Gates of Vienna News Feed 11/24/2014

The grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri has made its long-awaited decision. As expected, it declined to indict police officer Darren Wilson for the shooting death of a teenager named Mike Brown. To protest the decision, demonstrators took to the streets in front of police headquarters, throwing objects at riot-control police, vandalizing police cars, smashing windows, looting, shooting guns, and setting fires.

In other news, Chuck Hagel has resigned his position as Secretary of Defense in the Obama administration. His decision to leave was reportedly made under pressure, and was a result of disagreements over how to conduct the war against the Islamic State.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Caroline Glick, Fjordman, Gaia, Insubria, K, 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
» Fitch Affirms Greek Rating at ‘B’, Outlook Stable
» Italian Bonds Set New Record-Low Yields
» Italy: Trade Surplus at Highest Level Since 1993, Says ISTAT
» College Student in Custody After Texas Military Post Lockdown
» College Student Detained in Fort Sam Houston Lockdown, Had No Explosives in Car
» Creepy Deep-Sea Anglerfish Captured in Rare Video
» Ferguson Protests Small But Growing Amid Din of Car Horns, Drum
» Fort Sam Houston Terror Scare: Saudi Man ‘Driving Car Laden With Explosives’ Forces Base Into Lockdown
» Hagel Said to be Stepping Down as Defense Chief Under Pressure
» No Indictment for Ferguson Officer
» Protesters Throwing Objects at Police, Reports of Looting Following Grand Jury Decision
» Saudi National Detained at Fort Sam Houston
» Smoke, Pepper Spray Deployed Into Ferguson Crowd
» Suspect in Fort Sam Houston Lockdown Released
» U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to Step Down Says NYT
Europe and the EU
» Cat “Yusuf” Stevens is Back
» First Italian Ebola Patient to Land in Rome Early Tuesday
» Italy: Some 1,200 Toxic Toys Seized in Trentino
» Italy: Delrio ‘Concerned’ By Landini’s Warning on AST Plant Deal
» Italy: Fitto Calls for ‘Renewal’ After FI Electoral Defeat
» Italy: M5S Fails to Win One Calabria Seat, Support Falls From May
» Italy: Prosecutor Wants to Drop Pinotti Flight Case
» Italy: Renzi Undaunted by Northern League Rise
» Italy: Car Insurance Comparison Websites Accused of Misconduct
» Six Out of 10 Spanish Youths Plan to Move Abroad to Find a Job, Study Finds
» UK: 6 Muslim Schools “Inadequate” For Focus on Islam at Expense of Other Subjects
» UK: Political Correctness Really Has Gone Mad: Multicultural Christmas Jumper Goes on Sale That Represents Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism and Atheism
» UK: Sharia Law Guidelines Abandoned as Law Society Apologises
North Africa
» Egypt: The Forbidden Love of Interfaith Romances
» Libya: Ansar Al-Sharia Benghazi HQ Destroyed, Say Sources
» Libya: ‘Logistics Aid From Egypt But No Soldiers’, Haftar
Israel and the Palestinians
» Anti-Arab Song ‘Ahmad’ Sparks Outcry
Middle East
» Caroline Glick: Iran’s No China
» Deadline for Iran Nuclear Deal Extended Until July
» French Jihadist Quit ISIS Because He Couldn’t Handle Not Smoking
» ISIS Syria News: Islamic State ‘Massacres’ Foreign Fighters Who Wanted to Go Home
» ISIS: NGO Reports Attack on Wells Near Homs
» Islamic State Recruiting, Exploiting Children in Syria and Iraq as Spies, Fighters
» Protect Persecuted Christians in Iraq, Says Bishop
» Turkey: Women’s Equality With Men ‘Against Nature’, Erdogan
» Chess Grandmaster is So Good He Doesn’t Even Need to Stay Awake During Matches
» Oil Price Slide and Sanctions ‘Cost Russia $140bn’
South Asia
» Afghanistan: Haqqani Network Responsible for Suicide Bombing, Says NDS
Far East
» South China Sea: Beijing Builds a New Island, With Naval and Air Base
» Over 600 Mediterranean Boat Migrants Rescued
» Syrian Refugees Go on Hunger Strike in Front of Greek Parliament
» Is Dark Energy Gobbling Dark Matter, And Slowing Universe’s Expansion?
» Regin, New Computer Spyware, Discovered by Symantec

Fitch Affirms Greek Rating at ‘B’, Outlook Stable

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, NOVEMBER 24 — Fitch Ratings affirmed Greece’s long-term foreign and local currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs) at ‘B’ and its outlook as stable. The rating in May was ‘B-’. However, as GreekReporter website says, the rating will drop if the country goes to premature elections without clear results or negotiations with the Troika of international creditors will not reach an agreement.

According to Fitch, the Greek state budget is on track to meet its 2014 objective and that the country’s funding needs for the next six months are fully covered. Also, the report said that negotiations with the international lenders could be extended into 2015. Fitch noted that Greece managed a “remarkable budgetary adjustment” and forecasted GDP growth from 0.5% in 2014 to 2.5% in 2015. The primary surplus measure used under the Troika program is forecast by Fitch at 1.5% of GDP this year. Also, following October’s stress tests, Greek banks need no further capital. Greece is running a current account surplus of 1% of GDP as a result of reduced imports, a rise in tourism revenue and a significant step-up in net EU transfers.

The most painful phase of Greece’s adjustment is over, but the country needs to maintain fiscal discipline and a sustained recovery in growth in order to reach the 4% primary surplus target. Fitch warned of the risk that the next government to emerge from snap elections may not be as committed to economic and fiscal reforms. Potential political upheaval in Greece in conjunction with a weakening growth outlook in the Eurozone countries represent downside risks to these forecasts.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italian Bonds Set New Record-Low Yields

Markets anticipate ECB will buy sovereign paper

(ANSA) — Rome, November 24 — Italy’s benchmark 10-year bond posted a record-low yield in early trading Monday, reaching 2.18% amid market speculation that the European Central Bank may soon begin buying sovereign paper.

