in the state of Texas within four hours. Armed with AR-15s, BDU’s, and kevlar helmets, the team’s mission according to the TPWD website involves border operations, dignitary protection or any form of high-risk law enforcement, such as serving felony arrest warrants or hostage situations.

As The Dallas Observer’s Brantley Hargrove notes, “the militarization of every possible law enforcement entity in America is complete.”

[The team] is modeled after what military types call a “force multiplier,” which basically means that these guys can shoot a bunch of bullets.


“We’re steeped in tradition and very mindful of our past,” said special ops chief Grahame Jones. “It’s an important part of who we are, but we have to look to the future.”

And the future is a camo AR. Now, if Texas truly intends to secede, it’s got its own military force ready and waiting. We’ve even got a Navy! TPWD has 564 vessels, including a 65-foot gulf patrol ship, and gunboats mounted with .30 cal machine guns.

Maybe we’re a little paranoid here, but doesn’t it strike you as a bit odd that every possible government related entity in this country — be it federal, state or local — is being heavily armed with assault rifles, weaponized drones and battle wagons?

The Social Security Administration, the IRS, the Federal Reserve, property code enforcement teams, and now Parks and Wildlife are all putting Department of Homeland Security’s multi-billion dollar budget to good use.

What, exactly, are these organizations planning for?

Do they know something big is about to go down?

Or is the intention here to strike fear into the populace by instilling in us that America is now a battlefield and the government is ready to go to war with anyone that stands in its way?

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

The 7 Most Toxic Ingredients in Everyday Cosmetic Products

The global cosmetics industry is huge, with sales estimated to be around $170 billion annually. Broken down into the segments of hair care, skin care, fragrance, makeup and miscellaneous, the chemical industries behind the production of most cosmetics create products that appeal to the eyes, skin and nose, yet too often contain toxic chemicals. Hormone-disrupting additives, preservatives and colorants may make for an attractive cosmetic product, but at an immeasurable cost to human health.

Chronic illnesses and fatigue syndromes are plaguing our health these days and it may be of use to consider how the products we put on and in our bodies affects the proper function of the human body. The Environmental Working Group, and EcoWatch have put together an important list of the 7 most dangerous chemical additives in cosmetics that should be avoided by anyone who uses beauty products.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Uh Oh: Target Data Breach Worse Than We Thought

NEW YORK (TheBlaze/AP) — Retail giant Target says that personal information — including phone numbers and email and mailing addresses — was stolen from as many as 70 million customers in its pre-Christmas data breach. That was substantially more customers than Target had previously said were affected.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Water in at Least Three U.S. States is Polluted From Fracking as Hundreds of Complaints Are Reported Across the Country

Well-water contamination caused by controversial oil and gas drilling — known as fracking — has been confirmed in at least three U.S. states which have nurtured the nation’s energy boom, according to a new review of industry data.

New figures show that hundreds of complaints have been made about pollution in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and Texas, casting doubt on industry suggestions that such problems rarely happen.

In Pennsylvania alone, at least 106 cases of water-well contamination have been confirmed in the last eight years.

The data, requested by the Associated Press, also highlight a lack of transparency and major differences in the way these problems are reported.

While the confirmed problems represent only a tiny portion of the thousands of oil and gas wells drilled each year in the U.S., the lack of detail in some state reports could help fuel public confusion and mistrust.

Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia provided only general outlines, while Texas, which hasn’t confirmed a single case of drilling-related water-well contamination in the past 10 years, released the most detail.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Management of the Ontario Economy by the Liberal Government Has Been a Disaster

In Ontar-I-Owe we showed how the Ontario government deliberately misstated the provincial debt — they lied (A false statement deliberately presented as being true; a falsehood.). We had been meaning to take a look at Ontario job creation numbers for quite a while. So, when we saw the article in today’s Ottawa Citizen, Ontario Liberals defend poor December job numbers, we thought it would be worth a chuckle if nothing else to examine what the Government had to say. How Economists Lie — Oops — Make Up Numbers

A favourite adjustment economists make to real data is called a seasonal adjustment. With our emphasis added, as Wikipedia describes it:

“Seasonal adjustment is a statistical method for removing the seasonal component of a time series that is used when analyzing non-seasonal trends. It is normal to report seasonally adjusted data for unemployment rates to reveal the underlying trends in labor markets.”…

In short, seasonally adjusted numbers are real numbers with lipstick applied to make a pig more palatable to data analysis. They are made up numbers…

Looking at the non-seasonally adjusted data however, the picture is worse. CANSIM 2820088 shows 314.7 thousand service sector jobs created but a net loss of 9.2 thousand jobs in the goods producing sector with 8.5 thousand of these in manufacturing.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Danish Police: Dead Cows Dumped From Lebanese Ship

Danish police are certain that two dead cows that washed ashore on the southern coast of Denmark on Friday were dumped from a Lebanese ship. Since New Year’s, a total of five dead cows have been found along the Danish coast and eight to nine dead cows have been found along the shores of southern Sweden.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

EU Vice-President Urges Reviewing FTA With India

(AGI) Rome, Jan 11 — European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani wrote on Twitter: “Can the EU sign a free trade agreement (FTA) with a country that does not respect human rights?” Mr Tajani said he would write a letter to European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton on recent developments in the case of the Italian marines who may face the death penalty in India. He also wrote: “Can we keep negotiating FTA with India when the death penalty is being considered against EU citizens fighting sea piracy?” .

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

French Comedian Dieudonne to Go Back on Stage Despite Ban

(AGI) Paris, Jan 11 — The French performer Dieudonne is still at odds with the French government. Orleans tribunal announced a third ban on the comedian’s show “Le Mur”, following those issued in Nantes and Tours. As a result tonight’s show will also be cancelled, despite 2,500 tickets already sold. But he doesn’t give up easily, and has already added another show to his Facebook page: “Asu zoa” is scheduled for 2 p.m., 4 p.m., 7.30 p.m. and 10 p.m. at the Main d’Or theatre in Paris.

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

Italian Government Preparing to Move on Human Rights Ruling

European court decision on children’s surname triggers action

(ANSA) — Rome, January 9 — The Italian government is preparing to act on a European court ruling earlier this week ordering Italy to change its laws to allow parents to give their children the mother’s surname, sources in the office of Premier Enrico Letta said Thursday.

Two days earlier, politicians, activists and lawyers cheered a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights ordering Italy to change its current law which says children born of married Italian nationals must take the father’s surname, in most cases.

