Gates of Vienna News Feed 5/31/2014

The only American prisoner of war in Afghanistan, Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, has been released and is on his way home. He was exchanged for five Taliban prisoners after lengthy negotiations brokered by Qatar.

In other news, the Italian Mafia is struggling during the continuing recession. Not only are protection racket revenues down, but the mobsters are having to expend more and more of their funds to support the families of Mafiosos who have been imprisoned.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, DS, Fjordman, Insubria, Jerry Gordon, JP, Papa Whiskey, 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
» Italy: Organised Crime ‘Struggling’ Amid Recession
» Christian Police Chief Rightfully Punished for Not Attending Mosque Ceremony, Court Says
» Islamic Society of Central New York Plans New Mosque
» Lower CO2 Emissions Will Reduce Heart Attacks, Says Obama
» Philip Hamburger’s ‘Is Administrative Law Unlawful?’
» Yasmeen’s Law: A Victory in Florida for Human Rights
Europe and the EU
» 7 Finns Behind Closed Doors at Ultra-Elite Bilderberg Meeting
» Barroso Warns Bulgaria on South Stream
» Farage Says UKIP ‘Against Racism, Sexism, Xenophobia’
» Italian Museums to Keep Ticket Revenue, Minister Says
» Italy: Grillo Dons Crown of Thorns in Front of Photographers
» Italy: ‘King of Apples’ Businessman Fatally Wounded in Ambush
» Italy: Camorra Boss Says Local Politicians Let Mob Thrive
» Italy: ‘Thousands of Inmates’ Can Soon be Released Under Drug Law
» Italy: Popularity of Roll-Your-Own Smokes Skyrockets
» Northern Ireland’s First Minister Called on to Apologise Publicly to Muslims
» Northern Ireland: Anti-Racism Rallies Take Place in Belfast and Derry
» Petit Larousse Admits 2 Italian Words Into French Dictionary
» Spain Breaks Up Suspected Jihadist Cell in Melilla
» Tax Bonus Stimulates Italian Economy, Says Report
» UK: Government to Review All Aspects of the BBC and Future of Licence Fee
» UK: Man Detained Under Mental Health Act for Vandalising RAF Bomber Command Memorial
» UK: Our Voting System is Flawed, But Politicians Don’t Seem to Care
» UK: Teen Arrested at Heathrow Airport on Suspicion of ‘Syria-Related’ Terrorism
» UK: When Goose-Stepping and Israel-Bashing Go Together
» UKIP Councillor: Don’t ‘Enforce’ Equality, Defend Freedom to End Injustice
Israel and the Palestinians
» Israeli Police Foils Suicide Bomb Attack in West Bank
Middle East
» Bahrain: Mehzaa Mosque Set for Major Revamp
» CNN International Reporter ‘Detained, Kicked’ in Istanbul When on Air
» Iran, Turkey and China’s Middle Eastern Pivot
» IRCG Commander Killed in Syria
» Lebanon: Tripoli Mosque Reopens After Devastating Bombing
» Saudi Cleric: Interactions Between Men, Women on Social Media is Anti-Islamic
» The Future of the Babylonian Jewish Archives: Interview With Dr. Harold Rhode
» The Islamic State of Iraq and Ash-Sham’s Dhimmi Pact for the Christians of Raqqa Province
» U.S. Confirms Suicide Bombing by American Citizen in Syria
» Exomars Mission Launch Window in January 2016
» Kadyrov: No Chechen Battalions in Ukraine
» OSCE Calls on Intensifying Special Operation in Ukraine, Moscow Outraged
South Asia
» 12 Afghan Civilians Killed in Roadside Bombing
» Afghanistan: America’s Only Prisoner of War Released in Exchange for Taliban Fighters
» India Wife Helps Husband Rape Girl, 14
» Malaysia: Values That Are ‘Confidently Islamic’
» Only American P.O.W. From Afghan War is Freed
» Pakistan: Faisalabad: Muslim Activist Saves a Christian From Blasphemy Charges
» U.S. Soldier Free After Almost Five Years Captivity in Afghanistan
Far East
» Chinese General Warns That US is Making ‘Important’ Mistakes in Region
» Eight Indicted in China Over Tiananmen Suicide Attack
» North Korea Gives Life Sentence to ‘Spy’ From South
» US Says China a ‘Destabilising’ Force
Australia — Pacific
» PM and Veterans Commemorate D-Day
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Cameron Condemns ‘Barbaric’ Sudan Death Sentence
» Imam Khomeini Awareness Day Marked in Nigeria
» UN Condemns Violence in Central African Republic
» Illegal Immigration to Europe Shows Sharp Rise
» Italy Rescues 2,800 Immigrants Near Sicily
» Muslim Immigration a Big Factor in Sweden Democrats’ Win
» Nearly 3,000 Migrants Arrive on Italian Coast in 24 Hours
» North African Migrants Land in Thousands on Italian Shores
» Documents Detail Apparent Match Fixing Before Last World Cup
» New English Review: Global Persecution of Christians: An International Round Table Discussion
» Vatican: Catholicism is Growing in the World in Terms of Believers, Bishops, Priests and Seminarians

Italy: Organised Crime ‘Struggling’ Amid Recession

Protection rackets netting less due to crisis, says police chief

(ANSA) — Rome, May 28 — Italy’s underworld has been hard hit by the recession as protection rackets charge less to businesses and the cost of providing for families of imprisoned mobsters soars, Italian Police Chief Alessandro Pansa said Wednesday.

Speaking to a school for police officers, Pansa said organised-crime gangs nevertheless are becoming “evermore clever” at infiltrating legitimate business and financial circles in a bid to recover from the economic crisis.

“Organised crime also is in difficulty,” Pansa said. “The crisis hits criminal organisations as well, so much so that they have difficulty supporting the families of inmates, who are numerous, and even the pizzo (protection money) is less expensive than in previous years”.

However such setbacks don’t mean that crime clans are defeated, the police chief cautioned.

“Organised crime is over time shifting its interests from some forms of parasitic economic activity to more complex forms of productive systems, both economic or financial,” he continued.

The Mob is increasing less in real estate and more in private companies, he added.

“Crime gangs increasingly provide knowhow to companies suffering from the recession, offering illegal finance, black-market labour and illicit raw materials,” the police chief said.

Against this background the forces of law and order are nevertheless “ready to meet the future challenges,” Pansa concluded.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Christian Police Chief Rightfully Punished for Not Attending Mosque Ceremony, Court Says

A federal appeals court ruled this week that a Christian police captain from Tulsa, Okla., was rightfully punished for refusing to enter a mosque for a police appreciation ceremony.

Police Captain Paul Fields previously sued the City of Tulsa and the Tulsa Police Department after he was punished for refusing to attend a police appreciation event at the Islamic Society of Tulsa in March 2011…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Islamic Society of Central New York Plans New Mosque

Southwood, NY — The Islamic Society of Central New York wants to build a $1 million mosque-community center on land it owns on East Seneca Turnpike in the town of Onondaga.

When completely built out in all three phases, the mosque-community center would be about 27,000 square feet, or about double the size the First Baptist Church of Syracuse, located nearby.

The proposed Onondaga mosque would serve as an overflow for the Islamic Society’s current worship center on 925 Comstock Ave. in Syracuse, said society President Mohamed Khater.