The 10-year BTP began to fall Friday after ECB President Mario Draghi warned that economic prospects for the eurozone looked bleak, hinting at even more action from the central bank to try to boost sagging inflation by encouraging growth.

The spread between Italy’s benchmark bond and its German counterpart, often seen as an indication of confidence in the Italian economy, narrowed to 140 basis points from Friday’s close of 144 basis points. The ECB has taken a number of other measures to try to stimulate eurozone economies, including the purchase of asset-backed securities and offering record-low loans to commercial banks.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Trade Surplus at Highest Level Since 1993, Says ISTAT

October imports/exports with non-EU countries down 1.2%

(ANSA) — Rome, November 24 — Italy’s trade surplus in October reached its highest level since January 1993, at 4.03 billion euros, an increase of 2.8 billion euros compared to October 2013, said national statistics bureau Istat in a preliminary estimate released on Monday.

Exports to and imports from non-EU countries fell 1.2% in October.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

College Student in Custody After Texas Military Post Lockdown

SAN ANTONIO (Reuters) — A male college student has been taken into custody for driving an unauthorized vehicle onto San Antonio’s Fort Sam Houston on Sunday night, sparking a lockdown and a full security alert, officials said on Monday.

The San Antonio area man, who has not been identified, was alone in his car when military police pulled him over after a brief pursuit. He had no weapons or explosives in his vehicle, said Joint Base San Antonio spokesman Alex Delgado.

“He will remain in custody until the OSI (Office of Special Investigations) completes its investigation,” Delgado said, adding that no formal charges had yet been filed.

Fort Sam Houston, which sprawls across northeast San Antonio, includes the largest Department of Defense hospital in North America.

It is also the headquarters of several significant commands, including U.S. Army North, U.S. Army South, and the U.S. Army Installation Command.

The lockdown lasted for 3-1/2 hours. Delgado said everything was operating normally on the post on Monday.

Fort Sam Houston is a highly secure facility with guards posted at all vehicle entrances.

[Return to headlines]

College Student Detained in Fort Sam Houston Lockdown, Had No Explosives in Car

SAN ANTONIO — Officials with Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston have detained a “local” college student following a lockdown at Fort Sam Houston on Sunday.

502nd Air Base Wing spokesman Alex Delgado said Monday that officials are not currently releasing the student’s name, race, age or other identifying information, but said he attends or attended a “local” college.

Two Joint Base San Antonio officials — Delgado and Todd White, director of public affairs — told the San Antonio Express-News Monday that officials did not find explosives or weapons in the man’s vehicle Sunday night, contrary to some media reports that indicated the man was a “Saudi national” with explosives in his car.

Todd White, director of public affairs with Joint Base San Antonio, said a suspicious vehicle was searched, but “there was nothing in it.”

White said he could not discuss details about the suspect while the incident remains under investigation.

Other outlets, including KCEN-TV in Central Texas, have reported the man is a Saudi national.

Both Delgado and White declined to confirm the man’s nationality.

The lockdown ran from 5:30 p.m. to around 9 p.m. Sunday night after a “suspicious vehicle” was reported to authorities.

[Return to headlines]

Creepy Deep-Sea Anglerfish Captured in Rare Video

An underwater robot exploring the deep seas captured the first video footage ever of a creepy-looking anglerfish — a creature that looks so menacing it is sometimes called the “black seadevil.”

Researchers from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) were using a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to explore the Monterey Canyon ocean trench, a steep seafloor canyon in California that extends about 95 miles (153 kilometers) into the Pacific Ocean.

The robotic sub came across the anglerfish around 1,968 feet (600 meters) below the surface. The researchers used the ROV to take pictures and video of the anglerfish, and then captured the deep-sea creature and brought it back to MBARI for closer study.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Ferguson Protests Small But Growing Amid Din of Car Horns, Drum

FERGUSON, Mo. (Reuters) — Honking horns and banging a metal bucket, a small but growing group of protesters awaited Monday’s grand jury decision, swarming the Ferguson Police Department and meeting briefly with the father of slain black teen Michael Brown.

Mike Brown Sr., whose unarmed son was killed by a white police officer on Aug. 9, slowed down in a car to chat with demonstrators after hearing that the secret panel had reached a decision on whether to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the Aug. 9 shooting.

Protester Byron Conley, father of a teen son, said he spoke with Brown about the pain of losing a child and “spending a holiday like Thanksgiving without your son. I could tell what he’s going through.”

In New York, civil rights activist the Rev. Al Sharpton called a 9:15 p.m. press conference in Harlem, saying he would join the Brown family in Ferguson on Tuesday to again address the media.

Tensions have been mounting over the highly anticipated decision, which officials fear could touch off a repeat of last summer’s violence and property destruction in the predominantly black suburb of 21,000 people.

[Return to headlines]

Fort Sam Houston Terror Scare: Saudi Man ‘Driving Car Laden With Explosives’ Forces Base Into Lockdown

A US army base in Texas was placed under lockdown after a Saudi man allegedly tried to access the facility in a car laden with explosives.

The 502nd Air Base Wing in San Antonio was closed off for four hours on Sunday [23 November] before officials deemed it safe to resume normal operations, a spokesman told KSAT-TV.

The lockdown was imposed at 1730 CST (2330 GMT) due a Saudi national allegedly driving a car towards the base. KENS-TV said it saw the driver try to pass through the perimeter gate without stopping.

Some US reports, citing military officials, said that the car contained explosive materials.

