Gates of Vienna News Feed 10/19/2014

Syrian Kurds say they are in direct discussion with the United States about sending arms to their militia groups to help them fight back against the Islamic State. Meanwhile, the United Nations estimates that there are now 1.6 million Syrian refugees in Turkey.

In other news, two women accused of witchcraft were hacked to death in Tanzania.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Fjordman, Insubria, JD, Vlad Tepes, and all the other tipsters who sent these in.

Notice to tipsters: Please don’t submit extensive excerpts from articles that have been posted behind a subscription firewall, or are otherwise under copyright protection.

Caveat: Articles in the news feed are posted “as is”. Gates of Vienna cannot vouch for the authenticity or accuracy of the contents of any individual item posted here. We check each entry to make sure it is relatively interesting, not patently offensive, and at least superficially plausible. The link to the original is included with each item’s title. Further research and verification are left to the reader.

Financial Crisis
» Italy: Banking Association Says Loans Falling at Slower Pace
» A Plague on Both Houses: Insane Ebola Policy Exposes American Suicide Culture
» Ebola: Lack of Common Sense, Money or Conspiracy?
» Ebola Pandemic Brings Out Mental Illness of Establishment Media
» FDA Actively Blocking Fast Ebola Detection Technology in America
» Mysterious X-37B Military Space Plane’s Landing in Photos
» Obama Makes Rare Campaign Trail Appearance, People Leave Early
» Seeing Ebola Through Obama’s Eyes
» State Department Hints That Kerry Could Use a New Plane
» There Might be More Isolated Ebola Cases, Says Obama
» When America Realizes it Needs the Army, It’ll Need it Really Bad
» X-37B Space Plane Returns: 5 Theories About Its Secret Mission
» Ebola: Canada Sends Who 800 Vials of Experimental Vaccine
Europe and the EU
» Audi Tests Driverless-Car Technology at 190 Mph
» Belgium: Antwerp: Man Stabbed as Vendetta Escalates
» Britain Threatens Internet ‘Trolls’ With Two Years in Jail
» France: Vandals Deflate ‘Sex Toy’ Sculpture in Paris
» France: US Artist Withdraws Paris ‘Butt Plug’ Installation
» Islamic State Jihadis Target British Police Officers Inside the UK
» Italy: Trial Request for 2 Nuns, Four Others in Child-Beating Case
» Italy Has 2.6% of World’s ‘Super-Rich’
» Italy: Grillo in Tiff With League Chief Over Euro Referendum
» Italy: Judge Quits After Berlusconi-Ruby Verdict Explanation
» Nuns’ Numbers Keep on Dwindling
» UK Gun Owners Now Subject to Warrantless Home Searches
» UK: 2007 Video on Muslim Rape Gangs Not Used Amid Fears of Appearing Racist
» Albania Prime Minister’s Visit to Serbia Postponed Following Soccer Brawl That Fueled Tensions
» Putin: Russia’s Investments in Serbia Could be Doubled
North Africa
» Egypt Police Dismantle Eight Terrorist Cells
Israel and the Palestinians
» Hamas Thug Haniyeh’s Daughter Treated in Israel
Middle East
» Australian Special Forces Bound for Iraq Stuck in UAE
» Fight Against ISIS: Syria Praises India
» Iran Says Ready to Provide Aid to Lebanese Military to Combat ‘Terrorists’
» Iraq: Suicide Bomber Kills 19 in Baghdad Mosque
» Iraqi Police Chief Killed in is Bomb Attack
» ISIS Panics Over Intelligence Leak, Cracks Down on ‘Informants’
» Russia, US Agree to Intensify Intelligence Sharing on Islamic State
» Saudi Arabia: Shortage of Domestic Helps Foments ‘Human Trafficking’
» Spain to Train Iraqi Troops in Fight Against ISIL
» Syrian Kurds Say US Discussing Arms Supplies in Direct Talks
» Turkey Balks at Arming Kurds Against ISIS
» Turkey’s Love Affair With Hamas
» Turkish Companies to Supply 80% of TANAP Pipes
» UK Blacklists Former Qatari Official Over Funding Terrorist Groups
» UN Estimates 1.6 Million Syrian Refugees in Turkey
South Asia
» In Expansive Pakistan, Christians Struggle to Find Space for Cemeteries
» India-Pakistan: Bishop of Pune: The Asia Bibi Death Sentence is an Affront to the Dignity of US All
Far East
» Beijing Marathon Runners Don Masks to Cope With Smog
» China’s Bigwigs Survive Corruption Probe of 74,000 Communist Party Members
» China Says it’s Hard to Resume Cyber Security Talks With U.S.
» Hong Kong: Police Assault Occupy Central in Mong Kok. Students Rebuild Barricades
» Hong Kong Police Arrest 26 After Violent Clashes
» Marijuana’s History: How One Plant Spread Through the World
» Runners Choke to Finish Contaminated Beijing Marathon
Australia — Pacific
» Amazing Graphics Show How Much Fruits Have Changed Since Humans Started Growing Them
» Oldest Genitals Found. Went Out of Fashion for Eons
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Liberia Collapses Into ‘Economic Hell’ As Panicked Population Abandons Farm Fields and Factories
» Two Women Accused of Witchcraft Hacked to Death in Tanzania
» Italy: Mare Nostrum Project Fuels Racism, Northern League MP Says
» ‘More Barriers in Europe, More Torture in Libya’
» UK Migrant Policy Puts Britons at Risk: Think Tank
Culture Wars
» Catholic Bishops Scrap Landmark Welcome to Gays in Sign of Split
» Do We Protect Our Children or Sexual Deviates? Part 4
» Do We Protect Our Children or Sexual Deviates? Part 3
» Do We Protect Our Children or Sexual Deviates? Part 1
» Do We Protect Our Children or Sexual Deviates? Part 2
» Egg Freezing: Controversial New Benefit in the US Workplace
» Italy: Gay Rights Modeled on German Law Will be Next, Says Renzi
» Italy: Rome Prefect Urges Mayor to Annul Gay Marriages
» Ninth Circuit Pro-Gay Judges Get Gay Cases Way More Than Random Chance
» Pope’s Proposal on Homosexuals Rejected
» ‘The Bell Curve’ 20 Years Later: A Q&A With Charles Murray
» Comet Buzzes Mars in Once-in-a-Lifetime Flyby
» This Weekend, Astronomers Get Their Best Ever Look at an Oort Cloud Object

Italy: Banking Association Says Loans Falling at Slower Pace

Italian businesses, consumers may resume borrowing by year-end

(ANSA) — Rome, October 14 — Loans to Italian business and families continued to fall in September but at a slower pace than the month earlier, the Italian banking association (ABI) said in a report Tuesday.

Bank loans fell by 2.3% last month, slower than the 2.5% fall in August and better than the low point of -4.5% hit in November 2013, the ABI said in its monthly report.

It also said it hopes that by year-end, the situation will improve enough that bank lending to the private sector may begin to grow again.

In part, that is because the European Central Bank (ECB) last month began its targeted long-term lending (TLTRO) program to private-sector banks, giving them extremely cheap loans on the condition that they then offer inexpensive loans to their customers.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

A Plague on Both Houses: Insane Ebola Policy Exposes American Suicide Culture

Has America passed the point of no return, where dying cultures arrive when their internal logic and external conversations descends into illiteracy, and then madness? Perhaps. For example, how is it possible that persons fresh from the site of outbreak of one of the world’s worst viruses, simply walk off airplanes into American cities? Or, consider the dangerous, utterly indefensible policy of allowing the border to stay open, and illegal entries to cross, allowed to stay, even when criminal convictions for violent crimes are proved…

While America is struggling to adapt to Ebola, there is a much larger problem. We are now confronted with the pestilence of bad, incompetent, and even evil leadership. It is obvious to any thinking person that if the supposedly Christian US president openly favors defending the economies of small nations over the health of his own people, he is utterly apostate. He has turned his back upon not only the Constitution, but also our traditional Christian faith, and become a slave to stupidity, strange religions, and undoubtedly even darker forces.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Ebola: Lack of Common Sense, Money or Conspiracy?

The Ebola crisis is heating up day by day, while more Americans are affected by the disease and the Tekmira Pharmaceutical company has found itself in the right place at the right time to get approval on a vaccine for the disease, as reported in the Wall Street Journal today!

Is it the never-ending speculation by media on every small aspect of this disease? Is it the day-by-day list of possible Ebola victims lining up here in the United States? Is our government and the CDC suffering from a lack of common sense in handling the potential outbreak? Has sequestration taken the money needed to fight the disease or have the people of West Africa hit the nail on the head pointing to a government conspiracy?…

What if Ebola is actually just a conspiracy by our government to control the population, make billions of dollars on a vaccine, and gain access to the natural resources in West Africa? There are those who believe this is all very purposeful.

The first rumor that started the conspiracy theory was an Ebola patent that was granted to the United States government in 2010. The CDC is actually one of six owners of the patent on the Ebola virus. Patent No. CA2741523A1. Why would the CDC file for a patent on Ebola?

Also, in 2009, a story broke regarding the storage of over 500,000 containment coffins in Madison, Georgia. The lease on the storage location was being held by the CDC. Where they planning on some kind of epidemic requiring these burial coffins to control the spread of the disease? Why have so many containment coffins on the ready over 6 years ago?