The number of Muslims living in Onondaga County has grown from 3,109 to 6,566 from 2000 to 2010. The Islamic Society has seen a natural growth in the families who attend, as well an as increase in the number of refugees from Islamic countries who have moved to the area, Khater said…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Lower CO2 Emissions Will Reduce Heart Attacks, Says Obama

(AGI/AFP) Washington, May 31 — United States President Barack Obama says the government’s plan for reducing carbon dioxide emissions could prevent thousands of cases of asthma and heart attacks. The guidelines of the anti-pollution plan, which was presented on Saturday, will be made public next week. President Obama estimated that, once in effect, the plan could prevent as many as 100,000 asthma attacks and 2100 heart attacks in the first year. Around 40 percent of U.S. emissions comes from power plants.

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

Philip Hamburger’s ‘Is Administrative Law Unlawful?’

By Ed Whelan

Here’s an important new book that is very much worth reading: law professor Philip Hamburger’s Is Administrative Law Unlawful?

Hamburger’s answer to his title question is a resounding “yes,” at least as to that large part of “administrative law” that consists of rules or other edicts that purport to bind members of the public. Hamburger, a legal historian, extensively reviews English history to show that administrative law, far from being a novel development that the Constitution couldn’t anticipate, is just another manifestation of the king’s “prerogative” power that the Constitution was designed to protect against…

           — Hat tip: DS [Return to headlines]

Yasmeen’s Law: A Victory in Florida for Human Rights

by Jerry Gordon

May 12, 2014, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed into law a bill to protect the human rights of women and children in the Sunshine State from the intrusion of foreign laws and doctrines undermining fundamental Constitutional rights. There is nothing in the law that Governor Scott signed that mentions Muslims, Sharia, Islam or any other religious or ecclesiastical law. It is facially neutral. However, the legislation, while based on the American Law for American Courts model law adopted in various forms by six other states, offers in the Florida version relief to women and children against predatory practices often in violation of federal, state and even international law. One of those foreign laws is Sharia, Islamic law, which controls every aspect of a Muslim’s life, and in all too many cases, the lives of non-Muslim wives and the children of those unions. Under Sharia, a husband, a son and male relatives are deemed to have absolute control over their wives and children.

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

7 Finns Behind Closed Doors at Ultra-Elite Bilderberg Meeting

Seven Finnish corporate leaders are among the select attendees of the secretive Bilderberg conference, reports Helsingin Sanomat.

The annual four-day gathering of about 150 people is underway in Copenhagen, bringing together some of the world’s financial, political, academic elite for informal closed-door discussions of current events from Ukraine and economic recovery to privacy. Most of the attendees are from Europe and North America. This year’s edition includes two invitees from China and none from Russia.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Barroso Warns Bulgaria on South Stream

Speaking after the EU summit held yesterday (27 May), Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso made it plain that the EU executive would impose infringements on Bulgaria regarding the Gazprom-favoured South Stream pipeline, the construction of which is about to begin in breach with EU laws.

Bulgarian Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski met bilaterally with Barroso yesterday and assured him that the South Stream pipeline will be built according to EU law.

But as the two were meeting, it also became known that a Russian firm, who’s owner is under US sanctions will build the Bulgarian stretch of the pipeline.

Russian Stroytransgaz consortium will build the Gazprom-favoured South Stream gas pipeline, the Bulgarian daily Capital revealed yesterday.

A major shareholder (63%) in Stroytransgaz is Volga Group, owned by Gennady Timchenko, who was placed on the US’s sanctions list against Russia in mid-March. He is believed to be the 6th richest man in Russia, according to Forbes, and with close ties to President Vladimir Putin.

The total value of the construction works on Bulgarian territory will be 3.5 billion Euros, with 20 to 30% of the implementation being sub-contracted to Bulgarian firms.

Capital reported earlier this year that Stroytransgaz has expressed interest in building the pipeline, but official confirmation came on Tuesday by Vladimir Inkov, executive director of South Stream Bulgaria.

The decision about the implementation of the project has been taken one hour before Oresharski met Barroso in Brussels, reassuring him that Bulgaria will abide by EU law.

The Commission has objected precisely on the grounds that the Bulgarian-Russian bilateral agreement on South Stream gives preference to companies from Bulgaria and Russia, which is against EU competition rules (see background).

Despite the Commission’s position that the IGA violates EU law, Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller confirmed last month that the building of the Bulgarian and Serbian portions of the pipeline will begin in July.

Asked by EurActiv to comment, Barroso said that at the EU summit that he had made it “very clear” that it was “critically important that the Union remains united on the issue of energy security”. “Nobody contradicted this around the table,” he added.

Barroso also said he had expressed to the European Council members the opinion of the European Commission that some of the agreements that are being negotiated on South Stream are in conflict with EU rules.

“So we will act in this regard,” he said.

“In fact today I informed the [Bulgarian] Prime minister of the intentions of the European Commission. We have to make sure that the rules of the internal market are respected, not only because it’s our duty, but because the Bulgarian energy security and European energy security would be at risk if these rules are not observed,” Barroso said.

“We are fully aware of the situation, we are following closely for several months now,” he added.

Bulgaria faces an infringement procedure over South Stream, as well on the issue of opening of procedures by the State Commission for Energy and Water Regulation (DKEVR) to withdraw licences to the three public suppliers of electricity in Bulgaria, Czech firms ÄŒEZ, and Energo-Pro and Austria’s EVN.

The centre-right opposition in Bulgaria has called a non-confidence vote over the energy policy of the Socialist-led government, denounced as pro-Russian. A debate in the Bulgarian Parliament will take place today.


Speaking to EurActiv, MEP Vladimir Uruchev from the centre-right opposition party GERB said that it was hardly a surprise that Timchenko’s company Stroytransgaz would build South Stream in Bulgarian territory.

He regretted that for such a “giant contract”, a transparent tender had not been held and that major European companies had not been invited to participate to the competition.

“The intention of the government is clear: they wanted the Russian company to get the contract”, he said.

Asked what the motivation of the government was: pro-Russian sympathies or corruption, Uruchev said he didn’t think it was about sympathies.

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

Farage Says UKIP ‘Against Racism, Sexism, Xenophobia’

‘We’re also anti-war’

(updates previous) (ANSA) — Brussels, May 30 — Nigel Farage told ANSA Friday that his UK Independence Party (UKIP) is anti-war and for direct democracy.

“We want the British people, through its parliament and for direct democracy, to have the power to decide its future,” Farage said. “We’re a classic 19th century party that believes in small States created with personal liberties and a sense of responsibility,” he added.

Farage also described the UKIP as an “anti-war party”.

“We are a party against war anywhere. We oppose all of the imperialistic wars, whether they be in Syria, Libya or Afghanistan,” he added.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italian Museums to Keep Ticket Revenue, Minister Says

‘To reward performing institutions’

(ANSA) — Rome, May 30 — Italian State museums and archeological sites will no longer turn over revenue to the culture ministry, but instead keep it to reinvest, Culture Minister Dario Franceschini said Friday. “It’s an important step that rewards performing institutions,” he added. In the past, museums and related sites turned over money generated from ticket and merchandize sales to the government, which in turn financed institutions regardless of their performance.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Grillo Dons Crown of Thorns in Front of Photographers

M5S leader raises speculation after European election defeat

(ANSA) — Marina di Bibbona, May 30 — The eader of Italy’s embattled anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) Beppe Grillo on Friday wore a crown of thorns in view of photographers stationed in front of his beach house in the Tuscan town of Marina di Bibbona.

