Gates of Vienna News Feed 5/23/2014

One in five Spanish job-seekers has not worked in five years, and 500,000 Spaniards have given up looking for work. In other economic news, in the past year Italian wages increased at the lowest rate since 1982.

In other news, José Barroso, the President of the European Commission, told Russian President Vladimir Putin that he must not allow Gazprom to interrupt the flow of natural gas to Europe.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Fjordman, Insubria, JD, Jerry Gordon, JP, Srdja Trifkovic, 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
» 27 Huge Red Flags for the U.S. Economy
» 500,000 Spaniards Have Given Up Job Hunt
» Italy: Wages Post Lowest Annual Rise Since 1982, 1.2%
» One in Five Spanish Job Seekers Has Not Worked in Three Years
» Raiffeisen Records Lower Profits After Ukraine Crisis
» Cash-Starved NASA May Have to Nix 1 Space Telescope to Save Others
» Double Mastectomies Don’t Prevent Cancer, Scientists Discover
» Jelly Genome Mystery
» Michelle Obama Would Like Students to Monitor Family Members for Racial Insensitivity
» National “Science” Standards Preach Climate Hysteria, Evolution
» Obama’s Pro-GMO Cabinet Selections
» Rep. John Conyers Jr., Longtime Lawmaker, Allowed on Ballot
» Republicans, Local Sheriff Warn Border Wilderness Zone Will Create Vast Drug Corridor
» ‘Schindler’s List’ Producer: Obama Wants to ‘Lock Up’ Foes
» The Hard Sell on Climate Change
» US Physics Strategy Collides With Budget
» VA Doctor Almost Killed Me
» VA Supervisor: Older Veterans Should be “Shot in the Head” To Save Money
Europe and the EU
» Ageing Germany Lowers Retirement Age
» Amazon CEO Wins World’s Worst Boss
» Austrian Millionaires Richer Than Ever Before
» Barroso to Putin: Russia Must Ensure That Gas Reaches EU
» CERN Inspires Entrepreneurs for Email Encryption
» Drugs and Sex Trade Set to Boost Italy’s GDP
» Dutch Syria Fighter Arrested Planning ‘Jihad Heist’
» EIB Supports Beskyd Tunnel, Linking Ukraine to the EU
» European Elections: Wilders May Have Done Better in Dutch Elections Than First Exit Polls Show
» Far-Right Fever for a Europe Tied to Russia
» France: Hollande ‘Worst’ Leader in Eyes of World’s Investors
» France: Toulouse Gunman’s Sister Believed to be in Syria
» French Military Heads Threaten to Resign Over ‘Grave’ Defence Cuts
» French Mayor ‘Castrated and Killed’ By Love Rival
» French Military Top Brass Threaten to Quit Over Cuts
» Gang Raping, “I Love Al-Qaeda” And Who is Advancing Islam?
» GM Soy Causes Deformities and Health Issues in Pigs
» Greece: Survey Says Syriza Leading by 3 Points in Local Vote
» Growing Momentum for EU Strategy on LGBTI Rights
» How the Germans Went Crazy for Witch Hunts
» Huge UKIP British Victory Sends Message of Hope to North American Patriots
» Italy: Berneschi Among ex Carige Directors Put Under House Arrest
» Italy: Rome Mayor ‘In Favour’ Of Red-Light Districts
» Italy: Rome Mayor Says He Supports Legalization of Marijuana
» Italy: Ferrero Has No Intention of Listing, President Says
» Mafia Secrets Will Make Italy’s Elite ‘Tremble’
» Scottish Nuclear Subs Show Independence Risks More Than Economy
» Sweden: ‘Powerful Blast’ Rocks Malmö
» Sweden: Man Shot in Gothenburg
» UK: Birmingham Children’s Services ‘Inadequate’ Says Ofsted
» UK: Court Reprieves Mega Mosque Threatened With Eviction
» UK: David Cameron Says He Shares Voters’ Frustration With David Cameron
» UK: Farage’s Revolution is Thatcher’s Revolution
» UK: Far-Right Groups Should be Banned From Staging Protests, Police Chief Suggests
» UK: Gang Member Jailed for Murdering Rival in ‘Western Style’ Shooting in London Car Park
» UK: Local Elections 2014 Results: Live
» UK: Limehouse Woman’s Anger at Cyril Jackson Primary School Polling Station
» UK: Learner Driver Held on Suspicion of Car-Jacking Instructor
» UKIP ‘Earthquake’ Rocks Labour and Tories in Elections 2014
» Wilders’ PVV Setback in Dutch Euro Parliament Election While Farage’s UKIP May Upend British Politics
» American Congress Launches an Incentive to Integrate Kosovo in the NATO
» Election: ‘Euroskepticism’ is Not in the Balkans
» The Chronicler of Serbia’s Decline
North Africa
» 2 Killed in Pro-Morsi Protests in Egypt
» Egypt’s Brotherhood Entrenched for War of Attrition
» Libya: Haftar Offensive Sparks New Tunisian Exodus
Israel and the Palestinians
» Gaza: EU Protest Hamas-Imposed Death Sentence
» Hamas: We’ll Use Unity Accord to Move Terrorism to West Bank
» PA Art Exhibit to Depict Palestinians as Suffering Jesus During Pope’s Visit
Middle East
» 22 Killed in Separate Violent Attacks Across Iraq
» Germany: Sick Turk Attacks Hospital Nurse Because “Too Many Crosses on Wall”
» Syria: Residents of Homs ‘Want to Start Over’
» Syrian Female Refugees on Sale on Facebook, NGOs Denounce
» Syria: Mortar Attack on Assad’s Rally Leaves 21 Dead
» Putin Says No Response From European Union on Ukraine Gas
South Asia
» India Afghan Consulate Attacked
» Indonesia: Jakarta: (Islamic) Minister for Religions Accused of Making Money From the Hajj
» Maldives — Under Sharia, The Maldives Set to Impose the Death Penalty on 10-Year-Old Children
» Thai Military Detains Former PM Yingluck Shinawatra: Senior Officer
Far East
» China: Urumqi Customs Tighten Checks on Weapons Smuggling
Australia — Pacific
» New Zealand: Imam at Centre of Mosque Ruckus Kept Under Police Surveillance
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Nigerian Military Chief Provides Safety Tips During Bomb Explosion
» UN Places Boko Haram Group on Terrorist List
Latin America
» Italy: Drone Show Comes to Rome
» Election Gift to UKIP on Immigration
» Italy Issued Record Number of Entry Visas in 2013
» Italy: Nine Presumed Smugglers Arrested in Mare Nostrum Operation
» Refugee Blames Germany for His Life of Crime
» Should Europe Open Its Borders?
» Spanish Mayor ‘Sorry’ For ‘Anti-Immigrant’ Outburst
Culture Wars
» Black Pastors: Comparing Homosexuality to Civil Rights Fight is ‘Distortion’ of History
» Group That Listed ‘Pitfalls of Working With White People’ Received DOJ Grants
» Golden Rice Fairy Tale Nothing More Than Biotech Industry GMO Propaganda
» Google Beats Apple in List of World’s Most Valuable Brands
» Mass Fish Deaths: Millions Have Been Found Dead All Over the World in the Past Month
» Perfect Match! Husbands and Wives Have Similar DNA, Research Shows
» Polio ‘Global Health Emergency’ Entirely Fabricated by W.H.O. To Sell More Vaccines Almost Nobody Needs

27 Huge Red Flags for the U.S. Economy

If you believe that the U.S. economy is heading in the right direction, you really need to read this article. As we look toward the second half of 2014, there are economic red flags all over the place. Industrial production is down. Home sales are way down. Retail stores are closing at the fastest pace since the collapse of Lehman Brothers. U.S. household debt is up substantially, and in 20 percent of all U.S. families everyone is unemployed.

In so many ways, what we are witnessing right now is so similar to what we experienced during the build up to the last great financial crisis. We are making so many of the very same mistakes that we made the last time, and yet our “leaders” seem completely oblivious to what is happening. But the warning signs are very clear. All you have to do is open your eyes and look at them. The following are 27 huge red flags for the U.S. economy…

#1 Despite endless assurances from the Obama administration that we are in an “economic recovery”, the number one concern for U.S. voters is “Unemployment/Jobs” according to a recent Gallup survey.

#2 Historically, sales for construction equipment manufacturer Caterpillar have been a pretty good indicator of where the global economy is heading next. Unfortunately, sales were down 13 percent last month and have now experienced year over year declines for 17 months in a row.

#3 During the first quarter of 2014, profits at office supply giant Staples fell by 43.5 percent.

#4 Foot traffic at Wal-Mart stores fell by 1.4 percent during the first quarter of 2014. Analysts seem puzzled as to why Wal-Mart is “underperforming”. Perhaps it is because the U.S. middle class is being steadily destroyed and U.S. consumers are tapped out at this point.

#5 It is being projected that Sears will soon close hundreds more stores and will eventually go out of business altogether…

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

500,000 Spaniards Have Given Up Job Hunt

The number of unemployed people who have given up hope of finding a job has risen by 21 per cent since 2011 and now totals almost half a million, new figures from Spain’s national statistic institute reveal.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Italy: Wages Post Lowest Annual Rise Since 1982, 1.2%

Flat between March and April

(ANSA) — Rome, May 23 — Italian contracted wages in April posted their lowest annual rise since 1982, of 1.2% on April 2013, Istat said Friday.

Wages were flat between March 2014 and April 2014.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

One in Five Spanish Job Seekers Has Not Worked in Three Years

Six years into a profound jobs crisis, and the full effects of long-term unemployment are beginning to emerge. Figures from the latest Active Population Survey show that 60% of Spain’s 6 million unemployed have not worked in a year. What’s worse is that among this group, the proportion of people who have been without work for three years or more is growing, and now stands at one out of every five job seekers, according to data published on Friday by the National Statistics Institute (INE).