Military officials have yet to announce whether the driver is still in custody, and have not commented on whether charges will be, or have been, filed. The authorities have not called the event an act of terrorism.

The nearest civil law enforcement unit, the Bexar County Sheriff’s Department, announced earlier on Twitter that the military police were handling the case and that it had no units assigned to the situation.

[Return to headlines]

Hagel Said to be Stepping Down as Defense Chief Under Pressure

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is stepping down under pressure, the first cabinet-level casualty of the collapse of President Obama’s Democratic majority in the Senate and a beleaguered national security team that has struggled to stay ahead of an onslaught of global crises.

The president, who is expected to announce Mr. Hagel’s resignation in a Rose Garden appearance on Monday, made the decision to ask his defense secretary — the sole Republican on his national security team — to step down last Friday after a series of meetings over the past two weeks, senior administration officials said.

The officials described Mr. Obama’s decision to remove Mr. Hagel, 68, as a recognition that the threat from the Islamic State would require a different kind of skills than those that Mr. Hagel was brought on to employ. A Republican with military experience who was skeptical about the Iraq war, Mr. Hagel came in to manage the Afghanistan combat withdrawal and the shrinking Pentagon budget in the era of budget sequestration.

[Return to headlines]

No Indictment for Ferguson Officer

FERGUSON, Mo. — A white police officer will not face charges for fatally shooting an unarmed black teenager in a case that set off violent protests and racial unrest throughout the nation.

A St. Louis County grand jury declined to indict officer Darren Wilson, 28, for firing six shots in an August confrontation that killed 18-year-old Michael Brown, St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch said Monday night.

The decision had been long awaited and followed rioting that resembled war-zone news footage in this predominantly black suburb of St. Louis.

Prosecutor McCullough made the announcement in an unusual nighttime presentation in a courtroom. He spoke at length about media coverage of the case and what he called the unreliability of eyewitness accounts. He said the grand jury weighed evidence and testimony before concluding there was no probable cause to indict the officer.

“The duty of the grand jury is to separate fact from fiction,” McCulloch said.

He said prosecuting attorneys presented five potential indictments to the grand jury, and all were rejected…

[Return to headlines]

Protesters Throwing Objects at Police, Reports of Looting Following Grand Jury Decision

FERGUSON, Mo. (CBS St. Louis/AP) — A grand jury has decided not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown, the unarmed, black 18-year-old whose fatal shooting sparked weeks of sometimes-violent protests.

St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch announced the decision Monday evening. A grand jury of nine whites and three blacks had been meeting weekly since Aug. 20 to consider evidence. The panel met for 70 hours and heard from 60 witnesses.

McCulloch stressed that the grand jurors were “the only people who heard every witness … and every piece of evidence.” He said many witness presented conflicting statements that ultimately were inconsistent with the physical evidence.

“These grand jurors poured their hearts and soul into this process,” he said.

As McCulloch was reading his statement, a crowd gathered around a car from which it was being broadcast on a stereo. When the decision was announced, Michael Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden, who was sitting atop the car, burst into tears and began screaming before being whisked away by supporters.

The crowd erupted in anger, converging on the barricade where police in riot gear were standing. They pushed down the barricade and began pelting police with items, including a bullhorn. Police stood their ground…

[Return to headlines]

Saudi National Detained at Fort Sam Houston

According to Military Officials, the man that drove through the gate at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio was a Saudi National.

Military officials say explosive materials were reportedly found in his car.

The unidentified man was taken into custody and officials are still trying to determine his motive.

Military officials are not calling this an attempted terrorist attack.

(KCEN) — Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio was put on lockdown Sunday evening, officials said.

A desk sergeant, who declined to give his name citing department policy, confirmed the lockdown at the Army post. He gave no reason.

KCEN’s sister station, KENS-TV reported that a driver was in custody after driving through a gate at the base without stopping, triggering a manhunt.

The Bexar County Sheriff’s Department said on Twitter that the lockdown was being handled by military police, and the sheriff’s department had no units assigned to the case. The base public affairs office did not immediately respond to telephone and email requests for information.

Reports on Twitter said cars were being prevented from entering or leaving the base.

According to the city of San Antonio’s website, the base was established in 1910 — the ninth-oldest Army installation in the country. Fort Sam Houston now encompasses 3,000 acres and is home of military medicine and part of Joint Base San Antonio.

The base was placed on lockdown around 6:30 p.m. CT. The base is home to the 502nd Force Support Group and is named for the first president of the Republic of Texas

As part of Joint Base San Antonio, Fort Sam Houston contains more than 900 historic buildings representing different construction eras. It was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1975, according to the installation’s website.

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes [Return to headlines]

Smoke, Pepper Spray Deployed Into Ferguson Crowd

FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) — St. Louis County Police say officers have used smoke and pepper spray to disperse crowds near the Ferguson Police Department after some protesters smashed the windows of a police car and threw rocks and other items at authorities.

Police cars were vandalized and several gunshots were heard Monday night as crowds erupted in anger after the announcement that Officer Darren Wilson will not be indicted in the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

Some in the crowd reportedly tried to stop others from taking part in vandalism and other violence.

[Return to headlines]

Suspect in Fort Sam Houston Lockdown Released

The college student who prompted a lockdown at Fort Sam Houston has been questioned and released.


Local military installations remained on heightened alert Monday. Officers with the San Antonio Police Department briefly directed traffic off Highway 90 near Lackland Air Force Base around noon, when a vehicle set off a security detector at one of Lackland’s gates.

The vehicle was stopped and searched by military security, who determined it posed no threat.Suspect in Fort Sam Houston lockdown released

[Return to headlines]

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to Step Down Says NYT

After disagreements on how to combat ISIS

(ANSA) — New York, November 24 — United States Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is stepping down, the New York Times reported Monday citing Pentagon sources.