Grillo waved at the photographers but did not comment as he went on a beach walk with friends. The comedian and politician is taking a few days of vacation after hard campaigning before European elections in which he strived for his Eurosceptic M5S to beat out the centre-left Democratic Party (PD), headed by Premier Matteo Renzi, for first place.

Instead, the M5S was trounced by the PD, which garnered more than 40% of the vote, or roughly twice that of the M5S.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: ‘King of Apples’ Businessman Fatally Wounded in Ambush

Fruit and vegetable entrepreneur well-known on TV

(ANSA) — Caserta, May 28 — A southern businessman known on Italian television as the “King of Apples” died Wednesday after he was shot in a slip road off the A1 motorway, police said.

Gennaro Galdiero, 40, frequently appeared on TV chat shows as a prosperous expert on the fruit and vegetable market in the Campania region around Naples.

Carabinieri military police said they had arrested another fruit and vegetable producer, aged 52, on charges of murder.

Officers said two men apparently carried out the ambush Tuesday night, but that they did not believe it was linked to the Camorra, the Neapolitan mafia, as the attack did not have the hallmarks of a professional assassin.

Galdiero had wound down the window of his car in the slip road near a restaurant close to the town of Caianello as if he had been conversing with his assailants.

He had no criminal record and the man held for questioning by the Carabinieri was a member of the same consortium of fruit and vegetable producers as the dead man, police sources said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Camorra Boss Says Local Politicians Let Mob Thrive

‘Money for everyone’ says Iovine

(ANSA) — Naples, May 28 — The most dangerous Italian mobster ever to turn State’s evidence has claimed local politicians enabled his organisation to thrive around the southern city of Naples and make inroads in business and politics elsewhere.

Antonio Iovine, a top Camorra boss whose decision to become informer made international headlines earlier this month, has told prosecutors that the Neapolitan mafia was able to prosper thanks to the complicity of widespread corruption in the local political system. “There was money for everyone in a system that was completely corrupt,” Iovine told investigations days ago, in judicial papers made public Wednesday. “It made no difference what political side a mayor came from because the system operated, and operates, in the same way,” he said.

Colloquially, in the Naples area, the mafia-ridden political and business machine is known as 0’ sistema (The System) in the local dialect.

“I’m well aware of the crimes that I’ve stained myself with. “But I’m explaining to you a system in which the Camorra is not the only one to blame”.

Iovine freely admitted that tenders were only open to Camorra-linked or Mob-run firms, but claimed “this could have been different if politicians had decided to do something about it”.

But Lorenzo Diana, one of the former local politicians cited by Iovine, claimed “there was nothing we could do, the Camorra dominated things, Iovine has discovered hot water”.

Diana said he had “reported this state of affairs on several occasions” to anti-mafia bodies “at all possible levels”.

Iovine’s statements were made public on Wednesday after being presented as evidence in a criminal trial. Iovine, also known as ‘o ninno’, is considered one of the four former bosses of the powerful Casalesi Camorra clan from Casal di Principe in the province of Caserta, whose death threats have forced anti-mafia writer Roberto Saviano, of Gomorrah fame, 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 under Italy’s tough prison regime for organised criminals, the so-called article 41-bis, after being captured in November 2010 following 15 years on the run.

He was sentenced to life imprisonment in absentia in January 2010 along with Bidognetti, Schiavone and Zagaria following the 12-year so-called Spartacus maxi trial against the Casalesi clan.

Saviano has hailed Iovine’s ‘repentance” as “the biggest blow ever against the Camorra-run System”.

Mafia experts say it is even more significant than the 1980s evidence of former top Cosa Nostra figure Tommaso Buscetta, because Buscetta’s evidence, which eventually implicated late Christian Democrat statesman Giulio Andreotti, regarded events much prior to his capture. Iovine was also in a position to keep pulling the strings despite the severe conditions of his incarceration, Camorra analysts said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: ‘Thousands of Inmates’ Can Soon be Released Under Drug Law

Smalltime pushers offered alternative sentences

(ANSA) — Rome, May 29 — Sources at Italy’s highest court on Thursday said a new decree that overhauls Italy’s drugs laws paves the way for releasing “thousands of convicted smalltime drug dealers from prison”. The move follows parliamentary approval of a decree earlier this month that overhauls Italy’s drugs laws and reclassifies marijuana as a soft rather than a hard narcotic. The new law also effectively removes jail time as a sentence for smalltime dealers, offering community service and other options in its place.

Sources at Cassation Court Thursday said inmates seeking early release based on the law must first file a request which will then be reviewed in court. The new drug policy follows a Cassation decision in February that threw out as “illegitimate” a 2005 law that equated the possession of soft drugs to hard drugs, and was blamed as a contributing factor to severe overcrowding in Italian prisons.

Detractors of that law, which was sponsored at the time by then-right-wing MP Gianfranco Fini and centrist MP Carlo Giovanardi, argued it violated a 1993 popular referendum in which a majority of Italians voted to decriminalize drug possession for personal consumption.

The so-called Fini-Giovanardi law, which had been passed by ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi’s centre-right government, had been challenged several times, namely for violating the European Union legal principle that the punishment must be proportional to the crime.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Popularity of Roll-Your-Own Smokes Skyrockets

Use of loose tobacco jumps by 400% in Italy since 2005

(See related) (ANSA) — Rome, May 30 — The use of loose tobacco by smokers who roll their own cigarettes has skyrocketed in Italy, increasing by 400% since 2005, said research released Friday.

In addition to being cheaper, smokers also seemed to think that hand-rolled cigarettes were less harmful than manufactured smokes, according to the research conducted for the Higher Health Institute (ISS) and released ahead of World Anti-Tobacco Day on Saturday.

Young smokers in particular seem to prefer homemade cigarettes to electronic cigarettes, said the findings.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Northern Ireland’s First Minister Called on to Apologise Publicly to Muslims

Thousands attend rally in Belfast after Peter Robinson made comments backing a preacher denouncing Islam as evil

Thousands attending an anti-racist rally in central Belfast on Saturday heard a demand that Northern Ireland’s first minister Peter Robinson issue a public apology for insulting Muslims living in the region.

A Muslim nurse who has worked in the local NHS for more than a decade told protestors gathered outside Belfast city hall that a private apology and meeting with representatives of the Islamic Centre in the city was not enough…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Northern Ireland: Anti-Racism Rallies Take Place in Belfast and Derry

About 4,000 people have attended anti-racism rallies in Belfast and Londonderry following a recent spate of racist attacks in Northern Ireland.

Speakers included MLA Anna Lo, who this week said racist abuse had influenced her decision not to seek re-election.

The rallies also followed controversy over a Belfast pastor who described Islam as “heathen” and “satanic”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Petit Larousse Admits 2 Italian Words Into French Dictionary

‘Bruschetta’ and ‘antipasti’ make their way into vernacular

(ANSA) — Rome, May 30 — The famed French dictionary Petit Larousse has admitted two new words into the French vocabulary having to do with Italian gastronomy.

The 2015 edition will include the words “bruschetta” and “antipasti”, referring to bite-sized Italian toasts and the Italian word for appetizers.

Other foreign words to pass the hurdle into the French vernacular are selfie, hashtag, hipsters, pilates and stiletto.

