Gates of Vienna News Feed 1/28/2014

In order to stabilize the value of the lira, which has dropped recently relative to the euro and the dollar, the Turkish central bank raised short-term interest rates. The overnight lending rate rose from 7.75% to 12%, and the overnight borrowing rate more than doubled to 8%.

In other news, the highly acclaimed Communist folk singer Pete Seeger has died at the age of 94.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Caroline Glick, Fjordman, Insubria, JD, JP, MC, Seneca III, 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
» Almost Half of Italy’s Wealth Owned by Richest 10%
» Argentina’s Economy is Cratering, Again
» Evictions of Mortgage Defaulters Rise in Spain
» Italy: Nearly Half of Households Live on Less Than 2,000/Month
» Puerto Rico Meets With US Credit Rating Agencies, Prepares to Re-Enter Bond Market
» Turkish Central Bank Raises Lending Rate to 12%
 
USA
» Bridgewater Mosque Hearing on Tuesday Night
» Bruce Schneier: ‘NSA and GCHQ Have Betrayed the Trust of the Internet’ (Video)
» City Council Moving Forward With New Waterloo Mosque
» Democratic Congressman Admits ObamaCare Won’t Work (After Announcing Retirement)
» FEMA Preparing for “Motor Coach Evacuation of the General Population”
» New York City Commissioner: My Ancestors Were Slaves of Benedict Cumberbatch’s Family
» Pete Seeger: Songwriter and Champion of Folk Music, Dies at 94
» Saving Mosque is in Richmond’s Interest
» Stark Racial Differences in Views on U.S. Status
» UK Muslim Brotherhood Leader With Obama in White House; Anas Al-Tikriti Supported Iraqi Insurgents
» What Constitution? Obama to Emphasize Intention to Use Unilateral Presidential Authority
 
Europe and the EU
» Black Death May Have Scuppered Roman Empire
» Dark Lands: The Grim Truth Behind the ‘Scandinavian Miracle’
» Devastating Plague Strains Arose Twice, Could Return
» French Police Launch Raids on Controversial Comic Dieudonné
» Italian Animal Rights Group Calls on Pope Stop to Releasing Doves After Attack
» Italian President Condemns Threats Against Jews
» Italy: Stem Cells ‘Used Effectively, First Time’ On NMO Disease
» Italy: Judges Acquit Ex-Minister Scajola in Expensive Home Scandal
» Justice Minister Can’t Stop Danes From Fighting in Syria
» Netherlands: Eight Would-be Syria ‘Jihadists’ Have Their Passports Confiscated
» Norway Marks Holocaust Remembrance Day
» Scientists Fear Black Death Could Return as Deadly Pathogen Linked to Pandemics 800 Years Apart
» Spain: Madrid Regional Government Revokes Hospital Privatization
» Sweden: Van Damme Clip Adds ‘Epic’ Value to Volvo
» Swedes Flock for a Peek Into Blonde Blogger’s Flat
» UK: ‘Burka Runaway’ Terror Suspect With Al Qaeda Links Given Legal Aid Over Human Rights Claims
» UK: Ed Miliband and Eric Pickles Address Holocaust Memorial Day Ceremony
» UK: Fourteen Arrested in Conspiracy to Rape Investigation
» UK: Holocaust Memorial Speaker Expresses Admiration for Hitler and Hatred of Jews
» UK: Queen Down to Her Last Million Due to Courtiers’ Overspending, Report Finds
» UK: Queen Elizabeth’s Cash Crisis: Monarch ‘Down to Last Million’
» UK: Voters May be Seething, But They Don’t Want to be Taken for Idiots
» Why Are Scandinavians So Happy When They Should be So Sad?
 
North Africa
» Egypt: Second Trial Against Morsi Adjourned
» Egypt’s Generals ‘Give Sisi Green Light to Run for President’
» Libya Denounces Kidnapping Egyptian Diplomat in Capital
» Morocco and Algeria Trade Accusations Over Expulsions of Syrian Refugees
» Tunisia’s Ennahda and Ettakattol Women MPs Celebrate
 
Israel and the Palestinians
» Caroline Glick: International Holocaust Remembrance Day’s Fatal Flaw
» Israel Jails Anti-Zionist for Offering to Spy for Iran
» Israeli Forces Destroy 3 Residential Structures in East Jerusalem
» Outrage on Temple Mount: Strip Searches and Arrests
 
Middle East
» Book Your Trip Now: Dubai’s Qur’an Theme Park to Open in 2015!
» Evidence Points to Secret Israeli Strike on Syrian Missile Launchers
» Tuesday’s Syrian Peace Talks Canceled in Geneva
» UAE: Chinese Companies Dominate Arab Health Congress 2014
 
Russia
» Expert: Upcoming Olympics Most Dangerous Due to Terrorist Threat
» Putin to Uphold Loans to Ukraine Despite Turmoil
» Putin Warns Ashton Not to Take Part in Opposition Rallies in Ukraine
» Russian Squirrel Pack ‘Kills Dog’
» Ukraine’s PM Azarov and Government Resign
 
Caucasus
» Caucasian Muslims Board Issues Fatwa on Azerbaijanis Leaving for Other Countries to Fight
 
South Asia
» Afghan Soldiers Still Can’t Read, Despite $200m US-Backed Program, Report Finds
» As Attacks Mount, the Survival of Bangladesh Hindus in Danger
» Equality for Women at Afghanistan’s Officer Academy
» Indonesian Government Blasts Danish Documentary
» Karzai Reportedly Suspects US Hand in Recent Afghanistan Attacks
 
Far East
» Pentagon Concerned by China’s New High-Speed Missile
» Philippine Gov’t Clarifies Amnesty to Muslim Rebels
» Virgin Galactic Bans Chinese Tourists From Space Flights Fearing Espionage
 
Australia — Pacific
» Monarchists Criticised for Warning of ‘Almost Certain’ Violence if Indigenous Recognition Referendum Proceeds
» NZ: Muslim Refugee Gropes Women, Blames Cultural Differences, Avoids Jail
» Peter Cosgrove: The Life and Times of Australia’s New Governor-General
» Sydney Shooting: Car and Home Hit by Bullets in ‘Targeted’ Attack
 
Sub-Saharan Africa
» At Least 85 Burned to Death in Nigeria Village
» Kenya: Mombasa on High Alert After Terror Threat
» Nigeria: 40 Killed, 25 Injured as Insurgents Attack Borno Village
» Sixty Killed in Nigeria in Suspected Boko Haram Attacks
» Taraba Governor, Suntai, Advises Nigerians to Shun Evil, Turn to God
 
Latin America
» Mexican Government Takes Risky Gamble With Plan to Legalize Anti-Cartel Vigilante Movement
» Mexico Catches Senior Knights Templar Drug Gang Boss as Vigilante Groups Step Up Fight
» Nicaraguan Lawmakers Reform Constitution, Allowing Indefinite Re-Election for President
» UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon Meets With Fidel Castro in Havana
» US Coast Guard Offloads $37 Million of Cocaine in ‘Historic Haul’ In Caribbean
 
Immigration
» IOM Releases Mediterranean Boat Migrant Count
» Sen. Sessions: Immigration Spikes Income Inequality
» UK: David Cameron Accused of ‘Making Up’ Claims Over EU Migrants
 
Culture Wars
» Italy: Judges Send Restrictive Reproductive Law to Higher Court
» Katy Perry: Illuminati Priestess Conducts Witchcraft Ceremony in Front of the Entire World
» Pete Seeger: Culture Warrior Extraordinaire
 
General
» Fancy Tech Will Not Solve Massive Land Loss, Says UN
 

Almost Half of Italy’s Wealth Owned by Richest 10%

Family incomes eroded, poverty up in 2010-2012 says central bank

(By Stefania Fumo) (ANSA) — Rome, January 27 — Between 2010 and 2012, low- and middle-income families in recession-battered Italy have seen their quality of life eroded along with their incomes while the richest have gotten richer, according to a biannual study on family finances released Monday by the Bank of Italy.

Poverty rose from 14% in 2010 to 16% in 2012 amid Italy’s worst postwar recession, with almost half of Italian families living on less than 2,000 euros a month, the central bank report said.

