Gates of Vienna News Feed 6/3/2014

A Turkish Cypriot mufti conducted prayers today in the Taht-el Kale mosque in Nicosia, Cyprus. Until today the mosque had been closed for more than half a century. The momentous occasion was part of an interfaith initiative sponsored by Sweden and supported by the local Orthodox Archbishop.

In other news, thirty-one people were killed today in a series of attacks across Iraq.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Charlie Marteau, Fjordman, Insubria, Jerry Gordon, JP, Kitman, Srdja Trifkovic, Steen, 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
» Greece: IMF OKs Disbursement of 3.41 Bln Euro Loan Tranche
» Inflation Back Down to 0.5% in Eurozone
» ISTAT Warns Italian Income Inequality Among World’s Worst
» Unemployment in Southern Italy Reaches 21.7%
» Brawn Versus God: East Harlem Boxing Gym and Uptown Mosque Spar Over E. 115th St. Building
» Could Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl be Facing an Article 85 UCMJ Court Martial for Possible Desertion?
» Examining Muslim Culture in the Media
» Fiat U.S. Sales Up 18% in May
» Obama’s West Point Address
» Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Murfreesboro Mosque Case
» Campari Takes Canadian Distillery, Averna Digestifs
Europe and the EU
» After EU Election: Swedish Government to Sponsor School Trips to Auschwitz
» Anti-Royalists Take to Streets as Spain King Abdicates
» Austria: FPÖ in Secret Meeting With Right-Wing Populists
» Belgium: They Always Come for the Jews
» Cyprus: Religious Service in Mosque After 51 Years
» Experts at Trento Economics Festival in Italy Highlight Need of Supranational EU Vision
» Italy: Up to 2,500 Alitalia Layoffs Expected in Etihad Deal
» Italy: Millions Seized From Arrested Carige Ex-President
» Italy: ‘Radical’ Squatters Arrested in Turin
» Italy Hopeful on Talks With India in the Case of Marines
» Italy: M5S Ribbed Over Plan to ‘Ban Buckwheat’
» Italy: RAI Funding to be Cut by 150 Mn Euros
» Italy: Strike Authority Deems June 11 RAI Protest ‘Illegitimate’
» New Mosque in Norway Opens Doors to All
» Northern Ireland: Belfast Mayor Mairtin O’Muilleoir’s Outgoing Prayer Shows Solidarity With Muslims
» Northern Ireland: Muslims ‘Hurt’ By Robinson Comments, Says Doctor
» Northern Ireland: Is Islam a Satanic Cult?
» Norway’s ‘Cushy’ Prisons Spurring Foreign Cons
» Pope Francis Monitors Vatican Bank Personally
» UK Muslim Waging Jihad in Syria Calls on Muslims to Replicate Rigby Attack
» UK: ‘Trojan’ Schools Publish Ofsted Reports
» UK: Church of England Bans Clergy From Joining BNP or National Front
» UK: Family ‘Inches From Death’ As Car Ploughs Into Their House in Farnworth
» UK: Leicester Man Jailed for 16 Months Over Racist Rants
» UK: Morris Dancers’ Procession Dating Back to 1109 Cancelled Due to Mounting Red Tape
» UK: Sheffield Mosque Begins Fire Safety Campaign
North Africa
» Fireworks Banned in Tunisia
» Libyan Army Chief’s Convoy Attacked
Middle East
» 31 Killed in Spate of Attacks Across Iraq
» Kuwait Open to Iran Natural Gas Imports
» London Islamist Leader ‘Killed in Syria’
» Syria: As Voting Gets Underway Until 7 PM, Nobody Doubts Assad’s Victory
South Asia
» 2 Injured in Firing at Police Vehicle in Pakistani Capital
» Early Contacts to Shed Light on Indian Jesuit’s Kidnapping in Afghanistan
» Indian Jesuit Kidnapped in Afghanistan
» India: Female Judge Raped and Injured in Uttar Pradesh
» Indonesia: West Java Authorities Yield to Islamic Pressure and Close Down Seven Protestant Churches
» Raven-Wolf: Bergdahl: How Pride and Arrogance Kept us From Getting Him Back
» UK: Pakistan MQM Leader Altaf Hussain Arrested in London
» Why Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is Not an American “Gilad Shalit”
Far East
» Hong Kong: Thousands Take to Streets for the 25th Anniversary of the Tiananmen Massacre
» US Proposes a New (And Expensive) Missile Defence System Against Pyongyang
Australia — Pacific
» Abbott Goes to Yudhoyono Talks With Approval for Boats Policy
» VCAT Decision on Proposed Muslim Mosque for Coolaroo Likely in July
» ‘White Sentiment Game’ Is Out of Step With Geopolitics, Says Indonesia
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Kenyan Police Kill Two Somali Ethnic Clerics in Mandhera
» Sudan: Don’t Blame Islam for Meriam’s Awful Fate
» U.S. To Spend 180 Mln USD Constructing Embassy in Mauritania
» ‘White Widow’: Kenya Probes ‘Samantha Lewthwaite Sighting’
» $200 for a Life Jacket: Refugees Speak of Class System on African Boats Bound for Europe
» Germany on the Way to Modern Immigration Society: Study
» Italy: Migrants Picked Up by Maltese Ship to be Taken to Sicily

Greece: IMF OKs Disbursement of 3.41 Bln Euro Loan Tranche

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, JUNE 2 — The International Monetary Fund (IMF) Executive Board on Friday approved the disbursement of 3.41 billion euros to Greece, as part of the country’s bailout program as Ana-Mpa reported. The amount is part of a joint package of financing with Eurozone member-states totaling around 173 billion over four years. The new tranche will bring the total IMF disbursements to date to about 11.5 billion euros.

During their meeting to complete the fifth review of Greece’s performance, drafted by IMF mission chief in Greece Poul Thomsen. Following the meeting, IMF Deputy Managing Director Naoyuki Shinohara said that Greece had “made significant progress in consolidating the fiscal position and rebalancing the economy.” The IMF official said that additional fiscal adjustment was necessary to ensure debt sustainability and said that authorities had to “continue to improve tax collection, combat evasion, and strengthen expenditure control. Public administration reforms need to be accelerated.”

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Inflation Back Down to 0.5% in Eurozone

Was 0.7% in April, Eurostat says

(ANSA) — Brussels, June 3 — Inflation in the eurozone went back down to 0.5% in May, Eurostat reported Tuesday. According to the early estimate, the number was down from April’s 0.7%, and back to 0.5% as it was in March as an average throughout the 18-country area that uses the euro.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

ISTAT Warns Italian Income Inequality Among World’s Worst

High unemployment, brain drain plague Italy’s economy

(ANSA) — Rome, May 28 — As Italy struggles towards economic recovery, efforts are being held back by high unemployment, a record-low birth rate, an aging population and a brain drain, the national statistical agency said in a pessimistic report Wednesday.

According to Istat, approximately 6.3 million people were unemployed last year as the Italian economy shed 478,000 jobs compared with 2012, the largest drop since the economic crisis began in 2008.

At the same time, the unemployment rate has continued to rise, from 10.7% in 2012 to 12.2% last year to around 12.7% in the first few months of 2014, the agency said in its annual report.

And in a significant reshaping of the workforce, part-time and temporary contracts jumped last year by 22.1% or 572,000 posts.

Italy has been struggling to emerge from its worst recession since the Second World War and hopes were cashed by statistics earlier this month suggested that the economy contracted unexpectedly in the first quarter of this year by 0.1% rather than expanding as first thought.

Youth have been especially hard-hit by the economic crisis and young people are taking their education and training and leaving the country for work elsewhere, the Istat research found.

About 68,000 Italians moved aboard in 2012, the highest level in a decade and 36% above 2011 figures.

