Gates of Vienna News Feed 1/29/2014

Thirty-eight people were killed in the latest fighting between Philippine government troops and a breakaway faction of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). Thirty-seven of the dead were mujahideen, and one Filipino soldier was killed. The rebel group is unhappy with a recent peace accord between MILF and the government.

In other news, New Zealand is considering removing the Union Jack from its national flag. Prime Minister John Key says that he would like it to be replaced with the silver fern, as a representative of New Zealand’s flora.

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

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

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

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

Financial Crisis
» Brussels Warns of Risks to Spain From the Crisis in Emerging Markets
» Council of Europe Blasts Italy on Pensions, Poverty
» Federal Reserve Again Cuts Monthly Bond Purchases
» Italy: Consob Inspect Mediobanca Over Possible Market Abuse
» Italy: Standard & Poor’s Says GDP Growth to Average Just 0.5%
» Italy: Govt Summons Electrolux for Talks Over Shock Wage-Cut Plan
» The New Face of Food Stamps: Working-Age Americans
» Air Force’s Mysterious X-37B Space Plane Passes 400 Days in Orbit
» Angry Birds Website Hacked After NSA-GCHQ Leaks
» Neighbors Push Back on Mosque Plan
» Nothing ‘Lame Duck’ About a President Working to Bring Down America
» Waterloo OK Zoning for Mosque, Cemetery
Europe and the EU
» Animal Rights Activists Ask Pope Francis to Stop Releasing Doves
» Barroso Warns India Against Death Penalty on Italian Marines
» Birds of Pray: Doves Released in the Vatican as a Gesture of Peace Are Immediately Attacked by Vicious Seagull and Crow
» Council of Europe Slams Spain for Denying Healthcare to Illegal Immigrants
» First-Ever Weather Map of Failed Star Reveals Patchy Alien Clouds
» Gurfinkiel: France “May Have Joined the League of Europe’s Fringe Anti-Semitic Countries”
» Italy: M5S Step Up Drive for Napolitano Impeachment
» Italy: ‘Organic’ Grain Fraud of 120 Mn Euros Leads to Nine Arrests
» Jamie Oliver Ditches British Restaurants in Favor of Italian
» Netanyahu Denies His Son is Dating Non-Jewish Norwegian Woman
» Norway Airport Launches First Dog-Sled Taxis
» Norway MPs Nominate Snowden for Nobel Prize
» Norway Has World’s Priciest Big Macs Again
» Norwegian Babies Get ‘Easier’ Names
» Political Class and Crony Capitalism: Communism Under a Different Name
» Scottish Independence: Carney Says Scots Currency Plan May Lead to Power Loss
» UK: Anti-Terror Police Search Magistrate’s East London Home in Toxic Chemicals Probe
» UK: Fury at Protest Group’s Legal Bid to Stop Planned £17.5m Mosque in Cambridge in Which They Claimed it Could be “Front for Terrorism”
» UK: Man Accused Over Mosque Stabbings
» UK: Man Who Killed His Unborn Child by Tricking Girlfriend Into Taking Abortion Drug Gets 14 Years
» UK: Multiple Sclerosis ‘Linked to Food Bug’
» UK: Poo-Dunnit? Park Warden Calls for Police ‘Back-Up’ In Dog Foul Row
» UK: Show Me the Poo! Tower Hamlets Park Official Calls for Police Back-Up Over ‘Non-Compliance of Female’ Over Mystery Dog Foul
» UK: Tories Demand Immigration Investigation Into Labour Campaign Guru
North Africa
» African Demographic Explosion to Affect Med, ISTAT Says
» Algeria Arrests 60 People to End Sectarian Unrest in Southern Desert City Over Land, Water
» Egyptian General and Policeman Killed in Separate Incidents
» Egypt: Cairo: Coptic Orthodox Church Attacked. One Dead.
» Egypt: Interior Ministry Senior Official Killed by Two Assailants
» Egypt Arrests 17 Brotherhood Supporters With Explosives — Interior Ministry
» Egypt: Morsi Trial: Hamas Rejects ‘Insulting Charges’
» Libya: Tripoli: Interior Minister Eludes Attack
Israel and the Palestinians
» A Crime Against History and Religion
Middle East
» Graphic Journalism and Photos Tell Yemeni Women’s Struggle
» Iraq: 15 People Killed in Iraq’s Violence
» Israel’s Netanyahu Says Iran Nuclear Program Delayed Six Weeks by Deal
» Obama’s SOTU Remarks and Iran’s Negotiations Jihad
» Obama’s Threat to Veto the Nuclear Weapons Free Iran Act S.1881
» Syria Crisis: Yehya El-Kholed Warns Other Australians They Will Die if They Wish to Fight in Civil War
» Turkey: Preesident Gul in Rome Amid Corruption Scandal
» Ex-President Warns Ukraine ‘On Brink of Civil War’
South Asia
» Apostolic Vicar: Sharia as a Challenge and Opportunity for Catholics in Brunei
» Karzai Behavior Blasted as ‘Reckless, ‘ Could Threaten US-Afghan Cooperation
» Malala Book Launch Halted Amid ‘Political and Police Pressure’ In Pakistan
» Pakistan: Peshawar Authorities Block the Presentation of Malala’s Book. Activists: “Shame”
» Political Assassinations on the Rise in Bangladesh, With 138 Deaths in January
Far East
» Death Toll in S. Philippine Clashes Reaches 38, Seven Others Wounded
» Philippines Military Offensive ‘Kills 37 Rebels’
Australia — Pacific
» Dardanup Shire to Vote on Mosque Plan
» New Zealand May Vote to Take Union Jack Off Flag
» Tony Abbott: Broadcaster ABC on ‘Everyone’s Side But Australia’
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Nigeria: Adamawa Church Attack — Death Toll Rises to 138
» Nigeria: Boko Haram: AGF Stalls Trial of Kogi Varsity Lecturer, 2 Others
» Nigeria: Violence Surges After Military Declares Imminent Victory
» Nigerian Bishop Tells of Church ‘Slaughter’ In Adamawa
» Amnesty: A Disaster for the American Worker
» DF Says: “No More Muslims in Denmark”
» ‘Swedes Shouldn’t Accept Being Called Racist’
» The 800,000 People Living in Britain With Little or No English
» Top Republicans to Call for Legal Status for Some Immigrants
Culture Wars
» Al Gore Once Again Suggests ‘Fertility Management’ To Fight Global Warming
» ‘Masturbation Classes’ Rumour Sparks Boycott
» Portugal’s Gays Protest Referendum to Annul Adoption Rights
» UK: Maajid Nawaz Must be Free to Offend Muslims — And Christians Must be Free to Offend Gays
» Yet More Sexual Insanity

Brussels Warns of Risks to Spain From the Crisis in Emerging Markets

The upbeat message Economy Minister Luis de Guindos gave to his colleagues at an Ecofin meeting on Tuesday on the Spanish economy contrasts with the more cautious tone of the final report on Spain’s compliance with the bailout program for its banks, made public on Wednesday by the European Commission (EC).

De Guindos told fellow European economy and finance ministers that he expects the economy to grow 1 percent this year, above the Spanish government’s official forecast of 0.7 percent, with the pace of activity sufficiently strong to allow net job creation. He also minimized the possibility of fallout from the latest crisis in emerging markets, particularly Argentina. “We can’t fall any more. Now the recovery begins,” De Guindos said, arguing that Spain “has scarcely any exposure to Argentina and other emerging markets.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Council of Europe Blasts Italy on Pensions, Poverty

Lacks ‘overall and coordinated approach’

(ANSAmed) — Strasbourg, January 29 — Italy is failing to address growing levels of poverty and to provide retirees with an adequate level of subsistence, a Council of Europe committee said in a report released on Wednesday. The report, drawn up by the European Committee of Social Rights, noted that Rome had not demonstrated “the existence of an overall and coordinated approach providing adequate measures to combat poverty and social exclusion”. Italy’s national statistics bureau Istat reported in late December that the number of people in crisis-hit Italy living in absolute poverty had doubled between 2005 and 2012 and tripled in the industrial north, up to 6.4% from 2.5%. More than 1.7 million families live in a state of absolute poverty — for a total of 4.8 million individuals — amid rising unemployment and a stubborn recession, Istat said.

Overall, 3.2 million families — or 9.5 million individuals — lived in relative poverty in 2012.

The relative poverty threshold was measured by Istat as an average monthly budget for a two-member household which did not exceed 990.88 euros last year.

Italy has seen the risk-of-poverty rate rise to almost 30% in 2012, according to the ‘Europe 2020’ report, the highest recorded in Europe after Greece.

As a signatory to the European Social Charter, Italy is duty-bound to show how it monitors and evaluates poverty reduction measures but has failed to do so, the Council of Europe committee report said. The Committee called on Italy to fulfill its obligations in this sense.

Italy’s expenditure on unemployment and social exclusion, at 2.9% and 0.3% respectively, was significantly lower than the EU average (6% and 3.6% respectively), the report notes. Moreover, “the level of minimum pension falls below 40% of the median equivalised income (Eurostat) and is therefore inadequate” and “it has not been established that medical assistance is provided for everybody in need”.

Italy was criticised for not having “appropriate occupational safety and health policy” nor an “adequate system to organise occupational risk prevention”.

The report pointed out that Rome had failed to guarantee equal treatment with regard to social security rights to nationals of all other European Union countries, complaining of “discriminatory treatment of migrant Roma and Sinti with regard to citizen’s participation”.

