Gates of Vienna News Feed 11/22/2014

Al-Shabaab activists stopped a bus in eastern Kenya near the Somali border and made all the suspected non-Muslims get off. Those who were unable to recite Koran verses were summarily executed. Three suspected infidels were able to recite the verses, and their lives were spared. Relatives of those killed were able to draw comfort from knowing that the tragic incident had nothing to do with Islam.

In other news, Ecuador has guaranteed asylum for Julian Assange, saying that it will protect the fugitive leaker as long as necessary.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Fjordman, Frontinus, Insubria, Jerry Gordon, 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
» The End of China’s Economic Miracle?
» American Journalist: Do Not Trust NGO’s Funded by Washington
» An Ill-Timed Interfaith Gathering at Jewish Theological Seminary in Manhattan
» Florida Shootout Leaves Deputy, Gunman Dead
» NSA Chief Warns Chinese Cyber Attacks Could Shut U.S. Infrastructure
» Opening the Door to Muslim Dissidents
» Pluto Probe to Wake From “Hibernation” Next Month
» Comet Strike to Blame for Canada’s Iconic Sudbury Basin
Europe and the EU
» Cyprus: Restoration on St Andrew’s Monastery Unites Island
» Denmark: Justice Minister: Burkas Are Awful But Legislation’s Not the Answer
» Dutch Bring 120 Tonnes of Gold Back to Amsterdam From New York
» Dutch Will Pay EU €642m Surcharge Before the End of 2014
» Finland: Seals Gobble Half a Million Fish — Commercial Fisheries Report Almost 500k in Losses
» Germans Divided Over Sanctions on Russia — ARD Survey
» Hitler Watercolor Sold for $162,000 at Auction
» Italy: Russian Denounced for Carving ‘K’ On Colosseum
» Italy Confers Order of the Star on Mitsubishi CEO
» Italy: Pediatricians Arrested for Pushing Powdered Milk on Mums
» Italy: ‘Ndrangheta Swearing-in Ceremony Filmed for First Time
» Italy Among EU Countries With Highest Antibiotic Resistance
» Italy Helps Small Businesses in South Vietnam
» Italy: Venice to Ban Wheeled Suitcases
» Politicians: Sweden Should Export Drinking Water
» Portugal Ex-PM Jose Socrates Held in Tax Fraud Inquiry
» Security Chief: 100 Swedes Have Joined IS
» Sweden: Crimes Against Roma to be Mapped by Police
» Sweden: Police Confiscate “Islam is the Devil” T-Shirt
» Top German Spy Says Berlin Suffers Cyber Attack From Russia ‘Every Day’
» Why Have Our Brains Started to Shrink?
» Pushkov: EU Blackmailing Serbia
Mediterranean Union
» Algeria: EU Sponsoring Biggest Cultural Project in the Area
» Lebanon: EU Project Supports Clusters in Cultural Industry
North Africa
» Egypt: Wadi Natrun: The Desert of Ascetics
» Egypt ‘Is at War Against Terrorism, And Italy Understands’
» The ‘Caliphate’s’ Colonies: Islamic State’s Gradual Expansion Into North Africa
Israel and the Palestinians
» For Jerusalem’s Ultra Orthodox, Love is Work for Matchmakers
Middle East
» Antisemitism Hits New High in Turkey
» As Quad Bike Squads Kill Up to 8 Jihadis Each Day… As Allies Prepare to Wipe is Off the Map
» Bahrain’s First Post-Arab Spring Vote Boycotted by Shia Majority
» Cars During the Day, Rock at Night at Abu Dhabi GP
» Hashtags and Holy War: Islamic State Tweets Its Way to Success
» Italian Luxury Interiors on Home Design Opens in Dubai
» Joe Biden to Try Talking Turkey’s Erdogan Into Fighting IS
» Mother Defies Jihadists, Takes Daughter Home From Raqqa
» Syrian Christians: ‘Help us to Stay — Stop Arming Terrorists’
» The Not-So-Islamic State: ISIS’ Huge Debt to the Infidel
» U.S. Plans to Arm Iraq’s Sunni Tribesmen With AK-47s, RPGs, Mortars
South Asia
» Fresh Concerns Over Thailand’s King Bhumibol’s Health
» India is the World’s Largest Arms Importer. It Aims to be a Big Weapons Dealer, Too.
» ISIS Popular in Pakistan
» Thai Authorities Want Two US Citizens for Stealing Human Remains From a Hospital
Far East
» Korean Unification Could Cost “$500 Billion”
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Kenya Bus Killings Claimed by Somali Group Al-Shabab
» Somali Islamists Execute 28 Non-Muslims on Kenyan Bus
» Somalia’s Al-Shabab Claims Kenya Bus Attack
» WHO: Plague Outbreak Kills 40 in Madagascar
Latin America
» Ecuador ‘Guarantees’ Assange Asylum
» Ecuador Will Protect Assange “As Long as Necessary”
» Teeth and Bones: Mass Abduction Reveals a Decaying Mexican State
» US Embassy in Mexico: Defer Non-Essential Travel to Acapulco
» Hillary Clinton Calls President Obama’s Immigration Action Necessary, ‘Historic’
Culture Wars
» Hirsi Ali Slams Feminism’s ‘Trivial BS’
» Polish Town Bans ‘Hermaphrodite’ Winnie the Pooh Because of ‘Dubious Sexuality’
» Students of Death: Euthanasia Doctors Seek Existential Answers at Auschwitz
» Hydrogen May Prove Fuel of the Future

The End of China’s Economic Miracle?

Debt and corruption are hobbling the Asian giant.

My own reporting suggests that we are witnessing the end of the Chinese economic miracle. We are seeing just how much of China’s success depended on a debt-powered housing bubble and corruption-laced spending. The construction crane isn’t necessarily a symbol of economic vitality; it can also be a symbol of an economy run amok.

Most of the Chinese cities I visited are ringed by vast, empty apartment complexes whose outlines are visible at night only by the blinking lights on their top floors. I was particularly aware of this on trips to the so-called third- and fourth-tier cities—the 200 or so cities with populations ranging from 500,000 to several million, which Westerners rarely visit but which account for 70% of China’s residential property sales.

From my hotel window in the northeastern Chinese city of Yingkou, for example, I could see empty apartment buildings stretching for miles, with just a handful of cars driving by. It made me think of the aftermath of a neutron-bomb detonation—the structures left standing but no people in sight.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

American Journalist: Do Not Trust NGO’s Funded by Washington

BELGRADE — Washington journalist William Bloom says the US Government funds NGOs all over the world and recommends exercising caution toward any organization funded by the United States of America.

Bloom states that it is very difficult, in today’s world, to find a single state where an American NGO is not present and active, as they are continuously on the lookout for places whose governments can be destabilized or the political opposition strengthened, says Bloom for the Politika daily.

“If you are like me, and think that the ‘American Empire’ causes more harm than good, then you need to exercise caution towards every NGO supported by Washington”, emphasized Bloom.

He repeated that the US Government funds NGOs all over the world, which is its main goal, and the goal of those NGOs is to promote educational and other types of programs in foreign countries, which will result in those countries doing what the US wishes them to do.

Therefore, we either strive to topple a particular government or support their opposition. There are various methods of doing this. For example, education — for these types of projects, funds are virtually limitless, said Bloom.

He added that nobody outright says that these programs are designed for the purpose of toppling a government or strengthening its opposition, but one needs to read between the lines.