Last year, 2.435 million youth aged 15 to 29 were in the category known as NEET — neither employed nor in education nor training programs.

That number had jumped by 576,000 since 2008, said Istat.

At the same time, the number of babies born in Italy dropped to a record low of 515,000 in 2013, down 12,000 from the previous lowest level on record from 1995. Italy has registered low birth rates for many years, with experts saying the high levels of unemployment and job instability that young people face is causing couples to have children later and later in life.

At the same time, Italy has one of the oldest populations in the world and is second only to Germany among the 28 nations of the European Union, Istat said.

On average, there are 151.4 Italians over 65 years for every 100 youngsters under 15.

Only Germany has more older people, with an average 158 senior citizens for every 100 young people.

The economic hard times are taking a toll on consumer consumption, normally an important element of economic growth.

However, last year consumption fell by 2.6% — the third consecutive year of declines although that was less than the 4% drop in 2012. The disposable income of households slipped by 1.1% in 2013 after falling 4.6% in 2012, the agency added.

Istat also warned that Italy has a “great inequality in the distribution of primary income”. In fact, it said that Italy has the worst record in the European Union for income inequality with as many as 7.6 million Italians living in conditions of severe deprivation.

That includes household earnings and savings and was measured after government support programs designed to even out household incomes.

Istat said that government efforts in the Scandinavian countries lead the EU in terms of improving income equality.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Unemployment in Southern Italy Reaches 21.7%

Over 60% for young people, Istat says

(see related) (ANSA) — Rome, June 3 — Unemployment in southern Italy has reached 21.7%, and a whopping 60.9% for young people, the national statistics agency said Tuesday. According to Istat, some 347,000 youths aged 15-24 were out of work in regions south of Rome.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Brawn Versus God: East Harlem Boxing Gym and Uptown Mosque Spar Over E. 115th St. Building

West African spiritual leader Souleimane Konate plunked down $14,000 last week to secure the two upper floors of an E. 115th St. tenement. The only problem: El Barrio Boxing occupies the third story and its owner, Jose Sanchez, refuses to leave.

Let’s get ready to rumble. An East Harlem boxing gym owner is putting up his dukes, blocking a beloved uptown imam from stepping into his ring…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Could Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl be Facing an Article 85 UCMJ Court Martial for Possible Desertion?

If the reports we have posted from members of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s platoon in the 25th Infantry Division in Afghanistan are any indication, he could, upon investigation, be subject to possible charges of desertion. The Los Angeles Times reported Facebook posts by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, that could make this be a distinct possibility, “Gen. Dempsey: Army may still pursue desertion charge for Bowe Bergdahl”.

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

Examining Muslim Culture in the Media

Amineh Safi had suspected that there were negative patterns in the media regarding Muslims, but what she found through her research on Muslims and how the religion is associated with crime in the media was still a surprising discovery…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Fiat U.S. Sales Up 18% in May

Best month since return to U.S. in 2011

(ANSA) — New York, June 3 — Fiat’s US sales were 18% up in May, the sixth straight month of growth and the best month since its return to the US market in 2011.

In January sales rose 29% on January 2013.

Sales of Fiat’s retooled iconic 500 model rose for the eighth straight month, with the 500L up 14% and the Fiat 500 Cabrio Abarth up 66%.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Obama’s West Point Address

By:Srdja Trifkovic

President Barack Obama’s commencement address at West Point on May 28 managed to displease pretty much everyone in the nation’s commentariat. Before making an overall assessment of its significance, it is necessary to examine the validity and implications of Obama’s individual statements.

“[B]y most measures America has rarely been stronger relative to the rest of the world. Those who argue otherwise — who suggest that America is in decline or has seen its global leadership slip away — are either misreading history or engaged in partisan politics.”

This key assertion, made at the beginning of the President’s address, does not stand to empirical scrutiny. In economic terms, America was far stronger vis-à-vis the rest of the world in 1945 than she is today. In more recent times, U.S. share of world GDP peaked in 1985 with just under 33 percent of global GDP (nominal). Between 2004 and 2014, United States’ share of global gross domestic product (GDP) adjusted for purchasing power parity (PPP) has fallen from 22.5 percent to 18.5 percent, and it is expected to continue falling. By the end of this year China will overtake the United States in gross domestic product, which had originally been projected to happen by the end of this decade. Analysts concede will gradually shift the ability to confer advantages or disadvantages on other countries — in other words, power — in China’s favor.

In military terms, while America enjoyed the nuclear monopoly in 1945-49, her period of undisputed unipolar dominance was between 1991 (the collapse of the USSR) and 2008 (Russia’s counterattack in South Ossetia). Although the Pentagon budget will drop from $600 billion this year to $500 billion in 2015, it will continue to account for over a third of the global total. The unsatisfactory outcomes in Iraq and Afghanistan and dented America’s image of military invincibility. As the Economist commented on May 3, “The yawning gap between Uncle Sam and his potential foes seems bound to shrink.” The prevailing view among most critical analysts is that over the past decade the U.S. has suffered military reverses, and now faces severe global competition…

           — Hat tip: Srdja Trifkovic [Return to headlines]

Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Murfreesboro Mosque Case

NASHVILLE— The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear the appeal of a group of neighbors who tried unsuccessfully to block the construction of a mosque in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

A board member of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro said he was hopeful that Monday’s announcement by the court will bring unity back into the community…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Campari Takes Canadian Distillery, Averna Digestifs

Expansion strategy continues

(ANSA) — Milan, June 3 — Iconic Italian beverages group Campari on Tuesday completed the takeovers of Canadian spirits company Forty Creek Distillery for 198.2 million Canadian dollars (133,7 million euros) and storied Italian digestif-maker Fratelli Averna for 103.75 million euros.

Campari is Italy’s biggest maker of aperitifs and digestifs.

It launched a new expansion strategy last year.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

After EU Election: Swedish Government to Sponsor School Trips to Auschwitz

The Swedish government is to spend SEK five million on trips for Swedish schoolchildren to the World War II concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau.

The move comes following successes in the recent European elections by far-right parties across the continent. In an opinion article in tabloid Expressen, Democracy Minister Birgitta Ohlsson writes: “We need to do things on several fronts, I’m convinced more young people need to know what happens when hate conquers democracy.”

The money, to be given to the Swedish Committee Against Antisemitism, will pay for 400 pupils and 40 teachers to make the trip to Poland, and Ohlsson hopes the project will continue into the future.

“The project underlines how Roma, LGBTQ-people, individuals with handicaps, and people with different religious and political views were also the target of the Nazis’ unimaginably ruthless cruelty”, she writes.

           — Hat tip: Steen [Return to headlines]

Anti-Royalists Take to Streets as Spain King Abdicates

Thousands of anti-royalists took to the streets across Spain calling for a vote on the monarchy’s survival after the abdication of King Juan Carlos.

Rather than hand over the throne to Crown Prince Felipe, to be known as King Felipe VI, protesters demanded a referendum on the very survival of the institution.

Late into the night after the king’s abdication announcement Monday, thousands of people filled Madrid’s central Puerta del Sol square as rallies were called in major cities around the country.

Protesters filled the square and police closed access to the royal palace just a short walk away from the demonstration.

“Tomorrow, Spain will be a republic!”, chanted crowds of demonstrators brandishing placards reading: “No more kings, a referendum”; “A royal transition… without a king”; and “Bourbons up for election”.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Austria: FPÖ in Secret Meeting With Right-Wing Populists

The Freedom Party (FPÖ) has taken part in a secret meeting with other western European right-wing populists, as well as the leader of the Russian Eurasian movement, according to a Swiss newspaper.

FPÖ leader Heinz-Christian Strache and chairman of the Vienna FPÖ Johann Gudenus are said to have joined the meeting on Saturday at Vienna’s Palais Liechtenstein.