The Active Population Survey shows that last year there was an average of 1,275,700 job seekers who, having been active previously, had been unable to return to the job market in at least three years.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Raiffeisen Records Lower Profits After Ukraine Crisis

Repayment of state held stake within a month, Ceo says

(ANSA) — VIENNA — Raiffeisen Bank International generated a profit before tax of € 240 million in the first three months of 2014, a decrease of € 11 million or 4.6 per cent versus the comparable period of the previous year.

The decline was due, on the one hand, to higher net provisioning for impairment losses in Ukraine and Russia because of currency devaluations, and to a notable decrease in net trading income (also resulting to a large extent from exchange rate related valuation losses from foreign exchange positions in Ukraine), on the other.

As the operating income remained practically stable year-on-year, the operating result rose by 5.8 per cent to € 590 million.

In the past few days, RBI registered a pleasing development regarding the participation capital. “Following the successful capital increase in the first quarter of 2014, RBI expects to receive approval from the Financial Market Authority for full repayment of the participation capital in the near future”, the bank Ceo Karl Sevelda said. “As a first step, we intend to repay the total amount or at least a substantial part of the state-held tranche. The FMA has notified us that the approval will be granted promptly, enabling repayment to take place in the next three to four weeks”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Cash-Starved NASA May Have to Nix 1 Space Telescope to Save Others

Hubble, Kepler, Chandra and other orbiting observatories got reprieves, but the Spitzer mission may be canceled

The decisions come at a time when Congress is tightening NASA’s budget, and about half of what astrophysics funding the agency does have goes to the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), which is being readied for launch in 2018.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Double Mastectomies Don’t Prevent Cancer, Scientists Discover

(NaturalNews) If you read Natural News long enough, you’ll notice a familiar pattern: The things we proclaim in any given year are immediately attacked… but within five years or less the exact thing we said is confirmed by scientists or medical authorities!

Case in point: We’ve been warning for years about the medical hoax called “preventive double mastectomies” which have been aggressively pushed onto women by cancer surgeons who profit from the useless procedures. Now a scientific study conducted at the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor and led by researcher Sarah Hawley has found that most women who undergo double mastectomies are driven by FEAR, not actual risk, into undergoing the procedures.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Jelly Genome Mystery

Publication of the draft genetic sequence of a comb jelly reveals a nervous system like no other.

Comb jellies, or ctenophores, look like tiny disco balls and propel themselves around oceans using specialized hairs, lapping up small prey with their sticky tentacles. “They are aliens who’ve come to Earth,” says Leonid Moroz, a neuroscientist at the University of Florida in St Augustine.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Michelle Obama Would Like Students to Monitor Family Members for Racial Insensitivity

First lady Michelle Obama is encouraging students to monitor their older relatives, friends and co-workers for any racially insensitive comments they might make, and to challenge those comments whenever they’re made.

The first lady spoke on Friday to graduating high school students in Topeka, Kansas, and in remarks released over the weekend, Obama said students need to police family and friends because federal laws can only go so far in stopping racism.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

National “Science” Standards Preach Climate Hysteria, Evolution

With the Obama administration-pushed Common Core nationalization of education sparking an unprecedented backlash among parents and teachers across the political spectrum, now would seem to be an especially bad time to foist even more radical “science” standards on American schools as well. Still, that is exactly what is happening with the “Next Generation Science Standards” currently being rolled out in multiple states. Over a dozen federal agencies reportedly helped produce the deeply controversial program, which critics say represents an attempt to indoctrinate future generations.

Without strong public resistance, impressionable young children across much of America will soon be taught, among other discredited dogma, that human emissions of carbon dioxide “pollution” are responsible for “global warming.” Also high on the agenda is convincing young children that the atheistic evolution theory — believed by just 15 percent of Americans according to polls — is not only based on “science,” but is the only explanation for life. What opponents call the “brainwashing” will begin as early as kindergarten — at least if the Obama administration and its establishment allies get their way…

The establishment backing for the radical plot, though, is hardly surprising. After all, the nationalized pseudo-science standards for K-12 education were produced by the same shadowy but powerful outfit responsible for Common Core. Known as Achieve, Inc., the non-profit is very well connected. Its current chairman emeritus, Louis Gerstner, Jr., for example, is a Bilderberg summit attendee and a member of the globalist, pro-Common Core Council on Foreign Relations.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Obama’s Pro-GMO Cabinet Selections

Obama immediately inserted attorney Michael Taylor, former Public Policy VP for Monsanto as deputy commissioner of the FDA, or the new food-safety-issues czar. He’s the poster boy for corporate-government revolving door expertise who created a legal living hell for small dairy farmers who put “no rBGH” on their milk containers during the 1990s.

Then came former director of the Monsanto Danforth Center, Roger Beachy. Obama posted him as the director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Soon after Obama placed former Iowa governor Tom Vilsackas USDA Commissioner.

Vilsack was voted Governor of the Year by the Biotechnology Industry Organization after he created the Governors’ Biotechnology Partnership. Bye-bye organic standards, hello GMOs.

Obama placed former Monsanto lobbyist Islam Siddiqui as Agriculture Trade Representative so he could push GMO exports overseas. Former biotech Dupont attorney Ramona Romera was placed as USDA’s counsel.

This is a partial administration pro-GMO list. There have been some GMO strategic administration placements from previous presidents, none of whom promised GMO labeling.

But it doesn’t matter who is president, they all serve multinational corporate America and other oligarchs, not the people.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Rep. John Conyers Jr., Longtime Lawmaker, Allowed on Ballot

Representative John Conyers Jr. narrowly escaped a political fiasco on Friday when a federal judge granted him a place on the November ballot, allowing him to survive a campaign misstep that left him hundreds of valid signatures short of the number required for his re-election petition.

Mr. Conyers, a Democrat who was first elected in 1964, found his place on the ballot at risk because his campaign failed to collect 1,000 valid signatures on petitions for re-election. What initially appeared to be a minor misstep quickly became a grievous error that threatened the career of one of the most senior members of Congress, who is a founder of the Congressional Black Caucus and the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee.

[Return to headlines]

Republicans, Local Sheriff Warn Border Wilderness Zone Will Create Vast Drug Corridor

A pending proposal from President Obama to create a vast new wilderness area on the U.S.-Mexico border is drawing criticism from Republican lawmakers and local law enforcement officials who say it would significantly impede border security.

The Obama administration is set to designate a 600,000 acre national monument in south-central New Mexico to be managed and controlled by the Bureau of Land Management, a federal agency. The designated land will be called the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument, and environmentalists have long-sought the designation.

Utah Republican Rep. Rob Bishop, the chairman of a key subcommittee, blasted the plan in a letter Monday, saying it would allow the region to become an unfettered drug corridor.

“National Parks, monuments, and wilderness areas along our southern border have become prime drug-trafficking corridors for violent criminals and drug cartels. Restrictive environmental laws within these federal corridors limit Border Patrol access and, as a result, make it easier for drug smugglers and human traffickers to move their drugs and people in and out of the United States unnoticed,” Bishop, who is chairman of the Public Lands and Environmental Regulation subcommittee on the House Natural Resources committee, wrote.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

‘Schindler’s List’ Producer: Obama Wants to ‘Lock Up’ Foes

NEW YORK — “Schindler’s List” producer Gerald Molen, who is working on a new film with conservative author Dinesh D’Souza, says he will be watching for a federal court to deliver justice when a sentencing hearing is held in the fall on D’Souza’s violation of campaign laws.

D’Souza on Tuesday pleaded guilty to one part of a federal indictment in a plea bargain that had prosecutors give up on the worst counts. He will be sentenced in September.

There have been claims the case was a politically charged prosecution from the outset. Molen said he will be among those watching to make sure politics don’t influence the sentencing.

Molen issued a statement after D’Souza’s court hearing Tuesday.

“This administration doesn’t see its opponents as dissenters but as enemies, and if they can’t refute you, they try to lock you up,” he said.

“Normally these types of offenses are resolved with fines or community service. I and the American people will be watching closely to make sure that justice is done in the sentencing portion.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

The Hard Sell on Climate Change

Media outlets continue to push a crisis scenario, and the public isn’t buying.

Global temperatures haven’t risen appreciably in about 15 years.

More and more people in the middle of America — both geographically and culturally — have come to believe either that global warming is manageable or that extraordinary efforts to slow the economy to combat it aren’t worth the cost. But that “doesn’t faze the bicoastal urban media elite,” says Myron Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

US Physics Strategy Collides With Budget

Faced with tightening budgets, US high-energy physicists have set out a research agenda for the coming decade that relies more heavily than ever on international collaboration.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

VA Doctor Almost Killed Me

Note: Numerous news sources are currently reporting on the scandal(s) within the Veterans Administration (VA). I now also find myself searching for answers with regard to my personal VA complaint. The following is my actual complaint that was recently given to the Regional Counsel of the Department of Veterans Affairs at 4150 Clement Street, Bldg. 210 San Francisco, CA 94121.

During the middle of April 2014 I filed a claim under the Federal Torts Claims Act for pain and suffering. The Regional Counsel has six months to settle my claim or to not allow the claim to move forward…

On July 23, 2013 I was in a vehicle accident. This accident left me with several medical issues. One of the resulting physical problems I faced was a severe cough that resulted in intense stomach pains, chest pains and continual dizziness for approximately four (4) months…

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

VA Supervisor: Older Veterans Should be “Shot in the Head” To Save Money

A Veterans Affairs whistleblower has exclusively revealed to Infowars that the facility at which he works has engaged in a of cover-up in response to the VA hospital scandal, while also relating the story of how one supervisor expressed his desire to see older veterans “taken outside and shot in the head.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Ageing Germany Lowers Retirement Age

German lawmakers approved on Friday a major pensions overhaul, criticised by many, including within Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition, as making little economic sense in a rapidly ageing country.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Amazon CEO Wins World’s Worst Boss

International Trade Union ‘awards’ Jeff Bezos

(ANSA) — Berlin, May 23 — Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is the world’s worst boss, according to the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).