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

An Ill-Timed Interfaith Gathering at Jewish Theological Seminary in Manhattan

16 are dead in Jerusalem, four of them rabbis, the victims of a wave of Islamic anti-Semitic rampage by Arab Muslim residents. But that didn’t cause the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) in Manhattan to cancel an interfaith Jewish-Muslim luncheon earlier this week that included a leader of Muslim Brotherhood affiliate, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). ISNA is one of the unindicted co-conspirators in the 2008 federal Dallas Holy Land Foundation trial that convicted the leaders of the Muslim charity for funneling upwards of $36 million to Hamas for following in the way of Allah, Jihad. We have learned over several years that the venerable flagship of American Conservative Judaism has been unstinting in promoting the myopia of Jewish — Muslim dialogue under the leadership of Chancellor Arnold Eisen. See our January 2012 NER article, “Dialogue with Radical Muslims is Dangerous for American Jews”. Unfortunate that is for the sixteen killed in Jerusalem because of Islamic anti-Semitic hate, especially the four rabbis z”l and the valiant Israeli Druze police officer who shot and killed the two Arab Muslim cousins, who entered the Kehillat Yaakov synagogue at 7:00AM in Har Nof on Monday, November 17, 2014. The two Arab Muslim killers, equipped with guns and knives and a meat cleaver to commit their butchery, disrupted the morning minyan prayers leaving behind them the charnel of dead and wounded in the blood splattered scene. We wonder if Dr. Visotzky asked the assemblage of Jewish and high profile Muslim leaders at the JTS interfaith event to rise for the traditional mourners’ prayer for the rabbis and the Druze police officer who lost their lives?

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

Florida Shootout Leaves Deputy, Gunman Dead

Published November 22, 2014 • Associated PressFacebook124 Twitter368 Email Print TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A man set his house on fire and then fatally shot a sheriff’s deputy and wounded another Saturday when they responded to the scene, a government official said.

A Tallahassee police officer who lived nearby heard the shooting, threw on his bullet-resistant vest, grabbed his gun and ran to the house. The officer shot the suspect dead, the official said.

The wounded deputy was saved by his vest and his injuries are not believed to be serious, the official said…

[Return to headlines]

NSA Chief Warns Chinese Cyber Attacks Could Shut U.S. Infrastructure

(Reuters) — China and “probably one or two” other countries have the ability to invade and possibly shut down computer systems of U.S. power utilities, aviation networks and financial companies, Admiral Mike Rogers, the director of the U.S. National Security Agency, said on Thursday.

Testifying to the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee on cyber threats, Rogers said digital attackers have been able to penetrate such systems and perform “reconnaissance” missions to determine how the networks are put together.

“What concerns us is that access, that capability, can be used by nation-states, groups or individuals to take down that capability,” he said.

Rogers said China was one of the countries with that capability, but that there were others.

“There’s probably one or two others,” he said, declining to elaborate in a public setting.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Opening the Door to Muslim Dissidents

by Katie Gorka

“When presidents say Islam is a religion of peace,” former George W. Bush advisor Elliot Abrams said at a forum on Monday, “the average American thinks this is crap.”

Presidents Bush and Obama both publicly declared Islam to be a religion of peace, which has struck a sour chord for many. Far better, Abrams said, for American leaders to ask, “Is there something in Islam that has led some Muslims to behave in a way that we consider to be terrible? And what’s the debate in Islam?” It is this last question that signals what may prove to be the most important weapon in the ever-escalating battle between the West and ISIS.

To date, American and Western leaders have preemptively shut down any debate within Islam by declaring that Islam is the religion of peace and that terrorism has nothing to do with Islam. In so doing, Western governments have effectively shut the door on those Muslims who dare to dissent, who suggest reform rather than radicalism as the solution to Islam’s ills. The result is that the Islamists are running the show, from Iraq to Syria to Libya to Iran.

During the Cold War, U.S. support for Soviet and Eastern European dissidents was a decisive factor in breaking the Soviet Union’s grip over much of the world. In the 1960s and 1970s, American support came primarily from private groups and individuals. But President Reagan understood that support to dissidents could be decisive in the battle. If dissidents received moral and material support from the West, it would help to prove that Soviet domination was not inevitable and that the so-called Forces of History were in fact reversible. Thus, engaging in the war of ideas became a key component of the Reagan doctrine…

           — Hat tip: Frontinus [Return to headlines]

Pluto Probe to Wake From “Hibernation” Next Month

NASA’s New Horizons probe is set to awaken from 99 days during which the spacecraft’s electronics were largely unpowered. Observations at the dwarf planet start in January

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Comet Strike to Blame for Canada’s Iconic Sudbury Basin

Scientists confirm that a comet carved out Ontario’s Sudbury Basin 1.8 billion years ago, forming the second largest impact crater on Earth

The Sudbury Basin is a roughly elliptical crater that measures about 37 miles by 18 miles (60 kilometers by 30 kilometers), located on the outskirts of Sudbury, Ontario, in Canada. Ever since miners discovered rich deposits of copper, nickel, palladium and other valuable metals there in the 1880s, scientists have wondered how the giant hole in the Earth came into existence, said study co-author Joseph Petrus, an earth sciences doctoral candidate at Laurentian University in Sudbury.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Cyprus: Restoration on St Andrew’s Monastery Unites Island

Two sides of the Green Line working together

(ANSAmed) — NICOSIA, NOVEMBER 11 — Restoration works on the Monastery of Saint Andrew were inaugurated in Cyprus on Tuesday, as part of the first-ever collaboration between the communities on both sides of the UN-arbitrated Green Line. The Greek Orthodox Church is located in the northern, Turkish Cypriot-controlled part of the island. The two communities have invested equally in the restoration efforts and the project is a test project that will ideally be extended to other monuments. Years were required to achieve the agreement, made possible by the 2008 creation of a Technical Committee for Cultural Heritage co-chaired by a Greek Cypriot and a Turkish Cypriot. Turkish Cypriot negotiator Ergun Olgun told ANSA that the project would be used as a test case also for the potentially explosive hydrocarbons issue. For now, the Technical Committee for Cultural Heritage is one of the few successes of the collaboration between the island’s two communities. Over the past few years, in part thanks to EU funds — 4 million thus far with another 4 million allocated — and the role played by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the two communities carried out joint visits throughout the island and drew up a list of over 2,300 cultural heritage sites, naming 26 in the north and 14 in the south requiring intervention. “At the beginning we only selected religious heritage sites,” said Turkish Cypriot member of the committee Ali Tuncay. Work has already been completed on eight churches and mosques requiring urgent restoration — five in the northern part of the island and three in the south. The committee is now proposing interventions on ‘civil’ sites, such as the city’s perimeter walls. “This type of intervention can contribute even more to uniting people,” said Tuncay, noting that “for decades the protection of Cyprus’s cultural heritage was an issue of division, often used for propaganda reasons.” The other positive aspect underscored by Tuncay was that the restoration works are bringing to light works and structures that history had forgotten, such as a fresco discovered in a church of the Kom Kebir village in the northern section of the island and a cistern discovered during works on Othello’s Tower in Famagusta.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Denmark: Justice Minister: Burkas Are Awful But Legislation’s Not the Answer

It has been under discussion for some time, and today parliament is debating a proposal by Dansk Folkeparti (DF) to ban the wearing of burkas and similar garments in Denmark.

Mette Frederiksen, the justice minister, told BT today she believes burkas are of a bygone era and have no place in Denmark, but she doesn’t believe that they should be legislated against.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Dutch Bring 120 Tonnes of Gold Back to Amsterdam From New York

The Dutch central bank has secretly brought a large part of the national gold reserves being held in a secure depot in New York back to Amsterdam.

In total, 120 tonnes of gold valued at €4bn has been brought back to the Netherlands by ship, Nos television said.

The high security reparations for the move took months.

The central bank decided to bring some of its gold reserves back to the Netherlands to ensure a better spread, the bank said in a statement…

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

Dutch Will Pay EU €642m Surcharge Before the End of 2014

The Netherlands will pay an EU contribution surcharge of €642m before the end of this year, finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem said after the weekly cabinet meeting. The Netherlands can pay the bill earlier than expected because of various treasury windfalls, Dijsselbloem said. Dijsselbloem had earlier negotiated a delay until September 1 2015 and an agreement that the bill could be paid in installments.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Finland: Seals Gobble Half a Million Fish — Commercial Fisheries Report Almost 500k in Losses

Professional fishermen in Finland are up in arms about damages to their catch and equipment from grey seals. Recent figures from the Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute estimate that the market value of fish lost to seals is 466,000 euros.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Germans Divided Over Sanctions on Russia — ARD Survey

Twenty-seven percent of Germans believe the current sanctions against Russia imposed by the EU and the US should be scrapped, a new survey has shown.

According to the survey, 19% of those polled think that tne current scope of sanctions should be expanded, while 43% consider the sanctions adequate.

