Gates of Vienna News Feed 5/24/2014

A terror attack at the Jewish Museum in Brussels left three people shot to death at the scene, while a fourth victim died later in the hospital. One suspect escaped in a vehicle, and was captured. The second fled on foot, and is still at large. Police consider anti-Semitism to be the motive for the murders, but have released no ethnic data to help the public determine the Mohammed Coefficient of the incident.

In other news, a mentally disturbed young man went on a rampage in Isla Vista, California last night. He first stabbed his three housemates to death, and then drove around at high speed in his car, shooting at pedestrians and police. Three more people were killed and thirteen wounded before the murderer crashed his car and took his own life.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Diana West, Fjordman, Insubria, JD, Jerry Gordon, JP, 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
» China: A Super Bank as Beijing’s Ultimate Weapon for World Supremacy
» Islamic Finance Yet to be Fully Tested — Report
» The Recession is Coming: Economist Warns it’s Beyond Control: “I Don’t See What Will Save it at This Point”
» Al Sharpton Defends Racist Rant: ‘It Was Only One Jew’
» Billboards With Hanging Mannequins Warning Cops to Choose ‘Silver Over Lead’ Appear in Texas
» California Gunman ‘Was Filmmaker Peter Rodger’s Son’
» Citizen Journalist Visited by Joint Terrorism Task Force for Filming Police Building
» DHS Quietly Bankrolls Cell Phone Surveillance Devices for Police
» Expert: ObamaCare in Place for American Bio-Surveillance
» Foreign Troops Practice Invading Tampa: Special Report
» Hidden Role of Fusion Centers in Nationwide Spying Operation Against Occupy Movement
» Jailed: Ranya Al-Huthaili, The Saudi Woman Who Robbed 5 U.S. Banks
» Obama Blames Founding Fathers’ ‘Structural’ Design of Congress for Gridlock
» Report From the Future: The Umma States of America
» Tech Companies: FBI ‘Gag Orders’ Violate Constitution
» The Future of Socialized Healthcare: “There is No Better Predictor Than the VA System”
» The Robots Are Coming, And They Are Replacing Warehouse Workers and Fast Food Employees
» VA Whistleblower: The Pharmacy is the Cash Cow
» We’ll Find Alien Life in This Lifetime, Scientists Tell Congress
Europe and the EU
» Air France-KLM Hopes for ‘Friendly’ Revived Alitalia
» Austria: Pope Excommunicates Reformist Couple — Newspaper Reports
» Belgium: Brussels Shooting: Gunman Opens Fire Outside Jewish Centre
» Belgium: Anti-Terror Expert: Brussels Museum Attack Follows Toulouse Pattern
» Belgium: Arson Attack Against Flemish Nationalists’ Election Truck
» Cemetery Tourism Could Boost Italian Economy
» ‘Climate of Hate’ Triggered Terrorist Attack on Brussels Jewish Museum
» Czechia: Lego Classes Help to Spark Children’s Interest in Science and Engineering
» German Far-Right to Protest Turkish PM Erdogan’s Visit
» Holy See ‘To Seriously Consider’ UN Criticism on Sex Abuse
» Italian ‘Madoff’ Arrested Over ‘600-Mn-Euro Fraud’
» Italians Looking for Work in Albania — 19,000, Says Minister
» Italy: Napolitano Didn’t Participate in ‘Plot’ Meetings
» Italy Chided by EU Court Over Battery Hens
» Italy: Berlusconi Fears M5S EP Win Could Trigger Elections
» Italy: Man Arrested After ‘Molesting’ Four Girls in Half an Hour
» Italy: 3,000 Fake Farm Hands Cited
» Italy: Top Camorra Mobster Turns State Witness
» Italy: ‘Mozzarella King’ Arrested on Suspicion of Mafia Association
» Italy: Music: European Jewish Choir Festival, In Rome May 29-June 1
» Many Turkish-German Hearts Beat for Erdogan
» Mistaken for Twins: How Two Italian Sisters Survived Auschwitz
» Nuremberg Prosecutor Defends Universal Jurisdiction
» Poland Celebrates Anders and “Red Poppies” of Monte Cassino
» Qatari Emir to Turn Greek Island Into Luxury Resort
» Renzi Tells Italians Not to Send ‘Clowns’ To Europe
» Schulz Wants a German Chairman for EU Commission
» Shooting in Belgium an Anti-Semitic Attack, Says Minister
» The Last Pope-King
» UK: Every Home in the Country Will be Forced Into Compulsory Rubbish Scheme in Desperate Bid to Meet Brussels’ Targets
» UK: King Richard III Will be Reburied in Leicester, High Court Rules
» UK: Lutfur Rahman: An Election Labour Chose to Lose
» UK: Mona Haj Youssef Avoids Jail for Attacking Widow of Murdered Organist
» UK: Teflon Farage Has Rained on Ed Miliband’s Parade
» UK: Video: Mayor Lutfur Rahman’s Re-Election Speech After Chaotic Count
North Africa
» Two Dead After Rockets Strike Homes in Libya
Israel and the Palestinians
» 2 Islamic Jihad Militants Killed in Gaza Blast
» A New Bistro for Nutella Lovers, In Ramallah
» Tunisia: Jewish Pilgrims to Flock to Ghriba After Polemics
Middle East
» 12 Killed in Separate Attacks Across Iraq
» 31 Killed in Multiple Attacks by Al-Qaida Gunmen in Yemen
» Hijab Girl: Vignette of a Modern Saudi Heroine
» Iranian Actress Apologizes for Kissing Cannes Festival President
» Iraqi Armed Forces Kill 80 Isil Militants in Falluja
» Jihadist Attack in Yemen Kills at Least 35
» Pope Francis Expresses Deep Respect for Muslim Community
» Pope Francis Begins Middle East Tour
» Syria: Assad Rally Death Toll Rises to 37
» Syria Weapons: Kerry Thanks Mogherini for Help in Gioia Tauro
» Syria’s Assad Thanks Russia for Its Help
» Footage of Ukrainian Helicopters Firing on Own Checkpoint Raises Questions
» Putin: US Backed the ‘Coup’ That Now Threatens Civil War in Ukraine
» Ukraine Fascists Threaten Presidential Candidate Handpicked by Globalists
South Asia
» ‘Blasphemous’ Content on Twitter Gets Blocked in Pakistan
» India: Shahrukh Khan Named World’s Second Richest Actor
Far East
» China: Xinjiang Starts Campaign Against Terror
» Chinese Police Arrest Suspect Over Suicide Bomb Attack Which Killed Dozens
» Overseas Filipino Workers Enticed to the Gulf
» South China Sea: Manila Wants to Prosecute Chinese Fishermen for Poaching
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Somalia’s Parliament Bombed by Al Shabaab
Latin America
» Protests Continue in Brazil Ahead of World Cup
» David Cameron Draws up Immigration Laws to Foil UKIP
» How America Treats Illegal Aliens vs. Veterans
» Italy: Many of the Immigrants Rescued on Friday Are Children
» Sheriffs Opting to Release Suspected Illegal Immigrants
Culture Wars
» Gay Tourism a 2.7-Mn-Euro Industry in Italy
» Memorial Day 2014

China: A Super Bank as Beijing’s Ultimate Weapon for World Supremacy

The Chinese government plans to establish an Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Its huge reserves would allow Beijing to undermine the role of the International Monetary Fund, the Asian Development Bank and even the World Bank. In exchange for interest-free loans, partners would just have to provide China with support against its internal (ethnic separatists) and external enemies (Japan and the United States). Meanwhile, its penetration in Africa continues.

Beijing (AsiaNews) — China is planning to set up a US$ 50 billion Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), which could put out of business the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the World Bank (WB). Such a “Super Bank” could become Beijing’s ace in its power game for market and diplomatic supremacy.

Chinese premier Li Keqiang told last month’s Boao Forum for Asia that consultations with potential global partners were “intensifying” and that he hoped the bank could be launched “at an early date”.

Developing countries like Vietnam, Cambodia, and Myanmar could be such partners. Until recently they had to rely on the Asian Development Bank for loans and investments.

Headquartered in Manila, the latter is a transnational lending institution traditionally led by a Japanese official, much like the World Bank tends to be run by an American and the International Monetary Fund by a European.

Beijing wants to break the status quo by changing the rules of the game. In practice, this would mean offering loans to Asian governments at zero interest without strings attached or demands for political reform.

In exchange, China would ask for is friendship and support on several international (United Nations, ASEAN, the Criminal Court in The Hague, maritime and territorial claims in South and East China Seas and border disputes with India) and internal matters (Tibet, Xinjiang and Taiwan).

From a global perspective, a Super Bank would marginalise the United States in Asia. By undermining the Asian Development Bank, it would also weaken the “Washington Consensus”, which underpins US hegemony in Asia and the world.

Experts and analysts are however very sceptical. With US$ 4 trillion of currency reserves, China can buy lots of friends, but China’s largess could undermine recipients, said William Pesek in Bloomberg, in an analysis of China’s flawed decade-long outward expansion.

Even Prime Minister Li Keqiang, who just concluded a week-long tour in Ethiopia, Nigeria, Angola and Kenya, is aware that China’s neo-colonial approach has created many problems

During his visit, the Chinese leader made stops in Nigeria, Angola and Kenya. In his talks with African leaders, Li admitted there were still “growing pains” in Sino-African ties that would be solved shortly.

Many Chinese public and private companies have been exploiting Africa’s vast mineral and energy resources, bringing their own workers has deprived Africans of jobs.

In Angola for example, they have brought in about 300,000 Chinese workers, stirring local sometimes violent resentment.

According to some sources, Chinese interests already control 40 per cent of African resources — oil, gas, fossils, gemstones and rare earths.

Still, trade volume with Africa should double to US$ 400 billion by 2020, Prime Minister Li said. Chinese direct investment is also expected to quadruple to US$ 100 billion within that time,

Meanwhile, as part of China’s help for local development, Li announced a US$ 10 million grant for African wildlife-protection projects, and US$ 8 million in humanitarian aid to war-torn South Sudan.

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

Islamic Finance Yet to be Fully Tested — Report

Islamic finance weathered the global financial crisis better than conventional banking, but it was not completely immune and has yet to address potential risks, a report by a standard-setting body for the industry says.

Islamic finance, which has its core markets in the Middle East and Southeast Asia, follows religious principles that ban interest and shun outright speculation.