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Ebola Pandemic Brings Out Mental Illness of Establishment Media

(NaturalNews) The only thing spreading faster than the global pandemic outbreak right now is the mental illness it seems to invoke across the establishment media. The principle of isolation, a fundamental tool for halting any outbreak, is now being widely and repeatedly described in the leftist media as “racist.” (See video below.)

What we are being told by the media now is essentially that people with dark skin like Thomas Duncan should never be kept in medical isolation because that would be racist. Similarly, flights from countries with dark-skinned people can never be restricted because that, too, would be “racist.”

These are not reasonable arguments; they are the rantings of insane people who happen to occupy influential positions in the media. Most of these people have absolutely no knowledge of laboratory protocols, microbiology, virology or epidemiology, yet they have reached the truly bizarre conclusion that “isolation doesn’t work” when it comes to halting pandemics.

In reality, isolation is the only thing that works. This is precisely why Nigeria and Senegal have been able to prevent the spread of Ebola through their nations: they severely restricted the flow of people across their borders. In Nigeria, anyone suggesting that controlling the borders was a form of racism would be justifiably considered mentally ill (and might even be considered a danger to the public).

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

FDA Actively Blocking Fast Ebola Detection Technology in America

(NaturalNews) Common sense would lead you to believe that the U.S. government would be doing everything in its power, now that Ebola has reached American shores, to combat the deadly virus. But if you assumed that, you would be mistaken.

Most people don’t know that there is an Ebola screening machine; it is currently available to the U.S military, and the military is using it now. So why aren’t U.S. hospitals using it? Because government guidelines prevent hospitals from doing so.

According to military news site Defense One:

It’s a toaster-sized box called FilmArray, produced by a company called BioFire, a subsidiary of bioMerieux and it’s capable of detecting Ebola with a high degree of confidence — in under an hour.

Incredibly, it was present at Dallas Presbyterian Hospital when Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan walked through the door, complaining of fever and he had just come from Liberia. Duncan was sent home, but even still, FDA guidelines prohibited the hospital from using the machine to screen for Ebola.

Government bureaucracy preventing its use

The machine sells for about $39,000 a piece and is capable of screening for the genetic markers of a number of respiratory, gastrointestinal and other pathogens, and that includes the Ebola virus. However, it has to have the correct “kit” in place.

And right now, current guidelines from the Food and Drug Administration prohibit hospitals — including the Dallas hospital where Duncan was treated and where two of his nurses became infected — from getting that kit. “That’s despite the fact that it can provide results with higher than 90 percent certainty and it’s one of the machines that the military is currently using to screen for Ebola in Africa,” Defense One reported.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Mysterious X-37B Military Space Plane’s Landing in Photos

After a record-shattering 22 months in space, the U.S. Air Force’s mysterious X-37B space plane returned to Earth on Friday (Oct .17) in a smooth landing at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The 674-day mission launched in December 2012, but the purpose of the top secret spaceflight has been classified. The X-37B space plane landing was completely automatic and captured in images and video.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Obama Makes Rare Campaign Trail Appearance, People Leave Early

(Reuters) — President Barack Obama made a rare appearance on the campaign trail on Sunday with a rally to support the Democratic candidate for governor in Maryland, but early departures of crowd members while he spoke underscored his continuing unpopularity.

With approval levels hovering around record lows, Obama has spent most of his campaign-related efforts this year raising money for struggling Democrats, who risk losing control of the U.S. Senate in the Nov. 4 midterm election.

Most candidates from his party have been wary of appearing with him during their election races because of his sagging popularity.

Not so Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown of Maryland, who is running for governor, and Governor Pat Quinn of Illinois, who is running for re-election. Obama plans to appear at an event for Quinn later in the evening.

“You’ve got to vote,” Obama repeated over and over at a rally for Brown in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, near Washington.

Democrats have a history of not turning up to vote in midterm elections.

“There are no excuses. The future is up to us,” Obama said.

A steady stream of people walked out of the auditorium while he spoke, however, and a heckler interrupted his remarks…

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes [Return to headlines]

Seeing Ebola Through Obama’s Eyes

The nephew of the black African who brought Ebola to the United States doesn’t blame his uncle. He blames us. He writes in The Dallas Morning News that his uncle did everything right in Liberia, but still got Ebola, and wasn’t treated correctly in the U.S. The claim is that he had a right to be on U.S. soil and that it’s our fault he’s dead.

I suspect this is how President Barack Obama views Ebola. How else do you explain his opposition to a common-sense ban on travel to the U.S. by people from Ebola-infected countries? Tragically, Obama’s alternative is for the U.S. to become infected. Then, he must figure, there will be more pressure to find a “cure,” or at least a vaccine. But who knows how many will die in the process? It could be hundreds, or thousands, or more.

Ordinary Americans are scratching their heads, and some are getting angry, over the “flawed” approach to Ebola by the U.S. government. These people don’t understand that Obama views restrictions on African travel to the U.S. as racist. He won’t say this publicly, but as someone who has been documenting Obama’s Marxist background and approach to public policy for six years, there is no other logical explanation. He sees the people of much of the world, including Africa and the Middle East, as victims of American foreign policy. We are responsible for their problems.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

State Department Hints That Kerry Could Use a New Plane

As secretary of state, John Kerry is one of the most powerful men in the world. But if his plane can’t get off the ground, he is pretty much powerless to do anything about it.

So when the Boeing 757 that flew Kerry to Cairo, Paris and Vienna this week for high-level talks broke down for the fourth time this year, Kerry ended up doing what mere mortals do — he flew home Thursday morning on a commercial flight. Several of his aides accompanied him, and more scurried to book commercial flights home later Thursday and early Friday.

Kerry has hinted that he would like a new plane to replace the aging U.S. Air Force jet that has taken him more than 500,000 miles to 55 countries since he became secretary of state in February last year.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

There Might be More Isolated Ebola Cases, Says Obama

(AGI) Washington, Oct 18 — U.S. President Barack Obama gave Americans a reassuring message on the Ebola virus following the alarm raised by the first two cases recorded in the United States. Mr Obama warned that the fight against the virus will be long and the U.S. could see more isolated cases of Ebola, but called on Americans not to fall prey to panic and assured that the country is prepared to avoid an epidemic. The U.S. President once again rejected the idea of suspending flights from West Africa: “Trying to seal off an entire region of the world — if that were even possible — could actually make the situation worse”, Mr. Obama said.

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

When America Realizes it Needs the Army, It’ll Need it Really Bad

A small Army is smart until it’s not

By Daniel Goure

Twice in just the past 15 years, the U.S. government has made the decision to shrink the size of the Army. Under the Bush administration, the argument was that the real threat was from rising near-peer powers and regional adversaries empowered by advanced weapons technologies. Combatting these threats required investment in transformational capabilities that would allow the military to exert control over the air, seas and space. According to this paradigm, there was less need for land forces.

The Obama administration came to office committed to ending the long and costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But it went much farther, predicting in its defense strategy that in the future the nation would not need to conduct a large-scale, protracted stability operation.

Based on these visions of the future, both administrations felt safe deciding to cut the size of the Army.

In both instances, reality trumped theory. Within a year of President Bush taking office, the nation was under attack by an enemy it had failed to correctly anticipate and found itself fighting in a place almost no American could spell correctly. Having successfully ended the U.S. involvement in the Iraqi conflict, less than three years later the Obama Administration has deployed thousands of “advisors” back in that country, and U.S. Apache helicopters are conducting strikes just outside Baghdad attempting to stem the insurgents’ advance.

There is nothing new in this phenomenon. After every major conflict over the past 70 years, the nation’s leaders have decided that they see no future for conflicts and challenges involving a major land component. Over and over again, they have been proven wrong. As a consequence, time after time the Department of Defense has been required to undergo the costly and lengthy consuming process of rebuilding the land forces that were allowed to deteriorate. Too often, the Army has been required to throw inadequately trained and prepared ground forces in insufficient numbers into these foreign conflicts in order to stave off defeat and buy the time necessary to build and deploy a capable Joint Force.

The Army is proposing that we not make the same mistake again. In its newly-released U.S. Army Operating Concept (AOC), Win in a Complex World, the Army makes a strong case for maintaining a robust force, one capable of engaging in the full spectrum of potential operations, serving as the foundation for the Joint Force, deploying regionally in peacetime in order to shape overseas environments and deter conflicts and, finally, prepared and sized to fight and win wars on the ground. Those hostile to a strong U.S. military or fearful of oversees entanglements fail to appreciate that a relatively large, active and engaged Army can reduce the likelihood of conflicts. The AOC argues that the purpose of military power is to achieve favorable political outcomes, not merely to fight wars. An Army strong both quantitatively and qualitatively contributes to this purpose by shaping security environments, reassuring partners, and deterring aggression.

The AOC also stresses the point that the pace of international events, what it calls the “velocity of human interactions,” is increasing. This makes anticipating and responding to challenges and threats more difficult.

Just last February ISIS was the JV team. Nine months later it threatens the peace of the region and has to be destroyed.

Six months ago, Ebola was a rare disease in far off West Africa. Now the U.S. is deploying four thousand soldiers and a division headquarters to that part of the world to combat an epidemic that has reached our shores.

Russia’s seizure of Crimea and war against Ukraine makes it necessary for the Army to consider sending forces back to Europe.

These events underscore the reality that it is impossible to say with any certainty at this moment where and for what purposes U.S. land power will be deployed in the future.