President Barack Obama will make a formal announcement later in the day, according to the Times.

Hagel, 68, is the sole Republican on the Democratic president’s national defense team. Obama reportedly asked for his resignation after the collapse of the Democratic majority in Congress following midterm elections, and also reflects disagreements over how to carry on the fight against Islamic State (ISIS) fundamentalists in Iraq and Syria, the newspaper wrote.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Cat “Yusuf” Stevens is Back

The most famous convert to Islam and one of the most successful pop stars of the 70s: Yusuf Islam, better known as Cat Stevens, is on tour in Germany.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

First Italian Ebola Patient to Land in Rome Early Tuesday

Doctor scheduled to arrive aboard military jet

(see related) (ANSA) — Rome, November 24 — The first Italian to contract Ebola while working in Sierra Leone is expected to land at around 4 a.m. local time Tuesday at the military airport of Pratica di Mare near Rome, military sources said on Monday.

The patient, a doctor working for medical-aid NGO Emergency in Sierra Leone, will be travelling on board an Italian Air Force KC 767 jet with medical personnel, sources said.

The craft has already left Pratica di Mare, the sources said.

The man, whose identity has not been revealed to protect his privacy, will be treated at Rome’s Spallanzani Institute which specializes in infectious diseases.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Some 1,200 Toxic Toys Seized in Trentino

Customs agency says objects dangerous to humans, animals

(ANSA) — Trento, November 24 — Customs officials seized a shipment of 1,200 toys on Monday that were found to be toxic to animals and humans.

The toys were declared as “animal toys”, animals in this case meaning chickens and pigs, but the original labels were misleading in that they implied the toys were for use by children.

Samples taken from the toys showed they contained a 30% concentration of phthalates, a substance added to plastic that is allowable up to only 0.1% by EU standards.

The shipment importer was cited for a number of violations by the prosecuting attorney of Trento, including releasing dangerous products for public consumption.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Delrio ‘Concerned’ By Landini’s Warning on AST Plant Deal

FIOM union leader says arrangement cannot be made ‘at any cost’

(ANSA) — Rome, November 24 — Workers at Terni’s troubled AST steel plant will not accept a deal “at any cost” to save their jobs, the leader of FIOM metalworkers union warned Monday, triggering a reprimand from government.

Cabinet Secretary Graziano Delrio said Maurizio Landini’s words were a “concern” for the government.

“We think it is a time of responsibility for everyone,” said Delrio.

A proposed agreement “will safeguard jobs and avoid more than five hundred planned layoffs” that had been threatened by the German-owned company that controls the plant in central Umbria, Delrio added.

Landini, who said he planned to meet FIOM union members in Terni later in the day, said that the proposed agreement was not necessarily rejected but it needed to be carefully examined.

“The message that I think we want to send is this…we believe we can basically go towards an agreement, but you cannot make a deal at all costs,” said the union leader.

“It must be an agreement that includes…a precise choice of industrial policies,” that includes continued steel production and sales by the plant’s parent company ThyssenKrupp, said Landini.

The company’s original plans to cut 550 jobs and 100 million euros in investments at the plant led to a series of strikes and protests in recent months, some of which turned violent.

In July, the company also said it intended to shut down one of the two furnaces at the Terni plant. However, in August the company accepted a government appeal to put that plan on hold so talks could take place following industrial action.

By early November, ThyssenKrup had reportedly agreed in government-brokered talks with labor to keep both furnaces open and invest 200 million euros.

But the parties have yet to agree on a final version of the company’s revised industrial plan.

Last Friday, Premier Matteo Renzi said his government was “very close to a solution”.

One day earlier, AST CEO Lucia Morselli said that the company’s steel plant won’t be dismantled.

“The intention is to maintain the Terni production site in its entirety, excluding any hypothesis of dismantling the facilities,” read a message to staff signed by Morselli and attached to the Terni plant’s gates.

Earlier in the month, unions said they saw eye to eye with the government on keeping both furnaces at the troubled AST steel plant in operation, labor sources said.

As well, Italy has called for a European Union task force to monitor compliance with the new industrial plan proposed by ThyssenKrupp.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Fitto Calls for ‘Renewal’ After FI Electoral Defeat

‘No more alibis’ says Berlusconi’s one-time confidant

(ANSA) — Rome, November 24 — The center-right Forza Italia (FI) party of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi must be revamped after its resounding defeat in regional elections at the weekend, FI MP Raffaele Fitto said Monday.

Candidates backed by Premier Matteo Renzi’s centre-left Democratic Party (PD) triumphed in Sunday’s regional elections in Emilia-Romagna and Calabria, amid record low turnout. Stefano Bonaccini won in Emilia-Romagna with over 49% of the vote, compared to almost 30% for the separatist, anti-migrant Northern League’s Alan Fabbri, who was backed by centre-right parties. In Calabria, Mario Gerardo Oliverio was set to win with over 61%, with most of the count complete, with the centre-right’s Wanda Ferro taking around 23% of the votes.

The League was the only centre-right party to make big gains in Sunday’s regional elections, claiming over 20% of the vote in Emilia-Romagna, more than twice as much as ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia (FI).

“At the very least, we must get rid of all our candidates in order to get off to a new start and a true phase of renewal,” said Fitto, the one-time confidant of Berlusconi.

The latter said earlier this month that he would work on “relaunching and refounding FI” and that he has “recovered unity” with Fitto.

“I sincerely hope no one will dare minimize or seek alibis for the dramatic results in Calabria and Emilia Romagna,” Fitto went on.

“Enough of this ambiguous, incomprehensible political line, one that oscillates between extremes of total submission to the (center-left) government and outright insults,” he added.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: M5S Fails to Win One Calabria Seat, Support Falls From May

Grillo said his party not affected by a low turnout

(See related) (ANSA) — Rome, November 24 — The 5-Star Movement (M5S) took a serious hit in Calabrian regional elections, failing to win a single seat and seeing its share of the total vote fall, according to a near-final count released Monday.