As such, Islamic bank balance sheets were free from sub-prime loans and structured products that turned sour in 2007, triggering a chain of events that threatened to cause a global financial meltdown.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

The Recession is Coming: Economist Warns it’s Beyond Control: “I Don’t See What Will Save it at This Point”

We are on the verge of another recession. So says Shadow Stats economist John Williams, who warns that by the end of July it will become apparent to all Americans. That’s when the government will release its latest GDP economic figures and according to Williams those numbers, combined with revisions for the first quarter of 2014, will show negative economic growth for a second quarter in a row, the official definition for recession.

In an interview with Greg Hunter’s USA Watchdog, Williams explains that it all boils down to one critical factor. Credit lending has tightened up since the crash of 2008 and without it U.S. consumers don’t have enough money to continue fueling the economy through consumption, the single most important element of economic growth…

Income… the median household income, net of inflation, is as low as it was in 1967. The average guy is not staying ahead of inflation…

This has been a problem now for decades… You were able to buy consumption from the future by borrowing more money, expanding your debt. Greenspan saw the problem was income, so he encouraged debt expansion.

That all blew apart in 2007/2008… the income problems have continued, but now you don’t have the ability to borrow money the way you used to. Without that and the income problems remaining, there’s no way that consumption can grow faster than inflation if income isn’t.

As a result — personal consumption is more than two thirds of the economy — there’s no way you can have positive sustainable growth in the U.S. economy without the consumer being healthy.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Al Sharpton Defends Racist Rant: ‘It Was Only One Jew’

Al Sharpton’s history of hate is so voluminous and well documented, where does one even begin?

The time he disparaged Jews as “diamond merchants” during the unrest of the infamous Crown Heights riots?

Or when Sharpton tried goading NYC’s Jewish community into an all-out fistfight, saying “If the Jews want to get it on, tell them to pin their yarmulkes back and come over to my house”?

How about referring to the Jewish owner of Freddy’s Fashion Mart, Fred Harari, as a “white interloper” for seeking to expand his business in Harlem? (You may have heard of Freddy’s. It was also known as the Harlem Massacre. One of Sharpton’s followers also disapproved of the “white interloper” and burned the store to the ground, murdering eight people including himself.)

But those tirades were just Sharpton’s anti-semitic ones. He’s also sermonized on “Greek homos” and “crackas” as well as bombarded former NYC Mayor David Dinkins with a barrage of N-bombs.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Billboards With Hanging Mannequins Warning Cops to Choose ‘Silver Over Lead’ Appear in Texas

Two frightening incidents of vandalism in El Paso near the Mexican border in Texas have been interpreted as warnings from drug cartels.

In both instances, a mannequin wearing a suit and tie was tied to a billboard with a noose and messages were scrawled over the placards.

Local station KHOU reports that one of the signs reads ‘Plata o Plombo’ which translates to ‘silver or lead’, a threat used commonly against police officers effectively warning that if they do not accept the cartel’s bribes then they will be shot.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

California Gunman ‘Was Filmmaker Peter Rodger’s Son’

A Hollywood filmmaker believes his son carried out drive-by shootings that killed six people in California late on Friday, a family lawyer says. Peter Rodger, who was assistant director on The Hunger Games, thinks the attacker was his 22-year-old son Elliot, the statement said.

The gunman died of bullet wounds after going on a rampage near Santa Barbara.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Citizen Journalist Visited by Joint Terrorism Task Force for Filming Police Building

A citizen journalist in Albany, New York was visited and questioned by a member of the state’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) Thursday after legally photographing buildings at the local police academy.

Attempting to gather video content for a story, 22-year-old Matthew Grunert, a college student with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and computer science, was detained by three police officers Wednesday for alleged “suspicious activity.” Well within his legal rights, police let Grunert go after being detained for more than 20 minutes, unable to find any wrongdoing.

Incredibly, Grunert was visited at his home the following day by a New York State Police Investigator working for the FBI’s JTTF who claimed to be interested in the encounter.

“Do you have any identification on you,” the investigator asked repeatedly as Grunert requested a shield number. “Listen alright, you’re not in trouble, we just need talk.”

After providing Grunert with a business card, the investigator began asking questions completely unrelated to the events of the previous day.

“Are you part of the Sovereign Citizen Nation?” the investigator asked, attempting to link Grunert to the phantom label often used to paint any supporter of the Constitution as “extremist.”

According to Carlos Miller of, the incident didn’t end there. Amazingly, the investigator continued his probe by tracking down Grunert’s mother as she volunteered at her church.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

DHS Quietly Bankrolls Cell Phone Surveillance Devices for Police

The Erie County sheriff says he’s done making public comments about a cellphone surveillance device used by his police agency to gather information on persons of interest.

Sheriff Tim Howard told WGRZ Thursday that he won’t publicly discuss the matter any longer because doing so could adversely impact investigations.

A stingray is a device that mimics a cell tower and thereby tricks all wireless devices on the same network into communicating with it.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Expert: ObamaCare in Place for American Bio-Surveillance

Alex is joined by president and co-founder of Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom, Twila Brase. Ms. Brase talks with Alex about the threat of biometrics and the unmitigated failure of Obamacare. Her organization has helped 34 states say no to the Obamacare exchanges and has drawn national awareness to data ownership rights and to the genetic privacy violations regarding newborn screening.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Foreign Troops Practice Invading Tampa: Special Report

U.S. Special Forces and commandos from 16 foreign nations practiced “invading” Tampa, Fl. this week during an unprecedented international training exercise. News Groups Promise it’s not the “New World Order”.

[Comment: Practising for the time when foreign troops will be called upon to put down any dissident uprisings.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Hidden Role of Fusion Centers in Nationwide Spying Operation Against Occupy Movement

This report, based on documents obtained by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, provides highlights and analysis of how the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)-funded Fusion Centers used their vast anti-terrorism and anti-crime authority and funds to conduct a sprawling, nationwide and hour-by-hour surveillance effort that targeted even the smallest activity of peaceful protestors in the Occupy Movement in the Fall and Winter of 2011.

It is being released in conjunction with a major story in the New York Times that is based on the 4,000 pages of government documents uncovered by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) during a two-year long investigation.

The newly published documents reveal the actual workings of the Fusion Centers — created ostensibly to coordinate anti-terrorism efforts following the September 11, 2001, attacks — in collecting and providing surveillance information on peaceful protestors.

The new documents roll back the curtain on the Fusion Centers and show the communications, interactions and emails of a massive national web of federal agents, officials, police, and private “security” contractors to accumulate and share information, reporting on all manner of peaceful and lawful political activity that took place during the Occupy Movement from protests and rallies to meetings and educational lectures. This enormous spying and monitoring apparatus included the Pentagon, FBI, DHS, police departments and chiefs, private contractors and commercial business interests.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Jailed: Ranya Al-Huthaili, The Saudi Woman Who Robbed 5 U.S. Banks

A U.S.-Saudi woman sentenced earlier this week to three years prison over a spate of bank robberies was described by her lawyer as a “naïve” individual who “had been trained her whole life to be submissive,” according to a transcript of the sentencing obtained by Al Arabiya News.

Ranya al-Huthaili was sentenced this week to three and a half years in prison for committing five bank robberies in both Wisconsin and Minnesota, in four weeks, in 2013.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Obama Blames Founding Fathers’ ‘Structural’ Design of Congress for Gridlock

President Obama is taking a swipe at the Founding Fathers, blaming his inability to move his agenda on the “disadvantage” of having each state represented equally in the Senate.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Report From the Future: The Umma States of America

by Diana West

Imagine a curious soul or two in the not-too-distant future furtively peeling back the layers and learning the cruel truth: that their forbears willingly exchanged all of their precious liberties for tyranny rather than assess and educate and protect themselves against Islamic conquest — violent, pre-violent, smooth, explosive, financial, political, kafiyya-wrapped or Armani-suited. I think they will marvel because, as they will so very tragically know first-hand, Islam is so simple: its culture of death, its oppression of women and non-Muslims, its defilement of children, its suppression of conscience, religion and speech. They will be astonished, also very angry, over the way free men and women in 20th-21st centuries saw fit, not to embark on emergency measures to ensure energy independence from Islamic oil, block Islamic immigration, and shield financial markets and academia from sharia-compliance, but rather to erect a massive and invasive security state that robbed all citizens of their liberties as they fiddled away the Islamic threat. Mustn’t offend? Mustn’t offend? That was more important than saving the blessed beauty of our lost civlization…?! Incredulously, they will learn how “public intellectuals” invented all manner of “division” within Islam, detected endless “signs” of “evolution” to come, supported disastrous “democracy” movements, diagnosed “moderation” ever-aborning, projecting all in a static of isms and ists that confounded and dumbfounded and confused. To be sure, it kept “public intellectuals” gainfully occupied, but it did nothing to stem the waves of conquest that made life in the West a sharia-compliant and, of course, post-Communist hell on earth. Obamacare Allahu Akbar.

What brought all this on? About a decade of self-imposed confusion on “radical Islam,” “extremist Islam,” or, lately, “sharia-ism” when the threat is simple Islam. The simplicity eludes us in exercises that are endlessly Baroque. That’s what I take away from Andy McCarthy’s response today at NRO to a piece by Daniel Pipes.

Andy writes:…

           — Hat tip: Diana West [Return to headlines]

Tech Companies: FBI ‘Gag Orders’ Violate Constitution

In court documents unsealed on Friday, Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and Facebook claimed that the national security letter (NSL) orders are a “prohibition on speech [that] violates the First Amendment.”

“The government has sought to participate in public debate over its use of the NSL statute,” the companies wrote in a friend-of-the-court brief. “It should not be permitted to gag those best suited to offer an informed viewpoint in that debate; the parties that have received NSLs.”

The FBI uses the letters to get information from banks, Web companies and others about their customers. Under the terms of the letters, though, companies are prevented from disclosing details about having received the request and handed over information.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

The Future of Socialized Healthcare: “There is No Better Predictor Than the VA System”

To understand the future of socialized health care in America we need to look no further than the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

As noted in the transcript of Obama’s speech above, the audience laughed when the President mentioned the conspiracy theory surrounding death panels. While the law itself makes no mention of “death panels,” they certainly exist and this fact can’t just be “debunked” as the President would like us to believe.

You could ask the scores of Veterans who were pencil-pushed to the back of the line by the VA in Phoenix and Houston, except for the fact that they died while awaiting the medical assistance they were promised.

