Gates of Vienna News Feed 9/21/2014

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

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

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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.

» Former CIA Official Mike Morell Gave His Views to a Pensacola Audience About What Happened in Benghazi
» How to Avoid Common Mistakes on Mosque Projects
Europe and the EU
» Could Austria Use the Koran Against the Islamic State?
» Italy: Renzi Lashes Out at Unions After ‘Thatcherite’ Remark
» Italy: ENI CEO Descalzi ‘Probed Over Alleged Nigeria Bribe’
» Italy: Priest Who Reported Sexual Blackmail Commits Suicide
» Jacob Burckhardt: How Muhammad’s “Victory of Fanaticism and Triviality” Engendered Islam’s “Despotism” And “Periodical Renewal of the Holy War (Jihad)”
» The Dutch War on Islam
» The Strange Silences of a Very Talkative Pope
» UK: Chickens Found in Flat During Collingwood Estate Search
» UK: Cheers! Nigel is the True Winner of This Debacle
» UK: Hornsea House Fire Kills Up to 25 Dogs
» UK: Justice Secretary Grayling Tells Scots MPs: Get Off My Lawn
» UK: Law Society Under Growing Pressure Over Sharia Wills Guidance
» UK: Muslim Protest Against Rotherham Child Abuse Held ‘Without Incident’
» UKIP Surge to 23 Percent in Latest Poll
» Vatican Diary / Exile to Malta for Cardinal Burke
North Africa
» Algeria: Employment Barred Without Military Service
» Bomb Explodes Near Egyptian Foreign Ministry in Cairo
» Egypt: Cairo Summons EU Ambassadors
» Egypt: Bomb Blast Kills 3 Police; Copter Crash Kills 6
» Tunisia to Set Massive Enfidha Port Project in Motion
» Work Underway on New Suez Canal, Egypt’s Patriotic Dream
Israel and the Palestinians
» UK: Live Blog: Labour Party Conference
Middle East
» Al Qaeda’s Quiet Plan to Outdo ISIS and Hit U.S.
» Archbishop of Bangalore: India Must Aid Persecuted Christians in the Middle East
» How Qatar is Funding the Rise of Islamist Extremists
» Intense Battles Raging in Syria’s Kurdish City
» Iranian Official: Ready to Join Anti-IS Coalition, But With Nuclear Flexibility
» Nusra Front Militants Kill Lebanese Soldier
» ‘Our Nations Must Work Together to Stop This Cancer in All Its Forms’
» Qatar: Former Head of Human Rights Charity Accused of Leading Double Life as Terrorist Fundraiser
» Syria: Italian Activists Sold Twice, But Not to ISIS
» Syria: British Jihadists Seen in ‘War Crime’ Video
» The Muslim Brotherhood and IS Are Not the Same Thing
» Turkish Security Forces Fire Tear Gas on Refugees After 60,000 Kurds Flee Islamic State Onslaught
» Yemen’s Prime Minister Resigns Amid Violent Clashes in Capital
» The Challenge of Winter in the Russian-Ukrainian Conflict
South Asia
» 15 Militants, One Soldier Killed in NW Pakistan Clashes
» Bangladesh’s Largest Islamist Party Enforces Nationwide 48-Hour Strike
» Caned in Front of a Baying Crowd: Eight Convicted Gamblers Are Subjected to Brutal Sharia Punishment in Indonesian Mosque
Far East
» China: Judicial Explanation Clarifies Application of Law on Terrorism
» Fiat, Mitsubishi in Pre-Accord on Pickups
Australia — Pacific
» Goulburn Jail: Allah is the Cry in the Worst Riot for Ten Years
» Jacqui Lambie Says Islamic Law Involves Terrorism as She Stands Firm on Burqa Ban
» Muslim Inmates Shouting ‘Allah Akbar’ Spark One of Australia’s Worst Prison Riots in 10 Years Just Days After Terror Raids
» New Laws to Target Terrorism Advocates
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Kenya Commemorates Victims of Westgate Massacre
» Nigeria: Dozens Killed as Boko Haram Attacks Borno Market
» Niger Fires Two Sharia Judges for Incompetence
Culture Wars
» Cardinal Argues Against Sacraments for the Divorced
» Italy: Diocese to Bologna: Gay-Marriage Registry ‘Sneak Attack’
» San Marino Rebuffs Same Sex Marriage, Abortion Proposals
» Climate Science is Not Settled: Steven E. Koonin
» Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence by Karen Armstrong, Review: ‘Questionable Logic’
» The Ancient War Between the Judeo-Christian West and Islam

Former CIA Official Mike Morell Gave His Views to a Pensacola Audience About What Happened in Benghazi

The Pensacola Tiger Bay Club held its annual meeting and dinner on the evening of September 19, 2014. Former Acting CIA Director and Deputy Director Michael Morell was the speaker. Morell retired after serving 33 years at the CIA as an analyst and manager.. He was the Presidential Daily Intelligence Briefer during the George W. Bush era from 2001 to 2006 and was with the President in Sarasota, Florida when the 9/11 attacks occurred. He was involved as a senior Agency official monitoring the tracking of Bin Laden’s courier that led to the attack on the Abbottabad, Pakistan compound on May 1, 2011 resulting in the killing of Bin Laden and several others. Morell’s retirement in August 2013 came amidst the controversy regarding his editing of the talking points about the attacks in Benghazi on the night of 9/11 into the morning of 9/12, 2012. Those attacks on the Special Missions Compound and CIA Annex resulted in the deaths of four Americans; Amb. J. Christopher Stevens, his Communications aide, Sean Smith, CIA Annex Security team members, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty.

There are allegations by both the Senate and House Select Intelligence Committee leaders that Morell’s testimony about the talking points was “misleading” based on alleged reliance on news reports and heavily redacted to exclude possible Al Qaeda involvement. Moreover, Morell made the judgment call to dismiss emails from the CIA Station chief in Tripoli that there were no spontaneous protests that led to the attacks on the Special Missions Compound and CIA Annex. Subsequent third party intelligence revealed the attacks may have been pre-planned involving local Libyan Al Qaeda militias, professionally conducting mortar attacks that took the lives of Woods and Doherty at the Annex on the morning of 9/12.

Wrongful death claims in the amount of $2 million were filed on September 19, 2014 in California against both the CIA and State Department by the surviving family and a friend of Glen Doherty. The suits allege there was inadequate security at both the Special Missions Compound and the CIA Annex in Benghazi at the time of the attacks…

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

How to Avoid Common Mistakes on Mosque Projects

September 19, 2014 by irfanrydhan

On Saturday August 30th, I was invited by ISNA (Islamic Society of North America) to their 51st Annual Convention, held in Detroit, Michigan this year, to moderate a panel with American Muslim Architects about how to Avoid common mistakes on Mosque projects in the United States…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Could Austria Use the Koran Against the Islamic State?

Austria’s foreign minister has proposed an idea he believes will discourage Muslims from joining the Islamic State group: create a single, standardized translation of the Koran to discourage misinterpretation of the Muslim holy book.

Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz said Saturday that the move will prevent extremists from misusing the Koran, the German news agency DPA reported, suggesting bad translations are behind radicalism.

