Gates of Vienna News Feed 10/12/2014

The forces of the Islamic State are reportedly closing in on Baghdad from the west. ISIS soldiers carrying MANPADS are said to be within 12 kilometers of Baghdad International Airport. Meanwhile, suicide bombers in Baghdad and its suburbs killed at least 35 people.

In other news, a nurse who had helped care for the now-deceased Ebola patient in Dallas has contracted the disease herself, and is in serious condition.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Fjordman, Insubria, Jerry Gordon, RM, 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: EU Report: 630,000 SMEs Jobs Lost in Six Years
» Schulz Says Italy Doing ‘Fantastic Work’ In Employment
» Ebola Virus: Second Texas Case Confirmed
» Health Care Worker at Dallas Hospital Tests Positive for Ebola
» Krugman: Obama One of the Most Successful Presidents in American History
» Obama Calls for Immediate Measures Against Ebola
» Texas Health Worker Tests Positive for Ebola
» Top US Doctors: Hospital Worker Infected With Ebola by ‘Breach in Protocol, ‘ Changes in Handling Patients Are Coming
Europe and the EU
» Algerian Company to Invest 300 Mln in Italian Steel Group
» Greece: Italy’s Edison to Enter Bidding for Hydrocarbons
» Greece: Loukanikos, Iconic Riot Dog, Has Died
» In Britain, Islamist Extremist Anjem Choudary Proves Elusive
» Italians Would Vote for Leaving the Euro, Says Grillo
» Italy: Northern League Launches New Movement for South
» Italy: Students Put on Show of Force Against Govt Policies
» Italy: Fincantieri, Finmeccanica Reach Deal on Military Ships
» Italy: Sanlorenzo Yachts Eyes 10% Per Year Growth Over Next 3 Years
» Italy: Unblocking Public Works Top Priority Says Renzi
» Italy: ‘I Shot Because They Were Killing Me’ Says De Santis
» Italy: State Ordered to Pay 5 Mn Euros to Ustica Families
» Italy: Rome’s Third Metro Line to Open in October
» Italy: Genoa Rails Against Mayor After Floods
» Italy: Fijian Tourist Caught Vandalising Roman Villa in Pompeii
» Italy: Highest Municipal Taxes Paid in Bologna, Genoa, Bari
» Mercedes is Making a Self-Driving Semi to Change the Future of Shipping
» Suspend Flights to Contain Ebola, Says Le Pen
» Sweden Close to Being Cashless Society: Report
» Thirty Arrested in Bucharest After Romania-Hungary Match
» UK: Gang Rapes, ‘Junior Jihadists’ And Runaway Sharia
» Divided Bosnia Votes in Nationwide Elections
North Africa
» Italy: Moroccan Ambassador Urges Support for Libya
» Three Muslim Brothers Sentenced to 15 Years in Egypt
Israel and the Palestinians
» It’s Kristallnacht; Execute the Terrorists
Middle East
» 3 German Photojournalists Arrested by Police in Turkey While Covering Kurdish Protests
» 300 Masterpieces From France Set for Louvre Abu Dhabi
» Iraq: Archbishop of Mosul: Christian Families “Desperate”, Solidarity of Synod Important
» Iraq: Bombs Rock Baghdad, Executions Grip Mosul
» Iraq: Despite Airstrikes, ISIS Forces Draw Nearer to Baghdad
» IS Fighters Armed With MANPADS 12 Km From Baghdad Airport
» ISIS Magazine Claims Group Has Enslaved and Sold Yazidi Women and Kids
» Kobani on the Brink of Falling, Could Baghdad Airport be Next?
» Twenty Killed in Suicide Bombing North of Baghdad
» UN-Russia Talks on is in Syria Set for Oct. 21
» Putin Orders Russian Army to Withdraw From Ukraine Border
» Russia Claims it Has Three Ebola Vaccines Almost Ready
South Asia
» Beheaded Teenager’s Body Found in India
» Intellectuals, Academics and Civil Society in Defense of Democracy (Under Attack) In Indonesia
Far East
» Hong Kong: Tens of Thousands of People Take to Streets in “Long-Term Occupy”
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Ebola Threatens Chocolate
» The Ominous Math of the Ebola Epidemic
» Illegal Immigration Jumps for Third Straight Year Under Obama
» Nowhere to Hide: The Danger of Satellite Spies
» Why Environmentalists Want us to All Eat Bugs

Greece: EU Report: 630,000 SMEs Jobs Lost in Six Years

Almost 1 in 3 jobs within small and medium-sized enterprises

A medium enterprise in Greece

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS — Almost one in three jobs within Greek small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) has been lost since the dawn of the crisis six years ago, according to recently published 2013 data. Meanwhile, as GreekReporter website writes, more than 200,000 SMEs have failed in the same time period. SBA Facts, the annual report of the European Commission on Small Businesses, has recently shown that Greece lost 27% (630,000) of jobs generated by small and medium-businesses. In 2008 alone, one in four SMEs shut down.

Even as the Greek economy begins its slow turnaround, total employment is expected to drop by 106,000 job positions, while a further 40,000 more businesses are expected to close. Compared to the EU average, Greece ranks last in all sector indices: second chance, internationalization, access to funding, single market, public procurement, environment, skills, entrepreneurship. The European Commission report notes that the Greek government’s policies towards SMEs remains weak.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Schulz Says Italy Doing ‘Fantastic Work’ In Employment

European parliament speaker says region needs jobs, ‘fast’

(See related) (ANSA) — Milan, October 8 — The Italian government is doing “fantastic” work, making a strong effort to invest in job creation, European Parliament Speaker Martin Schulz said Wednesday as he entered a summit on employment in Europe.

“(Leaders) must find a strategy for the creation of new jobs, fast,” said Schulz at the beginning of the summit that brought together leaders of European countries, most of which are facing sluggish growth and rising unemployment.

Young people have been hit especially hard by the slow jobs market — in Italy, the youth unemployment rate is more than 40%.

Schulz said EU leaders must make the most of EU funds available for spending that will lead to employment, particularly for young adults.

He also called for a greater emphasis on stimulating economic growth and less on balanced budgets, adding that he supported efforts in this by the Italian government.

“(This) is not a summit on 3% but on employment and growth,” said Schulz, referring to European Union rules requiring governments to hold their deficits at no more than 3% of gross domestic product (GDP).

“We cannot require balanced public accounts without jobs and growth,” added Schulz.

“The solution is through public and private investment,” he added.

Italy and France have both publicly complained that this requirement is too harsh during hard economic times and although Premier Matteo Renzi has said Italy will meet that threshold, France has said it will not until 2017.

Cutting spending to balance government books makes sense only when economies are stronger, said Schulz.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Ebola Virus: Second Texas Case Confirmed

A Texas health worker who treated a man who later died of Ebola has been diagnosed with the disease — the second confirmed case on American soil.