And while the deaths of these service members is tragic and almost unbelievable, it is just the tip of the iceberg. Tens of thousands of our veterans are shuffled around within the system, often times for budgetary reasons or because their physician is just is simply too apathetic to care. If you need real medical care, for example, which often starts with a diagnosis that may include testing like an X-ray or an MRI, it’s common for VA physicians to simply ignore the patient’s need and jump right into prescribing pain medication. There are countless stories like this, where patients literally waited years to receive a real diagnosis, only to see their condition worsen and become inoperable by the time testing was completed because it was ignored for so long.

[Comment: Highly recommended reading.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

The Robots Are Coming, And They Are Replacing Warehouse Workers and Fast Food Employees

There are already more than 101 million working age Americans that are not employed and 20 percent of the families in the entire country do not have a single member that has a job.

So what in the world are we going to do when robots start taking millions upon millions more of our jobs? Thanks to technology, the balance of power between employers and workers in this country is shifting dramatically in favor of the employers. These days, many employers are wondering why they are dealing with so many human worker “headaches” when they can just use technology to get the same tasks done instead. When you replace a human worker with a robot, you solve a whole bunch of problems. Robots never take a day off, they never get tired, they never get sick, they never complain, they never show up late, they never waste time on the Internet and they always do what you tell them to do. In addition, robotic technology has advanced to the point where it is actually cheaper to buy robots than it is to hire humans for a vast variety of different tasks. From the standpoint of societal efficiency, this is a good thing. But what happens when robots are able to do just about everything less expensively and more efficiently than humans can? Where will our jobs come from?

And this is not something that is coming at some point in “the future”.

This is already happening.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

VA Whistleblower: The Pharmacy is the Cash Cow

SSG Joe Biggs talks with former VA worker and Veteran Kristen Meghan about the rise in suicide rates and rise in the amount of prescriptions for veterans.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

We’ll Find Alien Life in This Lifetime, Scientists Tell Congress

Humans have long wondered whether we are alone in the universe. According to scientists working with the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute, the question may be answered in the near future.

“It’s unproven whether there is any life beyond Earth,” Seth Shostak, senior astronomer at the SETI Institute, said at a House Committee on Science, Space and Technology hearing Wednesday (May 21). “I think that situation is going to change within everyone’s lifetime in this room.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Air France-KLM Hopes for ‘Friendly’ Revived Alitalia

Warns relationship could end if ‘hostility’ from Italian carrier

(ANSA) — Paris, May 20 — If Abu Dhabi-based carrier Etihad invests in Alitalia and the result is not “friendly”, then Air France-KLM would be forced to reconsider its connection with the Italian airline, the chief executive of Air France said Tuesday.

But Alexandre de Juniac added that if Etihad’s investment in Alitalia goes ahead and leads to a “friendly” operation, then Air France-KLM can continue its own relationship with the Rome-based airline.

“If the Etihad operation will not be friendly and there will be hostility, we will consider whether to withdraw in a significant way” from the Paris-based carrier’s stake in Alitalia, de Juniac said in response to a question at a shareholder’s meeting.

But, he said, if the relationship is cordial, then “a very positive partnership” can follow, he said. Etihad, flag-carrier of the United Arab Emirates, and Alitalia are reportedly coming close to a deal that would see Etihad invest as much as 500 million euros into cash-starved Alitalia. But Etihad has reportedly made strict demands on reducing Alitalia’s debt and workforce, which has slowed final negotiations.

Struggling Alitalia put forward a restructuring plan last fall that included measures to boost competitiveness but also required an increased investment by stakeholders.

However, at that time, Air France-KLM decided that it would not invest beyond its existing stake of about 25%, but said it remained committed to its eight-year partnership with Alitalia signed in 2009.

The conditions reportedly set by Etihad now are “similar, in fact probably more stringent” than those put forward last fall by Air France-KLM in exchange for a greater investment in the Italian carrier, said de Juniac.

Last fall’s government-engineered 500-million euro Alitalia restructuring plan included a 300-million-euro capital increase and 200 million euros in new lines of credit.

The French-Dutch carrier voted against the restructuring plan, saying it did not go far enough to reduce Alitalia’s debt.

Under the plan, Poste Italiane agreed to underwrite the capital increase to the tune of 75 million euros, while Italian banks Intesa Sanpaolo and UniCredit said they would put in up to a maximum of 100 million euros.

That triggered complaints from rival European carriers that have complained that amounts to State aid, an accusation that the Italian government has denied.

As a result of the restructuring plan, Air France-KLM’s stake in Alitalia has slipped from its original 25% investment to something closer to about 18% at present.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Austria: Pope Excommunicates Reformist Couple — Newspaper Reports

Austrian woman and husband say they are ‘outraged’

(ANSA) — Vatican City, May 22 — Pope Francis has excommunicated a dissident Austrian couple who have been calling for reforms to the Catholic Church, according to a report Thursday in an Austrian newspaper.

Martha Heizer, 67, and her husband Gert, said they were “outraged” by the move, according to the Tiroler Tageszeitung, and cited by the Catholic website

The couple founded a dissident movement called We Are the Church and simulated Mass in their home, which the Church lists as one of its “delicta graviora” or grave offenses, warranting excommunication.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Belgium: Brussels Shooting: Gunman Opens Fire Outside Jewish Centre

Three people have been killed during a shooting at a Jewish centre in Brussels

Three people were killed and one badly injured in a shoot-out on Saturday in Belgium. A Jewish community figure, Joel Rubinfeld, told AFP it clearly “is a terrorist act” as a man had been seen driving up and entering the museum before opening fire inside and running off. According to RTBF, a Belgian broadcasting company, a person with a backpack opened fire then fled.

Mr Rubinfeld, who heads the country’s anti-Semitic League, said the act was the result of “a climate of hate.”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Belgium: Anti-Terror Expert: Brussels Museum Attack Follows Toulouse Pattern

(JTA) — The pattern that emerges from the deadly shooting at Brussels’ Jewish museum matches the one observed during the 2012 killings in Toulouse and Montauban, a Brussels-based expert on terrorism said.

Claude Moniquet, a former agent of the France’s DSGE spy agency, told JTA that Saturday’s slaying of three people in Brussels “is reminiscent of Toulouse and Montauban killings and resembles other similar attacks, including by Islamists.”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Belgium: Arson Attack Against Flemish Nationalists’ Election Truck

This is all that remains of the election truck used by the Flemish nationalist lawmaker Ben Weyts. Mr Weyts’s truck was completely gutted by fire overnight. The fire brigade attended the scene but was unable to halt the blaze.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Cemetery Tourism Could Boost Italian Economy

Hundreds of thousands could visit cemeteries, experts tell ANSA

(ANSA) Rome, May 21 -Italy boasts more than half of Europe’s historic or unusual cemeteries of interest to tourists but is poorly organised to develop this specialised sector of the tourism market, a survey made available exclusively to ANSA says.

As many as 192 Italian graveyards are of touristic interest, representing 55% of the total in Europe, followed by Spain with 29 interesting cemeteries, France with 22 and Britain with 20 cemeteries suitable for tourists, according to the report by the Jfc company. Less than half of Italy’s most attractive cemeteries offer tourist visits, however, the report says, adding that the regions whose cemeteries offer most interest to foreign and Italian visitors are Tuscany, Sicily and Emilia Romagna.

Currently some 45,000 tourists visit Italian cemeteries each year but there is potential to jack up the figure to 400,000. Tourists are attracted to cemeteries for cultural visits, because they are seen as a kind of museum and in order to visit the tombs of famous people, such as the English poets John Keats and Percy Shelley at the ‘Acatholic’ (Protestant) Cemetery in Rome.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

‘Climate of Hate’ Triggered Terrorist Attack on Brussels Jewish Museum

Reports have just come in about a possible terrorist attack on The Jewish Museum in Brussels by a perpetrator and accomplice, one of whom entered the lobby and shot dead two men and a woman seriously injuring a fourth person.. The attack took place in mid afternoon, GMT, not far from the EU headquarters in Belgium’s Capital city. The Jewish Museum, which is not operated by the country’s Jewish community, was open on Saturday and is located in the antique district popular with visitors. The recent ADL Global 100 Index of Antisemitism indicated that an estimated 27% of Belgians evinced some form of Antisemtisim.. Belgium has a large emigre Muslim community. A 2008 study estimated that 6% of Belgian’s population, 628,751 were Muslim. A November 2012 Gatestone Institute article by Soeren Kern, “Belgium Will Become an Islamic State” drew attention to Muslim dominance in Brussels, noting,…

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

Czechia: Lego Classes Help to Spark Children’s Interest in Science and Engineering

Children love to make things with their hands, and classes being offered in the Czech Republic aim to make use of that enthusiasm by sparking interest in science and engineering.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

German Far-Right to Protest Turkish PM Erdogan’s Visit

A visit by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the German city of Cologne (Koln) on Saturday to address tens of thousands of expatriate Turks is set to attract both pro- and anti-Erdogan demonstrators from the Turkish expatriate community as well as the wider German society.

At least 16,000 supporters are expected at the 10th anniversary of the Union of European Turkish Democrats (UETD), according to Reuters. Other reports expect the 20,000-seater Lanxess Arena to be full, with another 20,000 Erdogan supporters outside.

However, an anti-Erdogan Turkish Alevi group in Germany has said that they will bring 30,000 protesters against his visit on Saturday. Many Turks have particularly criticized Erdogan for going on an official visit abroad so soon after the Soma mine disaster in western Turkey killed 301 miners…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Holy See ‘To Seriously Consider’ UN Criticism on Sex Abuse

Second report chides shuffling priests, excluding police

(see related) (ANSA) — Vatican City, May 23 — The Holy See said Friday it “will take into serious consideration” a second UN panel’s criticisms of its response to child sexual abuse scandals in the Catholic Church. In a new report by the United Nations Committee against Torture, the Church has been accused of transferring suspected clergy to “other dioceses and institutions where they remained in contact with minors and others who are vulnerable…and in some cases committed abuse in their subsequent placements”. The Committee also chides the Vatican for not mandating abuse cases be reported to law enforcement for not guaranteeing adequate victim compensation. The assessment follows a report by the UN’s Committee for the Rights of the Child in February, which said the Vatican was not doing enough, and in fact had fostered “impunity” for offenders. The latest report also praises the Vatican, unlike its forerunner, for recent steps taken to combat child abuse, and for Pope Francis’ commitment to defending and extending human rights. The report was to be released in full later Friday at a press conference in Geneva, where the Committee against Torture is based.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italian ‘Madoff’ Arrested Over ‘600-Mn-Euro Fraud’

JP Morgan, SNAM among victims, say prosecutors

(ANSA) — Milan, May 21 — Alberto Micalizzi, an academic who has been dubbed the ‘Madoff’ of Milan’s Bocconi University, was arrested on Thursday over allegations he orchestrated a series of fraudulent financial operations damaging big companies.