“There are countless translations, countless interpretations,” Kurz said. “On the other hand it is also in the interest of the community of faith that not many words are incorrectly interpreted and reproduced.”

Kurz said legislation to create an official translation from Arabic was necessary for two reasons. One, to educate Austrians about the content of the Koran and, two, to stop terrorists and those who support them from acting on incorrect interpretations.

“We will be pushing for this vigorously,” Kurz told Austria’s Oe1 radio, adding that the initiative would be part of an update to Austria’s Islam Law which in 1912 officially recognized Islam as a religion.

The standardized translation would be chosen by Muslim leaders in Austria, Kurz said.

Israel’s i24 News reported Sunday:…

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes [Return to headlines]

Italy: Renzi Lashes Out at Unions After ‘Thatcherite’ Remark

As Democratic Party dissenters rattle sabers over Article 18

(ANSA) — Milan, September 19 — Premier Matteo Renzi on Friday lashed out at unions after Susanna Camusso, the head of Italy’s largest trade union federation CGIL, accused him of being a Thatcherite as a big row over the government’s labour reforms rumbled on.

“Where were you in the years that produced the greatest injustice, (the divide) between those who do and don’t have jobs, between those with permanent and temp contracts?” Renzi said. “We don’t want Thatcher’s labor market, but a just one, with equal rights for all citizens,” said the premier.

His government, said Renzi, wants to defend the rights of those who have none.

“We’re thinking of those…who are condemned to a lifetime with no job security, a situation the unions have contributed to by worrying only about the rights of some and not all,” Renzi said.

The premier’s signature Jobs Act, which has been approved at the committee stage, progressively raises safeguards for new hires, slashes the plethora of temp contracts currently plaguing entry workers, and establishes a minimum wage and universal unemployment benefit.

But it also contains a key measure that would scale back a landmark jobs protection regulation — Article 18 of the 1970 Workers Stature guaranteeing people unjustly sacked the right to their job back — for new hires.

The government says this clause discourages firms from offering workers regular, steady contracts as it makes it very hard from them to get rid of a staff member once on the books.

This has been blamed for high youth unemployment, with more than one in four under-25s out of a job, and for the fact that most new entries to the job market are hired on freelance or temporary contracts that provide few rights and low job security. But unions are outraged by the proposed change and there is the danger of a rift opening within Renzi’s centre-left Democratic Party (PD) over the issue, with former party chair and premier-designate Pier Luigi Bersani spearheading internal dissent.

“We will present many amendments, and not just on the right to reinstatement in case of unfair dismissal,” Bersani said. “As things stand, we are merely adding more job insecurity to existing insecurity”.

Renzi is bordering on crushing workers’ rights in his reformist zeal, Bersani said.

“New hires must enjoy the same protections as their more senior colleagues, including the right to reinstatement after unfair dismissal, which exists throughout Europe,” Bersani argued.

“We must strike a balance between capital and labor — that is the essence of being reformist,” he concluded. “Renzi is a little too focused on the Margaret Thatcher model (of labor reform),” said Camusso, whose left-wing union traditionally has strong ties with the PD. “We are defending ourselves, because those who would abolish Article 18 are abolishing workers’ freedom. We believe reform is possible, but by making sure everyone has the same rights and the same full-time, permanent contracts”.

Under the change the government is proposing, newly hired workers would be given compensation, instead of being rehired, if a court rules they were unjustly dismissed — unless discrimination was the reason for the sacking.

PD Deputy Secretary Debora Serracchiani said Friday that provisions for worker reinstatement could be added in later versions of the Jobs Act.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: ENI CEO Descalzi ‘Probed Over Alleged Nigeria Bribe’

Reportedly accused of international corruption

(ANSA) — Milan, September 11 — Claudio Descalzi, the CEO of Italian energy giant ENI, is being probed by investigators in Milan over the alleged payment of a huge bribe to obtain an oil-field concession in Nigeria.

Descalzi’s predecessor Paolo Scaroni and ENI Chief Development, Operations and Technology Officer Roberto Casula are also among several people under investigation for alleged international corruption. The alleged bribe dates back to 2011, when ENI paid $1.09 billion to Nigeria for the Opl-245 oil-field concession. At the time Scaroni was ENI’s CEO and Descalzi was at the helm of the company’s oil division. “ENI continues to deny any illegal conduct,” read an ENI statement on Thursday after Corriere della Sera broke the story of the probe. “ENI highlights that it entered into agreements for the acquisition of the block only with government of Nigeria and Shell. The entire payment for the issuance of the license to Eni and Shell was made uniquely to the Nigerian government…

“ENI is cooperating with the Milan prosecutor’s office, and is confident that the correctness of its actions will emerge during the course of the investigation”.

Milan prosecutor’s managed to get authorities in Switzerland and Britain to make a preventative seizures totalling $190 million from accounts in the name of a Nigerian middle man.

ENI’s share price on the Milan stock exchange lost over 2% after the news of the probe broke.

The anti-establishment 5-Star Movement called for Descalzi, who took charge of the State-controlled company in May, and the rest of the board to be sacked and the company put into the hands of a specially appointed commissioner. “It is now clear that it is not possible for ENI’s ordinary activities to continue because of the serious defects revealed in its economic and assets management,” read an M5S statement.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Priest Who Reported Sexual Blackmail Commits Suicide

Elderly cleric reported young man for attempted extortion

(supersedes previous). (ANSA) — Perugia, September 19 — A 70-year-old priest who days ago reported to police that he was the victim of blackmail of a sexual nature committed suicide on Friday near Perugia, police said. Police detained a young man from eastern Europe after the priest reported him for attempted extortion.

The priest told police the young man had demanded money to keep their relationship secret.

The young man has denied having sex with the priest. “My client probably didn’t even realize what was happening,” his defense attorney told ANSA. “He found himself trapped in a situation that was bigger than him”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Jacob Burckhardt: How Muhammad’s “Victory of Fanaticism and Triviality” Engendered Islam’s “Despotism” And “Periodical Renewal of the Holy War (Jihad)”

An iconic figure in the annals of Western historiography, Jacob Burckhardt (1818—1897) was a pioneering scholar of “cultural history.” Burckhardt, whose best known work is The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy (1860), believed it was the solemn duty of Western civilization’s heirs to study and acknowledge their own unique cultural inheritance—starting with the culture and heritage of classical Athens. Burckhardt emphasized how the Western conception of freedom was engendered in Athens, where its flowering was accompa­nied by the production of some of history’s most sublime literary and artistic works. Moreover, while Burckhardt affirmed the irreducible nature of freedom, and upheld equality before the law, he decried the notion—a pervasive, rigidly enforced dogma at present—that all ways of life, opinions, and beliefs were of equal value. Burckhardt argued that this conceptual reductio ad absurdum would destroy Western culture, heralding a return to barbarism. Burckhardt’s lecture notes for his history courses at the University of Basel during the period from 1865 to 1885 include Weltgeschichtliche Betrachtungen, published in English as Force and Freedom, 1964, and in 1979 as Reflections on History, by the Liberty Fund.