The hospital worker had been treating Thomas Duncan, who caught the virus in his native Liberia.

Mr Duncan died on Wednesday after travelling to America to visit relatives.

“We knew a second case could be a reality, and we’ve been preparing for this possibility,” said Dr David Lakey, commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services.

“We are broadening our team in Dallas and working with extreme diligence to prevent further spread,” he added, speaking to the AFP news agency. (SNIP)

           — Hat tip: RM [Return to headlines]

Health Care Worker at Dallas Hospital Tests Positive for Ebola

A health care worker at a Dallas hospital tested positive for Ebola according to a preliminary result, the Texas Department of State Health Services said in a statement early Sunday.

The health care worker, who was not identified in the statement, provided care for Thomas Eric Duncan, the first Ebola patient in the United States who died last week.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Krugman: Obama One of the Most Successful Presidents in American History

On ABC’s This Week, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman said President Obama is one of the most consequential presidents in modern American history, ranking third behind Presidents Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Lyndon Baines Johnson. Krugman explained his reasoning by saying that Obama has made important changes to the economy, implemented new environmental policies, and accomplished health-care reform. And on foreign policy, Krugman said, “He hasn’t done anything really stupid and that is a big improvement over his predecessor.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Obama Calls for Immediate Measures Against Ebola

(AGI) Washington, Oct 12 — U.S. President Barack Obama has urged for the immediate launch of additional measures to ensure that the country’s health system “is ready to follow the correct protocol” in tackling Ebola virus cases. This was released via a White House communique on Sunday, following the news of the first case of contagion on American soil. A nurse who treated a Liberian patient who died in Dallas allegedly violated safety protocol when the man was undergoing dialysis.

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

Texas Health Worker Tests Positive for Ebola

A health care worker here who helped treat the Liberian man who died of Ebola last week has tested positive for the disease in a preliminary test, state health officials said Sunday.

“We knew a second case could be a reality, and we’ve been preparing for this possibility,” said Dr. David Lakey, the Texas health commissioner. “We are broadening our team in Dallas and working with extreme diligence to prevent further spread.”

The worker, who was not identified, was an employee of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. The person reported a low grade fever Friday night and was isolated and referred for testing. Officials interviewed the worker and were identifying “any contacts or potential exposures,” the statement read.

[Return to headlines]

Top US Doctors: Hospital Worker Infected With Ebola by ‘Breach in Protocol, ‘ Changes in Handling Patients Are Coming

Top federal doctors acknowledged Sunday that a “breach in protocol” resulted in a Dallas hospital worker getting Ebola while treating the country’s first patient and said changes in the handling of such cases are being made.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Dr. Thomas Frieden, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director, each said an unintentional breach occurred.

Texas officials announced earlier Sunday that a health care worker in full protective gear contracted the deadly virus at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas when helping Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, who died last week.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Algerian Company to Invest 300 Mln in Italian Steel Group

(AGI) Rome, Oct 12 — Algerian food manufacturer Cevital is targeting the acquisition and relaunch of Italian steel group Lucchini. Not only that, but it plans to invest more than 300 million euros in the construction of a logistics platform and an agro-industrial production complex. The aim is to “to resume steel production in Piombino of up to two million tonnes of special and standard steels, with the installation of two furnaces to replace the blast furnace and the general revamping of cold working,” said president of the Algerian group, This is “also on the basis of previous major activities by the Cevital group begun in the steel industry,” he added.

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

Greece: Italy’s Edison to Enter Bidding for Hydrocarbons

For the 20 blocks in the Ionian sea and south of Crete

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, OCTOBER 7 — Investor interest in Greek hydrocarbons is growing with the approach of the launch of the tender for the 20 blocks in the Ionian Sea and south of Crete, as daily Kathimerini online reported. After France’s Total, which was the first company to obtain the seismic data package, and British Petroleum, whose interest was personally expressed to Prime Minister Antonis Samaras by its head, Bob Dudley, during their recent meeting in Azerbaijan, Italy’s Edison has now made its interest in the Greek hydrocarbon reserves known.

Bruno Lescoeur, Edison’s chief executive, informed Energy Minister Yiannis Maniatis that the Italian firm — controlled by Electricité de France — would enter the tenders for the blocks in the Ionian and south of Crete during a meeting between the two men at the company’s headquarters in Milan. Edison said it had publicized an expression of interest, stating, “We have confirmed to the minister our commitment to hydrocarbon surveying, announcing the participation of Edison in the new round of concessions for surveys, as well as in the realization of the Interconnector Greece-Italy (IGI) and the Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria (IGB) natural gas pipelines that we jointly develop with DEPA (Public Gas Corporation).” Kathimerini’s sources say that Edison will take part in the first round of concessions for blocks in the Ionian and the region south of Crete with a broad consortium that will include Hellenic Petroleum, which is already its partner in electricity production. Edison will also bid for the concession in the Gulf of Patras for the surveying and utilization of hydrocarbons.

Maniatis has already expressed certainty about the presence of three very big oil companies in the tenders, without naming names. Recent reports regarding an acquisition of data on the blocks in the Ionian and the area south of Crete by Exxon Mobil have not been refuted. Kathimerini recently revealed the participation of BP, while there is talk in the market about data acquisition by Shell too.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Greece: Loukanikos, Iconic Riot Dog, Has Died

He was named among Time magazine’s 100 Personalities of 2011

(ANSAmed) — ATHENES — Loukanikos, the emblematic sandy-colored mutt that became a symbol of Greek resistance to austerity, has died, leftist daily Avgì reported on Thursday.

The man who first found him as a puppy roaming the streets of central Athens named him Nikiforos, or the bringer of victory, as Kathimerini online remembers. Others called him Kanellos in tribute to another famous riot dog who died in 2008. Among the throngs of Greece’s anti-austerity protesters though, he was known as Loukanikos, or Sausage, an enduring moniker for the feisty dog that made headlines around the world for being at the front line of almost every protest rally great and small in the Greek capital over the past few years. Greek social media was ablaze with posts for Loukanikos on Thursday after news of his demise became public: “RIP Loukanikos,” “A farewell to Loukanikos,” “Loukanikos, Greece’s riot dog, breathes his last.” According to Avgi, the mixed-breed dog’s health had been failing for the past two years since he was last seen barking at riot police and facing the tear gas in front of Parliament on Syntagma Square. His age was estimated at around 10. His presence at numerous rallies and his often vicious attacks on riot police beating back crowds of protesters made Loukanikos a country’s international creditors. He became the subject of reports by the BBC, CNN, Al Jazeera and other international media outlets covering the Greek crisis. In 2011 he made it onto Time magazine’s 100 Personalities of the Year list and is the subject of a song and video posted on YouTube in 2011 to express solidarity with the Greeks. Loukanikos even has his own Facebook page with nearly 45,000 “Likes.” The man that has been taking care of the stray since he was a puppy and who wished to remain anonymous, told Avgi that Loukanikos passed away at his home.