The likelihood of strategic surprise argues against cutting the Active Component too much and relying too heavily on the National Guard and Reserve. The Reserve Component performed heroically in Iraq and Afghanistan. But there is only so much that can be done in peacetime to prepare reservists for high intensity missions. There is a limit to how quickly National Guard brigades can be mobilized, equipped, given appropriate training and deployed for combat. The Active Component cannot be allowed to shrink to the size of a forlorn hope, attempting to stem the tide of an enemy’s advance until the Reserves show up.

Unfortunately, if history teaches us anything, it is the difficulty of predicting all threats and challenges, deterring all would-be aggressors or anticipating the start of all wars. Consequently, the U.S. military can expect to find itself entering hostilities under less than optimal conditions, often after an aggressor has initiated hostilities at a time and place of his choosing. Thus, it is a virtual certainty that when the nation finds that it really needs its Army and in numbers, it will need it bad.

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

X-37B Space Plane Returns: 5 Theories About Its Secret Mission

After spending nearly two years in orbit on a secret mission, the U.S. Air Force’s mysterious X-37B space plane landed today (Oct. 17) at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The unmanned, reusable vehicle logged an unprecedented 675 days in space, but very little is known about the record-setting flight.

Here are some ideas about the X-37B’s purpose:

  • Surveillance
  • Space bombing
  • Interfering with other satellites
  • Spying on the Chinese space station
  • Deploying spy satellites

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Ebola: Canada Sends Who 800 Vials of Experimental Vaccine

(AGI) Ottawa, Oct 18 — Canada’s government has sent the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva 800 vials of an experimental vaccine to counter the spread of Ebola in West Africa, where it has already caused over 4,500 deaths. The WHO itself will therefore be in charge of managing and regulating the distribution of the experimental vaccine, Ottawa’s state health agency said on Saturday. British pharmaceutical giant Glaxosmithkline (GSK) had announced on Friday that an effective vaccine could not be developed and tested before the end of 2016.

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

Audi Tests Driverless-Car Technology at 190 Mph

Two Audi (NSU) RS7 performance sedans raced around a track in northern Germany. The car without a driver won this matchup by five seconds.

Automakers from Mercedes-Benz to Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA) are developing systems to ease the strain of driving by letting cars park themselves and even take over the wheel in stop-and-go traffic. By showing that computers are able to push cars to their limits on race tracks, Audi is aiming to convince regulators that the technology can be safe in the real world.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Belgium: Antwerp: Man Stabbed as Vendetta Escalates

Sat 18/10/2014 — 12:53 Colin Clapson One man was left fighting for his life after he was stabbed in the back during a brawl involving dozens of people in Antwerp last night.

It was around 10:30pm that two groups clashed outside a night shop in the Berchem district of the port city. It was an affair of the heart that triggered the altercation. At one point one of the groups attacked a car belonging to a member of the other group. Police, who speak of a vendetta, attended the scene separating the belligerents.

An hour later the two groups were again speaking to each other by phone and threats were issued. The two groups met up at a different location. In all over a hundred people were now taking part in the fracas.

The brawlers then set upon the police.

A 29-year-old man was stabbed during the incident. The young man’s lung was perforated, but emergency workers at first failed to get to him as this was being prevented by the hotheads. Police were obliged to deploy dogs. Several officers were hurt.

The main belligerents were identified and taken away for questioning. The victim is recovering in hospital.

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

Britain Threatens Internet ‘Trolls’ With Two Years in Jail

People found guilty of Internet “trolling” in Britain could be jailed for up to two years under government proposals outlined on Sunday, following a number of high-profile case of abuse on Twitter.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

France: Vandals Deflate ‘Sex Toy’ Sculpture in Paris

(AGI) Paris, Oct 18 — Vandals deflated a blow-up art installation in a Paris square on Saturday amid outrage over its resemblance to a giant sex toy. The 24 metre high inflatable green exhibit was called “Tree” by its 69-year-old American artist, Paul McCarthy, who told a newspaper that it was inspired by a sex toy and was meant as a joke. However, many Parisians failed to appreciate the humour and called for the removal of the artwork after it was erected in Place Vendome on Thursday.

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

France: US Artist Withdraws Paris ‘Butt Plug’ Installation

American artist Paul McCarthy has decided to withdraw a giant inflatable installation from Paris’s Place Vendôme after vandals attacked the piece, outraged at its resemblance to an anal plug.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Islamic State Jihadis Target British Police Officers Inside the UK

British Islamist terrorists plotted to kill police officers or soldiers, possibly in a drive-by shooting on London streets, it was alleged. Four British men were said to have sworn allegiance to the terrorist group Islamic State — also known as Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isil).

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Italy: Trial Request for 2 Nuns, Four Others in Child-Beating Case

Trial ordered following religious institute investigation

(ANSA) — Trapani, October 15 — The Trapani prosecutor’s office on Wednesday requested six suspects to go on trial, including two nuns, following an investigation into child abuse at a residential children’s home.

Sister Teresa Mandirà and Sister Yvonne Jacqueline Noah are among the six ordered to stand trial for suspected abuse at the Pio X Institute in Valderice in the province of Trapani.

Mandirà was put under house arrest in March 2013 while the others under investigation were prohibited from being around children.

The prosecutor’s office said the suspects “performed continuous beatings, both with bare hands and with objects, on the children hosted by the institute”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy Has 2.6% of World’s ‘Super-Rich’

In sixth place

(ANSA) — Milan, October 14 — Italy has 3,300 or 2.6% of the world’s 128,000 super-rich — those with net worth of more than $50 million — according to the latest Global Wealth Report from Credit Suisse.

That puts it in sixth place.

Of the global megawealthy, 45,000 have at least $100 million and 4,300 some $500 million, the report said.

The numbers have tripled since 2000. The rankings is led by the United States with 63,000 super-rich, 49% of the total, followed by Europe with 24%) and the Asia Pacific area, including China and India, with 20%.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Grillo in Tiff With League Chief Over Euro Referendum

M5S knocks back Salvini’s proposal for talks

(ANSA) — Rome, October 15 — Beppe Grillo, the leader of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S), clashed with Northern League chief Matteo Salvini on Wednesday over his drive for a referendum on whether Italy should keep the euro.

The separatist, Euroskeptic, anti-migrant League thinks Italy should drop the euro and Salvini proposed a meeting with Grillo to discuss cooperation on this issue.

But comedian-turned-politician Grillo abruptly knocked back the idea on Wednesday.

“Dear Salvini, there’s no need for any official meetings,” Grillo posted on his popular blog, which spawned the Internet-based M5S in 2009. “The League can support the ideas that it believes are right, if it wants, without asking anything in return.

“If the League proposes things in line with the M5S programme, it will receive our support, as has always been the case with any political party”. Grillo also called the League “Euro-wets,” saying the party “throws the euro-exit stone and then hides its hand”. Salvini quickly snapped back.

“Grillo rejected the League’s proposal for talks… worse luck for him,” he said via his Facebook page.

“We are ready to do our battles against the euro, the invasion of illegal immigrants and the tax-grabbing State on our own”.

Salvini was backed by his predecessor as League leader, Lombardy Governor Roberto Maroni.

“Grillo is scared of debate with the League,” Maroni said.

“We started the battle against the euro. Grillo is copying us and he fears that it will be clear who has got what it takes when we are seen close together”. Grillo said he hoped the euro referendum would take place in December 2015 following a law change needed to make it possible.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Judge Quits After Berlusconi-Ruby Verdict Explanation

Tranfa refuses to confirm he disagreed with acquittal

(ANSA) — Milan, October 17 — Milan appeals court judge Enrico Tranfa confirmed Friday that he quit the judiciary after signing the court’s explanation for its decision to acquit ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi of charges on involvement in child prostitution and abuse of office. Tranfa refused to comment on media reports that he resigned on Thursday in dissent as he was opposed to the other two judges on the panel’s decision to clear Berlusconi, but was outvoted.

“I handed in my resignation, full stop. Everyone can think what they want,” Tranfa told ANSA. “It was a well thought-out decision. No one is indispensable, everyone can be useful”. The court said “paid acts of a sexual nature” took place between Berlusconi and Ruby, whose real name is Karima El Marough.

But the explanation said it acquitted the the 78-year-old billionaire of the underage prostitution charge because there was no proof Berlusconi knew Ruby was 17 at the time — one year under the legal limit for sex workers. It also said Berlusconi “did not threaten” police to get them to release Ruby, after she was detained following a theft accusation, by claiming she was the niece of former Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak. This was why he was cleared of the abuse-of-office charge, for which he was sentenced in the first-instance trial to six years.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Nuns’ Numbers Keep on Dwindling

Europe loses 9,000 sisters in a year

(ANSA) — Rome, October 17 — The number of Catholic nuns in the world continues to dwindle, the Fides missionary news agency said Friday, citing the December 2012 edition of the Church’s statistical annual.

In 2012, it said, nuns were down by 10,677 to 702,529 worldwide with Europe again accounting for the lion’s share of the drop, 9,051.

The Americas saw a fall of 4,288 and Oceania lost 232 sisters.

The only places numbers rose were, yet again, Africa (+727) and Asia (+2,167).

The Church had 362,488 lay missionaries around the world at the end of 2012, down 19,234 on December 31, 2011, Fides said.