The poll was conducted among 1,023 Germans by ARD TV channel.

At the G-20 summit in Brisbane last week German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron warned Moscow that Russian individuals might face further sanctions over the crisis in Ukraine.

Moscow has repeatedly denied Western charges of involvement in the fighting between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine.

The Western sanctions have targeted Russia’s banking, defence and energy sectors. In response, Moscow has banned imports of food products from the United States, the European Union, Canada, Australia and Norway.

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

Hitler Watercolor Sold for $162,000 at Auction

A watercolor of Munich’s old city hall painted by Adolf Hitler a century ago has been sold for 130,000 euros ($162,000) at an auction in Germany.

Kathrin Weidler, director of the Weider auction house in Nuremberg, said the work attracted bidders from four continents and went to a buyer from the Middle East. She declined to elaborate.

The painting, which had been expected to fetch at least 50,000 euros, was sold by a pair of elderly sisters whose grandfather purchased it in 1916.

Hitler’s paintings surface regularly, but the auction house said the 28 by 22 centimeter (11 by 8.5 inch) scene auctioned Saturday also includes the original bill of sale and a signed letter from the Hitler’s adjutant, Albert Bormann, brother of the Nazi dictator’s private secretary Martin Bormann.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Italy: Russian Denounced for Carving ‘K’ On Colosseum

Police catch visitor in the act of defacing ancient monument

(ANSA) — Rome, November 21 — A Russian tourist who picked up a rock and carved a huge letter K on the wall of the Colosseum was arrested Friday, police said.

The man, 42, was charged with causing aggravated damage to one of Italy’s most iconic symbols.

Earlier in the day, a guard at the internationally famous site saw a visitor in the act of carving on an interior wall that is being restored on the ground floor of the Flavian amphitheatre.

He called police.

“The damage to the monument is notable,” said historic site Superintendent Mariarosaria Barbera.

“The incision cut out part of the surface of the structure and compromises its conservation and image”.

The Russian is the fifth tourist caught while allegedly carving graffiti on the walls for the Colosseum after earlier incidents involving two Australians, a Canadian and a Brazilian.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy Confers Order of the Star on Mitsubishi CEO

Long-standing relations btw Japanese giant and d’Amico shippers

(ANSA) — Genoa, November 20 — Italy’s ambassador to Japan, Domenico Giorgi, on Thursday awarded the order of Commander of the Order of the Star to Mitsubishi Group President and CEO Ken Kobayashi at a ceremony attended by executives from d’Amico Group international shippers.

The latter firm has a long-standing business relationship with Mitsubishi and supported the Japanese giant’s candidacy for the Order of the Star, an award established in the Second World Far for Italians abroad and foreigners who worked toward the reconstruction of Italy.

Today the medal is awarded in recognition of an outstanding role in promoting relations of friendship and collaboration with Italy.

Mitsubishi for many years has forged a solid partnership with d’Amico, which it uses to transport refined products as well as metals and raw materials both to Italy and around the world.

The two firms share views on sustainability. D’Amico, which has been present in southeast Asia for 14 years, uses the latest generation eco-vessels, cutting CO2 emissions by up to 25% and significantly reducing fuel consumption.

The Italian shipper is very socially active in Japan, organizing events and raising funds for charity such as aid to the flood-stricken people of Fukushima in 2011.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Pediatricians Arrested for Pushing Powdered Milk on Mums

Police say lavish gifts from sales reps of artificial baby food

(ANSA) — Pisa, November 21 — Police arrested 12 pediatricians Friday who alleged received expensive gifts and trips in exchange for encouraging new mothers to buy powdered products rather than feeding their babies with their own milk.

After some 26 raids across four regions of Italy, an executive and five sales representatives were also arrested and face corruption charges in what police say was an organized ring to mislead moms and promote artificial milk.

Raids were carried out in Tuscany, Lombardy, Marche and Liguria regions as investigators probed allegations that a company gave lavish gifts to pediatricians including smartphones, computers, air conditioners, and televisions as well as expensive trips to the United States, Paris, London, Istanbul and cruises in the Mediterranean and Northern Europe. Among the dozen pediatricians arrested were two hospital department heads and the investigation continues, police said at a news conference.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: ‘Ndrangheta Swearing-in Ceremony Filmed for First Time

State to defend magistrates ‘by all means’ says Alfano

(ANSA) — Rome, November 18 — Anti-mafia police released unprecedented footage of a swearing-in ceremony of the Calabrian-based ‘Ndrangheta mafia, shot undercover as part of an investigation that led to the arrest of 40 suspected mafiosi on Tuesday. “It’s the first time that the swearing-in, with the awarding of roles and tasks, has been documented live,” said Milan Prosecutor Ilda Boccassini.

Previously, details of the ceremony that bestows on mobsters membership in the so-called “santa” (holy) level — the highest in the ‘Ndrangheta — had only ever been recounted second-hand by former mobsters providing evidence to the State.

The film released by police, shot using a hidden camera, is poor quality but shows several men sitting on chairs pulled in a circle.

“In this holy night, in the silence of the night and under the starlight and the shining moon, I create the holy chain.

With humble words, I create the holy society,” says a dark-haired mafia leader wearing a baseball cap.

The others are warned to use a cyanide capsule and commit suicide rather than ever betraying their mob clan.

Police later said one of the initiates, who were all ordered to swear loyalty for the next seven generations of their families, was only 17 years old.

The secret film came as part of a two-year probe of the crime syndicate that also led to numerous arrests.

Three of the ‘Ndrangheta suspects were put under house arrest while the rest were taken to jail.

Those arrested in a police sweep across the northern regions of Lombardy and Veneto and on the southern island region of Sicily were charged with mafia association, extortion, and illegal weapons possession.

Investigators claimed the suspects belonged to three clans operating in the Lombardy provinces of Como and Lecco where they had infiltrated the local community.

The film of the affiliation ceremony was made during a convivial gathering of members of the three clans known as a ‘mangiata’ (feast) and includes references to Giuseppe Mazzini, Giuseppe Garibaldi and Alfonso La Marmora — three leading figures of the 19th century Risorgimento movement for Italian unification. Investigators said that Garibaldi represented the local clan leader, Mazzini the treasurer and La Marmora another high-ranking member. Meanwhile, Interior Minister Angelino Alfano said Tuesday that the State must use “all the force at its disposal” to protect magistrates from the mafia, particularly in Palermo.

He spoke after a meeting of the national committee for public order and security to discuss the authorities’ response to threats to Sicilian magistrates from organized crime.

“We will use all the force the State has at its disposal, in terms of men and equipment,” said Alfano.

The meeting was called after former mafia boss Vito Galatolo revealed plans to assassinate prosecutors including Palermo’s Nino Di Matteo, who has also been threatened from jail by former Cosa Nostra Mafia “boss of bosses” Toto’ Riina. Galatolo said mafia figures also had a cache of explosives for the planned attacks, triggering a police hunt for the weapons.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy Among EU Countries With Highest Antibiotic Resistance

Resistance to certain antibiotics more than doubled in 3 years

(ANSA) — Stockholm, November 17 — Italy is among a group of EU countries with the highest percentage of bacteria resistance to antibiotics, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said in a report released on Monday to mark the 7th European Antibiotic Awareness Day.

The bacteria Klebsiella Pneumoniae, which commonly causes infection in hospitalised patients, was shown to have nearly doubled its resistance in the EU overall to the last-line of defence antibiotics known as carbapenems, going from 4.6% in 2010 to 8.3% in 2013.

In Italy, this bacteria’s resistance to carbapenems more than doubled, from 15.2% in 2010 to 34.3% in 2013.

The only country higher than Italy was Greece, at 59.4%.

“With a smaller number of effective antibiotics, we are gradually returning to the ‘pre-antibiotic era’, when bacterial diseases could not be treated and most patients would die from their infection because there was no effective treatment,” said ECDC Director, Dr Marc Sprenger.