Also in 2012, the richest 10% owned 46.6% of the country’s total net worth, up from 45.7% in 2010 and equal to a 64% concentration of wealth, according to the report.

Only 50% of households have annual incomes higher than 24,590 euros, while 20% of them cope with annual incomes of less than 14,457 euros, or roughly 1,200 euros per month.

Just 10% of families make more than 55,211 euros per year, the Bank of Italy said.

Individuals making up to 7,678 euros a year and families of three with yearly income of up to 15,300 euros fall below the poverty line, according to the Bank of Italy.

The number of poor families rose from 2.8% in 2010 to 4.1% in 2012, while in the same two years, average family income dropped by 7.3% and average wealth rose by 6.9%.

One in three people living below the poverty line is an immigrant, the central bank added.

The Coldiretti farmers’ association commented on the Bank of Italy report by citing its own 2013 family survey data that said last year, more than two in three Italians severely cut their budgets due to falling family incomes, with 68% giving up on new clothes, 53% eschewing travel and holidays, 49% renouncing bars, clubs, and eating out, 35% cutting down on cultural activities, and 29% giving up on sports and going to the gym. The outlook on 2014 remains negative, with 51% of respondents saying they believe their situation is not likely to change this year, 35% saying they think it will get worse, and just 14% of families saying it will improve, Coldiretti said.

“Millions of Italians are being forced to live in conditions of economic and social inequality, and this is a cause for concern”, said small and medium-sized business association Confesercenti President Massimo Vivoli.

“Today’s (Bank of Italy) data confirms the situation of economic and social stagnation caused by the recession and excessive taxation to the detriment of economic and welfare policies”.

Also on Monday, Prime Minister Enrico Letta said Italy is pulling out of the recession, with GDP expected to grow by 1% this year.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Argentina’s Economy is Cratering, Again

While Wall Street declined by three percent over global growth concerns last week, few were noting or even interested in the 11-percent decline in the Merval, Argentina’s stock market index. It hit a high of 5,970 on Tuesday, January 21, the day before the Argentina government devalued its currency. It closed at 5,337 on Monday. The peso itself has been in decline far longer, having lost nearly 35 percent of its value against the dollar over the last 12 months.

In an address to her country the day after the devaluation, Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez, in a brilliant display of economic ignorance and hubris, announced her solution to the problem: more government spending. This time, she announced a 600-peso ($84) monthly “stipend” to students, to be paid for with more printing-press money.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]
 

Evictions of Mortgage Defaulters Rise in Spain

Almost double those in 2012, reports central bank

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, JANUARY 28 — The number of evictions due to an inability to meet mortgage payments rose in Spain last year as a result of the economic crisis, and may double the number of those in 2012, reported the country’s central bank on Tuesday.

Some 19,567 evictions were carried out in the first quarter of 2013 compared with 23,774 in the entire year of 2012, the bank said. However, a sharp decline was seen in the number of cases (88) in which the police intervened to carry out the eviction. Over the past few years forced evictions by police had led to over 20 suicides. Between January and June 2013, 18,256 empty houses and 1,311 occupied ones were seized, and the figures indicate that the second quarter ones (currently being processed) will show a two-fold increase. The percentage of auctions as a share of the total number of houses handed over has declined: 32.3% compared with 35.7% the previous year, while the number of empty houses seized rose from 86.4% to 93.3%. The data show that 83.2% of the mortgages that led to the repossessing of the property had been signed in 2007 or years prior to that, during what has become known as the ‘real estate bubble’.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Italy: Nearly Half of Households Live on Less Than 2,000/Month

Bank of Italy finds 20% live on 1,200

(ANSA) — Rome, January 27 — Almost half of the families in Italy live on less than 2,000 euros a month, the Bank of Italy said on Monday.

A study by the central bank found that only 50% of households have annual incomes higher than 24,590 euros, while 20% of them cope with annual incomes less than 14,457 euros, or roughly 1,200 euros per month. Just 10% of families receive more than 55,211 euros per year.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Puerto Rico Meets With US Credit Rating Agencies, Prepares to Re-Enter Bond Market

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Top Puerto Rican officials are meeting with credit rating agencies in New York amid growing concerns the U.S. territory’s general obligation bonds might be downgraded to junk status.

Tuesday’s meeting comes as the island prepares to re-enter the bond market in upcoming days and after two of three credit rating agencies recently placed Puerto Rico on watch for a possible downgrade. The island is struggling with $70 billion in public debt and a 15.4 percent unemployment rate.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Turkish Central Bank Raises Lending Rate to 12%

The Turkish central bank has raised its overnight lending rate to 12% from 7.75% after an emergency meeting. It also increased the overnight borrowing rate to 8% from 3.5%.

The move was intended to help stabilise the value of the lira, which plunged in recent days amid ongoing turmoil in emerging markets. The lira immediately strengthened after the move, to 2.2 lira to the US dollar, from 2.253.

The cost of Turkey’s debt had also been rising rapidly with the price of 10-year bonds hitting a three-year high, as investors worried that a bribery scandal could destabilise the government.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Bridgewater Mosque Hearing on Tuesday Night

BRIDGEWATER — After being delayed three times in two months because of snowstorms, a hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday on a proposal to convert the former Redwood Inn into a mosque…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]
 

Bruce Schneier: ‘NSA and GCHQ Have Betrayed the Trust of the Internet’ (Video)

Security expert and technologist Bruce Schneier has told the BBC that he believes the NSA and GCHQ have “betrayed the trust of the internet”.

Mr Schneier said: “We have to trust the infrastructure [of the internet]… The fact that it has been subverted in ways we don’t understand… we don’t know what to trust. And that is an enormous blow to the global promise of the internet.”

He added that the NSA’s “collect-it-all” mentality is “not effective” but it is the way the “intelligence community operates”.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]
 

City Council Moving Forward With New Waterloo Mosque

Waterloo is one step closer to getting a new community center. Monday night, the city council voted in favor of reserving a location for the construction of a new Mosque and cemetery. Plans show it will be located south of Marigold Drive and North of Memory Lane. The center will also include a soccer field and recreational facility. Organizers say they’re just excited to have a place to call their own.

“We need to have something that belongs to us, that we have to take care of it.” Said Senad Kapic, with the Bosnian Islamic Association of Waterloo. “That’s the way that we do in our country or any Muslim communication that they actually built and take care of their own. So that’s the major thing that we want, to have everything in our hands and take care of it. “

Senad is not sure when the next step in getting this facility will begin but he hopes to see some progress this year.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]
 

Democratic Congressman Admits ObamaCare Won’t Work (After Announcing Retirement)

“I don’t think we’re going to get enough young people signing up to make this bill work as it was intended to financially,” warned Democrat Virginia Representative Jim Moran.

The Democrat, as The Daily Caller reports, seemingly daring to break ranks with his peers, added that he understood Millennial lack of signing up as “frankly, there’s some legitimacy to their concern because the government spends about $7 for the elderly for every $1 it spends on the young.” This stunning declaration, of course, fits with the narratives that most mathematically-capable human beings can comprehend but starkly refutes the hopes and dreams of the President’s healthcare policy… The reason that Jim Moran could be so honest… after 12 terms of toeing the lying line, he has announced his retirement.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]
 

FEMA Preparing for “Motor Coach Evacuation of the General Population”

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is soliciting companies to provide operational support for a “motor coach evacuation of the general population” of the United States in response to a declared emergency or a natural disaster.

The solicitation originally appeared on the FedBizOpps website back in October but was recently revised after businesses began asking FEMA questions about the contract…

Although FEMA would argue that its job is to prepare for every kind of national emergency that could possibly be envisaged, such actions routinely prompt concerns from some that such crises could be exploited to justify unconstitutional actions.

During Hurricane Katrina, law enforcement disarmed residents even in the high and dry areas, with police telling citizens, “No one will be able to be armed. We will take all weapons. Only law enforcement will be allowed to have guns.”