This year Petit Larousse will mark its 110th anniversary with a special edition dictionary. It will feature 62,500 words and a cover created by a noteworthy designer.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Spain Breaks Up Suspected Jihadist Cell in Melilla

Spanish police arrested six suspected jihadists in a pre-dawn raid in the country’s north African territory of Melilla on Friday, the government said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Tax Bonus Stimulates Italian Economy, Says Report

(AGI) Rome, May 31 — The tax bonus launched by the Italian government is having a positive effect on the domestic market, the retailers association Confesercenti said in a report. The measure could increase household spending by 3.1 billion euros in 2014 alone.

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

UK: Government to Review All Aspects of the BBC and Future of Licence Fee

Every single aspect of how the BBC is run and paid for will be under review when its charter comes up for renewal, the Culture Secretary has said. Sajid Javid said “everything” would be looked at, including licence fees and governance structures, when negotiations get under way…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Man Detained Under Mental Health Act for Vandalising RAF Bomber Command Memorial

A man who vandalised the RAF Bomber Command War Memorial has been detained under the mental health act, police said. Andrew Patterson, 31, of no fixed address, admitted 94 offences of criminal damage and going equipped for theft and criminal damage between May and June last year.

Southwark Crown Court heard Patterson targeted the memorial in Green Park, central London, a week after Fusilier Lee Rigby was killed IN 2013…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Our Voting System is Flawed, But Politicians Don’t Seem to Care

by Charles Moore

In the push for ever wider ‘engagement’ with the electorate, integrity is being lost

When we voted for the European elections in our village last week, both my wife and I forgot our polling cards. We were not asked to produce them or any other means of identification. No tellers sat outside the polling station. It felt nice that the democratic process could be so relaxed.

It was not like that for the voters of Tower Hamlets in London…

[Reader comment by Muttley on 30 May 2014.]

Good old Charles is skirting round the issue a bit, but basically it is back to the same old problem of immigrants coming to this country and bringing their way of life with them. The PC establishment thinks this is their right and that it adds “vibrancy” to our community. To challenge this is “racist”. The only way to get something done about electoral fraud would be to say white people were doing it — they’d be onto it like a shot.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Teen Arrested at Heathrow Airport on Suspicion of ‘Syria-Related’ Terrorism

A TEENAGER has been arrested at Heathrow Airport on suspicion of being involved in a ‘Syria-related’ terrorism attack.

The 19-year-old is currently in custody and being questioned by counter-terrorism police at a station in south London. Officers have searched an address near Camden, north London, in relation to the arrest.

Metropolitan Police said in a statement: “The arrest is not in response to any immediate risk or threat.” Police later confirmed the incident was “Syria-related”. The investigation is still ongoing…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: When Goose-Stepping and Israel-Bashing Go Together

The thin line dividing criticism of Israel from anti-Semitism just got a little thinner.

BBC journalist Chris Rogers this week was revealed to have amused himself by giving the Nazi salute and strutting about in a Hitler-style goose-step while filming a documentary—on, of all things, anti-Semitic soccer fans in eastern Europe. The British Daily Mail newspaper first reported on Rogers’ vile actions on their website on May 19.

Rogers’ “defense” was that his behavior was “intended as a joke.” Humor can be very revealing…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UKIP Councillor: Don’t ‘Enforce’ Equality, Defend Freedom to End Injustice

by Donna Rachel Edmunds

The French poet Baudelaire once said that “the finest trick of the devil was to persuade you he does not exist”. By the same token, the greatest trick of Harriet Harman was in convincing the British people that the Equalities Act 2010 has anything to do with ‘equality’ as most people understand it…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Israeli Police Foils Suicide Bomb Attack in West Bank

JERUSALEM, May 30 (Xinhua) — Israeli forces arrested a Palestinian would-be suicide bomber in the northern West Bank on Friday, thwarting an attack that would likely have had disastrous results, a senior police officer told Xinhua.

The Palestinian man approached a security checkpoint manned by Border Police troops at Tapuah Junction, south of Nablus, arousing suspicion due to the heavy coat he was wearing on a hot day and his “strange” acting, Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Bahrain: Mehzaa Mosque Set for Major Revamp

Manama-May31(BNA)Culture Minister Shaikha Mai bint Mohammed Al-Khalifa extended thanks to Al-Zayani Family who donated BD80,000 to revamp Mehzaa Mosque in Manama.

The Al-Zayani Mabarra Charity Foundation announced the move as part of the invest-in- culture project and the drive of the private sector to promote internal tourism and conserve heritage.

The iconic mosque which covers 2670 square metres was constructed in the era of late Bahrain Ruler Shaikh Ali bin Khalifa Al-Khalifa, who appointed Chief Judge Qassim Al-Mehzaa as its imam, hence its famed name…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

CNN International Reporter ‘Detained, Kicked’ in Istanbul When on Air

As tensions rise hours before the planned protests at Istanbul’s Taksim Square, police intervened in the live shooting by CNN International, questioning the broadcaster’s correspondent.

“Turkish police detained me and my crew in the middle of a live report in Taksim Square,” reporter Ivan Watson on his Twitter account, also sharing photos of the moment.

“One officer kneed me in the butt,” he wrote.

Watson was released soon.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Iran, Turkey and China’s Middle Eastern Pivot

H. Akin Unver

Thanks to events in Russia and Syria, Turkey lost its rivalry with Iran to be China’s Middle Eastern pivot. Here’s how

For a long time, China’s main foreign policy in the Middle East was non-intervention in the internal affairs of other sovereign states. That’s why Beijing was able to establish cordial relations with Middle Eastern regimes that have grown resistant to American interventionism after 9-11. China’s suspicion of its own internal opposition worked well with the way Middle Eastern autocrats dealt with their own internal dissent and this Westphalian “mutual understanding” emerged as the foundation of China’s political overtures in the region.

The Arab Spring changed this dynamic. Middle Eastern regimes of limited legitimacy were brought down in a domino effect, changing established power relations and cooperation patterns, and presenting China with a dilemma: pursue its low-risk, low-payoff approach to the Middle East in this post-Westphalian dystopia, or opt for a more ambitious track in which the use of regional pivots and military interests prevailed?…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

IRCG Commander Killed in Syria

(AGI) Tehran, May 31 — Abdullah Eskandari, an Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Brigadier General, has been killed in Syria, Iranian media reported. The announcement runs counter to Tehran’s insistence that it it is not fighting alongside the Syrian President’s forces. Eskandari is said to have been defending a Shiite shrine. His funeral will take place in Shiraz on Sunday.

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

Lebanon: Tripoli Mosque Reopens After Devastating Bombing

TRIPOLI, Lebanon: Al-Taqwa Mosque in the northern city of Tripoli reopened its doors to crowds of worshippers Friday, after months of renovation to repair the damage suffered by a bombing last August.

The mosque was packed Friday with some 1,300 worshipers, and another 1,000 prayed outside, amid heavy security deployment by the Internal Security Forces and the Lebanese Army…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Saudi Cleric: Interactions Between Men, Women on Social Media is Anti-Islamic

Men and women should be forbidden from interacting with one another on social networks since these conversations could lead to sin, a leading Saudi cleric ruled on Saturday.

According to the Saudi daily al-Eqtisadiya, Sheikh Abdullah al-Mutlaq, who holds a seat on the Saudi Committee of Senior Scholars, said that cross-gender communication online falls under the category of khulwa, which is an Islamic term that denotes a situation where a man and a woman are alone in a room.