Extracts from these two collections, below, illustrate Burckhardt’s pellucid, frank understanding of the yawning cultural chasm—moral, philosophical, and educational—between Islam, and Western civilization. With unapologetic insight Burckhardt hones in on how Muhammad, Islam’s “radical simplifier,” engendered Islamic “despotism”—in modern parlance “totalitarianism”—and the creed’s eternal impetus for “periodical renewal of the Holy War (i.e., Jihad),” to achieve “world empire,” as “a simple corollary.”…

           — Hat tip: Andy Bostom [Return to headlines]

The Dutch War on Islam

Geert Wilders founded his own political faction — Freedom Party (PVV). The party’s main platform is the struggle against the Islamization of Holland.

By Aryeh Eldad

Geert Wilders loves us. Sometimes it’s actually a little embarrassing when people express such unconditional love for the State of Israel. Wilders was born and raised Catholic. He visited Israel for the 40th time right in the middle of Operation Protective Edge. Just for a visit.

Wilders began his political career as a speechwriter, but it wasn’t long before his name made it onto the VVD party list, and before he knew it he was a member of the Netherlands House of Representatives. One of his colleagues in parliament was Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali-born former Muslim activist who published books that expose Islam’s oppressive attitude toward women.

Hirsi Ali’s most famous book, Infidel, won her international fame, as well as a number of fatwas (death decrees) issued by Islamist groups. Hirsi Ali wrote the script for a movie called Submission, directed by Theo van Gogh, which criticized the treatment of women in Islamic society. It turned out to be the last movie that van Gogh ever made, because Muhammad Bouyeri shot him twice and stabbed him seven times on an Amsterdam street, and then pinned a letter with verses from the Koran to van Gogh’s body with a small knife. Bouyeri also carved out two names on the body: Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Geert Wilders. A couple days later, two assassins were caught with grenades on their way to kill the two politicians. Hirsi Ali was quickly whisked out of Holland and Wilders became the most heavily guarded politician in all of the Netherlands.

In 2004, Wilders resigned from the VVD and founded his own faction — Freedom Party (PVV). The party’s main platform is the struggle against the Islamization of Holland. In the 2006 parliamentary elections, PVV won only nine out of 150 open seats.

Ever since then, his power has been growing and PVV is now the third largest political party in Holland. The number of threats by Muslims on Wilders’s life increased, which led him to produce a documentary called Fitna, a term used in the Koran that means “incitement.” (The 17-minute film, which focuses on specific verses from the Koran, demonstrates what happens to people who refuse to accept the rules of Islam. It is not recommended viewing for people who are hypersensitive to the reality we live in.) Not one TV network agreed to screen the film, though, because Muslims claimed it was disparaging of Islam, and also because they were warned that any theater that dared show it would find its building burned to the ground. Wilders is persona non grata in a number of Muslim countries, and a few more fatwas calling for him to be executed were issued…

[Return to headlines]

The Strange Silences of a Very Talkative Pope

Not a word for the abducted Nigerian schoolgirls, nor for the Pakistani Asia Bibi, sentenced to death on the charge of having offended Islam. And then the audiences denied to former president of the IOR Gotti Tedeschi, driven out for wanting to clean house

ROME, August 1, 2014 — On the feast of Saint Anne, patron of Caserta, Pope Francis made a visit to this city. Everything normal? No. Because just two days later Jorge Mario Bergoglio returned to Caserta on a private visit, to meet with an Italian friend he got to know in Buenos Aires, Giovanni Traettino, pastor of a local Evangelical church.

Initially Francis’s intention was to go only to visit his friend, with the bishop of Caserta left completely in the dark, and it took some doing to convince the pope to expand his schedule in order not to overlook the sheep of his fold.

In Francis the collegiality of governance is more evoked than practiced. The style is that of a superior general of the Jesuits who in the end decides everything on his own. This can be grasped from his actions, his words, his silences.

For example, Bergoglio has spent weeks behind the scenes cultivating relationships with the heads of the powerful “Evangelical” communities of the United States. He has spent hour after hour in their company at his residence in Santa Marta. He has invited them for lunch. He immortalized one of these convivial moments by giving a high five, amid raucous laughter, to Pastor James Robinson, one of the most successful American televangelists.

When no one knew anything about it yet, it was Francis who alerted them about his intention to go visit their Italian colleague in Caserta, and explained the reason: “To extend the apologies of the Catholic Church for the damage that has been done to them by obstructing the growth of their communities.”

As the Argentine he is, Bergoglio has experienced first-hand the overwhelming expansion of the Evangelical and Pentecostal communities in Latin America, which continue to take enormous masses of faithful away from the Catholic Church. And yet he has made this decision: not to fight their leaders, but to make them his friends…

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

UK: Chickens Found in Flat During Collingwood Estate Search

This chicken was one of 12 RSPCA officers found kept in unsuitable conditions in a flat on the Collingwood Estate.

They were discovered during a visit by Tower Hamlets Homes staff, who noticed the pets living in the lounge and on the balcony, breaching the tenant’s housing agreement…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Cheers! Nigel is the True Winner of This Debacle

by Simon Heffer

As English taxpayers prepare for an unprecedented raid on their money to fund Scotland, and Tory MPs gird themselves for a backlash against the lavish promises David Cameron has made to the Scots, it is clear there is only one big winner in England after the referendum: Nigel Farage…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Hornsea House Fire Kills Up to 25 Dogs

Up to 25 dogs have died in their cages after a house caught fire in East Yorkshire.

About 18 firefighters were at the blaze in Graingers Road, Hornsea just before 19:00 BST on Saturday, Humberside Fire and Rescue Service said.

The dogs were owned by private breeders who returned to their home to find it well alight with the dogs inside, police said…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Justice Secretary Grayling Tells Scots MPs: Get Off My Lawn

Chris Grayling, the Justice Secretary, warns of a “travesty of democracy” if Scottish MPs are allowed to have a say over English laws

A senior Cabinet minister tells Scottish Labour MPs to get off his territory, in a dramatic escalation of the battle for the future of British democracy.

Chris Grayling, the Justice Secretary, accuses Labour of seeking to erase England from the map of the United Kingdom as he declares that Scottish MPs should be banned from voting on his legal reforms…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Law Society Under Growing Pressure Over Sharia Wills Guidance

Secularists and human rights campaigners have stepped up their calls for the Law Society to withdraw its controversial practice note on sharia succession rules…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Muslim Protest Against Rotherham Child Abuse Held ‘Without Incident’

Hundreds of people turned out in support of a Muslim youth group protest against child sexual exploitation in Rotherham today.

Speeches denounced the scandal which involved 1,400 victims of child sexual abuse in the town between 1997 and 2013 and protestors from the British Muslim Youth group gathered to make their voices heard…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UKIP Surge to 23 Percent in Latest Poll

A Survation poll has put Ukip support at the next general election on 23 percent, a mere seven points behind the Conservatives, and just eleven behind the Labour Party. The poll was conducted online on Friday on behalf of the Daily Mail to ascertain the popular response to the results of the Scottish referendum on independence, which was held last Thursday…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Vatican Diary / Exile to Malta for Cardinal Burke

As the impeccable prefect of the supreme tribunal of the apostolic signatura, he is on the verge of being demoted to the purely honorary role of “patron” of an order of knighthood. At the behest of Pope Francis

VATICAN CITY, September 17, 2014 — The “revolution” of Pope Francis in ecclesiastical governance is not losing its driving thrust. And so, as happens in every self-respecting revolution, the heads continue to roll for churchmen seen as deserving this metaphorical guillotine.