The anti-establishment party won about 4.88% of the vote, well down from its 21.5% share in the May vote for European Parliament, according to results. Earlier, its leader Beppe Grillo had boasted that his M5S has improved its percentage of votes regional balloting in Italy’s central Emilia-Romagna region.

In Calabria, the M5S just surpassed the quorum level of 4% to be able to have some representation in the regional government, but still did not win enough votes to gain a seat.

In a post on his blog Monday, Grillo said that low levels of voter turnout at Sunday’s regional elections hadn’t hurt the M5S.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Prosecutor Wants to Drop Pinotti Flight Case

Over alleged use of military flight for personal reasons

(ANSA) — Rome — November 24 — Prosecutors in Rome on Monday asked the tribunal of ministers to dismiss a case over Defense Minister Roberta Pinotti’s alleged use of a military flight for personal reasons.

The tribunal of ministers has jurisdiction over cases involving cabinet members in the performance of their ministerial duties.

State attorneys opened an investigation earlier this month after lawmakers with the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) filed a lawsuit alleging the minister on September 5 had used a Falcon 50 jet of the Italian air force to fly back home to Genoa, taking advantage of a scheduled military training flight.

The military flight was allegedly postponed to wait for the minister who was landing in Rome after an official visit to London.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Renzi Undaunted by Northern League Rise

Premier says centre-left working to change Italy

(ANSA) — Rome, November 24 — Premier Matteo Renzi said Monday that he was undaunted by the growing popularity of the separatist Northern League under new leader Matteo Salvini.

The League was the only centre-right party to perform well in Sunday’s regional elections, claiming over 20% of the vote in Emilia-Romagna, more than twice as much as ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia (FI). “If they are coming, we’ll wait for them,” Renzi, whose centre-left Democratic Party’s candidates won the governorship contests in Emilia-Romagna and Calabria, told RAI radio Monday when asked about the rise of the League. “While the centre-right discusses its plight, we are changing Italy. “After 20 years of failures, including those of the League, we are working for the country and you’ll see whose stronger at the elections”. Earlier on Monday, Salvini, who became head of the League almost a year ago, said Monday that the Renzi “balloon is deflating” while the League was “flying”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Car Insurance Comparison Websites Accused of Misconduct

Ivass calls for change by January 31, 2015

(ANSA) — Rome, November 24 — Too much publicity on website comparing different mandatory car insurance policies can confuse consumers, along with incorrect comparisons of different products, Italian authority Ivass said on Monday.

Ivass — the authority overseeing insurance companies — warned in particular against the lack of “transparency and fairness” on a number of websites comparing different car insurance policies and acting as intermediaries between consumers and insurance companies, asking for changes by January 31 next year.

Among issues highlighted by the authority was the fact that some of the sites publicize insurance firms in exchange for payment.

The survey was carried out due to the growing popularity of online services comparing and selling car insurance policies — with a reported 12.9 million estimates made in 2013 by six websites operating in Italy.

In particular, Ivass noted that “websites only or mainly compare products from a limited number of companies with which they have signed a contract and through which they make a percentage for every contract signed”.

It said the number of companies publicized is generally higher than the firms whose products are effectively compared by the online services and comparisons are based only on price, without taking into account the different characteristics of products.

As a consequence, different policies are often compared and consumers aren’t necessarily offered policies that suit their needs, the authority said.

Moreover websites use promotional messages, misleading consumers to think they can save significant amounts of money — “up to 500 euros” — and buy “the best product” or use “the best firm”, without outlining correct evaluation criteria for policies and firms nor explaining how promised savings were calculated.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Six Out of 10 Spanish Youths Plan to Move Abroad to Find a Job, Study Finds

Spanish youths are among Europe’s most pessimistic when it comes to their future, a study of several EU member states suggests.

Spanish youngsters feel that they will be worse off than their own parents, while six out of every 10 polled are planning to move abroad in search of a job, according to a survey by the Vodafone Institute for Society and Communications.

The study by the telecoms company surveyed more than 6,000 people aged between 18 and 30 in Britain, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Czech Republic and Spain.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UK: 6 Muslim Schools “Inadequate” For Focus on Islam at Expense of Other Subjects

“Six Muslim faith schools in London are expected to be branded inadequate today over fears that they are not preparing pupils for life in modern Britain.” Nonsense! Nothing prepares pupils better for life in modern Britain than intensive Islamic instruction! It is the wave of the future for Abject, Subjugated Britannia.

“‘Trojan Horse’ fear over six leading Muslim schools: Ofsted to warn Minister of ‘serious concerns,’“ by Laura Clark, Inderdeep Bains and David Williams, the Daily Mail, November 20, 2014 (thanks to Mirren 10):

Six Muslim faith schools in London are expected to be branded inadequate today over fears that they are not preparing pupils for life in modern Britain.

In a memo to Education Secretary Nicky Morgan, Ofsted inspectors are expected to highlight ‘serious concerns’.

           — Hat tip: K [Return to headlines]

UK: Political Correctness Really Has Gone Mad: Multicultural Christmas Jumper Goes on Sale That Represents Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism and Atheism

Over the years, political correctness has seeped into many areas of every day life.

Christmas time in particular is a period where every effort is made to include even those of non-Christian faiths in the festive cheer.

So, with the huge growth sales of Crimbo sweaters over the last few years, it was only a matter of time before someone invented the ‘Multicultural Christmas Jumper.’