The trade union announced Friday at its World Congress in Berlin that Bezos was the “winner” of its first poll of the World’s Worst Bosses at the culmination of the annual ITUC conference.

“Corporate power is out of control, it is intimidating governments with threats of capital flight. The greed of the 1% is of more interest to our governments than the 99%. We decided we would start exposing some of the elements of the worst boss phenomena,” said ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow. More than 20,000 voted for nine bosses who exemplified the worst behavior and abuses in workers’ rights, tax avoidance, and corporate bullying and other abuses. Bezos resoundingly won.

“Jeff Bezos represents the inhumanity of employers who are promoting the American corporate model. The message to big business is back off, you are not going to mistreat workers,” said Burrow.

Along with Bezos, Worst Boss contenders included Wal-Mart’s C. Douglas McMillon, JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, Goldman Sachs CEO Loyd Blankfein, Koch Industries CEO Charles Koch, Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-Hee, and Glencore Xstrata CEO Ivan Glasenberg.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Austrian Millionaires Richer Than Ever Before

The assets of Austria’s millionaires grew in 2013 by seven percent, to €262 billion, making them richer than ever before.

Austria’s millionaires could pay off the country’s entire debt in one shot, and still have another €20 billion left over, according to a report by the Liechtenstein investment company Valluga.

It noted that the gap between rich and poor is widening in Austria.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Barroso to Putin: Russia Must Ensure That Gas Reaches EU

Appeal to Gazprom, while Moscow is signing a deal with China

(ANSA) — TRIESTE — “Gas supplies must not be interrupted. I trust Russia will respect commitments, Gazprom is responsabile for ensuring gas deliveries, according to contracts with EU companies”. This is what the President of the European Commission José Barroso wrote in a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Barroso reminds Putin that in trilateral discussions between the EU, Ukraine and Russia concerning gas supplies, the issue of the price of Ukrainian supplies has already been addressed and Kiev’s government said they are ready to pay their debts. “It ‘s absolutely necessary that all parties continue this process in a constructive manner and they should agree on the price in order to make it reflect market conditions”, Barroso said. “As long as the trilateral discussions are still ongoing — he added — gas supplies must not be interrupted”.

President Barroso’s statements are issued while Putin is visiting China in order to sign — according to what Gazprom CEO Alexiei Miller said speaking with Itar-Tass — a 30-year Russian gas deal with Beijing. The signing between Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping took place in Shanghai and the agreement is expected to deliver some 38 billion cubic meters of natural gas a year, starting around 2018.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

CERN Inspires Entrepreneurs for Email Encryption

Three young entrepreneurs inspired by their time at CERN have launched ProtonMail, a secure email service with a sophisticated encryption system to deter would-be spies.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Drugs and Sex Trade Set to Boost Italy’s GDP

Italy’s statistics agency on Thursday said estimated revenues from drug trafficking and the sex trade will be used to calculate gross domestic product (GDP) starting next year in a move expected to boost its economic results.

The Istat agency said the calculation would also include revenues from contraband tobacco and alcohol, adding that the procedure would be “very difficult for the obvious reason that these illegal activities are not reported”.

“The concept of what is illegal activity is also open to different interpretations,” Istat said in a statement explaining the new method of calculation in accordance with new European Union rules.

The Bank of Italy in 2012 estimated the value of the criminal economy at 10.9 percent of GDP.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Dutch Syria Fighter Arrested Planning ‘Jihad Heist’

The Hague (AFP) — Dutch police have arrested a 21-year-old man who fought in Syria as he was allegedly about to commit an armed robbery “to finance jihad”, the public prosecutor said on Wednesday. The man spent six months in Syria last year “taking part in jihad” fighting President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, the prosecutor said in a statement

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

EIB Supports Beskyd Tunnel, Linking Ukraine to the EU

55 million euros to the priority railway project

(ANSA) — BRUSSELS — The European Investment Bank (EIB) is lending 55 million euros to finance the construction of a new 1.8 km twin-track railway tunnel in Ukraine on the Eastern Partnership regional network to improve transport connections between the country and the European Union.

The new tunnel, located in the Carpathian Mountains at Beskyd in south-west Ukraine, will replace the existing single-track tunnel, which is the only single track section of the line on the otherwise twin-track electrified corridor between Lviv and the Hungarian and Slovak borders. After completion, the new tunnel will add significant transport capacity at a notorious bottleneck on an international rail corridor and make it possible to cope successfully with the expected future demand.

The Beskyd railway tunnel, according to EIB, is a priority project located on the Eastern Partnership transport network, endorsed on 9 October 2013 by the Transport Ministers of the EU Member States and Eastern Partnership countries and the European Commission. This project represents an example of cooperation between the EIB and its partner financial institution the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), which is cofinancing the construction of the Beskyd Tunnel with the EIB and Ukraine.

The EIB has to date signed loans in Ukraine, including the current one, totalling some 2.1 billion euros for projects in the energy, transport and water sectors, and — indirectly through commercial banks — operations supporting SMEs.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

European Elections: Wilders May Have Done Better in Dutch Elections Than First Exit Polls Show

Geert Wilders and his right-wing, anti-euro Dutch Freedom Party (PVV) may not have done as badly in Thursday’s elections to the European Parliament as the first exit polls suggested…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Far-Right Fever for a Europe Tied to Russia

While the European Union has joined Washington in denouncing Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the chaos stirred by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, Europe’s right-wing populists have been gripped by a contrarian fever of enthusiasm for Russia and its president, Vladimir V. Putin.

“Russian influence in the affairs of the far right is a phenomenon seen all over Europe,” said a study by the Political Capital Institute, a Hungarian research group. It predicted that far-right parties, “spearheaded by the French National Front,” could form a pro-Russian bloc in the European Parliament or, at the very least, amplify previously marginal pro-Russian voices.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

France: Hollande ‘Worst’ Leader in Eyes of World’s Investors

Already suffering from record low approval ratings at home French President François Hollande is not much popular on a global level, at least among the world’s investors, a new poll has revealed.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

France: Toulouse Gunman’s Sister Believed to be in Syria

France’s Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve confirmed Friday that the government harbours “strong suspicions” Souad Merah, the sister of Toulouse gunman Mohamed Merah, has gone to Syria, where her partner is believed to have joined Islamist forces.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

French Military Heads Threaten to Resign Over ‘Grave’ Defence Cuts

French army, navy and air force chiefs and its joint chief-of-staff threaten to resign over military spending cuts, with Jean-Yves Le Drian, defence minister, warning they would render foreign operations impossible

France’s top four military chiefs have threatened to resign if the government makes more cuts to their budget, with the defence minister warning a further drop in spending would leave it “unable to conduct new operations” abroad.

The heads of France’s army, navy and air force, along with the military chief-of-staff, made the unprecedented threat at a meeting last week, according to defence sources…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

French Mayor ‘Castrated and Killed’ By Love Rival

A tiny French village in Normandy was in shock on Friday after the mayor was castrated and killed by a bitter love rival, who accused the elected official of having an affair with his partner.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

French Military Top Brass Threaten to Quit Over Cuts

The battle over further cuts to France’s military budget prompted dire warnings from the country’s defence minister and a threat from the heads of the armed forces to resign.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Gang Raping, “I Love Al-Qaeda” And Who is Advancing Islam?

A Month of Islam in Europe: April 2014

by Soeren Kern

The American Embassy in Prague is financing a new project aimed at promoting Islam in public elementary and secondary schools across the Czech Republic.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

GM Soy Causes Deformities and Health Issues in Pigs

(NaturalNews) A Danish pig farmer has admitted on national television that Monsanto’s Roundup Ready soybeans harmed his herd and he is now calling for a ban on all transgenic feed treated with glyphosate. Ib Borup Pedersen says his pigs grew ill, lost their appetite and developed diarrhea, among other symptoms, after he fed them genetically-modified (GM) soybeans treated with Roundup, a mistake he says he will never make again.

The feed switch occurred after Pedersen’s normal non-GM feed stock ran dry, requiring him to substitute GM feed instead. Almost immediately, Pedersen’s pigs began developing stomach ulcers and bloat, a side effect also seen in cows and other livestock fed GMOs. The switch also caused many of Pedersen’s pigs to lose their appetite and develop loose stools, which in turn resulted in lower milk yield.

A recent televised report on Denmark’s TV 2 OSTJYLLAND told Pedersen’s story to a national audience, explaining how the effects of GM soy and Roundup also harm reproduction. As it turns out, many of Pedersen’s GM soy-fed pigs bore piglets with birth defects and other health problems, raising questions about the validity of the safety assessments used by national governments permitting the continued use of glyphosate and GM feed products.

“It shocks me that the industry does not take the evidence of Roundup’s and glyphosate’s harmful effects more serious than it does,” stated Pedersen to reporters. “The National Institute of Animal Science already showed 25 years ago that Roundup could harm animals. But the unfortunate and incredible [thing] is that the authorities do not take this evidence seriously.”…

“We have sent some of them to Germany to be examined and they have actually been found to contain glyphosate in their internal organs, in their muscles, liver, kidneys and intestines,” explained Pedersen.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Greece: Survey Says Syriza Leading by 3 Points in Local Vote

Ahead of New Dimokratia (21%) and To Potami (6.8%)

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, MAY 23 — Two days before local runoff elections in Greece, radical left party Syriza led by Alexis Tsipras, the European left-wing candidate for EU Commission president, ranked first in preferences of Greek would-be voters, according to a survey carried out by Metron Analysis polling institute on behalf of private broadcaster Ant1, which was published on Friday.