The exact date of his death was unclear. The vet who had been monitoring him said that exposure to chemicals used by anti-riot police to disperse protesters played an instrumental role in his decline, Avgi said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

In Britain, Islamist Extremist Anjem Choudary Proves Elusive

LONDON — As British war planes arc through Middle Eastern skies and security services race to unravel terrorist plots at home, the nation’s most prominent propagandist for the Islamic State sits in a London sweets shop, laying out his radical vision between bites of dessert.

Iraq and Syria, Anjem Choudary says confidently, are only the beginning. The Islamic State’s signature black flag will fly over 10 Downing Street, not to mention the White House. And it won’t happen peacefully, but only after a great battle that is now underway.

“We believe there will be complete domination of the world by Islam,” says the 47-year-old, calmly sipping tea and looking none the worse for having been swept up in a police raid just days earlier. “That may sound like some kind of James Bond movie — you know, Dr. No and world domination and all that. But we believe it.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Italians Would Vote for Leaving the Euro, Says Grillo

(AGI) Rome, Oct 12 — The Five Star Movement (M5S) on Sunday said it was certain people would vote for Italy leaving the eurozone if the question were put to referendum. Speaking from a party rally in the centre of Rome, M5S leader Beppe Grillo said : “I believe 70 percent would vote for leaving the eurozone and 30 percent for staying in. We have to make people understand what damage staying in the euro would do.” ..

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

Italy: Northern League Launches New Movement for South

(AGI) Rome, Oct 7 — The regionalist Northern League party on Tuesday launched a new movement that will be active in the centre-south of Italy. “The movement is inspired on our political lines but will have local representatives. In the centre and south, in Sardinia, Sicily, Calabria and Salento, there is also a strong demand for autonomy,” Northern League leader Matteo Salvini told a press conference.

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

Italy: Students Put on Show of Force Against Govt Policies

‘We are the great beauty of this country’, they say

(ANSA) — Rome, October 10 — Italian students put on a massive show of force Friday by filling the streets and squares of the nation to protest against the educational policies of Premier Matteo Renzi.

Sometimes joined by their teachers, the students lambasted Renzi’s reforms aimed at fostering greater meritocracy in schools and universities and making an Italian education more closely linked to the jobs market.

The protest, called by university and high-school students’ organisations, was aimed at achieving a “different school, university and country,” than the one envisaged in business-friendly educational reforms, the manifesto of the event said. “We are the great beauty of this country and we can no longer afford to live in precarious conditions where we’re stripped of our rights,” it said.

In Rome, students staged a flash mob at the Colosseum, unfurling a huge banner saying Hands Off Our Schools.

“There are 20,000 of us and we all say No to Renzi,” they shouted. “Cuts are not good for a good education,” another giant banner read.

We Are The Good School, another one said.

The students were joined in the Italian capital by throngs of temp teachers carrying giant papier-mache’ pencils to symbolise the importance of education, “which cannot be destroyed by politicians”.

Maria, a teacher who has been on short-term substitute contracts for 16 years, told ANSA: “they want to turn students into useful little robots for their economic schemes…we won’t stand for it”.

In Milan, protesting students left a bag of manure outside the Catholic University and spray-painted buildings with slogans against the reforms, which aim to forge a stronger vocational link between schools and universities on the one hand and the business world on the other.

A student who gave her name as Carla said the reforms would, among other things, “put a hell of a lot of pressure on teachers, from their heads, as they have to shape up to these new and wrong-headed meritocratic chalk marks.

“The teachers will be turned into guard dogs over us,” she added.

In Naples, rowdy protesters let off firecrackers and shouted: “You’ll never have us the way you want us”.

A student who gave his name as Pino said “Renzi is trying to privatise Italian schools by stealth,” echoing an accusation often leveled at previous, centre-right governments who fell short of full-blown reforms because of massive resistance.

As well as tailoring education more on working-world goals, Renzi has vowed to hire 150,000 teachers who have been on temp contracts for years.

But the teachers taking part in Friday’s protest said “we don’t believe him.

“What’s he going to do, sack all the existing (permanent) staff, and where’s he going to get the money from,” they demanded to know.

According to the university and high-school organisations, “more than 80,000 students have turned out across Italy”.

As well as Rome, Milan and Naples, other towns that saw large turn-outs were Turin, Florence, Palermo, Bologna and Perugia.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Fincantieri, Finmeccanica Reach Deal on Military Ships

Aim to rise in shipbuilding in domestic and overseas markets

(ANSA) — La Speza, October 9 — Finmeccanica and Fincantieri said Thursday they will collaborate on military shipbuilding aimed at both domestic and overseas markets.

The deal was signed during the launch of the Pietro Venuti submarine, the third in the Todaro class, and is expected to make use of the commercial and technical “synergies” between the two.

Fincantieri Naval Vessels brings business expertise while Finmeccanica has expertise in combat systems, electronics and weapons systems, and naval divers the companies said in a note.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Sanlorenzo Yachts Eyes 10% Per Year Growth Over Next 3 Years

‘Made-to-measure’ approach appeals to Italian company’s buyers

(ANSA) — Genoa, October 6 — It’s difficult to miss the Sanlorenzo stand at the Genoa boat show, running this year from October 1-6. There is something imposing about the company’s mega-yachts, yet their metallic and aluminum shells — reflecting in the harbor water — give the hulks an almost liquid look. The company, present with a full model range of yachts from 20 to 40 meters, is one Italy’s leading, privately held shipbuilders. Those lucky enough to get a look inside one of the builder’s boats never come off disappointed.

Sanlorenzo, which traces its origins back some 50 years, has been on a winning streak of late, earning its ultra-luxury positioning in the minds of buyers around the world. The company has come a long way under Chairman and CEO Massimo Perotti. When the entrepreneur took over Sanlorenzo in 2005, the company’s sales were approximately 40 million euros; this year they are expected to be in the range of 200 million euros. Perotti owns 56 percent of the shipbuilder, founded in 1958; Chinese industrial group Sundiro Holding has a 23 percent stake and Italian investment fund Fondo Italiano d’Investimento owns 10 percent.

As with many other Italian firms in the industry (and across other industries) the company has anchored its present and future success to international markets.

When Perotti’s watch began at Sanlorenzo, more than 80 percent of the company’s sales were in Italy, a market that tanked following the 2008 global financial crisis. Since then, the company has encountered strong demand from customers in Russia, Mexico, Germany, Spain, France/Montecarlo and the US, among others. In fact, Perotti told Ansa he sees Sanlorenzo sales increasing by 10 percent per year over the next three years and says that all of the growth will come from export markets, in particular the US, Latina America and Russia, countries well out of the recessionary Mediterranean region.