The Council of Europe is a 47-member pan-European human and social rights body.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Federal Reserve Again Cuts Monthly Bond Purchases

The Federal Reserve announced Wednesday another $10 billion cut in its monthly bond purchases in a statement that attributed the decision to “growing underlying strength in the broader economy.”

The statement, published after a two-day meeting of the Fed’s policy-making committee, reflected the optimism of Fed officials that the economy is finally poised for faster growth after years of false starts and setbacks.

[Return to headlines]

Italy: Consob Inspect Mediobanca Over Possible Market Abuse

Offices raided by market regulator and finance police

(ANSA) — Milan, January 28 — Italy’s finance police and inspectors from market watchdog Consob visited the Milan offices of investment bank Mediobanca on Tuesday to check into two cases of suspected insider trading, Consob said.

“The inspection under way is aimed at checking on potential market abuse that may have been committed in 2013 in operations where Mediobanca acted as intermediary”, a Consob spokesperson said.

Italian media reports suggested the inspections centered on the sale of Banca Generali shares and the acquisition of Milano Assicurazioni savings shares last year.

Mediobanca in April helped place 12% of Banca Generali by Assicurazioni Generali while in August it worked on the reverse accelerated bookbuilding of Milano Assicurazioni savings shares by insurer Unipol.

Consob inspectors seized paperwork, emails, and phone recordings from the offices of mid-level managers who worked on the deals.

Italy’s biggest publicly traded investment bank, Mediobanca was founded in 1946 to facilitate the post-World War II reconstruction of Italian industry, providing medium to long-term financing for manufacturers.

In the 1990s, it was one the major players in the Italian program of privatization of large state-owned enterprises, with the largest operations concerning Telecom Italia, Enel, Banca di Roma and Banca Nazionale del Lavoro.

It also contributed to foreign programs in the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Spain.

In June last year, shares in the merchant bank took a beating, plunging 9%, when it announced a new business plan that involved spinning off holdings in companies including Telecom Italia and Assicurazioni Generali, Italy’s largest insurer, in a bid to return to profit.

In August, the Financial Times newspaper said the closely knit world of Italian big business had begun to unravel after decades of cronyism and capitalism, citing a series of major corporate shake-ups that have begun to transform the way major businesses have operated in Italy since as far back as World War Two.

As an example, it pointed to pressure from investors forcing insurer Generali to unwind cross-shareholdings with Mediobanca that involved everything from newspapers and television to insurance, banking, telecommunications, airports, construction, and hotels.

Mediobanca in September posted losses of 180 million euros in the 2012-2013 fiscal year.

The one-time linchpin of the Italian financial and industrial system posted profits of 81 million euros the preceding year.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Standard & Poor’s Says GDP Growth to Average Just 0.5%

Ratings agency urges labour reform, liberalization in Italy

(ANSA) — Rome, January 28 — Annual economic growth in recession-battered Italy will average only 0.5% between now and 2016, international ratings agency Standard & Poor’s (S&P) said Tuesday.

That estimate is below the pace of gross domestic product (GDP) estimated by the Bank of Italy, which says GDP will expand by 0.7% this year, and other agencies, which have forecast a GDP expansion in 2014 of 0.6%.

S&P said it was also keeping Italy’s sovereign debt under watch because of uncertainty over government policies and a debt that is expected to rise to 134% of GDP by the year-end.

The agency, in a report on sovereign debt in European economies, also urged the Italian government to take further measures to boost productivity, liberalize labour markets and increase GDP growth. It said it could revise its outlook for Italian debt “if the government realized structural reforms in labor markets and products and services …(leading to) a higher level of growth in the Italian economy”. Last week, the International Monetary Fund said that although Italy looks to be emerging from its longest recession in two years it expects the Italian economy to slowly recover, with growth of 0.6% this year and 1.1% in 2015.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Govt Summons Electrolux for Talks Over Shock Wage-Cut Plan

Appliance-maker says move needed to keep Italian plants open

(ANSA) — Trieste, January 28 — The government on Tuesday summoned Electrolux managers for emergency talks after the electrical-appliance multinational announced a shock wage-cut plan it said was necessary to keep its Italian plants running.

Trade union representatives and the governors of the regions that host Electrolux plants (Veneto, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna) will also attend the meeting at the industry ministry at 3pm local time Wednesday.

Electrolux said Tuesday that it was proposing cutting wages in Italy by three euros an hour, which it said was an 8% cut and would amount to a reduction of less than 130 euros a month in workers’ net salaries.

The company said it had also proposed freezing salary increases due to seniority and other rises linked to the sector’s national collective contract for three years in order to “cool the inflation of labour costs, which is responsible for the continuing growth in the competitive gap with the countries of Eastern Europe”.

Electrolux added that it was willing to consider “other forms of reducing labour costs with lower or, if possible, no consequences on salaries”. Industry Minister Flavio Zanonato, who is set to chair Wednesday’s talks, replied “certainly” on Italian radio Tuesday when asked if a solution was possible.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

The New Face of Food Stamps: Working-Age Americans

Washington — In a first, working-age people now make up the majority in U.S. households that rely on food stamps — a switch from a few years ago, when children and the elderly were the main recipients.

Some of the change is due to demographics, such as the trend toward having fewer children. But a slow economic recovery with high unemployment, stagnant wages and an increasing gulf between low-wage and high-skill jobs also plays a big role. It suggests that government spending on the $80 billion-a-year food stamp program — twice what it cost five years ago — may not subside significantly anytime soon.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Air Force’s Mysterious X-37B Space Plane Passes 400 Days in Orbit

The U.S. Air Force’s unmanned X-37B space plane has now circled Earth for more than 400 days on a hush-hush mission that is creeping closer and closer to the vehicle’s orbital longevity record.

The X-37B spacecraft launched on Dec. 11, 2012, meaning that it has been aloft for 413 days as of Tuesday (Jan. 28) on the third mission for the program, which is known as OTV-3 (short for Orbital Test Vehicle-3). The endurance record is 469 days, set during OTV-2, which blasted off in 2011.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Angry Birds Website Hacked After NSA-GCHQ Leaks

Video game developer Rovio has confirmed that hackers defaced its Angry Birds site with an image entitled Spying Birds, featuring an NSA logo.

The attack followed the publication of leaks that indicated the US spy agency and its British counterpart GCHQ had obtained data released by at least one of the Finnish firm’s games.

The company said it did not “collaborate or collude” with any government spy agency. It added it had quickly fixed its site. “The defacement was caught in minutes and corrected immediately,” said marketing manager Saara Bergstrom.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Neighbors Push Back on Mosque Plan

Residents question noise and parking at first hearing.

The renewed application for a mosque on Mountain Top Road by the Al Falah Center began a new review at the Planning Board Tuesday night, with about 70 residents in attendance


           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Nothing ‘Lame Duck’ About a President Working to Bring Down America

Obama’s no lame duck. He’s the top duck bringing America down and quacking loudly as he goes about it.

Dutifully, and even downright meekly, the mainstream media — including Fox News — is reporting on Obama’s wobbly and weak State of the Union Address this morning.

The shock value of his vow to act ‘with or without Congress’ went out with the tide weeks ago.

“After vowing in his State of the Union address to use the power of the pen to pursue his agenda in 2014, President Obama once again is hitting the campaign trail to tout his proposals — while countering criticism that his presidency has entered a lame-duck phase.” (, Jan. 29, 2014)

Proof positive that the millions who switched to neutral television channels the moment SOTU coverage started last night didn’t miss a thing.

Just as they called it ahead of the shameful event, It was the same old, same old lies, lies and more lies.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Waterloo OK Zoning for Mosque, Cemetery

WATERLOO | The local Bosnian Islamic community has received support for a new mosque, cemetery and soccer field on the city’s southeast side. City Council members voted 6-0 Monday to approve a site plan for the project near the Cedar Knoll and Southview Estates mobile home parks along U.S. Highway 218…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Animal Rights Activists Ask Pope Francis to Stop Releasing Doves

Animal rights activists are asking Pope Francis to stop the ceremonial practice of releasing doves from a Vatican window. A petition was created on after children set free two white doves from a window overlooking St. Peter’s Square Sunday and the birds were soon attacked by a crow and seagull. The activists claim domesticated doves cannot survive in the wild.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Barroso Warns India Against Death Penalty on Italian Marines

‘Would impact entire European Union’ says EC chief

(ANSA) — Brussels, January 29 — European Commission President José Manuel Barroso warned Wednesday that the fate of two Italian marines who could face the death penalty in India for allegedly killing two fishermen would “have an impact on the whole EU”. “The EU is against the death penalty in any situation,” he added after meeting Italian Premier Enrico Letta.

Letta said that the support of the EU and other European States was “very important for a positive solution” to the case.

“We want the marines case to finish soon, as soon as possible,” Letta said.

Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone are accused of killing fishermen Valentine (aka Gelastine) and Ajesh Binki after allegedly mistaking them for pirates and opening fire on their fishing trawler while guarding the privately owned Italian-flagged oil-tanker MT Enrica Lexie off the coast of Kerala on February 15, 2012 on an anti-piracy mission. Italy has appealed to the Indian Supreme Court amid fears that India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) intends to prosecute the pair under a harsh anti-terrorism law that bears the death penalty, despite previous reassurances from the Indian foreign ministry that the marines would not face capital punishment. Last week the European Union threatened economic consequences if India failed to pull the death penalty from the table.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Birds of Pray: Doves Released in the Vatican as a Gesture of Peace Are Immediately Attacked by Vicious Seagull and Crow

To millions of Christians, they are a symbol of peace.