Syriza was the top choice for 24.2% of those polled ahead of Nea Dimokratia, the center-right ruling party led by Antonis Samaras., with 21% To Vima (the river) ranked third with 6.8%, followed by neo-Nazi Greek party Chrysi Avgi (Golden Dawn) and Elia (Olive) with 6.7%, the Communist party of Greece (Kke) with 3.2%, Independent Greeks (Anel) with 2.8% and the Democratic Left (Dimar) with 2%.

According to the same survey, 78% of those interviewed support Greece’s permanence in the eurozone against 15% who would liketo go back to the old currency (the drachma), while 58% — against 38% — said they opposed early elections.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Growing Momentum for EU Strategy on LGBTI Rights

BRUSSELS — In an article earlier this week by EUobserver, four top candidates for the next president of the European Commission — Jean-Claude Juncker, Ska Keller, Martin Schulz and Guy Verhofstadt, expressed their support for an EU strategy on LGBTI human rights.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

How the Germans Went Crazy for Witch Hunts

Teacher Mike Stuchbery explains how a book published in medieval Europe led to the torture and death of thousands of women in the German states who were accused of being witches.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Huge UKIP British Victory Sends Message of Hope to North American Patriots

Tea Party voters of America, take heart!

Nigel Farage’s Ukip in Britain just went a long way in ridding the oh-so-politically correct David Cameron Tories of 105 of their seats (At press time). And there’s still another day of votes to count.

The message?

“Dave and Ed just don’t get it: By branding Ukip racists they’re damning millions of decent Britains” — Stephen Glover, Daily Mail, May 22, 2014.

Obama comrade, Prime Minister David Cameron, Labour Leader Ed Miliband and Liberal Leader Nick Clegg threw everything but the proverbial kitchen sink at Ukip trying to impact their voter turnout by branding them “racists”.

But supposedly low information voters in Britain didn’t buy the Party propaganda.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Italy: Berneschi Among ex Carige Directors Put Under House Arrest

Police move to confiscate 22 million euros in fraud case

(ANSA) — Rome, May 22 — Three former executives of troubled Italian bank Carige, including former chairman Giovanni Berneschi, were put under house arrest on Thursday on suspicion of involvement in a massive fraud scam, ANSA sources said.

The former CEO of the Carige Vita Nuova subsidiary, Fernando Menconi, was also put under house arrest along with Berneschi, the vice-president of Italian banking association ABI, who stepped down from Carige last year.

Police said they believe the scam involved the acquisitions at inflated prices of companies headed by accomplices which made it possible for 21 million euros to be taken out of Italy into Switzerland between 2006 and 2009.

They suspect that part of this money was used to buy properties in Switzerland in the name of senior figures at mid-sized lender Carige. Finance police on Thursday acted on arrest warrants issued against a total of seven people in relation to the probe, the sources said.

Police were also conducting searches in the cities of Genoa, Milan and La Spezia on Thursday and proceeding with an order to seize around 22 million euros in assets as part of the investigation. The people under investigation are suspected of offences including criminal association, aggravated fraud, money laundering and fake registration of assets. On Wednesday the banking foundation that controls the Genoa-based bank Carige sold an 11% stake in the Italian bank, well below the 15% it had planned, at a deep discount on Wednesday, sending shares in the mid-sized lender down by almost 14%.

The banking foundation made the move ahead of 800-million-euro next month aimed to beef up its weak capital base ahead of European Central Bank stress tests.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Rome Mayor ‘In Favour’ Of Red-Light Districts

Street prostitutes create ‘malaise’, Marino says

(ANSA) — Rome, May 22 — Rome’s centre-left mayor Ignazio Marino said Thursday he was in favour of creating red-light districts in the capital.

“Unfortunately it is not a decision that can be taken by the mayor,” said Marino, a medical doctor, former Senator and member of the Democratic Party (PD) of Premier Matteo Renzi. “However I would be in favour of creating areas where prostitution is allowed and areas where it is forbidden,” continued the mayor. “The pervasion of prostitution not only damages urban decorum, but it creates situations of serious malaise in some neighbourhoods,” Marino said. Brothels and red-light districts existed in Italy until 1959 when they were outlawed under the so-called Merlin law, which is still in force today.

The law aimed to give more rights to individual prostitutes but instead forced women — and, increasingly, transexuals — onto the streets, where they can be seen waiting for clients along major roads leading into big towns or cities and sometimes also along quiet country lanes. Up to 70,000 women and transexuals are currently thought to work in prostitution in Italy including many foreigners as a result of migration.

Many have been sold into prostitution by human traffickers and are forced to work the streets at the mercy of their pimps.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Rome Mayor Says He Supports Legalization of Marijuana

‘Prohibition’ ineffective insists Marino

(ANSA) — Rome, May 21 — Rome Mayor Ignazio Marino on Wednesday told a drug-policy conference that he supported the legalization of marijuana in Italy.

“I am in favour of the possibility of deregulating cannabis for medical or personal use,” Marino said at the Eighth Annual Conference of the International Society for the Study of Drug Policy.

Earlier this month parliament approved a law that overhauls Italy’s drugs laws and reclassifies marijuana as a soft rather than a hard narcotic, with lighter penalties for offenders. “In 2011, more than one million plants were confiscated in our country compared to 73,000 in France,” Marino continued.

“Organized crime still manages large portions of international traffic and there are enough reasons to reopen the debate today in Italy. “We live in a time in which reform for drug laws is necessary on an international and national level. “For Italy I personally have a very clear idea of what needs to be done: the decriminalization of marijuana should be considered a starting point because the years of prohibition have not brought any results to prevent the dramatic increase in the use of drugs. “In addition, new forms of legalization could be experimented with in medicine for people’s health but also to target organized crime”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Ferrero Has No Intention of Listing, President Says

Confectioner celebrates 50th anniversary of Nutella

(ANSA) — Rome, May 14 — Italian multinational confectioner Ferrero SpA has no intention of listing on the bourse, Chairman Francesco Paolo Fulci said Wednesday, speaking at a 50th anniversary celebration for Nutella, the hazelnut-chocolate spread that made the company famous.

The Piedmont-based chocolate-maker “has always shunned financial transactions that favor short-term profits” over product quality, Fulci explained.

Ferrero SpA reported a turnover of 7.7 billion euros in 2011-2012 and is owned by the Ferrero family. It is currently headed by Chairman and CEO Giovanni Ferrero, a grandson of the founder.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Mafia Secrets Will Make Italy’s Elite ‘Tremble’

Antonio Iovine, known as the Casalesi mafia clan’s “finance minister”, has turned state witness in a move a top anti-mafia journalist says will “make the political and business world tremble”.

Iovine has begun talking to investigators about his leading role in the Camorra mafia’s Casalesi clan, from the Caserta area of southern Italy, La Repubblica reported on Thursday.

The mafia boss was one of the clan’s leading figureheads and spent 14 years on the run before his arrest in November 2010.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Scottish Nuclear Subs Show Independence Risks More Than Economy

Down from the summits dotted with sheep and deer in the chilly waters of Gare Loch, two 150-meter-long (490-foot) gray submarines lie moored like steel whales. They are the visible part of Britain’s Trident nuclear deterrent at the naval base and arms depot built in the 1960s during the Cold War.

As Scotland prepares to vote on breaking away from the U.K. on Sept. 18, locals say the naval hardware is being ignored by the British government as Prime Minister David Cameron focuses on the economic cost of independence and threats over the currency and pensions. Should the anti-nuclear nationalists overturn an opinion-poll deficit, the arsenal would end up in a new sovereign state that wants to get rid of it.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Sweden: ‘Powerful Blast’ Rocks Malmö

An explosion by a parked car shook a Malmö street on Friday morning. While no one was injured, one witness said she was feeling more unsafe than ever in the southern city.

A woman working at a grocery story in front of the parked car said she didn’t believe the shop was the target, but added that she was worried about the increasing crime in the city. “It feels really unsafe here in Malmö,” she told the Sydsvenskan newspaper. “It’s getting worse and worse. Someone broke into my house last week, and now this.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Sweden: Man Shot in Gothenburg

A man has been taken to hospital in Gothenburg after a shooting in Backa on Friday afternoon.

A large number of police officers are in place in Backa after reports of gunfire near Selma Lagerlöf square. A man was taken to hospital but it is not known if his injuries are serious.

It is less than a week since the murder of a man in Backa. The dead man had a leading position in one of the gangs that are involved in an ongoing conflict in Gothenburg.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UK: Birmingham Children’s Services ‘Inadequate’ Says Ofsted

Serious failures in Birmingham’s Children’s Services are continuing to leaving young people at risk, Ofsted has found.

Over three months, the cases of nearly 150 children were closed due to a lack of social workers, a report by the watchdog said. The department has been rated inadequate since 2009. Birmingham City Council said it “accepted and welcomed” the report and was working to address the issues…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Court Reprieves Mega Mosque Threatened With Eviction

The controversial West Ham mega mosque, which was threatened with eviction by Newham Council has won a reprieve from the Master of the Rolls.

A council injunction ordering the demolition of the mosque has been suspended until Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles, takes a decision on Newham’s planning application for the site…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: David Cameron Says He Shares Voters’ Frustration With David Cameron

by Mark Steyn

David Cameron says he shares the “frustration” of voters who backed Nigel Farage’s party after Ukip surged to victory in councils across the country.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UK: Farage’s Revolution is Thatcher’s Revolution

by James Delingpole

Nigel Farage has often cast himself as the “Heir to Thatcher.” Today he and his party demonstrated it, not so much in the votes they have attracted from disgruntled Tories as in the ones they got from working class voters in northern constituencies like Rotherham and Sunderland, and also in the epicentre of the Thatcher revolution, Essex…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Far-Right Groups Should be Banned From Staging Protests, Police Chief Suggests

Far-right groups should be banned from staging protests because each one costs up to half a million pounds to police, a senior officer has said.