As we have documented, networks of emergency detention camps have been constructed across the United States, despite the fact that the media treats such claims as baseless conspiracy theories.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]
 

New York City Commissioner: My Ancestors Were Slaves of Benedict Cumberbatch’s Family

New York city commissioner who shares surname with Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch believes his ancestor owned her slave forebears

She is the grand-daughter of Caribbean immigrants to America who has just been appointed to a top job by Bill de Blasio, New York’s new mayor. He is the dashing British actor who stars as Sherlock Holmes in the hit television series on both sides of the Atlantic and plays a plantation owner in the Oscar-nominated film 12 Years A Slave.

Despite their very different backgrounds, Stacey Cumberbatch and Benedict Cumberbatch apparently do not just share a distinctively English-sounding surname. Ms Cumberbatch believes that the star’s fifth great-grandfather owned her ancestors on an 18th century sugar plantation on Barbados. They are “related”, not by blood, but by their shared roots in the brutal transatlantic slave trade, she told The New York Times after her appointment as a city commissioner…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]
 

Pete Seeger: Songwriter and Champion of Folk Music, Dies at 94

Pete Seeger, the singer, folk-song collector and songwriter who spearheaded an American folk revival and spent a long career championing folk music as both a vital heritage and a catalyst for social change, died Monday. He was 94 and lived in Beacon, N.Y.

His death was confirmed by his grandson, Kitama Cahill Jackson, who said he died of natural causes at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.

[Return to headlines]
 

Saving Mosque is in Richmond’s Interest

Fifteen years ago, a Bay Area Islamic group purchased a long-vacant building near the Richmond waterfront and made plans to convert it into a mosque and later a regional center. The former field hospital, which is eligible for registration as a historic building, has been used ever since by the Masjid Noor mosque, but little progress has been made to renovate and repair the structure.

The place, on Cutting Boulevard, is, in fact, a total mess. On Dec. 31, city fire and code officials performed an unannounced inspection of the building and recommended it be red-tagged for closure. They found collapsed floors, sagging ceilings and exposed electrical wiring and plumbing. Most of the building had no Sheetrock, and the inspectors said they were very concerned about fire.

The mosque was shut down, and the owners were given a two-page list of repairs that must be completed before the religious site can be reopened. Muslim leaders have since questioned the city’s actions — and its impact on their right to practice their religion…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]
 

Stark Racial Differences in Views on U.S. Status

Nonwhites more positive about state of U.S.; whites less positive

by Justin McCarthy

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Overall, Americans are as likely to be positive (39%) about the current state of the country as they are to be negative (40%). However, the gap between whites’ and nonwhites’ views of where the country stands is wider than at any point in recent history, with nonwhites now almost twice as likely as whites to view the nation’s situation positively.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

UK Muslim Brotherhood Leader With Obama in White House; Anas Al-Tikriti Supported Iraqi Insurgents

UK Muslim Brotherhood leader Anas Al-Tikriti, who once supported the Iraqi insurgency against the US, has been part of a White House meeting held last week with an important Iraqi leader. A photo available on the White House Flickr feed shows Mr. Al-Tikriti standing to the right of Osama Al-Nujaifi, Speaker of the Iraqi Council of Representatives, as al-Nujaifi is shaking hands with President Obama…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]
 

What Constitution? Obama to Emphasize Intention to Use Unilateral Presidential Authority

While the stats of the union remain unremarkable at best, it would appear that despite the rancor in Washington, President Obama will get his way “whatever it takes.”

As the WSJ reports, the State of the Union address Tuesday night will emphasize his intention to use unilateral presidential authority — bypassing Congress when necessary — to an extent not seen in his previous State of the Union speeches. “We need to show the American people that we can get something done,” Dan Pfeiffer, a senior White House adviser, told CNN; it seems no matter how totalitarian and unconstitutional it would appear to be.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]
 

Black Death May Have Scuppered Roman Empire

What caused the fall of the Roman Empire? A devastating plague that struck during the reign of Emperor Justinian in 541 AD, killing a quarter of the population, seems to have landed the final blow, but the identity of the infection was a mystery.

Now sequencing of DNA taken from two skeletons buried in Bavaria, Germany, in the 6th century has uncovered the complete genome of Yersinia pestis, the bacteria also blamed for the Black Death that struck Europe in 1348. The find suggests that Y. pestis may have emerged to ravage humanity several times.

Hendrik Poinar at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, who led the team that sequenced the German bacteria, also helped sequence Y. pestis bacteria from Londoners killed by the Black Death. He says the new finds don’t prove Y. pestis was the sole cause of both plagues, but “make it more likely Yersinia was part of the larger story”.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Dark Lands: The Grim Truth Behind the ‘Scandinavian Miracle’

Television in Denmark is rubbish, Finnish men like a drink — and Sweden is not exactly a model of democracy. Why, asks one expert, does everybody think the Nordic region is a utopia?

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Devastating Plague Strains Arose Twice, Could Return

Many centuries before the Black Death wiped out a third to half of Europe, an equally virulent pandemic called the Plague of Justinian killed upwards of 100 million people in just two short years between 541 and 543 A.D.

Scientists have long debated the connection between what have been called the two most deadly plagues to wreak havoc on humankind. Now, an international team of researchers analyzing the remains of two people killed by the Plague of Justinian has concluded that the pandemics arose from two distinct strains of the bacterium Yersinia pestis.

The strain that caused the Plague of Justinian likely went extinct long before the emergence of the Black Death in the 14th century.

This is actually disturbing news for people today, the researchers said. Their findings imply that if such horrible strains of plague bacteria arose twice before, independently, there’s no reason why another strain can’t arise tomorrow … lurking today in the gut of a flea nesting in the fur of a rat.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

French Police Launch Raids on Controversial Comic Dieudonné

French police raided the offices and home of Dieudonné M’bala M’bala in Paris on Tuesday, in what is the latest chapter in the controversy surrounding the comedian.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Italian Animal Rights Group Calls on Pope Stop to Releasing Doves After Attack

The animal protection agency said freeing doves in Rome is like condemning them to certain death

Animal rights groups have appealed to Pope Francis to end the practice of releasing doves from a Vatican window overlooking St. Peter’s Square, a day after a pair of the peace symbols were attacked by a seagull and crow while a crowd including thousands of children watched below.

The National Animal Protection Agency published an open letter reminding the pope that domesticated doves are easy prey for predators like gulls…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]
 

Italian President Condemns Threats Against Jews

ROME, Jan. 27 (Xinhua) — The 69th International Holocaust Remembrance Day was marked with major celebrations on Monday in Rome, as Italian President Giorgio Napolitano condemned recent threats against Jewish community in Italy as “a wretched provocation.”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]
 

Italy: Stem Cells ‘Used Effectively, First Time’ On NMO Disease

Milan doctors say auto-immune illness ‘halted, no relapse’

(ANSA) — Milan, January 27 — A bone-marrow transplant using stem cells to cure a grave autoimmune illness has been performed in Milan “for the first time in the world, and with promising results,” the San Raffaele hospital said Monday. With the help of a donor, doctors said they were able to effectively treat Neuromyelitis optica (NMO), also known as Devic’s disease, which causes the immune system to attack the optic nerve and the spinal cord, leading to rapid disabilities. After the transplant, “the illness was halted, the neurological deficits were partially reversed, and after two years there isn’t one sign of relapse,” said a statement from the team led by Fabio Ciceri at the department of neurology. The rare disease strikes fewer than one in 100,000 people.

For now the treatment is limited to a small number of patients as it undergoes further trials. “This research suggests that in the future, such transplants can be an effective strategy against forms of the disease that do not respond to other treatments,” doctors said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Italy: Judges Acquit Ex-Minister Scajola in Expensive Home Scandal

Former PdL politician not guilty in gift of house near Colosseum

(ANSA) — Rome, January 27 — Italy’s former minister of industry Claudio Scajola was acquitted Monday on charges related to a shady real-estate deal involving an expensive home near Rome’s iconic Colosseum.

Prosecutors had originally asked that Scajola be given a three-year jail sentence for illicit funding after he said that he “did not know” who paid for his expensive home in 2004.

Scajola, then a member of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi’s now-defunct People of Freedom (PdL) party, was forced to resign in 2010. The case against businessman Diego Anemone was timed out, although prosecutors had sought a two-million-euro fine.