“There is an urgent need for all European countries to look broadly at the continuum of care and tackle several factors related to prudent antibiotic use”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy Helps Small Businesses in South Vietnam

(AGI) Hanoi, Nov 21 — Italy will help small and medium businesses in south Vietnam improve their competitiveness, said the director of Italian Cooperation in Vietnam, Riccardo Mattei. “Italy is strong in the production of furniture, footwear, clothing, food and machinery. We are ready to provide technology for Vietnamese companies,” he said at a meeting with the people’s committee of Ho Chi Minh City and Dong Nai province. Italy will supply 15 million euros in low-interest loans and 200,000 euros via the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation for technical assistance projects in the provinces of Dong Nai and Binh Duong, and in Ho Chi Minh City. Italy has set up a project to increase the competitiveness of Vietnamese small and medium enterprises (SMEs) by creating a centre for free corporate training. The vice president of Dong Nai province said that training and technology transfer were the areas in which Italy could give the most help. The UN agency led a technical assistance project for Vietnamese SMEs between 2009 and 2011, with 3 million euros provided by Italy.

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

Italy: Venice to Ban Wheeled Suitcases

(CNN) — For years Venice has battled the effects of rising waters on its historic architecture, but now it’s facing a new threat — wheeled suitcases.

City officials have become so tired with the cacophony of rumbling luggage they’re introducing fines of up to 500 euros ($620) for anyone caught using one.

The move, due to come into effect in May 2015, is likely to create a headache for many of 22 million who annually visit the city and need to cart bags to hotels in car-free streets.

For locals, long tired of plastic or hard rubber wheels rattling past their windows as they try to sleep, it will come as a welcome relief.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Politicians: Sweden Should Export Drinking Water

A regional council in western Sweden has backed a proposal to export drinking water from lake Vänern, saying it would be an “act of solidarity”.

The proposal comes from politicians representing the Social Democrat Party, the Left Party and the Greens.

“It’s a serious proposal, to look at the possibility of exporting fine water to other countries where they need water,” Sören Kviberg, president of the regional environment council, told Swedish Radio.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Portugal Ex-PM Jose Socrates Held in Tax Fraud Inquiry

Former Portugal Prime Minister Jose Socrates has been detained by police as part of a corruption investigation.

Mr Socrates, who led Portugal’s centre left government from 2005 to 2011, was arrested on Friday as he flew into Lisbon airport.

The former leader is one of four people detained as part of a probe into money-laundering and bribery.

The announcement comes in the wake of several other ongoing corruption investigations in Portugal.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Security Chief: 100 Swedes Have Joined IS

The Swedish Security Service confirms that 100 Swedish citizens have travelled to Iraq and Syria to fight for IS, with another 150 also thought to have joined the militant Islamist group, Swedish Radio News reports.

Anders Thornberg, head of the Swedish Security Service (Säpo), told Swedish Radio News that there could be between 250 and 300 Swedes fighting in Iraq and Syria and that the figure is growing rapidly.

“A week ago, I saw documents showing that 92 people had travelled from Sweden to participate in the fighting in Syria and Iraq. Yesterday, the number of confirmed cases was 100,” said Thornberg.

“We have seen an increasing number of young Swedish men travel to Syria, where they receive training in camps and are taught to become terrorists and how to handle explosives and weapons,” Thornberg said. “They are crossing all lines of human behaviour, taking part in beheadings, fighting and killing other human beings,” he added.

Thornberg said many are traumatised when they return to Sweden and may be prepared to commit violent acts here, too. That means Säpo must monitor those individuals, he said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Sweden: Crimes Against Roma to be Mapped by Police

The police in Sweden want to get a clearer picture of the extent to which Roma and other vulnerable EU citizens are victims of crime or commit crimes themselves, voluntarily or involuntarily. From now until next autumn, the National Police will carry out an investigation.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Sweden: Police Confiscate “Islam is the Devil” T-Shirt

A man who wore a t-shirt saying “Islam is the devil” could face charges for inciting hatred.

Police stopped the man in a shopping centre in Karlstad, western Sweden on Friday afternoon. They confiscated the t-shirt and filed a report. The crime is being classified as incitement to ethnic hatred, local newspaper Nya Wermlands-Tidningen reports.

Swedish incitement laws (hets mot folkgrupp) criminalise statements that threaten or offend individuals on the grounds of race, skin colour, nationality, ethnicity, faith or sexual orientation. The crime is punishable by up to two years in prison or fines.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Top German Spy Says Berlin Suffers Cyber Attack From Russia ‘Every Day’

German government and business computers are coming under increasing cyber attack every day from other states’ spy agencies, especially those of Russia and China, Germany’s domestic intelligence chief has warned.

Addressing a cybersecurity conference in Berlin, Hans Georg Maassen said that of an estimated 3,000 daily attacks by hackers or criminals on German government systems, about five were the handiwork of intelligence services. The latter are so sophisticated that they can easily be overlooked, he added.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Why Have Our Brains Started to Shrink?

Christopher Stringer, a paleoanthropologist and research leader on human origins at the Natural History Museum in London, replies:

Indeed, skeletal evidence from every inhabited continent suggests that our brains have become smaller in the past 10,000 to 20,000 years. How can we account for this seemingly scary statistic?

Some of the shrinkage is very likely related to the decline in humans’ average body size during the past 10,000 years. Brain size is scaled to body size because a larger body requires a larger nervous system to service it. As bodies became smaller, so did brains. A smaller body also suggests a smaller pelvic size in females, so selection would have favored the delivery of smaller-headed babies.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Pushkov: EU Blackmailing Serbia

The EU’s attempts to coerce Serbia into joining anti-Russian sanctions are nothing but blackmail, says the head of the State Duma Foreign Affairs Committee.

Aleksei Pushkov, chairman of the Russian State Duma Committee for International Affairs — PHOTO: RIA Novosti/Vladimir Fedorenko

“Presently the European Union is trying to force Serbia, which is not an EU member, to join their sanctions program. They are practically blackmailing Serbia: either it joins the sanctions against Russia or [the bloc] won’t see it as a country with a chance of joining the EU,” MP Aleksey Pushkov (United Russia) told reporters at a Thursday press conference in Moscow.

“The problem for Serbia is that in any case it has no prospects for joining the EU anytime soon. Even if they join the anti-Russian sanctions now, they would simply succumb to blackmailers and no one would accept them in the EU in one year for doing this,” he added.

The comments came after EU’s Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn said that Serbia would have to join EU sanctions against Moscow if it wants to be part of the European Union.

“Serbia has taken a legislative commitment within the EU accession negotiations to bring its positions in line with those of the EU. Harmonization includes the tough issues as well, like the tough issue of sanctions against Russia. We are expecting of Serbia to hold on to these commitments,” RIA Novosti quoted Hahn as saying.

This was a radical change of position as just days earlier, after a meeting with Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic, Hahn assured the press that the EU was not asking Serbia to impose sanctions against Russia. Back then, the commissioner acknowledged that such decisions were a sovereign matter of the Serbian government and the sanctions and Serbian membership in the EU were in no way connected.

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

Algeria: EU Sponsoring Biggest Cultural Project in the Area

aim is to promote heritage, give technical support to the sector

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, NOVEMBER 17 — A major cooperation programme to support the preservation of cultural heritage in Algeria has been launched. It is the most important EU-funded project in this domain in the region.

According to the Enpi website (, the main objective of the “Support programme for the protection and enhancement of cultural heritage” is to promote cultural heritage as a key contributor to economic and human development and to contribute to its identification, protection and upgrading. The programme also aims also to strengthen capacities in the sector at both central and local level (methodological tools, equipment and training) and to bring technical support in terms of methods, management tools, and knowledge in terms of cultural goods inventory. The programme focuses on four areas of intervention: the improvement of inventory methodology, the creation of vocational training courses, the reinforcement of cross-industry management in the field, and the upgrading of cultural heritage.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Lebanon: EU Project Supports Clusters in Cultural Industry

assistance to cooperation and to create linkages with Med buyers

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, NOVEMBER 17 — A new project aiming to support cluster development in the Cultural and Creative Industries (CCI) in the southern Mediterranean has been presented in Beirut, Lebanon. The programme is funded by the European Union in the framework of the Private sector Development in the Southern Mediterranean Programme, with a contribution from the Italian Cooperation, and is implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO). According to the Enpi website (, two clusters in Lebanon will receive technical assistance in UNIDO’s “Clusters and Business Linkages Methodology”. They will also benefit from multi-faceted market access and marketing assistance and distribution, including the participation in international fairs. The objective of the project is to foster entrepreneurial co-operation in the cultural and creative industry notably through the promotion of promising pilot initiatives demonstrating contribution to inclusive growth. The project offers a unique approach: on the one hand, it will assist selected clusters in strengthening their cooperation for increased competitiveness; on the other hand, it will help cluster improve their product range based on their cultural heritage. Subsequently, strong measures will be put in place to accompany the clusters towards new markets, especially by creating linkages with buyers and distributors from both sides of the Mediterranean.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Egypt: Wadi Natrun: The Desert of Ascetics

Where pilgrims have sought refuge for centuries

(ANSAmed) — CAIRO, NOVEMBER 12 — Pilgrims travelling to the Orthodox Coptic monastery of Anba Bishoy, in Wadi Natrum (salt valley), will find Father Bejimi waiting for them.