Rises were seen in Asia (+324) and Europe (+71), and falls in Africa (-578), the Americas (-18,794) and Oceania (-257).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

UK Gun Owners Now Subject to Warrantless Home Searches

Registered gun owners in the United Kingdom are now subject to unannounced visits to their homes under new guidance that allows police to inspect firearms storage without a warrant.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UK: 2007 Video on Muslim Rape Gangs Not Used Amid Fears of Appearing Racist

An educational video warning schoolgirls about Asian grooming gangs was commissioned for schools in 2007 but was never promoted in the UK amid fears of appearing racist.

The 20-minute film, My Dangerous Loverboy, features an Asian man in his 20s grooming a younger white girl — lavishing her with gifts and getting her drunk before forcing her to have sex for money.

It was commissioned by child protection chiefs based in Yorkshire following reports of vulnerable girls being passed around groups of men for sex, according to a TV producer who worked on the project.

Despite winning plaudits at international media festivals, the video was hardly used as it was thought not to be politically correct, the Sunday Mirror reports.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Albania Prime Minister’s Visit to Serbia Postponed Following Soccer Brawl That Fueled Tensions

A planned visit this week by Albania’s prime minister to Serbia, the first in nearly 70 years, has been postponed for next month, after political tensions soared between the two Balkan rivals following a soccer brawl.

A statement issued by Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic’s office says he and Albanian counterpart Edi Rama spoke on the phone Sunday and agreed to meet on Nov. 10 instead of Wednesday.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Putin: Russia’s Investments in Serbia Could be Doubled

BELGRADE — Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that Russia’s investments in the Serbian economy could be doubled, and reach USD 6-10 billion in three years.

Replying to questions at a joint press conference with Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, Putin said that, among other things, they considered prospects for cooperation in the agrarian sector.

In relation to that, he noted that European agricultural producers are sustaining losses worth billions of euros due to Russia’s response to the sanctions.

We would not like to continue that practice. But, for now, it is in place, Putin told reporters.

Besides the possibility of further developing cooperation in the agrarian sector and other investments to the benefit of both countries, in the energy, machine building, infrastructure sectors, he pointed to the fact that Russia granted an USD 800 million loan to Serbia for construction and upgrade of the railway system.

All in all, Russia’s investments in Serbia so far total USD 3 billion, and in three years, including the private sector, they could be doubled, and reach USD 6 billion, or even USD 10 billion, Putin said.

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

Egypt Police Dismantle Eight Terrorist Cells

(AGI) Cairo, Oct 18 — Egyptian security forces have dismantled eight terrorist cells led by 52 members of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s Ministry of the Interior announced on Saturday. The cells were reportedly planning attacks on the electricity grid, railways, public transport, and densely populated areas. Police arrested four people affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood in the province of Giza while they were preparing an attack on the railway, sabotaging the electrical wires and transformers.

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

Hamas Thug Haniyeh’s Daughter Treated in Israel

The daughter of the leader of Gaza’s Hamas terror militia, Ismail Haniyeh, received emergency medical treatment in an Israeli hospital in Tel Aviv earlier this month, according to Reuters news agency.

Ichilov Hospital confirmed the report and said that the daughter had been released over a week ago.

“Ismail Haniyeh’s daughter was indeed hospitalized for medical treatment for several days at the hospital,” Ichilov said. “Over 1,000 patients from Gaza and the Palestinian Authority territories — both adults and children — are hospitalized for treatment at our hospital every year.”

The daughter is one of Haniyeh’s 13 children. She reportedly received treatment for a week, after complications that occurred during a routine operation she underwent.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Australian Special Forces Bound for Iraq Stuck in UAE

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Some 200 Australian special forces bound for Iraq have been stuck in the United Arab Emirates since mid-September because Baghdad has failed to offer legal protection, Tony Abbott, Australian prime minister said on Wednesday.

The forces are intended to conduct “advise and assist” missions with the Iraqi army against ISIS but there is no agreement with the government led by Haider Al Abadi, prime minister, over their legal status.

“I made it very clear to the prime minister in New York a couple of weeks ago that we were very keen to help,” Abbott told reporters.

Iraq was sending mixed signals on whether it wanted the special forces in the country, said Australia’s web site which broke the story.

Australian fighter jets began hitting targets in Iraq earlier this month as part of the US-led coalition.

Abbott said that he was confident a deal would be reached but it remained unclear why negotiations had dragged on so long and why Canberra was insisting on legal protections that other coalition partners seemed willing to forego, Reuters reported.

The US, Britain and Germany currently have military specialists operating in some capacity in Iraq without the type of formal Status of Forces Agreement that Australia appeared to be demanding for its troops.

“I made it crystal clear that our special forces are ready to go and there is an enormous amount of good that they can do inside Iraq,” Abbott said. “But we owe it to our special forces only to deploy them with the right legal protections.”

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

Fight Against ISIS: Syria Praises India

Syria on Thursday appreciated India’s position on the fight against Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants in West Asia, saying that no small group of Indian youth has any involvement with the terror outfit.

Syrian Ambassador to the South Asian country Riad Kamel Abbas said that the Indian ‘Muslim society’ is the best in the world. According to him, Syria considers India as a ‘friendly’ nation that can play an important role in ensuring peace and stability in many conflict zones across the globe. Abbas told the local media in New Delhi that Damascus has no information and confirmation about small group of radicalised Indian youths helping ISIS in its terror activities in Syria and Iraq. “We highly appreciate the Islamic society here in India. This is the best Islamic society in the world,” stressed the envoy.

Admitting that the ISIS has started posing a serious threat to President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, Abbas said that Damascus expects New Delhi to take a tough stance against the ISIS at international stage. He made it clear that Syria will always back India’s bid to become a member of the UN Security Council, saying that New Delhi has been addressing terror activities in the Gulf region for the past several years. “We appreciate India’s position on Syria. We appreciate India’s position on containing terror. India can play an important role in ensuring peace in many areas,” added Abbas.

Meanwhile, the ambassador blasted the US for taking no serious steps to contain ISIS and accused the Barack Obama administration of encouraging the outfit in the past. He also blamed spy agencies of a number of European countries for trying to destabilise the Assad regime. According to him, India has made a right decision to not join ‘any coalition’ in the ongoing fight against the ISIS group. The envoy believes that India, Russia and China will foil the US, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Israel’s bid to topple the Assad government, saying that any such attempt will certainly lead to ‘bigger’ problem.

“Alliance of Syria, like Russia, China and Iran, will not allow the Syrian government to fall. It will not be allowed,” said Abbas.

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

Iran Says Ready to Provide Aid to Lebanese Military to Combat ‘Terrorists’

Iran says it is ready to provide aid to the Lebanese army as well as the Shiite Hezbollah group to help combat “terrorists.”

Ali Shamkhani, Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, was quoted by state TV as saying that “supporting the Lebanese nation, army and resistance will still remain on Iran’s agenda.” Hezbollah’s allies refer to it as the “resistance” because of its stated mission of driving Israel out of occupied territory.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Iraq: Suicide Bomber Kills 19 in Baghdad Mosque

(AGI) Baghdad, Oct 19 — At least 19 people were killed and 28 injured according to a provisional tally for a suicide bombing at a Shia mosque in central Baghdad on Sunday. The suicide bomber attacked during a religious ceremony at the mosque in the Harthiya district. Baghdad has been targeted by numerous terrorist attacks in recent weeks, many from terrorists affiliated with the Islamic State. A car bomb that exploded in the Kadhimiyah neighbourhood on October 14 killed 21 people.

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

Iraqi Police Chief Killed in is Bomb Attack

(AGI) Baghdad, Oct 19 — Islamic State (IS) militants killed the chief of police of Salahuddin province in Iraq on Sunday.

According to Aalatjah Television, Hamad Nams died when a car bomb went off near the vehicle in which he was travelling to Tikrit together with other officers. At least 20 people were injured in the blast. On Saturday, 12 people died in bomb attacks in southwest Baghdad.

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

ISIS Panics Over Intelligence Leak, Cracks Down on ‘Informants’

Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists have showed incredible bravado, boasting to the Western world that they would “overcome” an international coalition and military campaign hours after airstrikes pummeled their Syrian stronghold.

But even ISIS became unnerved over the weekend, after multiple security breaches were shown to have revealed sensitive intelligence on the group to the international community.

Concerns over cyber-security are so high that ISIS released an Arabic-language publication to combat information theft.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Russia, US Agree to Intensify Intelligence Sharing on Islamic State

Russia and the United States have agreed to step up intelligence sharing about Islamic State group despite stark differences over the Ukraine crisis.

After more than three hours of talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Paris on Tuesday the US Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters that Washington and Moscow both recognize that Islamic State “has absolutely no place in the 21st century.”

“No decent country by any definition can support the horrors that are perpetrated” by Islamic State militants, Kerry said. “And no civilized country should shirk its responsibility to stand up and be part of the effort to stamp out this disease.”

Kerry added he suggested to Lavrov that the two sides “intensify intelligence cooperation” with respect to Islamic State fighters who have taken over large parts of Iraq and Syria and other counter-terrorism challenges of the region “and we agreed to do so.”

He also said Russia has agreed to ‘explore’ whether to increase its role in providing arms and military equipment to the Iraqi forces battling Islamic State, as well as training and advising them.

Speaking at a separate news conference, Lavrov confirmed the two sides have agreed to share intelligence information on Islamic State and also he and Kerry “don’t represent warring sides.”