The property was allegedly bought by Anemone, who is said to have paid 1.1 million out of a total of 1.7 million euros through architect Angelo Zampolini for the purchase, as well as paying 100,000 euro for renovations.

The case is part of broader investigations into alleged illegal activities by Anemone that emerged following the 2009 Group of Eight (G8) summit in Italy.

The meeting of G8 international leaders was initially scheduled to be held in La Maddalena in Sardinia before being moved to the earthquake-stricken town of L’Aquila.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Justice Minister Can’t Stop Danes From Fighting in Syria

Denmark will collaborate with other EU nations to prevent an increasing number of young people from going to war in Syria

Denmark is not the only country dealing with a growing number of young people risking their lives in Syria. At least 2,000 EU citizens have travelled to Syria to fight in the ongoing civil war there, DR Nyheder reports. The problem is especially prevalent in France, Germany and Belgium.

Since the fighters can’t be prosecuted when they return from war, Justice Minister Karen Hækkerup (S) has changed the government’s strategy and said she will collaborate with the other EU nations on how to prevent the fighters from leaving in the first place.

“We have shared similar stories and agreed that we are going to collaborate further to prevent young people from going to war,” Hækkerup told DR Nyheder. “What remains a challenge for all of us is that we can’t deny these people exit, since there is free movement between the borders.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Netherlands: Eight Would-be Syria ‘Jihadists’ Have Their Passports Confiscated

The passports of eight people planning to travel to Syria to fight against president Assad have been confiscated, counter-terrorism chief Dick Schoof told Radio 1 on Tuesday. It is the first time passport confiscation has been used to prevent Dutch nationals travelling to fight in the war-torn country, Schoof said.

The information that the eight were planning to join the fighting came from the public prosecutor, the police or the security service, Schoof told Radio 1.

The counter-terrorism chief said the eight can take their case to the appeal court. He also said the move is ‘effective’, but said he must now wait to hear the judgement of a court on whether it is legally possible.

MPs asked justice minister Ivo Opstelten in March 2013 to investigate whether the passports of young Dutch nationals who plan to fight with rebel forces in Syria can be confiscated.

Over 100 Dutch nationals have travelled to Syria to join the fighting since the war broke out nearly three years ago. Several have been killed.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Norway Marks Holocaust Remembrance Day

OSLO, Jan. 27 (Xinhua) — Norway on Monday marked the International Holocaust Remembrance Day to remember those who died during the Nazi genocide during World War II. Norwegian King Harald V attended the event held at the quayside memorial site outside the walls of the Akershus Fortress in Oslo, from where 532 Jews boarded the cargo ship Donau on Nov. 26, 1942, heading to Nazi camps…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]
 

Scientists Fear Black Death Could Return as Deadly Pathogen Linked to Pandemics 800 Years Apart

Experts liken pathogen transmission to that of current bird flu threat

A single pathogen has been identified as responsible for the Plague of Justinian and Black Death, deadly pandemics eight centuries apart which each annihilated half the population of Europe, a new study revealed.

The results, published in medical journal The Lancet Infectious Diseases on Tuesday, showed that in each case, the pathogen causing bubonic plague had been transferred from rodents to humans. Researchers concluded that rodent species worldwide continue to be reservoirs for the pathogen, suggesting a risk that new plagues could emerge in the future.

The transmission of the pathogen can be likened to the current bird flu threat unfolding in China, Professor Edward Holmes from the University of Sydney told the South China Morning Post.

“There is an analogy with influenza in wild birds. Every now and again these wild bird strains can jump out into humans via poultry and cause human disease in the same way they jump from rats,” said Professor Holmes.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Spain: Madrid Regional Government Revokes Hospital Privatization

Health councillor resigns

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, JANUARY 27 — The Community of Madrid has reversed its position and halted the privatization of six hospitals in the region after a court ruled to suspend the measure. The announcement was made Monday by regional president IgnacioGonzalez. He added that he had received the resignation of Health Councillor Javier Fernando Lasquetty, who will be replaced by the physician Javier Rodriguez Rodriguez, the Partido Popular spokesman for healthcare in the Madrid assembly.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Sweden: Van Damme Clip Adds ‘Epic’ Value to Volvo

An ad series by Volvo, which included Jean Claude Van Damme performing a set of “epic splits” while balanced on two reversing trucks, has proved a whirlwind commercial success for the Swedish company.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Swedes Flock for a Peek Into Blonde Blogger’s Flat

Curious Swedes are clicking by the thousands for a look inside the home of one of Sweden’s original lifestyle bloggers, the über-blonde Blondinbella, who recently put her Stockholm apartment up for sale.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

UK: ‘Burka Runaway’ Terror Suspect With Al Qaeda Links Given Legal Aid Over Human Rights Claims

A man suspected of links to al Qaeda who went on the run in a burka has been given legal aid in his fight to have restrictions placed on his movements declared unlawful.

Mohammed Ahmed Mohamed was placed under a “Tpim” by Home Secretary Theresa May after the High Court accepted he was a threat to national security who had fought with Somali terror group al-Shabaab and planned attacks against western interests.

In November, he escaped police and MI5 surveillance after he went into an Acton mosque and left in a burka. He has been on the run since, but the legal aid award emerged today at the Court of Appeal as lawyers for him and another terror suspect, known as CF, sought to have their Tpims — and earlier control orders — declared unlawful…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]
 

UK: Ed Miliband and Eric Pickles Address Holocaust Memorial Day Ceremony

Labour leader Ed Miliband spoke movingly about the members of his family who lost their lives during the Holocaust, and the need to remain vigilant against antisemitism. Mr Miliband, who was addressing a Holocaust Memorial Day ceremony in central London today, said: “I never met my mother’s father — he was taken from the ghetto in Czestochowa in Poland and died in a concentration camp towards the end of the war…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]
 

UK: Fourteen Arrested in Conspiracy to Rape Investigation

“As part of Operation Sanctuary, 13 properties were searched this morning and 12 men and two women were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to rape.

The police said some of the victims were in care when the alleged offending took place and that their priority now was to protect them while forensic teams secure important evidence.

The alleged offenders are said to be from ‘a range of communities’ and police have urged against speculating about their background.”

           — Hat tip: Seneca III [Return to headlines]
 

UK: Holocaust Memorial Speaker Expresses Admiration for Hitler and Hatred of Jews

Hassan Farooq is a “senior member” of the Newham Dawah Team, an East London-based organisation which attempts to spread the message of Islam. Newham Dawah Team is part of the Islamic Education and Research Academy (iERA) Network, and its officials regularly liaise with iERA officials such as Abdurraheem Green. The iERA is an extremist Salafi group, some of whose officials have been banned from the UK. Abdurraheem Green talks of a Jewish “stench” and advocates the killing of homosexuals.

Hassan Farooq was chosen to speak at the 2013 Holocaust Memorial Day event in City Hall, in front of politicians and London officials, including Jennette Arnold AM, Mayor of London Boris Johnson and the former Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]
 

UK: Queen Down to Her Last Million Due to Courtiers’ Overspending, Report Finds

Report by the Commons public accounts committee finds the Queen’s advisers are failing to control her finances while the royal palaces are “crumbling”

The Queen’s household finances were at a “historic low” with just £1?million left in reserve, MPs said on Monday. Her courtiers were advised to take money-saving tips from the Treasury. A report by the Commons public accounts committee found that the Queen’s advisers were failing to control her finances while the royal palaces were “crumbling”. MPs said her advisers had overspent to such an extent that her reserve fund had fallen from £35?million in 2001 to just £1 million today.