South Yorkshire Chief Constable, David Crompton, said the money could be better spent on other issues and he urged the Government to make more funds available or consider changing the law.

The English Defence League has staged three major protests in Rotherham over the last 18 months and Mr Crompton said the cost of ensuring such events pass off smoothly was having a major impact on his Force’s budget.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UK: Gang Member Jailed for Murdering Rival in ‘Western Style’ Shooting in London Car Park

A gang member has been jailed for life after gunning down one of his rivals in a ‘Western style’ shooting in a north London car park. Natneal Tesfay, 21, must serve a minimum of 27 years in prison after shooting dead 19-year-old Mohammed Hussein in Edmonton on the evening of April 1 last year…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Local Elections 2014 Results: Live

Live coverage of results from local elections, as Ukip take seats from Labour, Tories and Liberal Democrats

11.50 Nigel Farage indicates he won’t run in Thurrock, saying Essex parties won’t have him as a candidate as he “isn’t one of them.” It’s always been thought he’ll run in his home county of Kent — possibly Thanet South.

He said the town would be “quite high on the list” of target seats, but asked if he would be an MP in the area, he replied: “No, that’s not for me to do. These local branches… the point about Essex is, yes, the public are receptive to us but we have got good, local voluntary structures here and that was what the Lib Dems built up during the 1990s. I would have thought that if I put myself up in Essex to stand the local Ukip branches would reject me on the basis that I wasn’t one of them.”

He disagrees that Ukip don’t win in London because voters are “educated”. It’s because the party’s voluntary structure is a year behind, but it can catch up.

Asked if it’s a protest vote, he said: “The political class has been comforting themselves it is a just a protest vote, it will go away. It looks like a fairly permanent protest vote.“…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Limehouse Woman’s Anger at Cyril Jackson Primary School Polling Station

A Limehouse resident who cast her vote on Thursday told the East London Advertiser she was not happy with voting irregularities she claims she witnessed at her polling station.

Janet Digby-Baker, OBE, of Threecolt Street, Limehouse, visited Cyril Jackson Primary School to mark her ballot. She said she was there for less than five minutes and in that time saw three different couples enter the individual polling booths together…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Learner Driver Held on Suspicion of Car-Jacking Instructor

A learner driver has been arrested on suspicion of car-jacking his instructor in the middle of a lesson after a row broke out over payment. The 22-year-old was picked up by police from his home address in Erdington just before 6am this morning (May 23) in connection with the robbery in Handsworth’s Church Lane yesterday afternoon…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UKIP ‘Earthquake’ Rocks Labour and Tories in Elections 2014

Nigel Farage’s party has taken dozens of council seats from the Tories and Labour, dominating the south and making serious inroads in Labour’s northern heartlands

Ukip’s “political earthquake” has rocked the Conservatives and Labour, with Nigel Farage’s party taking dozens of seats from Britain’s main parties. Mr Farage’s party has taken dozens of council seats from the Tories and Labour, dominating the south and making serious inroads in Labour’s northern heartlands…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Wilders’ PVV Setback in Dutch Euro Parliament Election While Farage’s UKIP May Upend British Politics

After the close of polls in the Netherlands at 9PM CET, the results of the Dutch European Parliamentary elections were announced. Unlike the 2009 European elections when the Freedom Party (PVV) had come in second, this time with a low turnout-less than 37.5 percent- the PVV took fourth place with 12.3 percent of votes cast. This despite polls in the run up showing the PVV in contention to take the lead. The Dutch and UK press will tout the majority of pro-EU slates elected in the Dutch 2014 elections. Unlike the rest of EU member countries in the Strasbourg European Parliament elections, Dutch voting law requires announcement of results on the day elections are held. The rest of the EU countries will wait to announce results on Sunday following the conclusion of balloting.

The UK Telegraph report on the Dutch European Parliament elections noted the “confounding” results:…

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

American Congress Launches an Incentive to Integrate Kosovo in the NATO

House of Representatives at the American Congress wants the American administration to work with the institutions of the Republic of Kosovo to prepare the country for its inclusion in the NATO Peace Partnership program. The incentive comes in the framework of the 2015 budget law of the Department of Defense.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Election: ‘Euroskepticism’ is Not in the Balkans

In Slovenia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Romania critics but no hostility

(by Franco Quintano) (ANSA) — BELGRADE — The populist and anti-European forces that characterize the political climate in several countries of the EU and that are troubling the Union, which is waiting for the outcome of the election on Sunday night, do not have a great resonance in the Balkans. In this area, Euroscepticism has not yet merged with political parties which are openly hostile to the EU and to the Euro.

In Slovenia , Croatia, Romania and Bulgaria, some dissatisfaction and criticism against Brussels can obviously be recorded , but this discontent has not turned into a visceral anti-European attitude which is widespread in other countries.

In Slovenia (EU member country since 2004, with 8 MEPs in Strasbourg), in spite of the ongoing economic crisis , the majority of the parties are consistent with to the great European political families, and there are no political movements which are openly hostile to the EU .

Perhaps the most critical position towards the Union is represented by the radical right wing party, the Slovenian National Party led by Zmago Jelincic, which is close to the Alliance of European nationalist movements.

Electoral polls , however, give Jelincic little chance. In neighbouring Croatia (last entry into the EU in July 2013, 11 MEPs ) all parties are in favour of remaining in the EU, although there is a wide debate on the ability of a fragile Union EU to push and encourage a country which has just entered the EU.

Among the most anti-Brussels politician of Brussels is Ruza Tomasic, leader of the Party of Croatian law, which sided with the conservative front. In Bulgaria (in the EU since 2007, 17 MEPs) , despite being the poorest country in the EU , the polls indicate that a majority of the population (65%) believe in the positive effects of EU accession.

The Bulgarians are confident that Brussels will help them fight against corruption, crime, high cost of living, monopolies. A similar situation can be recorded in Romania (EU member since 2007, 32 MEPs); even though enthusiasm for the vote is not excessive — only 30% is expected to go to the polls — there is a clear anti-European sentiment. On the contrary, Europe is still seen as a big chance against corruption and differences between the Balkans and Western countries.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

The Chronicler of Serbia’s Decline

By Srdja Trifkovic

Serbia’s foremost writer Dobrica Cosic (Dobritsa Chossich) died in his sleep on May 18 at the age of 93. He was a complex man with an interesting life. A Partisan commissar during World War II and a Communist Party senior oficial and approved writer until the early 60’s, by the end of that decade he was an increasingly open dissident and, finally, a merciless critic of Titoism.

Cosic’s influence on modern Serbian politics and culture, especially in the decade of national revival after Tito’s death, was immense. He insisted that he wanted to be remembered as a writer, however, and not as a public or political figure.

Cosic was removed from the Central Committee in 1968 because he criticized the communist party’s (which is to say, Tito’s) inability or unwillingness to confront the problem of rising Albanian separatism in Kosovo. His final break with the regime came in 1970, when he delivered his commencement address before the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts in which he stated that “the Serbian people have been winning wars and losing peacetimes” — a heretical thing to say in Tito’s Yugoslavia.

That leitmotif had dominated Cosic’s writings and public utterances for the second half of his long life. He died a deeply disillusioned man, who saw Serbia’s tribulations in the twentieth century as one long and ultimately futile tragedy. “Kosovo is lost,” he declared in his final interview, published only three weeks before he died. “Whether that loss is final we don’t know. But fighting wars is over for the Serbs. We have neither the demographic nor the moral potential to fight…”

For a year in 1992-93 Cosic reluctantly served as the first president of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia-Montenegro) — “things happen in life that cannot be avoided,” he said after being encouraged by international mediators to accept the post — but was replaced after clashing with Slobodan Milosevic at a negotiating session in Geneva. Sympathetic to Milosevic in the early years of his rise, Cosic later blamed him for being an unreformed communist-Titoist who was not personally committed to defending national interests. He nevertheless saw Milosevic as a tragic figure, and believed that he was “effectively murdered” at his prison cell at The Hague.

As a writer Cosic will be remembered primarily for his monumental tetralogy, A Time of Death, which chronicles Serbia’s ordeal in the First World War through the lives, and deaths, of a host of characters — real and imaginary — caught in the whirlwind of history. (That magnum opus will be republished next month to mark the 100th anniversary of the war.) Over the past decade he also wrote several books of political faction, including A Time of Power, a best-selling account of the nomenklatura’s corruption in Tito’s Yugoslavia…

           — Hat tip: Srdja Trifkovic [Return to headlines]

2 Killed in Pro-Morsi Protests in Egypt

CAIRO, May 23 (Xinhua) — At least two people were killed and three others injured on Friday in clashes between supporters of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi and police during pro- Morsi marches in Egypt’s Fayoum, some 85 km south of the capital Cairo, state-run Ahram news website reported…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Egypt’s Brotherhood Entrenched for War of Attrition

Cairo (AFP) — Unbowed by a savage crackdown, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood promises a war of attrition against the army chief who ousted it from power and appears certain to win next week’s election.

Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the now retired field marshal who overthrew Islamist president Mohamed Morsi and the frontrunner in the May 26-27 presidential election, has pledged to wipe out the movement.

Since Morsi’s overthrow in July, he has been arrested along with the leadership of his Brotherhood. More than 1,400 people have been killed, mostly Islamists in clashes with police. Across the country the tightly knit Islamists are adapting and even radicalising.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Libya: Haftar Offensive Sparks New Tunisian Exodus

Thousands flee over Ras Jedir border crossing

(ANSAmed) — ROME, MAY 23 — Fleeing a military offensive by renegade general Khalifa Haftar, some seven thousand citizens of Tripoli and Benghazi have poured over the border at the Ras Jedir crossing into neighboring Tunisia, Radio Mosaique reported Friday. While many Libyans reportedly use that crossing in quest of better health care facilities in Tunisia, the numbers have jumped since Haftar went on the warpath on May 16, vowing to rid his country of Islamist terrorists once and for all.