The fraud’s total value is estimated at over 600 million euros, judicial sources said.

The companies affected include JP Morgan, Pirelli, natural-gas infrastucture company SNAM, banks UBS and UBI Banca and financial-services firm Simgest.

On Wednesday police put a total of eight people under arrest and issued restrictive measures against seven others, while around 50 people are being probed, the sources said.

Micalizzi is accused of being the ringleader of two criminal organisations, including one featuring Turkish and Russian accomplices, that pulled off a series of frauds via false bank guarantees.

Micalizzi suspended himself from his position of researcher at Milan’s Bocconi University after being at the centre of another investigation in 2011 over an alleged fraud of around $500 million by a company he founded called Dynamic Decisions.

He also spent a number of months under house arrest last year following a separate probe in Turin after allegedly conning investors with promises on interest of their capital of up to 6% a day.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italians Looking for Work in Albania — 19,000, Says Minister

Veliaj, things have changed. Many in call centers, restaurants

(ANSAmed) — ROME — More Italians are migrating to Albania to find work, according to the Albanian government. And Italian small and medium-sized companies aren’t alone in looking for a fresh start across the Adriatic — graduates and youths without a degree are also migrating.

Albanian Welfare and Youth Minister Erion Veliaj, who travelled to Rome on Thursday, said 19,000 Italians are regularly employed in the country in a number of sectors.

Italians own restaurants and work in call centers, fashion, service and telecommunications as well as in energy and infrastructures.

People are now migrating “in the opposite direction, which shows that the wind is changing and represents a positive sign for European integration”, the minister, who travelled to Italy for a round of meetings including talks with Labour Minister Giuliano Poletti and Cardinal Angelo Sodano, told ANSA.

Albania now represents a “small America” across the Adriatic, the welfare minister noted, where many Albanians who left choose to return and where EU citizens choose to move to find work.

Twenty three years after the end of the regime, stressed Veliaj, the long transition experienced by Albania is proving fruitful. The economic and social context were also boosted by the government led by Socialist Edi Rama, which was sworn in last September. “We want to bring Europe to Albania and not Albania to Europe”, said the minister. “Our appetite for reforms will not stop with Brussels’ decision to grant us the status of candidate”.

The final verdict could come in June, but the Albanian government has decided to move forward, approving a number of thorny measures.

As of June, the minister said, “women will be paid subsidies and welfare rather than men”. The move is meant to enforce the role of women, who are financially more responsible than men “who often gamble the money away before returning home”, he said. The decision “was highly controversial but we succeeded in approving it”, added the minister.

Veliaj last month announced at the labour fair in Tirana the creation of 6,000 new jobs “thanks to transparency and by creating modern employment centers (better than Italian ones) which dialogue with each other and with various government offices and invest in training”. Those looking for a job “turn to these centres and can receive a coupon which enables them to access free training courses”.

Transparency in the labour market is also a way to fight corruption and cronyism, he said, “which brings us back to the idea of meeting European standards”.

Though the immigration trend has reversed over the past few years, the Albanian community in Italy remains significant with some 100,000 Albanians in schools, 12,000 university students and 38,000 self-employed workers — overall 500,000 people.

And Veliaj means to address their future welfare and pensions in talks with Minister Poletti. “So far there is no agreement between Rome and Tirana on welfare and pensions. For this reason, I would like to suggest to Poletti in our coming meeting to work on this”.

Such a measure would be an advantage for both countries, concluded Veliaj though the cost of such an operation for Italy’s collapsing pension system still needs to be defined.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Napolitano Didn’t Participate in ‘Plot’ Meetings

Geithner book feeds speculation Berlusconi was felled in 2011

(ANSA) — Rome, May 14 — President Giorgio Napolitano said in a statement Wednesday that he did not participate in any of the international meetings in which European officials allegedly plotted to bring down Silvio Berlusconi’s government in 2011.

Rumours that the third Berlusconi’s government was scuppered by a conspiracy were fueled this week by a new book by former US Treasury secretary Timothy Geithner. The former Treasury secretary wrote that in 2011, at a G-20 meeting, Europeans were pushing the White House to get involved in pressuring Berlusconi out of office, as Italy risked a Greek-style financial meltdown with the spread between Italian 10-year bonds and their German counterpart ballooning to over 500 points and yields above 7%.

Napolitano was instrumental in engineering the emergency technocrat administration led by ex-premier Mario Monti that replaced Berlusconi’s administration in November 2011.

But the head of State said Wednesday that he did not have the right to participate in any of the reported meetings at which there was alleged talk of toppling Berlusconi. The conspiracy theories were also boosted by another book earlier this year that revealed Napolitano contacted Monti some time before the Berlusconi government collapsed.

In Wednesday’s statement, Napolitano said that any alleged “pressure or coercion” that Berlusconi was subject to when he quit was “never brought to the attention” of the Head of State.

“The resignation freely and responsibly delivered by premier Berlusconi on November 12, 2011, having previously been announced on November 8, was not explained, except in regards to political-parliamentary events, in both cases,” the statement said.

Berlusconi, meanwhile, said Geithner’s book reinforced his assertion Wednesday that Italy has endured a series of “coups”, including the end of his third government in 2011. “We’ve been fighting for freedom for 20 years and faced four coups,” the 77-year-old media magnate told a meeting of his opposition centre-right Forza Italia (FI), which is calling for a parliamentary inquiry into Geithner’s revelations. Other “coups” that Berlusconi says Italy has endured include the collapse of his first, short-lived government in 1994 after a criminal probe and his ejection from parliament last year following a definitive tax-fraud conviction. On Wednesday Berlusconi also reiterated his assertion that the tax-fraud conviction is part of a two-decade campaign by left-wing elements in the judiciary to wipe him from the political arena.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy Chided by EU Court Over Battery Hens

Rome failed to implement directive on ‘enriched’ cages

(ANSA) — Brussels, May 22 — Italy must comply with a 1999 European Union directive establishing minimum standards for the protection of egg laying hens, the Court of Justice ruled on Thursday.

The ruling came in response to a case brought by the European Commission in 2013 against Rome over its failure to implement a ban on battery cages from January 1, 2012. Under the directive all laying hens are now required to be kept in “enriched cages” measuring at least 750 cm² with extra space to nest, scratch and roost, or in alternative systems. “Having failed to guarantee that laying hens are no longer kept in un-enriched cages, Italy has fallen short of its obligations under European law,” wrote the judges, adding that it must now comply with the sentence.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Berlusconi Fears M5S EP Win Could Trigger Elections

‘May God protect us’, says ex-premier

(ANSA) — Rome, May 22 — Silvio Berlusconi said Thursday that he feared a victory by Beppe Grillo’s anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) in Sunday’s European elections could trigger early general elections in Italy. “I think we should look at the hypothesis of early elections very carefully,” the three-time premier and leader of the opposition Forza Italia (FI) party told La7 television.

“The parliamentary term won’t last (until its full term) in 2018. We’ll have new elections within 18 months at most unless something traumatic happens like Grillo winning the European elections,” he said. “May God protect us from that”.

Premier Matteo Renzi, in contrast, has said his coalition government will not collapse even if his centre-left Democratic Party finishes second to the M5S in Sunday’s vote. The PD had a big lead in polls, before a pre-election ban on their publication kicked in two weeks ago.

But Grillo is confident his M5S, who are second in the surveys after capturing a stunning 25% of the vote in last year’s general election, can come first with a late surge.

Berlusconi called for general elections in November after he pulled his support from the left-right coalition government of Renzi’s predecessor and PD colleague Enrico Letta, shortly before the media magnate was ejected from parliament following a definitive tax-fraud conviction.

But he has apparently had a change of heart given the popularity of the M5S, whose stated aim is to destroy the current party system it blames for corruption and economic decline.

Berlusconi, who has compared Grillo to Adolf Hitler, may also be reluctant to see Italy return to the ballot box given FI’s showing in recent polls, where it was in third place with under 20% of voter support.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Man Arrested After ‘Molesting’ Four Girls in Half an Hour

Serbian man ‘attacked’ four Bolognese 20-somethings

(ANSA) — Bologna, May 23 — A Serbian-born man was arrested after allegedly molesting four girls in half an hour in a Bologna park.

Daniel P. was arrested for allegedly attacking four Bolognese 20-somethings, one of whom was “aggressively fondled”, police said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: 3,000 Fake Farm Hands Cited

‘Falsely claimed 13 mn in benefits from 2006 to 2011’

(ANSA) — Cosenza, May 23 — Italian tax police on Friday cited 3,000 bogus farm hands for falsely claiming some 13 million euros in benefits from 2006 to 2011.

The organisers of the Calabria scam were also cited.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Top Camorra Mobster Turns State Witness

Antonio Iovine is one of 4 ex bosses of powerful Casalesi clan

(ANSA) — Naples, May 22 — A top Camorra mobster, Antonio Iovine, has started to collaborate with anti-mafia prosecutors in the southern Campania region, Italian media reported Thursday.

Iovine, also known as ‘o ninno’, is considered one of the four former bosses of the powerful Casalesi clan from Casal di Principe in the province of Caserta, whose death threats have forced anti-mafia writer Roberto Saviano into 24-hour police protection.

The others are Francesco Bidognetti, Francesco Schiavone (aka Sandokan) and Michele Zagaria.

Iovine, 50, is currently serving a life sentence for multiple murder and other crimes after being captured in autumn 2010 following 15 years on the run.

He was handed the definitive sentence in January 2010 following the 12-year so-called Spartacus maxi trial against the Casalesi clan, in which Bidognetti, Schiavone and Zagaria were also sentenced to life imprisonment.

“When last December I wrote that Antonio Iovine was considering turning State witness, I was called a visionary,” wrote Saviano Thursday in a tweet.

“It has happened,” he continued.