“In the darkest time of the revolution that started in January 2011, though the road connecting Cairo to Alexandria was dangerous and constantly at the center of robberies and aggressions that ended in tragedy, pilgrims continued to arrive”, he said. “An unstoppable influx of people seeking protection and comfort”.

Of Eritrean origin, the priest has been living in the monastery in the Libyan desert for 20 years. It is one of four monasteries — together with the monasteries of Syrians and Romans and that of Saint Macarius — founded in the IV century, in an area where Egyptians extracted natron, a natural salt used for mummification.

It is in this arid valley, behind the high, honey-colored walls that monks find refuge, trying to get away from the mundane.

Monasticism started here before spreading to the West.

“This is one of the most sacred regions for Christianity”, said Father Bejimi. According to tradition, in this area the Holy Family stopped during its trip to Egypt. This is why Wadi Natrun has become part of a tourism route launched by Egyptian authorities to attract foreign visitors.

“Pilgrims arrive here by the thousands, in particular during festivities, between May and August. While foreigners do not exceed 1,000 a year”, he said.

There were once 60 monasteries here, monks abstain from food for over 210 days a year, and offer local products like bread, honey, olives, watermelons, figs, dates, eggplants and liquor to visitors who can stop overnight. Many, however, just spend the day.

With bare feet, seating on carpets, a missal in their hand, they pray inside churches built in the monastery complex.

“An oasis of peace, where protection can be sought in these terrible times experienced by the country”, continued the monk who tells the ancient story of these monasteries. They are completely self-sufficient, hosting true farms exceeding 4,000 hectares, as Anba Bishoy, where 220 monks live, including a ‘qsar’, a small fortification which thanks to a drawbridge enabled monks to seek refuge from invasions and devastation that until the 7th century affected the region.

Choosing to visit Wadi Natrun, as Father Bejimi recalls, means seeking to draw closer to this world made of simplicity and spirituality. There are no mosaics or breath-taking frescoes among these walls. The art made by Coptic monks, often living in extreme poverty, however includes small masterpieces such as bas-reliefs, paintings, manuscripts, codes, icons, wood caskets, painted fabrics.

Some of the frescoes and icons date back to the 7th century, decorating the main church dedicated to the Virgin close to the monastery of Syrians, the smallest of the four. As well as preserving the most important work of Coptic art after the year 1,000, Deir El Soriany is famous for its vast library (in the 19th century, 1,000 books were moved to the British Museum).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Egypt ‘Is at War Against Terrorism, And Italy Understands’

Minister tells ANSA on eve of president Sisi’s visit to Rome

(by Laurence Figà-Talamanca) (ANSAmed) — CAIRO, NOVEMBER 21 — “Egypt is at war (against terrorism) and must be able to choose its priorities”, Egypt’s Industry and Trade Minister, Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour, tells ANSA on the eve of the visit of President Abdel Fattah al Sisi to Rome and Paris.

The minister will accompany Sisi on his tour, along with three other cabinet members and a delegation of entrepreneurs.

“At this difficult and exceptional time, the priority is to fight terrorism, also at the expense of human rights”.

The visit has two main objectives: reassuring Italian investors over “changes and new laws enabling to create an environment that can attract investments in Egypt, where the growth rate in the last trimester was 6.8%”. But most of all, obtaining the “political support” of the rotating EU presidency “in confronting the threat of terrorism”, a danger which risks “to move on the other shore of the Mediterranean”.

After all, recalled Abdel Nour, “Italy was the first European country to understand what was happening in Egypt after June 30, 2013 (with the ouster of then-president Mohamed Morsi) and to take a position supporting the popular movement. Italy has a very positive attitude”.

Italian Premier Matteo Renzi was the first European leader to travel to Cairo last August, and Rome is the first leg of Sisi’s European tour, “and not just for geographic reasons”, noted the minister. “Ensuring cooperation and political support to Egypt is the minimum that can be done” given the threat posed by terrorism “across the region”, stressed the minister, instead of “launching accusations, like some countries in northern Europe that don’t understand or know the situation”.

The reference regarded accusations the Sisi government fails to respect human rights.

“Certainly, an activist is not necessarily a terrorist”, said the minister. “But when they mingle, things get dangerous”, claimed Adel Nour, who was born in a Coptic family and was a businessman before entering politics. “For example in universities (where dozens of students have been arrested since the start of the academic year), we do our best, but it’s hard to make a distinction between activists and terrorists. If we don’t act, they tell us we are weak, if we do we are accused of failing to respect human rights”. “But it is a transitional phase that will end with the last phase of the road map, legislative elections in the next few months”. The vote was originally scheduled in the fall but has been postponed to next spring.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

The ‘Caliphate’s’ Colonies: Islamic State’s Gradual Expansion Into North Africa

Chaos, disillusionment and oppression provide the perfect conditions for Islamic State. Currently, the Islamist extremists are expanding from Syria and Iraq into North Africa. Several local groups have pledged their allegiance.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

For Jerusalem’s Ultra Orthodox, Love is Work for Matchmakers

Families and rabbis organize weddings for young ultra-orthodox

(by Elisa Pinna and Nina Fabrizio) (ANSAmed) — ROME, NOVEMBER 21 — Despite current tensions, the tables of the bars of Jerusalem’s great hotels near the great synagogue, or ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Mea She’arim, are all occupied by very young Jewish couples. They are a little shy and awkward. The men have long curls that cascade from their temples and the pale faces of those who pass long hours studying the Torah; they are dressed in black with yarmulkes on their heads. The young women wear high-necked dresses, long skirts, and cover their hair with nets. For many of them, it is their first date, perhaps the first time they have met. The goal is to like each other and get married.

In the world of ultra-orthodox Jerusalem, a community that is constantly growing and that represents 30% of the urban population, marriage is usually organized by the families with the help of rabbis or special brokers, called shadcan in Hebrew, a local source told ANSAmed. Moreover, it is impossible for young Haredim (a word that means “those who tremble for fear of God”) to meet and fall in love in the course of everyday life. The segregation of the sexes is absolute in Mea She’arim and in other ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods of the Holy City. Boys and girls attend separate schools and must walk on different sidewalks. Casting a glance is unthinkable, holding hands in public even worse.

So the Haredi families turn to matchmakers, the shadchan, to find the right partner for their children. Among the ultra-Orthodox, marriage is celebrated at 18 to 19 years of age — little more than adolescence.

The shadchan examine their archives, and scrutinize theme sheet by sheet, analyzing the character of the candidates — especially their religious determination. When they find a prospective couple, they submit it to the parents.

Often without the knowledge of those directly affected, the families meet with the rabbi to work out the economic issues — who will buy or rent the house, who will pay the wedding expenses. If the families agree, an appointment is finally made that usually happens on Saturday or Sunday evening, at the tables of the bars of West Jerusalem. Candidates meet to the sound of the klezmer orchestras, and are entirely free to decide whether to marry or not. If the encounter triggers sparks of love, the wedding is quickly organized. Otherwise another blind date is arranged.