A 2000 provision allows parents to add the mother’s name in some circumstances.

In their ruling, the European judges described the Italian system as “excessively rigid and discriminatory towards women”.

Jole Santelli of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi’s centre-right Forza Italia, now in opposition, said on Tuesday that she hoped parliament “might now at last make up its mind to (revise) a law that is obsolete, allowing children to receive their mother’s surname”.

The judges in Strasbourg upheld their complaint on grounds of articles 14 and eight of the European Convention on Human Rights respectively, concerning prohibition of discrimination and right to respect for private and family life, and ordered Italy to modify its legislation as a result.

Italy was given three months to appeal the sentence before it becomes binding.

The case was triggered when Alessandra Cusan filed a complaint against the Italian state with the Strasbourg court because she was prevented from conferring her surname on her daughter Maddalena, born in 1999, following a lengthy battle in the Italian courts.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Grillo Calls TV Journalists Slaves to Parties

M5S leader says reporters to blame for wrecking Italy

(ANSA) — Rome, January 10 — Beppe Grillo, the leader of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S), accused Italy’s broadcast journalists of bias on Friday and said they served the needs of the traditional parties.

“The occupation of the media is total, it’s the last barrier before the fall of the regime,” Grillo wrote on his popular blog, which gave life to the M5S in 2009.

“The journalists are the main ones to blame for wrecking Italy, they are slaves to an owner, an ideology, or, more prosaically, a wallet,” added the comedian-turned-politician, whose Internet-based movement captured around a quarter of the vote in last year’s general election.

The attack was the latest in a series waged against Italian journalists by the aggressive, frequently foul mouthed Grillo.

M5S representatives shun TV talk shows and try to have direct communication with the public via the Internet.

Usigrai, the union of journalists working for State broadcaster Rai, responded by accusing Grillo of using the methods of Fascist “squads… that are not worthy of a political leader and not compatible with a democratic system”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Councillors to Boycott Meetings With Integration Minister

(AGI) Milan, Jan 10 — Two regional councillors in Brescia have announced they will boycott meetings with Integration Minister Cecile Kyenge on Friday and Saturday. Simona Bordonali of the regionalist Northern League and Vivina Beccalossi of the national-conservative Fratelli d’Italia party were invited to meet with the Congolese-born minister during her visit to the city, but will hold a demonstration and press conference instead. “Fratelli d’Italia will demonstrate in Brescia during Kyenge’s visit to let the minister know that we don’t find her suitable for her role,” Beccalossi commented.

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

Italy Racist Toward the North, Says Northern League Party

(AGI) Varese, Jan 11 — Matteo Salvini, secretary of Italy’s Northern League party, said: “Italy has a racist approach to the north. The state, and therefore the Italian public, paid for the roads.” Mr Salvini spoke during Saturday’s party protest against the road-toll strike. Some 100 party activists were already at the toll-booth in Gallarate where the protest is taking place, and greeted him with shouts of “Secession, secession”.

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

Italy: L’Aquila Mayor Resigns Over Bribery Scandal

(AGI) L’Aquila, Jan 11 — L’Aquila’s mayor, Massimo Cialente, has resigned. He announced the resignation himself on Saturday, during a press conference. Three days ago, the municipal council was shaken as it was revealed that the mayor and deputy mayor Roberto Riga — who resigned immediately — were implicated in an inquiry set up to investigate bribes paid by some companies working to reconstruct the city after the 2009 earthquake.

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

Lib-Lab ‘Plot’ To Block Tory Referendum Bill Which Would Give Voters Say in Britain’s Membership of the EU

Labour and the Liberal Democrats are today accused of ‘conspiring’ to try to block legislation guaranteeing Conservative plans to hold an in/out referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU.

Tory peer Lord Dobbs, who will today introduce the party’s EU referendum Bill in the House of Lords, said the vast majority of voters want a say on the issue and condemned the other parties for refusing to support it.

Tory sources say that if Labour and the Lib Dems succeed in killing off the legislation, which has cleared the House of Commons with a big majority, they intend to reintroduce it and attempt to force it into law using the Parliament Act.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Life in the UK Today

A lot of people today in the UK have very real fears for the future, especially for the next generation. The country is overwhelmed with mass immigration and high unemployment. They are sometimes afraid to speak out for fear of being labelled hateful, as they wonder how many more people this small island can accommodate. Moral standards have dropped. The importance of family, which many have tried desperately to hold on to and fight for, has become broken down and dismantled. Division is being created. What will happen amidst this chaos?

Many see the storm clouds on the horizon, rather than a bright star of hope.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Norway: Breivik Protests Jail ‘Grabbing Inspections’

Norwegian far-right terrorist Anders Breivik has complained that he has been subject to hundreds of strip searches, many involving “grabbing inspections”, in a 30-page letter sent to several news organisations and an anti-torture watchdog.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UK: ‘Devious’ Tory Councillor Who Squandered 92-Year-Old Widow Friend’s £154,000 Life Savings is Jailed for Five Years

A Tory councillor who won £100,000 on a lottery scratchcard has been jailed after then plundering a widow’s life savings of more than £154,000 pounds which he gambled away on slot machines.

Shamed John Morgan was starting a five-year sentence after a judge described him as ‘arrogant, self-deluding and shambolic’.

The 75-year-old Conservative had an addiction for slot machines and squandered away the savings of Beryl Gittens, who suffered from Alzheimer’s, meaning that when she died aged 92, she had to be given a pauper’s funeral.

Morgan ruthlessly raided the bank account of Mrs Gittens, a friend of 30 years, after he was given legal control over her affairs when her memory began to fail.

He had won £100,000 pounds on a lottery scratchcard he bought at a newsagent’s shop in Swindon in November 2009.

He was convicted after a six-day trial of the theft of £154,000 pounds, which he made in thousands of bank transfers and cash withdrawals as Mrs Gittens sat in care homes. He even bought himself trips to Las Vegas casinos with her money.

When Mrs Gittens died in 2012, she was given a pauper’s funeral funded by the local council, because Morgan had even drained her accounts of any money to pay for her burial.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Drink-Driving Ban for 6mph Spin in Toy Van: Father-of-One Banned for 12 Months and Fined £500 After Being Found Nearly Three Times Over the Limit

He intended his mini VW camper van to be an eye-catching way to raise money for charity.

But when Rio Beardmore took the vehicle for a spin one Friday night, he attracted attention from the police instead.