In his first months as bishop of Rome, pope Bergoglio immediately provided for the transfer to lower-ranking positions of three prominent curial figures: Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, Archbishop Guido Pozzo, and Bishop Giuseppe Sciacca, considered for their theological and liturgical sensibilities among the most “Ratzingerian” of the Roman curia.

Another whose fate appears to be sealed is the Spanish archbishop of Opus Dei Celso Morga Iruzubieta, secretary of the congregation for the clergy, destined to leave Rome for an Iberian diocese not of the first rank.

But now an even more eminent decapitation seems to be on the way.

The next victim would in fact be the United States cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, who from being prefect of the supreme tribunal of the apostolic signatura would not be promoted — as some are fantasizing in the blogosphere — to the difficult but prestigious see of Chicago, but rather demoted to the pompous — but ecclesiastically very modest — title of “cardinal patron” of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, replacing the current head, Paolo Sardi, who recently turned 80.

If confirmed, Burke’s exile would be even more drastic than the one inflicted on Cardinal Piacenza, who, transferred from the important congregation for the clergy to the marginal apostolic penitentiary, nevertheless remained in the leadership of a curial dicastery.

With the shakeup on the way, Burke would instead be completely removed from the curia and employed in a purely honorary position without any influence on the governance of the universal Church.

This would be a move that seems to have no precedent…

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

Algeria: Employment Barred Without Military Service

New law cuts military service from 18 to 12 months

(ANSAmed) — ROME, SEPTEMBER 12 — A new Algerian law on military service has dimmed youth employment prospects ruling that jobs in the public and private sectors will be barred to those who have not completed their compulsory military service. It’s a significant hurdle in a country with a young population and in which the military has always been the crown-jewel of successive goverments from Independance to the present day. Stretched out throughout the country and particularly in the south where borders are constantly at risk of jihadi infiltration, Algeria’s military is one of the strongest of the region. Before the new law, men who had not completed compulsory military service could not seek employment in the coveted public sector but could still turn to the private one. Now article 7 of the new law states unequivocally that “all citizens who can not prove a regular situation with regard to the national service (compulsory military service) may not be employed in the public or the private sector nor resort to liberal professions”. According to the new law military service will last a year and no longer 18 months, answering the concerns of many young men whose lives were put on hold by the long stretch of the service. On the other hand, hopes of resorting to civil service to avoid the vagaries of the Southern borders have been dashed by the law which excludes the option.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Bomb Explodes Near Egyptian Foreign Ministry in Cairo

A roadside bomb has exploded on a busy street in Cairo, according to state media. The bomb went off near the foreign ministry.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Egypt: Cairo Summons EU Ambassadors

Allegations ‘inappropriate during anti-terror fight’

Australian journalist Peter Greste (L) and Canadian-Egyptian journalist Mohammed Fahmy (R) stand inside court’s cage during a trial session for allegedly supporting a terrorist group (archive).

(ANSAmed) — CAIRO — Egypt has summoned EU ambassadors to Cairo to express “dissatisfaction” after criticism from the Union on the human rights situation in the country. “We reject the EU position, which represents a negative image while Egypt is fighting terrorism”, said a foreign ministry statement. Criticism “reflects the European double standard”, said the statement.

Yesterday in Geneva the EU expressed concern in particular over reports of “torture in jail”.

During the 27th session of the UN human rights council in Geneva yesterday, the EU, speaking through the Italian representative, expressed “concern for the deterioration of the human rights situation” with indiscriminate detentions and disproportional rulings, including the death penalty. The EU, the representative said, is also concerned for reports of torture in jail and rapes against detainees and for the situation of NGOs and those who defend human rights.

Cairo’s response, communicated yesterday to EU ambassadors in the capital, was fast: “The EU statement relies on false accusations and false information and reflects ignorance on the Egyptian political and judicial system”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Egypt: Bomb Blast Kills 3 Police; Copter Crash Kills 6

Egyptian security officials say a bomb blast in downtown Cairo near the Foreign Ministry has killed two police lieutenant colonels and a recruit.

Authorities say several other police officers were wounded in the explosion that targeted a police checkpoint Sunday…

Meanwhile, Egyptian state television said a military helicopter crashed while on a training mission southwest of Cairo, killing six and wounding one.

The aircraft crashed on Sunday in Fayoum, an oasis province, about 100 kilometers (62 miles) south of Cairo, an army statement said…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Tunisia to Set Massive Enfidha Port Project in Motion

In 2015; deep sea port to open in industrial zone

(ANSAmed) — TUNIS- A new deep water port expected to cost 1.3 billion euros will be built in the gulf of Hammamet inside the industrial area of Enfidha. The port will be built across 1,000 hectares (over 1,000 soccer fields), with 3,000 hectares behind the port, a depth of 17 metres (where the largest vessels can dock), 5 km of quays, of which 3.6 dedicated to containers and 1.4 for storage.

Once it is completed, it will have a capacity of five million teu and four tons of solid storage room.

The Tunisian government vies with the new port to boost its offer in the Mediterranean after a sectorial crisis and instability following the revolution.

The cabinet said construction work will kick off in 2015 and should not last more than five years. A public agency will be created to oversee construction work.

The port will be part of the industrial park of Enfidha which includes an airport and stretches over thousands of square metres. The park already offers international companies and industries equipped areas and urbanization work.

The project was first presented in 2008 but was suspended after the Tunisian revolution and during the crisis which affected the main ports. The situation is now improving, opening new opportunities.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Work Underway on New Suez Canal, Egypt’s Patriotic Dream

With 25,000 workers, 60-70% of obligations sold

(by Elisa Pinna) (ANSAmed) — ISMAILIA — The new Egyptian dream is taking shape amid sand and rock dunes on the horizon. Trucks, bulldozers and excavators go back and forth in the lunar landscape of western Sinai where 25,000 workers from 60 Egyptian firms work around the clock to build something worthy of the ancient Pharaohs in record time — just one year.

Just over a month ago, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announced that the second Suez Canal would be built. As construction is underway, the canal has become a symbol of national pride: obligations worth eight billion dollars issued by the Egyptian government to fund the first phase of the project and aimed exclusively at Egyptian citizens, with an annual fixed interest rate of 12%, were snatched up in a few days and 60-70% of the total have been sold.

The historic Suez Canal inaugurated in 1869 to connect the Mediterranean to the Red Sea — after work which lasted for decades and proved fatal for 120,000 Egyptians — represents the most crowded artificial canal worldwide with 7.5% of international sea trade against Panama’s 5%.

It is 193-km-long and wide enough in a number of points, with 23 docks. But in other areas it is so narrow that it can only be sailed one way with international cargos and other transport giants weighing 240,000 tons forced to wait an average of 18 hours, Mohamoud Rezk, director of planning and research of the Suez Canal, told a number of journalists from western media outlets, including ANSA, who were invited to visit for the first time the construction site.

The project of the new canal provides for a by-pass of 34 km and the perimeter of the old canal to double in some points, for a total of 72 km. Overall, 25,000 workers will be deployed, including 15,000 in the central part of the canal, on the Sinai shore in front of Ismailia. This first phase, with the construction of the double canal, will end — according to Egyptian authorities — by August 2015 and will enable the navigation of the canal both ways, cutting the wait to 11 hours.