In Haredi families, the women are expected to bear many children and often work to support their husbands, who are completely devoted to religious study. Faith takes precedence over personal interests or domestic disagreements. However, among the 30% of couples in Israel who divorce each year, it is not rare to also find the ultra-orthodox. The rabbinate, is willing to annul a marriage for religious reasons, as happens in Italy with the Sacra Rota of the Vatican.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Antisemitism Hits New High in Turkey

Threats Against Turkish Jews, Expressions Of Admiration For Hitler, Calls For Jews To Be Sent To Concentration Camps; Jews Should Pay A ‘Special Tax’

Antisemitic incitement by Turkish government officials, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s oft-repeated statements that Israel is more barbaric than Hitler, and antisemitic accusations and threats by the media that support and promote Turkey’s AKP ruling party have fostered an upsurge in antisemitism in the country. A recent survey by Gonzo Insight, the Turkish polling institute, found that in just 24 hours, on July 17-18, 2014, 27,309 Turkish Twitter users sent 30,926 Turkish-language tweets in support of Hitler’s genocide against the Jews.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

As Quad Bike Squads Kill Up to 8 Jihadis Each Day… As Allies Prepare to Wipe is Off the Map

Daring raids by UK Special Forces leave 200 enemy dead in just four weeks

SAS troops with sniper rifles and heavy machine guns have killed hundreds of Islamic State extremists in a series of deadly quad-bike ambushes inside Iraq, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.

Defence sources indicated last night that soldiers from the elite fighting unit have eliminated ‘up to eight terrorists per day’ in the daring raids, carried out during the past four weeks.

Until now, it had been acknowledged only that the SAS was operating in a reconnaissance role in Iraq and was not involved in combat. But The Mail on Sunday has learned that small groups of soldiers are being dropped into IS territory in RAF Chinook helicopters — to take on the enemy.

Targets are identified by drones operated either from an SAS base or by the soldiers themselves on the ground, who use smaller devices.

The troops are also equipped with quad bikes — four-wheeled all-terrain vehicles that can have machine guns bolted on to a frame. They then seek out IS units and attack the terrorists using the element of surprise and under the cover of darkness…

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes [Return to headlines]

Bahrain’s First Post-Arab Spring Vote Boycotted by Shia Majority

Polling stations are open today. A second round of voting is set for next Saturday. Some 350,000 voters are eligible to cast their ballot in parliamentary and municipal elections. Al Wefaq and three other Shia groups are boycotting the vote, a “farce” that can only bolster Sunni domination.

Manama (AsiaNews/Agencies) — Bahrainis went to the polls today for the first legislative and municipal elections since protests broke out in February 2011.

Some 350,000 voters are eligible to cast their ballot between 8 am and 8 pm. A second round of voting is set for next Saturday. A total of 419 candidates are running, 266 in parliamentary elections and 153 for municipal councils.

Groups representing the country’s Shia majority announced they were boycotting the poll, dismissing the electoral process as a “farce” that would only benefit Sunni elites.

The main opposition party, Al Wefaq, and three other groups, which boycotted the elections, warned failure by the kingdom’s rulers to loosen their grip on power could trigger a surge in violence.

Local sources reported that polling stations are busy in Sunni areas, but streets in Shia areas are blocked.

Bahrain, a US ally supported by Riyadh, has been torn by protests since early 2011, following the outbreak of the Arab Spring in many countries in North Africa and the Middle East.

The country’s Shia majority is behind widespread dissent, demanding greater freedom and recognition from the Sunni-dominated authorities.

So fa however, the government has chosen to crack down violently, effectively nullifying attempts at a “national dialogue”.

For analysts and local political experts, the turnout will be a key factor. For the opposition, a low turnout means a defeat for the country’s rulers, making election results invalid.

Al-Wefaq chief Sheikh Ali Salman expects a maximum turnout of 30 per cent, saying the boycott stems from “the people’s demand for democratic reforms”.

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

Cars During the Day, Rock at Night at Abu Dhabi GP

Tickets sold out and yachts with view of Formula 1 race

(ANSAmed) — NAPLES, NOVEMBER 21 — While reflecting on its current crisis and its future, Formula One is gearing up for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in the United Arab Emirates over the weekend as luxury, speed and fun will put difficulties experienced by the queen of motor sporting events in the backdrop.

Cars started trying the Yas Marina circuit, about half an hour from Abu Dhabi, on Friday. The circuit is right in front of the port where many huge yachts will be able to watch the race from a privileged position. The GP is far from cheap, with the cost of a three-day package ranging from 570 to 1,200 dollars.

Tickets, however, are all sold out.

Overall 125,000 people will watch the Grand Prix with over half coming from abroad.

A round of collateral events are also included in the price.

Each night, Abu Dhabi will celebrate the Grand Prix with a performance. The first night yesterday was dedicated to Arab music with a huge park in the circuit area hosting Egyptian music and film star Tamer Hosny, Lebanese actress and singer Carole Samaha, Emirati singer Faiz Al Saeed and Mohammed Assaf, the Palestinian singer who became fanous with the TV program “Arab Idol”.

Tonight will see the performance of DJ Armin Va Buuren while tomorrow Pharrel Williams will star. The WHO will close the event on Sunday with the group choosing the UAE for their “WHO Hits 50 Tour”.

Another major attraction is the Ferrari World, the largest covered theme park offering everything a Ferrari fan can dream of.

The Formula One’s crisis will not be an issue in the sunny emirate which has just signed an agreement with the motor event to renew the contract once it expires in 2016.

And the race has acquainted with Abu Dhabi and the Arab Emirates tens of millions of people between those who come here and people who follow the race on TV, Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak told the website “Sport360”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Hashtags and Holy War: Islamic State Tweets Its Way to Success

In an interview, Ali Soufan, the former FBI agent who was a key figure in the arrest of the mastermind behind al-Qaida’s 9/11 attacks, discusses Islamic State’s massively successful social media strategy and serious errors made in the war against terror.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Italian Luxury Interiors on Home Design Opens in Dubai

Growing sector, Italy UAE’s 2nd top trade partner in sector

(ANSAmed) — DUBAI, NOVEMBER 19 — The Italian Luxury Interiors exhibition opened on Wednesday in Dubai. The event showcases 24 of Italy’s top enterprises in the sector with a focus on furniture, lighting and decorations including textiles and mosaics. It was organized by the Italian Institute for Foreign Trade (ICE) under the auspices of the Italian embassy and in collaboration with the National Confederation of the Craft Sector and Small and Medium Enterprises (CNA) and Confartigianato, under the artistic supervision of Artez. Italy’s ambassador to the UAE, Giorgio Starace, told ANSA that “this show is the latest part of an ‘offensive’ that Italy is conducting, from the various industrial sectors — such as construction, against a backdrop of the Big 5 underway in Dubai, where Italy is the top nation with some 400 enterprises — to refined, high-class products of a limited edition if not one-of-a-kind offered by Italian Luxury Interiors.” Reliability and quality of ‘Made in Italy’ goods has resulted in “highly encouraging growth” in the area, said Ambassador Starace, whose words are corroborated by ICE data. In lighting and furniture, noted the director of ICE’s Dubai office, Ferdinando Fiore, “Italy is the second top trade partner of the UAE, with exports totaling 200 million euros.” The entire market of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries — Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, the UAE and Oman — is very solid and boasts annual turnover of some 6.6 billion dollars. Top importer is the UAE, followed by Saudi Arabia. The event includes seminars on how Italian interior design combines tradition and innovation, in collaboration with the European Institute of Design in Rome. The two cycles of meetings cover the evolution of the concept of ‘home’ in Italy and will target architecture students at the American University of Dubai.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Joe Biden to Try Talking Turkey’s Erdogan Into Fighting IS

US Vice-President Joe Biden is set to meet Turkish Head of State Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the second day of his three-day visit to the country.

Washington is now intending to ask Ankara to increase its involvement in the fight against the Sunni militant group called Islamic State (IS).

Biden already met Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Friday, with the two officials confirming the long-lasting, “deep-rooted” friendship of their countries and their alliance within NATO.

Their talks also resulted in a White House statement reading that the US and Turkey would continue to support the moderate opposition in Syria and the Iraqi forces in their push to drive off IS.

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu at the same time spoke of rapprochement between the two countries in terms of their position on the developments in Iraq and Syria.

The meeting with Erdogan will have Turkey’s role in the fight against IS as a key issue on the agenda.

The position of Turkey as a transit hub for foreign jihadis which enter into the ranks of IS using the country’s territory is also an issue of concern.