The 43-year-old attempted to drive the van, which has a top speed of 6mph, the half mile to his home from a local pub…

‘I thought they were joking’: Rio Beardmore, 43, in the hand built miniature electric VW camper he was driving when police pulled him over. Magistrates banned him from driving for a year and fined him £500

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Father of 22 Children by 11 Women is ‘Neighbour From Hell Who Held Wild Boozy Parties in His Garden and Lives Life of Luxury With BMW, Speedboat and Holidays Abroad’

Former neighbours of a father of 22, this week spared jail for drug dealing, have spoken of his lavish lifestyle, impressive cars and raucous late-night parties in a caravan.

Raymond Hull, 58, who has children by 11 women despite only having been married once, appears to have enjoyed the trappings of wealth — BMWs, foreign holidays, and presents for his numerous girlfriends — despite having been out of work for a decade.

Hull, who already had 31 convictions and has been jailed four times, was had his prison sentence suspended this week after asking a judge to let him go so that he could care for his newest child — seven-month-old Barry…

Estimates for the total cost of Hull’s lifestyle — totalling up his unemployment payouts, housing benefits as well as handouts to support his children — suggest that he could have cost the taxpayer more than £1million.

Meanwhile, it emerged that one of his daughters, 23-year-old Rianna, posted a jeering message online where, in poor English, she thanked taxpayers for supporting her life of idleness.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: London Police to Trial Personal HD Micro Cameras

(AGI) London. Jan 11 — Scotland Yard is set to launch a transparency operation in a bid to regain public confidence. As of this April, up to a thousand police officers will be obliged to wear high-definition micro cameras. These will record exactly what the officers do while on duty, in order to discourage any abuse of power. The scheme will run for a year at a cost of 1.6 million pounds sterling.

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

UK: Largest Ship to Ever to Enter the Thames Docks at London’s Newest Port

(And it’s so big it can carry as much as 8,500 lorries)

The new London Gateway port welcomed the largest ever ship to enter the Thames this week, after a huge container vessel was diverted by bad weather.

Driven from its original destination of Felixstowe by high winds and rains, the Gudrun Maersk was towed into port laden with goods from the Far East.

The port, in Thurrock, Essex, opened in November after a huge dredging operation made the river Thames deep enough to accommodate the very larger cargo ships which are becoming standard in the shipping industry.

[Comment: “Far East”…Probably full of goods made in communist China.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Man Who Wrote on Facebook That He Had ‘Really Hurt Someone’ Is Jailed for 20 Years for Brutally Stabbing His ‘Gentle Giant’ Neighbour to Death 20 Times for No Reason

[WARNING: Disturbing Content.]

A man who admitted on Facebook that he had ‘hurt someone’ has been jailed for at least 20 years for brutally knifing his neighbour to death.

Barry Estabrook, 44, stabbed ‘gentle giant’ Brian Knock, 38, more than 20 times in his garden in an apparently motiveless attack after they’d both been out drinking at their local pub.

Shortly after killing popular Mr Knock in the early hours of September 1, Estabrook posted messages on Facebook saying he had ‘really hurt someone’ and also told his sister he thought he had killed someone.

It was his sister, who lived locally, who ran to Mr Knock’s home and found him dead.

She discovered the ‘cheeky, fun-loving’ father-of-two slumped against the front wall of the house he shared with his mother after her brother’s onslaught…

She knocked at the front door and Mr Knock’s mother came out and said: ‘Oh my God. It’s my son.’

Estabrook had sped off and his car was found a short while later after he’d ploughed into a hedge.

The killer was found hiding in a ditch and was Tasered by police who feared he had a knife on him.

Cops went to his home and found his clothes, mobile and a kitchen knife in a washing machine…

Estabrook, of Bildeston, Suffolk, yesterday admitted murdering his fellow villager.

He was ordered to serve a minimum of 20 years behind bars of a mandatory life sentence at Ipswich Crown Court.

‘Gentle giant’: Brian Knock was ‘larger than life’. He was stabbed 20 times by Estabrook who had no motive for the attack.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Three Months on and Worth 70% More Than Sale Price, Proof That Royal Mail Shares Did Go Cheap

When Royal Mail’s share price soared after privatisation, Vince Cable dismissed criticism that it had been undervalued and said a proper view could not be taken for three months.

Yesterday — three months on and with the shares worth 70 per cent more than the Government’s sale price — his words came back to haunt him after MPs said taxpayers had been short-changed.

Both Conservative and Labour MPs rubbished the Lib Dem Business Secretary’s claim last October that the instant share price rise was just ‘froth’.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Why Did My Vulnerable Sister Leave Her Home to Her GP’s Daughter… Then Die From an Overdose?

Lucie Rose’s suicide note was a puzzle to her family. The letter was written on high-quality writing paper and sealed in a matching envelope. Yet Mrs Rose was an almost obsessively frugal old lady, who would never, her family say, have dreamed of buying expensive paper.

There was another thing. The note was written in English, but 87-year-old Lucie was German and her written English was poor.

Yet she chose to write this last poignant communication to her loved ones in English. ‘I want to be with John,’ the note said. ‘Please forgive me. I don’t want to live any more.’ Lucie was referring to Johnny, her husband of 62 years, who had died 20 days before she killed herself with an overdose of pills on November 27, 2010. Her suicide was a shock to her two sisters, Elke and Annaliese, who were further disquieted to later discover that Lucie had changed her will in the brief period between her husband’s death and her suicide.

In the original will, Lucie’s £560,000 estate, which included her £250,000 bungalow in Mapperley, Nottinghamshire, was to have been divided between the sisters.

The sisters were perplexed to learn that, in the new will, the house, its contents and the family Mercedes had been bequeathed to Sharnika Pillai, the daughter of Mrs Rose’s GP, Dr Chittaranjan Pillai. Mrs Rose had never met Sharnika.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Woman Doctor Probed After Couple Claim She ‘Pushed Their Terminally Ill Daughter Over the Edge’ By Telling Her in Graphic Detail How She Was Going to Die

A doctor is being investigated after a grieving couple claimed their daughter was ‘pushed over the edge’ after she was told ‘in graphic detail’ how she would die of cancer.

Fiona Clark, a consultant haematologist at the Worcestershire Royal Hospital, was accused of disobeying the wishes of leukaemia sufferer Vickie Harvey, 24, and her family.

Her parents say Miss Harvey had told doctors that she did not want to be kept updated on her terminal condition, from which she passed away on 10 December 2013.