But while Italy and the Mediterranean may be stagnant in general, since January this year Sanlorenzo has sold to Italian buyers five motor-yachts in the 25-30 meter range and has orders for two more, representing a total of some 33 million euros, the firm’s marketing and communication manager, Mario Gornati, told Ansa. While keeping lips sealed on the identity of the buyers, Gornati said that they are “old money”, heirs of industrial companies with solid fortunes. It’s an important signal, especially considering the mature market. “It means that those few ship owners that there are in Italy who still buy ships buy them from Sanlorenzo.” The firm’s customer profile is similar in other countries. For example, in Mexico, where Sanlorenzo sold eight yachts over the past couple of years, the buyers are similarly old money types.

Sanlorenzo produces about 35 ships per year. And pretty much every unit is custom built, in the truest sense. “We are like a tailor, producing made-to-measure yachts,” Gornati said, pointing out that the interiors of every boat — even those belonging to the same model line — are completely different. This clearly has its costs; Sanlorenzo’s prices in general are about 20% higher than those of its rivals and for some of the firm’s biggest yachts can easily surpass the 50-60 million euro mark.

In order to match the increased demand for his firms’ ships, Perotti has expanded the group’s production presence in Italy, adding a shipyard in the Tuscan coastal city of Viareggio to the firm’s already existing shipyard in Ameglia near to La Spezia, both on Italy’s west coast, south of Genoa. Expanded production capability combined with an increasingly international presence have helped boost Sanlorenzo to the number two spot globally in builders of yachts over 24 meters, Gornati said, citing US magazine ShowBoats International Global Order Book 2014.

It’s an all made in Italy ranking: the number one spot is held by Azimut Benetti and the number three spot is held by Ferretti Group.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Unblocking Public Works Top Priority Says Renzi

‘Only lawyers working on appeals,’ he says after Genoa floods

(ANSA) — Bologna, October 10 — It is an “absolute priority” for the government to unblock public works that have been held up for years by red tape and appeals,” Premier Matteo Renzi said Friday. “We must put an end to (a situation where) only lawyers are working on appeals and we must put workers to work to build the public works that are missing,” he said. A failure to push public works through was one of the causes of the Genoa flooding that devastated the northwestern Italian city and killed one person Friday, the premier said at a new Philip Morris plant near Bologna.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: ‘I Shot Because They Were Killing Me’ Says De Santis

‘Didn’t aim’ says Roma fan of Esposito death

(ANSA) — Rome, October 9 — An AS Roma fan probed in the shooting death of a Napoli fan ahead of the Italian Cup Final in May said he pulled the trigger because the group of Neapolitans were “killing me” with knives.

“I want to say it’s true, in the end I let off the rounds but without aiming,” Daniele De Santis said about the death of Ciro Esposito. “I was covered with blood. They were killing me, end of story”, De Santis said in a letter sent to Rome prosecutors earlier this week.

“I’m desperate about Ciro’s death,” De Santis added.

De Santis also denied starting the fight, saying “I didn’t throw any firecrackers, I only picked up a flare”.

“Thirty or more of them chased me and I tried to get away but they were already hitting me on the back with sticks…then they gave me the first three stab wounds, and then they kept hitting me,” De Santis said in the letter.

The statement backed up what the Roma fan and rightist militant said two days ago, saying he had “only fired (in self-defence) because I was afraid”.

It recently emerged that De Santis had suffered stab wounds.

On September 24 police said knife wounds suffered by De Santis were documented by doctors five days later.

According to the report from the Carabinieri forensic science unit Racis, doctors from Rome’s Regina Coeli prison examined De Santis five days after the May 3 shooting which fatally wounded Esposito.

The May 8 medical report documented “cut wounds to the side” and “a contusion wound on the forehead” which required stitches.

The injuries had not been reported or treated when De Santis was originally taken to Rome’s Gemelli hospital immediately after the violence.

He was later transferred from there to Viterbo hospital for security reasons, and finally moved to the Regina Coeli prison.

Authorities also reported that a switchblade found at the scene belonged to a group of Napoli fans.

Following an earlier report from the Viterbo hospital in which stab wounds to De Santis’ abdomen were reported, police analysts said the Roma fan was acting in self-defence and was bleeding when he fired four shots, fatally wounding Esposito and slightly wounding others.

Esposito died 50 days later of his wounds.

Napoli beat Fiorentina 3-1 to lift the Cup.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: State Ordered to Pay 5 Mn Euros to Ustica Families

Disaster in which 81 died caused by missile

(ANSA) — Palermo, October 9 — A Palermo judge on Thursday ordered the Italian defence and transport ministries to pay a total of 5,637,199 euros in damages to 14 family members related to six people killed in a mysterious 1980 airplane crash near the Sicilian island of Ustica. Italy’s supreme Court of Cassation last year ruled that a missile was the definite cause of the crash in which 81 people were killed while travelling on a commercial flight by the now-defunct Itavia carrier on June 27, 1980. It said that the hypothesis that the plane was downed in 1980 by a “missile shot by an unknown airplane” appears “by now consecrated”, adding that “cover-ups” in investigations must now be considered “definitively ascertained”. It also ordered a new civil trial to assess the responsibility of the Italian defence and transport ministries in Itavia’s bankruptcy.

In April Premier Matteo Renzi signed an order to declassify a number of secret case files, including those on the Ustica disaster.

Over the years, Italy has sought information from the United States, France, Belgium and Germany about it.

In 2008 prosecutors reopened investigations after former Italian president Francesco Cossiga suggested that a French missile had shot down the plane by mistake.

Cossiga, who died in 2010, did not explain at the time why he had waited so long before giving his views.

Dossiers, books, and even a film called The Rubber Wall have been produced over the years about the airliner that crashed into the sea on its way from Bologna to Palermo.

Two international panels examined the wreckage. Investigating magistrate Rosario Priore and the prosecutors who succeeded him insisted they had found clear evidence of flight tracks being tampered with and radar scans cleaned up to remove all trace of other planes in the vicinity of the Itavia jet.

Magistrates and victims’ relatives think the plane may have become caught in a dogfight between NATO planes and a Libyan jet whose wreckage was found in the southern Italian highlands some months after the Ustica crash.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Rome’s Third Metro Line to Open in October

Priority to ensure ‘safety and reliability’, councillor says

(ANSA) — Rome, October 9 — Rome will be ready to open the first section of its metro system’s third line, the C line, by the end of the month, the capital’s Transport Councillor Guido Improta said Thursday. “We’ll open the metro C (line) by the end of October,” Improta said. “The technicians are preparing the documentation. The aim is to open the metro (line) in conditions of maximum security. I hope that, if we don’t manage to have all the authorizations by Saturday, the delay will only be a few days”.