But to a pair of larger birds, the two doves released in the Vatican yesterday were nothing more than a chance for a bit of Sunday morning sport.

No sooner had the birds been set free in St Peter’s Square — as a symbolic gesture of peace for Ukraine — than they were set upon by a seagull and a crow.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Council of Europe Slams Spain for Denying Healthcare to Illegal Immigrants

Organization’s Committee on Social Rights concerned about general slide on basic protection

The economic crisis has undermined social protection in Spain. The Council of Europe, which oversees respect for human rights in 47 countries on the continent, on Wednesday expressed concern over “regressive legislative developments concerning access to health care by foreigners illegally present in the country.”

The conclusion is part of a wide-reaching report by the European Committee on Social Rights that examines whether national laws conform to the European Social Charter.

The 2013 conclusions, released on Wednesday, found that Spain was one of several countries that had regressed on social rights compared with earlier periods. Other states where healthcare, social welfare and occupational safety have been curtailed included Austria, France, Finland, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Lithuania and Latvia.

Spain scored negatively on six out of 17 points that the committee investigated, including the decision to deny free healthcare to foreigners living illegally in the country, a general rule introduced by the Popular Party government of Mariano Rajoy with certain exceptions (minors, pregnant women and anyone with an infectious disease).

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

First-Ever Weather Map of Failed Star Reveals Patchy Alien Clouds

Scientists have created the first weather map of a space oddity known as a brown dwarf, revealing a rare glimpse at alien weather patterns on the failed, wannabe star.

The map shows the weather on the surface of WISE J104915.57-531906.1B (called Luhman 16B for short), the nearest brown dwarf to Earth at 6.5 light-years away. Scientists mapped the light and dark features of the failed star’s surface, according to officials with the European Southern Observatory, whose Very Large Telescope in Chile contributed to the new science.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Gurfinkiel: France “May Have Joined the League of Europe’s Fringe Anti-Semitic Countries”

Last Sunday upwards of 50,000 engaged in the “Day of Anger” mass rally in Paris with groups shouting anti-Semitic and Holocaust denial slogans; “Jews, France does not belong to you” and “Faurrison is right”and “the Holocaust was a Hoax”. The more vocal protesters were supporters of anti-Semitic comedian, Dieudonne M’Bala M’Bala and followers of French Holocaust denier, Robert Faurrison. France passed a law in 1990 prohibiting both anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial. According to Michel Gurfinkiel, noted French conservative journalist, commentator and head of the Jean-Jacques Rousseau Institute in Paris, “this was an additional warning to France’s Jews that things are getting very unpleasant for them in this country”. We caught up with Gurfinkiel, with whom we had just completed an interview for the February 2014 New English Review on the topic of “Is There a Future for French Jews?”

Gurfinkiel found it “shocking” that no one, the rally organizers, demonstrators nor bystanders intervened to remove anti-Semitic protesters in violation of French hate speech laws; not even the police. Further, he noted ominously “this is the first time since the end of World War Two you had compact groups shouting explicit and violent anti-Semitic slogans on the streets of Paris”. He said, “France a founder of the Eropean Union may be joining the league of fringe anti-Semitic countries in the EU; Romania, Hungary and Greece”. “The majority of the country was shocked. However France harbors an anti-Semitic minority”. He indicated this episode raises the question about the ability of French democracy to control the problem.

Some people, Gurfinkiel said, are “starting to consider leaving the country”. He drew attention to the comments on the Facebook page of a young French Jewish writer and philosopher, who said she used to go out publicly wearing a Jewish Star of David and that her children were safe attending public schools. She never she hear anti-Semitic slogans on the streets of France until last Sunday. Now “she is losing faith in humanity and faith in this country”. Gurfinkiel said it was “very revealing of the present mood”…

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

Italy: M5S Step Up Drive for Napolitano Impeachment

Grillo MP calls president extreme insult, sparks political storm

(By Christopher Livesay) (ANSA) — Rome, January 28 — An MP from the 5-Star Movement (M5S) sparked a political firestorm Tuesday by calling President Giorgio Napolitano, a favorite target of the anti-establishment party, one of the worst insults in Italian, for not intervening in a controversial government decree, upping the group’s drive to impeach the head of State. “The executioner Napolitano is endorsing a series of actions to sew the mouth shut of the opposition,” said Giorgio Sorial, announcing a letter sent to the president.

Along with other opposition parties, the M5S, led by firebrand comedian Beppe Grillo, is working to filibuster a decree that aims to sell off 100 billion euros in central-bank gold reserves to help ease Italy’s economic woes. The decree passed a House confidence vote Friday and must be voted on again by Wednesday in order to become definitive. House Speaker Laura Boldrini, of the center-left Democratic Party (PD), is ready to bring the bill to a vote, where it is likely to pass, before each MP has a chance to speak, thus forcing an end to the filibuster. In their letter to the president, the M5S says this violates the Constitution and accuses Boldrini of continuing to do so by taking direct orders from Premier Enrico Letta, also from the PD, and calls on Napolitano to intervene. The anti-establishment party has increasingly held Napolitano, the first president in history elected to a second term, responsible for the country’s problems since the start of the euro crisis, vowing to impeach him. Premier Letta lashed out at the M5S for the slur against the president. “The M5S’s shameful attack on Napolitano is a point of no return, extremist in nature and unacceptable for those who practice the principals of democracy,” said Letta on Twitter. The new head of the center-left Democratic Party (PD) also leapt to Napolitano’s defence. “Such behaviour is unbearable and a form of stupidity, more so even than verbal abuse,” said Florence Mayor Matteo Renzi on Facebook, expressing his “solidarity” with the president.

But amid the chorus of outrage from various political parties, no apologies came from the M5S. One of its MPs even doubled down on the remark. “What should Giorgio Sorial apologize for?” said Manlio Di Stefano on Facebook. “Did it seem excessive to call King George an executioner? Well, we’ll see about that. “An executioner is someone who kills a convict, and Napolitano is accused of killing someone or something…(in this case) democracy, the Constitution, the Italian people, and justice.

“If ‘executioner’ seems excessive to you, find an adjective that encapsulates all of these crimes against the Italian people”.

In their campaign against what they deem a fundamentally corrupt government, the M5S sees Napolitano as the source of much of the country’s ills. Their drive to impeach the 88-year-old comes from his alleged illegitimacy as president, having been elected to an unprecedented second seven-year term in April amid government gridlock. In his year-end address in December, Napolitano took a jab at his detractors in the M5S, vowing not to bow to “insults and threats”.

“I’m careful to consider any objective and respectful criticisms or reservations about my work, but I will not be influenced by slanderous campaigns, insults and threats,” he said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: ‘Organic’ Grain Fraud of 120 Mn Euros Leads to Nine Arrests

Assets worth 35 mn euros seized

(ANSA) — Pesaro, January 29 — Police in the Adriatic coastal town of Pesaro on Wednesday arrested nine people for international racketeering and business fraud in the organic food sector. The suspects are accused of falsely selling 350,000 tons of grain as “organic” in European markets worth a total of 120 million euros.

Investigators claim that the suspects’ grain sometimes contained genetically modified varieties (GMOs) or even contaminated products. Finance police seized 35 million euros in assets and 35 people have been placed under investigation. The scheme was allegedly headed by an elderly man, more than 70 years of age, from the northern Italian region of Emilia-Romagna.

Investigators dubbed him “Master Yoda” after the character in the Star Wars movie series.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Jamie Oliver Ditches British Restaurants in Favor of Italian

Eying new trattorias in Newcastle, Stockholm

(ANSA) — London, January 29 — British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver is abandoning his attempt to relaunch traditional British cuisine through a chain of patriotic restaurants and investing instead in the expansion of his Italian fare, the British press reports.

The TV chef’s company announced it is shuttering three out of its four Union Jacks restaurants, which tried to inject new appeal into British cuisine using artisanal ingredients but failed to attract enough clients.

The company will instead invest in expanding thriving business at Oliver’s chain of 30 Italian restaurants, which is based on the traditional Italian local “trattoria”.

Oliver’s company is eyeing Newcastle, in northern England, and the Swedish capital Stockholm, as locations for his next two Italian restaurants.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Netanyahu Denies His Son is Dating Non-Jewish Norwegian Woman

In the first reaction since news broke, Prime Minister’s Office says the two just study together, and are not in a romantic relationship

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denied his son is dating a non-Jewish Norwegian woman, Channel 10 reported Wednesday. In the first response since news of the purported romance between Yair Netanyahu, 23 and Sandra Leikanger, 25, made waves in Israel, an official in the Prime Minister’s Office told Shas leader Aryeh Deri that the two only study together.

The PMO denied reports in Norwegian papers that Netanyahu told his counterpart, Prime Minister Erna Solberg, that there was a romantic relationship between the two. A report in the Norwegian newspaper Dagen shows photographs of the pair posing in different locations in Norway. The two reportedly met while Leikanger was studying at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya.