She had been diagnosed a year earlier, but made clear she would rather not know the details of her illness. Her parents, Eric, 62 and Lynn, 58, had also asked Dr Clark to spare Miss Harvey the truth, with her father Eric allegedly begging Dr Clark not to say anything, only to have their request ignored…

‘Then a week later Vickie had a private meeting with Dr Clark. The exam was only meant to take five minutes but we were waiting for half-an-hour.

‘After 30 minutes we went in and Vickie was sobbing her heart out. We asked what was the matter and the doctor just said she was upset because she had been told she had to go back to hospital.

‘But outside Vickie just turned around and said ‘Dad, she’s told me everything. She told me what’s going to happen to me and what the future holds. ‘All Vickie said was: “Isn’t there anything else you can do?” And the doctor took that opportunity to tell her everything.

‘Hearing how she was going to die in such graphic detail shattered Vickie and she just gave up.’

The family also claim Dr Clark even tried to persuade Vickie’s mum Lynn, 58, to sign a ‘do not resuscitate’ form saying she ‘didn’t want any hero paramedics’ attempting to save her.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

At Least 19 Dead as Rival Libyan Tribes Fight

(AGI) Tripoli, Jan 11 — Local sources reported that at least 19 people died and 20 were wounded on Saturday after fighting broke out between Toubous and the Awled Sleiman, rival tribes in southern Libya.

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

Egypt’s General Sisi Signals May Run for President

(Reuters) — Egypt’s army chief General Abdel Fatah al-Sisi gave his clearest signal yet on Saturday of his interest in becoming president, a move that could turn the clock back to the days when the presidency was controlled by men from the military. Sisi, who ousted Egypt’s first democratically elected leader Mohamed Mursi last July after mass protests against his one-year rule, is widely expected to seek the top job but has not yet announced plans to run.

“If I run then it must be at the request of the people and with a mandate from my army… We work in a democracy,” he said, speaking at an army seminar in Cairo.

After the army overthrew the Islamist Mursi, it appointed an interim president and outlined a roadmap for democratic transition. Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood supporters, who accuse the army of staging a coup, have held frequent protests calling for his reinstatement. But the security forces have launched a wide crackdown against the group, arresting thousands on charges of violence.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

I Will Run if People Demand it, Says Egypt’s General Sisi

(AGI) Cairo, Jan 11 — After a long period marked by rumours and reticence as to his intentions, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Minister of Defence and the Army Chief of Staff, for the first time explicitly announced his willingness to run in Egypt’s presidential elections next autumn, on condition that this reflects the will of the people and obtains the support of the Armed Forces. “If I run then it must be at the request of the people and with a mandate from my army… we work in a democracy,” he wrote in a statement quoted by the State newspaper al-Ahram. Al-Sisi is considered to be the mastermind behind the coup d’etat that deposed Egyptian former President, the Islamist Muhammad Morsi.

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

New Theory on How Egypt’s Pyramids Were Built Will Cause ‘War With Archaeologists’ [Video]

Welsh engineer Peter James has unveiled a new theory that the ancient Egyptian pyramids were built from rubble.

Archaeologists are fighting claims that their explanations on how the pyramids were built are incorrect.

Far from being constructed of giant stone blocks, 90% are rubble, according to a Times report.

Peter James, dubbed Indiana James, who has spent the last two decades studying the Egyptian pyramids, said: “Under the current theories, to lay the two million stone blocks required the Egyptians would had to have laid a large block once every three minutes on long ramps.

“If that happened, there would still be signs that the ramps had been there, and there aren’t any.

“I’m going to have a war with archaeologists. They will say: ‘How would you know? You’re not an archaeologist.’ But if you wanted a house built would you use me or an archaeologist? Archaeologists have never had the engineering experience.”

Structural engineer James and his team at Cintec International in Newport, South Wales, are world leaders in restoring ancient sites.

He has assisted in reinforcing burial chambers in the 4,600-year-old Step Pyramid and the Red Pyramid.

Inside the Step pyramid in Egypt, they discovered that a massive tonnage of small stones was being held up only by the trunk of a palm tree thousands of years old.

The engineer believes that the inside of the pyramids are made of small, easily handled blocks and that they were built from the inside out — not the outside in. “Think of the pyramids as the proverbial Lady of the Night: all fancy hat and no knickers.”

James also has theories about what happened to the cladding of the pyramids. Archaeologists are convinced that the smooth stone was stolen for other building projects.

The engineer believes the outer stones fell off because of thermal expansion due to the great differences in temperature between day and night, ranging from 50C to 3C.

James, who doesn’t pull his punches, said: “The pyramids were built to honour the sun god Ra, but in the end he was the one who buggered them.”…

           — Hat tip: Nick [Return to headlines]

The Innocence of Liberals

After the Arab Spring and the Libyan War, it has become impossible to untangle the guilt of Obama from the guilt of Islamists

When Charles Woods, the father of Tyrone Woods, one of the Navy SEALS who died fighting in Benghazi, met with Hillary Clinton, she assured him that, “We’re going to have that person arrested and prosecuted that did the video.” And they got him, officially on charges of violating parole, unofficially on charges of violently offending violent Muslims.

The woman whose policy had overthrown the Libyan government and then placed a barely defended diplomatic facility in the middle of a city of terrorists, did not promise the grieving father that his son’s killers would pay. She promised him that the man who offended his son’s killers would pay.

Not only would his son be the first casualty of that appeasement policy, but the Constitution that his son had sworn to support and defend would be the second casualty…

The innocence of Obama is intertwined with the innocence of Muslims.

If Muslims are innocent of terror, then so is the foreign policy that has empowered them. But if Muslims are guilty of terror then the politicians who have pandered to them are guilty of enabling their terror.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Ariel Sharon, Former Israeli Prime Minister, Is Dead

Ariel Sharon, one of the most influential leaders in Israel’s history, a military commander who at the height of his power redrew the country’s political map, died on Saturday in a hospital outside Tel Aviv. He was 85.

His death was confirmed by Shimon Peres, the Israeli president.

An architect of Israeli settlements in the occupied lands, Mr. Sharon gained international infamy over the years for harsh tactics against the Palestinians over whom Israel ruled. That reputation began to soften after his election as prime minister in 2001, when he first talked about the inevitability of Palestinian statehood.

He was incapacitated by a stroke he suffered in January 2006 and fell into a coma from which he never awoke.