The first section of the Metro C line, running from Pantano in Rome’s eastern suburbs to Centocelle towards the centre, was due to open on October 11 after years of delays. Impronta said the aim was also to “avoid a repeat of what happened with metro B1,” an offshoot of the B line running northeast that presented numerous technical problems when it eventually opened to the public in June 2012 after several delays. “There are still details that need to be finalised but we are all working to ensure this happens as soon as possible, but never at the expense of the safety and reliability of the system,” he said. Eventually Metro C, which will cross the city east-west, will intersect with the existing metro A line at S. Giovanni and with the newer B line at the Colosseum. Plans contemplate the other terminus in Piazzale Clodio in Prati near the Vatican, or possibly beyond, but currently the project has funding only as far as Piazza Venezia in the city centre and even the final section, linking the planned Fori Imperiali and Venezia stops, is in doubt. Instead the tract linking Centocelle to Fori Imperiali is due for completion by September 2020 according to the website of the general contractor Metro C Spa. Rome currently has a relatively limited metro system for a metropolis of its size, in part due to the difficulties involved in digging tunnels in ground rich with ancient archaeological treasures.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Genoa Rails Against Mayor After Floods

(AGI) Rome, Oct 12 — Shopkeepers and residents in central Genoa’s Piazza Colombo have railed against the city’s mayor, Marco Doria, after the damage sustained by Thursday’s floods.

Insults flew and the anger became such that police officers were sent to the scene.

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

Italy: Fijian Tourist Caught Vandalising Roman Villa in Pompeii

(AGI) Naples, Oct 12 — Italian police charged a 47-year-old Fijian tourist with criminal damage on Sunday after he was caught engraving his initials in the red plaster walls of the home of Marcus Lucretius in Pompeii.

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

Italy: Highest Municipal Taxes Paid in Bologna, Genoa, Bari

(AGI) Venice, Oct 11 — Bologna, Genoa and Bari have the highest municipal taxes in Italy, said the CGIA economic studies office. A household of three living in a typical home in Bologna will pay 1,610 euros on waste, property and other local taxes in 2014, followed by Genoa with 1,488 euros and Bari with 1,414 euros.

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

Mercedes is Making a Self-Driving Semi to Change the Future of Shipping

The latest truck concept from Mercedes-Benz doesn’t look like anything crazy. Its design is a bit unusual, and it’s loaded up with LEDs instead of headlights and cameras instead of side mirrors. But those modest tweaks to conventional design hide the fact that this is a serious bid to revolutionize the trucking industry. That’s because the “Future Truck 2025” drives itself. And while it’s a prototype, Mercedes is serious about spending the next decade getting it—and us—ready for commercial use.

Autonomous driving is nothing new for trucks in agricultural and military applications, and should be available for passenger cars by 2020. But trucks that share our highways are tempting candidates for shedding their human component: Highway driving is easy for computers but dangerous for us, especially when big machines are involved.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Suspend Flights to Contain Ebola, Says Le Pen

(AGI) Paris, Oct 12 — The leader of France’s National Front party, Marine Le Pen, on Sunday proposed to suspend all flights to and from African countries where the Ebola virus has spread.

According to Le Pen, the measures taken by the French government to contain the virus are insufficient. Around 300 people per day arrive in France from countries hit by the virus and that should stop, Le Pen pointed out in several interviews.

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

Sweden Close to Being Cashless Society: Report

Four out of five purchases in Sweden are paid electronically or by debit card and with the development of cheaper technology the trend is moving towards a fully cash free society, according to a new report.

“Sweden and the rest of Scandinavia leads the world in terms of cashless trading,” said Bengt Nilervall at the Swedish Federation of Trade (Svensk Handel).

Swedes use their debit and credit cards almost every day — an average of 260 transactions per person per year.

The picture is very different in southern Europe. In Italy, for example, three-quarters of all consumer purchases are still paid for in cash.

“That is due to the low confidence in the authorities and the banking system,” said Niklas Arvidsson, an associate professor of industrial dynamics.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Thirty Arrested in Bucharest After Romania-Hungary Match

(AGI) Bucharest, Oct 12 — Police in Bucharest arrested 30 football fans before, during, and after the Euro 2016 qualifying match between Romania and Hungary on Saturday. The two sides threw smoke bombs, stones, and firecrackers at each other near the National Arena, where the match ended in a 1-1 draw under the protection of 12,000 policemen. Hungarian hooligans also destroyed the buses that brought them to the stadium after seeing their flag wrongly depicted on the fliers.

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

UK: Gang Rapes, ‘Junior Jihadists’ And Runaway Sharia

A Month of Islam in Britain: September 2014

by Soeren Kern

“Islam is a religion of peace and has nothing to do with the ideology of our enemies.” — Home Secretary Theresa May, on the beading of David Haines by IS in Syria.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Divided Bosnia Votes in Nationwide Elections

Bosnians are voting in national elections marked by popular discontent over widespread corruption and unemployment. Twenty years after its civil war, the Balkan nation remains deeply divided along ethnic lines.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Italy: Moroccan Ambassador Urges Support for Libya

(AGI) Trapani, Oct 11 — The Libyans must be helped to rebuild their country while fighting terrorism, said Morocco’s ambassador to Italy, Hassan Abouyoub. “We are wrong not to support the Libyans, we should not leave them on their own,” the ambassador said on the sidelines of an international agriculture event in Sicily, adding: “We cannot abandon a country that is striving towards normality in the middle of a rebellion. The Mediterranean countries must spread this message of solidarity. We should not let terror prevail.” .

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

Three Muslim Brothers Sentenced to 15 Years in Egypt

(AGI) Cairo, Oct 11 — Three leaders of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed al Beltagy, Safwat Hegazi and Ahmed Mansour, an anchorman on Al-Jazeera TV network, have been sentenced to 15 years in prison for having attacked and kidnapped a lawyer on Tahrir Square on Jan. 25 2011 during the revolution against Hosni Mubarak’s regime. The Criminal Court of Giza sentenced four more Muslim Brotherhood leaders, including former Youth Minister, Osama Yassin, and Mahmud al Khudairi, chair of Constitutional and Legislation Affairs Committe, to three years in prison for their involvement in the same case.

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

It’s Kristallnacht; Execute the Terrorists

After the latest horrific murder of a very dear and decent Briton, Alan Henning, we now do two things. We execute and/or banish the ISIS returnees to the West, and we shun all the media apologists for Islamism. It’s Kristallnacht!

First up, do not, NOT, blame our fellow Muslim citizens in Western countries. But, and BUT, there has been far too much from certain mosques and Leftist groups (the BBC, the Guardian and the New York Times etc, who have been part of this), legitimising Islamist terrorism. The hate campaign against the Jewish people has been central to this.