According to Al-Arabiya, the sheikh told a Saudi radio station that “the devil would be present when women talk to men.” He said that women should be dissuaded from speaking to men through social media, even if the nature of the conversation is asexual.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

The Future of the Babylonian Jewish Archives: Interview With Dr. Harold Rhode

by Jerry Gordon

When we interviewed Dr. Harold Rhode, the savior of the Babylonian Jewish archives, he told the story of how he had found them in the water-logged basement of the late Saddam Hussein’s Mukhabarat in Baghdad in 2003 and arranged for recovery and restoration by the National Archives and Records Agency (NARA) in Washington, DC. In July 2003, the Coalition Provisional Authority reached an agreement under international law with the Iraqi interim government for return of the restored Jewish archives…

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

The Islamic State of Iraq and Ash-Sham’s Dhimmi Pact for the Christians of Raqqa Province

by Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi


Here is my preliminary translation of the relevant excerpts of the first formal dhimmi pact:

“In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful:

Text of the pact of security the Islamic State has given to the Christians of Raqqa with their embracing the rulings of dhimma.

Fight those who believe not in God, nor the Last Day, nor in what God and His messenger have forbidden, nor adopt the true religion [Islam], [even if they be] from the People of the Book [Jews and Christians], until they pay jizya with the hand, and feel themselves subdued- Qur’an 9:29.


1. That they must not build in their town or the periphery a monastery, church or monk’s hermitage, and must not rebuild what has fallen into disrepair.

2. That they must not show the cross or any of their scriptures in any of the roads or markets of the Muslims and they must not use any means to amplify their voices during their calls to prayers or similarly for the rest of their acts of worship.

3. That they must not make Muslims hear recital of their scriptures or the sounds of their bells, even if they strike them within their churches.


8. The Christians must embrace payment of the jizya- on every adult male: its value is 4 dinars of gold…on the Ahl al-Ghina [the wealthy], and half that value on those of middle income, and half that on the poor among them, on condition that they do not conceal anything from us regarding their state of affairs. And they are to make two payments per year.

9. They are not allowed to bear arms.


But if they disagree with anything in this pact, then they have no dhimma, and the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham will deal with them as it deals with the people of war and stubborn enmity.

[in fine, be subjugated and defenseless or be killed. — PW]

           — Hat tip: Papa Whiskey [Return to headlines]

U.S. Confirms Suicide Bombing by American Citizen in Syria

WASHINGTON, May 30 (Xinhua) — The Obama administration confirmed Friday that a U.S. citizen had carried out a suicide bombing in war-torn Syria.

“I can confirm that this individual was a U.S. citizen involved in a suicide bombing in Syria,” State Department spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki told reporters at a daily news briefing…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Exomars Mission Launch Window in January 2016

Joint European-Russian mission to find life on Mars

(ANSA) — Turin, May 28 — A joint European and Russian mission to Mars will launch in January 2016, one of the mission’s major contractors announced Wednesday.

The Exobiology on Mars (ExoMars) mission will search for signs of Martian life, past or present. It is being developed by the European Space Agency (ESA) in collaboration with the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) to the tune of one billion euros, according to some sources.

The two-part mission launching in 2016 and 2018 will among many other tasks search for methane and other gases that could be signatures of active biological or geological processes. “Our launch window is from January 7-26, 2016,” said Walter Cugno, who directs the ExoMars program at Thales Alenia Space. The French-Italian aerospace company owned by Alcatel-Lucent (67%) and Finmeccanica (33%) is Europe’s largest satellite manufacturer. It is building a robotic orbiter-carrier called the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) which will deliver an EDM stationary lander, named ‘Schiaparelli’ after the 19th-century Italian astronomer who first described the surface of Mars. It is also building an Entry, Descent and Landing Demonstrator Module (EDM) in a super-clean room — the only one of its kind in Europe — to reduce the risk of carrying Earth bacteria to Mars as much as possible.

The ESA announced the joint mission in March 2013, saying it will provide the TGO and the EDM in 2016, and the carrier and rover in 2018.

The lead builder of the ExoMars rover is the British division of Airbus Defence and Space, while the wheels and suspension are reportedly being paid for by the Canadian Space Agency and manufactured by MDA Corporation in Canada.

Roscosmos will be responsible for the 2018 descent module and surface platform, and will provide launchers for both missions.

Both partners will supply scientific instruments and will cooperate closely in the scientific exploitation of the missions, according to the ESA. Italy is the largest European contributor to ExoMars, followed by the UK, Poland and Romania.

The Russians were invited in after NASA pulled out of the ExoMars mission in 2012, citing a budgeting crisis.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Kadyrov: No Chechen Battalions in Ukraine

There are no so-called Chechen Battalions in Ukraine’s south-eastern regions; and the number of volunteers from Chechnya is not above 14 people there, head of Russia’s Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov said in an interview with Russian anchorman Sergei Brilyov on Saturday.

“I have to reiterate once again, where Ukraine’s media report about a special Chechen division in south-east of Donets, it is not true,” Kadyrov said.

At the same time he confirmed that among the South-East self-defence militia “there are Chechens, right,” but nobody had sent those people to Ukraine, that was their own choice. Kadyrov continued saying among the militia was “a former member of a battalion,” but he did not know whether the person had served at the Vostok (East) battalion, which was dismissed back in 2008, or at the Yug (South) battalion of Russia’s Interior Ministry Forces.

“We have not sent them over there, they have not been enrolled,” Kadyrov said. “They, I mean the former members, one or two, were there, but this does not mean we have a division there. According to our calculations, there are only 14 Chechens there.”

The republic’s head stressed the authorities did not have a right to stop a person if he volunteered to go to Ukraine’s south-east.

“If there in Donetsk there are Chechens, it does not mean there are Chechen divisions there,” he said. “The fact is there is not a single representative of the interior ministry, the interior forces or defence ministry in the territories of Donetsk or Slavyansk.”

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

OSCE Calls on Intensifying Special Operation in Ukraine, Moscow Outraged

Moscow is outraged by OSCE representative on national dialogue on Ukraine Wolfgang Ischinger’s calls to “intensify the anti-terrorist operation” in the south-east of Ukraine, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Saturday.

Calls to “intensify the anti-terrorist operation” in the south-east are simply outrageous. We have repeatedly heard such a set of thesis, but mainly from Kiev and far away Washington,” the Russian Foreign Ministry notes in the commentary.

“We are surprised by the latest statements on the Ukrainian issue made by a respected in Russia German diplomat Wolfgang Ischinger… Ischinger’s opinions about some “international accompaniment” in the Russian-Ukrainian dialogue, and unsubstantiated accusations in our address regarding an “insufficient border control” propagated through German media cause an unconcealed bewilderment,” a commentary of the Department of information and press of the Russian Foreign Ministry published on the Ministry’s website says.

Moscow also did not agree with Ischinger’s proposal to consider withdrawing the OSCE special monitoring mission in Ukraine.

“On the contrary, exactly now amid Kiev’s intentionally intensified punitive operation in the east of the country this is essentially important to step up work of international observers who should fix unbiasedly and report about all facts and incidents related to security and human rights violations,” TASS reports.

“In this vein regional offices of the mission should establish more actively contacts with representatives of forces which are really controlling the local situation that the mission mandate directly envisages,” the Foreign Ministry added.

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

12 Afghan Civilians Killed in Roadside Bombing

GHAZNI, Afghanistan, May 31 (Xinhua) — Twelve civilians were killed while two others wounded Saturday when a minibus set off a roadside bomb in eastern Ghazni province, an official said.