Once the most-used crossing for civilians fleeing the 2011 civil war that toppled former dictator Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, Ras Jedir has been a site of attrition between the two countries ever since, with sometimes fatal clashes between Libyans and Tunisians living along the border, as well as tensions over the capture of smugglers of both nationalities by each other’s border police.

It has been shut down and reopened several times since the beginning of the year, with bilateral security talks taking place each time.

The Tunisian National Guard has moved to the area to monitor the situation since Haftar’s offensive began, while online, some Tunisians are reportedly calling for the government to shut down the crossing to prevent a repeat of the logistical nightmare of 2011, when some 20-30,000 Libyan refugees crowded into a refugee camp at Ras Jedir with capacity of 10,000.

And while according to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) there were just over 5,000 refugees originating from Libya as of January 2013, unofficial sources said some two million Libyans have settled in Tunisia since the civil war, including a sector of the bourgeoisie that made its money under Gaddafi and is spending its ill-gotten gains in a golden Tunisian exile.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Gaza: EU Protest Hamas-Imposed Death Sentence

Local NGO, illegal because not submitted to Palestian president

(ANSAmed) — RAMALLAH, MAY 19 — A new death penalty issued by a Hamas military court in Gaza has attracted criticism on behalf of a local NGO and from European Union representation.

In recent days, the military court in Khan Younis (Gaza) sentenced a man found guilty of murder to death by firing squad execution. His accomplice was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment with forced labor.

As in other similar occasions in the past, the EU mission has called the death sentence “cruel and inhuman”. And it added that “it fails to provide deterrence to criminal behaviour, and represents an unacceptable denial of human dignity and integrity”.

The office of the EU mission has thus asked Gaza authorities to put in moratorium on the judgment as had already been done by the Palestinian Authority for similar verdicts in the West Bank.

Expressions of condemnation also came from the Palestinian NGO Palestinian Center for Human Rights PCHR — Gaza, according to which punishment by execution in the Gaza capital violates the Palestinian law, as Hamas normally does not submit to the ratification of State of Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Hamas: We’ll Use Unity Accord to Move Terrorism to West Bank

by Khaled Abu Toameh

The international community does not seem to be listening to what Hamas is saying. Hamas is telling everyone not to believe Abbas when he say that the Palestinian Unity Government will renounce violence and recognize Israel’s right to exist.

“The reconciliation will actually consolidate the resistance … from one intifada to another until the liberation of Palestine.” — Khaled Mashaal, leader of the Hamas political bureau.

“Who is this crazy guy who would be able to go to the resistance groups and ask them to hand over their weapons?” — Mahmoud Zahhar, senior representative of Hamas.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

PA Art Exhibit to Depict Palestinians as Suffering Jesus During Pope’s Visit

Yet another incident of Palestinian Authority officials co-opting history and misrepresenting Jesus as a Palestinian.

( The Palestinian Authority-sponsored Palestinian Museum has commissioned an art exhibit featuring famous pieces of art of Jesus’s suffering modified to depict Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.

According to the museum, the images will be on display in Manger Square in Bethlehem during Pope Francis’s upcoming visit in order to highlight “the tension between the popular image of the Holy Land and Palestine’s ongoing history of suffering under occupation and oppression.”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

22 Killed in Separate Violent Attacks Across Iraq

BAGHDAD, May 22 (Xinhua) — Twenty-two people were killed and 24 others wounded in separate violent attacks across Iraq on Thursday, police and medical sources said.

In northern Iraq, gunmen broke into a house of a policeman in south of the city of Mosul, and shot dead the policeman, his brother and one of his relatives, before they fled the scene, a local police source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Germany: Sick Turk Attacks Hospital Nurse Because “Too Many Crosses on Wall”

A 34-year-old went to St. Joseph Hospital early on Saturday morning due to a “gastro-intestinal flu.” Suddenly he refused to be treated, because he thought there were too many Christian crosses on the wall.

Because of the crosses, the man started insulting the nurse, calling her a bitch, fascist, and the like. Then the man, according to police report, also started becoming physically aggressive. The hospital called the police. The officers seized the man in front of the hospital and checked him.

The man could not present any identity papers. In a review in the office, it turned out that the man had been unemployed for a long period and had lost his Turkish passport.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Syria: Residents of Homs ‘Want to Start Over’

Father Naaman, attempts to rebuild amid the rubble

(ANSAmed) — HOMS/ROME — Rubble reigns supreme in this former bastion of the anti-regime rebellion, now once more in the hands of the regime. The pasts and memories of its inhabitants have meanwhile been swept away by the violence. “And yet, among the thousands of Homs residents that are returning to the city after the truce and the rebel withdrawal from the Old City, there is an incredible desire to start over,” ANSA was told via telephone by Father Michel Naaman, Syrian Catholic priest that on Wednesday officiated over mass for the first time in three years in the Holy Spirit Cathedral of Homs. The photos show a few dozen worshipers in a nave cleaned up as much as possible but with damage done by the war and bombings still visible. Stones are strewn about, the glass has been blown out of the windows and the benches have disappeared. Father Michel said that work is being done on public places to render them fit for use once more. In less than 48 hours after the truce, excavators and volunteers had removed piles of rubble in Watch Tower Square, the symbol of the city, and planted small trees and flowers in the central garden. A few days before in the Orthodox church Um Alzunnar, which was set fire to by the rebels, a mass of thanksgiving was held in which both Christians and Muslims took part, “an enormous crowd”. On Friday the inhabitants of Homs gathered for the weekly community prayer in the large Khalid Ibn Al-Walid mosque, closed for restoration. The Muslim place of worship is still standing, but barely. Father Michel was one of the local dignitaries that negotiated an agreement calling for the rebels — who had been besieged in the Old City for the past three years under regime bombardment — to lay down their weapons and be evacuated to Al-Dar Al-Kabira, which is still in the hands of Islamist opposition forces. “There is an area of the modern part of the city, Al-Waar, that is still under rebel control. We are trying to reach an agreement for them to withdraw from that area as well, where over 100,000 people used to live,” said Father Michel. Despite the air of hope, the desire for normality of those returning to the city, and the infectious enthusiasm of so many young Christian scouts, the situation is still extremely difficult, he noted. Many homes and roads have been mined, and on Thursday one young man and a few policemen were killed. There is also the problem of looting: there have been clashes between rival groups seeking to steal whatever they can. “Religion has nothing to do with it, these are delinquents that are willing to kill for anything at all. I don’t even know what could be left in the destroyed homes of the displaced.” Homs, which had a pre-war population of over 800,000, was in 2011 the symbol of the uprising against the regime under Bashar Al-Assad. The situation degenerated rapidly with the entrance onto the scene of the Al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat Al-Nusra, which took over the Old City. Most of the population fled to the mountain villages in the surrounding region. Over the past three months, only about thirty civilians had been left alongside the rebel fighters in the Old City, including a brother and sister, Ayman and Zeinat Akhras: two Christians, who to survive were forced to eat leaves. “Those from the cemetery, with a bit of oil and spices, were the best,” they told CNN The Dutch Jesuit Frans van der Lugt chose not to leave the city, either, and was killed only a few days before the truce came in. His tomb is now a place of pilgrimage. Local Christians say that rebel fighters were the ones to kill him.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Syrian Female Refugees on Sale on Facebook, NGOs Denounce

Young women, including minors, on marriage sites

(ANSAmed) — BEIRUT — A few thousand euros are enough to buy Syrian women, including minors, who have fled their war-torn country and are living in refugee camps, Arab human rights groups have denounced.

The groups are sounding the alarm on the plight of women who are on sale as “Syrians up for marriage” on Facebook.

This phenomenon is not new. Last year, reports alleged that Syrian women living in refugee camps in Jordan, Turkey and Iraq had been sold to men from Arab countries, in particular from the Gulf area. Rights groups also denounced cases of violence and sexual harassment in which victims were as young as 12 and 13 years of age.

The Facebook page publicizing Syrian refugees who could be bought as wives was closed on Thursday after hundreds of activists and human rights’ lawyers protested. But it had thousands of followers between May 17-21 including prospective clients interested in the women who were portrayed with little on. Some posts showed the picture of women “looking for a husband” with a brief profile on their chastity and their ability in domestic work.

But to get a better insight into the “goods” on sale, men had to send an email to start negotiations. According to Arab NGO Kafa, which has repeatedly denounced the phenomenon, clients mostly hail from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, as well as Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt, Algeria, Yemen and Bahrain.

Among the announcements was one publicizing “refugee girls of all ages and religious confessions” to satisfy all applications from Sunnis, Shiites and Christians in a climate of growing religious polarization.

“You can marry legally or secretly”, read the Facebook page.

According to Syrian activists with the “Refugees, not slaves” group in Jordan, where hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees live in overcrowded refugee camps in the north and the main urban centers, local papers publish many prostitution adverts of Syrian and Arab women.

The phenomenon is also widespread in Lebanon, where there are no official refugee camps but where over a million Syrians have fled. There are no criminal groups behind this growing trend: often victims’ families are involved or sometimes they are “encouraged” by local NGOs distributing humanitarian aid in camps, which have access to the most desperate cases.

According to reports from Iraqi Kurdistan and Jordan, women are even sold in mosques after negotiations between parents and aspiring husbands. The mediators, often women, earn at least 50 euros to organize the meeting. And if the two perspective spouses reach an agreement the price can be as high as 3,000 euros, or about 10% of the deal.