The Tages-Anzeiger reports that the event was hosted by the Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeew and his foundation Saint Basil the Great. Alexander Dugin, known as the chief ideologue of the Eurasian Movement, is also said to have attended the meeting…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Belgium: They Always Come for the Jews

Just over a week ago a gunman opened fire at the Jewish museum in Brussels. Four Jews — including two Israeli tourists — were killed, shot in the face and throat. The Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said immediately after the killings, and before a suspect had even been identified:

‘This act of murder is the result of constant incitement against Jews and their state. Slander and lies against the State of Israel continue to be heard on European soil even as the crimes against humanity and acts of murder being perpetrated in our region are systematically ignored. Our response to this hypocrisy is to constantly state the truth.’

It looks like Netanyahu was right…

[Reader comment by James Lovelace on 1 June 2014.]

Why is anyone surprised by this? Even in the UK, the CST’s own statistics show that muslims (who are 12% of the population of London) are responsible for at least 50% of the attacks on jews there.

Jews are leaving France, the UK and Norway. Gays have been forced out of east London and out of Dutch cities. Our media and politicians refuse to talk about these things. And the so-called “community leaders” (either gay or jewish) are silent about what goes on.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Cyprus: Religious Service in Mosque After 51 Years

By Evie Andreou

Turkish Cypriot mufti Talip Atalay recited a prayer on Tuesday in the Taht-el kale mosque in Nicosia, which has been closed for 51years. Atalay visited the mosque after an invitation from Archbishop Chrysostomos as part of the Religious Trust for Peace Process initiative supported by the Swedish government…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Experts at Trento Economics Festival in Italy Highlight Need of Supranational EU Vision

TRENTO, Italy, June 2 (Xinhua) — A week after the European parliamentary election produced the most eurosceptic parliament since 1979, international experts at Trento Economics Festival which ended in northern Italy on Monday discussed how to revive the troubled continental union.

Speakers at the festival, titled “Ruling classes, growth and common good,” agreed that European countries cannot do without the European Union (EU), which however needs a ruling class capable of interpreting the needs of a continent that risks drifting away economically and politically…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Italy: Up to 2,500 Alitalia Layoffs Expected in Etihad Deal

‘Those in public sector looked after’ says labor minister

(ANSA) — Rome, June 3 — Between 2,400 and 2,500 layoffs are expected at Italian flag carrier Alitalia once a major investment deal has been made final with Etihad Airways, Italian Labor Minister Giuliano Poletti said Tuesday. “At least with regard to those in the public sector. Then we will have to see, once there is substantial discussion between the two parties,” he said. Those workers whose contracts fall under the auspices of the infrastructure ministry “will be taken care of under our social safety net,” he added, noting however that some cases are complicated. “Different contacts fall into different categories of social security,” he said. “There’s ground personnel and there’s flight personnel. Then there’s a previous plan, which is still active, in which a group of laid-off employees are receiving state-subsidised benefits”. As for this last group of employees, “the entire situation needs to be reconsidered,” he said. For weeks it had been rumoured Etihad planned to invest as much as 550 million euros in cash-starved Alitalia if certain conditions were met on restructuring the Italian carrier’s debt and staffing levels.

But talks had been held up, reportedly in part by the Gulf carrier’s demands that Alitalia cut jobs.

On Sunday, the two airlines announced they were near an agreement. Neither airline have discussed the terms of Etihad’s planned offer or comment on media reports about the possible conditions demanded by the United Arab Emirates carrier for the investment that would give it a 49% stake in Alitalia.

The deal would give new life to the Italian carrier which was subject to a government-led bailout last fall — the latest step in Alitalia’s attempts to restructure itself over the last several years as it struggles to remain competitive.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Millions Seized From Arrested Carige Ex-President

Berneschi in police custody for suspected fraud

(ANSA) — Genoa, June 3 — Police on Tuesday seized millions of euros linked to Giovanni Berneschi, the ex-president of mid-sized Italian bank Carige arrested on suspicion of involvement in a massive fraud.

Police said 5,000,000 euros were seized from accounts in his name as well as that of his daughter-in-law Francesca Amisano and former chief executive officer of the Carige Vita Nuova subsidiary Fernando Menconi. Last week Berneschi was moved from house arrest to jail after he contravened conditions that he was not to have contacts outside his home and family, authorities said.

Prosecutors were reportedly concerned that that could lead to a possible tampering with evidence.

Berneschi, who was Carige’s president until last year, was arrested along with Menconi and real-estate businessman Ernesto Cavallini.

Police said they believe Berneschi, 77, was the ringleader of a scam involving purchases made at inflated prices of stakes in companies headed by accomplices, which allegedly made it possible for 21 million euros to be taken out of Italy into Switzerland between 2006 and 2009.

They suspect that part of this money was used to buy properties in Switzerland in the name of senior figures at Carige, a mid-sized lender based in Genoa with about 1,000 branches and two million clients.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: ‘Radical’ Squatters Arrested in Turin

17 in custody for occupying nursery school, other properties

(ANSA) — Turin, June 3 — Police on Tuesday served 17 arrest warrants and 12 restriction-on-movement orders against members of a squatters’ movement in the northern city of Turin for alleged involvement in a radical anti-eviction campaign.

The suspects face possible charges of damage to public property, interruption of public service, resistance to public officials, violence and land and property invasion in relation to a series of actions taken between September 2012 and January 2014 to prevent illegally occupied property from being reclaimed. The group is also accused of carrying out recent acts of vandalism against local headquarters of the Democratic Party (PD) of Premier Matteo Renzi, who has made responding to Italy’s chronic housing shortage for low-income earners a priority since taking the reins of government in February 2014. Tuesday’s police raid centred on a former nursery school in Via Alessandria, occupied by squatters since 1995 and which had become the centre of the radical protest movement in Turin. Three of the people arrested were already in jail on suspicion of terrorism in connection with ‘No-TAV’ protests against the construction of a controversial high-speed rail link from Turin to Lyon in France.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy Hopeful on Talks With India in the Case of Marines

Pinotti says if talks fail, international arbitration likely

(ANSA) — Rome, June 3 — The Italian government is hoping for success in talks with India’s new government in the case of two marines held in India for more than two years in the killing of two fishermen, Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti said Tuesday.

Pinotti, speaking on the sidelines of a conference of NATO defence ministers, said that if talks do not succeed, international arbitration may be the only solution.

One day earlier, the two marines Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone sent a Republic Day video message back to Italy from New Delhi.

Latorre said that all they can do is “suffer with dignity” as they wait for a resolution to the case against them involving their actions while on an anti-piracy patrol. In response Nicola Latorre, who heads the Senate defence committee, said talks should soon begin with India’s newly elected centre-right government of Narendra Modi.

That could be possible, said Pinotti.

“(Otherwise) we will continue on the road of arbitration,” she said.

Pinotti also quipped that because she is from Naples, she is by nature “a bit superstitious” and therefore would not make predictions about the outcome of the marines case.

Last month the Italian government announced it was opening a “new phase” in the saga, replacing its special envoy on the case and sending its ambassador back to New Delhi to help steer the case towards arbitration by an international organization such as the UN.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: M5S Ribbed Over Plan to ‘Ban Buckwheat’

MPs say typo caused misunderstanding

(ANSA) — Rome, June 3 — The 5-Star Movement (M5S) found itself at the butt of jokes on social media on Tuesday after MPs from the anti-establishment group inadvertently proposed banning buckwheat as part of a drive to defend the integrity of Italian foods.

In a proposal for a law against food piracy last year, a group of M5S lawmakers complained that “a third of the pasta sold in Italy is produced with buckwheat”.