The Royal household had made efficiency savings of just 5 per cent over the past five years compared with government departments, that are cutting their budgets by up to a third. MPs on the committee said the Treasury must “get a grip” and help to protect the royal palaces from “further damage and deterioration”.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

UK: Queen Elizabeth’s Cash Crisis: Monarch ‘Down to Last Million’

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain is apparently one royal who is no longer flush. According to The Daily Telegraph, a report by the House of Commons’ Public Accounts Committee has found that the Queen’s financial reserves have reached a “historic low,” dwindling to 1 million pounds ($1.66 million) from 35 million pounds ($58 million) in 2001.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

UK: Voters May be Seething, But They Don’t Want to be Taken for Idiots

By Benedict Brogan

When Ed Miliband confirmed a few days ago that he intended to keep Ed Balls in his job as chief architect of Labour’s economic policy, there were squeals of delight at Conservative HQ. The shadow chancellor has acquired totemic status among those Tories who believe that victory next year will be built on Labour’s shortcomings. They love him. They worry when he’s ill. They sometimes joke that Mr Balls is a double agent, working secretly to defeat Ed Miliband from within, like one of those fiendishly clever computer viruses injected into an enemy’s hard-drive. Every time he speaks, they say, the people listen — and decide never to vote Labour again…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]
 

Why Are Scandinavians So Happy When They Should be So Sad?

Boring, lazy people who eat filthy food — there’s no such thing as the ‘Nordic miracle’, pooh-poohs Michael Booth in The Almost Nearly Perfect People

As I sit here in my Sarah Lund Fair Isle sweater, polishing my boxed sets of Borgen and nibbling on a small piece of herring, it briefly occurs to me that perhaps I too have fallen victim to the prevailing mania for all things Scandinavian. Just about the only person who’s stayed resistant, it seems, is Michael Booth, the author of this book…

[Reader comment by Sintram on 27 January 2014]

As a native of Sweden I can testify that Swedes are not as happy as they used to be. Many of us are very concerned about the extremely high immigration. Here’s an article which correctly describes the dismal situation in Sweden:

http://www.frontpagemag.com/2013/bruce-bawer/swedens-march-into-oblivion/]

The Almost Nearly Perfect People: The Truth About the Nordic Miracle Michael Booth

Cape, pp.416, £14.99, ISBN: 9780224089623

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]
 

Egypt: Second Trial Against Morsi Adjourned

The second trial of Egypt’s ousted Islamist president Mohammed Morsi has been adjourned until next month, according to state television. Also facing trial were 19 other defendants, including Muslim Brotherhood members.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Egypt’s Generals ‘Give Sisi Green Light to Run for President’

Military strongman who led overthrow Mohammed Morsi given the title of field marshall in move thought likely to presage his candidacy

Three years after a mass uprising swept Egypt’s last military president from power, the newly anointed Field Marshal Abdel Fattah el Sisi is poised to announce his candidacy for the country’s highest office.…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]
 

Libya Denounces Kidnapping Egyptian Diplomat in Capital

The Libyan Foreign Ministry has denounced the kidnapping of an Egyptian diplomat in the capital Tripoli on Friday 24/1/2014 by unidentified gunmen. Spokesman for the Libyan Foreign Ministry Said Lassoued said that Hamdy Ghanem was kidnapped by an unidentified group. He said that the motives behind the kidnapping are not yet known, adding that the Libyan authorities are intensifying investigation to know the place of the Egyptian diplomat and free him.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]
 

Morocco and Algeria Trade Accusations Over Expulsions of Syrian Refugees

Morocco and Algeria, North Africa’s two most powerful countries and biggest rivals, are accusing each other of mistreating Syrian refugees. Morocco’s Interior Ministry issued an official statement Tuesday protesting what it said was the rise in expulsion of Syrian refugees onto Moroccan territory by Algeria.

Morocco is a major jumping off point for immigrants, usually from sub-Saharan Africa, seeking entry into Europe. In the past, when Morocco has caught Africans who entered from Algeria hoping to cross into Europe, it expelled them into the deserts along the border with Algeria.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Tunisia’s Ennahda and Ettakattol Women MPs Celebrate

Tunisia’s new constitution could usher in momentous change for women, following the adoption of a clause which guarantees gender equality in legislative assemblies and for steps to be taken to protect women against violence, a first in the Arab world…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]
 

Caroline Glick: International Holocaust Remembrance Day’s Fatal Flaw

On the surface, it is very moving to see half of the members of Knesset at Auschwitz marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

But in a larger sense, it is not at all clear why this is necessary.

The Jewish people have Yom HaShoah V’Hagevura, our own national day of mourning for the genocide of our people in Europe. More importantly, we carry the legacy of the Holocaust inside of us.

Every day, at some level, we experience the ulcerative loss of a third of the Jewish people in the hell of Europe, because we feel the hollow absence of the victims.

The six million murdered have become 10 million descendants who were never born. And we miss them.

We remember them too, every day, when we look at our children and thank God we can protect them.

Israel does not need this extra Holocaust memorial day. And before we send another delegation of elected officials to Auschwitz next January 27, we need to ask whether this extra day serves any positive purpose…

           — Hat tip: Caroline Glick [Return to headlines]
 

Israel Jails Anti-Zionist for Offering to Spy for Iran

A court in Jerusalem has sentenced an Israeli man to four-and-a-half years in prison for offering to spy for Iran. Yitzhak Bergel, 46, pleaded guilty to charges of contacting a foreign agent, intent to commit treason and attempting to aid an enemy of Israel. But the court ruling noted that “no damage had been done to the state”.

Bergel belongs to the anti-Zionist Neturei Karta, an ultra-Orthodox Jewish sect which is vehemently opposed to the State of Israel’s existence. Its members believe a Jewish state can only be established by the Messiah.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Israeli Forces Destroy 3 Residential Structures in East Jerusalem

JERUSALEM, Jan. 27 (Xinhua) — Israeli forces on Monday destroyed three residential structures in the Palestinian neighborhoods of Issawiya and Beit Hanina in east Jerusalem, residents and local officials told Xinhua…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]
 

Outrage on Temple Mount: Strip Searches and Arrests

Three Jews were arrested on the Temple Mount on Tuesday, in a harsh police operation that included strip searches. A fourth Jew was expelled from the holiest site in Judaism and forbidden entry, reports Hamate Hameshutaf (Joint Headquarters).

The incident began as dozens of Jews who went to the Temple Mount Tuesday morning were ordered by an officer to enter his office one by one, and were there ordered to undress to make sure they weren’t “smuggling” Jewish symbols onto the site. Those banned symbols included dried fruit on Tu B’ishvat.

Moti Gabai, the officer tasked with the gate to the Temple Mount, told Jewish visitors he was instructed to prevent all Jewish or Israeli symbols from being brought onto the site. Temple Mount Deputy Commander Daniel Sarga oversaw the scandalous strip searches personally, according to reports.

Two of the Jews were found to be in possession of a banned object — the flag of Israel.

[…]

[Obscene Dhimitude — One would think Israel should have known better…]

           — Hat tip: MC [Return to headlines]
 

Book Your Trip Now: Dubai’s Qur’an Theme Park to Open in 2015!

What fun this will be!

I look forward to visiting the Apes and Pigs Pavilion, where Allah transforms disobedient Jews into those despised animals: “And well you know there were those among you (Jews) that transgressed the Sabbath, and We said to them, ‘Be you apes, miserably slinking!’“ (Qur’an 2:65). “Say: ‘People of the Book, do you blame us for any other cause than that we believe in Allah, and what has been sent down to us, and what was sent down before, and that most of you are ungodly?’ Say: ‘Shall I tell you of a recompense with Allah, worse than that? Whomsoever Allah has cursed, and with whom He is wroth, and made some of them apes and swine, and worshippers of idols — they are worse situated, and have gone further astray from the right way.’“ (Qur’an 5:59-60)

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Evidence Points to Secret Israeli Strike on Syrian Missile Launchers

Growing evidence suggests that the Israeli Air Force carried out a secret mission in Syria Sunday night, targeting Russian-made missile launchers deployed by forces loyal to President Bashar Assad.