Weddings are mostly just a means of having sexual intercourse with a virgin and subsequently divorce her in just a few days with everything taking place “legally”. Victims thus cannot report their “husbands” and face further social humiliation.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Syria: Mortar Attack on Assad’s Rally Leaves 21 Dead

Beirut: A mortar shell struck an election gathering in southern Syria for President Bashar Assad, killing a number of people, state media and opposition activists reported on Friday…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Putin Says No Response From European Union on Ukraine Gas

Russian president says Western sanctions will ‘boomerang’

(ANSA) — St. Petersburg, May 23 — Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday that Moscow has received no answers yet from the European Union on the question of Ukraine’s energy debts.

“We have received no response from the EU on the issue of Russian gas payments on the part of Ukraine,” Putin said during an economic forum in St. Petersburg. Russia claims that Ukraine owes hefty amounts to Gazprom, the Russian energy giant, for natural gas deliveries.

Meanwhile, Kiev says that Russia is now demanding Ukraine pre-pay is natural gas bills beginning in June.

That could also affect gas deliveries that move through Ukraine to other parts of Europe.

Europe imports about half of its natural gas from Russia. Both Ukraine and European Union leaders have urged Russia not to use the energy supply as a weapon.

Putin also defended Moscow’s decision to annex the Crimea region of Ukraine in March, saying that action “averted tragedy” as he said the country is moving into civil war.

Separatist groups in Eastern Ukraine have been pressing Russia to annex more parts of the country, creating tensions with Kiev.

The Russian president also warned that Western sanctions against Russian figures and businesses in retaliation for the annexation of Crimea will have “a boomerang effect” that will hurt the West.

The sanctions have also “worried” foreign companies that have invested in Russia, said Putin.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

India Afghan Consulate Attacked

Firefight lasts several hours

(ANSA) — Rome, May 23 — Gunmen attacked the Indian consulate in the western Afghan city of Herat Friday.

At least three attackers stormed nearby houses to fire on the compound with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades, police said.

The gunmen were killed in a firefight with security forces that lasted several hours, officials added. Afghanistan has seen a surge in attacks in recent weeks as foreign troops begin to withdraw from the country.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Indonesia: Jakarta: (Islamic) Minister for Religions Accused of Making Money From the Hajj

Anti-corruption Commission is investigating Suryadharma Ali, a high-profile member of President Yudhoyono’s government and the most important Islamic party, the PPP. He skimmed money from visas and the organization of pilgrimages to Mecca. No links to the presidential campaign, but the political implications are inevitable.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) — Another corruption scandal has shaken Indonesian politics and civil society, inflaming the campaign for the presidential elections — slated for July 9 — which will see the country choose the new head of state.

This time anti-corruption commission (KPK) is investigating Suryadharma Ali, the current minister for religious affairs and president of the most important pro-Islamic party, the United Development Party (PPP). He is believed to be involved in a corruption in funding for pilgrimages to Mecca (Hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam and ritual that every Muslim should perform at least once in their lives). The KPK leadership denies there is any link between the case and the political battle ahead of the vote in July. “It an investigations like any other- a statement declares- to enforce the law”. Sources close to the investigation speak of “ solid” evidence against the politician.

As the most populous Muslim nation in the world, Indonesians are the greatest number of pilgrims to travel each year to the holy places of Islam. The journey to Mecca — although religious in nature — has become a source of billon dollar revenue for those involved in organizing pilgrimages and visas. As the demand increases so has the waiting list for permits to visit Saudi Arabia. The charges against Ali are a slap in the face to the image of the Muslim country and his ministry for religious affairs, which is tasked with overseeing procedures for the estimated 211 thousand people who Saudi Arabia permit to enter each year, out of a number of requests that exceeds 500 thousand.

If you are “lucky”, it may take years before you get your visa for a pilgrimage to Mecca. That is why, thousands choose to shorten the waiting time through a “shortcut” and a sum of money to be invested in what is called “the Hajj Plus Package”. This ensures a better treatment, superior facilities and comforts unknown to most pilgrims. However, this complex operation also hides incidents of corruption and malfeasance ..

In addition to being president of the most important moderate Islamic party, Ali is a key ally in the coalition led by the Gerindra Party and its former leader, general Prabowo Subianto, currently in the running for the highest office of the State. Overnight, a group of investigators raided the Ministry offices in Jakarta, looking for more evidence . So far the Minister has declared he will not resign, despite the investigation of corruption against him.

Another blow to the leadership of outgoing President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who has already seen leading figures of the executive arrested in recent months; well-informed sources report that the president could ask the minister to take a step back , thus avoiding having to take personal responsibility to oust him.

Over the past three years, the Anti-Corruption Commission has carried out a series of successful operations across the country, bringing down high profile public figures in sensational cases of corruption that have involved various sectors including the justice system, politics and the economy. Their victims include a prominent minister of the Executive Board and the President of the Constitutional Court, the oil scandal and intrigues that led to the re-election of former Governor of the Central Bank . Moreover, the issue of corruption will be one of the key issues in the general elections in April and presidential elections in October.

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

Maldives — Under Sharia, The Maldives Set to Impose the Death Penalty on 10-Year-Old Children

Internet activists launch a campaign against Sharia, which came into effect on 27 April. If convicted of murder, even children will receive the death sentence, which will be enforced when they reach adulthood after years on death row. Both the UN and the EU condemn the decision.

Malé (AsiaNews/EDA) — Activists and Internet users have started an online campaign, calling for a boycott of travel and tourism in the Maldives, one of the world’s favourite destinations for lovers of the sea, which began enforcing Islamic law in the country on 27 April.

Under Sharia, the death penalty will apply to children involved in murder.

President Abdulla Yameen announced the draconian step after he come to power last 17 November to save Islam and enforce Sharia.

The decision effectively ends a 60-year moratorium on executions. The last one was carried out in 1953.

In the Maldives, people are now criminally responsible for their acts starting at the age of ten. In some cases like theft, fornication, consumption of alcohol and apostasy, the age limit drops to seven.

In the case of murder, the sentence cannot be carried until the culprit reaches the age of 18. This means that children have to remain incarcerate on death row until the age of 18.

Despite condemnations from top United Nations and European Union officials for the reintroduction of the death penalty, President Yameen, as justification for the move, said that “Murder has to be punished with murder”.

The Republic of Maldives is an archipelago of more than 1,110 islands and atolls in the Indian Ocean, south-west of India, with a population of little more than 350,000 people.

Considered a holiday paradise, it does not allow freedom of worship and Sunni Islam is the state religion.

In 2008, a constitutional amendment also denied non-Muslims the right to be Maldivian citizens.

Alcohol beverages and pork products available only at the airport and resorts employing only foreign workers.

“Idols” from other religions are also not allowed into the country.

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

Thai Military Detains Former PM Yingluck Shinawatra: Senior Officer

(Reuters) — Thailand’s military government detained on Friday former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and members of her family after summoning her and other ministers for talks a day after the military seized power from her caretaker government.

“We have detained Yingluck, her sister and brother-in-law,” a senior military officer told Reuters. The two relatives have held top political posts. “We will do so for not more than week, that would be too long. We just need to organize matters in the country first,” said the officer, who declined to say where Yingluck was being held.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

China: Urumqi Customs Tighten Checks on Weapons Smuggling

URUMQI, May 23 (Xinhua) — Urumqi, capital of northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, has tightened security checks at entry ports to curb weapons smuggling, the city’s customs authorities told Xinhua on Friday…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

New Zealand: Imam at Centre of Mosque Ruckus Kept Under Police Surveillance

The man at the centre of a mosque battle in Auckland has allegedly been monitored by police for potential terrorist allegiances. The Weekend Herald can reveal that Abu Abdulla, an imam who has been banned from the Avondale Islamic Centre, is Mohamed Abu Hamam. Mr Abdulla confirmed he also goes by the name of Hamam, but did not know if he was the person named in a United States Embassy warning in 2005.

The Federation of Islamic Associations in New Zealand said it was made aware in 2011 of Mr Abdulla’s other identity and extremist preaching. Reports on potential terrorist activity here, including warnings from police to US officials in a cable released by WikiLeaks in 2010, named “Hamam” as a person monitored by the police. “The New Zealand Police recently provided information indicating some New Zealand Muslims have fought in Afghanistan, Bosnia and possibly Chechnya,” the cable said…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Nigerian Military Chief Provides Safety Tips During Bomb Explosion

“For those who are on the scene, they should lay low on the ground, because bombs have shrapnel nails in them, and they fly upward.”

The Chief of Defense Staff, CDS, Alex Bardeh, on Thursday visited the scene of the Jos explosion as well as victims’ still receiving treatment at hospitals. He also provided safety tips to be followed when such explosions occur.

At the Jos University Teaching Hospital, JUTH, Mr. Bardeh, while addressing journalists, called for the enforcement of the ban on street trading in the state to avoid high casualties when such incidents occur.

The Plateau State government had on Wednesday blamed street trading near the Terminus Market for the high casualty; saying most of the victims were street traders…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UN Places Boko Haram Group on Terrorist List

(AGI/EFE) New York, May 23 — Boko Haram has been added to the list of groups the UN Security Council considers terrorists and have links with al-Qaeda. The group faces an arms embargo and a freeze on assets. The Nigerian government requested the measure following international anger over the kidnapping of nearly 300 female high school students in an area close to the Cameroon border. U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, has complained that the U.S. is the only country helping the Nigerian government search for the girls.

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

Italy: Drone Show Comes to Rome

Predator Drone among unmanned fleet hovering into Eternal City

(ANSA) — Rome, May 23 — Drones for all seasons will be hovering over the Eternal City this weekend at the Roma Drone Expo & Show.

Unmanned aircraft for farmers, filmmakers, security experts and the military will be on display Saturday and Sunday at the Stadio degli Eucalipti in southern Rome.

Models on display include the Predator Drone, which can carry and fire two AGM-114 Hellfire missiles and has been used in combat over Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq, as well as in search-and-rescue missions over the Mediterranean.