“Twelve passengers, including seven women, lost their lives in a roadside bomb explosion in Giro District. Two civilians of the bus were wounded in the blast which occurred at around 9:45 a.m. local time,” the district governor Abdullah Khairkhwa told Xinhua…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Afghanistan: America’s Only Prisoner of War Released in Exchange for Taliban Fighters

Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl is handed over to US special forces in Afghanistan after nearly five years in captivity

America’s only prisoner of war has been freed in Afghanistan after the US agreed to release five Taliban fighters held at Guantánamo Bay.

President Barack Obama announced that Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl had been released nearly five years after he was captured near the Pakistani border.

His freedom was secured after months of secret negotiations between the US and the Taliban in talks brokered by the Gulf state of Qatar.…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

India Wife Helps Husband Rape Girl, 14

‘Would have continued if she hadn’t got pregnant’

(ANSA) — New Delhi, May 30 — A wife allegedly helped her husband rape a neighbour’s 14-year-old daughter for three months and only stopped when she got pregnant, the Times of India said Friday. The pair would have continued raping the girl in a village in the central state of Madhya Pradesh if she had not conceived, the daily said. India’s ‘rape epidemic” continues with horrific stories coming out on an almost daily basis.

On Thursday two teenage girls were found hanged in northern India after being gang raped.

Four men including a police officer were detained and three others including another policeman are wanted after the cousins, 14 and 15, were found hanging from a tree in a village in the state of Uttar Pradesh.

The girls were from the traditionally ‘untouchable’ Dalit community.

On Friday the girls’ relatives vented their fury at police.

Sexual violence in India has been increasingly spotlighted since the 2012 gang rape and murder of a student on a Delhi bus.

The government tightened rape laws last year after widespread protests but the tide of sexual violence has not abated.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Malaysia: Values That Are ‘Confidently Islamic’

MUSLIM COMMITMENT: The case for tolerance and co-existence with others

IT was an engaging lecture, frank yet conciliatory, delivered with conviction and purpose. One of the finest minds in contemporary scholarship, Dr Farhan Ahmad Nizami, mesmerised the crowd with his rendering of Islam’s past glories and the present and future challenges.

There is the need to understand the past in order to move forward. It is an arduous task to be fair and objective in presenting the case for Islam today — in the world where Islamophobia rules and its followers are deemed fanatical.

Farhan has the credentials to do that and more, for he is a towering personality in arguing for the need for understanding between the faiths. He is after all the founder-director of the Oxford Center for Islamic Studies…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Only American P.O.W. From Afghan War is Freed

The lone American prisoner of war from the Afghan conflict, captured by insurgents nearly five years ago, has been released in exchange for five Taliban prisoners held at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention facility, Obama administration officials said Saturday.

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is now with American military forces in Afghanistan.

[Return to headlines]

Pakistan: Faisalabad: Muslim Activist Saves a Christian From Blasphemy Charges

A Christian street sweeper was targeted by a mob charged with having burned pages with Koranic writing on them. In reality the pages were ripped up by two students . The mob ready to lynch the man . Intervention of a 26-year old Muslim, belonging to a network pro human rights, decisive. Christian activist: a “success” story, saving the life of an “innocent youth”.

Faisalabad ( AsiaNews) — A “success” story with a happy ending thanks to the intervention of “ a Muslim activist, who saved the life of an innocent young Christian” who “is not even able to read”. This is what Suneel Malik, Director of Peace and Human Development Foundation ( Phd ) tells AsiaNews, commenting on the latest case of false blasphemy charges that occurred in recent days in Faisalabad in Punjab. He hopes it will help an increase in the “level of tolerance towards religious minorities”, for the construction of a true peace in Pakistan and to put an end “to false accusations that besmirch the name of the country” and affect “ social harmony .”

The episode date back to 22 May: Mansha Masih, is a Christian, who has worked for 15 years as a scavenger in the town of Hajweri, Faisalabad. He was picking up litter and leaves from abandoned houses in the area, when a young Muslim named Billu, from the roof of his home, accused him of desecrating pages of the Muslim holy book, the Koran. After having railed against the Christian, he began to brutally beat him.

However, the intervention of the 26-year old Muslim activist Farhan Sadiq , a journalist and member of the Human Rights Defenders Network, was decisive in saving the Christian. He ripped Masih from the hands of his tormentor and took him home. He then launched an independent investigation to verify the facts, after which it was found that the pages containing sacred verses were “desecrated” by two underage students in the area, who did not want to go to the local mosque and so they burned the books.

However, rumors of a possible case of blasphemy perpetrated by a Christian had already circulated in the town and a crowd was ready to punish the man, though innocent, with death. Even after the confession of two young men, the crowd did not want to believe the innocence of Mansha Masih, who has repeatedly stated he is “illiterate” and “ had done nothing wrong,” not knowing the content of the verses printed on sheets .. The Muslim activist’s decision in dealing with crowd and proving the charges to be false, in the end, saved the Christian’s life, thus he fulfilled his task “with a great sense of responsibility.”

With a population of more than 180 million people (97 per cent Muslim), Pakistan is the sixth most populous country in the world, the second largest Muslim nation after Indonesia. About 80 per cent of Muslims are Sunni, whilst Shias are 20 per cent. Hindus are 1.85 per cent, followed by Christians (1.6 per cent) and Sikhs (0.04 per cent). Violence against ethnic and religious minorities is commonplace across the country, with Shia Muslims and Christians as the main target, with things getting worse. Dozens of episodes , including targeted attacks against entire communities — such as in Gojra in 2009 or Joseph Colony Lahore last year — or places of worship (Peshawar in September last year) or abuses against individuals ( Sawan Masih and Asia Bibi, Rimsha Masih or the young Robert Fanish Masih, who also died in his cell), are often perpetrated under the pretext of the blasphemy laws.

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

U.S. Soldier Free After Almost Five Years Captivity in Afghanistan

(Reuters) — U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, held for nearly five years by the Taliban after being captured in Afghanistan, has been released and is now in U.S. custody, President Barack Obama said on Saturday.

As part of Bergdahl’s release, the United States is turning over five Taliban detainees at the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the custody of Qatar, U.S. officials said.

Bergdahl’s freedom follows months of indirect U.S.-Taliban talks with Qatar acting as intermediary, the officials said.

U.S. special operations forces took custody of Bergdahl in a non-violent exchange in eastern Afghanistan, the officials said, adding that he was believed to be in good condition. He was now undergoing a medical examination in Afghanistan.

Bergdahl, who is from Idaho, was the only known missing soldier in the Afghan war.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Chinese General Warns That US is Making ‘Important’ Mistakes in Region

Chinese defense officials reacted furiously to U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s assertion that China has undertaken destabilizing actions as it pursues its territorial ambitions in the South China Sea.

Rebutting Hagel’s remarks, offered in a speech Saturday at the Shangri-La Dialogue, a regional security summit in Singapore, Maj. Gen. Zhu Chenghu told The Wall Street Journal that the charges are “groundless” and that “the Americans are making very, very important strategic mistakes right now” in their approach to China.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Eight Indicted in China Over Tiananmen Suicide Attack

Eight people have been indicted for an October 2013 attack in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in which a car packed with cans of petrol ploughed into a crowd, killing two bystanders as well as the three assailants, state-run news reports said Saturday.

Three ethnic Uighurs from western Xinjiang province drove a car loaded with petrol canisters into the gates of the Forbidden City in the October 28 attack, which also left 40 people injured.