Turkey is demanding that the US-led coalition against the extremists stage an operation to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad as a prerequisite to join efforts on the ground.

Ankara also says a no-fly zone should be imposed over Syria.

The country is struggling to deal with the aftermath of a thousands-strong refugee flow from neighboring Syria and Iraq which started during Syria’s civil war and mounted with the IS offensive in the two countries.

It is estimated that about 1.6 million refugees are currently based in Turkey.

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

Mother Defies Jihadists, Takes Daughter Home From Raqqa

The girl left to marry militant, now on trial in the Netherlands

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS — A Dutch woman, a practicing Catholic, reportedly donned the Islamic veil to save her 19-year-old daughter. She travelled to Raqqa, the ‘capital’ of the Islamic State, so she could take her back home, according to Dutch press reports. A few months before, after converting to radical Islam, the teenager disappeared and then flew to Syria to marry a mujaheddin.

So the mother, Monique, challenged ISIS to save her.

The two women are now safe and sound in Maastricht, where the young woman — who had adopted the name Aisha after converting to Islam — appeared before judges to face charges of “terrorism” and “threatening the security of the State”, local Dutch media report.

According to the reports, young Aisha had reached Syria to marry one of the 130 jihadists believed to have left the Netherlands to fight for ISIS.

The 19-year-old reportedly fell in love with a former soldier, identified as Omar Yilmaz, who has been fighting in Syria against Assad for months now, by watching television.

“She saw him as a sort of Robin Hood”, said the mother. So she decided to look for him on social media and, once she found him, she decided to join him to get married.

But Dutch tabloid Algmeen Dagblad (Ad) said something went wrong, the wedding plan was scrapped, and the girl was in danger. She contacted her mother from Syria.

Monique thus left for Turkey last week, and said she crossed the border and was able to meet her daughter in Raqqa to bring her back home through Turkey. However, some have questioned this account: Roger Bos, a prosecutor, told Dutch TV he believes the mother never entered Syria and probably waited for her daughter at the border.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Syrian Christians: ‘Help us to Stay — Stop Arming Terrorists’

Outgoing artillery shook St Elias church as the priest reached the end of the Lord’s Prayer.

The small congregation kept their eyes on the pulpit, kneeling when required and trying to ignore the regular thuds that rattled the stained glass windows above them.

Home to one of the oldest Christian communities in the world, the hard to reach Syrian agricultural town of Izraa has stood the comings and goings of many empires over the centuries.

But as the country’s civil war creeps closer, it is threatening to force the town’s Christians into permanent exile: never to return, they fear.

“I have been coming to this church since I was born,” said Afaf Azam, 52. “But now the situation is very bad. Everyone is afraid. Jihadists control villages around us.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

The Not-So-Islamic State: ISIS’ Huge Debt to the Infidel

Ever since its emergence a few months ago, the declared ambition of the startup caliphate of the Islamic State has been to “wipe out every trace of Infidel influence” in areas under its control.

Yet, with each passing day, it becomes more clear that, its deadly fantasies notwithstanding, the IS can’t escape from a world created and dominated by the Infidel.

Start with the name that the IS, or Daesh in Arabic, has chosen for itself: ad-dawlat al-Islamiyah, or “Islamic Government.”

The concepts of “state” and “government” are entirely Western, not adopted by Muslim peoples until the 19th century. The very words “state” and “government” are never mentioned in the Quran.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

U.S. Plans to Arm Iraq’s Sunni Tribesmen With AK-47s, RPGs, Mortars

(Reuters) — The United States plans to buy arms for Sunni tribesmen in Iraq including AK-47s, rocket-propelled grenades and mortar rounds to help bolster the battle against Islamic State militants in Anbar province, according to a Pentagon document prepared for Congress.

The plan to spend $24.1 million represents a small fraction of the larger, $1.6 billion spending request to Congress focusing on training and arming Iraqi and Kurdish forces.

But the document underscored the importance the Pentagon places on the Sunni tribesmen to its overall strategy to diminish Islamic State, and cautioned Congress about the consequences of failing to assist them.

“Not arming tribal fighters will continue to leave anti-ISIL tribes reluctant to actively counter ISIL,” the document said, using another acronym for the group which has seized control of large parts of Syrian and Iraq and is gaining territory in Anbar despite three months of U.S.-led air strikes.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Fresh Concerns Over Thailand’s King Bhumibol’s Health

King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand has failed to appear for a scheduled event, raising fresh concern about his health.

On Friday, the 86-year-old monarch was due to preside over the confirmation of two ministers appointed by PM Prayuth Chan-ocha, a former general who seized power in a coup in May.

However the ministers were told that King Bhumibol was unable to meet them.

The ailing king has been staying at a hospital in Bangkok following an operation last month.

His health is a sensitive issue in Thailand.

Any discussion about the royal succession is tightly constrained by a stringent lese-majeste law.

Bhumibol, the world’s longest-reigning monarch, has been on the throne for 67 years.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

India is the World’s Largest Arms Importer. It Aims to be a Big Weapons Dealer, Too.

NEW DELHI — For more than a decade, India shopped around the world in search of a deal for more than $1 billion worth of helicopters to replace about 200 of its military’s aging light-utility aircraft.

But in August, the new national­ist government surprised many when it abruptly scrapped the request for global bids to buy the helicopters in favor of manufacturing them in India instead.

India is the world’s largest buyer of weapons, accounting for 14 percent of global arms imports, almost three times as many as China.

Over the next seven years, India is likely to spend more than $130 billion importing arms, officials say, to upgrade its understocked, Soviet-era arsenal with modern weapon systems.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

ISIS Popular in Pakistan

Across Pakistan, the black standard of the Islamic State has been popping up all over.

From urban slums to Taliban strongholds, the militant group’s logo and name have appeared in graffiti, posters and pamphlets. Last month, a cluster of militant commanders declared their allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-proclaimed caliph of the Islamic State.

Such is the influence of the Islamic State’s steamroller success in Iraq and Syria that, even thousands of miles away, security officials and militant networks are having to reckon with the group, also known as ISIS or ISIL.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Thai Authorities Want Two US Citizens for Stealing Human Remains From a Hospital

A local DHL depot discovers three parcels with the remains of an infant and a pierced heart. Two Americans were trying to ship the items to some friends as a “joke”. After they were questioned, the two were released and are now thought to be in Cambodia. Police now believe the items were stolen, and want to arrest the men.

Bangkok (AsiaNews/Agencies) — Thai police say they are seeking two US citizens over the suspected theft of body parts — including a baby’s head and an adult’s heart — from a hospital.

The suspects were initially detained last Saturday afternoon, after staff at the DHL depot discovered three parcels with human remains bound for the United States.

The men were freed after saying they had bought the items at a market to give to friends as a joke.

Thai authorities now believe the fugitives to be in neighbouring Cambodia.

According to Deputy National Police Chief Ruangsak Jaritake, the body parts were “stolen from one of the big hospitals” in Bangkok’s Thonburi neighbourhood.

“It is a famous hospital,” he said. “But we are still looking for clearer evidence.”

Police named one of the Americans as controversial video maker Ryan McPherson, notorious for making violent exploitative videos a decade ago about homeless men.

One of the macabre parcels reportedly had a baby’s head, a baby’s foot sliced into three parts, an adult heart with a stab wound, and pieces of adult human skin with tattoos.

The items were in five plastic containers filled with preserving fluid, packed into three packages.

Police told media they had to release the men, as they had no grounds to prosecute them.

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

Korean Unification Could Cost “$500 Billion”

Without “reliable data on North Korea’s financial and economic situations,” unification could create a shock as big as the collapse of Lehman Brothers, South Korea’s Financial Services Commission chief says. However, for South Korea, unification could be an economic “bonanza” as it combines its capital and technology with the North’s labour and natural resources. The Catholic Church fears instead that North Korean workers might become “modern slaves, underpaid and marginalised”.

Seoul (AsiaNews) — The reunification of the Korean peninsula could cost about “$ 500 billion”. However, the lack of “reliable data on North Korea’s financial and economic situations” makes it hard to estimate the real cost. Unification is thus a baseless hope.