On Tuesday, M5S MP Filippo Gallinella, the lead proponent of the bill, said that the misunderstanding was caused by a typo. He said the sentence should have read “foreign wheat” (grano straniero), rather than “buckwheat” (grano saraceno).

The explanation did not stop the M5S getting ribbed on the Internet, with some joking that the movement would next be out to stop Italians eating Russian salad or “zuppa inglese” (English soup) — a custard-based dessert not dissimilar to trifle.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: RAI Funding to be Cut by 150 Mn Euros

Renzi vowed to slash pork-barrel TV corp

(see previous).

(ANSA) — Rome, June 3 — State funding to bloated government-controlled broadcaster RAI is to be cut by 150 million euros as part of Premier Matteo Renzi’s drive to make the pork-barrel-heavy corporation leaner and more independent of politics, a parliamentary committee decided Tuesday.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Strike Authority Deems June 11 RAI Protest ‘Illegitimate’

Govt plans to cut funding to State broadcaster

(see previous) (ANSA) — Rome, June 3 — Upcoming industrial action announced by unions representing employees of State broadcaster RAI is ‘illegitimate’, Italy’s strike authority said Tuesday.

In particular, the Guarantee Authority on strikes in essential public services pointed out that the walkout set for June 11 did not conform with the norm whereby two strikes affecting the same sector must be held at an interval of no fewer than 10 days. The USB trade union has, in fact, already proclaimed a strike for June 19, the authority said. Broadcast unions announced the June 11 strike action on Friday in response to government plans to cut funding to the bloated and politically influenced broadcaster to the tune of 150 million euros in a move which director general Luigi Gubitosi said would probably lead to job cuts. Premier Matteo Renzi has vowed to slim down RAI and turn it into a truly impartial public-service broadcaster.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

New Mosque in Norway Opens Doors to All

Oslo’s newest mosque has just been inaugurated. ‘Tauheed’ is Norway’s first mosque built by Shia Muslims. The opening ceremony was attended by representatives from various Muslim organizations, several European countries, Iran and the Norwegian

Norway’s Muslim population is about a Hundred and Fifty Thousand, of which the majority lives in the greater Oslo area…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Northern Ireland: Belfast Mayor Mairtin O’Muilleoir’s Outgoing Prayer Shows Solidarity With Muslims

Outgoing Lord Mayor Mairtin O’ Muilleoir showed his solidarity with local Muslims last night by starting his final council meeting with a nod to Islam.

Traditionally the Lord Mayor starts each meeting of Belfast City Council with a reading from the Bible. However last night Mr O’ Muilleoir instead commenced with the prayer for Belfast adapted for Islam.

The prayer was created with the help of the Sinn Fein man’s Islamic chaplain Sheikh Mohammed El Rashidi at the start of the mayoral term last year. It started: “Oh Allah, one of your name’s meaning is peace, we pray to you Spreader of Peace among us.”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Northern Ireland: Muslims ‘Hurt’ By Robinson Comments, Says Doctor

A Belfast hospital consultant says Muslim staff have been very hurt by the recent controversy over comments made by a pastor and the first minister.

It comes after Peter Robinson defended comments made by a pastor who described Islam as “heathen” and “satanic”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Northern Ireland: Is Islam a Satanic Cult?

By: Paul Wilkinson

“I want you to listen to me carefully tonight because I might be misunderstood. Probably will be. But I believe this with all my heart .…The God we all worship here this evening is not Allah… The Muslim God Allah is a heathen deity. Allah is a cruel deity. Allah is a demon deity.”

These were the words of Pastor James McConnell at the Whitewell Metropolitan Tabernacle Church in Belfast on Sunday, May 18, when he delivered his controversial sermon. (Click here for video). A politically correct storm ensued…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Norway’s ‘Cushy’ Prisons Spurring Foreign Cons

The number of foreigners in Norwegian prisons has quadrupled in the past 14 years. The reason: the jails are too nice — at least according to some lawyers and police officers.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Pope Francis Monitors Vatican Bank Personally

Pontiff wants to give away ‘non-transparent’ funds, ‘cuts’ jobs

(ANSA) — Rome, June 3 — Pope Francis is not “letting go” of the Institute of Religious Works (IOR) and is monitoring personally the institution better known as the Vatican bank.

After wrapping up his demanding and fruitful visit to the Holy Land, in fact, Bergoglio has plunged back into domestic “affairs”, first and foremost IOR which he has kept as a “bank” while renewing its mission so it is more closely connected to its specific objectives.

In particular, ANSA has learned, two high officials recently appointed to their posts who were already working at the bank when Angelo Caloia was president, have been sent into early retirement. Caloia’s successors were Ettore Gotti Tedeschi and currently Ernst Von Freyberg.

The early retirements made a big stir behind Vatican walls because they were perceived as a new acceleration into the institute’s reform with the old IOR management being laid off without much warning.

These steps were taken after work carried out by the pontifical commission chaired by Raffaele Farina and the pontiff’s approval of a reform “proposal” drafted with the cooperation of IOR’s Freyberg and US-based international consulting and auditing firm Promontory, which was hired as a regulatory consultant.

The pope’s objectives in making such progress are now becoming clear: The Vatican bank must no longer create the financial scandals that have cast a shadow on the Catholic Church, as occurred in the cases of Monignor Nunzio Scarano, a former head of analytic accounts at the Holy See’s asset-management agency APSA, which is indirectly linked to the Vatican bank, and of the former bishop of Siena, Monsignor Gaetano Bonicelli.

In order to reach this purpose, Bergoglio has encouraged the significant outsourcing of financial management as a tool to prevent the temptation for high- as well as low-ranking Vatican officials to throw themselves into daring financial operations whose outcome has at times cast a shadow on the whole institution in the past.

IOR is thus changing: its structure is becoming increasingly leaner, high-level tasks are being outsourced and a new administrative and monitoring structure is being created.

The consulting firm Promontory is already operating in the Vatican bank and is slated to be given increasingly more room as its screening of the bank has led to the shutdown of “1,600” accounts of holders who did not fit into any of the categories of clients the bank is legally allowed to have, as explained by the pontiff himself.

A fully operational and managerial role in Pope Francis’ IOR is also played by Monsignor Battista Ricca, who was appointed to an office at the bank by the pontiff.

Newly appointed secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, moreover plays an increasingly important role in many sectors starting with the Vatican bank.

Pope Francis strongly wants a transparent and crystal clear IOR.

After all, the pope’s determination can also be deduced from the fact that he has not hesitated in reviewing the positions of IOR account holders, in particular those of clergymen, starting with his own chamberlains, ANSA has learned.

When the sums could not be clearly justified, the pope allegedly encouraged their donation.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

UK Muslim Waging Jihad in Syria Calls on Muslims to Replicate Rigby Attack

Are the British authorities doing anything to investigate where young Muslims like Ismail Jabbar learned their understanding of Islam, and are they calling upon the Muslims in that mosque or community to teach against the idea that jihad has anything to do with violence against Infidels?

I know, I know. Stop laughing.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UK: ‘Trojan’ Schools Publish Ofsted Reports

Three of the Birmingham schools inspected in the wake of the Trojan Horse allegations have published the findings of their Ofsted reports.

They are rated “outstanding” or “good”, although one urges governors to prepare students for “multicultural Britain”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Church of England Bans Clergy From Joining BNP or National Front

Any clergy found to be members of the two parties will face disciplinary action after bishops declared them un-Christian

Church of England clergy face being defrocked if they are found to be members of the British National party or National Front after bishops ruled that the organisations’ views were un-Christian…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Family ‘Inches From Death’ As Car Ploughs Into Their House in Farnworth

A YOUNG family were “inches from death” when a car ploughed into their home. The red Lexus crashed through a neighbour’s front garden in Harper Green Road, Farnworth, before smashing into the house at about 7pm on Sunday.