Naples Mayor and former magistrate Luigi de Magistris also hailed the development Thursday.

“It is positive that breaches are being made in Camorra clans and that there is collaboration with the judiciary,” De Magistris said.

“The most damaging blows to mafia organisations have been made also thanks to the collaboration ofSstate witnesses,” he said.

Close relatives of Iovine, including his wife Enrichetta and his son Oreste, have been transferred to a secret location outside the province of Caserta for protection.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: ‘Mozzarella King’ Arrested on Suspicion of Mafia Association

‘Stonewalled investigation into 1990 Mob hit’ investigators say

(ANSA) — Naples, May 14 — Police on Wednesday placed the owner of one of Italy’s leading mozzarella companies under house arrest on suspicion of criminal association, money laundering, and obstruction of justice. Investigators believe that beginning in 1983, Giuseppe Mandara, 68, a third-generation mozzarella producer of the Campania region’s trademark cheese, expanded his dairy empire with help from the La Torre clan of the Camorra mafia, eventually becoming known as the Mozzarella King.

Mandara’s dairy company is based in the town of Mondragone, where the La Torre clan operates. The clan allegedly drove Mandara’s business rivals off neighboring dairy farms and paid off his company’s debts to the tune of 700 million lire (approximately 360,000 euros). Prosecutors also claim Mandara stonewalled an investigation into the 1990 mob slaying of agribusiness owner Antonio Nugnes, who was the deputy mayor of Mondragone at the time. Boss Augusto La Torre had him shot to death for refusing to collaborate with the clan, and threw his body into a 40-meter well. La Torre turned State’s witness in 2003, when he led investigators to the dump site of Nugnes’ body.

Mandara has already been arrested once, in July 2012, on charges of mafia association and counterfeit mozzarella production. The Mozzarella King beat that rap, but investigators now have new evidence thanks to testimony from various State’s witnesses and phone taps.

Also on Wednesday, a regional coordinator from ex premier and tax-fraud convict Silvio Berlusconi’s center-right Forza Italia party defended the Mozzarella King.

“Mandara is a gentleman and an entrepreneur who produces wealth and employment, and yet he has been treated like a criminal for the past two decades”, said Amedeo Laboccetta. “How long does this manhunt have to go on?”

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Music: European Jewish Choir Festival, In Rome May 29-June 1

‘A united Europe through song’ says Rome Jewish Community leader

(ANSAmed) — ROME, MAY 22 — Performers from Berlin, London, Paris and St. Petersburg are converging on the Italian capital for the second European Jewish Choir Festival, to be held from May 29 to June 1. “Rome is the city of dialogue. We want to send a message that transcends borders and disagreements, proving that a united Europe can also be achieved through song and a call to brotherly love”, Rome Jewish Community (CER) leader Riccardo Pacifici told reporters at the festival press launch on Thursday. The message of unity is being sent ahead of European Parliament elections on May 25 and of Pope Francis’ trip to the Holy Land, Pacifici added.

A case in point is the participation of a 15-member outfit from the Ukrainian city of Lviv alongside a Russian choir.

“Getting the Ukrainians to come was quite a challenge, but we made it thanks to mobilization on social networks and the Union of Jewish Italian Communities (UCEI)”, commented Festival President Richard Di Castro, who also leads a Rome Jewish choir called Ha-Kol (The Voice).

After a successful first edition held in Vienna last year, this year’s festival will see six choirs from as many countries, plus an instrumental band and the Rome Diocese Choir as special guests.

“Jewish music takes many forms, because it is influenced by each country of origin”, Di Castro explained.

“Our program showcases various European traditions and genres. Each concert will be different from all the others.

There will be synagogal hymns, klezmer music, and folk songs. It will be chance to know and be known”.

Rome’s chief rabbi Riccardo Di Segni echoed him in a written message. “There are many different kinds of Jewish music but they are all connected to each other by often invisible or subterranean threads. They embody the great paradox of the Jewish condition: a unity made up of different parts, all cohabiting under the same roof”. The festival is sponsored by Italy’s Presidency of the Republic, the Lazio region, the city of Rome, the UCEI, and CER.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Many Turkish-German Hearts Beat for Erdogan

Many Germans criticize Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan ahead of his visit to Cologne. But his supporters in the city are ready to cheer on the man they regard as a national hero.

It’s still quiet at 9:30 in the morning on Cologne’s Keupstrasse. The smell of freshly baked flatbread wafts from a bakery. Most of the people in the neighborhood have Turkish roots. A man with a trim black moustache sweeps the sidewalk in front of his shop. Arif Yucatas sits in a cafe across from his shop for ladies’ fashions, waiting, letting his prayer beads glide through his fingers, taking small sips of hot black tea from the small glass set on the table next to him. It’s too early for customers…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Mistaken for Twins: How Two Italian Sisters Survived Auschwitz

Two sisters return to the camp 70 years after they were first brought there, sharing memories of snowball fights, feelings of guilt and the need to never forget

In a low voice, Tatiana Bucci asks, “What do you think of the Jewish kids who get tattoos of the number that was assigned to their grandparents?”. I shake my head, not knowing what to say, but she has the answer: “I wouldn’t want my grandchildren to have it done. It’s part of my skin now, I almost don’t notice it, but for them it would be different. I don’t show it off, but I don’t hide it either, and every time I see it I think with pride that I once was just a number but have managed to stay a human being despite that.”

It’s been 70 years since the Nazis marked Tatiana Bucci’s skin. The number 76484 was tattooed on her arm as soon as she arrived at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in Poland. Her sister Andra became number 76483, and their mother — who went first to find out whether the process was painful — was 76482….

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

Nuremberg Prosecutor Defends Universal Jurisdiction

‘Crimes that threaten everyone cannot be tolerated’

(ANSA) — Madrid, May 20 — The only surviving prosecutor from the post-WWII Nuremberg trials on Tuesday defended the concept of universal jurisdiction used to investigate human-rights abuses around the world.

“Whether laws are written or not, there are crimes that cannot be tolerated because they threaten all people, wherever they might be,” said Benjamin B. Ferencz, 94, in defence of the universality principle by which the international military tribunal established by the Allied forces after the Second World War could try the most prominent military, political and economic leaders from the Nazi era. Universal jurisdiction must be protected against “political and economic interests that claim to be above people,” the Hungarian-born American former prosecutor said.

Ferencz was speaking at the opening of the first international conference on the subject, underway in Madrid, following approval by the conservative majority People’s Party (PP) of Mariano Rajoy of a controversial reform limiting cross-border justice in Spain by making it more difficult for prosecutors to investigate crimes committed outside the country’s borders.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Poland Celebrates Anders and “Red Poppies” of Monte Cassino

Honours to Polish II Corps, 70 years after the bloody battle

(by Adam Hanzelewicz) (ANSA) — WARSAW — The Battle for Monte Cassino, which is a symbol of World War 2, was one of the bloodiest battles and engaged allied troops for several months, in a vain attempt to undermine the Gustav line. In May 1944, the Polish II Corps, led by General Wladyslaw Anders, conquered the Nazi stronghold, paving the way to Rome. A prominent victory in the history of Poland, that is similar to the one occurred in Grunwald (Tannenberg) in 1410 against the Teutonic Knights and to another one occurred in Vienna in 1683, when King Jan Sobieski saved Christendom from the Turkish threat.

To this important tribute paid “to our freedom and yours” — as the inscription on the memorial cemetery says — where 1,052 Polish soldiers rest in peace, 924 of them killed in the battle for the abbey ruins, are dedicated the lyrics of a popular Polish song, “czerwone maki na Monte Cassino”(“red poppies on Monte Cassino”) , a symbol of the sacrifice which redeemed the defeat suffered by the Polish army in a few weeks, after the Nazi invasion in September 1939.

The Battle of Monte Cassino — it’s better to say Cassino — begins in January 1944, but the Germans manage to repel the Allies on three occasions (January 17 to 25, February 15 to 18, March 15-25) in a few months the French, New Zealander, British, American and Indian (the Nepalese Ghurka) colonial units, lost more than 54,000 men without being able to conquer neither a single hill overseen by the Nazis, nor the city located downstream. The bombing and the destruction of the monastery, on February 15, ordered by General Freyberg (New Zealand), will prove in the end a tactical mistake, that will cost a lot in terms of human lives during the subsequent assaults.

After the failure of another attack in March, General Leese, commander of the 8th British Army asked the Poles to capture Monte Cassino in order to sweep away the German 1st Parachute Division and the 5th Alpine, while the British would cross the river Liri and would join the Poles on their way to Rome; in the meantime, the 5th American army and the French colonial departments would make their way to the capital. The favorable outcome of the offensive would depend on the capture of Cassino.

The Polish II Corps had initially 43,000 men and was made up of 2 infantry divisions (3rd Carpathian Riflemen and 5th Kresowa) and of 2nd Armoured Brigade. The first attack, on the night of 11 and 12 May 1944, was a massacre: no ground was gained, but the Germans recorded heavy losses, and the Polish sacrifice was necessary to reach the British goal on the river Liri.

On May 13, the ‘goumiers’ — French colonial units responsible for thousands of rapes and looting — captured Monte Maio, splitting the Gustav Line in two. The Germans, who were not expecting attacks from that area, had left a small garrison and therefore did not succeed in ‘absorbing the shock’ of the Moroccan assault. After reorganizing their army, the Poles launched their final attack on May 17, completing the encirclement after contacting the 78th Infantry Division (UK): the next day, a detachment of 12th Regiment of Lancers of Podolia reached the ruins of the monastery and lifted the Polish flag after the retreat of German forces.

According to Polish historical sources, in the battle for Monte Cassino the Polish II Corps recorded 924 dead, 2,930 injured and 345 missing: in the military cemetery rests in peace General Anders, who died in exile in London in 1970. During the 70th anniversary of the victory, two events have been planned in order to celebrate: the opening of a Memorial Hall for Polish II Corps near the Polish military cemetery and the inauguration of the bust of Anders, donated to Cassino municipality by the association of Polish war veterans who reside in the US.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Qatari Emir to Turn Greek Island Into Luxury Resort

Uninhabited Oxia in Ionian Sea

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS — Qatari emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani plans to transform the uninhabited Greek island Oxia into a huge luxury resort.