In an interview Monday, Deri lamented the news, telling an ultra-Orthodox radio station, Kol Barama, that if true, Netanyahu and wife Sara would experience “great heartache.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Norway Airport Launches First Dog-Sled Taxis

One of Norway’s most northerly airports has agreed to accept ‘dog taxis’, in a drive to lure more tourists to the area. The first of the eight dog sleds picked up passengers arriving at Kirkenes Airport, Høybuktmoen on Wednesday morning, taking them on a 45-minute trek through the snow to the nearby Kirkenes Snow Hotel.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Norway MPs Nominate Snowden for Nobel Prize

Two Norwegian MPs have nominated the fugitive NSA contractor Edward Snowden for the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize. Bård Vegar Solhjell, who served as environment minister in the last Norwegian government, and Snorre Valen, a colleague from the Socialist Left Party said on Wednesday that Snowden’s “whistleblowing” on surveillance by US and UK intelligence agencies had “contributed to a more stable and peaceful world order.”

“He has contributed to revealing the extreme level of surveillance by nations against other nations and of citizens,” Solhjell told AFP, explaining his move. “Snowden contributed to people knowing about what has happened and spurring public debate” on trust in government, which he said was “a fundamental requirement for peace”.

In a letter to the Norwegian Nobel Committee obtained by AFP, Solhjell and Valen said that they do not necessarily condone or support all of Snowden’s disclosures, but praised him for revealing the “nature and technological prowess of modern surveillance”.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Norway Has World’s Priciest Big Macs Again

Norway once again boasts the world’s most expensive Big Mac, the UK’s Economist magazine has reported, with the ubiquitous double-decker burger now costing 48 kroner, or $7.8.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Norwegian Babies Get ‘Easier’ Names

Parents in Norway seem to be opting for simpler names that may be more internationally understood when their children grow up, travel abroad and communicate electronically. The new top choice for boys’ names, though, may still raise questions over its spelling.

The most common name given to baby boys in Oslo was, once again, various spellings of “Mohammad.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Political Class and Crony Capitalism: Communism Under a Different Name

The former commies and the new recruits are now the crony capitalists and the political class

I was elated but very suspicious when communism failed suddenly in Eastern Europe in 1989. I suspected that the communist elites had decided to go underground to recoup and gain the trust of the west while attempting to rebuild their ranks.

The communists’ economic system of surplus was such a dismal failure that it was necessary to hide for a while. People were starving literally and figuratively for capitalism, economic freedom, personal freedom, religious freedom, and a better life for their families. They had reached the breaking point where suffering would change into revolt.

The Romanian military finally turned against their handlers and joined the exploited and long-suffering citizens, deposing the brutal and totalitarian regime with its despised dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife Elena.

The former communist rulers and underlings scurried like rats, forgetting to destroy all the damning evidence and documents collected over decades of terror, describing the utter depravity of power and abuse against unarmed and defenseless citizens, who were tortured, imprisoned, killed, and their personal possessions, savings, guns, homes, and land confiscated.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Scottish Independence: Carney Says Scots Currency Plan May Lead to Power Loss

The Bank of England governor has said an independent Scotland would need to give up some power to make a currency union with the rest of the UK work. Mark Carney said such a move, proposed by the Scottish government, “requires some ceding of national sovereignty”. He also said the risks of not having a strong agreement had been demonstrated by problems in the Eurozone.

Mr Carney’s comments, in Edinburgh, came ahead of the Scottish independence referendum, on 18 September.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UK: Anti-Terror Police Search Magistrate’s East London Home in Toxic Chemicals Probe

Police were continuing to search the home of a local magistrate in east London today amid fears of a terror plot involving toxic chemicals. A 36-year-old woman arrested in connection with a raid at the £400,000 property in Stratford was being questioned for a third day as part of an investigation into whether homes were being used to hide dangerous material…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Fury at Protest Group’s Legal Bid to Stop Planned £17.5m Mosque in Cambridge in Which They Claimed it Could be “Front for Terrorism”

A protest group has been criticised for a legal application to stop a £17.5 million mosque being built in Cambridge, in which they claimed it could be “a front for terrorism”. Stephen Gash, of Stop Islamisation Of Europe (SOIE), and Sareeta Webra, founder of Sikhs Against Sharia (SAS), made an application for a Cambridge County Court injunction to prevent the mosque in Mill Road being built.

The application calls for a “court injunction to be served against the Muslim Academic Trust for construction of a mega-mosque”. The campaigners claim the planning consultation was not conducted “lawfully”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Man Accused Over Mosque Stabbings

A man will stand trial today charged with attempting to murder a police officer who was stabbed inside a mosque.

Mohamoud Elmi is also alleged to have attacked two worshippers who were injured during evening prayers at a mosque in Ward End, Birmingham, on June 15 last year…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Man Who Killed His Unborn Child by Tricking Girlfriend Into Taking Abortion Drug Gets 14 Years

[WARNING: Disturbing Content.]

John Andrew Welden is heading to prison for 14 years after he tricked his pregnant girlfriend, Remee Lee, into taking a drug, misoprostol, to cause an abortion. Lee was six weeks pregnant and refused to have an abortion as Welden had demanded.

Authorities say that 28-year-old John Andrew Welden did not want to be a father, so when his girlfriend, Remee Jo Lee, got pregnant, Welden faked a prescription for an abortion pill, switched a label so the medication appeared to be a common antibiotic, and gave her the drug. The drug did its job. The unborn baby died.

Now, Weldon is headed to prison.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Multiple Sclerosis ‘Linked to Food Bug’

A food poisoning bacterium may be implicated in MS, say US researchers. Lab tests in mice by the team from Weill Cornell Medical College revealed a toxin made by a rare strain of Clostridium perfringens caused MS-like damage in the brain. And earlier work by the same team, published in PLoS ONE, identified the toxin-producing strain of C. perfringens in a young woman with MS.

But experts urge caution, saying more work is needed to explore the link. No-one knows the exact cause of Multiple sclerosis (MS), but it is likely that a mixture of genetic and environmental factors play a role. It’s a neurological condition which affects around 100,000 people in the UK.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UK: Poo-Dunnit? Park Warden Calls for Police ‘Back-Up’ In Dog Foul Row

An ‘over-zealous’ park warden called for police ‘back-up’ during a row with a woman over a mystery piece of dog poo.

Amber Langtry, 35, was walking her dog with a friend through a park in Tower Hamlets, east London, when she was approached by an enforcement officer on New Year’s Day…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Show Me the Poo! Tower Hamlets Park Official Calls for Police Back-Up Over ‘Non-Compliance of Female’ Over Mystery Dog Foul

A park attendant called for police “back-up” after threatening a woman for arrest over an elusive dog foul.

Amber Langtry, 35, was walking her dog with a friend on New Year’s Day when a lone Tower Hamlets Enforcement Officer accused her of not clearing up after her pet. When she explained to the officer that he’d made a mistake and asked to see the offending evidence, he refused to show her, then pointed to a spot in the opposite direction to where Miss Langtry’s dog had been. He then proceeded to issue her with a ticket and called the police…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Tories Demand Immigration Investigation Into Labour Campaign Guru

by Isabel Hardman

Gurus are dangerous beasts in politics mainly because they tend to say awkward things (something Ed Miliband, who has Lord Glasman as his on-off guru, can attest to more than others). But the row over Arnie Graf’s immigration status, sparked by the Sun’s front page today, shows that gurus are dangerous in many, many ways. Like the Church of England discovering it was investing in Wonga while also crusading against it, it’s surprising that the Labour party didn’t think to make sure all was tickety-boo on the immigration status front before launching a tougher strategy in this area…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

African Demographic Explosion to Affect Med, ISTAT Says

‘700-800 million new jobs needed by 2055, must strengthen UfM’

(ANSAmed) — ROME, JANUARY 29 — Africa’s population is a demographic bomb waiting to explode, national statistics bureau Istat President Antonio Golini said Wednesday.

“It will grow from one billion people today to 2.4 billion people by 2055, and 700-800 million more jobs will be needed worldwide”, he told participants at the presentation of an Idos research center report titled “The Moroccan Community in Italy: A Bridge Over the Mediterranean”.

“We must have a long-term outlook on the fact that migratory pressure from sub-Saharan Africa will only become greater and stronger. It will therefore be necessary to power up the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) partnership in order to restart the economies of all area countries”, he concluded.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Algeria Arrests 60 People to End Sectarian Unrest in Southern Desert City Over Land, Water

Algerian authorities say they have arrested at least 60 people following a month of clashes between Arabs and Berbers over land and water in a southern desert city.

Ghardaia, an oasis town on the edge of the Sahara desert, has seen repeated clashes between the two groups that have left two people dead, dozens injured and many shops burned. National police were sent into the town last week to restore calm.

Berbers, the original inhabitants of North Africa, accuse local police of encouraging the Arabs. Three officers have been suspended after a video surfaced showing their alleged involvement.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Egyptian General and Policeman Killed in Separate Incidents

Both shot, officer was interior ministry advisor

(ANSAmed) — CAIRO, JANUARY 28 — Egyptian police are being targeted not only in terrorist attacks, like that on January 24 against their headquarters in the capital, but also by armed assassins. A general of the police and advisor to the interior ministry was shot and killed in Giza on Tuesday, while an officer guarding a church in the capital was also killed in a separate attack. The general, head of the ministry’s technical office, was shot by two armed men on a motorcycle when he was leaving his home, a ministerial statement published by Al Ahram Online said.