There are no pet terrorists. And you who have lied for Hamas etc, bear a share of responsibility for this latest murder.

The appalling slaughter of Alan Henning, a very gentle, gentleman, and aid worker, is a Kristallnachtmoment. We ignore it, or we allow for something far worse to come. (By the way, did you actually have to click on the link to be reminded of what Kristallnacht was?)

This is a first move in a discussion that, for reasons of political correctness, just does not happen in the mainstream media. The garbage that is now being talked in the Western media is beyond belief. ISIS aren’t real Muslims? Yes they are. It’s just that most Muslims despise, and fear, ISIS too. Why is that so difficult to say or understand?

Within our first move; two points:…

           — Hat tip: Steen [Return to headlines]

3 German Photojournalists Arrested by Police in Turkey While Covering Kurdish Protests

Three German photojournalists have been arrested in southeastern Turkey while covering Kurdish protests against the Islamic State group. A German foreign ministry spokeswoman said Sunday the three freelance photographers had been arrested by Turkish police.

Protests against the Islamic State group’s onslaught on the Kurdish town of Kobani in Syria turned violent in Turkey last week and led to several deaths.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

300 Masterpieces From France Set for Louvre Abu Dhabi

Masterpieces by Leonardo da Vinci and Vincent van Gogh will be among 300 works displayed at the Louvre Abu Dhabi, the Emirate said Sunday, as it aims to become a leader in fine art.

The museum, built at a cost of 500 million euros ($630 million) and set to open in December 2015, will feature paintings and sculptures from 13 of France’s most renowned collections spanning from pre-Bronze Age to Pop Art, it said in a statement.

“This will be the first time many of these works will travel to Abu Dhabi or even the Middle East, and are a rare opportunity to see important art from French museums,” said Sultan bin Tahnoon al-Nahyan, chairman of the organization behind the project.

The loaned works include da Vinci’s Portrait of an Unknown Woman, Claude Monet’s Saint Lazare Station and Andy Warhol’s Big Electric Chair, as well as ancient statues, vases and masks from across Asia and Africa.

Many of France’s grand museums, including the Louvre, Musee d’Orsay and the Palace of Versailles will loan art to Abu Dhabi as part of a 30-year collaboration with the Emirate worth one billion euros ($1.3 billion).

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Iraq: Archbishop of Mosul: Christian Families “Desperate”, Solidarity of Synod Important

Msgr. Nona sees the message delivered yesterday by the participants in the Synod as “very important”. The spirit and soul of the refugees, said the prelate, is becoming “increasingly disheartened and desperate”. The challenge of Iraqi Christian families in remaining united and educating their children in a context of serious difficulties. The militias of the Islamic State ready to launch the attack on Baghdad.

Erbil (AsiaNews) — The solidarity expressed by Synod currently being held in Rome towards Christian families in the Middle East who are experiencing a period of great “difficulty”, in particular “Iraq” is a “very positive” signal because it is “important to talk about this situation” and “it gives us the strength to go forward”, says Msgr. Emil Shimoun Nona, Chaldean archbishop of Mosul, in the north, the second most important city in the country and first city to fall into the hands of the militia of the Islamic State.

Yesterday, the Synod devoted special attention to the Syrian and Iraqi Christians, victims of jihadist violence and the repercussions “on the family, disrupted by the death of its members […] deprived of a future for young people […] and for the older people, abandoned to themselves”. For Iraqi Christians the presence “of our patriarch Sako and the other patriarchs” in Rome is vital, to talk about “the situation of refugees and “the challenges that they face”. Over time, warns the prelate,” the spirit and the mood of the refugees is becoming more disheartened and desperate, because they do not see positive signs for a return home” in the near future.

Msgr. Nona was the first to raise the alarm on the danger posed by the advance of the Islamists after the conquest of Mosul, where about 500 thousand people — Muslims and Christians — have fled in early June to avoid being forced to convert to extremist Islam and where a caliphate was founded and sharia imposed.

In these hours, the Iraqi authorities have sounded the alarm, calling for military aid in the western province of Anbar, which could “soon” fall into the hands of the militia of the Islamic State (IS). Jihadists are attacking the provincial capital, Ramadi, and have captured large portions of land. The eventual fall of Anbar would give the IS possession of a large area between Syria and Iraq, setting up a direct supply line ahead of an assault on the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, the ultimate goal of the terrorists.

The situation of tension and danger of the eventual fall of all Iraq into the hands of the Islamic state, is accompanied by the increasing difficulties faced by refugees (Christian and non) in the north of the country, particularly among those who have fled Mosul and the Nineveh plain. “Now people are desperate — says Msgr. Nona — and no longer believes in a return home, it is clear that the Islamic State is stronger than the coalition bombs”. The prelate said the commitment of the Church and ecclesiastical personalities “to families who still live in tents, in schools, in classrooms and in the parishes”. He adds that the focus is to help them “live in a more humane way,” and we are grateful “for the many donations that come from all over the world.”

“We’re looking for houses to rent — says the archbishop of Mosul — but it is impossible to find accommodation for all, so we are looking for other solutions.” Msgr. Nona warns of the many risks, many challenges and difficulties experienced by the Iraqi Christian families torn from their land: “How is it possible to stick together — asks the prelate — and lead the everyday life of a family home, when you are in a tent in a public school or sharing an apartment with other families”. Problems are emerging in terms of personal relationships, in the internal relationship of the couple and education of children, all the problems that accompany “serious economic difficulties.” This is why priests “promote activities for children and young people, to help them play to forget, even for a few moments, the drama of war.”

Finally, the archbishop of Mosul calls on the Synod in Rome to pay “attention to the difficulties experienced by families,” looking at “different situations and different realities” elaborating “that is not a global one for everyone, but respecting the way of thinking and living of families around the world. “(DS)

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

Iraq: Bombs Rock Baghdad, Executions Grip Mosul

Car bombs have killed at least 35 people in Shiite parts of Baghdad and on its outskirts. The US military says it has dropped supplies to Iraqi troops in northern Iraq and made airstrikes against “Islamic State” units.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Iraq: Despite Airstrikes, ISIS Forces Draw Nearer to Baghdad

Despite airstrikes from the U.S.-led coalition, Islamic State militants are in a position to wreak havoc on Baghdad after making gains in nearby territories, adding to the sense of siege in the Iraqi capital.

Yet some military experts believe that the terror group, who now control a large territory along the border of Iraq and Syria, won’t be able to defeat the forces now massed around the capital.

However their new position does give them the ability to wreak terror in Iraq’s biggest city, with its suicide attacks and other assaults further eroding confidence in Iraq’s nascent federal government and its troops, whose soldiers already fled the Islamic State group’s initial lightning advance in June.