Al-Thani bought the Ionian Sea island for 5.6 million euros last year from the Greek-Australian family Stamoulis. The investment, according to the specialized site GTP, is expected to be around 250-300 million euros. The island is part of the Echinades group and covers a surface area of about 500 hectares (half the size of the Italian island Capri) and is 38 km away for the island of Ithaca, immortalized in Homer’s ‘Odyssey’. Part of Oxia is under the protection of the environmental organization Natura 2000, but the rest can be developed for commercial purposes with the building of ports, marinas, beaches, and hotels.

Al-Thani’s Oxia Art Island project is expected to provide 700 jobs during the construction phase and another 200-250 during the operation of the island to workers from surrounding areas and from Ithaca and Kefalonia.

The works are expected to be carried out for the most part on the southwestern side of the island between the coast and a hill. The project, designed by the Greek architectural firm Stelios Agiostratitis & Associates, calls for several sections with villages containing different types of architecture and with accommodation and recreational facilities, cultural sites and a coastal area with small ports and landing areas. A five-star hotel, a boutique hotel, two tourist resorts, a series of bungalows on the beach, bars, restaurants, cafes, a shopping area, sports facilities and a heliport are planned. The Oxia Art Island complex is expected to be open for business within the next two-three years.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Renzi Tells Italians Not to Send ‘Clowns’ To Europe

Premier says PD represents ‘seriousness’

(ANSA) — Rome, May 21 — Premier Matteo Renzi appealed to the Italian people not to vote for “clowns” in Sunday’s European elections. The broadside by the head of the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) was aimed at comedian-turned-politician Beppe Grillo and his anti-estasblishment 5-Star Movement (M5S). The PD is top in most polls, but Grillo is confident his M5S, who are second in the surveys after capturing a stunning 25% of the vote in last year’s general election, can come first with a late surge.

“We don’t need shows and clownery in the European parliament, we don’t need to climb on the roof,” Renzi said on Italian radio referring to a recent M5S protest on the roof of the Italian Lower House. “We need seriousness, people who are well prepared and further Italy’s interests”.

Renzi also blasted the language used in the campaign by Grillo, who, among other things, suggested that the premier will suffer a political “lupara bianca” — a term used to refer to a mafia hit that leaves no trace of evidence — after the European elections.

“Italy deserves more than insults and shouting and cries of up yours,” said Renzi, who has embarked on an ambitious programme of institutional and economic reforms since unseating his PD colleague Enrico Letta in February to become Italy’s youngest premier at 39. “Shouting gives you a good feeling for five minutes but then you go back to everyday life”. Renzi also tried to stress that the PD represents the real face of change, which he says will not be achieved via the uncompromising positions of the M5S, whose stated aim is to destroy the current party system.

“I want to change the country with great determination, humility and serenity,” the premier said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Schulz Wants a German Chairman for EU Commission

(AGI) Berlin, May 24 — Socialist Party candidate Martin Schulz was ridiculed on the web and by other German and European candidates after appealing to his fellow nationals to vote for him to ensure a German as the EU Commission president. Schulz, an opponent of Chancellor Angela Merkel, said that “only by voting for Schulz and the SPD will a German become European Commission president”. The appeal was greatly ridiculed on Twitter, as journalist and blogger Tilo Jung wrote: “Youth unemployment in Europe is a huge problem, but only a German can solve it”.

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

Shooting in Belgium an Anti-Semitic Attack, Says Minister

(AGI) Brussels, May 24 — Three people were shot dead and a fourth person was seriously wounded at the Jewish Museum in Brussels on Saturday afternoon. After arriving at the scene in the central Sablon area of the city, Interior Minister Joelle Milquet said everything pointed to an anti-Semitic attack, local media reported. In Belgium, national and European elections will take place on Sunday.

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

The Last Pope-King

Two of his predecessors made saints instead of only one. The Italian episcopal conference annihilated. The men of the old guard still at the helm of the IOR. All as Francis commands

by Sandro Magister

ROME, April 25, 2014 — With Francis the papacy has ended up in a pool of shadow. The light is all for him, the pope. Not the institution, but the person.

He feels himself free from the canonical norms. In just one year he has already suspended six times the ironclad rule that demands a new miracle before a blessed may be proclaimed a saint. John XXIII is the last of the six. Francis wanted at all costs that John Paul II should be canonized not on his own but balanced by another pope with a different profile, less combative, more merciful.

And so it will be on Sunday, April 27. The congregation for the causes of saints has bowed to his will and has offered the pretense of asking Francis for the dispensation, benevolently granted right away…

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

UK: Every Home in the Country Will be Forced Into Compulsory Rubbish Scheme in Desperate Bid to Meet Brussels’ Targets

Instructions prepared for councils have revealed a move to bring in separate collections of paper, metal, plastic and glass in order to meet recycling targets set by Brussels.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: King Richard III Will be Reburied in Leicester, High Court Rules

A judicial review concerning the final resting place of King Richard III has determined that the University of Leicester has the right to reinter the King’s remains at Leicester Cathedral in England.

Richard III, who ruled England from 1483 to 1485, died at the Battle of Bosworth Field and was buried in a hasty grave in Leicester. The exact location was lost to history until 2012, when archaeologists on the hunt for the king’s bones excavated a parking lot and found the skeleton, its spine bent with scoliosis and skull marred by battle wounds.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UK: Lutfur Rahman: An Election Labour Chose to Lose

Lutfur Rahman, the extremist-linked mayor of Tower Hamlets, narrowly won re-election last night — by 52 per cent to 48 after second preferences — with the help of a repertoire of tactics for which the borough has become notorious…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Mona Haj Youssef Avoids Jail for Attacking Widow of Murdered Organist

[WARNING: Disturbing Content.]

Female thug laughs in court as she avoids jail for attacking widow of murdered church organist.

A callous young woman who heartlessly mugged the brave widow of murdered church organist Alan Greaves — who died two years ago on Christmas Eve — burst out laughing in the dock as she avoided jail.

Mona Haj Youssef, 24, launched a terrifying attack on Maureen Greaves, 64, punching her in the face just two days before the widow had to face the ordeal of the start of her husband Alan Greave’s murder trial.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Teflon Farage Has Rained on Ed Miliband’s Parade

A year before a general election, the leader of the Opposition needs to exude unstoppable momentum — Labour’s leader still lacks this

Go back to your constituencies and prepare for… what, exactly? When David Steel told delegates at the 1981 Liberal Assembly to ready themselves for government, he was not joking (or at least, not intentionally)…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Video: Mayor Lutfur Rahman’s Re-Election Speech After Chaotic Count

Lutfur Rahman thanked residents of Tower Hamlets for his re-election as Mayor after a nail-biting finish to a brutal campaign.

Votes were counted for over six hours in a long and tense wait at the Troxy theatre in Limehouse on Friday that saw police try to deal with chaotic scenes outside the building. In a close result, Mayor Rahman received 52 per cent of the vote with 37,395 votes on a day of fatigue and confusion among all local parties.

In his acceptance speech, delivered on stage in the early hours of Saturday morning, Mayor Rahman said: “The people of this borough have spoken again. All I ever wanted was to work on an equal playing field. I never asked for a favour from anyone but to see such obstacles in my way I found difficult.”…

[Reader comment by Jack on 24 May 2014.]

It looks like he dragged every Bengali in the borough out to vote for him because they are the only ones he is interested in and they will get everything while the other 65% of the population get nothing.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Two Dead After Rockets Strike Homes in Libya

(AGI) Benghazi, May 24 — At least two people were killed when rockets fired at a Libyan army base missed their target and struck family homes in Benghazi on Friday night, residents and officials said on Saturday. It is not clear who fired the rockets. Children of the two family members killed in the explosion were injured.

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

2 Islamic Jihad Militants Killed in Gaza Blast

GAZA, May 24 (Xinhua) — Two Islamic Jihad militants were killed and two others wounded on Saturday in an internal explosion in training compound that belong to the militant group of Islamic Jihad in southern Gaza, local medics said…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

A New Bistro for Nutella Lovers, In Ramallah

Menu staple is ‘Nutella Kebab’

(ANSAmed) — RAMALLAH, MAY 20 — A bistro entirely dedicated to Nutella, Italy’s celebrated hazelnut chocolate spread, opened recently in the West Bank capital of Ramallah, just steps away from the centrally located Al-Manara Square.

“We came up with the idea while indulging a Nutella craving one night”, Nutella Shop co-founder Arine Rinawi, who opened the new delight central with partner Fouad Ghazi al-Bazzar, told ANSAmed.

“Ramallah we have cafe’s, bars, and restaurants, but no place to have dessert with family and friends”.

The menu ranges from Nutella-laced crepes and cheesecake to pizza and nachos. But the piece de resistance of the bistro, which opened 50 years after Italian manufacturer Ferrero first rolled Nutella out in 1964, is Nutella Kebab, or a gigantic block of chocolate replacing the meat on the spit.

Ferrero’s trademark red-and-black Nutella logo stands out all over the bistro’s pristine white interior. Asked whether they coordinated with the parent company, which is based in the northern Italian town of Alba, Rinawi glossed over the issue.

“We’re working on it”, she said diplomatically.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Tunisia: Jewish Pilgrims to Flock to Ghriba After Polemics

Thousands to visit Djerba’s ancient synagogue

(ANSAmed) — TUNIS — After a one-year suspension during the 2011 Tunisian uprising, the traditional Jewish pilgrimage to the Ghriba Synagogue on the island of Djerba will once again be held this year. Polemics were raised by some individuals concerned that granting visas to Israeli citizens would be tantamount to normalizing relations between Tunis and the State of Israel. Held every year on the 33rd day of the Jewish Passover, the ritual is the heart of the Tunisian Jewish community which — though very small in number — is well integrated into society. A legend says that the Ghriba Synagogue dates back to when Solomon’s Temple was destroyed in Jerusalem and Jews fleeing Palestine found refuge in Djerba in 586 B.C.

On May 16, over 2,000 Jewish pilgrims are expected to visit the synagogue, the head of Tunisia’s Jewish community Pereze Trabelsi said. Every year Djerba welcomes thousands of Jews, most of whom from Israel and Europe, for an event that contributes a great deal to the country’s revenues in the religious tourism sector. According to René Trabelsi, head of the event-organizer Royal First Travel tour operator, there will be around a thousand foreign Jews coming to the country for the pilgrimage alongside about a thousand from Tunisia. The pilgrimage, which was suspended in 2011 due to instability during the post-revolutionary phase, has been again since 2012 amid tight security, and no incidents have occurred.