“Everything that has to do with drones will be on public display,” said event organizer Luciano Castro. “From small toy drones that cost a few cents, to very sophisticated examples being constantly innovated. There are a lot of ways drones are being used in Italy, from big businesses to start-ups”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Election Gift to UKIP on Immigration

For the Prime Minister, yesterday’s immigration statistics were little short of disastrous.

At 9.30am, as voters went to the polls in the European elections, the Office for National Statistics said net migration surged by a quarter in 2013 to 212,000 — leaving David Cameron’s pledge to cut it to the ‘tens of thousands’ in tatters.

Worse, the increase was driven entirely by a jump in EU migrants who, as Nigel Farage never tires of pointing out, Britain is powerless to control. But, while Mr Cameron took the worst of it, the figures were bad news for all three major political parties…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Italy Issued Record Number of Entry Visas in 2013

Second to France, before Germany, +13.5% over 2012

(ANSA) — Rome, May 14 — Italy in 2013 issued a record number of entry visas to mostly Chinese, Indian, Russian and Turkish visitors, the foreign ministry said Wednesday.

They totaled an unprecedented 2,125,490, a 13.5% increase over 2012, and netted State coffers a total of 104 million euros. Out of Schengen-area countries, Italy was second only to France, which issued 2,471,220 visas last year, and followed by Germany with 2,084,213 visas issued.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Nine Presumed Smugglers Arrested in Mare Nostrum Operation

Rescue totaled 500 including 133 children

(ANSA) — Rome, May 23 — Nine Egyptians presumed to be smugglers were arrested following the rescue of two migrant boats carrying more than 500 migrants off the coast of Sicily on Monday, May 19, authorities said Friday.

Police in Catania were alerted by crew from rescue frigate Grecale and patrol vessel Foscari, and coordination with Siracusa’s public prosecutor and Catania’s Anti-Mafia district attorney was immediately organized. Upon arrival in the port of Augusta near Siracusa on Thursday morning, the nine persons were arrested and taken into custody.

Monday’s operation rescued more than 500 migrants, including 133 children, from two wooden boats near Sicily’s Capo Passero.

Since the start of Mare Nostrum, on October 13, 2013, authorities say 44,073 migrants have been rescued and more than 200 smugglers have been arrested.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Refugee Blames Germany for His Life of Crime

Badische Zeitung, translated from German by Frau Katze:

15-year-old refugee portrays everyday life in Stühlinger

Young refugees are involved with drugs and crime. This is much discussed in Freiburg. But how do they see themselves? A 15-year-old gives the Badische Zeitung insights into his everyday life.

They are at the center of the crime series discussion: unaccompanied refugee minors. Experts and caregivers report of traumatic experiences, drug problems and violence. A reliable and trustworthy person known to the editors has given us the report of a 15 year-old refugee who lives with his parents in Freiburg. He has been regularly stopped [by the police] on the Stühlinger Church Square, but has not been charged with any offenses. We have decided to reprint his view anonymously…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Should Europe Open Its Borders?

With refugees continuing to risk their lives to make it into the European Union, migration policy is a key issue ahead of the EU election.

In Sweden, the Green Party, the Left Party, the Liberal Party, the Centre Party, the Christian Democrat Party and the Pirate Party all believe that it should be possible to apply for asylum — or asylum visa — to the EU outside EU borders.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Spanish Mayor ‘Sorry’ For ‘Anti-Immigrant’ Outburst

A Spanish mayor has apologised after being accused of racism by Romanian immigrants for a foul-mouthed tirade against thieves.

Mayor Josu Bergara was recorded in a meeting last year boasting that he had made sure “the scum no longer come” to his northern town of Sestao.

Five Romanian families lodged a complaint against him in court, accusing him of illegally refusing to register them as residents in the Basque town.

Romanians are the biggest foreign nationality group in Spain. They numbered about 795,000 in 2013, according to the National Statistics Institute.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Black Pastors: Comparing Homosexuality to Civil Rights Fight is ‘Distortion’ of History

DETROIT, Mich. — A coalition of black pastors filed an amicus brief in court on Wednesday asking that it overturn a lower court’s decision that declared Michigan’s marriage amendment unconstitutional.

The Thomas More Law Center filed the brief on behalf of 110 African American pastors throughout Michigan and Ohio, who represent millions of Christians and other religious groups throughout the state.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Group That Listed ‘Pitfalls of Working With White People’ Received DOJ Grants

An organization that published a list of 29 “Pitfalls of Working With White People” that was circulated at a diversity conference earlier this year received hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants from the U.S. Department of Justice, the Daily Caller has learned.

Beyond Diversity Resource Center, based in New Jersey, is listed as a partner organization for the White Privilege Conference which was held in Madison, Wisc. in March.

The diversity group, which claims that it “works to build a society that honors individuals because of their cultural differences”, wrote on the pamphlet that whites “benefit financially off the backs of people of color.”

White people “are arrogant”, they “say something stupid” and “get too friendly too fast,” the diversity center’s pamphlet claims.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Golden Rice Fairy Tale Nothing More Than Biotech Industry GMO Propaganda

(NaturalNews) Golden rice is falsely touted by GMO advocates as a miracle cure for blindness and death — usually with a “leap to faith” attitude that disallows any thought of skepticism or requirement of scientific proof. GMO fantasy land adherents claim that golden rice is genetically engineered to produce higher levels of beta carotene which the body converts to vitamin A, preventing blindness and death, they say. These claims, however, have no basis in fact. “Golden Rice” is a biotech Fairy Tale introduced for public relations purposes and utterly lacking in any scientific proof for its claimed “benefits” to anyone.

Here are ten important things golden rice advocates won’t tell you about their Fairy Tale rice:

#1) There is no scientific basis to claim that the beta carotene artificially produced in golden rice survives storage and cooking to actually be absorbed by those who eat it

No clinical trials have ever been conducted showing that the beta carotene engineered into golden rice actually makes its way from harvest, to storage, to cooking and into the human body intact. There is no evidence to support any claim that golden rice, when grown and harvested in the traditional manner of southeast Asian cultures, will actually raise levels of beta carotene in the bodies of those who eat it.

We cannot simply assume that an artificially-induced phytonutrient will survive harvesting, storage and cooking to deliver the claimed impact on human health unless it is extensively studied. The studies that have been done on golden rice and beta carotene consumption were conducted under laboratory conditions, not real-world conditions — but all the “benefits” of golden rice are automatically claimed to apply to impoverished populations in the real world!

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Google Beats Apple in List of World’s Most Valuable Brands

Google, Apple, IBM and Microsoft are the companies that rank the highest in terms of brand value, according to a new study commissioned by WPP and conducted by Millward Brown. McDonald’s is the only non-tech brand within the top five, highlighting the growth of the digital vertical in recent years and more trust among consumers.

After three years of owning the top spot in the “The BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands” study, Apple has slipped to the No. 2 spot behind Google.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Mass Fish Deaths: Millions Have Been Found Dead All Over the World in the Past Month

Millions of fish are suddenly dying all over the planet. In fact, there have been dozens of mass fish death events reported in the past month alone. So why is this happening? Why are fish dying in unprecedented numbers all over the world? When more than six tons of fish died in Marina Del Rayover the weekend, it made headlines all over the United States.

But the truth is that what just happened off the southern California coast is just the tip of the iceberg. In 2014, mass fish die-offs have pretty much become a daily event globally. Individually, each event could perhaps be dismissed as an anomaly, but as you will see below when they are all put together into one list it truly is rather stunning. So is there a reason why so many fish are dying? Is there something that connects these mass fish death events? Has something about our environment changed? The following are just a few examples of the mass fish death reports that have been coming in day after day from all over the globe…

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Perfect Match! Husbands and Wives Have Similar DNA, Research Shows

It seems birds of a feather really do flock together. Husbands and wives are more similar to each other than would be expected by chance, research has revealed.

The finding comes from behavioural scientists who compared the DNA of more than 800 married couples with that of people paired together at random for the study.

Despite the old adage that opposites attract, the husbands and wives had more DNA in common than the strangers.

This means, in the words of another saying, that birds of a feather flock together.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Polio ‘Global Health Emergency’ Entirely Fabricated by W.H.O. To Sell More Vaccines Almost Nobody Needs

(NaturalNews) The sky is falling! The sky is falling! When it comes to infectious disease pandemics, one thing you can always count on is that the World Health Organization will be sounding the alarm whether it’s justified or not. Case in point? The WHO’s new declaration that polio is a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern” (PHEIC). (1)

The WHO officially describes this as “an extraordinary event which is determined to constitute a public health risk to other States through the international spread of disease and to potentially require a coordinated international response.”

And just what is this “extraordinary event” of which we should all be so terrified that the entire mainstream media dutifully reports it as a “global health emergency?”

The answer is 68 cases of polio on the planet. (2) And of those 68 cases of polio, 59 of them were in Pakistan…


Consider the fact that each year, 80,000 Americans are rushed to emergency rooms due to acetaminophen poisoning from taking over-the-counter painkillers like Tylenol. Around 500 die each year, yet the WHO doesn’t call this an “extraordinary event.”


If you look at the real story behind the corrupt, anti-science W.H.O. organization, a peculiar pattern emerges: Nothing is declared a global pandemic or health emergency unless there’s sufficient money to be made from it.

The W.H.O. is entirely controlled and dominated by pharmaceutical interests, of course, and it is used as a weapon of fear and control over the people of the world to terrify them into buying medicines they almost never really need.

In all this fear mongering “sky is falling” panic, guess what they aren’t telling you? That the United States of America hasn’t had a single polio case since 1979.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

One thought on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 5/23/2014

  1. I consider the palestinian depiction of Christ to be blasphemous. Unfortunately nobody else cares. A case of “keep quiet and give your taxes to hamas.”

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