If today an average of 40-50 ships cross the Canal daily, providing Egypt with 5.3 billion dollars in revenues a year, they will be 100 in 2022 with estimated revenues worth 13.5 billion.

And the ambition of al Sisi’s Egypt does not stop here: the second phase of work also vies to attract foreign investments and provides for the construction of ports, shipyards, textile and engineering industries, hotels, resorts for cruise ships along the whole canal, the mining exploitation of Sinai, just a few km from Ismailia, guarding towers, patrols and military vehicles controlling the area while helicopters fly over the zone. “We guarantee the security of Suez and the new canal from the sea, land and sky”, said Rezk. “In case of need, we are ready to build defensive walls”, he added.

The official in charge of the Canal’s planning also noted that in three years of social and political unrest in Egypt “not a single episode of violence concerned Suez”. In the month of August 2014, revenues reached 500 million dollars, a record since the route was opened in 1956 and up 9% from the same period in 2013.

While workers are on bulldozers under the scorching sun, moving masses of sand, creating cracks and hills, students and visitors carrying the Egyptian flag take pictures. The atmosphere, in spite of tight security, is relaxed, almost a climate of celebration. In doubling the canal and industrializing it, President Al Sisi is vying for economic recovery and a better future for his people. With a crisis which has affected tourism, the Canal has become as crucial as ever. For Suez, in 1956 (right after it was nationalized), Egyptians defeated France, Great Britain and Israel. “We will certainly not be scared by gangs of terrorists”, said Zark Afiz, in charge of security in the Ismailia area of the canal.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

UK: Live Blog: Labour Party Conference

Follow our live updates of Middle East events at the 2014 Labour Party Conference in Manchester.

Our staff writer Amelia Smith will be live blogging from 4pm on Sunday (September 21st), till 12pm on Wednesday (24th September).


That’s it from us for tonight — switch on tomorrow morning from 9.30 for more live updates…



Closing comments from Hugh Lanning: Israel is testing the world as to how much it can get away with. The public opinion is there, we have to change this into political action. We have to make British politicians act on behalf of Palestine…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Al Qaeda’s Quiet Plan to Outdo ISIS and Hit U.S.

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) may be dominating the headlines and stealing attention with its prolific propaganda, but CBS News’ Bob Orr reports, another group in Syria — one few have even heard of because information about it has been kept secret — is considered a more urgent concern.

Sources tell CBS News that operatives and explosives experts from Osama bin Laden’s old al Qaeda network may again present an immediate threat to the U.S. homeland.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Archbishop of Bangalore: India Must Aid Persecuted Christians in the Middle East

Msgr. Bernard Moras has handed over a memorandum to the Governor of Karnataka, to be presented to the President of the country. “Our people need to be aware of the harsh reality of the suffering of their brothers and sisters in the Middle East.”

Mumbai (AsiaNews) — “Christians in Iraq and Syria are being massacred, raped, killed and tortured. We, as members of the Christian community, must raise our voice and ask the Indian government to take a firm stand in support of our brothers and sisters of faith in these countries”, Msgr. Bernard Moras, Archbishop of Bangalore (Karnataka) tells AsiaNews. His diocese has organized various initiatives to raise awareness and aid persecuted Christians in the Middle East.

Yesterday a delegation of Christian leaders handed a memorandum to the Governor of Karnataka (see photo) to be delivered to the President of India, Pranab Mukherjee.

“Prior to meeting the Governor of Karnataka — says Msgr. Moras — we organized a day of prayer and fasting [September 12] and a march [September 14] for persecuted Christians. This was primarily to pray for the situation and secondly and importantly, to create awareness among own Christian community and all our Educational Institutions, of the inhuman tragedy unfolding in these countries. Our Christians must be made aware of the stark reality of the sufferings of their brothers and sisters in Iraq and Syria. “

“The Government of India — said the archbishop — can have a significant influence on the situation in the Middle East, given that many of our citizens work there, contributing to those countries.”

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

How Qatar is Funding the Rise of Islamist Extremists

The fabulously wealthy Gulf state, which owns an array of London landmarks and claims to be one of our best friends in the Middle East, is a prime sponsor of violent Islamists

Few outsiders have noticed, but radical Islamists now control Libya’s capital. These militias stormed Tripoli last month, forcing the official government to flee and hastening the country’s collapse into a failed state.

Moreover, the new overlords of Tripoli are allies of Ansar al-Sharia, a brutal jihadist movement suspected of killing America’s then ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and of trying to murder his British counterpart, Sir Dominic Asquith.

Barely three years after Britain helped to free Libya from Col Gaddafi’s tyranny, anti-Western radicals hold sway. How could Britain’s goal of a stable and friendly Libya have been thwarted so completely?

Step forward a fabulously wealthy Gulf state that owns an array of London landmarks and claims to be one of our best friends in the Middle East.

Qatar, the owner of Harrods, has dispatched cargo planes laden with weapons to the victorious Islamist coalition, styling itself “Libya Dawn”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Intense Battles Raging in Syria’s Kurdish City

DAMASCUS, Sept. 21 (Xinhua) — Intense battles are still raging between the Islamic State (IS) terror group and Kurdish militias in the surrounding of a predominantly Kurdish city in northern Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported Sunday.

The clashes, which have been incessant since last Tuesday, have continued with the IS terrorists using tanks and heavy artillery in their push toward the city of Ain al-Arab, also known as Kobani.

The IS militants have seized control of 64 villages in the vicinity of the city while displacing as many as 70,000 Kurds, who sought refuge in neighboring Turkey…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Iranian Official: Ready to Join Anti-IS Coalition, But With Nuclear Flexibility

The country has already turned down the option to join the coalition of western coalition banding together to fight Islamic State.

According to a recent interview, Iran is ready to work with the United States and its allies to stop Islamic State militants, but would like to see more flexibility on Iran’s uranium enrichment program, senior Iranian officials told Reuters…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Nusra Front Militants Kill Lebanese Soldier

(AGI) Cairo, Sept 20 — The Nusra Front, Al Qaeda’s wing in Lebanon, has killed one of ten Lebanese soldiers held captivity, the Front said on Twitter. The Twitter statement said the soldier had become the first victim of the intransigence of the Lebanese army, which itself had become a plaything in the hands of Hezbollah. Lebanese security sources confirmed the killing, the first to have been carried out by the Nusra Front, which, along with the Islamic State, is holding over a dozen more Lebanese soldiers captive.

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

‘Our Nations Must Work Together to Stop This Cancer in All Its Forms’

By Yousef Al Otaiba, Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the United States

Islamic extremism has long been a problem for the Middle East but it is now the world’s problem too, writes Yousef Al Otaiba

Over the past few weeks, the international community has been stirred to action against the rising threat of extremism.