Kerry’s announcement signalled a decrease in tensions between the US and Russia over the Ukraine crisis that heightened earlier this year following the annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula by Russia in March.

Lavrov agreed that while Russia and the US still had “differences of opinion,” they both had a particular role to play in resolving global problems.

Referring to the Minsk agreements for ending the crisis, which the government in Kiev and pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine had reached with the help of the Contact Group on Ukraine, Lavrov stressed that its settlement “is possible only via direct negotiations and agreements between the conflicting parties.”

“It’s important not to dilute the existing process, not to get distracted by some artificial formats, but to seek full implementation of the agreements” between Kiev and the rebels, Lavrov said.

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

Saudi Arabia: Shortage of Domestic Helps Foments ‘Human Trafficking’

MADINAH — The dire shortage in domestic workers in the Kingdom has evolved into a crisis with many Saudis offering to “sell” their maids and drivers for up to SR50,000 via newspapers and websites.

In spite of the illegal nature of the trade, many Saudis are cashing in on the lucrative business of selling their maids and drivers to the highest bidder.

Um Muhammad works at Taibah University. She told Makkah newspaper that she paid SR30,000 for a housemaid who she got hold of after telephoning a number she found on the Internet.

The maid was already in the Kingdom and under the sponsorship of a Saudi family, she said, adding that on transferring the cash the maid came under her sponsorship. The maid, however, ran away three months later.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Spain to Train Iraqi Troops in Fight Against ISIL

Spain is set to start training Iraqi forces later this year to fight the ISIL Takfiri militants, who are wreaking havoc on Iraq and neighboring Syria.

Spanish authorities said on Saturday that the country’s Defense Minister Pedro Morenes made the announcement on Friday in Washington where he met US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

“We could be starting up by the end of this year because the whole operation is evolving fast, all the time, every day; we have to adjust our abilities and what we are offering, in response to that evolution,” Morenes said.

He said on October 10 that his country plans to dispatch 300 soldiers for a seven-to-eight week operation to train Iraqi forces in explosives handling, land mine clearance and special operations.

The development comes as Spain has not been militarily involved in Iraq since it withdrew its forces from the country in 2004.

Since September 22, the US and its allies, including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Jordan, have been conducting airstrikes against the ISIL inside Syria without any authorization from Damascus or a UN mandate. The airstrikes are an extension of the US-led aerial campaign against ISIL positions in Iraq.

France, the Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium and Britain are also contributing to the US campaign.

Many countries in the so-called anti-terror coalition such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar have reportedly been staunch supporters of the ISIL Takfiri militants.

The ISIL has seized large swathes of land in Iraq and Syria, terrorizing all communities, including Shias, Sunnis, Kurds and Christians, in the areas it is controlling.

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

Syrian Kurds Say US Discussing Arms Supplies in Direct Talks

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — US officials have been holding direct talks with leaders of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) about arming its fighters in the war against the Islamic State (ISIS).

PYD spokesman Nawaf Xelil told the Arabic Asharq Al-Awsat daily that arms supplies for the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the group’s military wing, were discussed at a meeting in Paris a week ago. He said that talks between the two sides continued in Duhok on Thursday.

“the subject of arming Syrian Kurds was discussed” the newspaper quoted Xelil as saying.

He added that at the Duhok meeting, a US delegation and PYD leaders had discussed Western and Arab support for the YPG.

“They spoke about sending military support to the Kurds in Kobane,” Xelil told Asharq Al-Awsat. He said the PYD and the US had started their talks two years ago but that Washington had kept the issue under the radar “in order not to upset Turkey.”

US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki confirmed Thursday that US officials had met with the PYD, but did not say where or what was discussed.

Meanwhile, Muslim arrived in the Kurdistan Region last week, where he discussed with President Massoud Barzani the situation in Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava) and the ongoing war in Kobane between YPG fighters and ISIS militants.

Ibrahim Biro, secretary-general of the Union Kurdish Party in Syria told Rudaw last week that his and other Kurdish groups had met with the US ambassador in Ankara about potential US and international support for the Kurds in Rojava.

“They (US) mean to bring together the Syrian opposition, but they also know that Syrian Kurdistan is different,” said Biro. “So they said that in order to receive support, the Kurdish groups have to work together.”

At a wide-ranging meeting between Syrian Kurdish groups is ongoing in Duhok, the groups are discussing the possible formation of a joint force for the defense of Kurdish areas.

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

Turkey Balks at Arming Kurds Against ISIS

Turkey would not agree to any U.S. arms transfers to Kurdish fighters who are battling Islamic militants in Syria, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was quoted as saying Sunday, as the extremist group fired more mortar rounds near the Syrian-Turkish border.

Turkey views the main Syrian Kurdish group, the PYD — and its military wing which is fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) — as an extension of the PKK, which has waged a 30-year insurgency in Turkey and is designated a terrorist group by the United States and NATO.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Turkey’s Love Affair With Hamas

by Burak Bekdil

It was the Islamists who, since they came to power in the 2000s, have reaped the biggest political gains from the “Palestine-fetish.”

But the Turkish rhetoric on “solidarity” with our Palestinian brothers often seems askew to how solidarity should be.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Turkish Companies to Supply 80% of TANAP Pipes

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, OCTOBER 15 — A total of six Turkish companies have won the tender to supply 80% of the steel pipe demand of the 1,800 km-long TANAP pipeline that will carry Azerbaijani gas to Europe via Turkey, as daily Hurriyet online reported. Contracts for the supply of pipes for the construction of the TANAP were signed yesterday with the attendance of Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz, Azerbaijani Energy Minister Natig Aliyev, President of SOCAR Rovnag Abdullayev, as well as representatives from winner companies.

Under the agreements, some 30% of the steel pipes will be supplied by the consortiums comprising of Borusan Mannesman, Noksel and Erciyas, 25% by Umran and Emek, and 25% by Toscelik Profil. The remaining 20% of the steel pipe demand will be provided by Chinese Baosteel Europe, based in Germany.

SOCAR’s Abdullayev noted the great significance of the TANAP in creating the Southern Gas Corridor adding that more than 15,000 new jobs would be created during the construction of the pipeline. There will be four stages of the Southern Gas Corridor, which are estimated to cost around USD 45 billion. The first phase is the pipeline from production fields to the Georgian border; the second is the pipeline in Georgia; the third is the TANAP passing through Turkey to the Greek border; the fourth is from Greece to Italy.

The project envisages gas transportation from the Shah Deniz field in Azerbaijan to Europe through Turkey. The initial capacity is expected to reach 16 billion cubic meters per year.

The construction of the 1,850-km-long TANAP is planned to be started in 2015 and completed in 2018. The pipeline will then be connected to the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

UK Blacklists Former Qatari Official Over Funding Terrorist Groups

Britain has imposed financial sanctions on a former Qatari government adviser for funding terrorists in Iraq, as the UK government faces criticism over its ties with the Arab state.

The UK Treasury confirmed on Saturday that Abd al-Rahman bin Umayr al-Nuaymi has been added to a list of terrorist suspects affected by financial bans.

The sanctions include freezing Nuaymi’s assets in the UK and preventing any banks with British offices from doing business with him.

Nuaymi is accused of sending 1.25 million pounds (USD 1.6 million) a month to terrorists in Iraq.

According to the US Department of the Treasury, Nuaymi has funded a number of terrorist groups, including al-Qaeda in Iraq, the forerunner group to ISIL, al-Shabab in Somalia, and other militant groups in the Middle East.

The government of UK Prime Minister David Cameron has been criticized for not adding suspected terrorists to the sanctions list.

According to British media, Commercial Secretary to the UK Treasury Paul Deighton is facing calls to be dismissed from overseeing the sanctions regime as he is also in charge of attracting major investment from Persian Gulf states.

The UK government has also come under fire for its ties with Qatar over its involvement in the funding of terrorists, with a number of British parliamentarians demanding that the UK get tough with the Arab country.

According to British daily The Telegraph, wealthy individuals in the Persian Gulf region have raised a major amount of fund for terrorist groups. Arab leaders have either chosen to ignore the matter or are complicit in the funding of the terrorists in Syria and Iraq.

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

UN Estimates 1.6 Million Syrian Refugees in Turkey

The UN’s humanitarian chief, Baroness Amos said on Sunday the real number of Syrian refugees in Turkey is far higher than estimated.

She was visiting a refugee camp set up in a school in the Turkish border town of Suruc.

“In the nearly four years of this crisis, 900,000 people have been registered as refugees here in Turkey. The reality is that numbers nearer to 1.6 million,” Amos said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

In Expansive Pakistan, Christians Struggle to Find Space for Cemeteries

In this tiny village where most homes don’t have windows and meals are cooked over fire pits, Christians are used to feeling like second-class citizens.

Christians say they earn less than $2 a day working in the sugarcane fields. They must shop at the sparsely stocked Christian-run rice and vegetable store. They are not allowed to draw water from wells tapped for Muslim neighbors. Now, in what many consider to be a final indignity, they and other Pakistani Christians are struggling to bury their dead.