Mum-of-one, Donna Stewart, was in the garden with her daughter Angel, aged 11, niece Ebony, aged nine, and her next door neighbour’s toddler, Jordanna, aged three, enjoying the last of the sun when the car careered through next door’s garden towards them…

[Reader comment by boltonnut on 3 June 2014 at 12:20 am.]

lancashiregirl wrote: You only tell half a story, who was the driver, no doubt a young thug, please tell us the name of the driver and ban them for life before they actually kill someone.

They know who but won’t say, can’t upset certain members of the community.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Leicester Man Jailed for 16 Months Over Racist Rants

A judge has jailed a racist who insulted a bus driver and a security guard.

Lewis Nigel Foulds, who was told his “disgraceful” views would not be tolerated in Leicester, began shouting and swearing at Judge Simon Hammond as he was sentenced to 16 months in prison.

The 21-year-old, who appeared via a live television link between Leicester Crown Court and Leicester Prison, had to be restrained by guards and removed from the video-link room.

Sentencing, Judge Hammond said: “Leicester is a multi-cultural society and people in Leicester are proud of that and work hard to promote it. There’s no place in British society for people like this defendant, who holds disgraceful, disgusting views and adopts disgraceful conduct.

“People are entitled to go about their business without having racial insults thrown at them.

“People who have racist views, and behave in a racist manner and insult people with their racist views, must expect custody.”

Foulds, formerly of Hazeldine Road, Hamilton, Leicester, told the judge: “You’re just making me worse.”

After his outburst, Judge Hammond said to the court: “We have just seen him storm out of the prison video-link room. He came back in and was abusive and swore. He was violent and was removed.”

The court heard that at 1pm on March 25, Foulds was on a bus in Keyham Lane, Leicester, which was being driven by a Sikh driver.

There were two female passengers on the bus.

Foulds told the women: “I bet the driver eats pork.”

He began to chant racist comments, claiming Muslim people were paedophiles, and also announced: “I’m a racist and a fascist and proud of it.”

Neither woman was Muslim and they were not wearing veils, prosecutor Michael Waterfield told the court. The driver ordered Foulds off the bus.

Foulds then picked up £2.14 in change from the driver’s tray and threw it, or dropped it, before getting off…

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

UK: Morris Dancers’ Procession Dating Back to 1109 Cancelled Due to Mounting Red Tape

A 900-year-old Morris dancing procession is to come to an end due to the growing costs and bureaucracy required to run the event

A troupe of Morris dancers have been forced to end a 900-year-old traditional parade after red tape costs spiralled “out of all proportion”. The Dolphin Morris Men revived the ancient Whitsun ceremony in 1981 but have now called a halt to the event claiming: “The 21st century has caught up with us.”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Sheffield Mosque Begins Fire Safety Campaign

A fire safety campaign has begun in Sheffield where five members of the same family died in a blaze at their home.

Three generations of the Parwaiz Kayani family, including three children, died in the fire on Wake Road, Sheffield, in the early hours of 28 April.

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue is working with the Madina Mosque to offer safety sessions to parents and children…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Fireworks Banned in Tunisia

(AGI) Tunis, June 3 — The Tunisian commerce ministry announced a ban on Tuesday on the importation, production and sale of fireworks. The decision came in a joint statement with the finance, interior, commerce and health ministries on Dec. 20 condemning the use of fireworks, which has become widespread across Tunisia. The government says they could be used by terrorist groups to signal one another.

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

Libyan Army Chief’s Convoy Attacked

(AGI) Tunis, June 3 — A convoy carrying the chief of staff of the Libyan army, General Abdel Salam al Obeidi, came under attack in Tripoli on Monday. The incident, according to local media reports, happened on Monday evening in the city centre.

General Obeidi’s escort returned fire forcing the attackers to flee. No one was killed or injured in the attack.

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

31 Killed in Spate of Attacks Across Iraq

BAGHDAD, June 3 (Xinhua) — A total of 31 people were killed and 46 others wounded in separate bombings and shootings across Iraq on Tuesday, police and medical sources said.

The deadliest casualties occurred in Iraq’s volatile province of Anbar when airstrikes, artillery and mortar shelling struck several neighborhoods in the militant-seized city of Fallujah, some 50 km west of the capital Baghdad, leaving 15 people killed and 40 others wounded, a medical source from the city hospital told Xinhua.

In addition, a barrage of mortar rounds hit the city municipal office, killing four people and wounding three others, the source said…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Kuwait Open to Iran Natural Gas Imports

Talks began during a visit by Kuwait’s Emir Sabah Al-Ahmed Al Sabah to Tehran. “Iran has large quantities of gas and Kuwait is in need of Iranian gas through cooperation between the two countries,” Kuwait’s oil minister said.

Madinat al-Kuwait (AsiaNews/Agencies) — Kuwait’s oil minister Ali Saleh Al-Omair was looking forward to an agreement with Iran to secure much-needed natural gas supplies.

“Iran has large quantities of gas and Kuwait is in need of Iranian gas through cooperation between the two countries,” Omair said in Tehran during a visit by Kuwait’s Emir, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al Sabah, to Iran.

Last month, the oil-rich OPEC producer lined up US$ 15 billion’s worth of gas supply from BP and Royal Dutch Shell to help meet soaring demand.

Kuwait also signed a contract to import liquefied natural gas (LNG) from fellow Gulf state Qatar to help meet its energy needs

Demand for gas in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states is rising on the back of growing populations and an industrial boom.

Iran sealed a preliminary agreement to export gas to the Gulf state of Oman in March, after an agreement dating back to 2005 was revived during a visit of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to the capital Muscat.

However, for some analysts, Iran, which holds the world’s largest gas reserves, is unlikely to provide a quick supply fix for gas-hungry Gulf States, even if it reaches a deal with world powers over its nuclear programme and sanctions are lifted.

Kuwait, home to a sizeable Shia Muslim minority, is a US ally, and is seen by some as a potential bridge between Iran and the Gulf Arab states, including Saudi Arabia.

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

London Islamist Leader ‘Killed in Syria’

A suspected senior London member of a terror group fighting in Syria has been killed, it was reported today. Abu Daighum al-Britani is said to be a leader in the Rayat al-Tawheed, a collection of British fighters allied to the extremist rebel group Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham, or ISIS.

About 20 British fighters are believed to have been killed in the civil war.

The Rayat al-Tawheed or Banner of God group said in a statement online: “May Allah accept him.”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Syria: As Voting Gets Underway Until 7 PM, Nobody Doubts Assad’s Victory

Blood is reportedly used to mark a vote for Bashar Al-Assad. Syria’s internal opposition has called for a boycott of the poll. Only some refugees are able to vote even though Syrian authorities offered to pay their transportation costs to return home to cast their ballot. The military option increasingly appears to be the only path.

Damascus (AsiaNews) — Syrians began voting this morning for a new president. In a country torn by three years of a civil war that has affected the whole region, no one doubts that President Bashar al-Assad will win.

In power for the past 14 years, he was chosen in elections that were more like referendums. Today, for the first time in Syria’s history, ballots have more than one name. In addition to Assad, 48 and an Alawi, there are two more names: Maher al-Hajjar, a 40-something Sunni businessman; and Hassan al-Nouri, 54, a former Sunni lawmaker.

Still, the election campaign was one-sided. Whilst posters of Assad were everywhere, it was very difficult to find pictures of the other two candidates.

Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi said the election was a “historic day” for Syria and that a large turnout would “prove to the entire world that the Syrian people have decided and are determined to make the electoral process a success”.

In the capital, people lined up since this morning to vote. Some did not wait to go to the cubicle to mark their ballots in secret and simply placed them directly in the box. One man reportedly used his own blood to mark his vote for Bashar Al-Assad (pictured).