This is the most destabilising and dangerous global force since fascism. From Libya to the Levant and from Iraq to Yemen, violent Islamic extremists are overwhelming the popular will and menacing those committed to moderation and tolerance…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Qatar: Former Head of Human Rights Charity Accused of Leading Double Life as Terrorist Fundraiser

Abdul Rahman al-Nuaimi accused of sitting at centre of web of funding for al-Qaeda affiliates in countries ranging from Yemen to Syria, to Iraq to Somalia

In the summer of 2007, two prominent Somali Islamists left their war-torn country for the tranquillity of Qatar’s capital, Doha. The men were put up in the five-star Millennium Hotel before addressing a seminar on the evils of Western intervention in their homeland.

In a Gulf state with no qualms about hosting radicals from across the Muslim world, there was nothing unusual about this event, save for the fact that one organiser had already crossed America’s radar screen for his alleged extremist sympathies…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Syria: Italian Activists Sold Twice, But Not to ISIS

(AGI) Beirut, Sept 20 — Italian activists Greta Ramelli and Vanessa Marzullo, who were kidnapped on July 31 in Alabsmo, near Aleppo, have been sold twice to other groups but not to ISIS, the Lebanese daily newspaper Al-Akhbar said on its website. According to the paper, known for its anti-Israel stance and considered close to Hezbollah, the two young women were tricked into entering the home of the head of the Revolutionary Council of Alabsmo, alongside Il Foglio journalist Daniele Ranieri, who managed to escape.

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

Syria: British Jihadists Seen in ‘War Crime’ Video

Security services are investigating a sickening video released by British jihadi fighters which shows the apparent murders of wounded Syrian soldiers.

The propaganda film features a battle involving a brigade of foreign fighters. It is the latest to be uploaded by Rayat al Tawheed, a group of mostly British jihadis fighting with Islamic State in Syria and the Levant (Isil)…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

The Muslim Brotherhood and IS Are Not the Same Thing

Dr Walaa Ramadan

This article is the second of our series on The Brotherhood vs. ISIS: MEMO reopens debate on contemporary political Islam. Read the first one here.

Today, amidst the turmoil in Gaza, Syria and Iraq, and the ongoing events in Egypt following the military coup against the democratically elected president and the all out crackdown against his political party and the Muslim Brotherhood, the debate of equating all Islamists under the same umbrella is becoming more and more common…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Turkish Security Forces Fire Tear Gas on Refugees After 60,000 Kurds Flee Islamic State Onslaught

Tens of thousands of mostly Kurdish refugees left Syria for Turkey as fighting rages between Islamist terrorists and fighters defending the northern Kobani region of Syria

Tensions were mounting on Syria’s northern border as Turkish security forces fired tear gas on refugees after tens of thousands of Kurds fled across the frontier away from marauding Islamic State terrorists.

Officials in the Turkish capital Ankara have temporarily closed the border, but there were conflicting reports as to what caused the clashes.

The state-run Anadolu Agency said Kurdish protesters threw stones at the security forces who prevented dozens of Kurdish onlookers from approaching the border…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Yemen’s Prime Minister Resigns Amid Violent Clashes in Capital

Mohammed Salem Bassindwa tenders resignation amid reports that Shia Houthi rebels have overrun government buildings in Sanaa

Yemen’s Prime Minister resigned yesterday as Shia Muslim rebels seized the government’s headquarters following days of violence that have left more than 140 dead and forced thousands to flee their homes.

The resignation of Mohammed Salem Basindwa added to the confusion in Sanaa, where the rebels — known as Ansarullah or ‘Houthis’ — were due to sign a UN-brokered power-sharing deal intended to end the fighting and pave the way for a new government within two weeks…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

The Challenge of Winter in the Russian-Ukrainian Conflict

The United States and European sanctions and Russian counter-sanctions damage the economy on both sides. The shortage of gas in Ukraine and in the pro-Russian areas will test ideological leanings. The signs of the end of globalization, with the growth of localism, the risk of the West’s demise and religious fundamentalism.

Moscow (AsiaNews) — After a climatically anomalous and tormented summer, a new factor is about further complicate the Russian-Ukrainian confrontation: the long cold winter that will soon begin. In the midst of sanctions and counter-sanctions, as the world waits to see who will be most affected economically and politically, the people from both countries increasingly concerned with the pressing issue of the imminent winter.

Even if clement weather persists in Ukraine for another month or so, allowing people to get away with a light jumper or woolen blanket, sooner or later they will need to turn on the heating, and every burning patriotic flame is in danger of dying out like a candle in the wind.

Moreover, even the famous October Revolution began in February with the riots in the streets toyed with the Provisional Government in the summer, and died out with the first snowfall, in the assault on the Winter Palace.

Of course, the “separatists” in the occupied areas will be the first to be freeze and the people with them. Caravans of “humanitarian aid” from Moscow will prove useless, as will the trucks and troops that follow in their wake. All the rest of Ukraine — regardless of the outcome of the fighting in Lugansk and Donetsk — knows that the gas for the heaters will be rationed — at best for a few hours a day — and understand that an ironclad timetable will have to be established for time spent in and out of the house.

In Russia itself, people are already sealing windows against drafts, hoping to hold what little warmth was left by an ungrateful summer until spring. And all this in the hope that the “war of sanctions” will not go beyond the current limits, to avoid having to ration even the basic necessities. At a time when families are struggling across the continent Western Europe also fears seeing its energy resources reduced, although to a lesser extent.

In short, the real crisis has yet to begin. The fighting in the eastern territories of Ukraine may eventually be solved by more or less permanent truce, but no one is under the illusion that everything will go back to the way it was before. The real, dramatic and obvious effect of the conflict, is that it has ended any hopes of integration between the East and the West, of Europe and the world.

Economists from most countries, apart from the ever present Cassandras who predict doomsday scenarios, are in a state of protracted bewilderment: the global market, the salvific free trade, for which the Majdan revolution was born, is at an impotent impasse without any visible remedies.

Russia is tempted by increasing political isolation to stake everything on national pride and elephantiasis, seen in its increase in the production of goods for domestic consumption, and increased presence in Asian markets. A German-led Europe is yo-yoing between fear of losses due to the sanctions against Russia and the mild-American promises of energy compensation, on condition of military support from the resistant Europeans, who have become the least warlike race on the planet.

The United States is grappling with a continuing loss of prestige and geopolitical power, as well as an indecisive Obama who is being increasingly penned in by the “hawks” inside and outside of his own party, not to mention those of the establishment. The include the ultra-liberals of the Tea Parties, who want America freed of all military and economic conditioning. The Asian Tigers are patiently waiting for the corpses to wash up on the river banks, for their moment. Everyone speaks of a future under China, but it could also prove to be a chimera.

The point is that globalization, the final triumph of historical capitalism on all forms of socialism, harbors an obvious contradiction. Capital needs conflict, competition and confrontation. The conflict is no longer that of Hegel and Marx, between masters and servants, because in the third millennium, everyone is now masters of something, and the servant of all. Composite and complex interests, which are often horizontal, are clashing. The competition is no longer based on entrepreneurship and advertising, but on continuous de-localization and restructuring, creating clusters of economic forces that often secretly cooperate with each other, instead of seeking to supersede each other.

The geographical and ideological conflicts have given way a reactionary localism, which seems to harken a return to the Middle Ages: who remembers the existence of an independent Scotland or Catalonia or of the Ukraine, to limit ourselves to Europe? Certainly not the people who revolt or are passionate about a cause that perhaps never existed, such as Northern Italy’s Po Valley or Putin’s Novorossija.