A few minutes before midnight, a number of regional news sources reported a loud explosion in the coastal town of Latakia, where the S-300 systems are thought to be located. Those reports came on the heels of Lebanese media describing sightings of Israeli aircraft in Lebanese airspace, which Israeli planes would have to cross in order to reach targets on the Syrian coastal plain.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]
 

Tuesday’s Syrian Peace Talks Canceled in Geneva

Tuesday afternoon’s session of the Syrian peace talks in Geneva have been canceled. UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi revealed, however, that talks were still on course to continue until Friday.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

UAE: Chinese Companies Dominate Arab Health Congress 2014

DUBAI, Jan. 27 (Xinhua) — Chinese companies are the biggest participant in the ongoing Arab Health Congress 2014, the largest health fair in the Middle East and North Africa that started in Dubai on Monday. Among the 3,900 companies participating in the four-day congress, 510 are from mainland China, 29 are from Hong Kong and 107 are from Taiwan…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]
 

Expert: Upcoming Olympics Most Dangerous Due to Terrorist Threat

The 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia, are the most dangerous games in terms of terrorist threats compared to years past, according to a leading intelligence expert.

In an interview with Fox News National Security Analyst KT McFarland, Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said security officials are on high alert for any attack by extremists.

“Expectations are so high right now that if terrorists try to strike (on a small scale) … it’s going to seem like that they failed,” Gartenstein-Ross said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Putin to Uphold Loans to Ukraine Despite Turmoil

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has pledged to honor loan commitments made to Ukraine in December, regardless of which government is in charge. He also said Ukraine had to overcome its political upheaval independently.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Putin Warns Ashton Not to Take Part in Opposition Rallies in Ukraine

Russia did not interfere in the “heat” of Greek protests over the eurozone crisis so the EU should stay away from opposition rallies in Ukraine, Valdimir Putin warns

Baroness Ashton, the European Union’s foreign minister, must not side with Ukraine’s opposition just as Russia did not appear at rallies to support anti-eurozone protests in Greece, Vladimir Putin has said.

Following talks with the EU in Brussels, the Russian President warned Lady Ashton, who travels to Kiev tonight, not to take sides with the pro-European opposition against Viktor Yanukovych, Ukraine’s beleaguered leader.

“I can only imagine what the reaction would be if in the heat of a crisis in Greece or Cyprus, our foreign minister came to an anti-European rally and began urging people to do something. This would not be good,” he said. “I’m sure the Ukrainian people will sort this out and Russia is not going to interfere.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Russian Squirrel Pack ‘Kills Dog’

Squirrels have bitten to death a stray dog which was barking at them in a Russian park, local media report. Passers-by were too late to stop the attack by the black squirrels in a village in the far east, which reportedly lasted about a minute. They are said to have scampered off at the sight of humans, some carrying pieces of flesh.

A pine cone shortage may have led the squirrels to seek other food sources, although scientists are sceptical. The attack was reported in parkland in the centre of Lazo, a village in the Maritime Territory, and was witnessed by three local people.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Ukraine’s PM Azarov and Government Resign

Ukraine’s President Viktor Yanukovych has accepted the resignation of the prime minister and his cabinet amid continuing anti-government protests. Mykola Azarov had offered to step down as prime minister to create “social and political compromise”. The move came after the Ukrainian parliament voted overwhelmingly to annul a controversial anti-protest law.

The protests have spread in recent days across Ukraine, even to President Yanukovych’s stronghold in the east. Official buildings in several cities have been occupied, and Tuesday saw the interior ministry report that protesters had stabbed and wounded three policemen in the southern city of Kherson, one of whom later died.

In total, at least five people have been killed in violence linked to the protests.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Caucasian Muslims Board Issues Fatwa on Azerbaijanis Leaving for Other Countries to Fight

Baku. Mubariz Aslanov — APA. The Cadi Council of the Caucasian Muslim Board has issued a fatwa taking into account cases on abusing sacred moments such as jihad and martyrdom, as well as dissatisfaction of religious men with preconceived opinions on this subject in the several circles of the society…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]
 

Afghan Soldiers Still Can’t Read, Despite $200m US-Backed Program, Report Finds

The U.S. government has committed $200 million to a program teaching Afghan soldiers to read — but a new report shows more than half of them still may be illiterate.

The report, released Tuesday from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, detailed numerous problems with the literacy program, which dates back to 2010. Poor tracking of recruits, inconsistent instruction and other factors have left military leaders unable to say how many soldiers can actually read and write, according to the study.

“Literacy of the Afghan National Security Forces is of critical importance,” Special Inspector General John F. Sopko said in a statement. “We’ve spent $200 million on this — yet we don’t even know how many Afghan security forces are literate or how well the program worked. That’s deeply disturbing.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

As Attacks Mount, the Survival of Bangladesh Hindus in Danger

Every day, temples are violated, and shops and homes are looted. Protests by civil society groups against “post-election atrocities” are proving of no use. The country’s Hindu minority has been targeted in a systematic way, especially by Islamic fundamentalists. Like in the past, many are leaving the country, with the community now less than 10 per cent of the population.

Dhaka (AsiaNews) — Hindu Temples have been desecrated. Hindu offerings and sacred objects have been stolen. Dozens of statues dedicated to gods like Kali, Laxmi and Ganesh have been destroyed, defaced or taken away. Shops and homes have been attacked. Anti-Hindu violence has intensified in Bangladesh since the 5 January elections, becoming a regular feature in the local press.

Yesterday, teachers and students from a number of the country’s universities formed a human chain in front of the Jatiya Press Club in Dhaka, to protest against “post-election atrocities”. They also called on the government to pass special legislation to stop the perpetrators of these crimes, because it is wrong that “Hindus are forced to live as aliens in their own homeland.”

“Violent attacks are recurrent as the perpetrators continue to enjoy impunity,” said Chandan Sarkar, professor at the International University of Business Agriculture and Technology, who was present at the demonstration.

For Subhash Kumar Sengupta, chairman of the Sudhir Kanti-Anima Sengupta Foundation (SKASF), which is among the groups promoting the human chain, “since the country’s independence, no government has been able to ensure the security of the Hindus.”

In fact, this burst of violence should be seen against a specific backdrop, namely that of a minority that has never managed to find room in Bangladeshi society.

It all began in 1947, when India became independent from Great Britain through the creation of two states based on religion: India for Hindus, and (West and East) Pakistan for Muslims.

In the following years, Hindus were slaughtered in Pakistan and Muslims went through the same in India. In 1971, when war led to Bangladesh independence from Pakistan, Hindus were the first victims of the Pakistani army, allegedly for collaborating with India and supporting separatism.

Today, history is repeating itself at a time of extreme political and social tensions, considered by many as “much worse” than in 1971.

For over a year, the number of strikes (hartals) launched by the main opposition party, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), have come with anti-Hindu acts of violence, such as assaults, looting and abuses, perpetrated by Muslim fundamentalists who support the Islamist Jamaat-e-Islami party.

As the country’s largest minority, Hindus have been singled out. Like in the past, those who can, flee, mostly to India, whilst those left behind try to survive as best they can. However, the cycle of violence and exodus has become well established and could lead to the eventual “end” of the Hindu community in Bangladesh.

Since the end of the War of Independence in 1971, the proportion of Hindus in the population has in fact gone from 25 per cent to 9.6 per cent.

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

Equality for Women at Afghanistan’s Officer Academy

The UK’s lasting legacy in Afghanistan is likely to be the Afghan National Army Officer Academy, which took in its first male officer cadets in October last year, and will admit its initial female recruits this summer. Could it play a role in improving the position of women in Afghan society?

It was a story that was both shocking and depressingly familiar. A young Afghan girl, forced by her brother to wear a suicide vest, and told to blow up a police checkpoint for the Taliban. It happened in Helmand, a place that even here, makes people shake their heads and give a sad shrug that suggests: “Well, what do you expect?”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]
 

Indonesian Government Blasts Danish Documentary

‘The Act of Killing’ may have won scores of film awards, but it has attracted criticism in Indonesia for being vulgar and insensitive

The Danish-produced documentary ‘The Act of Killing’ has been nominated for an Oscar and has already won a host of awards in the film industry, but it might not be much of a success in Indonesia.

The documentary, directed by the Copenhagen-based American/Brit Joshua Oppenheimer, exposes the 1965 genocide in Indonesia through the eyes of the perpetrators. The lauded film has been blasted by Indonesian government officials.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Karzai Reportedly Suspects US Hand in Recent Afghanistan Attacks

Afghan President Hamid Karzai reportedly believes that the U.S. government and military have been a hidden force behind recent insurgent attacks in Afghanistan, such as an attack earlier this month that killed 21 people, including three Americans, in Kabul.