Chinese authorities have blamed what they called the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, a Muslim Uighur separatist group, for the incident.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

North Korea Gives Life Sentence to ‘Spy’ From South

(AGI) Seoul, May 31 — North Korea sentenced a South Korean missionary to hard labour for life after accusing him of espionage. He is the latest Christian preacher to run into trouble in the state. During Friday’s trial prosecutors had sought a death sentence for Kim Jeong-Wook, referred to as Kim Jong Uk by North Korea’s official news agency.

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

US Says China a ‘Destabilising’ Force

The United States on Saturday accused China of acting as a “destabilising” force in pursuing its territorial claims in the South China Sea, saying its failure to resolve disputes with its neighbours threatens the region’s long-term progress.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

PM and Veterans Commemorate D-Day

There were a few dozen medals between them, squeezed on lapels not quite wide enough.

Seven airmen of the D-Day landings chatted with Prime Minister Tony Abbott on the verandah of Kirribilli House, before they travel to France with him for the 70th anniversary of the invasion on Friday.

They were shot at, shot down and on occasion, their aircraft limped back to England. Their efforts, on June 6, 1944, changed the course of the Second World War…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Cameron Condemns ‘Barbaric’ Sudan Death Sentence

(AGI) Rome, May 31 — British Prime Minister David Cameron has made a phone call to Sudan’s government to urge Sudan to lift the “barbaric” death sentence passed on a Christian woman accused of abandoning Islam. A Sudanese judge ruled earlier this month that Meriam Ibrahim should be regarded as Muslim because it had been her father’s faith. She has refused to renounce her Christianity and was sentenced to death by a court in Khartoum. The court said she would be allowed to nurse her baby for two years before the sentence is carried out. Her case has caused widespread outrage in Italy and the rest of the world.

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

Imam Khomeini Awareness Day Marked in Nigeria

Nigeria — Imam Khomeini Awareness Day was marked 30th May, 2014, in memory of Late Ayatollah Rohollah Al-Musavi Al-Khomeini (Q.S).

The awareness day is one of the programmes of annual Imam’s week ,2014 organized by the Academic Forum of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (AFIMN)…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UN Condemns Violence in Central African Republic

(AGI) New York, May 31 — The United Nations Security Council has strongly condemned the latest wave of violence in the Central African Republic, and has asked all armed groups to lay down their weapons. On Wednesday at least 17 people were killed in the capital, Bangui, during a deadly attack on a church sheltering thousands of people. One of the capital’s mosques was destroyed on Friday.

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

Illegal Immigration to Europe Shows Sharp Rise

The number of illegal migrants reaching Europe’s border has jumped sharply in the first four months of this year, suggesting this year’s total could be on track to overtake the 140,000 refugees who arrived during the 2011 Arab Spring, according to new figures.

Frontex, the European Union border agency, said 42,000 illegal immigrants reached the EU between January and April this year, a four-fold increase on the same period last year.

Additionally, Italian authorities have reported that so far during May a further 14,000 migrants have arrived in the country’s territory — through key central Mediterranean routes for illegal immigration — bringing the total so far this year to at least 55,000.

Patterns of illegal immigration over at least the last 20 years have demonstrated that unknown numbers will attempt to reach Britain by crossing the continent and using Calais as a staging post. Just last week, the French authorities demolished two squatter camps near the Channel.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Italy Rescues 2,800 Immigrants Near Sicily

(AGI) Palermo, May 31 — The flow of immigrants to Sicily continues, as the Italian navy rescued around 2,800 people off the Sicilian coast in the past days. On Friday night alone, 200 immigrants were picked up south of Lampedusa. After a shipwreck that claimed the lives of hundreds of asylum seekers a short distance from Lampedusa in October 2013, the Italian Navy and Coast Guard launched Operation Mare Nostrum to intercept and rescue migrants from unseaworthy boats.

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

Muslim Immigration a Big Factor in Sweden Democrats’ Win

By Frau Katze

Although “multiculturalism” has been in vogue in the West for many years, no country has taken it so seriously as Sweden. To question it is now taboo. The elites in Sweden believe that they must import cultural diversity from all over the planet to create an ideal multicultural society. Thus the question of immigration cannot be discussed in anything approaching a logical fashion—indeed it cannot be discussed at all, unless you want to become a social pariah…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Nearly 3,000 Migrants Arrive on Italian Coast in 24 Hours

Italian boats have rescued nearly 3,000 migrants trying to reach Europe in the past 24 hours — as Italy’s government said almost as many migrants had arrived so far this year as in the whole of 2013

Italy’s navy said on Saturday that it has picked up nearly 3,000 migrants attempting the perilous journey across the Mediterranean by boat in the last 24 hours.

The latest figures, announced on the navy’s official Twitter feed, highlighted the scale of the problem just days after Italy’s government said almost as many migrants had arrived so far this year as in the whole of 2013.

The navy said it had picked up around 1,300 migrants on Saturday as part of a major ongoing operation to save the lives of thousands of immigrants heading for Europe in overcrowded and rickety boats…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

North African Migrants Land in Thousands on Italian Shores

A massive surge of 3,000 migrants landed on Italian shores from North Africa Saturday, threatening to overwhelm maritime forces at times. Most of the boats were spotted out at sea. The passengers either boarded waiting Italian ships or had their boats towed to Sicily.

The bulk of recent arrivals have been people from Syria fleeing the civil war.

One navy ship, the Libra, picked up 450 migrants. It was accompanied by a tugboat carrying 1,300. A fishing boat with 250 migrants on board was towed into the port of Ragusa. All were expected to reach dry land by some point Saturday.

Another 800 Syrian migrants were headed on Italian vessels for the Sicilian port of Empedocle…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Documents Detail Apparent Match Fixing Before Last World Cup

An investigative report by FIFA, obtained by The New York Times, found that a match-rigging syndicate and its referees conspired to fix global soccer exhibition matches and exploit them for betting purposes.

[Return to headlines]

New English Review: Global Persecution of Christians: An International Round Table Discussion

by Jerry Gordon and Mike Bates

with Elisabeth Sabaditsch -Wolff, Rev. Bruce Lieske, Eric Martin and Rabbi Jonathan Hausman

Hollywood and perhaps America may finally have gotten the word about what constitutes Sharia, Islamic law. In mid-May liberals, feminists and mainstream media figures were even publicizing this minor epiphany. This may have temporarily silenced accusations of Islamophobia by Muslim advocacy groups like CAIR, Emerge USA, Islamic Society of North America, MPAC and United Voices for America. This was a perfect storm triggered by the conjunction of the Sultan of Brunei (who owns the Beverly Hills Hotel) with Jay Leno, Ellen DeGeneres and mainstream feminists marching in outraged protests against Sharia at the fabled Hollywood Pink Palace. Couple this with the global outrage about 276 largely Christian Nigerian girls abducted by Boko Haram. This amid revelations that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton didn’t seize the opportunity to designate the Jihadist group as a terrorist organization when afforded an opportunity to do so. Especially since Boko Haram (“Non-Muslim Teaching Is Forbidden” in English when translated from the Hausa language) had allegedly raised funds here in the US. That was noted on a FoxNews, The Kelly File by host Megyn Kelly with Brooke Goldstein of The Lawfare Project. See the You Tube video of that segment, here and this Fox News report, “Hillary Fought to keep Boko Haram off the Terrorist List.” The US finally designated Boko Haram leader Abubakir Shekau a “global terrorist” and placed a $7 million bounty on him in December 2013 under Secretary of State John Kerry…

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

Vatican: Catholicism is Growing in the World in Terms of Believers, Bishops, Priests and Seminarians

Between 2005 and 2012, the percentage of Catholics went from 17.3 to 17.5 per cent of the world population, which rose from 6.46 to 7.02 billion. In Asia Catholicism is dynamic as indicated by its expanding clergy, including nuns and sisters whose numbers are dropping elsewhere.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) — The number of Catholics in the world and the number of priests, permanent deacons and religious men all increased in 2012, while the number of women in religious orders continued to decline, this according to the recently published 2014 Statistical Yearbook of the Church.