[Return to headlines]

Ex-Israeli PM Ariel Sharon Dies at 85

The iconic but controversial former Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon, has died after his medical condition significantly deteriorated, his son confirmed to the media. The 85-year-old politician died in Tel Aviv’s Tel Hashomer hospital, also known as the Chaim Sheba Medical Center, where he had been in a coma since January 2006 after suffering a stroke and brain hemorrhage.

For nearly eight years Sharon was on respiratory life support, occasionally opening his eyes and moving fingers. He was supported by fluids through a feeding tube.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has also expressed condolences to Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the death of an “outstanding statesman and military commander.” The late politician was highly respected by compatriots and was held in high esteem in the international arena, Putin said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Former Israeli Prime Minister Sharon Dies at 85

JERUSALEM (AP) — The hospital that had been treating Ariel Sharon says the former Israeli Prime Minister has died.

Hospital spokesman Dr. Shlomo Noy said Saturday: “The Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer announces…

sorrow the death of Mr. Ariel Sharon who passed about an hour ago.”

He said that during the years Sharon had been treated his condition was defined as “minimal consciousness” and he had had “ups and downs.”

“Today his heart weakened and he peacefully departed from his family who were always at his side with love and support.”…

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

FM Davutoglu Slams ‘Jihadist Erdogan’ Translation in English Media

In remarks that appeared to be targeting Today’s Zaman, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has slammed the use of the word “jihadist” in an English translation for the Turkish word “mücahid” to describe the slogan employed by some of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s supporters, saying it is the reflection of a crusader and neo-Orientalist mentality.

Columnists and commentators in pro-government media have attacked Today’s Zaman after its Ankara representative and columnist Abdullah Bozkurt translated on Twitter a slogan by Erdogan’s supporters at a rally in Istanbul as “jihadist Erdogan.” The original slogan was “Mücahid Erdogan,” the Turkish version of the Arabic word “mujahid,” which literally means “holy warrior” or “religious warrior.”

“PM Erdogan fans chant ‘Jihadist Erdogan’ in another public rally next to his home in Istanbul late Friday night,” Bozkurt wrote in a tweet on Dec. 27.

Bozkurt instantly became the target of a wave of criticism by pro-government scribes on Twitter and later on in pro-government media, who claim that he intentionally attempted to present Erdogan as a radical to the West and the US in particular knowing that the word “jihadist” has a very negative connotation there.

Burak Bekdil, a columnist for Hürriyet Daily News, also translated the same slogan as “jihadist Erdogan” in a column published on Jan. 1, although it went largely unnoticed among the pro-government commentators.

Without openly naming Today’s Zaman or Hürriyet Daily News, Davutoglu on Friday said that the translation was an “attack which has no moral basis.”

“Referring to our prime minister by translating the word ‘jihadist’ in an English translation for the Turkish ‘mücahid’ is an aggressive attitude that does not have any moral basis. I am saying it openly; this is crusader mentality or the reflection of neo-orientalist mentality,” Davutoglu said during a televised program aired on Kanal 24 TV on Thursday.

Davutoglu maintained that it was an aggressive attitude not only against the prime minister but to the Islam civilization and its beliefs.

“Why shouldn’t they [supporters of Erdogan] chant? The names of the ones who resisted in Cyprus were also ‘mücahid.’ The vital term of the operation conducted by the neo-orientalist in the recent times is the operation against jihad,” said Davutoglu.

Davutoglu clarifies ‘Assad lesser evil’ statement

Davutoglu also clarified his statement that “the wrong methods implemented by radicals in Syria have made the President Bashar al- Assad regime look like it is the ‘lesser evil’.”

Davutoglu noted that in his statement there was no remark that meant Assad regime is the “lesser evil,” adding that it was hard to understand how media outlets made out such an understanding from his remarks.

“When reading the newspapers I was shocked. I find it beneficial for the press members to make evaluations within the context. What I have said is: Some circles are giving the violent acts of the al-Qaeda terrorist organization as an excuse and are trying to show Assad as a lesser evil. Today the Assad regime is the source of all evil in Syria. For the Syrian people, the greatest of all evils is the Assad regime, which is the source of any evil emerging in Syria,” said Davutoglu.

The foreign minister noted that the Syrian people were facing great oppression from the regime, adding that in order to cover up the atrocities of the regime some circles were trying to keep al-Qaeda, particularly the the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) threat, on the agenda.

The foreign minister, responding to questions from Anadolu editors on Thursday, slammed radical groups in Syria whose brutality and radical ideology have dampened Western support for the anti-regime opposition. “The wrong methods implemented by radicals have made the regime look like it is the lesser evil,” said Davutoglu.

Turkey is a staunch supporter of the moderate rebels aligned with the Syrian national coalition, the body recognized by countries supporting the opposition as the only legitimate representative of the Syrian people, but they have lost ground in Syria as ISIL, which originally was established in Iraq, and another al-Qaeda affiliate, the al-Nusra Front, have gradually become the predominant forces in the anti-regime camp.

Davutoglu left Ankara for Paris on Friday to attend first a meeting of the Middle East members of a core group of the Friends of Syria scheduled for Friday and then a gathering on Jan. 12 of the entire core group, consisting of both regional countries and the Western nations supporting the Syrian opposition. The meetings come prior to upcoming Geneva II conference, which aims to bring the opposition and the Syrian regime together to find a solution to the crisis. The peace conference for Syria is scheduled for Jan. 22.

Speaking to reporters before departing for Paris, Davutoglu noted that in the meeting scheduled for Jan. 12, countries would focus on two main topics. “Eleven nations of the core group will discuss how to end the clashes and what could be done to provide humanitarian aid to the areas needed,” said Davutoglu.

The aim of the meetings, which bring together the main countries supporting Syria’s opposition, is to determine a common attitude, strategy and roadmap prior to the conference that will determine the future of the war-torn country.

Davutoglu noted that he would also have a bilateral meeting with his French counterpart, Laurent Fabius, in the weekend…

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

Syria: First Lady Resurfaces at School for ‘Martyrs’ Children

After months of denying she would flee the civil war

(ANSAmed) — BEIRUT, JANUARY 10 — Syrian First Lady Asma al-Assad made a public appearance Wednesday in official media coverage of her visit to a Damascus grade school during quarterly exams.

State news agency SANA ran images of Mrs. Assad in a green jacket and with gathered hair, hugging elementary school children in blue uniforms and looking at their drawings.