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UK: Sharia Law Guidelines Abandoned as Law Society Apologises

Law Society apologises over advice to solicitors on how to draw up Sharia-style wills penalising widows and non-believers

The Law Society has withdrawn controversial guidelines for solicitors on how to compile “Sharia compliant” wills amid complaints that they encouraged discrimination against women and non-Muslims.

Andrew Caplen, president of the society, apologised and said the criticism had been taken on board.

It follows a storm of protest after The Telegraph disclosed in March that the society had issued a practice note to solicitors effectively enshrining aspects of Islamic law in the British legal system.

The guidelines advised High Street solicitors on how to write Islamic wills in a way that would be recognised by courts in England and Wales.

They set out principles which meant that women could be denied an equal share of inheritances while unbelievers could be excluded altogether.

The document also detailed how children born out of wedlock might not be counted as legitimate heirs.

           — Hat tip: Gaia [Return to headlines]

Egypt: The Forbidden Love of Interfaith Romances

Last year, a Muslim man was killed and five others were injured in clashes that took place in a remote village in Menya province. During the same incident, five Christian houses were set on fire.

The fighting erupted because of a relationship between a Muslim girl and a Christian neighbour.

Ahmed Attallah, an Egyptian writer who studies sectarian clashes, says the same story happens frequently. “Love is behind most of the sectarian clashes but it is hardly mentioned in official papers,” he says.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Libya: Ansar Al-Sharia Benghazi HQ Destroyed, Say Sources

One of its leaders killed in army attack

(ANSAmed) — CAIRO, NOVEMBER 24 — The Libyan army has destroyed the headquarters of the jihadist group Ansar Al-Sharia in Benghazi, eastern Libya, and killed one of its leaders, Farag Al-Ghazali, reports a Libya military source.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Libya: ‘Logistics Aid From Egypt But No Soldiers’, Haftar

Anti-jihadist general accuses Qatar of interference

(ANSAmed) — CAIRO, NOVEMBER 24 — Libyan former general Khalifa Haftar on Monday told the Algerian daily Al-Shorouk that Egypt had not provided him with weapons, planes or troops, but only with logistic materials. The leader of Operation Dignity, which is fighting alongside government troops against jihadists, said that “there might be arms supply, why not? However, the supply does not include planes or personnel”. Haftar instead accused Qatar of interfering in the country’s domestic affairs by “supplying weapons to the enemy front”, meaning the pro-Islamist militias of Muslim Brotherhood-linked Operation Dawn.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Anti-Arab Song ‘Ahmad’ Sparks Outcry

Benayoun ‘inspired by Jerusalem and Tel Aviv attacks’

(ANSAmed) — TEL AVIV, NOVEMBER 24 — “My name is Ahmad” is the innocuous opening line to a song by the popular Israeli singer Amir Benayoun that has sparked heated debate. The following lines show Ahmad to be “moderate and smiling” today, but prepared to “send a Jew or two to hell tomorrow”. Amid the tension between Jews and Muslims of the past few weeks, Benayoun’s song could not but be noticed. An NGO working the rights of the Arab minority is among those who have called for the judiciary to take action. Some 100,000 Israelis follow the Facebook page of the singer, whose lyrics find fans among a broad swath of the population and especially among Sephardic and Orthodox Jews.

Raised in a working-class environment, Benayoun — a relative of a famous football star — has in recent years taken an ever-more anti-establishment attitude, both towards the recording industry and towards the mass media. His ‘rebellious’ style has attracted large numbers of fans and had a strong impact on social media. A killing by two Palestinians in a synagogue earlier this week made a strong impression on Benayoun, who in reaction launched a song on his Facebook page with the lyrics “today, once more, Jewish blood has been shed like water…how long will this continue?”. On Sunday he took up the issue again with a song focusing on an imaginary Palestinian protagonist, ‘Ahmad’. He introduces himself in the first person: “today I am studying at the University of Jerusalem…I am moderate and smiling…but it’s true, I’m only a ungrateful bastard…the time will come when I will turn around and stick a sharp knife into you, I’ll shoot you in the back” (YouTube:

The lyrics shocked a well-known legal expert, who has said that the singer may be prosecutable as the song could be considered incitement to racism. A radio debate between the singer and the expert immediately degenerated into a fight, but afterwards Benayoun noted on Facebook that he was in any case against violence and that he had simply been ‘inspired’ by the latest Palestinian attacks in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Though the singer received many messages of admiration from his fans, some did criticize him and noted that the widows of the four rabbis killed in the attack on the synagogue had called on Jews to strengthen their faith, but had not expressed any negative views on Palestinians as such.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Caroline Glick: Iran’s No China

The Obama administration will never abandon its courtship of Iran.

On the eve of the extended deadline in the US-led six-party talks with Iran regarding Teheran’s illicit nuclear weapons program, the one thing that is absolutely clear is that courting Iran is the centerpiece of US President Barack Obama’s Middle East policy. Come what may in Geneva, this will not change.

To be clear, Obama does not seek to check Iran’s rise to regional hegemony by appeasing it. None of the actions he has taken to date with regard to Iran can be construed as efforts to check or contain Iran.

Their goal is to cultivate a US alliance with Iran.

As Obama sees things, Iran for him is what China was for then US president Richard Nixon. Nixon didn’t normalize US relations with the People’s Republic of China in order to harm the Chinese Communists. And Obama isn’t wooing Iran’s Islamic revolutionaries in order to harm them…

           — Hat tip: Caroline Glick [Return to headlines]

Deadline for Iran Nuclear Deal Extended Until July

Iran and world powers have given themselves another seven months to reach a deal in a long-running nuclear standoff. It had appeared unlikely that an accord would be struck by the original deadline — Monday.

Iran and world powers have extended a deadline over their nuclear dispute until July 1, 2015 — despite an enormous push to turn an interim deal into a long-term agreement by the end of Monday.