Opposition gives in to folklore and nostalgia, such as the Caliphate of Al-Baghdadi which evokes the times of Saladin, the Hungarian nationalism of Viktor Orban, the Hungarian version of Putin, or the neo-Ottoman policy of the Sultan Erdogan. The dreams of restoration are often accompanied by a somewhat distorted religious inspiration: the Islam of terror and homophobic Orthodoxy are often accompanied by fundamentalist Catholics, Evangelicals, Hindus and Buddhists, all capable of allying themselves to wars of conquest against modernity and against the institutions. Putin himself has admirers in America and in Europe, where many consider him the new Constantine, the only bulwark against the West’s moral decay, or the new Alexander the Great, setting out to conquest Asia in order to save Greece.

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

15 Militants, One Soldier Killed in NW Pakistan Clashes

ISLAMABAD, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) — At least 15 militants and a soldier were killed in clashes and army air strike in Pakistan’s northwest tribal area of North Waziristan on Saturday, an army statement said.

Inter Services Public Relations, the mouthpiece of Pakistani army, said that army aviation helicopters targeted three militants’ hideouts in Ghulam Ali area of North Waziristan region, killing 12 militants and destroying the hideouts.

Four explosive-laden vehicles were also destroyed by the army helicopters, said the statement…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Bangladesh’s Largest Islamist Party Enforces Nationwide 48-Hour Strike

DHAKA, Sept. 21 (Xinhua) — Bangladesh’s largest Islamist party enforced a nationwide 48-hour non-stop hartal from Sunday morning to push for the unconditional release of its a high-ranking leader.

Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami party Wednesday called the countrywide strike from Thursday to Friday and Sunday to Monday to protest the apex court verdict that handed down the party’s Nayeb- e-Ameer (vice-president) Delwar Hossain Sayeedi life imprisonment for war crimes…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Caned in Front of a Baying Crowd: Eight Convicted Gamblers Are Subjected to Brutal Sharia Punishment in Indonesian Mosque

Eight men were brutally caned in front of about 1,000 people inside a mosque compound in Indonesia after breaking strict Sharia laws on gambling.

A state prosecutor, in the conservative Aceh Province, on the north-western tip of Sumatra, read out the men’s punishment before a masked man wearing brown robes stepped forward.

Using a thin bamboo-like rattan cane, he then whipped them over their backs five times each…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

China: Judicial Explanation Clarifies Application of Law on Terrorism

BEIJING, Sept. 21 (Xinhua) — China has issued a judicial explanation to clarify application of criminal law on terrorism.

The document, which was issued to all the provincial judicial and prosecuting apparatus and public security authorities, was jointly formulated by the Supreme People’s Court (SPC), the Supreme People’s Procuratorate (SPP) and the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) on Sept. 9 but only published on Sunday on the MPS website.

It said handling of the cases should be strictly based on facts, without discrimination and under the principle of tempering justice with mercy…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Fiat, Mitsubishi in Pre-Accord on Pickups

Non-binding memorandum of understanding signed

(ANSAmed) — MILAN — Fiat Group Automobiles and Mitsubishi Motors Corporation have signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding on the possibility of developing and producing a mid-sized pickup truck, supplied by Mitsubishi and based on the next generation of the Japanese carmaker’s L200, the Italian group announced Friday.

Fiat’s plans could see it add to its lineup while conserving cash after merging with US manufacturer Chrysler in an operation that will be completed later this year.

Under the memo of understanding, Mitsubishi will build as many as 170,000 trucks for Fiat over six years, with production beginning in the first quarter of 2016, Yuki Murata, a spokesman at the Tokyo-based company, told Bloomberg.

Fiat aims to complete its merger with Chrysler into Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) later this year.

The tie-up will shift the corporate headquarters to London and move the main stock listing to New York, with the merged company focusing on higher-end cars.

Chrysler sells Ram heavy-duty pickups, and its Jeep marque is developing a model.

The Italian manufacturer’s main pickup offering is the Stada.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Goulburn Jail: Allah is the Cry in the Worst Riot for Ten Years

PRISON officers in riot gear have used tear gas to control maximum security inmates who tore apart Goulburn Jail in a racially fuelled riot ­described as the biggest in 10 years.

With shouts of “Allah Akbar”, prisoners armed with homemade weapons threatened guards and smashed through an internal fence at the state’s toughest jail, which was in lockdown yesterday.

Police investigations are continuing today.

Tensions have been running high in the prison system as federal and NSW police step up their surveillance of suspected terrorists and any of their associates inside and outside prisons after the country’s terror alert was raised to high…

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes [Return to headlines]

Jacqui Lambie Says Islamic Law Involves Terrorism as She Stands Firm on Burqa Ban

Palmer United Party senator Jacqui Lambie claims Islamic law “involves terrorism” and says the burqa is a “national security” risk.

The Tasmanian PUP representative says any Australian Muslim who supports sharia should get out of the country. And appearing on the ABC on Sunday, Senator Lambie was asked what she understands sharia to mean.

“When it comes to sharia law, to me, it obviously involves terrorism,” Senator Lambie said…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Muslim Inmates Shouting ‘Allah Akbar’ Spark One of Australia’s Worst Prison Riots in 10 Years Just Days After Terror Raids

One of Australia’s toughest jails was in lockdown on Sunday after Muslim inmates shouting ‘Allah Akbar’ sparked a riot.

Prison officers at Goulburn jail, in NSW, were forced to use tear gas to control inmates, who were armed with homemade weapons, when they broke down an internal fence and went on the rampage.

The Daily Telegraph reports the worst Australian prison riot in 10 years erupted when a number of the prison’s Muslim inmates refused to line up for the afternoon muster after privileges were denied.

The violence comes just days after the country’s biggest ever terror raids — in which numerous homes were targeted before dawn — and amid reports jihadist cells are plotting attacks from inside NSW prisons.

But the a spokesman for Corrective Services NSW said the weekend’s riot was not religiously motivated and officials ‘had no indication the disturbance was in any way prompted by religious beliefs’.

‘Inmate unrest began about 3pm on Saturday after staff informed inmates in that yard that a good behaviour privilege was being withdrawn, due to earlier verbal abuse of correctional staff,’ the spokesman told Daily Mail Australia.

‘Corrective Services NSW has deployed chemical munitions to subdue inmates in a yard at Goulburn Correctional Centre’s mainstream prisoners’ area.’…

           — Hat tip: The Observer [Return to headlines]

New Laws to Target Terrorism Advocates

NEW laws will crack down on those who incite terrorism but Attorney-General George Brandis denies Islamic preachers will be specifically targeted.

PARLIAMENT is set to debate moves to expand the Australian spy agency’s powers from Monday and Senator Brandis will introduce a foreign fighters bill to the Senate on Wednesday which includes measures to criminalise terrorism advocacy.

People who intentionally counsel, promote, encourage or commission terrorism acts could face up to five years in jail. Senator Brandis denied the focus was on Islamic preachers.