The visit to the so-called “school for martyrs’ children” took place on Thursday, SANA said. The Assad regime refers to loyalist forces killed in action in the ongoing Syrian civil war as “martyrs”.

The president’s wife “wished the students success for the prosperity of the fatherland”, SANA reported. School principal Shahira Fallouh thanked the First Lady “for her ongoing concern for the martyrs and their children, which is a token of the concern of President Assad himself”.

Born and raised in London, Asma al-Assad has a British passport, but has denied rumors in past months that she intends to flee her war-torn country along with her three children.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Turkey: Foreigners’ Share in M&A Drops Sharply

(ANSAmed) — ISTANBUL, JANUARY 10 — Mergers and acquisitions in Turkey totaled USD 17.5 billion in 2013, marking a 20% retreat from 2012, revealing a steep drop in foreign investment appetite in the country, daily Hurriyet reports quoting a survey from a research company. According to Deloitte’s ‘Mergers and Acquisitions 2013’ report, 217 mergers and acquisitions (M&A) transactions, mostly driven by energy privatizations, amounted in USD 17.5 billion in 2013, indicating a 15% fall in terms of units and 20% in terms of amount. The M&A volume in the country were mostly undertaken by local investors as foreign investor transactions have dropped by a quarter, touching historically low levels, the report also discovered. Foreign investors’ transaction volume recorded a 60% drop compared to last year, totaling USD 5.2 billion, constituting 47% of overall activities. Primarily American and European investors were the ones who have started shying away from the Turkish market, with Far Eastern investors standing out for the first time. “The momentum achieved in mergers and acquisitions was interrupted in 2013 due to sociopolitical tension in the domestic market and the Feed decision’s impact on emerging markets,” Deloitte Turkey Corporate Finance Partner Basak Vardar said during a meeting held to present the report.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Turkey’s Economic Development Does Not Stop the Plight of Child Brides

Interior Ministry data show that about 129,000 girls were married off to older men in the past three years. Although banned by law, the practice is widespread, especially in the rural areas of Anatolia, but even in cities like Izmir 17 per cent of girls under 18 years are married.

Istanbul (AsiaNews) — Economic growth and development in modern Turkey have not affected the ancient practice of arranged marriages between teenage girls and older men.

According to the Interior Ministry, 134,629 persons under 18 were married off in Turkey in the last three years. Of these, 128,866 were girls, a rate 20 times higher than that of boys.

Speaking to al-Monitor, Gulten Kaya, head of the Female Lawyers Commission of the Union of Turkish Bar Associations, warned that “there is an increase of 94 per cent in application to courts by families to . . . get marriage permits”.

Underage marriages have a strong impact on teenagers and are often linked to poverty, lack of education or to religion.

A recent study by Erhan Tunc, professor at Gaziantep University, looked at marriages with minors in various regions of Turkey. Tunc’s team found that 82 per cent of child brides are illiterate.

This practice is most prevalent in Sanliurfa, on the Syrian border, where the proportion of marriages with someone under 16 increases to 60 per cent.

Although child brides are more prevalent in rural communities, they can be found in cities like Izmir, one of Anatolia’s main urban centres known for its cosmopolitanism, where the proportion of married girls under 16 is 17 per cent.

Tunc’s data show that throughout Turkey about 37 per cent or one marriage in three involves child brides. And as in other countries in the Middle East, young brides usually end up with older men, widowers, or even men who rape them. Turkish newspapers report cases of violence against children almost on a daily basis.

Recently, the Daily Milliyet published an article with a dozen of stories about people in the village of Dundarli in the central Anatolia region. In some cases, some families forced their daughters, as young as 11, to marry. The newspaper’s investigation triggered the reaction of local authorities who rejected the findings.

Although unrecognised under Turkish law, religious marriages are widespread among Muslims. Under Article 230 of the Turkish Penal Code, anyone forcing religious marriage on underage people could get two to six months in jail. However, for non-believers or non-practicing families, religious marriage is one way of getting around the law.

In addition to religious tradition, the lack of clear legislation and poor enforcement of other existing laws favour the practice of arranged marriages between adults and teens.

Many young brides flee their family or commit suicide to avoid marrying older men. One example is that of R M, 17, from Urfa (southeastern Turkey) who was sold by her uncle for US$ 4,600 to a man who was 20 years older than her. She ran away from home and went to the police who blocked the marriage.

In October 2013, the head of Turkey’s Diyanet (Presidency of Religious Affairs), Mehmet Gormez, described the practice of arranged marriages as “ruthless”.

In his view, “Whoever tries to find an argument or justification [for child brides] in any Islamic source does injustice both to religion and that girl child. That is why it is all of our responsibility to take all these information [historical facts] again and share them with society anew” to prevent them.

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

U.S. Pilot Scares Off Iranians With ‘Top Gun’-Worthy Stunt

The U.S. Air Force has a message for Iran: Don’t mess with our drones.

In what only can be described as a scene out of Tom Cruise’s “Top Gun,” Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, Air Force chief of staff, describes how F-22 stealth jets scared off Iranian jets from a U.S. drone flying in international airspace.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Veto-Proof Iran Sanctions Legislation Possible in US Senate

While the P5+1 negotiation on a possible agreement to curtail Iran’s nuclear program is going on in Geneva, a virtually veto-proof new Iran Sanctions bill is gathering support in the US Senate, Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013 (NWFIA). NWFIA had 26 bi-partisan co-sponsors when it was introduced on December 19, 2013. See our Iconoclast post, “All Praises due Sens. Kirk and Menendez on Nuclear Weapons Free Iran Act”.

A CNN report Iran sanctions bill moves toward veto-proof majority in Senate noted:

The bipartisan proposal introduced by Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. Robert Menendez, D-New Jersey, and Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Illinois, now has 59 senators who have formally committed to support it, a senior Senate aide tells CNN.

But the aide said that the current informal count is even higher — at 77 yes votes — and that more are expected to come on board once the undecided are forced to vote.

The bill could come to the Senate floor for consideration during the week of President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address on January 28 or the following week, the aide said.

The proposal would give Obama more than a year to engage in further diplomacy before any new sanctions would kick in against Iran’s oil exports and other key areas of its economy. Sanctions would hit sooner if Iran cheats on the interim deal or fails to reach a final accord.

The administration has threatened to veto the legislation if Congress were to approve it now, saying new sanctions would undermine the delicate efforts to forge a lasting deal with Iran.