“It’s not plausible at this point to envision ISIL taking control of Baghdad, but they can make Baghdad so miserable that it would threaten the legitimacy of the central government,” Richard Brennan, an Iraq expert with RAND Corporation and former Department of Defense policymake told The Associated Press.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

IS Fighters Armed With MANPADS 12 Km From Baghdad Airport

(AGI) Baghdad, Oct 11 — A group of Islamic State (IS) fighters has managed to infiltrate Abu Ghraib, just outside Baghdad, 12 kilometres from the capital’s international airport. The news was reported by TV network CBS, which said that the Iraqi Defence Ministry’s greatest concern was that the Sunni militants were armed with MANPADS, shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles, which would enable them to bring aircraft down during take-off and landing. The militants are hiding in the town, famous for the prison in which Iraqi prisoners were tortured by U.S. soldiers.

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

ISIS Magazine Claims Group Has Enslaved and Sold Yazidi Women and Kids

Islamic State group militants captured, enslaved and sold Yazidi women and children, the latest issue of a magazine purportedly published by the extremists claimed Sunday, the group’s first public confirmation of the allegations.

The claim came as Human Rights Watch said Sunday that hundreds of Yazidi men, women and children from Iraq are being held captive in makeshift detention facilities in Iraq and Syria by the group.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Kobani on the Brink of Falling, Could Baghdad Airport be Next?

Yesterday, we posted commentary on Jonathan Schanzer’s, Politico Magazine piece, “Time to kick Turkey Out of NATO?” We noted what was behind Erdogan’s refusal to commit forces to lift the ISIS siege of the beleaguered Syrian Kurdish city of Kobani. We concluded:

Erdogan clearly wants the Syrian Kurds decimated so that they will not have virtual autonomy in the country’s northeast.

We note Schanzer’s conclusion in his Politico article:

The crisis in Kobani once again brings the challenge of Turkey into sharp relief. Despite the best efforts of Washington and other coalition members to bring Turkey along, it now appears clear: Turkey under the AKP is a lost cause. It is simply not a partner for NATO. Nor is it a partner in the fight against the Islamic State.

Marie Herf, one of the two Department of State spokespersons, held forth at yesterday’s Daily Press Briefing packed with US and foreign journalists. She spoke about the meetings in Ankara with US Coalition military chief Gen. James Allen and Amb. Brett McGurk to be followed by a Pentagon military planning team next week to discuss what assistance the Turkish NATO ‘ally’ might render in the fight against ISIS. The impression left, given questions by journalists at the Daily Press Briefing, is that Turkey will do nothing to aid the Syrian Kurds in Kobani, while the US conducts periodic air assaults that have yet to blunt the ISIS forces surrounding the city. Her colleague, Jen Psaki was engaged in a HuffPost cocktail hour discussion with Washington journalists about the dilemma of the stubborn, but apparently valiant Kurdish YPG defense of the shrinking perimeter inside Kobani against ISIS. The YPG is affiliated with the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) that the Turks, EU and US have designated as terrorists. Turkish President Erdogan considers the PKK and hence the YPG to be ‘worse than ISIS’. ISIS is reported to control half of Kobani, despite the limited air assault by the US-led coalition. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rghts, the YPG was taking a toll on ISIS attackers in fierce urban street fighting. Kurdish resistance leaders inside Kobani were tweeting that they were running out of ammunition. Kobani’s likely fall to ISIS in the face of Turkish inaction despite US limited air attacks will be a momentary disaster awaiting the debacle of what might occur at Baghdad International Airport.

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

Twenty Killed in Suicide Bombing North of Baghdad

(AGI) Baghdad, Oct 11 — At least 20 people were killed and 28 injured in a suicide attack 30 kilometres north of Baghdad, Iraqi sources reported on Saturday. A suicide bomber triggered an explosive belt inside an open-air market in the town of Mishahda at midday, one of the busiest times of day. After the explosion, police evacuated the area to protect against follow-up attacks.

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

UN-Russia Talks on is in Syria Set for Oct. 21

(AGI) Moscow, Oct 11 — Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and the UN envoy for Syria, Italy’s Staffan de Mistura, will hold talks on the IS in Syria on Oct. 21. The talks will focus on the establishment of a buffer area between Syria and Turkey, as repeatedly requested by Ankara, a decision that Moscow thinks should be approved by the United Nations. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov announced the date of the meeting while lamenting that Washington has not yet replied to Moscow’s proposal to resume talks on the Syrian crisis, expressing the hope that the UN envoy might give new momentum to the negotiations.

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

Putin Orders Russian Army to Withdraw From Ukraine Border

(AGI) Moscow, Oct 12 — Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered Russian troops to withdraw from the border with Ukraine, the Kremlin announced. Some 17,600 soldiers have been on army exercise in the Rostov region since the summer. A spokesman from the hospital in Donetsk said Ukraine had bombed a residential district in the city, which is the capital of the eastern region, injuring three civilians. Witnesses reported that three people had died in the attack. Meanwhile, the defence minister of the self-proclaimed People’s Republic of Donetsk, Volodymyr Kononov, announced that pro-Russian separatists had taken full control of the airport.

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

Russia Claims it Has Three Ebola Vaccines Almost Ready

(AGI) Moscow, Oct 11 — Russia’s Health minister, Veronika Skvortsova, commenting on the Ebola virus epidemic, has said: “We have developed three vaccines and we think they will be ready over the next six months”.

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

Beheaded Teenager’s Body Found in India

(AGI) New Delhi, Oct. 7 — The beheaded body of a 15-year-old girl, Richina Sangma, was found in the Williamngar Forest in the East Garo Hills in the State of Meghalaya. The girl’s naked body was without arms and had been burnt. It is thought she was raped before being murdered. Police in the area arrested the girl’s father today, following numerous charges of sexual abuse of the girl reported by his wife.

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

Intellectuals, Academics and Civil Society in Defense of Democracy (Under Attack) In Indonesia

Hundreds of people launch a “public petition” to repeal of the norm cancelling the direct election of mayors and local councillors. Attempts to target president-elect Jokowi, just days before he takes office. Oligarchies, power brokers and the opposition, led by the defeated Subianto, promise battle inside and outside Parliament.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) — Hundreds of intellectuals, teachers and scholars in Indonesia, representing dozens of universities around the archipelago, have launched a “public petition” for the “final repeal” of the norm has erased the direct election of governors and mayors. The petition aims to overturn the norm that was pushed through by the outgoing parliament at the end of its mandate and restore the right of choice to citizens. The incoming Assembly is being called upon to archive the law which has been a source of heated controversy and ensure the principle of “popular sovereignty”.