Interim Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawy said the killing would only “fuel the authorities’ determination to fight terrorism”. The police, he continued, “will keep protecting this nation no matter what”. El-Beblawy also narrowly escaped an attack on his life in September. Unidentified individuals shot at a church in 6th of October City, a satellite town east of Cairo. A police who was guarding the place of worship was killed and another one was injured, report security forces. According to initial reports, the shots were fired from a car with three people onboard.

Residents of the area were reportedly able to stop one of the attackers later, while two others fled on foot.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Egypt: Cairo: Coptic Orthodox Church Attacked. One Dead.

A group of Islamists attacked the church of the Virgin Mary: a police officer shot down in the battle. One of the assailants was apprehended by residents, the second was arrested by the police later that evening.

Cairo ( AsiaNews) — A group of armed men yesterday afternoon attacked the Coptic Orthodox Church of the Virgin Mary in the “October 6” district of the governorate of Giza. Police responded to gunfire and one officer died in the shootout, while two others were injured. The residents were able to stop the car carrying the attackers and stop one handing him over to the authorities. His accomplice was arrested a few hours later by officers. The two attackers are Mohamed Abdel-Hamid Ibrahim and Ahmed Mohamed Abdel-Rahman, both active in Islamic extremist groups.

The Coptic Orthodox Patriarch Tawadros II condemned the attack and sent a message of condolences to the relatives of the murdered policeman. Father Samir Jerome, priest of the diocese of the district, told the MCN newsagency that in the coming security measures in front of religious buildings will be stepped up. “We will also post guards in front of the smaller churches ,” said the priest , explaining that in the area there are several armed militias who “want to destroy the peace ..”

Egypt has been hit by a wave of violence since the ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood by the government following the massive demonstration of 30 million people , 30 June 2013. The Islamists have branded Coptic Christians as supporters of the new military-backed government, accused of having launched a violent campaign against members of the Brotherhood. In mid-August, a few days after the dissolution of the Islamist sit-in in Cairo, thousands of extremists attacked Christian homes and churches across the country , destroying more than 200 buildings.

The approval of the new Constitution (which replaces the Islamist one launched in 2012) has increased the Muslim Brotherhood’s subversive actions even more against the army and its supporters . Yesterday, gunmen killed Gen. Mohamed Said , a senior official of the Ministry of Interior of Egypt. The murder took place a few hours before the trial against the former president and leader of the Islamists Mohamed Morsi , currently in Cairo and one day from the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces ( SCAF ) go-ahead for Gen. Al- Sisi , Minister of Defense, to run for president.

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

Egypt: Interior Ministry Senior Official Killed by Two Assailants

Interior Minister’s Technical Office Head Mohamed al-Saeed was shot dead on Tuesday morning, the Interior Ministry said. “Two men riding a motorcycle cut off the car al-Saeed was in and shot gunfire at it in al-Haram street,” said the Interior Ministry’s statement…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Egypt Arrests 17 Brotherhood Supporters With Explosives — Interior Ministry

Cairo — The Egyptian authorities arrested 17 supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood on Tuesday for trying to block the road and riot while protesting near the Supreme Court at the same time as the trial of ousted President Mohamed Mursi…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Egypt: Morsi Trial: Hamas Rejects ‘Insulting Charges’

Charges of involvement in ‘politically motivated’ jailbreak

(ANSAmed) — GAZA, JANUARY 29 — Charges alleging that Hamas was involved in a jailbreak at the beginning of the 2011 Egyptian revolution made at a trial against ousted President Mohamed Morsi which opened Tuesday in Cairo are ‘insulting and groundless’, a Hamas official in Gaza, Salah al-Bardwil, said on Wednesday.

Commenting information according to which Hamas helped Morsi escape the prison where he was being held, al-Bardawil said such claims were ‘politically motivated’ with the aim of slandering his movement.

Egyptian accusations against Hamas, complained al-Bardawil, have been repeated over the past few months. ‘The attempt to twist the image of a resistance movement which is fighting for the honor of the whole Islamic Nation is shameful’, he said.

According to sources quoted by the local press, two leaders with the armed wing of Hamas were named in Egypt as the alleged organizers of the jailbreak of ex-president Morsi. One of them, Hamas responded, was at the time himself in jail while the other was not on Egyptian territory.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Libya: Tripoli: Interior Minister Eludes Attack

(ANSAmed) — TRIPOLI, JANUARY 29 — Libya’s Interior Minister Al Sadiq Abeld Karim on Wednesday morning eluded an attack, Lana news agency reports. According to Lana, unidentified men opened fire on the car carrying the minister to a meeting near the headquarters of the General national congress.

According to sources close to the ministry, Abdel Karim, who is also deputy premier, was unharmed and nobody reported injuries. The attackers, their faces covered, were onboard a car with dark windows, according to eye witnesses.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

A Crime Against History and Religion

“Today Jews are barred from praying on the Mount and are not even allowed to carry any holy articles with them. With Muslim observers supervising visits, Israeli police, to their shame, have frequently arrested Jews for various “violations,” such as singing or reciting a prayer even in a whisper.

“This week, a Jewish woman was arrested following claims by police and Waqf officials that they noticed she was praying on the Temple Mount. Why is it a crime for a Jew to pray to God on the Temple Mount? And why is the State of Israel complicit in enforcing this anti-Semitic rule?”

An Indian Hindu friend expressed to me his astonishment that Jews are not allowed to build their Temple again on their holiest site. He pointed out that growing up in India, people always knew that Jerusalem is to the Jews what Mecca is to the Muslims and Varanasi is to the Hindus.

Tragically, Israeli leaders are terrified of upsetting the Muslim world and this very timidity and fear allows for triumphalist and tyrannical Islam to commit unspeakable crimes against civilization and history. What do I mean by that? Consider:

What may well be one of the worst crimes against civilization is the ruthless and relentless destruction of Jewish and Christian artifacts and antiquities by the Moslem authorities, the Waqf, who were foolishly given permission to control the Temple Mount in 1967. Remember the Taliban destruction of the 2,500 year old statues of Buddha in Afghanistan? It is the same Muslim arrogance and hatred for all other religions.

The Muslims soon began using heavy bulldozers to dig up the ground in order to build yet another mosque, in addition to the two mosques Muslim conquerors built over the site of the two biblical Jewish Temples. Despite Israeli protests, they are building under the mount, and in the process deliberately desecrating tons of precious archaeologically rich soil. One archaeologist described the disturbed sites as “an archaeological crime” and an assault upon Jewish and Christian history.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Graphic Journalism and Photos Tell Yemeni Women’s Struggle

Bologna publisher Coconino releases ‘Il Mondo di Aisha’

(ANSAmed) — BOLOGNA — A reportage released by Coconino Press mixes graphics and photos to narrate the story of the silent revolution of Yemeni women for their emancipation. ‘Il Mondo di Aisha’ (‘The World of Aisha’), a 144-page work of graphic journalism published by the Bologna-based publishing house of the Fandango group, focuses on the stories of three women. The author, Ugo Bertotti, made the drawings in black and white, inspired by a story by photographer and documentary-maker Agnes Montanari, who collected the stories of Aisha, Sabiha, and Hamedda. Aisha lives in the capital, Sanaa, has a degree in computer science and works for a software company. She does not want to marry her cousin, which is what has family has asked her to do. She has a jealous boyfriend, and wears a niqab — but mainly because it ensures her freedom of movement and prevents her being looked at incessantly by men. Sabiha is a child bride, having been married to a 23-year-old when she was only 11. Though Yemeni law prohibits marriage under age 15, in the rural area where she lives tribal laws and the Sharia hold sway. Sabiha wears a full Islamic veil, but at dawn she likes to go to the window without it to feel the fresh air on her face: something her violent husband does not approve of. Hamedda, 65, was also a child bride in her time, but she managed to make the best of the situation and is now the wealthy owner of a restaurant chain. She became a widow very early on and had to find a way to get by, and hit on the idea of opening a small restaurant for soldiers. She has never worn a niqab, despite rumors going round about her as a result and gossiping behind her back. The author of the graphic novel and the photojournalist tell the stories of the three protagonists and the women around them.

“The Islamic veil makes a big impression on you Westerners,” Aisha says. “But you don’t understand that for us it isn’t that important. What is really important for us is to be able to work outside the home, teach, treat patients, engage in politics. If you wear a niqab this is more easily accepted, since men feel less destabilized.” Set up in 2000 as part of a project by Igort and Carlo Barbieri, Coconino Press has brought to Italy graphic novels and comics by authors of such international renown as Gipi, José Munoz, Jiro Taniguchi, Daniel Clowes and Davide Toffolo.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Iraq: 15 People Killed in Iraq’s Violence

BAGHDAD, Jan. 28 (Xinhua) — Fifteen people were killed and four others wounded in violent attacks across Iraq on Tuesday, while clashes and bombings continue in Iraq’s western province of Anbar, police said.

In Anbar, the army helicopters pounded gunmen who fired mortar rounds on army positions outside the city of Fallujah, some 50 km west of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, killing at least six gunmen allegedly affiliated to al-Qaida group, a provincial police source told Xinhua…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Israel’s Netanyahu Says Iran Nuclear Program Delayed Six Weeks by Deal

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Tuesday that Iran’s nuclear program would only be set back six weeks as a result of its interim agreement with the international community, adding that “internal disagreements” within the Iranian regime would not divert Tehran from pursuing its ultimate goal of “wiping Israel off the map.”