The Interior Ministry said 15.8 million Syrians are eligible to vote both inside and outside Syria, with about 9,600 polling stations set up around the country.

Polling stations opened at 07:00 local time (04:00 GMT) and will close 12 hours later, although officials said voting could be extended for five hours if there is a big turnout.

The problem is that not all Syrians can vote. Rebel groups have called the election “a farce” and pledged to disrupt it.

The Syrian National Council and the non-violent opposition (which is operating underground in the country) have called for a boycott of the vote, which they believe will only strengthen Assad’s hold on power.

Syrians abroad were able to vote in recent days in more than 40 Syrian embassies. However, some countries — such as France, Great Britain and Germany — did not allow the poll, backing the opposition’s point of view.

Lebanon is home to more than one million Syrian refugees, with some 700,000 in Turkey, 600,000 in Jordan, and 220,000 in Iraq, according to the UN refugee agency.

In Jordan and Lebanon, some refugees were able to vote. In Lebanon, Syrian authorities invited refugees to return home to vote, offering to pay for their trip. However, Lebanon’s Ministry of Interior warned that if they returned to Syria, they would lose their refugee status.

For many refugees, a stronger Assad means the end of the war and the possibility of returning home; for others, voting, especially for Assad, means voting for their own executioner.

For analysts, Assad’s victory is a foregone conclusion that will boost his legitimacy and make any transition talks more difficult.

In recent months, during talks sponsored by the UN and the Arab League the opposition called for Assad’s removal from power as a precondition for the transition. After the vote, talks will become very unlikely, boosting the military option. Meanwhile the war, which has claimed more than 160,000 lives, continues.

In recent months, government forces have made major gains, as the opposition, increasingly divided between Islamists and secularists, tears itself apart.

For the UK-based Observatory for Human Rights, about 2,000 people have died since January in the area of Aleppo from barrel bombings.

Violent fighting also continues in central and southern Syria as well as near Damascus.

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

2 Injured in Firing at Police Vehicle in Pakistani Capital

ISLAMABAD, June 3 (Xinhua) — At least two policemen were injured when unknown gunmen opened fire at a police vehicle in Pakistan’s capital Islamabad on Tuesday morning, local Urdu TV channel Express reported…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Early Contacts to Shed Light on Indian Jesuit’s Kidnapping in Afghanistan

In charge of media relations, Loyola College principal talks to AsiaNews about the case. The situation is described as “very sensitive” but no other statements have followed in this regard. Fr Alexis Kumar, 47, has been working in Afghanistan for four years.

Kabul (AsiaNews) — “The Consulate of India and the Government of Afghanistan are in contact to shed light on the kidnapping of Fr Alexis Prem Kumar SJ,” Fr Jeyapathy SJ told AsiaNews.

Principal at the Loyola College (Tamil Nadu, India), Fr Jeyapathy was charged by Fr Edward Mudavassery, Jesuit Provincial of South Asia, to speak to the media.

Fr Alexis, head of the Afghan section of the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), was abducted yesterday in Herat. No one has yet claimed responsibility for the kidnapping.

“Alexis Prem Kumar SJ had gone to visit a school for the returnees in Sohadat village 25 km from Herat with the teachers. He was kidnapped from the school as he was about to return to Herat,” Fr Mudavassery said.

Fr Alexis, 47, belongs to the Jesuit Province of Madurai (Tamil Nadu). He has worked with the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) for more than ten years.

He joined the Society of Jesus in 1998, and worked with Sri Lankan refugees in Tamil Nadu for six years before arriving in Afghanistan four years ago.

In Kabul a source, anonymous for security reasons, told AsiaNews said that “local newspapers reported the news of the kidnapping but they did not say that it involved a priest. They refer to him as an NGO official.”

“In fact, here members of the Jesuit Refugee Service are seen as humanitarian workers rather than missionary priests. They have a certain autonomy and move a lot. Their activities are mainly in education. I do not think that those who abducted knew he was a priest. It is more likely they took him because he was a foreigner.”

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

Indian Jesuit Kidnapped in Afghanistan

Father Alexis Prem Kumar sj, chief of Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) was abducted today (Monday) afternoon by unidentified gunmen when he was on the way to a school. Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson confirmed the incident.

Kabul (AsiaNews) — Chief of Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), an international catholic organization, was abducted today (Monday) afternoon by unidentified gunmen in western Herat province.

Father Alexis Prem Kumar, sj an Indian national, was kidnapped when he was on the way to a school to survey the educational process in Zinda Jan locality where refugees are sheltered.

Confirming the incident, Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin wrote on microblogging website twitter — “Indian national working with an NGO in Herat province of Afghanistan has been kidnapped. R Mission pursuing matter with local authorities.”

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

India: Female Judge Raped and Injured in Uttar Pradesh

India’s ‘rape epidemic’ continues

(ANSA) — New Delhi, June 3 — A female judge in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh has been raped and seriously injured in the latest in a long string of sexual attacks against children and women across the country, Indian media reported Tuesday.

Aligarh police superintendent Nitin Tiwari said the judge was found drugged and unconscious at her home on Monday.

“Given her serious health condition it has not been possible for her to undergo tests linked to the rape,” Tiwari added.

Media have paid increasing attention to sexual violence in India since the 2012 gang rape and murder of a student on a Delhi bus. Last year the government tightened rape laws after widespread protests but the tide of sexual violence has not abated. Monday’s rape came just a couple of days after two teenage cousins belonging to the country’s ‘untouchable’ Dalit community were raped and hung from a mango tree, also in the state of Uttar Pradesh.

And on Tuesday police arrested one man in connection with the gang rape of a 10-year-old boy in New Delhi on May 27.

Seven others remained to be found.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Indonesia: West Java Authorities Yield to Islamic Pressure and Close Down Seven Protestant Churches

Cianjur district chiefs close down seven places of worship over alleged irregularities in building permits (IMB). The IMB dates back to 2006, but the churches have been active since the end of the 70s . Christian leaders: some of the faithful have moved for “security reasons”, for fear of attacks.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) — Under pressure from Islamic extremist movements the authorities in Cianjur district , 90 km from Jakarta, have ordered the closure of seven Protestant Christian churches for alleged irregularities in building permits (the infamous IMB), confirming that the province of West Java is one of the most “intolerant” towards religious minorities in Indonesia.

The places of worship that have been closed down are: Pentecost Church in Indonesia (GPdI) in Ciranjang, the Pentecost Movement Church (GGP) also Ciranjang, the Christian New Testament Church (GKPB), the Bethlehem Pentecoste (GGPB), the Bethel Church of Indonesia (GBI), the Evangelist Whole International Church (GISI), and the Church of People’s Synod (GSJA) — all in Cianjur District of West Java Province.

The process for building a church in Indonesia — Catholic or Protestant — is quite complicated and may take five to ten years to obtain all permits required by law. The procedure is governed by the Izin Mendirikan Bangunan (IMB), a species of written protocol that allows for construction to commence and is issued by local authorities. The story gets more complicated if it is a place of Christian worship: permission must be obtained from a number of residents in the area where the building is to be constructed and the local Group for Interfaith Dialogue. And even if the permission is granted “unspecified reasons” can come into play that will lead officials to block the projects. Often, this occurs after pressure from the Muslim community or radical Islamic movements in the name of religious fanaticism.

Rev. Oferlin Hai, president of Church of People’s Synod, confirms that the alleged lack of building permits — a 2006 law — led to the seizure of the buildings. He points out, however, that the sites have been used by the community, “well before the norm became law”. Already in 2013, he said, some Ciranjang police officers — under pressure from Islamic extremists — had shown hostile “attitudes” towards Christians. Recently the president of the Forum for Interfaith Dialogue ( FKUB ) Tjepi Djauharuddin had loudly demanded their closure.