The Washington Post, citing an Afghan official who it said was sympathetic to Karzai’s view, reported that the Afghan leader believes that dozens of attacks blamed on the Taliban have been planned by the U.S. to weaken his government and foment instability in the country. The official did acknowledge that Karzai had no concrete evidence of American involvement in any attack.

The report is another sign of the deepening rift between the U.S. and Karzai, who has continued to refuse to sign a tentative security agreement allowing for American troops to remain in Afghanistan beyond 2014, preferring to leave the issue for his successor following Afghanistan’s April presidential election.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Pentagon Concerned by China’s New High-Speed Missile

Hypersonic strike vehicle test is high-tech arms breakthrough that will be difficult for missile defenses to counter

China’s recent test of a new ultra-high speed strike vehicle highlights growing concerns that Chinese military advances will overtake those of the United States in as few as five years, a senior Pentagon official told Congress Tuesday.

Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology, and logistics, said during a House Armed Services Committee hearing that he is concerned by large-scale cuts in U.S. defense spending that are undermining efforts to maintain U.S. military superiority.

“On hypersonics, this is a good example of an area of technology that is going to move forward whether we invest in it or not,” Kendall told a hearing on the United States shift toward Asia. “China is doing work in this area.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Philippine Gov’t Clarifies Amnesty to Muslim Rebels

MANILA, Jan. 27 (Xinhua) —- Granting amnesty to members of a rebel group like the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is not surprising and new in the Philippines, a senior government official said in a press briefing on Monday…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]
 

Virgin Galactic Bans Chinese Tourists From Space Flights Fearing Espionage

Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic space flights has banned Chinese nationals from boarding it, as the officials fear that their rocket technology might get stolen, it has been revealed. Tycoons from China, who are willing to pay 250,000 dollars for the tickets, have been told that they cannot board the flights because of anti-espionage regulations in the US, News.com.au reported.

Virgin’s craft has a rocket engine and is seen as a potential military technology by the US’s International Traffic in Arms Regulations, which was introduced during the Cold War to bar people from China, Iran and North Korea from having access to weapons technology. A Virgin Galactic salesman based in Hong Kong said that they have received calls from people in China, but they have told them that people with a Chinese passport won’t be allowed to go on the space voyage.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Monarchists Criticised for Warning of ‘Almost Certain’ Violence if Indigenous Recognition Referendum Proceeds

The 2014 Senior Australian of the Year has accused the Monarchists League of peddling prejudice for suggesting that a referendum to recognise Aboriginal people would be accompanied by “almost certain violence”.

The group has warned that there is a real prospect of aggression by those who are “hostile” to white settlement, pointing to the recent vandalism of an 18th-century cottage which once belonged to Captain Cook’s parents.

“The appalling desecration of Captain Cook’s cottage in Melbourne by anti-Australia Day vandals will cause many people to resile from the very thought of a referendum and the now almost certain violence that will accompany it,” Australian Monarchists League’s national chairman Philip Benwell said…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]
 

NZ: Muslim Refugee Gropes Women, Blames Cultural Differences, Avoids Jail

by Daniel Greenfield

Women in Port Hill, New Zealand can feel confident because their legal system values the Port Hill Groper’s standing in the Muslim community more than their safety.

The family of the man accused of being “The Port Hills Groper” fears he’ll be ostracised by their Muslim community if his identity is revealed, a court was told today. Name suppression was continued for the 63-year-old today after a judge decided he may have psychological issues if he was found guilty of grabbing, groping, and licking 15 women on the running trails.

He blamed his offending on a misunderstanding of cultural differences.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Peter Cosgrove: The Life and Times of Australia’s New Governor-General

When Peter Cosgrove was named 2001’s Australian of the Year, the citation listed the qualities that Australians have come to recognise in him — strength, determination, intelligence, compassion and humour. General Cosgrove has been appointed Australia’s 26th governor-general, replacing Quentin Bryce. He is seen as a popular, apolitical choice for the role.

He was born into a military family in Sydney in 1947 and graduated from the Royal Military College, Duntroon, in 1968…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]
 

Sydney Shooting: Car and Home Hit by Bullets in ‘Targeted’ Attack

A home and car were peppered with bullets in what police believe was a targeted attack in Sydney’s south-west overnight. Police say several rounds were fired into the car parked at the back of the home in Austral around 1am (AEDT). Several shots narrowly missed a bedroom window…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]
 

At Least 85 Burned to Death in Nigeria Village

KAWURI, Nigeria — With gunfire exploding all around, Rabi Mallam raced into her hut with her son and granddaughter. But then the suspected Islamic extremists set the home ablaze, and Mallam was burned all over her body before escaping.

No one knows yet exactly how many residents of Kawuri village may have burned to death. By Tuesday, 85 bodies had been found. At least 300 homes were razed in Sunday’s attack and people still were gathering corpses Tuesday.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Kenya: Mombasa on High Alert After Terror Threat

Security apparatus were yesterday put on high alert over an impending terror attack in Mombasa county. County commissioner Nelson Marwa said they have received intelligence over a possible terror attack by the al-Qaeda affiliated al Shabaab militants.

Marwa said the information has been widely shared among the top brass security organs at the county level. “We are aware of the alert. Our officers have intensified surveillance and we urge residents to be more vigilant and report questionable characters to the police,” said Marwa…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]
 

Nigeria: 40 Killed, 25 Injured as Insurgents Attack Borno Village

Maiduguri — Over 40 villagers were killed between Sunday and early yesterday by suspected members of Boko Haram insurgents who invaded Kawuri village in Konduga Local Government Area of Borno State, residents and security sources said yesterday.

Residents who escaped the siege said over 50 people were killed when the terrorists attacked a weekly market on Sunday and took everyone unawares, including the few security agents in the area, residents of the village, visiting traders and merchants…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]
 

Sixty Killed in Nigeria in Suspected Boko Haram Attacks

Witnesses say dozens of people are dead after suspected Boko Haram militants attacked two villages in northeastern Nigeria. A local reporter told VOA’s Hausa Service that more than 40 people were killed and another 25 were injured late Sunday when assailants attacked the village of Kawori in Borno state. The attackers set fire to homes, a market, and places of worship in the village.

In another incident, gunmen opened fire at a church Sunday morning in Chakawa, in Adamawa state. A local journalist said that two policemen and 18 civilians were killed…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]
 

Taraba Governor, Suntai, Advises Nigerians to Shun Evil, Turn to God

Governor asks Nigerians to turn to God and abhor the drinking of alcohol Recuperating Taraba state Governor, Danbaba Suntai, has urged Nigerians to turn to God and change their evil ways…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]
 

Mexican Government Takes Risky Gamble With Plan to Legalize Anti-Cartel Vigilante Movement

MEXICO CITY — After months of tacit cooperation with rural vigilantes trying to drive out a vicious drug cartel, the Mexican government has moved to solve one of its toughest security problems with a plan to legalize the growing movement and bring it under the army’s control.

The risks are high.

To succeed, the government must enforce military discipline and instill respect for human rights and due process among more than 20,000 heavily armed civilians before sending them back home to the western state of Michoacan.

In other Latin America countries, similar experiments have created state-backed militias that carried out massive human rights abuses as armed civilians turned to vengeance, or assisted in mass killings. The Mexican army itself is accused of abuses in the drug war.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Mexico Catches Senior Knights Templar Drug Gang Boss as Vigilante Groups Step Up Fight

Mexican forces have captured a leader of the Knights Templar, a violent drug cartel that has created a major security problem for president Enrique Pena Nieto. The attorney general’s office says security forces arrested Dionisio Loya Plancarte, known as “El Tio” (The Uncle), a top member of the Knights Templar, which has clashed with vigilante groups in the western state of Michoacan this year…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]
 

Nicaraguan Lawmakers Reform Constitution, Allowing Indefinite Re-Election for President

Nicaraguan lawmakers have approved constitutional changes that would allow President Daniel Ortega to be re-elected indefinitely, a move that his critics say is designed to keep the Sandinista leader in power for life. The largely Sandinista National Assembly voted for the amendments a second time Tuesday as required for them to become law.