“This agreement merely set Iran back six weeks — no more — according to our assessments, in relation to its previous position, so that the test, as to denying Iran the ability to manufacture nuclear weapons, has been and remains the permanent agreement, if such (a deal) can indeed be achieved,” Netanyahu said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Obama’s SOTU Remarks and Iran’s Negotiations Jihad

During last evening’s (January 28, 2014) State of the Union speech, President Obama not only claimed “American diplomacy” had somehow “halted the progress of Iran’s nuclear program,” he peevishly threatened,

[L]et me be clear: if this Congress sends me a new sanctions bill now that threatens to derail these talks, I will veto it.

His comments represented the apotheosis of a surreal tragicomedy of U.S. diplomatic failure that has unfolded over the past two months…

           — Hat tip: Andy Bostom [Return to headlines]

Obama’s Threat to Veto the Nuclear Weapons Free Iran Act S.1881

Like many Americans and Israelis I watched expectantly last night President Obama’s State of the Union Address (SOTUS) before a joint session of Congress crammed into the House Chamber. I was looking for a reaction from the Congressional audience on the issue of the P5+1 agreement implemented on January 20th. Iran’s President Rouhani had basically told the P5+1 in a CNN interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland that the Islamic regime was not going to dismantle their nuclear program. Instead they were going to plough ahead with research and development on advanced centrifuges and would not swap the Arak heavy water plant that would produce plutonium for a bomb.

In light of these jarring comments made in Davos, Switzerland by President Rouhani at the World Economic Forum, you would have prudently thought that the President would have changed his mind about vetoing the Nuclear Weapons Free Iran Act (NWFIA), S. 1881. Obama made it clear that he was proceeding with the P5+1 deal as a diplomatic way of avoiding military action to disable the Islamic Regime’s nuclear weapons capability. A capability that according to Israeli PM Netanyahu speaking at the Annual Conference of the Institute for National Security studies at Tel Aviv University (INSS) was “six weeks away from achievement when the P5+1 deal was signed” on November 24, 2013 in Geneva.

President Obama fired a bow shot directed at NWFIA sponsors Sens. Kirk and Menendez, and 57 other co-sponsors of S. 1881, as well as the Resolution introduced in by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Minority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) supporting its passage.

Obama said:…

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

Syria Crisis: Yehya El-Kholed Warns Other Australians They Will Die if They Wish to Fight in Civil War

An Australian activist with first-hand experience of the horrors of the Syrian civil war is warning fellow Australians against travelling to the country, whatever their motivations…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Turkey: Preesident Gul in Rome Amid Corruption Scandal

Premier Erdogan under fire from opposition and imam Gulen

(by Francesco Cerri) ANKARA, JANUARY 29 — Turkish head of State Abdullah Gul on Tuesday night arrived in Rome to start a four-day visit to Italy while the political climate in Istanbul and Ankara is getting increasingly sour over Turkey’s sweeping corruption scandal which involves the government of Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The co-founder and moderate face today of the Islamic Akp party, which has been ruling the country since 2002, he is increasingly distant from Erdogan, dubbed the ‘sultan’. Ever since the beginning of the scandal, Gul has sought to bridge the distance between government and opposition — so far unsuccessfully.

The premier has rejected corruption charges denouncing ‘an attempted coup’ led by former allies with the Islamic Izmet brotherhood led by preacher Fetullah Gulen, financial players and foreign powers. In order to cover up the investigations, which also involved his son Bilal, he has removed 5,000 police chiefs and officers and 120 magistrates including prosecutors in charge of the probes, the opposition has denounced. Opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu says Erdogan ‘is ready for anything’ to cover up investigations and hold on to power. Such a strategy is a source of concern for the US and EU.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Ex-President Warns Ukraine ‘On Brink of Civil War’

Ukraine’s first post-independence president has warned the country is on the “brink of civil war”. Leonid Kravchuk, president from 1991 to 1994, urged parliament to “act with the greatest responsibility” as it debates an amnesty for detained protesters. President Viktor Yanukovych wants any amnesty to be conditional on protesters leaving official buildings and dismantling barricades.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Apostolic Vicar: Sharia as a Challenge and Opportunity for Catholics in Brunei

Mgr Cornelius Sim calls for a “creative” response to the Sultanate’s growing Islamisation. In April, Sharia law will come into force and Christians are afraid of becoming “second class citizens”, which is why they are not excluding the possibility of emigration. However, the prelate is unruffled, confident about the future of the Church.

Bandar Seri Begawan (AsiaNews) — The Church in Brunei, after seeing the country undergo a gradual process of Islamisation, must be “creative” and respond effectively “to the challenges of the present time,” said Mgr Cornelius Sim, apostolic vicar in the Sultanate, as he addressed growing concerns by local Catholics over the upcoming introduction of Sharia in April.

Although Islamic law will apply only to Muslims, it will inevitably have repercussions on Christians and other concerned religious minorities. For this reason, the prelate told Église d’Asie (EDA) that the faithful are invited to a “Eucharistic celebration at 12.30 pm next Friday”, the Muslim day of prayer, at one of the three local churches, followed by “communal fasting”.

This comes after Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah recently introduced Islamic law (Sharia) for Muslims. “By the grace of Allah, with the coming into effect of this legislation, our duty to Allah is therefore being fulfilled,” the 67-year-old sultan said.

The new dispensation includes he death penalty by stoning for adultery, amputation for thieves, and flogging for other crimes such as abortion and alcohol consumption. Indeed, the sale and consumption in public of alcoholic beverages are already banned and the authorities carefully monitor other religions.

The sultan’s family has ruled the oil-rich kingdom of 400,000 for centuries. The current office holder came to power in 1967, when he was 21. Since 1996, he has been pushing to enforce Islamic law (and punishments).

Even if his task “is not simple” with only three parishes, three priests, and no seminarian, Mgr Cornelius Sim is confident that he will be able to enrich and strengthen the life of the local Church.

Yet, he has his job cut out because the authorities are good at exerting subtle but relentless pressures. Under their prodding, the local press never misses a chance to talk about conversions from Christianity to Islam.

Still, the prelate is unruffled, waiting to see how the situation will evolve in the country, well aware though that the new rules are disturbing to Catholics.

To the extent that the introduction of Sharia is part of a more comprehensive plan of Islamisation of the Sultanate and its 400,000 residents, Christians and other minorities, according to widespread concerns, are likely to become “second-class citizens.”

This would mean that Islamic law would be enforced on Christians whenever they are involved in a crime or an offence like adultery in which the other party is a Muslim, Mgr Sims noted.

In this case, “submission” to the Muslim majority is a real danger, warns a Catholic lawyer who requested anonymity. Hence, many believers would consider “emigration” as an option.

The Sultanate of Brunei is a small country located on the island of Borneo, which it shares with two larger nations: Indonesia and Malaysia. It is a developed country and one of the richest in the world.

Malay is the official language, but English and Chinese are widely used.

Almost 70 per cent of the residents of this absolute monarchy are Muslim and ethnic Malay; 13 per cent are Buddhists, mostly Chinese; 10 per cent are Christians, half of them Catholic (70 per cent from the Philippines, 20 per cent from Indonesia, and 10 per cent from local indigenous communities); and the rest follow indigenous religions.

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

Karzai Behavior Blasted as ‘Reckless, ‘ Could Threaten US-Afghan Cooperation

The already chilly relationship between Afghanistan’s Hamid Karzai and the United States could be headed for a deep freeze as his erratic behavior threatens to undermine military cooperation in that country as the war winds down.

Karzai has lashed out several times in recent months, most recently accusing the U.S. government of plotting civilian raids in orchestrated plots allegedly drafted to destabilize Afghanistan and weaken his power. In a claim met with outrage by U.S. officials, Karzai pointed to a recent bomb-and-gun assault on a Lebanese restaurant in Kabul that left 21 people dead, including three Americans.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Malala Book Launch Halted Amid ‘Political and Police Pressure’ In Pakistan

Organisers abandon event in reminder that the young education campaigner is loved more abroad than in her home country

Pakistani academics have been forced to cancel plans to launch Malala Yousafzai’s memoir in her home province, claiming they came under pressure from local government ministers and the police…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Pakistan: Peshawar Authorities Block the Presentation of Malala’s Book. Activists: “Shame”

After a series of threats and intimidation Khyber Pakhtunkhwa authorities cancel the launch of the autobiography written by the young girl who has become the symbol of the fight against the Taliban. For activists and civil society the episode is worse than those carried out under dictatorships. Blame laid with Imran Khan, leader of the majority party in the province, who claims to be unaware of event.

Peshawar ( AsiaNews) — “ Shame, shame , shame!”: The Pakistani activist Tahir Anjum does not mince words in reacting to the decision by the provincial authorities of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to block the presentation of an autobiography by Malala Yousafzai. Last night at the the launch of “I am Malala” was scheduled to take place at the University of Peshawar’s Area Study Centre. The book was written by the young Pakistani girl who has become a symbol in the struggle for women’s education and the resistance against the Taliban and Islamist violence . However, the previous day first the provincial authorities — two ministers ( Shah Farman and Siraj ul Haq ) then police approached the director of the study center, succeeding in forcing him to cancel the event for unspecified reasons of “public order and security.” The University attempted to put up a stiff resistance, but mafia-style threats and warnings finally prevailed.