Tehran and the group of six countries — the US, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany (known as the P5+1) — will try and achieve an outline deal by March 1 and a full technical accord by July, officials said.

“We have had to conclude that it is not possible to get to an agreement by the deadline that was set for today (Monday) and therefore we will extend…to June 30, 2015,” British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said after meetings in Vienna on Monday.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

French Jihadist Quit ISIS Because He Couldn’t Handle Not Smoking

A French jihadist left the Islamic State just two weeks after arriving because he could not handle the terror group’s strict no-smoking policy.

Flavien Moreau, a Muslim convert with 13 previous convictions, including assault and armed robbery, moved to Syria to join the radical group in 2012, but returned to France after just a couple of weeks, and was arrested.

Appearing in court, Moreau said: “I really struggled with not smoking. It was forbidden by the katiba [group of Islamist militants]. I had brought Nicorette gum with me, but it wasn’t enough. I left my gun with my emir and I left.”

France 24 reports that Moreau is of South Korean descent and was adopted by a French family at the age of two. He was sentenced to seven years imprisonment today for his brief involvement with Islamic State.

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes [Return to headlines]

ISIS Syria News: Islamic State ‘Massacres’ Foreign Fighters Who Wanted to Go Home

Islamic State (IS) has executed its own soldiers in its Syrian stronghold Raqqa after its leaders accused them of wanting to desert its ranks.

An IBTimes UK source in the city said IS (formerly known as Isis) had begun executing the soldiers for trying to escape and return to their home countries.

They also revealed the soldiers, who were mainly foreigners, were killed after “the discovery of lies”.

It is not yet possible to verify the claims, but the killings would follow other public executions in the Raqqa, which has become the scene of fierce fighting amid a succession of US-led coalition air strikes.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

ISIS: NGO Reports Attack on Wells Near Homs

New advance to Kobane by Kurds, 5 coalition raids

(ANSAmed) — BEIRUT, NOVEMBER 24 — Clashes between Islamic State ISIS jihadists and Syrian loyalist forces resumed Monday morning near natural gas wells in central Syria, the National Observatory for the Human Rights in Syria (Ondus) reported, stating that the Syrian government forces resisted ISIS attempts to seize energy establishments in the area of Shaer, in the province of Homs and Palmyra between Dayr az Zor. The wells of Shaer were attacked by ISIS last July, which was able to take possession of the area before Syrian government forces managed to re-establish control.

Also according to Ondus, Kurdish YPG militias which defend Kobane took other ISIS-controlled positions on Monday, leading to at least 18 deaths among jihadists and an unknown number of casualties among Kurds. The NGO states that five air raids were made by the US-led International Coalition on ISIS workstations Isis east of the city. According to testimonies collected by the NGO, YPG forces returned to take over some buildings in the city center which had previously fallen into the hands of the Islamic state, including the cultural center.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Islamic State Recruiting, Exploiting Children in Syria and Iraq as Spies, Fighters

Teenagers carrying weapons stand at checkpoints and busy intersections in Iraq’s second-largest city, Mosul. Patched onto the left arms of their black uniforms are the logos of the Islamic Police.

In Raqqa, the Islamic State group’s de facto capital in Syria, boys attend training camp and religious courses before heading off to fight. Others serve as cooks or guards at the extremists’ headquarters or as spies, informing on people in their neighborhoods.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Protect Persecuted Christians in Iraq, Says Bishop

(AGI) Perugia, Nov 24 — Persecuted Christians in Iraq must be protected, said Shlemon Warduni, Iraqi Auxiliary Bishop of the Chaldean Catholic Church. “Men, women and children of Christian faith are the victims of the genocide that is being perpetrated by ISIS in Iraq,” he told a meeting called “Hoping against all hope — the Testimony of Iraqi Christians” in Perugia, central Italy. The meeting was organised by the “Maesta’ delle Volte” Cultural Centre, with the Archdiocese and the Municipal Council of Perugia. The Iraqi cleric was welcomed by Auxiliary Bishop Monsignor Paolo Giulietti and called on everyone to “pray incessantly to stop the genocide of Christians in Iraq, but also in Syria, Egypt and wherever there is growing violence against those who do not profess the Islamic faith”. The director of Caritas, Daniela Monni, said: “The message that the Auxiliary Bishop of Baghdad conveyed in Perugia expressed a faith grounded on charity. He spoke of the blood of Christians as the grain from which to harvest hope and peace for the future. This can be possible throughout the Middle East, because most Muslims do not support ISIS and because they themselves say ‘if you kill innocent people, this is not Islam’. In preparing to experience the Advent of brotherhood that Caritas proposes every year ahead of the Holy Christmas, we cannot but think of the many families in distress, families that are nearby, here in Perugia, and families far away, in Iraq and in Syria, but all equally part of the great human family,” she said.

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

Turkey: Women’s Equality With Men ‘Against Nature’, Erdogan

Turkish president during speech on women’s rights and freedoms

(ANSAmed) — ISTANBUL, NOVEMBER 24 — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan appears set to anger women and rights groups in the country once again after voicing his strong objection to the equality of women and men, instead recommending what he called “equivalency.” “When we are able to look at human beings from the point of view of justice, then the elimination of discrimination between women and men would be possible in a much more fair, humanly and conscientiously way. What do women need?” Erdogan said today, delivering a speech at an international gathering in Istanbul aimed at discussing women’s rights and freedoms. “Sometimes, here they say ‘men and women equality.’ ‘Equality among women’ and ‘equality among men’ is the way of putting it correctly. However, what is particularly essential is women’s equality before justice,” Erdogan said at the Women and Justice Summit hosted by the Women and Democracy Association (KADEM) as reported by daily Hurriyet online. “Equality is turning the victim into an oppressor by force or vice versa.