By the end of 2012, the worldwide Catholic population rose by 10.2 per cent, reaching 1.228 billion, up from 1.115 billion. During the same period, the world’s population rose from 6.46 to 7.02 billion. The percentage of Catholics increased slightly, from 17.3 per cent to 17.5 per cent.

Asia played a major role in this rise. With a gain of 29 per cent (second only to that of Africa), Asian Catholics now represent about 11 per cent of the continent’s population.

The dynamism of Asian Catholicism can be measured by its expanding clergy; this includes a rise in women religious whose numbers are dropping elsewhere.

Overall, world Catholicism is taking on more African and Asian traits. Europe, home to 23 per cent of the world’s Catholic community in 2012, has the lowest growth, with the number of baptised believers up by just over 2 per cent. European Catholics’ proportion remained stable at around 40 per cent, with the Americas home to 49 per cent of baptised Catholics in the world.

The number of bishops in the world also increased in the 2005-2012 period, going from 4,841 to 5,133, an increase of 292 bishops, or 6 per cent. On average, all continents showed a similar rate of increase.

The total number of priests in the world in 2012 was up by about 2 per cent, resulting from an increase of 3.6 per cent in the diocesan clergy and a drop of 1.4 per cent in the religious clergy.

In 2012, there were 414,313 priests in the world. Of these, 279,561 were in the diocesan clergy compared to 134,752 in the religious clergy. In 2005, the total number was 406,411, with 269,762 diocesan and 136,649 religious.

The highest increase was reported in Africa (+24 per cent) and Asia (+20 per cent), followed by the Americas (+1.6 per cent) and Oceania (+0.2 per cent). The number of European priests dropped instead (-6 per cent). The religious clergy decreased everywhere, except in Asia and Africa.

European priests are still the largest group (45 per cent), twice as many as in the Americas (186,489 vs 122,924). Asia’s clergy represents 14.5 per cent of the total; Africa’s is 9.7 per cent; and Oceania’s stands at 1.1 per cent.

The proportion of priests in the Americas and Oceania to the rest of the world did not change between 2005 and 2012. However, Africa’s clergy went from 8.0 per cent in 2005 to 9.7 per cent in 2012. In Asia, it went from 12.3 to 14.5 per cent. Conversely, the clergy in Europe fell from 48.8 to 45.0 per cent.

Among pastoral workers, permanent deacons saw the greatest changes. They rose from 33,391 in 2005 to 42,000 in 2012, a rise of more than 26 per cent. The jump was significant in Europe (from under 11,000 to almost 14,000) and in the Americas (from 21 722 to more than 27,000). Few deacons operate in Africa and Asia, which together account for just 1.5 per cent of the total.

In the period under review, professed religious who are not priests saw a slight increase, from 54,708 in 2005 to 55,314 in 2012. However, these figures conceal a sharp plunge in Europe (-10.2 per cent), Oceania (-7 per cent) and the Americas (-3.1 per cent), compared to a major rise in Asia (+27, 5 per cent) and Africa (+8.8 per cent). In 2012, the proportion of religious who are not priests in these last two continents exceed that in the Americas. Europe has the highest proportion (31.8 per cent), but one that has significantly dropped.

The number of women in religious orders stood at 702,529 in 2012, 38 per cent in Europe, followed by the Americas (more than 186,000) and Asia (almost 170,000). This represents a decline of 7.6 per cent over 2005, especially in Europe, the Americas and Oceania, with some significant (around 15 per cent) variations.

In Africa and Asia however, there was a big jump, 16.7 per cent and 10.5 per cent respectively. Professed women in Africa and Asia saw their proportion rise from 27.9 per cent to 33.9 per cent, as Europe and America saw their overall proportion decline from 70.8 to 64.9 per cent.

The number of seminarians also increased by 4.9 per cent, from 114,439 in 2005 to 120 051 in 2012. The greatest rise occurred in Asia where the number of seminarians in the period under review rose by 18 per cent. Africa followed with 17.6 per cent, then Oceania with 14.2 per cent. Europe and America saw a drop of 13.2 and 2.8 per cent respectively.

In 2012, out of 1,000 candidates for the priesthood worldwide, 299 were from the Americas, 296 from Asia, 231 from Africa, 166 from Europe and 8 from Oceania.

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

7 thoughts on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 5/31/2014

  1. >> Nearly 3,000 Migrants Arrive on Italian Coast in 24 Hours <<

    1,000,000 a year at this rate.

    And this is considered the normal state of affairs from which no deviation is contemplated.

  2. I was born in Northern Ireland. I’ve lived here all my life. I remember when the 1998 peace treaty was signed and the sense of optimism and hope that peace and prosperity would bring. I remember seeing many changes to my little country in the sixteen years since. Some good changes and some not so good changes. Most notably I remember seeing my first overtly religious Muslim in the summer of 2005. A hijab in Belfast was a truly unusual sight to behold. The scariest thing was that in following years the number of hijabs visibly increased to such an extent that religious Muslims are now commonplace. Within the last six years I have also noticed that full veils are becoming more numerous and the wearers usually travel in groups of three or four. This also seems to be an increasing phenomena in larger market towns throughout Northern Ireland too. It should also be noted that the number of Halal shops is on the increase. I really do get the feeling that there is creeping islamisation and Northern Ireland is certainly not immune.

    Pastor Jim McConnells original sermon which was intended to highlight the plight of Sudanese Christian Meriam Ibrahim, sharply critisized Sharia Law in Islam and was supported by First Minister Peter Robinson. However some individuals (Liberals, Local Media and Trade Unionists) chose to turn this into a purely racial issue and thus a situaton arising from Christian persecution in Sudan became about offending Muslims in Northern Ireland. The final result was First Minister being forced to apologise to the local muslims leaders at the Belfast Islamic Centre. The same Islamic centre that was attened by one of the Glasgow Airport bombers.
    As if that wasn’t insulting enough there are now calls for a public apology to *all* Muslims worldwide. What a truly wonderful thing multiculturalism is.

    • My wife and I spent a few days touring around Northern Ireland in 2008 and much to my pleasure did not come across a single walking tent. I thought at the time that the Muslim had not yet infiltrated into your part of the world.

      Now I stand corrected and saddened that the destroyers of Western Civilization are even now becoming entrenched in Northern Ireland.

      Pastor McConnells needs to be supported and so does your First Minister. Is there an organized group that is doing this?

      I have roots in Northern Ireland (Dickey from County Antrim) Grandfathers side – so I do have an interest in what occurs there.

    • That is disheartening to discover. Of anywhere in the U.K. I would have thought Northern Ireland would be the one place where people, both Republican and Loyalist, would have pushed back, hard, against the Muhammadans trespassing into their territory.

      • Sadly republicans in particular tend to be extremely Marxist with strong connections to the PLO. Sadly tonight the republican deputy first minister was on the news tonight accepting a koran from the imam of Belfast Islamic centre. A surefire vote winner for Muslims.

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