“This is a law of general application, it’s not directed at any section of the community,” he told Sky News on Sunday…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Kenya Commemorates Victims of Westgate Massacre

One year after militant group al-Shabab mounted an attack on the Westgate Mall in Kenya’s capital Nairobi that killed 67, the country still battles with fears over Islamist terror.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Nigeria: Dozens Killed as Boko Haram Attacks Borno Market

By Abdulkareem Haruna, Ankeli Emmanuel

Dozens of traders at a rural market in Borno State may have been killed and several others injured during an attack by Boko Haram members yesterday afternoon, eyewitnesses and security operatives have said.

Also, gunmen in army and police uniforms, suspected to be cattle rustlers, yesterday at about 12 pm stormed Tadabale Village in Isa local government area in Sokoto State, killing two people and making away with over 8000 livestock, locals confirmed to LEADERSHIP Weekend…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Niger Fires Two Sharia Judges for Incompetence

By Aliyu M. Hamagam

Minna — Niger State government has fired two Judges for incompetence in the discharge of their duties.

The state Judicial Service Commission headed by the Chief Judge, Justice Fati Lami Abubakar, approved the recommendations of the five-man committee earlier set up to investigate complaints and petitions filed against the two to dismiss them from service…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Cardinal Argues Against Sacraments for the Divorced

‘Not even the pope can sever marriage bond’ says Mueller

(ANSA) — Vatican City, September 17 — No man, not even the pope himself, has the power to sever the bonds of marriage, German Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Mueller said in a book titled The Hope of the Family.

“When we are in the presence of a valid marriage, there is no way to sever that bond,” Mueller said in the interview-format book by Ares publishers, to be released ahead of an extraordinary synod on the family in October.

“Neither the pope nor any other bishop has the authority to do so, because it touches on a reality that belongs to God, not to them”.

Therefore, divorced individuals who marry a second time must not be allowed to receive communion, because that would mean questioning the indissolubility of the marriage sacrament, Mueller explained.

“Indissoluble marriage…removes the individual from the will and the tyranny of feelings…and protects children above all,” said the cardinal, who was appointed prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in 2012.

Vatican observers say the synod on the family will likely see a clash between bishops who would like to see the Church adopt a more open stance to divorced Catholics and defenders of the doctrine as it stands.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Diocese to Bologna: Gay-Marriage Registry ‘Sneak Attack’

Rome mayor says ‘long overdue’, wants to start process in Rome

(ANSA) — Bologna, September 15 — Bologna’s Catholic Diocese denounced the city’s formal recognition of same-sex marriages, calling the decision a “surprise attack,” according to media reports Tuesday.

At the same time, Rome’s mayor reportedly said the move is “long overdue”.

After a decree came into effect Monday, allowing gay couples to have their marriages abroad added to Bologna’s civil register, Monsignor Giovanni Silvagni denounced the move. “These are sensitive subjects that are dealt with slogan attacks and and an approach a bit ideological”, said Silvagni.

He said that “haste and approximation are always bad ideas….imposing thoughts that are slightly weak and young, not sufficiently matured or tested”.

In contrast, Rome Mayor Ignazio Marino said he would follow Bologna’s lead and start the process in Italy’s capital city “for the recognition of marriages contracted abroad, both heterosexual and homosexual couples”.

On Monday, two Bologna-area couples, including Democratic Party Senator Sergio Lo Giudice and Michele Giarrettano, applied for foreign marriage recognition.

Bologna Prefect Ennio Mario Sodano asked city mayor Virginio Merola to withdraw the newly recognized marriages.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

San Marino Rebuffs Same Sex Marriage, Abortion Proposals

Tiny state’s parliament keeps abortion a crime

(ANSA)- San Marino, September 19 — The tiny state of San Marino’s Grand and General Council has rebuffed proposals for decriminalising abortion and recognising same sex marriage celebrated abroad.

The Council rejected on Thursday and Friday a formal request by citizens to the Captains Regent, effectively the country’s heads of state, urging that abortion no longer be a crime and demanding the recognition of gay ‘marriages’ celebrated abroad.

The council nevertheless agreed to consider aspects of the questions again, though 27 members voted against legalising abortion compared with 23 voting in favour, while two abstained and one MP did not vote.

By a slightly larger majority the Council decided to verify within three months “eventual modifications to the criminal code, to define as the non prosecutability of those who decide to abort in the countries where it is allowed”. Abortion would remain a crime in San Marino under this proposal, however.

A larger still majority rejected by 35 votes against to 15 votes in favour the proposal for recognition of same sex weddings held abroad.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Climate Science is Not Settled: Steven E. Koonin

The idea that “Climate science is settled” runs through today’s popular and policy discussions. Unfortunately, that claim is misguided. It has not only distorted our public and policy debates on issues related to energy, greenhouse-gas emissions and the environment. But it also has inhibited the scientific and policy discussions that we need to have about our climate future.

My training as a computational physicist—together with a 40-year career of scientific research, advising and management in academia, government and the private sector—has afforded me an extended, up-close perspective on climate science. Detailed technical discussions during the past year with leading climate scientists have given me an even better sense of what we know, and don’t know, about climate. I have come to appreciate the daunting scientific challenge of answering the questions that policy makers and the public are asking.

The crucial scientific question for policy isn’t whether the climate is changing. That is a settled matter: The climate has always changed and always will. Geological and historical records show the occurrence of major climate shifts, sometimes over only a few decades. We know, for instance, that during the 20th century the Earth’s global average surface temperature rose 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit.

Nor is the crucial question whether humans are influencing the climate. That is no hoax: There is little doubt in the scientific community that continually growing amounts of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, due largely to carbon-dioxide emissions from the conventional use of fossil fuels, are influencing the climate. There is also little doubt that the carbon dioxide will persist in the atmosphere for several centuries. The impact today of human activity appears to be comparable to the intrinsic, natural variability of the climate system itself.

Rather, the crucial, unsettled scientific question for policy is, “How will the climate change over the next century under both natural and human influences?” Answers to that question at the global and regional levels, as well as to equally complex questions of how ecosystems and human activities will be affected, should inform our choices about energy and infrastructure.

But—here’s the catch—those questions are the hardest ones to answer. They challenge, in a fundamental way, what science can tell us about future climates…

           — Hat tip: RL [Return to headlines]

Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence by Karen Armstrong, Review: ‘Questionable Logic’

By Noel Malcolm

Karen Armstrong has taken on the fashionable theory that religion always causes violence — but her approach misfires

‘Many of us saw religion as harmless nonsense. We thought, if people needed a crutch for consolation, where’s the harm? September 11 changed all that.” So said Richard Dawkins, who until his retirement enjoyed the title of Professor for the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

The Ancient War Between the Judeo-Christian West and Islam

And so the question: can we, the people of the West, be brought to failure despite our enormous cultural and spiritual legacy? Three thousand years of history look down upon us: does this generation wish to be remembered for not having had the strength to look danger squarely in the eye? For having failed to harness our latent strength in our own defense?

           — Hat tip: KGS [Return to headlines]

8 thoughts on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 9/21/2014

  1. I hope Dymphna is feeling better. I wish all western governments would get their heads out of their [derrieres] and realize the existential crisis we are facing. So hopes and wishes will not do much, will they?

    Politically correct speech will be the death of us, which is why I stopped writing a column for the local paper — if you can’t speak freely, what is the point of speaking at all?

Comments are closed.