Pro human rights organizations and members of civil society promise that the event will be rescheduled in the next few days, but the bitterness remains for the abuse committed by the authorities and the blatant violation of freedom of thought. “Is this our democracy?” questioned Tahir Anjum, a reality in which “a book written by a girl cannot be presented?”. He adds that the episode “dwarfs the acts of even the most ruthless dictators” and reflects “the progressive Talibanisation “ of the country ..

The incident has aroused great indignation in Pakistan and raised a fierce debate on freedom of expression and the progressive violation of the most elementary rights. The controversy has also touched the leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e — Insaf Party ( PTI ) , founded by former cricketer Imran Khan. Organizers claim the “direct intervention “ of the provincial government is behind the cancellation. The PTI leader responded to the charges via twitter yesterday: “I am at a loss 2 understand why Malala’s book launch stopped in Peshawar. PTI believes in freedom of speech/debate, not censorship of ideas”.

However his response has failed to convince civil society and activists , furious at what had happened. Mohammad Tahseen , Executive Director of the South Asia Partnership — Pakistan (SAP -PK ) , told AsiaNews that it was “a clear attitude of politicians, who never take responsibility for their crimes.” Before tweeting, the activist adds , he “should have consulted his ministers” and spare making himself look like a “fool”. I have tried to contact the leaders of Piti on January 27 to get the go-ahead for the event, “but without success, and nobody listened to me ..”

Malala Yousafzai — award winning national youth — October 9, 2012 was the victim of a Taliban attack in the Swat Valley, a mountainous area in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa , bordering Afghanistan , a stronghold of Islamic extremists . She was shot while on board the school bus that would take her home, at the end of her morning school lessons. The young girl, saved thanks to a an outpouring of international solidarity, became famous in 2009 at the age of 11, for a blog on the local language site of the BBC denouncing the attacks by Pakistani Islamists against girls and educational institutions for women.

The northwestern border is considered a stronghold of the Taliban, so that in some areas Shariah and the Islamic Courts are active, called in to judge disputes, as well as social behaviours and morality. There are hundreds of schools — even Christian — that have been closed in the Swat Valley, jeopardizing the education of tens of thousands of students and the work of about 8 thousand female teachers.

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

Political Assassinations on the Rise in Bangladesh, With 138 Deaths in January

Human rights activists are sounding the alarm about the rise in political assassinations, particularly among the ranks of the opposition. Many murders are at the hands of the police, which has refused to comment the allegations. In 2013, nearly 4,400 people have died.

Dhaka (AsiaNews) — In an alarming development, politically motivated and extra-judicial murders are on the rise in Bangladesh.

According to police figures, between 6 January (the day after the elections) and today, at least 138 people were killed or found dead.

Of these, 32 were leaders and political activists, most of them from within the ranks of the opposition.

This continues a trend already noticeable in 2013, raising concerns among human rights activists and AsiaNews sources.

Among the latest victims, 11 are from the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), nine from the opposition Islamist Jamaat-e-Islami party, nine from the ruling Awami League and three from the Jatiya Party (a member of the ruling alliance).

The list includes a leader in the Juba League, the BNP youth wing, who was stabbed to death two days ago in his home by unidentified assailants.

The day before, three activists with the Jamaat-e-Islami and its youth wing, Chhatra Shibir, died shot by police.

Sultana Kamal, executive director of the observatory on human rights Ain-o-Salish Kendra, condemned the “targeted” killings €‹€‹by law enforcement, insisting on a “resolution of conflicts of all kinds and gravity through due judicial and constitutional process”.

The human rights group said they had recorded at least 15 incidents of extrajudicial killing this month alone.

When asked about the allegations regarding political killings, Inspector General of Police Hassan Mahmood Khandkar declined to comment. Instead, he told the New Age newspaper, “I believe the members of law enforcement agencies are performing their duties legally in conducting countrywide operations”.

Still, police figures indicate that the situation is very serious: 2013 was the most turbulent year in the last decade with 4,393 recorded murders.

And in recent months, things have actually been getting worse with at least 376 murders in September, 353 in October, 354 in November and 404 in December.

Before 5 January, the opposition was accused of involvement in acts of violence, like general strikes (hartal) and road blocks (oborodh), this according to Ashraful Alam, chairman of criminology and police science at Maulana Bhashani Science and Technology University.

Now however, even though opposition parties have not been involved in any of them since the elections, murders continue.

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

Death Toll in S. Philippine Clashes Reaches 38, Seven Others Wounded

COTABATO, Philippines, Jan. 29 (Xinhua) — The death toll in the ongoing fighting between government troops and breakaway members of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) reached 38 Wednesday, a military official said.

Col. Dickson Hermoso, spokesman for the military’s 6th Division, said the government side suffered one fatality, seven injuries while 37 on the side of Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) were killed as sporadic clashes went into the fourth day in remote town of Datu Piang in Maguindanao…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Philippines Military Offensive ‘Kills 37 Rebels’

At least 37 Philippine rebels have been killed in a two-day offensive in the south, the military says.

President Benigno Aquino said the offensive would protect villages from rebels in Maguindanao province.

The insurgents involved in fighting oppose a recent peace accord between the government and the larger Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Under the new deal, MILF rebels will hand over their weapons in exchange for self-rule in parts of the south.

But insurgents belonging to the breakaway rebel Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) say MILF compromised too much in the truce.

The group, which comprises a few hundred militants, say they will continue their uprising because the deal did not lead to a separate homeland for minority Muslims in the south.

‘Degrade abilities’

BIFF rebels have carried out several deadly attacks in recent years in a bid to derail peace talks.

Speaking to reporters, President Aquino said troops were aiming “to seriously degrade their abilities to again act as spoilers”.

Local military spokesman Col Dickson Hermoso said 12 of the dead rebels have so far been identified, with more bodies discovered in graves near a village in Maguindanao.

One soldier was killed and four others wounded in a blast outside a mosque on Tuesday, he added.

But BIFF spokesman Abu Misri has denied any deaths, saying seven insurgents were wounded in army shelling and helicopter rocket fire…

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes [Return to headlines]

Dardanup Shire to Vote on Mosque Plan

The Shire of Dardanup is set to vote tonight on an application for what could be the first mosque built in south-west Western Australia. The Islamist Association of Bunbury has submitted an application to build a mosque and a community centre in Bunbury’s industrial area of Picton East.

The nearest house of prayer for Muslims in the south-west is currently in Rockingham, south of Perth. After receiving a complaint from a neighbouring business, the matter has been referred to the council for a vote. The council has previously indicated it is in support of the plan.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

New Zealand May Vote to Take Union Jack Off Flag

PM John Key would prefer a design taken from New Zealand’s native flora

John Key, the New Zealand prime minister, has raised the prospect of a referendum to change the country’s national flag, which would include abolishing the Union Jack from its design. Taking up a debate that has simmered for years, Mr Key admitted that he would like to see a very different national ensign, favouring instead a symbol drawn from New Zealand’s native flora. “My own personal view is that the silver fern is the right way to go,” Mr Key said…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Tony Abbott: Broadcaster ABC on ‘Everyone’s Side But Australia’

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has criticised national broadcaster ABC for “taking everyone’s side but Australia’s”. Mr Abbott said the publicly-funded broadcaster should show “some basic affection for the home team”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Nigeria: Adamawa Church Attack — Death Toll Rises to 138

Yola — The death toll arising from the two separate attacks on a Church in Chakawa village, Madagali Local Government Area of Adamawa State and Kawuri village in Konduga, in Borno State has now risen to 138.

Armed men

Armed men suspected to be members of the Boko Haram Islamic sect attacked Chakawa village in Madagali Local Government Area of Adamawa State as well as the Kawuri village in Konduga, Bornro State killing innocent people…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Nigeria: Boko Haram: AGF Stalls Trial of Kogi Varsity Lecturer, 2 Others

ABUJA —- Failure of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke, SAN, to honour a hearing notice served on him by the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, yesterday, frustrated the arraignment of Dr. Mohammed Yunus, a lecturer at Kogi State University and two other alleged sponsors of a Boko Haram cell situated at Igala land in Kogi State…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Nigeria: Violence Surges After Military Declares Imminent Victory

Abuja — Violence has surged in northeastern Nigeria less than a week after new military leaders declared they would end a four-year-old insurgency by April. Some analysts say the attacks signify that a fresh military approach alone will not end the fighting…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Nigerian Bishop Tells of Church ‘Slaughter’ In Adamawa

A senior cleric has spoken of how suspected Islamist militants “slaughtered” some 30 churchgoers in north-eastern Nigeria on Sunday. The Bishop of Yola told the BBC the insurgents had locked the church and “cut people’s throats” in Waga Chakawa village, Adamawa state.

On the same day, militants also attacked Kawuri village in neighbouring Borno state, killing 52 people. Both assaults were blamed on the Islamist Boko Haram group…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Amnesty: A Disaster for the American Worker

America currently admits one million legal immigrants per year, far more than any other nation in the world. Yet when one combines the aforementioned guest workers with illegal aliens who would be granted work permits and permanent residency, the bill supported by the Senate Democrats and Obama would triple that number to 3 million immigrants per year, and 30 million mostly lower-skill immigrants coming to America over the next decade.

Sixteen conservative House members sent a letter to the president illuminating the consequences. “The White House has entertained a parade of high-powered business executives to discuss immigration policy, all while shutting out the concerns of everyday wage-earners who overwhelmingly oppose these measures,” it states. “So-called comprehensive immigration reform may be a good deal for big businesses who want to reduce labor costs, and it may be a good deal for progressive labor unions seeking new workers from abroad, but it’s an awful deal for U.S. workers — including African-American and Hispanic communities enduring chronically high unemployment.