South Korea’s economy is 43-times bigger than North Korea’s, this according to the South Korea’s Financial Services Commission’s calculations.

By comparison, the West German economy was 10-times larger than East Germany’s when the Berlin Wall fell.

West Germany went on to spend some US $2 trillion rebuilding the East, some estimates show.

President Park Geun Hye said early this year that unification could be an economic “bonanza” as South Korea could combine its capital and technology with the North’s labor and natural resources.

Many analysts disagree. Even the Catholic Church has doubts about it because North Koreans could end up as “modern slaves” working in southern-controlled plants, “underpaid and marginalised by society.

With Kim Jong-Un consolidating power after a series of bloody purges and the two countries periodically exchanging fire over one of the world’s most fortified borders, there is little sign that unification will happen anytime soon.

Shin Je Yoon, the Financial Services Commission’s chief, said he is embarrassed about the unreliability of its calculations, using a photo of the open sea at a conference to illustrate how speculative they are.

“We’ve no reliable data on North Korea’s financial and economic situations,” Shin said. “We’ve long been singing about our wish for unification, yet we’ve no real master plan should unification actually happen.”

As long as things remain unchanged, sudden unification could instead create a shock as big as the collapse of Lehman Brothers, he added.

The process could weaken South Korea’s public finances, put pressure on the won and raise borrowing costs, this according to Hong Jung Hye, a Seoul-based fixed income analyst at Shinyoung Securities Co.

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

Kenya Bus Killings Claimed by Somali Group Al-Shabab

Gunmen from the Somali militant group al-Shabab say they have attacked a bus in northern Kenya, killing 28 people.

The bus was travelling to the capital, Nairobi, when it was stopped in Mandera county, not far from the Somali border.

Gunmen separated out non-Muslims by asking passengers to read from the Koran, officials and witnesses said. Those who failed were then shot in the head.

Al-Shabab has carried out a series of attacks in Kenya since 2011.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Somali Islamists Execute 28 Non-Muslims on Kenyan Bus

(Reuters) — The Somali Islamist militant group al Shabaab said it had staged an attack in Kenya on Saturday in which gunmen ordered non-Muslims off a bus and shot 28 dead, while sparing Muslim passengers.

Three of the group led out to be killed saved their lives by reciting verses of the Koran for the militants, a local security official said.

Al Shabaab said its men had ambushed the Nairobi-bound bus outside the town of Mandera, near Kenya’s border with Somalia and Ethiopia, and killed the non-Muslims in retaliation for raids on mosques in the city of Mombasa.

[Return to headlines]

Somalia’s Al-Shabab Claims Kenya Bus Attack

Islamist militants from the group Al-Shabab have claimed responsibility for a deadly attack near the Kenya-Somalia border. The group singled out non-Muslims and executed them.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

WHO: Plague Outbreak Kills 40 in Madagascar

A bubonic plague outbreak has killed 40 people in Madagascar. The WHO warns there is a risk the disease could spread rapidly in the capital Antananarivo, where there is high population density and poor sanitation.

The UN health agency said at least 119 cases of infection had been confirmed across the Indian Ocean island nation since the first plague victim was diagnosed in late August.

So far, two cases and one death have been recorded in the Madagascan capital Antananarivo.

“There is now a risk of a rapid spread of the disease due to the city’s high population density and the weakness of the healthcare system,” the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a statement released on Friday.

The agency warned that fleas in Madagasca were showing a “high level of resistance” to the insecticide deltamethrin, creating major problems for authorities who were attempting to contain the outbreak with fumigations.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Ecuador ‘Guarantees’ Assange Asylum

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was on Friday guaranteed political asylum by Ecuador for “as long as necessary,” one day after he lost an appeal against a Swedish warrant for his arrest.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Ecuador Will Protect Assange “As Long as Necessary”

Ecuador has guaranteed political asylum to Julian Assange for “as long as necessary”, a vow that comes a day after a Swedish court upheld an arrest warrant for the Wikileaks founder.

Assange fears extradition to Sweden could lead to him being transferred to the United States to face trial over Wikileaks’ publication of classified US military and diplomatic documents.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Teeth and Bones: Mass Abduction Reveals a Decaying Mexican State

Most murders don’t even make the front page in Mexico anymore. But the recent abduction of 43 students has infuriated the country. The story has exposed the tight relationship between politics, law enforcement and organized crime. And it shows how weak the state has become.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

US Embassy in Mexico: Defer Non-Essential Travel to Acapulco

As Mexico continues to be the center of daily protests across the nation, the U.S. Embassy issued a travel advisory on Friday evening warning tourists to avoid non-essential travel to the famous resort town of Acapulco.

The outrage over the announcement of the murders and the overall insecurity in Mexico led to thousands of protesters to take to the streets daily demanding answers and the resignation of Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Hillary Clinton Calls President Obama’s Immigration Action Necessary, ‘Historic’

Hillary Clinton made her first public comments on President Obama’s immigration order Friday night at a ritzy event at a hotel in New York City, saying it was necessary in the face of House inaction and that “this is about people’s lives.”

“This is about people, I would venture to guess, who served us tonight, who prepared the food tonight” and those who end up in jobs like day-laboring, Clinton said during a question-and-answer session with writer Walter Isaacson at a New York Historical Society event at the Mandarin Oriental hotel at the Time Warner Center.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Hirsi Ali Slams Feminism’s ‘Trivial BS’

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a harsh critic of Islam’s treatment of women, said Wednesday that modern American feminism is focused on “trivial bull****” and needs to be reclaimed.

Speaking at the Independent Women’s Forum Women of Valor dinner, where she received an award for courage, Hirsi Ali reminded her audience of how far feminism has strayed from its original purpose.

“I want you to remember that once upon a time, feminists fought for the access — basic right — access of girls to education,” she said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Polish Town Bans ‘Hermaphrodite’ Winnie the Pooh Because of ‘Dubious Sexuality’

Polish authorities have banned Winnie the Pooh as a mascot of a children’s playground, saying he is “half-naked” and has “dubious sexuality” that is “inappropriate” for children.

The discussion on who should be patron of the playground in the Polish city of Tuszyn has sparked hot debates. The meeting was so furious that an unnamed official decided to record it and later leaked it to the local press. The most conservative part of the city council said Winnie had a bad influence upon children.

“The problem with that bear is it doesn’t have a complete wardrobe. It is half naked, which is wholly inappropriate for children,” councilor Ryszard Cichy said, and comparing Winnie-the-Pooh with a Polish traditional bear. “Ours is dressed from head to toe, unlike Pooh who is only dressed from the waist up.”

“It doesn’t wear underpants because it doesn’t have a sex. It’s a hermaphrodite,” added another official.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Students of Death: Euthanasia Doctors Seek Existential Answers at Auschwitz

A group of Belgium’s leading practitioners of euthanasia recently visited the Auschwitz concentration camp memorial to learn more about death and humanity. The trip proved to be just as controversial for the doctors as it did insightful.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Hydrogen May Prove Fuel of the Future

Will the most common molecule in the universe make for pollution-free cars?

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

3 thoughts on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 11/22/2014

  1. Re: An Ill-Timed Interfaith Gathering at Jewish Theological Seminary in Manhattan

    If Prof. Burton Visotsky had thought to lead the participants in the mourner’s Kaddish for the four murdered rabbis and the Druze policeman, he, no doubt, would have been inclined to be inclusive and have the moslems say a prayer for the murdering cousins from Jabel Mukaber in eastern (not “East) Jerusalem! He might have invited diplomat from the Jordanian consulate for that purpose. (related: )

    Better, then, for there to have been no mention of the murdered men of Har Nof. It prevents further egregious error and embarrassment to the JTS.

  2. Re: Quad Bike Squads Kill Jihadis. If true, this makes me proud to be British, which doesn’t happen too often these days.

    Re: Venice to Ban Wheeled Suitcases (yes, I know it’s trivial). I took my wheeled suitcase to Venice last year, so I apologise to the residents; I recommend arriving there by train, as you come out of the station straight onto the Grand Canal. The Water Buses have signs telling people to remove their backpacks- only place I’ve seen this, but it should be universal; wearing backpacks in a crowded public space is selfish and a pain in the ass for others.

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