In the past three years there have been concerns that Salafi extremists may carry out attacks, as they were active during the period in which the country was governed by a tripartite alliance led by Ennahdha, the Islamist party that in recent months left the position to a technocratic government under Mehdi Jomaa. The organizers had initially expected some 4,000 people, but this number was reduced most likely due to the polemics that arose a few weeks ago over potential normalization of relations with the State of Israel, due to the granting of visas to Israeli citizens. The visas were granted for the pilgrimage, even though Tunisia has not had official relations with Israel since 1996 due to its support for the Palestinian cause. The polemics were raised by a political figure and the issue ended up before the Constituent Assembly with a censure motion against two ministers. The motion was later annulled.

The heated debate that arose most likely discouraged many potential visitors and jeopardized the image of Tunisia, which — said Interior Minister Lotfi Ben Jeddou — is instead a “very open and tolerant country that will, as it always has, welcome the Jewish pilgrims to the Ghriba Synagogue.” The minister visited Djerba on Tuesday to assess on the ground the situation and to arrange for a tight security presence to prevent potential incidents.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

12 Killed in Separate Attacks Across Iraq

BAGHDAD, May 24 (Xinhua) — A total of 12 people including four Iranian nationals were killed and 39 others wounded in separate attacks across Iraq on Saturday, police and medical sources said.

In Iraq’s eastern province of Diyala, four Iranian workers were killed when a roadside bomb struck a convoy of vehicles belonging to an Iranian company building a gas pipeline between Iran and Iraq in Imam Wies area, some 110 km northeast of Baghdad, a provincial police source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

31 Killed in Multiple Attacks by Al-Qaida Gunmen in Yemen

ADEN, Yemen, May 24 (Xinhua) — Scores of suspected al-Qaida gunmen launched on Saturday a wave of six attacks against several military and government installations, leaving 31 people killed and several others injured, in Yemen’s southeastern province of Hadramout, government and medical officials told Xinhua…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Hijab Girl: Vignette of a Modern Saudi Heroine

Comedy is broadly defined as tragedy plus time. No other form of comedy adheres to this definition quite like satire, a genre that author and illustrator Sarah Alhazmi, a Saudi youth currently residing in Dubai, used to describe the debut of her new comic book series “Hijab Girl: Unveiled.”

Hijab Girl: Unveiled is a social and political statement on the role of women in Saudi society, presenting a tense dichotomy between its light-hearted art style and the mirror Alhazmi’s narrative holds up to the serious reality of women’s issues in the Kingdom.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Iranian Actress Apologizes for Kissing Cannes Festival President

Leila Hatami says she’s “sorry for hurting the feelings of some people,” after she was filmed on the red carpet planting a kiss on the cheek of Gilles Jacob.

Iranian actress Leila Hatami apologized on Friday for kissing the president of the Cannes film festival on the cheek, which in turn ignited a storm of backlash from authorities in the Islamic Republic, AFP reported.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Iraqi Armed Forces Kill 80 Isil Militants in Falluja

(AGI) Baghdad, May 24 — The chief of Iraq’s armed forces announced on Saturday that 80 militants from the al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) had been killed in Falluja. The ISIL launched an ongoing offensive on the border province of Anbar last December, supported by a series of tribal-government troops. Saturday’s operation was carried out by army and special forces officers and is said to have killed at least four aspiring suicide attackers.

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

Jihadist Attack in Yemen Kills at Least 35

(AGI) Aden, May 24 — At least 35 people were killed in a brutal attack by militant Jihadists in southern Yemen on Friday night.

The attack on the province of Hadhramaut’s second city, Seiyoun, killed 20 guerillas, including three suicide attackers, and around 15 police officers and soldiers.

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

Pope Francis Expresses Deep Respect for Muslim Community

(AGI) Amman , May 24 — At the start of his visit to Jordan, the first leg of his three-day pilgrimage to the Holy Land, Pope Francis expressed his profound respect and esteem for the Muslim community. In his speech at the Royal Palace in Amman on Saturday, the Holy Father said he appreciated the leadership of King Abdullah II in promoting a better understanding of the virtues taught by Islam, and a climate of serene coexistence between the faithful of different religions.

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

Pope Francis Begins Middle East Tour

Pope Francis has arrived in Amman for a three-day tour of the Middle East. The trip will give him a firsthand look at the condition of Syrian refugees in Jordan and take him to the occupied West Bank.

Pope Francis was greeted by thousands of people on Saturday when he arrived at Amman’s Queen Alia International Apart. He was received by an honor guard, Catholic leaders and Prince Ghazi bin Mohammed (pictured), the chief advisor for religious and cultural affairs to King Abdullah II.

The Vatican has called the Pope’s first visit to the Middle East a “pilgrimage of prayer” that is designed to strengthen ties with Muslims and Jews. Francis has said he will shun a bullet proof vest and ride in open-top cars, despite security concerns.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Syria: Assad Rally Death Toll Rises to 37

(AGI) Beirut, May 24 — The death toll from Thursday’s attack by Syrian rebels on a campaign rally for President Bashar al-Assad in the southern city of Daraa has risen to 37, according to Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Rebel mortar fire hit a tent where Assad supporters had gathered.

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

Syria Weapons: Kerry Thanks Mogherini for Help in Gioia Tauro

Secretary of State, Brahimi has not failed

(ANSAmed) — WASHINGTON, MAY 14 — US Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday said Washington very much appreciated the fact that Italy had offered the port of Gioa Tauro for the transfer of Syrian chemical weapons.

In a joint press conference in Washington with his Italian counterpart Federica Mogherini, Kerry said Italy was being of great help with such an effort.

Kerry also commented the resignation of the UN envoy for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, saying he did not fail in his mission.

The secretary of State said Brahimi had succeeded in bringing to the negotiating table several opposition movements and that Syrian President Bashar al Assad was to blame for boycotting any attempt to dialogue.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Syria’s Assad Thanks Russia for Its Help

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad Saturday thanked key ally Moscow for its support during a meeting in Damascus with a Russian delegation led by deputy premier Dimitry Rogozin, state media said.

The meeting comes days after Russia vetoed a draft UN resolution that would have referred crimes committed in Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Assad expressed “his appreciation for the Russian position of support for the Syrian people in their war against terrorism,” state news agency SANA said, using the government’s term for its opponents.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Footage of Ukrainian Helicopters Firing on Own Checkpoint Raises Questions

Insider footage of Ukrainian troops taking cover from their own helicopter forces has emerged, raising questions over the deaths of 16 troops at a checkpoint in the Donetsk Region Thursday.

The video, presumably shot by Ukrainian soldiers, shows a group of uniformed soldiers wearing Ukrainian army insignia, in addition to other men dressed in normal clothing, taking cover behind an army vehicle.

Following a huge explosion and gunfire, the soldiers are heard discussing whether they should retreat, according to a report by RT. Then two helicopter gunships approach the scene and begin to fire at the burning checkpoint.

A translation in the report notes that the man filming the scene asks “What are their doing? Are they ours?”

“Who the f*** else?” another soldier replies, as they fall back to woodland.

Approaching a soldier speaking to someone on a phone, the cameraman asks “Who are they shooting at?” “There are civilians and our soldiers there. Do you have a line to the army aviation, what the f*** is happening?”

The soldier replies “Two [Mi-]24s and one [Mi-]8 arrived. They are flying over our checkpoint and shooting at our checkpoint.”

“There are lots of corpses there. We were dousing the burning BMP [infantry combat vehicle], we thought the Mi-8 was going to pick up the bodies. Now they are shooting.” the soldier adds.

The attack was widely reported in the mainstream media as being perpetrated by pro-Russian separatists, yet no mention was made of the helicopter attack. Eyewitnesses told Russian media that the attackers were driving transit vans, with armored vehicles and combat helicopters were providing cover for them.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Putin: US Backed the ‘Coup’ That Now Threatens Civil War in Ukraine

In an interview with CNBC, in front of an audience at the International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg, Putin offered his overview of what happened in Ukraine and the current conditions by stating (based on CNBC’s transcript):

What happened in Ukraine now is chaos, the country is sliding into chaos. Yanukovych agreed to do anything, whatever, had it all been done legally, we’d continue subsidising them, we’d keep gas prices low, we’d allocate the 15 billion we’d promised. Let us be frank, we’re all grownups in the room, we’re all smart and educated people. The West supported anti-constitutional coup d’état, not just by giving away cookies, but by giving political support, support in the media, using all sorts of tools. And are you blaming us? What we suggested was dialogue. We were denied. When I last came to Brussels we agreed that dialogue would continue but that was before the coup d’état.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Ukraine Fascists Threaten Presidential Candidate Handpicked by Globalists

The State Department’s man handpicked to lead Ukraine into the clutch of European Union integration and IMF generated austerity has been put on notice by the Maidan fascists.

Presidential candidate Petro Poroshenko will be watched carefully by Maidan commander Andrei Veremiyenko and the Independence square “defenders” if he is elected. If Poroshenko does not engage in “radical actions” there will be “a third Maidan and it will be more savage than before, much more savage,” according to Veremiyenko…

In 2012 Poroshenko said Ukraine will have to improve the “business climate” in the country. Following the Maidan coup in February, the IMF worked with Wall Street and the European Commission to arrange a $20 billion deal calling for adjusting the business climate by imposing austerity, including cuts to pensions, government employment, and the privatization of government assets and property (assets and property belonging to the people of Ukraine despite what particular government rules the country).

In addition to dismantling state enterprises, the IMF agenda is designed to eliminate private sector competition to globalist transnationals.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

‘Blasphemous’ Content on Twitter Gets Blocked in Pakistan

At the request of Pakistan, Twitter bosses on Saturday announced that the microblogging site would block posts in the country deemed to have “blasphemous” content.

Tweets containing drawings of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad and links to anti-Islam blogs were cited in requests from Abdul Batin, of Pakistan’s Telecommunication Authority, to Twitter to have the content blocked, according to the New York Times.

Also among the content that prompted Batin to complain to Twitter “at least five times this month” were photographs of burning Qurans and messages from anti-Islam bloggers as well as from an American porn star.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

India: Shahrukh Khan Named World’s Second Richest Actor

The 48-year-old Bollywood star, popularly known as King Khan, has emerged as the second richest actor in the top 10 combined rich list of Bollywood and Hollywood stars, with an estimated fortune of $600 million, reported The Times of India.