The eminence grise in the US Senate working behind the scenes to empower passage of NWIFA is New York’s US Senator, Charles Schumer, the formidable head of the successful Democratic Senate Campaign Committee. Just prior to the yearend holiday recess Schumer had gone on record saying that it was time to ratchet up new sanctions. The Hill in a report, “Schumer Leads Push Against Obama-on-Iran”, noted his leadership role.

Democratic National Committee Chairperson, Florida Us Representative Debbie Wasserman-Schultz according to The Washington Free Beacon (WFB) has been actively seeking to kill House consideration of new sanctions legislation.This weekend, the Emergency Committee for Israel will be airing an ad attacking DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman -Schultz on cable news Sunday Morning programs. Should NWIFA pass the Senate during the run up to President Obama’s State of the Union address that would mark a repudiation of his diplomatic outreach to Iran on its nuclear program. Should Iran take affront to this possible US Senate action and withdraw from the P5+1 negotiations, could it raise the prospect of possible unilateral military action by Israel? Stay tuned.

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

Karzai’s Decision to Release 72 Taliban Worries US

For Afghan authorities, there is not enough evidence against the prisoners who have been held without trial. Deemed “dangerous criminals” by the US, they are set to go free without their cases being referred to the Afghan criminal justice system.

Kabul (AsiaNews/Agencies) — Washington has expressed concern over the planned release of 72 prisoners, saying it regarded them as “dangerous criminals” for taking part in terrorist operations.

Hundreds of Taliban prisoners at Bagram jail have been freed since March 2013 when the US transferred the facility to the Afghan government.

“We cannot allow innocent Afghan citizens to be kept in detention for months and years without a trial for no reason at all,” Mr Karzai’s spokesman Aimal Faizi told Reuters.

“We know that unfortunately this has been happening at Bagram, but it is illegal and a violation of Afghan sovereignty.”

The United States expressed great concern for this decision through US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki who said there was “strong evidence” linking the 72 to “terror-related crimes”.

“We have expressed our concerns over the possible release of these detainees without their cases being referred to the Afghan criminal justice system,” she said, since “These insurgents could pose threats to the safety and security of the Afghan people and the state.”

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

Pakistan Mourns the Death of Two Heroes of the Struggle Against Islamic Extremism

A “super — cop “ who led numerous raids against Taliban and fundamentalist fringes was killed in an attack in Karachi. Already targeted in the past. There are growing demands of honors for the young man who sacrificed himself to save his school, and his companions, from a suicide bomber.

Islamabad ( AsiaNews / Agencies) — Pakistani civil society and activists are honoring the memory of two different personalities who have sacrificed their lives in the common struggle against the Islamic extremism that has bloodied the country for years . Yesterday Chaudhry Aslam , head of the local anti-terrorism , law enforcement officer longtime and well-known face in the battle against the Taliban, was killed in an attack in Karachi. Meanwhile, mourning continues for the young student who , on January 6 , sacrificed himself to defend his school in Hangu , a town in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa , from a suicide bomber.

Two other people were killed in the attack against the super- cop in Karachi. Chaudhry Aslam was aboard a police convoy, near the area of Essa Nagri when a half-load of explosives was detonated. The explosion devastated many cars and several buildings in the area. In the past he had been the subject of attacks, which, however, he had always managed to escape .

The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack , pointing out that they had killed the policeman because in the past he had “ murdered , tortured and injured “ members of the extremist militias . Moreover Aslam had often preferred to use brute force in his war against the militants, killing combatants on the spot rather than arrest them and bring them in front of a judge.

Meanwhile, tributes continue to arrive and celebrations are still ongoing in memory of Aitzaz Hasan, the 15-year old student who sacrificed his life to prevent a suicide bomber attacking his school causing a massacre among students. On 6 January, the boy was outside the building when he saw a man wearing a vest laden with explosives. Despite the appeal of his friends , he faced the bomber who — to avoid being caught — activated the detonator.

Nasir Khan Durrani , chief of police of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, has called for the highest civilian honor to be bestowed on this young man posthumously for his heroic gesture of “ valor and courage”, that has saved the life “ of hundreds of innocent students .” Even on social networks posts of sympathy and condolences are multiplying and in the past few hours he has become a true national hero. The attack took place in the Shiite enclave in a nation where the vast majority of the inhabitants profess Sunni Islam and recorded in recent years a gradual Islamization , with attacks targeted towards individuals and communities belonging to minorities.

In the past, the Taliban and Pakistani extremists have targeted schools and educational institutions — particularly women — in the country , considering education as a taboo . In contrast , activists and members of civil society have emphasized the educational challenge ( to which AsiaNews has dedicated a special dossier in the past) , as one of the key factors to promote the rebirth of the nation.

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

Fukushima Radiation Reaches 8 Times Gov’t Standards

Nuclear radiation at the boundaries of the stricken Fukushima power plant has now reached 8 times government safety guidelines, TEPCO has said. The firm has been struggling to contain radioactive leaks at Fukushima since the onset over the crisis in 2011.

The levels of nuclear radiation around Fukushima’s No. 1 plant have risen to 8 millisieverts per year, surpassing the government standard of 1 milliseviert per year, reports news site Asahi Shimbun citing Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO).

The Nuclear Regulation Authority held a meeting on Friday aimed at curbing the rising levels of radiation to the south of the plant, which has long been a problem area.

TEPCO told press that the predominant reason behind the sharp increase in radiation at the plant was X-rays coming from storage tanks holding radioactive water that has been leaking from the Fukushima facility.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Rolls-Royce Record Sales in China and the Middle East

In 2013, the British luxury car saw sales rise by 1.5 per cent, with Chinese and Persian Gulf buyers leading the way.

London (AsiaNews/Agencies) — Thanks to new buyers in China and the Middle East, Rolls-Royce has had record sales last year.

The famous British luxury carmaker, which is owned by Germany’s BMW, saw sales rise to 3,630 vehicles last year, up by 1.5 per cent over 2012.

Torsten Muller-Otvos, chief executive of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, said sales have steadily increased in the past four years. China is the top importer, with the United States in second place.

The Rolls-Royce brand has also seen an increase in sales in the Gulf countries.

Despite the prohibitive costs — the average price of a car is US$ 275,000 — the British brand is among the world’s leaders in luxury cars with sales in over 40 countries.

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

South Sudan Troops ‘Recapture Key Oil City of Bentiu’

South Sudan’s military says it has recaptured the oil hub of Bentiu — one of just two rebel-held cities.