The world of culture, civil society movements and ordinary citizens are demanding “direct election” of local authoriteis, as the best example of democracy and defense of the law. The norm was approved on September 26 by the faction close to Prabowo Subianto, the presidential candidate defeated by Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, in the last four days of the outgoing legislature. It is billed as immoral and a sign of an attempt to eradicate the “democratic spirit” of the country.

Intellectuals and activists accuse Subianto’s White-Red coalition of supporting a political oligarchy that casts a dark shadow on the democratic future of the nation. They also target the Democratic Party (DP) of outgoing President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono who, despite being opposed in principle to the cancellation of direct election, voted in favor in a last minute u-turn, allowing the bill to pass.

Meanwhile, the endless war — media and otherwise — being waged by some political and business sectors against the future president Jokowi continues. Despite having gained consensus among citizens and civil society, he is the target of extremist groups and the conservative faction of the country. In the last hours, the leading businessman Hasyim Djojohadikusumo, Subianto’s younger brother, has thrown down the gauntlet to the new Head of State, speaking of “personal issues” and promising to battle him from the first days in office.

He accuses Jokowi — whose rise to governor he helped finance — of having used his previous office as a springboard to reach the most coveted seat in the country. Abandoning the process of reform of the capital half way.

Obviously these charges hide anger at his older brothers’ defeat in the presidential elections but it also confirms the presence of a large group that remains hostile to the political face of the former governor of Jakarta. And this group, which also includes banking and financial lobbies, will do little to facilitate the task that awaits the reformist president-elect; the civilian population nourishes enormous expectations, which are perhaps beyond any real possibility, since supporters of the Head of State are in the minority in Parliament.

Following in this trend Subianto’s party has announced that they would also like to cancel — after mayors and governors — the direct election of the president, restoring the task to Parliament as it was under the Shuarto regime, who had full control of ‘Assembly.

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

Hong Kong: Tens of Thousands of People Take to Streets in “Long-Term Occupy”

Protests resume with renewed vigor, after authorities’ decision to cancel talks with the students. A leader invites residents to occupy “every inch of the streets”. People are “disillusioned” with the government. The Chinese premier reiterates the goal of “social stability” and the approach of “one country, two systems.”

Hong Kong (AsiaNews / Agencies) — Following the Hong Kong government decision to cancel talks with the student representatives, tens of thousands of people have returned to the streets for a long-term “Occupy Central” protest. Students, activists, intellectuals and ordinary citizens have come out in a show of “massive support” for the leaders of the protest, who have been at the forefront of democratic movement aimed at achieving true democracy and the resignation of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying. Meanwhile, the leader of the executive is set to leave the city for China to participate in the regional forum in Guangzhou.

Overnight, crowds returned to occupy streets and squares, while student groups — the Federation of Students and colleagues from Scholarism — are calling for “a long-term Occupy”. The protest has resumed with renewed vigor, after the authorities and the local government decided to cancel any possibility of dialogue with the leaders of the protest. A representative of the students asked residents to occupy “every inch of the streets.”

“We have tents here to show our determination that we’re prepared for a long term occupation,” said Benny Tai, one of the leaders of the movement. In recent days, the police presence has been discreet and the authorities seem unwilling to crack down on the protesters, fearing a violent drift in the protests.

The government and Occupy leaders blame each other over a lack of sincerity in dialogue, but the square and citizens show a growing impatience with the government authorities. People are “disillusioned,” warns a teacher.

Meanwhile, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, on an official visit to Germany, claims to have confidence in “social stability” in Hong Kong, once again reiterating the approach of “one country, two systems” adopted for the city. Stability and prosperity in the long run, he adds, are not only essential “to the interests of China,” but must be to the advantage “of the people of Hong Kong.”

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

Ebola Threatens Chocolate

Ebola is threatening much of the world’s chocolate supply.

Ivory Coast , the world’s largest producer of cacao, the raw ingredient in M&Ms, Butterfingers and Snickers Bars, has shut down its borders with Liberia and Guinea, putting a major crimp on the workforce needed to pick the beans that end up in chocolate bars and other treats just as the harvest season begins. The West African nation of about 20 million — also known as Côte D’Ivoire — has yet to experience a single case of Ebola, but the outbreak already could raise prices.

The world’s chocolate makers have taken notice.

The World Cocoa Foundation is working now to collect large donations from Nestlé, Mars and many of its 113 other members for its Coca Industry Response to Ebola Initiative.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

The Ominous Math of the Ebola Epidemic

When the experts describe the Ebola disaster, they do so with numbers. The statistics include not just the obvious ones, such as caseloads, deaths and the rate of infection, but also the ones that describe the speed of the global response.

Right now, the math still favors the virus.

The number of Ebola cases in West Africa has been doubling about every three weeks. There is little evidence so far that the epidemic is losing momentum.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Illegal Immigration Jumps for Third Straight Year Under Obama

Illegal immigration on the southwestern border spiked 14 percent over the past year, marking the third straight increase, though Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said it was almost all because of the surge of illegal immigrant children and families from Central America — a crisis he said is subsiding.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Nowhere to Hide: The Danger of Satellite Spies

There has been remarkably little public debate about this development, though it is a hot issue in legal circles. Images taken from far above are increasingly being presented as evidence in court, and the world’s first space detective agency has recently been established (see “World’s first space detective agency launched”).

Does this represent a step change in public surveillance? Absolutely. It is easy to envisage a future in which everything we do outdoors — and perhaps indoors, given thermal imaging — can be watched, recorded and potentially used as evidence. After all, in some drone-patrolled parts of the world, that is already the case.

Many people will be fine with that. Some countries — notably the UK, the world’s most watched society — have been relaxed about the remorseless growth of CCTV. The hoary old pro-surveillance mantra: “if you have nothing to hide, you’ve got nothing to worry about” will be trotted out again.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Why Environmentalists Want us to All Eat Bugs

Why aren’t you eating bugs? They’re tiny terrors to some, but to a large percentage of the world, including many countries in Africa and Asia, they’re nutritious delicacies and environmentally-friendly to raise.

This is according to a gathering of people who are passionate about entomophagy, or insect eating, who advertised their cause this week at the SXSW Eco meeting in Austin.

Insects are a common source of food throughout the world, including much of Latin America, Africa and Asia. One could say that those of us in the Western world, where bug binging isn’t common, are the odd ones out, said Robert Allen, founder of the nonprofit Little Herds, which encourages insect ingestion.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

5 thoughts on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 10/12/2014

  1. Re: “Ebola threatens Chocolate”. Spread the news among the women of the West, and the crisis will be solved in no time! (apologies to those whose sense of humour doesn’t extend to the bleak).

  2. Paul Krugman of the New York Slimes and all the sludge that’s fit to print your typical liberal demacraic zombie no signs of a brain or hope he’ll ever get one

Comments are closed.