Pakistan, whose population is overwhelmingly Muslim, is nearly twice the size of California. But leaders of the tiny Christian minority say their burial sites are being illegally seized by developers at an alarming rate, while efforts to secure new land are rejected because of religious tenets barring Muslims from being buried near people of other faiths. Increasingly, the remaining Christian cemeteries are packed with bodies atop bodies.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

India-Pakistan: Bishop of Pune: The Asia Bibi Death Sentence is an Affront to the Dignity of US All

Msgr. Thomas Dabre comments on the ruling of the High Court of Islamabad, which confirmed the death penalty. The blasphemy laws are “contrary to the human spirit” and “reveal a medieval and obsolete mentality.” The prelate calls for the intervention of the international community.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) — I was greatly shocked and deeply saddened when the judges decided to uphold the capital punishment to ..hapless Christian woman, Asia Bibi. In my view it is against all norms of both humans and international laws , dignity and all laws. Anycase everybody should be able to follow his/her religion there should be religious freedom and this in my view is a grave violation of the freedom to practice one’s own religion but one may not be able to see the connection. I totally condemn this sentence because in my view it is against all human dignity against all laws not only international laws but all laws , human rights. It is a violation of human rights.

It is my deep conviction that these laws are hopelessly against the human spirit and it is betrays a medieval and obsolete mindset it is an abuse of power and authority to award such sentences and any case such laws are always open to misinterpretation and abuse on various grounds.

Pakistan being a Muslim majority nation, where Christians and those of other religions are a tiny miniscule minorities, t is all the more incumbent on them to be vary of such accusations of blasphemy. The Pakistan government there should be very careful in applying such laws and the International community should hold the government of Pakistan accountable. The Pakistan government cannot disown responsibility of this death sentence and should overturn immediately the death sentence of innocent Christian woman Asia Bibi

I would expect international authorities and bodies to make the Pakistan government withdraw this punishment as well as these draconian Blasphemy laws, which betrays a mindset that are against present day affirmation of human rights.

Providentially the universal church will observe mission Sunday on 19th which is intended to promote Jesus and his values . Jesus mission was to impart to fullness of life in all liberties to all humanity, therefore such an sentence of capital punishment , on the dubious grounds of the application of blasphemy law is contrary to the vision and mission of Jesus Christ.

* Bishop of Pune

(with the collaboration of Nirmala Carvalho)

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

Beijing Marathon Runners Don Masks to Cope With Smog

Thousands of runners have taken part in the 34th Beijing International Marathon, many wearing face masks amid concerns about pollution.

The organisers warned runners to expect slight or moderate smog, but the US embassy in Beijing said air quality early on Sunday was “hazardous”.

One resident in the city told the BBC that the air smelt like burnt coal.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

China’s Bigwigs Survive Corruption Probe of 74,000 Communist Party Members

The campaign launched by President Xi Jinping against “tigers” and “flies” in the Communist Party has produced some results, but experts believe its primary purpose was to strengthen the president’s personal authority. In 27 per cent of the investigations, punishment was meted out; the rest got a warning. “Princelings” were spared because of their loyalty to the leader.

Beijing (AsiaNews) — Since it launched an anti-graft campaign in January 2013 prompted by President Xi Jinping, the Chinese Communist Party has investigated about 75,000 of its members.

Now analysts and experts believe that the campaign is coming to a close. It climaxed without any princeling — children of leading party veterans — coming under investigation. Xi himself is one of them.

Citing data from party watchdog, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the People’s Daily said that by the end of August, 74,333 of the party’s 86 million members had been investigated, with 27 per cent punished. Others were disciplined or sent warning letters.

As soon as Xi Jinping became Communist Party general secretary, he launched an anti-graft campaign aimed at catching both “tigers” — top brass — and “flies” — lower-ranking officials.

So far, the campaign has brought down at least 51 provincial and ministerial-level officials, including former security tsar and Politburo Standing Committee member Zhou Yongkang, and Xu Caihou, a former vice-chairman of the powerful Central Military Commission.

But since that no “princeling” official has come under the spotlight, political analysts do not expect any more “big tigers” to be targeted.

“I don’t think Xi will target any princeling officials because [they] are more reliable than senior officials who came from grass-roots families,” said Chen Daoyin, an associate professor at Shanghai University of Political Science and Law. The president himself is also a princeling.

In fact, he has “achieved the two key goals of his anti-graft campaign: enforcing his personal authority and winning public support,” Chen said.

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

China Says it’s Hard to Resume Cyber Security Talks With U.S.

Resuming cyber security cooperation between China and the United States would be difficult because of “mistaken U.S. practices”, China’s top diplomat told U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

Cyber security is an irritant to bilateral ties. On Wednesday the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation said hackers it believed were backed by the Chinese government had launched more attacks on U.S. companies, a charge China rejected as unfounded.

In May, the United States charged five Chinese military officers with hacking American firms, prompting China to shut down a bilateral working group on cyber security.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Hong Kong: Police Assault Occupy Central in Mong Kok. Students Rebuild Barricades

Police clash with thousands of demonstrators overnight. Over 60 injured; 15 policemen. The young people of Occupy were “armed” with umbrellas; Police in riot gear used batons and pepper spray. Possibility of dialogue and confidence in the police evaporates. A new wave of occupations likely.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) — The protesters of Occupy Central have repositioned barricades and reoccupied several streets of Mong Kok after police attacked a large group overnight, arresting at least 26 people.

Overnight police had cleared some streets around Mong Kok, occupied for nearly two weeks. They confronted thousands of people (9 thousand according to the police) armed only with umbrellas, to defend themselves from beatings and pepper spray.

The unofficial data speaks of more than 60 injured, including 15 policemen. According to witnesses several young people lay unconscious on the street from blows of police in riot gear.

This morning the students reoccupied the areas they were expelled from yesterday.

The 26 arrested are accused of “illegal Assembly” and “attacking police officers”

The students claim that the police raid has “deeply undermined” the basis for dialogue with the government.

The Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying had promised to dialogue with the students next week, but on the basis of Beijing’s decisions on electoral reform, which the students and the Occupy Central movement would like to change to ensure a true democracy to the territory .

Occupy Central, has released a statement in which it is stated that the removal operations ordered by the government will “give rise to a new wave of occupations and worsen relations between police and citizens.”

In recent weeks, the police force has been accused of using excessive force against defenseless students. It is also is accused of collusion with the Chinese mafia for failing to prevent beatings of protesters by thugs probably belonging to triads.

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

Hong Kong Police Arrest 26 After Violent Clashes

(AGI) Hong Kong, Oct 18 — Hong Kong police made 26 arrests for assault and other offences on Friday evening when pro-democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong recaptured streets in the Mong Kok district cleared by the authorities just a few hours earlier.

The police used batons and pepper spray but were overwhelmed by the number of demonstrators. Fifteen police officers were injured in the third consecutive night of clashes, which followed two weeks of relative calm.

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

Marijuana’s History: How One Plant Spread Through the World

From the sites where prehistoric hunters and gatherers lived, to ancient China and Viking ships, cannabis has been used across the world for ages, and a new report presents the drug’s colorful history.

In the report, author Barney Warf describes how cannabis use originated thousands of years ago in Asia, and has since found its way to many regions of the world, eventually spreading to the Americas and the United States.

“For the most part, it was widely used for medicine and spiritual purposes,” during pre-modern times, said Warf, a professor of geography at the University of Kansas in Lawrence. For example, the Vikings and medieval Germans used cannabis for relieving pain during childbirth and for toothaches, he said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Runners Choke to Finish Contaminated Beijing Marathon

Thousands of runners have battled thick smog to take part in the Beijing Marathon. Some athletes donned masks as air pollution soared toward 14 times the maximum recommended level.

Organizers refused to postpone Sunday’s marathon, instead increasing medical staff and advising the elderly and people with respiratory conditions to reconsider their participation. Beijing’s environmental center put Sunday’s air at the most serious level on China’s air quality index — warning children, the elderly and the sick to stay indoors, and everyone else to avoid outdoor activities.

The level of small pollutant particles known as PM2.5, which can embed themselves deep in the lungs, reached close to 350 micrograms per cubic meter in parts of Beijing as the racers lined up. The World Health Organization recommends a daily maximum average exposure of 25 — one-fourteenth of the level runners had to face on Sunday.

Pollution has long choked China, resulting from overreliance on coal and increased vehicles. Conditions get even worse in winter months.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Amazing Graphics Show How Much Fruits Have Changed Since Humans Started Growing Them

If someone handed you a peach 6,000 years ago, you might be surprised: the sour, grape-sized lump you’d be holding would hardly resemble the plump, juicy fruit we enjoy today.

Throughout the 12,000 years or so since humans first developed agriculture, the foods we eat have undergone drastic transformations. Farmers have found ways to select for different traits when breeding plants, turning out generations of larger, sweeter, and juicier crops.

Australian chemistry teacher James Kennedy got interested in the topic and started doing some research. His findings inspired him to put together a series of infographics explaining how some of our most beloved snacks have changed over the centuries.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Oldest Genitals Found. Went Out of Fashion for Eons

If you’re going through a dry patch, it’s nothing compared to the entire animal kingdom — which appears to have gone millions of years without copulating. A new analysis of 380-million-year-old fossils tucked away in boxes in museums is rewriting the textbooks on the origins of sex and genitalia. It shows genitals started out bony, were used sideways, and then copulation went out of fashion for tens of millions of years.

John Long from Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, and colleagues have found fossil evidence that one of the earliest jawed vertebrates called Microbrachius dicki — from a group known as gnathostomes — reproduced via internal fertilisation. This suggests that all gnathostomes were doing it too.