The letter is spot on. The current official unemployment rate for Hispanics is 8.3 percent, well above the national average of 6.7 percent. And just like the average unemployment rate is completely misleading because it doesn’t include the millions who have left the labor force, so it goes for Hispanics whose workforce participation rate shrank by 261,000 in December. For black Americans, the stats are even worse. Their official unemployment rate is 11.9 percent, and their labor force participation rate of 65.6 percent is the lowest ever recorded…

The Chamber or Commerce (COC) is an equally hypocritical organization. Despite their purported alliance with Republicans, they also support comprehensive immigration reform. “We’re determined to make 2014 the year that immigration reform is finally enacted,” said COC president Tom Donohue. Toward that end, the COC has targeted the one stumbling block to that reform, namely conservative House members. As conservative columnist Michelle Malkin reveals, the COC will spend “$50 million subsidizing the Republican incumbency protection racket and attacking anti-establishment conservatives.”

Thus one is left to conclude the establishment wing of the GOP is doing nothing more than serving interests of their big business campaign donors. Townhall’s John Hawkins explains the dynamic:

“There are a lot of businesses out there that want an endless supply of cheap labor, which would be fine, except that they want everyone else to pay for it. An illegal alien with no car insurance, no health insurance, who claims he has 14 kids so he can get an earned income tax credit can work cheaper than a law abiding American. So, when the illegal crashes his car, you pay for it. When he gets sick, you pay for it. Your taxes put his kids through school. Your taxes pay the bills if he goes to jail. Your tax dollars go into his pocket when he cheats on his taxes — meanwhile, the Chamber of Commerce crowd makes so much money off of these illegals that they can afford to donate some of it to politicians like John Boehner, Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, Lindsey Graham and John McCain in order to get them to keep the gravy train going.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

DF Says: “No More Muslims in Denmark”

There are enough Muslims in Denmark and no more should be allowed in. That’s the latest message from senior members of Dansk Folkeparti (DF), the right-wing Danish People’s Party.

Their spokesperson Marie Krarup said that the time has come to completely halt Muslim immigration. “We should limit the size of the Muslim minority in Denmark,” Krarup wrote in a blog for Berlingske newspaper. Anders Vistisen, who is a candidiate for the European Parliament, agreed that the number of Muslims in Denmark should be limited.

DF’s citizenship spokesperson, Christian Langballe, was more sympathetic. “It is impractical to call a complete halt, but I think that Muslim immigration must be limited,” he told Berlingske.. The DF party believes that many Danes, especially those who live in the countryside, are troubled with Muslim immigration into Denmark. Deputy party-head, Søren Espersen, said that he does not have a problem with Islam as a religion, but is vehemently opposed to it as a political system. “They look at Sweden, France, England and Germany and do not like what they see,” he said.

Others believe that Muslims already get too many concessions as a minority in Denmark.

Karina Lorentzen, the integration spokesperson for government coalition party Socialistisk Folkeparti, told Danish media that such statements are similar to opinions expressed by the Nazi’s about Jews. “It is a sick mindset to identify all Muslims as a problem simply because they are Muslims,” Lorentzen said in a statement. “It is reminiscent of Hitler, who identified Jews as a problem simply because of their religion.”

           — Hat tip: Steen [Return to headlines]

‘Swedes Shouldn’t Accept Being Called Racist’

Former Afghan public servant Zulmay Afzali feared the “racist Sweden” other asylum seekers warned him about, but instead found kindness that confused migrants and refugees who blamed everything on racism.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

The 800,000 People Living in Britain With Little or No English

Analysis of census figures shows how most people living in Britain who do not have a good command of English do not have a job

Almost 800,000 people living in England and Wales have little or no English, with more than half not working, official figures show. A new analysis of findings from the 2011 census shows dramatic differences in the lifestyles and employment chances of migrants with a limited command of English compared with the general population.

Migrants with little or no English are 50 per cent more likely to be unemployed than native speakers and three times as likely to have no formal qualifications. The study also showed that those who do work are condemned to the lowest paid and most laborious jobs if they do not have a working command of English.

Significantly the problem is most acute among women. Overall 60 per cent of those living in England and Wales but unable to speak the national tongue are female.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Top Republicans to Call for Legal Status for Some Immigrants

WASHINGTON — The House Republican leadership’s broad framework for overhauling the nation’s immigration laws will call this week for a path to legal status — but not citizenship — for many of the 11 million adult immigrants who are in the country illegally, according to aides who have seen the party’s statement of principles. For immigrants brought to the United States illegally as young children, the Republicans would offer a path to citizenship.

But even before the document is unveiled later, some of the party’s leading strategists and conservative voices are urging that the immigration push be abandoned, or delayed until next year, to avoid an internal party rupture before the midterm elections.

“It’s one of the few things that could actually disrupt what looks like a strong Republican year,” said William Kristol, editor of the conservative magazine The Weekly Standard, calling an immigration push “a recipe for disaster.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Al Gore Once Again Suggests ‘Fertility Management’ To Fight Global Warming

Former Vice President Al Gore raised eyebrows last week when he suggested that “fertility management” was the key to fighting global warming and promoting economic development in poor countries. Gore’s comments drew criticism from free-marketeers who said his remarks amount to “eco-imperialism.”

The world is expected to have more than 9 billion people by 2075, with much of that growth coming from developing countries in Africa. This is alarming to environmental activists like Gore, who argues that “fertility management” is needed to address a whole slew of global development issues, including mitigating global warming.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

‘Masturbation Classes’ Rumour Sparks Boycott

Pupils from nursery and infant schools across France were kept home this week after their parents were sent hoax text messages warning them that teachers were to give lessons in masturbation and sex education and telling them to boycott classes.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Portugal’s Gays Protest Referendum to Annul Adoption Rights

Apeals submitted to constitutional and European courts

(ANSAmed) — LISBON, JANUARY 28 — Portuguese gay and transgender associations reacted to Parliament’s decision to call a referendum to ban adoption rights for same-sex couples by submitting an appeal Wednesday to the country’s Constitutional Court. They have also announced that they will be taking the case to the European Court of Human Rights, as they hold that the decision infringes on the rights of the individual. Parliament voted in favor of a referendum on January 17 with a narrow majority and polemics within the center-right government coalition. The measure was voted for only by the Social Democratic Party (PSD), the party of Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho, while their junior coalition partner in the government, the Popular Party (CDS), abstained. The Parliament’s decision was sent to the Constitutional Court to be assessed by Portuguese President Anibal Cavaco Silva.

The referendum aims to annul the law in force authorizing gay married couples to adopt their partners’ children.

The law on the divisive issue passed unexpectedly on May 17 with votes from the center-left, which took advantage of an unusual absence in mass of MPs from the conservative majority.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

UK: Maajid Nawaz Must be Free to Offend Muslims — And Christians Must be Free to Offend Gays

by Brendan O’Neill

Yesterday, two very striking things happened on the freedom-of-speech front. First, the campaign in defence of Maajid Nawaz, the Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate who has been harassed by an online mob of Islamists for saying he did not think the Jesus and Mo cartoons were offensive, stepped up a gear…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Yet More Sexual Insanity

[WARNING: Disturbing Content.]

One can argue that the past century has been one grand social experiment to see what life would be like if we kicked God and transcendent moral values out of the West. Well, the results are in, and it is not looking very good. When we ditch the one certain source of objective morality and absolute truth, mankind is simply left to its own devices.

We end up making things up as we go along, and everyone does what is right in their own eyes. Anything goes, and this is especially true in the area of sexuality. All boundaries are cast aside, and every kinky and bizarre thing imaginable is engaged in and sanctioned.

Everywhere we see the brave new world of unbridled sexuality. And despite what the sexual libertines say, we all suffer as a result — especially children. When we manage to foolishly convince ourselves that absolutely anything goes when it comes to sexuality, then there will always be plenty of losers.

So let me offer another handful of cases, beginning with this shocker from Italy: “Italy’s highest court has overturned the conviction of a 60-year-old man for having sex with an 11-year-old girl, because the verdict failed to take into account their ‘amorous relationship’.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

3 thoughts on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 1/29/2014

  1. In other news, Serbia wants to implement a law against jihadis going abroad. Interesting description of one of them.

    Spot the pattern?

    “before he went to Syria to become a holy warrior of the Jihad, Mirza was quite an ordinary young man who attended the Grammar School in Pazar. He has always been an excellent student and has never shown any inclination towards the radical Islam.

    That has changed all of a sudden at the beginning of the last year when he started spreading aggression in the mosque because of which he was banned from entering it. He continued spreading his ideas in a mosque in Paris and a few months later he said to travel to study mathematics. Instead he went to Syria and joined the rebels there. “

  2. enjoy the satire of this cartoon, what with is going on in France at the moment. None of the MSM are interested.

    To paraphrase a comment:

    “While we (hundreds of riot police) outrageously tear gas peaceful demonstrators, some dangerous mobsters and traffickers lead a quiet life in the suburbs and Marseille buries its dead …(AK shooting victims)”.

    Hundreds of demonstrators tried to leave at the end, got tear gassed, kettled up and rounded up by the police, detained outside in the rain for hours, no food with some under arrest for 22hours.

    Well summed up in this cartoon:

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