The leader explains that Christian churches have been active since 1977 and were opened with the support and approval of the local branch of the Ministry of Religious Affairs; in 1990 a similar approval was issued by the Cianjur authorities . “We no longer have a place of worship to come together and pray”, says the pastor, who adds that some of the faithful “have moved to other places for security reasons”.

Indonesia is the most populous Muslim nation in the world. Increasingly however, it has become the scene of attacks or episodes of intolerance against minorities, whether they are Christians, Ahmadi Muslims or belong to other faiths. Aceh is the only Indonesian province where Sharia (Islamic law) is enforced, following a peace agreement between the central government and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM). Yet, in many other areas of the country, a more radical and extreme vision of Islam is spreading among ordinary Indonesians. Certain rules such as the infamous building permit (Izin Mendirikan Bangunan or IMB in Indonesian) have been used to prevent the construction of Christian places of worship or stop construction already underway, as was the case for the Yasmin Church in West Java. In December last year, at least five Christian places of worship have had to close their doors due to pressure from Islamists.

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

Raven-Wolf: Bergdahl: How Pride and Arrogance Kept us From Getting Him Back

Bouhammer Note- I have known of this complete story for five years. However I could not come public with it or ask my sources to even allow me to take it public. One of my sources who goes by the nickname Raven-Wolf, who was and is very connected and was on the ground at the time Bergdahl went missing shared this information with me in great detail in the last 24 hours. Now that Bergdahl is safely in US possession, Raven-Wolf felt it was time to let people know the truth. What you read in this post is completely first-hand and factual.

I am glad for his family that Bergdahl is home, however I am disappointed in the actions of his father recently (I will write about this more later). I am sure they love their son very much and am glad to have him back safe. However this young man made very bad decisions, and must be held accountable for them, in my opinion.

There is a lot on the internet right now from many other first-hand accounts by people that were in his unit. Now you can read a little behind the scenes about how we could have gotten him back within days, if not weeks, had it not been for arrogance and pride.

For a complete listing of postings on this blog about Bergdahl, check out

It was June 2009. I was working off the grid in and around South-Eastern Afghanistan. I had built a very effective Afghan network: local elders, merchants, NDS commanders, Afghan Army CI, etc. Word came down that a soldier from the 501st INF had gone AWOL. The name of the soldier was quickly known: Bowe Bergdahl.

Within hours of the reported “DUSTWUN” (Duty Status Whereabouts Unknown) the RC-East Commander initiated a total gag order, preventing any Army unit or Embedded Training Team (ETT) / Police Mentor Team (PMT) team from sharing intelligence with the Afghans. His order was based on his command’s stated belief that the Afghans were complicit in the taking of Bergdahl. The actual motivations came out later in private meetings behind closed doors: he wanted to protect his chances for promotion to O-7 (One Star General).

The Commander’s order didn’t affect me, and I frankly had little care for being involved in the search for someone as obviously stupid as this kid. My feelings, bluntly, were that Darwin’s laws should be let to play out and the Taliban’s desires to turn young boys into sex puppets was this kids earned destiny.

Almost immediately the rumor mill was in full swing…

The deal that has been made is a slap in the face to every American soldier alive and dead that has served this country with honor. Bowe Bergdahl is a traitor. He willingly left his post and his fellow soldiers to go on a spiritual stroll in Afghanistan, convert to Islam and ultimately join up with the Taliban…and in so doing cost us the lives of great soldiers who were tasked with finding him…just run the body count of how many died searching for him in 2009. Bergdahl wasn’t captured as the Army and media spin-doctors would want you to believe. He betrayed his country and should pay the price of incarceration at the least and death by hanging at the best.

May he burn in Hell.

Reported by RW

Guest Blogger, Raven-Wolf: Bergdahl, How pride and arrogance kept us from getting him back

           — Hat tip: Charlie Marteau [Return to headlines]

UK: Pakistan MQM Leader Altaf Hussain Arrested in London

Police in London have arrested the leader of Pakistan’s powerful MQM party, Altaf Hussain, on suspicion of money-laundering. Police have not named the man but did confirm they’ had arrested a 60-year-old man at a north-west London address…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Why Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is Not an American “Gilad Shalit”

The Times of Israel published a story endeavoring to equate the five year kidnapping and captivity of IDF solider Gilad Shalit with US Army enlisted man Bowe Bergdahl who went AWOL and subsequently was held captive for five years by the Haqqani Taliban, “American ‘Gilad Shalit’ freed from captivity in Afghanistan”. The time span may have been the same for both soldiers. However, the circumstances and outcomes were not the same. Notwithstanding these email remarks from Bergdahl, some believe that five years captivity under the Taliban may be more than enough punishment and that he deserves to receive treatment and rehabilitation. After he has recovered then conduct of possible investigations and military tribunals may be another matter. Only time will tell.

By contrast Gilad Shalit today is a sports columnist for Israeli daily Yediot Ahronoth, a welcomed public figure at sporting events in Israel. He also suffered five years of imprisonment.. Unlike Bergdahl he was loyal to his IDF buddies and did not betray his country. Bergdahl’s actions and those of his father are both questionable and disturbing. Their actions are compounded by President Obama’s release of Taliban Jihad commanders arranged by international Muslim Brotherhood supporter, the Emir of Qatar…

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

Hong Kong: Thousands Take to Streets for the 25th Anniversary of the Tiananmen Massacre

Ahead of the great vigil on the eve of June 4, the Democratic Alliance challenges a pro-China demonstration on the hottest day of the year, to demand the truth and justice over the repression of the democratic movement of 1989 .

Hong Kong ( AsiaNews / Agencies) — About 3 thousand people braved the scorching heat of Hong Kong to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. Lee Cheuk- yan, chairman of the Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China, which organized yesterday’s event, said he was “very satisfied” with the turnout — double the 1,600 who marched last year. “Hongkongers see the June 4 vigil as more important than the march so I think they will still come out on Wednesday to remember June 4” He was referring to the great vigil held on the eve of June 4 every year to remember those who died in 1989.

The protesters braved the approximately 33.2 degrees in the afternoon and marched from Victoria Park to the offices of the local government in Admiralty . During the event, the group came face to face with the counter-demonstration of the “ Campaign for the truth about the June 4” , a pro — Beijing group that believes that the 1989 repression was “reasonable” in view of the great achievements of China following its suppression of democracy.

The two groups exchanged insults until police intervened to calm tensions. Choi Suk-fong, a former journalist who witnessed the killings in Tiananmen Square, said activists who defended Beijing were “hurting the victims’ families a second time”. At the end of the march, a group of about 200 people tried to enter government offices in a toy tank.

After being stopped by the police, one of them — former teacher Hon Lin -shan — said:”If you think this toy tank is dangerous, then you [police] are more immature than kindergarten students … the only thing dangerous is the Communist Party. Police have a responsibility to serve the people.”

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

US Proposes a New (And Expensive) Missile Defence System Against Pyongyang

The Theatre High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system would cost about US$ 800 million. It would counter North Korea’s threats and China’s regional expansion. However, Seoul is not pleased that it would include Japan.

Seoul (AsiaNews) — The commander of US forces in South Korea has asked Seoul to participate in the deployment of a new advanced missile defence system (DM) against increasing threats from North Korea.

Yonhap said that General Curtis Scaparrotti proposed the deployment of a Theatre High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system at a cost of US$ 800 million.

In March, the North test fired a mid-range Rodong missile, which can read more than 1,000 kilometres.

The United States has yet to start official discussions with South Korea over the deployment, Scaparrotti said, but it has carried out a site survey in South Korea for possible locations for the THAAD battery.

Meanwhile, South Korea’s Defence Ministry said the country would review cooperation with the United States on the deployment once Washington formally made the proposal.