The find shows that vertebrates lost and regained the ability to efficiently deliver sperm internally, many times over. Copulation was such fun, evolution discovered it again and again.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Liberia Collapses Into ‘Economic Hell’ As Panicked Population Abandons Farm Fields and Factories

(NaturalNews) Ebola is now spreading so fast in West Africa, and causing so much death so quickly, that the regional economy is on the verge of a total collapse. The Washington Post (WP) reports that Liberia, the hardest-hit Ebola country, is now teetering over a chasm of “economic hell,” as locals increasingly skip work to avoid infection.

Factory workers, farmers and many others with important daily duties simply aren’t showing up to work, which means that goods and services, as well as food, are all becoming progressively more scarce. It is the worst-case scenario that international aid groups hoped wouldn’t come about but that is clearly taking shape as the outbreak escalates with no end in sight.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Two Women Accused of Witchcraft Hacked to Death in Tanzania

Neighbour accused elderly mother and daughter of curse, murder

(ANSA) — Arusha (Tanzania), October 17 — An elderly woman and her 45-year-old daughter have been hacked to death by machete in the northern Tanzanian province of Shinyanga.

Their three attackers accused the pair of witchcraft, and decapitated their bodies, regional police chief Justus Kamugisha said. “It happened the night of October 14 in the village of Ihugi. Both victims were struck before dinner,” Kamugisha said.

Police have stopped a 40-year-old neighbour of one of the victims, who accused the pair of cursing her and of murdering her mother with poison.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Mare Nostrum Project Fuels Racism, Northern League MP Says

(AGI) Milan, Oct 18 — Matteo Salvini, secretary of the regionalist party Northern League, said: “the Mare Nostrum rescue operation fuels racism and leads to clashes in peripheral areas.” Mr. Salvini added that “only 10% of those who apply for refugee status are true refugees.” The Northern League Secretary was heading a demonstration against the Mare Nostrum rescue operation. “It is a peaceful protest of well-meaning people, who believe that these people should be helped in their own countries and that Italians should come first,” Mr. Salvini said.

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

‘More Barriers in Europe, More Torture in Libya’

Key sign is operation Mos Maiorum, immigrants’ rights group says

(ANSAmed) — ROME, OCTOBER 17 — The higher the barriers set up by Europe to halt immigration, the more abuse refugees trapped in Libya will suffer, the blog of the Habeshia agency for cooperation and development of migrants’ rights activist Father Mussie Zerai denounced on Friday.

The most obvious sign of Europe cracking down on immigration this fall is European operation Mos Maiorum, according to the agency founded in 2006 by the Eritrean priest who has been working for years to promote the rights of migrants and refugees exploited by human trafficking rings. The two-week-long sweeping police operation across Europe deploys 18,000 security officers to identify and control illegal immigrants and asylum seekers.

The operation, which kicked off on October 13, is officially aimed at cracking down on human smuggling rings yet targets their victims, thousands of people forced to flee war and famine, according to the agency that monitors human rights violations of refugees and asylum seekers in Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan, Djibouti, Yemen, Israel and Europe.

Immigrants are being sent back to Italy — France reportedly sent 3,000 back to the country over the past few months, along with Switzerland and Austria, among others.

Yet as European Union countries are closing their borders and repatriating immigrants, governments are “outsourcing” surveillance operations against illegal migrants, the agency said. It cited as an example Italy’s donation to Tunisia of two new offshore patrol vessels to check on its coasts — reportedly a sign that Rome could vie to give Tunisia the same role previously entrusted to Libya as “policeman of the Mediterranean” under a migration agreement signed in 2011.

A reported 3,500 migrants have died since the beginning of this year as they were attempting to make the perilous crossing of the Mediterranean.

And as Italy’s Interior Minsiter Angelino Alfano was stressing the need to protect borders earlier this month, he confirmed the end of Italy’s sweeping surveillance-and-rescue operation Mare Nostrum and the beginning of Triton, the Italian chapter of European operation Frontex Plus, which the agency fears will not be as effective in saving human lives as it will not stretch till Libya’s territorial waters.

Meanwhile cases of abuse and torture against immigrants in Libya are growing, according to the NGO.

The group cited in particular the case of “the Abu Wissa detention center managed by the interior ministry near Zawya”, on the west coast. Up to “200 migrants are held in just one room at the center, which was set up in 2009 and holds approximately 1,200 migrants, mainly Eritreans and Ethiopians”, the agency said. Many were reportedly rejected from the Tunisian border, despite their UNHCR refugee card.

The NGO also cited a prison in Misrata, set up in 2009 in a former school where it said some 400 migrants, all Eritreans, were detained with a number of men allegedly taken away to fight alongside militants.

“We are facing an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe”, said Zerai. “The only way to try to resolve it is to open embassies in Africa for asylum claims, establish access corridors legal issue visas for humanitarian reasons, family reunification, political asylum”, he added, calling on Europe to spend on development policies in countries of emigration rather than to crack down on immigration.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

UK Migrant Policy Puts Britons at Risk: Think Tank

A British think tank has warned that Britons are at risk of infectious diseases, amid the government’s anti-immigration rhetoric.

Britons face an increasing risk of contracting infectious diseases such as Ebola, as vulnerable migrants are discouraged from seeking health care amid the government’s anti-immigration rhetoric.

The independent think tank, Demos, stated in a report published by the British daily The Independent on Sunday that nearly 100,000 undocumented migrants, or one in six of the estimated population of 580,000 in the UK, avoid medical examination.

Infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, HIV and potentially Ebola could go undetected as a result.

“When you think about global crises like Ebola, what we need to make sure we do is find people who are unwell, make sure we are isolating them, make sure we are treating them,” said Max Wind-Cowie of Demos.

The report said undocumented immigrants avoid contacting health-care professionals as they fear it will affect their immigration status or expose them to charges by the National Health Service (NHS).

The UK government says it will to charge migrants for using NHS Accident and Emergency (A&E) services. Those individuals coming from outside the European Union will be charged 150 percent of the medical costs. If the foreigner does not pay the fees, it could affect their current immigration status or future immigration applications.

The government claims that the so-called “health tourism” costs the NHS up to 80 million pounds (about USD 129 million) per year and that the proposed measures would bring in 500 million pounds (USD 800 million) annually from foreign visitors and migrants.

“It would be short-sighted to allow the important task of protecting the NHS from fraud to expose the British public to increased risks stemming from communicable disease,” the Demos report read.

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

Catholic Bishops Scrap Landmark Welcome to Gays in Sign of Split

Catholic gay rights groups have reacted with disappointment to bishops scrapping their landmark welcome to gays this weekend, a move that showed deep divisions at the end of a two-week meeting sought by Pope Francis to chart a more merciful approach to ministering to Catholic families.

The bishops failed to approve even a watered-down section on ministering to homosexuals that stripped away the welcoming tone of acceptance contained in a draft document earlier in the week.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Do We Protect Our Children or Sexual Deviates? Part 4

[WARNING: Disturbing Content.]

In the previous postings in Parts 1, 2 and 3, I mentioned some of the actions and involvements in our children’s lives regarding Planned Parenthood (PP). You might not consider most women who have abortions as “sexual deviates” but I do since they are having an abortion because of having consensual sex, not being raped, not wanting to take responsibility for their own birth control and we have to pay for all of it.

For parents and their children, Planned Parenthood is a VERY dirty business. Their main concern is nothing more than the bottom line on their financial spread sheet. They don’t care about your daughters or your sons for that matter.

Why is it Americans can get so upset when physical harm is done to an animal but not a human being? There are more of us than them!

Former PP employees have become whistleblowers and their stories are very similar. They are certainly NOTsupposed to show any compassion to the woman or girl walking into their clinics to participate in an act of murder. They are spending more time instructing them now on how to have safe sexual bondage/sadomasochism, including gagging, whipping, defecation, emulating pornography, and going to sex stores to “get educated…

Planned Parenthood in the past few years has grown into a barker for sex among our high school students then offering them the abortions to get rid of the result of that sexual activity to go back and do it again.

Who are these people who work in these abortion clinics and join in this grotesque merry-go-round of evil. The legislators set it up so the young girls don’t have to have their parent’s permission to have an abortion, but they can’t take an aspirin at school. What kind of sick system is this?

[Comment: An important four part series to understand how the education system is being used to “transform” society.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Do We Protect Our Children or Sexual Deviates? Part 3

[WARNING: Disturbing Content.]

What are “sexual deviates?

* A type of mental disorder characterized by a preference for or obsession with unusual sexual practices, as pedophilia, sadomasochism, or exhibitionism.

Then you have the legal definition of which I am going to let you look up as it is almost as disgusting as the actions themselves.

You may be asking why I am continuing on this path of writing and it is because of my love and fear for our children. Deviates are lurking around corners everywhere — schools, churches, malls, ball fields, legislative halls. LEGISLATIVE HALLS? How can that be? Well in some cases they are the ones passing legislation which sets our children up for being vulnerable.

ELECTED, APPOINTED and those with the MONEY OFFICIALS! This includes Obama, Lamar Alexander, Bill Gates, Jeb Bush, United Nations, Human Traffickers and many more to include anyone who has a hand in pushing off on our children through education in the classrooms of our schools deviate behavior or sexual education which is beyond their years.

In fact, most of it has no place in the classrooms of our schools. Five — seven year olds are still innocent and curious, so why would we want to flood them with sex instruction while they are still operating as innocents — a child?