The changes eliminate presidential term limits and lower the bar for election by naming the candidate with the most votes as the winner. Until now, a candidate needed to garner at least 35 percent of the votes to win.

Ortega is serving his third term under a Supreme Court decision that overrode the constitutional ban.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon Meets With Fidel Castro in Havana

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has met with former Cuban leader Fidel Castro in Havana. Ban’s office tweeted that the two met for about 55 minutes Tuesday. The U.N. chief is in Cuba for a summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States. The U.N. office said it would provide details on the meeting shortly.

Ban met Monday with Cuban President Raul Castro, the younger brother of Fidel. Ban’s office said the two discussed the U.S. embargo on Cuba and the human rights situation on the island.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

US Coast Guard Offloads $37 Million of Cocaine in ‘Historic Haul’ In Caribbean

The U.S. Coast Guard has offloaded $37 million worth of cocaine seized in a multi-national operation in the Caribbean in what it referred to as a ‘historic’ haul in a joint operations with the British Royal Fleet.

The Coast Guard said Tuesday that the 2,500 pounds of cocaine was seized on Jan. 22 south of the Dominican Republic when a 25-foot go-fast boat was spotted with suspicious packages.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

IOM Releases Mediterranean Boat Migrant Count

Some 45,000 boat migrants, including thousands of children, made dangerous crossings of the Mediterranean to land in Italy and Malta in 2013, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Most were fleeing wars or abuses, said the intergovernmental organization on Tuesday. It listed 11,300 migrants fleeing Syria, 9,800 from Eritrea and 3,200 from Somalia. Among them were 8,300 minors; two-thirds of these were unaccompanied.

The IOM said its 2013 total was a sharp jump from the 13,000 recorded in 2012, but down on the 63,000 recorded in 2011 during armed sectarian conflict in Libya.

The IOM said the “real” tragedies had involved those migrants who had disappeared untraced at sea during capsizes of flimsy, overcrowded boats, which border authorities claim are often operated by smugglers.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Sen. Sessions: Immigration Spikes Income Inequality

Republicans have a chance to recapture the trust of millions of disaffected voters who have turned away. But it will mean resisting the influence of corporate interests acting on the president’s behalf. And it will mean recognizing the practical real-world concerns of everyday Americans.

The choice is clear. Either the GOP can help the White House deliver a crushing hammer blow to the middle class — or it can stand alone as the one party defending the legitimate interests of American workers.

Sen. Jeff Sessions is an Alabama Republican.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

UK: David Cameron Accused of ‘Making Up’ Claims Over EU Migrants

David Cameron accused of “muddying waters” by Tory backbencher after claiming that a ‘reasonable’ numbers of migrants from Bulgaria and Romania are coming to Britain

David Cameron has been accused by Tory rebels of “muddying the water” after claiming that that a “reasonable” number of migrants from Bulgaria and Romania are coming to Britain…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]
 

Italy: Judges Send Restrictive Reproductive Law to Higher Court

Constitutional body asked to review ban on embryo screening

(ANSA) — Rome, January 27 — A lower court in Rome on Monday requested that parts of Italy’s restrictive reproduction law be reviewed by the country’s supreme Constitutional Court.

It specifically ordered a review of a ban contained in the bill on screening for genetic diseases.

The case before the lower court involved a couple in which the woman carried the gene for a version of muscular dystrophy, inherited from her father.

They were denied the screening they requested from a woman’s health clinic in Rome, based on Italy’s so-called Law 40.

Already, the law has been rejected by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg in 2012 which said that Italy had infringed upon two provisions of its convention for the protection of human rights. Elements of the law have already been put before the Constitutional Court, to rule on access to sperm donors for “heterosexual sterile or infertile couples” who, petitioners said, were denied “the fundamental right to the full realisation of their family life” by Law 40.

The issues surrounding reproductive rights and laws is a hot political potato in overwhelmingly Catholic Italy.

Opinion polls have said that most Italians think the law is too harsh and forces too many people, at least the ones who can afford it, to resort to foreign clinics.

The bill was originally passed by a cross-party alliance of Catholics in a battle which also pitted male MPs against female MPs.

The 2003 law forbids the screening of embryos for abnormalities or genetic disorders, even for couples with a history of genetic disease, and women are denied the right to refuse implantation once their eggs have been fertilised.

As well, single parents, same-sex couples and women beyond child-bearing age are banned from using assisted fertility techniques, which are limited to sterile heterosexual couples who are married or live together.

The law also bans the use of donor sperm or eggs and forbids embryos from being frozen or used for scientific research.

It allows a maximum of three eggs to be fertilised at one time and requires them all to be transferred to the womb simultaneously.

The law slaps heavy fines for doctors and patients caught breaking it.

Doctors caught using donated sperms or eggs face fines of up to 600,000 euros and those found treating same-sex couples or singles can be fined up to 400,000 euros.

Stiffer fines and jail terms of up to 20 years are envisaged for human cloning and manipulation of human embryos.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Katy Perry: Illuminati Priestess Conducts Witchcraft Ceremony in Front of the Entire World

Did you see Katy Perry’s performance at the Grammys? It was essentially an Illuminati-themed occult ritual. Various media reports say that Perry “dressed up as a witch”, and her performance included a Knights Templar cross emblazoned across her chest, a beast with Moloch horns, dancers in dark robes with devil horns protruding from their heads, and pole dancing with a broom.

At the end of the “ceremony”, Perry was “burned at the stake” as the song ended. All of this hardcore occult symbolism did not get into her performance by accident. The attention to detail that this performance exhibited shows that someone put a lot of thought and effort into it. So was Perry actually kidding when she said that she had “sold my soul to the devil” during a television interview a few years ago? The kind of stuff that Perry is doing now is not for amateurs. She is either working with someone who is deep into the occult or she is deep into it herself. And of course the elite absolutely love this stuff. Even if you don’t believe in “occult rituals” or “Illuminati symbolism”, it is important to remember that the elite do. In fact, many of them are completely obsessed with this stuff. And they are more than happy to promote any performer that embraces their world. That is why we see this stuff pop up in high profile public performances time after time after time.

But without a doubt, Kary Perry has taken things to an entirely new level. A YouTube video that contains footage of her entire performance is posted below. However, it should be noted that this is not appropriate for children to watch, so please use discretion…

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]
 

Pete Seeger: Culture Warrior Extraordinaire

How America’s most successful Communist claimed folk music for the Left.

That Pete Seeger, who died yesterday at age 94, is being hailed as a sort of American hero — re-discoverer and popularizer of traditional folk music, champion of anti-war, civil-rights, and environmental causes — is a testament to just how profoundly to the left popular culture shifted over the course of his lifetime. For there can be no doubt that Seeger, a one-time member of the Communist Party, campaigner for Henry Wallace, unwilling witness before the House Un-American Activities Committee, saw himself as a man of the Left, though he might have preferred being described in terms such as “champion for social change.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Fancy Tech Will Not Solve Massive Land Loss, Says UN

Roughly 5 billion hectares of land is used for agriculture. Of that, one-third is used to grow crops and two-thirds for pasture. Meanwhile, cities are expanding at the expense of farmland, and cropland is advancing at the expense of pastures and forests, resulting in a huge loss in biodiversity.

At the same rate,by 2050, with an extra two billion people on Earth, a further 850 million hectares will be destroyed, the report estimates — an area the size of Brazil.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

5 thoughts on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 1/28/2014

  1. Old Pete CIGAR…. gone and hopefully FORGOTTEN. I despised his raspy voice back in the ’60s…. what a scoundrel.

    • He was a man of deep convictions, even if they’re not yours; and he loved the culture of his country, if not the same aspects of that culture I imagine you do. And it’s hardly his fault he came from a privileged background (which is how I read your snide “Cigar”).

  2. The alleged offenders are said to be from ‘a range of communities’ and police have urged against speculating about their background.”

    right.. soon as they mention, its obvious?!! These idiotic police authorities are helping the criminals run rings around the decent law abiding folk.

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