Army spokesman Philip Aguer said the final resistance — a tank protecting a bridge to the city — had been overcome at 14:30 local time (11:30 GMT).

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Three Killed Overnight in Central African Republic

(AGI) Bangui, Jan 11 — The Central African Republic continued to be shaken by violence the day after President Michel Djotodia resigned, in what he called a “highly patriotic decision”. At least three people, including a civilian, were killed by gunfire, according to Antoine Mbao Bogo, the president of the local Red Cross. Violence and pillaging continued through the night in the capital, Bangui, where French armoured vehicles took up positions near the president’s palace as soon as the resignation was announced.

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

European Court Vetoes Swiss Refugee Deportation

The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg has decided that Switzerland is not allowed to deport an asylum seeker from Sudan, overruling a verdict by the Swiss authorities.

The court on Tuesday vetoed the planned expulsion, arguing that there is a risk that the Sudanese asylum seeker would be subject to torture in his home country after becoming politically active in Switzerland.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Sweden: Teen Politician Assaulted After Immigration Speech

A 16-year-old member of the Social Democrat party youth wing was assaulted in Malmö on Thursday by two adult men who kicked her, spat at her and called her “feminist pussy” after she made a speech on immigration.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UK: Half of All Convicted Pickpockets on the Tube Are Romanian

(And officials say the figures are the tip of the iceberg)

Figures released by British Transport Police show half of all convictions for pickpocketing on the London Underground are handed out to Romanians.

Information revealed through a Freedom of Information request shows out of the 5,280 reported pickpocketing incidents on the London Underground between November 1, 2012 and October 31, 2013, there were just 170 convictions.

Of those convictions, 52 per cent were Romanian…

An estimated 68,000 Romanians live in Britain, but there have been 28,000 arrests of Romanian people for serious offences in the past five years.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

American Street Preacher Arrested Again in Britain

Restrictions on Christians are beginning to parallel the kinds of no-proselytization laws imposed in Islamic countries

American evangelist Tony Miano was arrested on Wednesday in Dundee, Scotland after preaching the gospel legally in a public forum. He was the second of two preachers to address shoppers in the high street during the busy lunchtime period.

Miano — a retired Deputy Sheriff, was on a week-long mission trip to Scotland from his base in Southern California, and was accompanied by Pastor Josh Williamson from Craigie Reformed Baptist Church in Perth, Scotland; who himself was arrested last year in Scotland under similar circumstances.

Miano was also arrested last year in the vicinity of the Wimbledon Tennis Courts during the annual Wimbledon ‘slam’ tournament because the language used in his sermon whilst teaching on sexual sin out of the book of 1 Thessalonians was considered homophobic .

This time, according to reports Miano talked about the nature of sin; about the different sins that Jesus had come to save people from when a woman began to shout at him. He was preaching about sin in general and when he mentioned sexual sin including adultery, promiscuity and homosexual practice, the woman shouted that her son was gay.

As Pastor Williamson puts it, “Tony wasn’t focusing just on homosexual practice — it was about all sin. A woman was yelling at him and her friend noticed we were filming the preaching, so she ran up to me and tried to smash my camera.”

The woman apparently called the police who arrived after the men were finished with their sermons. Williamson’s account continues: “The female officer saw we had a camera and lunged for it and then the male policeman grabbed it and threw it in the police van, After Tony was put in the police van I asked why he was being arrested and was told it was for a breach of the peace and for using homophobic language.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Gov’t Secret Chemical Warfare Against the Public Exposed (Video)

Pentagon “gay bomb” was only part of the plan to destroy the sexes

Alex Jones and Dr. Edward Group expose the chemical warfare that’s been unleashed on the public: chemicals are added to the food supply that disrupt hormones, reduce fertility and wreck havoc on gender identity, effectively making men act like women and women act like men.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

New Tactics to Fight Agenda 21

Over the past few years, as we’ve educated people on Agenda 21 and its UN origins, the natural reaction by concerned citizens and property rights activists has been to rush into city hall and accuse their elected representatives of enforcing international policies on the town. This has, of course, been met with skepticism and ridicule on the part of some of the officials (and encouraged by the NGO stakeholders and planning organizations that stand in the shadows). Today, the promoters of Agenda 21, including ICLEI and the American Planning Association (APA), have worked overtime to paint our movement as crazed conspiracy theorists wearing tin foil hats and hearing voices.

If we are to gain ground and ultimately defeat the Agenda 21 monster that is systematically ripping apart our Republic, then it’s time for our movement to learn from our mistakes and become more sophisticated in our approach. In short, it’s time to fight smarter.

Here’s an undeniable fact: Agenda 21/ Sustainable Development cannot be enforced without damaging private property rights. So, we need to begin to challenge the planners’ new “visions” for our communities by focusing on the direct affect those plans will have on our private property. However, to effectively take that step, we must first have a clear definition of what we mean by property rights. Otherwise various ideas of the meaning will confuse the issue and damage the effectiveness of our fight.

In the American Policy Center’s brand new “Stop Agenda 21 Action Kit,” I have included a full page of definitions and quotes from our Founding Fathers, based on the ideas of John Locke. He is the man who greatly influenced Thomas Jefferson and others who established this nation. So these definitions fit well with the Founders’ intent as the nation’s laws on property were written.

As a quick guideline, here is an appropriate definition as written in a “Fifth Amendment” treatise by Washington State Supreme Court Justice Richard B. Sanders (12-10-97):

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Texas Family Battles Judge Over Homeschooling

Court lacks legal authority to remove children from parents over educational method

A controversy has erupted in Texas after a judge ordered children removed from the home of their Christian homeschooling parents — over the homeschooling itself — even though the Texas Home School Coalition notes the state doesn’t allow that.

A 2005 memo from the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services notes that, “Whether parents choose to homeschool their children or send their child to another private or public school is not relevant to the CPS investigation. When CPS staff investigates a family for abuse/neglect, the investigation must focus on the occurrence, or risk, of abuse/neglect and not on the child’s educational setting,” according to the Texas Home School Coalition.

However, of the allegations brought against Trevor and Christina Tutt, who had four biological children and three foster children removed by Child Protective Services several weeks ago, all have been about the educational setting…

The Christian News report said, “Despite the fact that Mrs. Tutt showed CPS workers numerous parenting class certificates and paperwork certifying her mental health, a local judge ordered the Tutts’ seven children to be removed from the home.”

The coalition reported the Tutts were told the children were not “properly educated” and were being “brainwashed” by their parents.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]