[Comment: An important four part series to understand how the education system is being used to “transform” society.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Do We Protect Our Children or Sexual Deviates? Part 1

[WARNING: Disturbing Content.]

People can classify themselves as heterosexual, homosexual, asexual, metrosexual. There are endless sexual orientations under the sun, and now, pedophilia can be added to the list.

Now we are told we are going to address pedophilia as a mental disorder and it is going to be “sorted” by whom you are attracted to, if you act on it or if you don’t. In the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM V), (this is the neat book your doctor has to use to code your illness) the American Psychological Association (APA) drew a very distinct line between pedophilia and pedophilic disorder.

Pedophilia refers to a sexual orientation or profession of sexual preference devoid of consummation, whereas pedophilic disorder is defined as a compulsion and is used in reference to individuals who act on their sexuality.

APA’s decision has given rise to numerous pedophilia-advocacy groups, the chief of them being B4U-ACT, a non-profit grassroots organization based in Maryland. Created in 2003 primarily as a means for “minor-attracted persons” to be open about their sexual preferences in a supportive atmosphere, B4U-ACT is now widening the scope of their organization…

According to the registered sex offender Paul Christiano, the pedophilia-advocacy group is “working towards de-stigmatizing the mental health community.” Christiano explained that negative societal attitudes towards minor-attracted persons “trickle down to policy-making and the mental health community.”

[Comment: An important four part series to understand how the education system is being used to “transform” society.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Do We Protect Our Children or Sexual Deviates? Part 2

[WARNING: Disturbing Content.]

In Part I of this article, I showed how the medical profession and our government have been complicit in supporting the Gay, Lesbian, Transgender issue in our schools, our society as a whole and the new push to have the world accept pedophilia by giving it medical labels.

Legislation is just waiting to get enough support to force you to think their way and accept the behavior being pushed onto our children on a daily basis.

Is this the future? “The Little Black — Queer In the 21st Century”was distributed to hundreds of kids (middle school age and up) at Brookline High School, Brookline, MA. It was written by the Boston-based AIDS Action Committee, with help with the MA Department of Public Health and the Boston Public Health Commission with financial support from GLSEN.

[Comment: An important four part series to understand how the education system is being used to “transform” society.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Egg Freezing: Controversial New Benefit in the US Workplace

Free meals, four months of maternity leave and now egg-freezing: Facebook’s latest gift to its employees has rekindled debate on the role of women in the company.

The move aims to at the very least show that “we have a lot of work to do to help companies really understand what they need to do,” said Carolyn Leighton, who founded WITI, a network of women working in the tech sector.

As for paying to have eggs frozen — which allows women to put off having children — she dismissed the idea as “ridiculous.”

“My phone has been ringing off the hook with women who found it insulting,” Leighton said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Italy: Gay Rights Modeled on German Law Will be Next, Says Renzi

(AGI) Rome, Oct 18 — Enacting legislation on gay marriage based on the German model will be on the table as soon as the new electoral law and constitutional reform pass the second reading in parliament, Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said on Saturday. The day was marked by controversy after Roman Mayor Ignazio Marino ratified 16 gay marriages, defying orders by Interior Minister Angelino Alfano to void registrations of gay marriages celebrated abroad.

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

Italy: Rome Prefect Urges Mayor to Annul Gay Marriages

(AGI) Rome, Oct 18 — The Prefect of Rome, Giuseppe Pecoraro, on hearing that Rome Mayor Ignazio Marino registered 16 same-sex marriages on Saturday, issued a statement through the Prefecture announcing his intention to urge the mayor to annul the registrations immediately. “Should he not comply, the Prefecture will proceed to annul them, as prescribed by law”, the statement added.

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

Ninth Circuit Pro-Gay Judges Get Gay Cases Way More Than Random Chance

In 2002, Nevada amended its state Constitution to ban same-sex marriage, with nearly three-fourths of the voters’ support. In 2006, Idaho did the same.

Fast-forward to October 2014, when the Supreme Court refused to hear states’ appeals on gay marriage bans — and now gay marriage in booth those states is suddenly lawful. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco struck down the bans, seemingly minutes after the Supreme Court turned away from the appeals.

But the issue is hardly going quietly into that good night. Now the Ninth Circuit is under attack.

An attorney for a group that’s been fighting to keep the traditional marriage laws in Nevada and Idaho intact has filed a petition to rehear the states’ cases en banc — before 11 of the dozens of judges that make up the Ninth Circuit. Why? He’s alleging, somewhat shockingly, that the process has been tainted — that statistically speaking, two of the three judges that heard the original case of Nevada and Idaho perhaps didn’t belong on the case.

That statistically speaking, these two judges — Judge Berzon and Judge Reinhardt — have we been appointed to far more cases involving gay rights in recent years than chance appointment would have it.


[It’s] far more than any other judge and far more than can reasonably be accounted for by a neutral assignment process,” the petition reads. “Indeed, statistical analysis demonstrates that the improbability of such occurring randomly is not just significant but overwhelming. … We bring the issue of bias in the selection process to the Circuit’s attention with respect and with a keen awareness that questioning the neutrality of the panel’s selection could hardly be more serious.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Pope’s Proposal on Homosexuals Rejected

Roman Catholic bishops have rejected a proposal by Pope Francis for wider acceptance of homosexuals.

More than 180 bishops from around the world gathered in Vatican City to vote on the draft paper on homosexuals and family issues.

The document failed to get the approval of two-thirds of the majority.

The head of the Roman Catholic Church proposed more openness toward gays, and remarried divorcees.

The draft was released on October 13 and was hailed by some church observers and gay advocates as “a stunning change” in how the Catholic hierarchy views homosexuals.

“If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has goodwill, who am I to judge?” read a part of the proposal which seemed to be Pope’s own pastoral phrase.

Pope Francis said after the vote that he would have had worries if the debate on the issue had not been vibrant, or if everyone had been in agreement in a “false and acquiescent peace.”

Conservatives and liberals at the Church remain split over the thorny issue of homosexuality.

Catholic gay rights groups have expressed disappointment in the vote.

Francis DeBernardo, the executive director of New Ways Ministry, a Catholic gay rights group in the United States, said it was “very disappointing that the synod’s final report did not retain the gracious welcome to lesbian and gay people that the draft of the report included.”

“Instead, the bishops have taken a narrow view of pastoral care by defining it simply as opposition to marriage for same-gender couples,” he added.

The Roman Catholic Church has been hit by numerous scandals in the past few years, involving allegations of covering up the sexual abuse of children by priests to protect pedophiles and the reputation of church.

More than 4,000 priests in the United States have reportedly faced sexual abuse allegations since the 1950s in cases involving more than 10,000 children.

Pope Francis has warned that there will be “no privileges” for bishops when it comes to child sex offenders. The pontiff also promised more action in response to accusations of cover-ups and excessive leniency by the Vatican.

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

‘The Bell Curve’ 20 Years Later: A Q&A With Charles Murray

October marks the 20th anniversary of “The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life,” the extraordinarily influential and controversial book by AEI scholar Charles Murray and Richard Herrnstein. Here, Murray answers a few questions about the predictions, controversy, and legacy of his book.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Comet Buzzes Mars in Once-in-a-Lifetime Flyby

A comet zoomed by Mars today (Oct. 19) in an extremely rare close encounter that scientists billed as a “once-in-a-lifetime” event that may help researchers better understand the earliest days of our solar system.

Comet Siding Spring came within just 87,000 miles (139,500 kilometers) of the Martian surface at 2:27 p.m. EDT (1827 GMT) today — about one-third of the distance between Earth and the moon. At the time of closest approach, the comet barreled by at 126,000 mph (203,000 km/h) relative to the Red Planet, NASA officials said.

All seven spacecraft currently operating on or around Mars were scheduled to observe the close shave, with the aim of learning more about comet composition and behavior.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

This Weekend, Astronomers Get Their Best Ever Look at an Oort Cloud Object

Looking at the Oort cloud is like looking back in time—a superpower hampered by the fact that the Oort cloud is very, very, very, very far away

Far off at the most distant edge of the solar system is the Oort cloud, a shroud of ice and dust largely unchanged since the very beginning of the solar system. Looking at the Oort cloud is like looking back in time—a superpower hampered by the fact that the Oort cloud is very, very, very, very far away. This weekend, however, a piece of the Oort cloud is coming to us.

Comet Siding Spring was discovered just last year and, at first, astronomers thought it might have been on a collision course with Mars. Eventually, says NASA in the video above, astronomers realised that Siding Spring and Mars would not meet, but they would pass very, very near each other.

Mars is currently a hotspot of space research, with a small fleet of satellites and probes in orbit around the red planet. Siding Spring’s close approach—at a minimum distance of 84,000 miles, just a third of the distance between the Earth and the Moon—combined with the bevy of telescopes and sensors.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

3 thoughts on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 10/19/2014

  1. Lucky Swedes get “asylum seekers” in their own residential neighborhood in Botkyrka, Stockholm.

    They are invited to come over and visit their new asylum seeking neighbors, and get to know them close to home. The residents were not informed, but realized that there was a certain activity around one particular estate, and only recently understood that they are preparing to install 130 persons there. Shocked, and not too happy.

    Botkyrka has a long history, and one church monument dating back to 1150, just to give an idea of the community’s history.

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