Comedian Jerry Seinfeld topped the rich list with an estimated net worth of $820 million.

Khan, who was the only Indian actor in the list, was found to be richer than Hollywood giants like Tom Cruise and Johny Depp.

Tom Cruise came in third at $480 million followed by Johny Depp at $ 450 million.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

China: Xinjiang Starts Campaign Against Terror

URUMQI, May 23 (Xinhua) — A one-year campaign against terrorist violence in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region got underway on Friday, local authorities said.

The region saw its bloodiest day in five years on Thursday when 39 people were killed and 94 injured in a terrorist attack.

With approval from the central government and according to decisions from the national anti-terrorism leading group, the campaign will last until June 2015 with Xinjiang as the major battleground, according to a televised conference by the regional government.

Frequent recent terrorist violence is the most obvious and real threat to the stability of Xinjiang. Xinjiang will adopt special measures and use special means to end the violence and uproot the organization of the terrorists, according to the conference.

The campaign will make full use of political and legal forces, army and armed police in Xinjiang. It will focus on terrorists and religious extremist groups, gun and explosive manufacturing dens and terrorist training camps. Terrorists and extremists will be hunted down and punished…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Chinese Police Arrest Suspect Over Suicide Bomb Attack Which Killed Dozens

Chinese police say they have held a suspect in connection with a suicide bombing on Thursday which killed 39 people. More than 90 others were wounded.

The attack at a vegetable market in Urumqi in far western China was the deadliest in the region for years. Two vehicles drove into crowds, throwing explosives. Police say the other four suspects died in the attack.

The region has a large Muslim Uighur minority. Many say they are not allowed to freely practise their religion and culture.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Overseas Filipino Workers Enticed to the Gulf

The Gulf countries are home to the largest number of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and it’s an arrangement which benefits both sides. For instance, for the Philippines, the workers send home billions of dollars.

Fact is, a sizable number of Filipinos live and work abroad for economic reasons, with their number estimated at around 10.5 million and comprising around 11 per cent of the country’s total population. The stats include some 5 million permanently living abroad and about 1.5 million irregulars.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

South China Sea: Manila Wants to Prosecute Chinese Fishermen for Poaching

A Filipino prosecutor charges 11 Beijing fishermen with poaching “protected species”. They were surprised with hundreds of sea turtles on board, and now face up to 20 years in prison . Beijing threatens retaliation and claims “indisputable sovereignty “ over the area. ASEAN warns : some countries (Vietnam ) damage “ friendly cooperation “ .

Manila ( AsiaNews / Agencies) — A Filipino prosecutor has indicted nine Chinese fishermen, recently arrested in the disputed waters of the South China Sea, for damaging the environment despite threats of retaliation and reprisal from Beijing. The lawsuit is just the latest in a series of clashes, not only diplomatic, between the Land of the Dragon and various nations in the Asia -Pacific region. Beijing’s relationship with the Manila has become increasingly bitter since the latter denounced China to the UN international tribunal, and Hanoi, which has protested several times against the placement of an extraction platform at a point under Vietnam’s exclusive economic jurisdication. In this case, the court has accused the fishermen of violating the laws “against poaching” and the “capture of protected species” after being caught with a huge quantity (in the hundreds) of sea turtles — a protected species — aboard their boat. There were 11 crew members on board the detained vessel, who now face up to 20 years in prison and a heavy fine if found guilty.

Manila’s coast guard surprised the Chinese fishing boat off the coast of Half Moon Shoal, disputed by Beijing, 111 kilometers (just 60 nautical miles) from the coast of Palawan, the westernmost tip of the Philippine archipelago. Two of the crew are minors and therefore will not be tried. The specimens that survived capture were released in a bay of Palawan. Beijing has warned the Philippines to free the fishermen, because it claims “indisputable sovereignty” over the islands and warns Manila to “stop taking further provocative action”.

The dispute between China on the one hand, and Vietnam, and the Philippineson the other, dominated last week’s at the last ASEAN summit, which was held over the weekend in Myanmar. The leaders of the association that brings together 10 Southeast Asian nations expressed “great concern” over territorial disputes and called on the parties concerned (though without directly mentioning Beijing) to exercise “restraint” and avoid “the use of force”. In response, Beijing criticized “some nations” for damaging “friendly cooperation” within ASEAN itself. Chinese Foreign Ministry Hua Chunying, pointed out that “ his South China Sea issue is not a problem between China and Asean” although “certain countries are attempting to jeopardise friendly cooperation between China and Asean countries by making use of the South China Sea issue”.

Vietnam is not alone in its concerns. The Philippines too has been increasingly worried about Beijing’s imperialism in the South China and East China seas. The Chinese government claims most of the sea (almost 85 per cent), including sovereignty over the disputed Spratly and Paracel islands, in opposition to Vietnam, Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei and Malaysia. In recent months, China has used various political, economic and diplomatic means to hamper non-Chinese vessels from fishing or moving through the disputed waters. For the United States, which backs the claims of Southeast Asia nations, Beijing’s so-called ‘cow tongue’ line is both “illegal” and “irrational”.

Anyone with a hegemonic sway over the region would have a strategic advantage, in terms of seabed (oil and gas) development, but also in trade since two thirds of the world’s maritime trade transit through it. Almost uninhabited, the area’s islands are thought to hold extensive oil and natural gas reserves as well as other raw materials. India, Australia and the United States are also parties to the dispute in various degrees. In view of the conflicting interests and alliances that crisscross the Asia-Pacific region, the area is one of the hottest geopolitical spots in the world, one that could even trigger a new global war.

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

Somalia’s Parliament Bombed by Al Shabaab

Al Shabaab have car bombed the Somali parliament, sent in a suicide bomber and deployed gunmen on foot in a highly-organised attack on the state

A car bomb at parliament in the Somali capital killed at least seven people on Saturday, police and Reuters witnesses said. Al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab militants claimed responsibility for the blasts…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Protests Continue in Brazil Ahead of World Cup

(AGI) Rome, May 24 — Strikes and protests continue in Brazil, in the build-up to the 2014 FIFA World Cup, to be held in the country from June 12 to July 13. Bus drivers on the outskirts of San Paolo continued their protest for the second consecutive day, demanding higher salaries. In Rio de Janeiro a demonstration was held against the police units deployed in the city’s slums for the event, but only a few people joined the protest.

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

David Cameron Draws up Immigration Laws to Foil UKIP

Prime Minister responds to local elections setback, with details expected in an immigration Bill to be announced in the Queen’s Speech

David Cameron is drawing up new immigration laws in response to rising anger over the number of EU migrants moving to Britain, The Telegraph can disclose. The first details are expected in a Bill to be announced in the Queen’s Speech next week, a senior government source said.

Even stronger measures to block Europeans from poor countries coming to Britain for work are likely to be included in the Conservative manifesto for the general election next year…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

How America Treats Illegal Aliens vs. Veterans

A government that fails to secure its borders is guilty of dereliction of duty. A government that fails to care for our men and women on the frontlines is guilty of malpractice. A government that puts the needs of illegal aliens above U.S. veterans for political gain should be prosecuted for criminal neglect bordering on treason.

Compare, contrast and weep:

In Sacramento, Calif., lawmakers are moving forward with a budget-busting plan to extend government-funded health insurance to at least 1.5 million illegal aliens.

In Los Angeles, federal bureaucrats callously canceled an estimated 40,000 diagnostic tests and treatments for American veterans with cancer and other illnesses to cover up a decade-long backlog.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Italy: Many of the Immigrants Rescued on Friday Are Children

(AGI) Palermo, May 24 — The group of immigrants rescued by the Italian Navy off the Sicilian coast on Friday includes 264 children and 56 women. Most of them are Syrians and Egyptians, crammed into a wooden boat.

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

Sheriffs Opting to Release Suspected Illegal Immigrants

County sheriffs who run America’s jails are increasingly refusing to honor federal requests to detain suspected illegal immigrants.

In most jails, incoming inmates are fingerprinted and run through a federal system to check their immigration status. The Department of Homeland Security then flags those suspected of being in the country illegally and issues a “detainer” — a form many sheriffs believed was equivalent to a warrant — to hold onto the person until Immigrations and Customs Enforcement can come get them for possible deportation.

But a series of court decisions has made it clear to sheriffs that the detainers are simply requests, and that holding onto people after they’ve finished their sentence or would otherwise be eligible to get bailed out violates the Constitution.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Gay Tourism a 2.7-Mn-Euro Industry in Italy

LGBT travel expo to launch in front of Colosseum

(ANSA) — Rome, May 21 — Gay tourism rakes in 2.7 million euros annually in Italy, with the average gay tourist spending 1,070 euros per trip. The data was unveiled Wednesday at a presentation in Rome of the Expo Turismo Gay trade fair, scheduled Friday through Sunday in front of the Colosseum.

“We’ll be under the Colosseum (turning it into) Gay Street Roma to underline the importance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender tourism as a resource in a place of such international visibility,” said event president Paolo Bertagni.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Memorial Day 2014

by Dennis Sevakis

Military service changes a person in deep and lasting ways that are often bittersweet. Those who serve honorably carry with them the satisfaction of having done their duty even amid the pain of a lasting injury or the loss of comrades in arms. Perhaps only those who have served or lost a loved one can fully appreciate the significance of Memorial Day. And if we are to honor those who gave their last, full measure, we must also honor and value the ideals that are inseparable from their sacrifice. Otherwise, our tribute is hypocrisy.

A couple of years ago a classmate of mine was taken aback by what I said about two friends who had died in their early fifties in the ‘90s. I commented that I considered the two men fortunate in at least one sense: they had not lived to witness the current advanced stage of America’s social and politically-correct disintegration. Should the same be said of our honored war dead? How is it that as a country we still hold true to their ideals when President Obama issues proclamations designating June “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month”? Is this the post-modern replacement for “God, Country and Family”?

I doubt that those we honor this Memorial Day would be very pleased with what our country has and is becoming. Mourn both them and the America we’ve lost.

[Return to headlines]

One thought on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 5/24/2014

  1. Re: “Foreign Troops practise invading Tampa”. Get a grip, JD; it’s normal practice for allies’ forces to train together on each others’ territory.

    Re: Alta Vista. The US gun lobby argues, with some justification, that most gun crimes are perpetrated with illegal weapons. However in this case, the young man concerned, despite being known to be mentally ill, apparently obtained his guns legally. A case at least for tightening up controls?

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