Washington has been pushing Seoul to join its MD system, along with Japan, to counter the evolving threats from North Korea and China’s rise in the region.

According to some reports, Japan’s inclusion, not THAAD’s price, is holding Seoul back because of unresolved historical issues between South Korea and Japan that date back to before 1945.

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

Abbott Goes to Yudhoyono Talks With Approval for Boats Policy

The forced turn-back of asylum-seeker boats to Indonesia has overwhelming public support in Australia, bolstering Prime Minister Tony Abbott as he sits down on Wednesday with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

VCAT Decision on Proposed Muslim Mosque for Coolaroo Likely in July

UPDATE: A TRIBUNAL’S ruling on a proposed mosque in Coolaroo will likely be handed down by the end of July, almost a year after the original application was granted.

The proposal by the Al Sadiq Foundation to build a Shi’ite Muslim mosque next to an existing Assyrian Christian church at 60-66 Kyabram St has been before the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal since February…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

‘White Sentiment Game’ Is Out of Step With Geopolitics, Says Indonesia

Prime Minister Tony Abbott says he is confident that a code of conduct between Australia and Indonesia can be finished within weeks, smoothing the path for relations to return to normal after last year’s spying revelations.

As he prepared to fly to Indonesia for his first meeting with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in six months, Mr Abbott signalled the quick visit would not finalise the code, which Jakarta has demanded as a way to rebuild trust.

His remarks came as a senior Indonesian parliamentarian said Australia should stop playing the “white sentiment game” and accept that it is part of Asia…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Kenyan Police Kill Two Somali Ethnic Clerics in Mandhera

Mandhera (RBC) Somali ethnic population in Mandhera have strongly deplored the killing of two Somali clerics by the Kenyan police on Sunday night in the town of Mandhera.

The killing of the pair was claimed by the Kenyan police officer Michael Tialal in Mandhera who said the police shot and killed the two men because of they were suspect to be assisting Al Shabab group.

According to clerics in Mandhera, the two men were shot and killed as they were returning from their daily breaching activities in Mandhera.

On Monday thousands of Muslims gathered to mourn for the two clerics as they were buried i the Muslims graveyard in Mandhera.

Also the Muslims Council in Kenya condemned the killing and denied reports from the police which said they have found 11 grenades from the car in which the two murdered clerics were traveling…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Sudan: Don’t Blame Islam for Meriam’s Awful Fate

by Rob Crilly

My taxi stopped on one of Khartoum’s busy main roads, close to the airport. We were stuck behind a cattle truck. Crammed into its trailer were not cows on their way to market, however, but a herd of very frightened women. The driver hopped down on to the pavement, grabbed a startled female pedestrian and roughly hauled her aboard…

[Reader comment by Russ on 2 June 2014.]

The author of this piece is utterly deluded to suggest Islam is not the root cause. All four schools of Sunni jurisprudence rule that apostates from Islam are to be killed, following the example of Muhammad himself, who said ‘Whoever changes his Islamic religion, kill him.’ (Sahih Bukhari volume 9, book 84, number 57), and there are numerous other reliable hadith all saying the same thing. In chapter 33:21 of the Qur’an, (held by Muslims as the eternal speech of Allah), Muhammad is identified as the excellent example of conduct, to be emulated. Therefore, Muhammad’s teaching that apostates must be killed cannot be denied or called into question, and represents the excellent pattern of conduct for all time. For Rob Crilly and other journalists to imply that this barbarity is not intrinsic to Islam helps facilitate further such atrocities by preventing the truth from being exposed.

[Reader comment by CassandraKing on 2 June 2014.]

The contortions that Crilly is going through is typical of a liberal progressive coward, twisting and turning in a vain attempt to justify their moral and intellectual cowardice. In fact in islam there is one choice, obey the koran in all things or die.

Cowards like Crilly know full well that sharia law is the perfect manure for religious bigotry and the cruelty and evil that goes with it, sharia dictates that innocent people must be murdered and tortured, that innocent women must be legally oppressed and murdered and tortured and raped.

[Reader comment by seutonius on 2 June 2014.]

Not Islam? Then why aren’t we getting pronouncements, articles and comments from leading mohammedan clerics teaching mohammedans how evil these activities are rather than apologist items from people like you who depend for your livelihood on getting access to Pakistanis for your articles. Why aren’t Arabic newspapers full of information about how mohammedans are really supposed to live under your idealised style of mohammedan society?

For your information, we are not ignorant about mohammedanisn. We’ve had it growing like a cancer in this country for years and people have been having to live with its adherents for generations now. We actually know a great deal about it.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

U.S. To Spend 180 Mln USD Constructing Embassy in Mauritania

NOUAKCHOTT, June 3 (Xinhua) — U.S. will spend 181 million U.S. dollars to construct a new embassy in Nouakchott, charge d’affairs for the U.S. Embassy in Mauritania said on Monday.

The charge d’affairs, Madam Eunice Reddick, was speaking in Nouakchott during the official laying of the foundation stone for the new embassy, in the presence of Mauritania’s Minister for Maghreb and African Affairs, Mekfoula Mint Hamoudi Ould Aggat…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

‘White Widow’: Kenya Probes ‘Samantha Lewthwaite Sighting’

Kenya is investigating reports that British terror suspect Samantha Lewthwaite — known as the “White Widow” — has been sighted in the country.

Reports say an unknown woman, possibly Ms Lewthwaite, was given a police escort to visit a Kenyan army base in Somalia before disappearing…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

$200 for a Life Jacket: Refugees Speak of Class System on African Boats Bound for Europe

Each trip nets up to €1m for people smugglers who cram poorer refugees into their vessels’ holds without food water for the perilous voyage to Italy

A ruthless system by which desperate migrants trying to reach Italy by boat across the Mediterranean are charged for “extras” such as life jackets, food and water has been revealed by survivors of the crossings and the interrogation of people smugglers…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Germany on the Way to Modern Immigration Society: Study

BERLIN, June 3 (Xinhua) — Researchers at the Berlin Institute for Population and Development said in the study “New potential” presented in Berlin on Tuesday that Germany is already on the path to a modern immigration society.

In the study, the authors welcome the current strong highly-skilled immigrants from abroad and warn at the same time against the consequences of the missed integration.

The study said, Germany opens more and more to people from other countries and is developing slowly but surely into a modern country of immigration, which has very positive consequences…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Italy: Migrants Picked Up by Maltese Ship to be Taken to Sicily

(AGI) Palermo, June 2 — The 97 migrants picked up by a Maltese oil tanker will taken to Catania on board a coast guard vessel on Monday afternoon. The “Zeynepa” oil tanker picked them 150 miles off the Italian coast after receiving a request from the coast guard.

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

2 thoughts on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 6/3/2014

  1. ” . . . interfaith initiative sponsored by Sweden and supported by the local Orthodox Archbishop.”
    Every interfaith initiative, muslims gain something they want, and the kuffar are too happy to give it with their heads down and the mufti laughing internally at the cowardice, confusion and compliance of the kuffar, feeling so much contempt for the kuffar’s unwilling to defend anything.
    And oh ye the humanist Sweden: we should not forget that they always force the kuffar to agree to whatever Muslims ask for, and Swedes can predict with accuracy that if you give muslims everything they ask for all problems will be avoided. You see they are clever : they can predict. And Swedes are ready their to mediate in the next muslim demand ready to satisfy their next demand. What the Swedes want is turn Cyprus and any other country to paradise as they have done to their own country. My question is: How muslim behaviour and stubbornness do not generate hatred for muslims? Do swedes have feelings?

  2. “In the study, the authors welcome the current strong highly-skilled immigrants from abroad and warn at the same time against the consequences of the missed integration.”

    highly-skilled immigrants as in taxi drivers, makers of kebabs, sharia experts, various rackets….

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