What women need is to be able to be equivalent, rather than equal,” the president said. He also reiterated an argument he voiced in the past, announcing: “You cannot bring women and men into equal positions; that is against nature because their nature is different.” “For example, in work life, you cannot impose the same conditions on a pregnant woman as a man,” Erdogan said, using an example to illustrate his argument.

Erdogan has consistently exhorted women to have at least three children, while also terming abortion “murder” and railing against Caesarian sections.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Chess Grandmaster is So Good He Doesn’t Even Need to Stay Awake During Matches

This chess grandmaster may be so good he doesn’t even need to stay awake during his matches.

Magnus Carlsen, ranked number one in the world, apparently decided to take a nap during an intense contest with Indian rival Viswanathan Anand at the World Chess Championship.

Pictures were uploaded to social media showing the Norwegian slumped over with his eyes closed at the event in Sochi, Russia.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Oil Price Slide and Sanctions ‘Cost Russia $140bn’

The falling oil price is costing Russia up to $100bn a year, while Western sanctions have hit the country by $40bn, its finance minister has said.

Anton Siluanov made the comments on Monday at an international financial and economic forum.

Reports on Monday suggested Russia could cut its oil production by about 300,000 barrels a day in an attempt to support the oil price.

Opec members meet in Vienna this week where falling prices will be discussed.

The oil price has been falling since the summer on abundant global supply, partly due to the US shale boom, and lower demand in Europe and Asia. Brent crude has fallen by more than a third and hit a four-year low of $76.76 a barrel on 14 November.

Analysts expect the Opec oil cartel to agree a cut in production to support prices. Brent crude closed on Friday just above $80 a barrel, while US crude was at $76.51.

“At minimum, in order for the rouble not to decline, a commitment by Opec to stop oversupply and hold to its official 30 million barrels per day production target is probably required,” said Tom Levinson, an analyst at Sberbank.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Afghanistan: Haqqani Network Responsible for Suicide Bombing, Says NDS

Afghanistan secret service ‘has evidence’ to support claim

(ANSA) — Kabul, November 24 — The Haqqani Network terrorist group allied with the Taliban is responsible for Sunday’s suicide bombing at a volleyball match in eastern Afghanistan, said Afghan’s secret service, NDS, in a tweet on Monday.

“Haqqni [sic] Network was behind the deadly suicide attack in Paktika province killing and injuring around a hundred innocent civilians,” NDS Afghanistan tweeted.

NDS spokesman Hasseb Sediqi said evidence collected thus far supports the claim.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

South China Sea: Beijing Builds a New Island, With Naval and Air Base

According to US sources, China is building a fourth island in the Spratly. Washington asks for a halt to the project and calls for “diplomatic initiatives” to release the tension. Philippine court sentences nine Chinese fishermen for poaching in its territorial waters. They risked up to 20 years in prison, but will have to pay a fine of 103 thousand dollars.

Manila (AsiaNews / Agencies) — Beijing is building a new island — the fourth — on the reef (reef) of the Fiery Cross (Spratly Islands), to accommodate a landing strip for warplanes and a deep water port for the docking of warships.

This is according to US military sources and confirms the expansionist ambitions of the Beijing government in the South China Sea, the center of a fierce dispute with other nations in the region, including Vietnam and the Philippines. Washington has repeatedly asked Beijing to halt the project, hoping at the same time for “diplomatic initiatives” so that each “party” in the dispute “refrain” from promoting “this type of activity.”

According to the magazine IHS Jane’s Defence, China has created an island 3 thousand meters long and 300 m wide from nothing on the reef by dredging sand from the sea floor. In the last three months, from 8 August to 14 November, the structure has grown exponentially and is the fourth of these projects promoted by the Chinese. The other big islands were built on Johnson South Reef, the Cuarteron Reef and Gaven Reef.

Meanwhile, this morning a Philippine court sentenced nine Chinese fishermen for violating “poaching” laws and the “capture of protected species”. The group were stopped last May with a huge amount (in the hundreds) of sea turtles, a protected species, aboard their boat. The judge ordered the payment of a fine of 103 thousand dollars a head, but did not impose prison sentences; they risked up to 20 years in prison.

Manila’s coast guard surprised the Chinese fishing boat off the Half Moon Shoal, claimed by Beijing, 111 kilometers (only 60 nautical miles) from the coast of Palawan, the westernmost tip of the Philippine archipelago. The specimens that survived the capture were released in a bay of Palawan.

If they fail to pay the fine, the Chinese fishermen must serve a prison sentence of six months for each of the two counts for which were tried, for a total of one year in prison. For weeks, Beijing has been putting diplomatic pressure on Manila to return the fishermen and their boat, saying that the group was kidnapped in Chinese waters. Manila, however, says they were in the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines.

n recent years, Vietnam and the Philippines — which has taken its case to a UN court — have shown growing concern over China’s “imperialism” in the South and East China Seas. The Chinese government claims most of the sea (almost 85 per cent), including sovereignty over the disputed Spratly and Paracel islands, in opposition to Vietnam, Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei and Malaysia. For the United States, which backs the claims of Southeast Asia nations, Beijing’s so-called ‘cow tongue’ line is both “illegal” and “irrational”. Anyone with a hegemonic sway over the region would have a strategic advantage, in terms of seabed (oil and gas) development, but also in trade since two thirds of the world’s maritime trade transit through it. Almost uninhabited, the area’s islands are thought to hold extensive oil and natural gas reserves as well as other raw materials. India, Australia and the United States are also parties to the dispute in various degrees. In view of the conflicting interests and alliances that crisscross the Asia-Pacific region, the area is one of the hottest geopolitical spots in the world, one that could even trigger a new global war.

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

Over 600 Mediterranean Boat Migrants Rescued

The Italian coastguard says it rescued more than 600 boat migrants over the weekend, reports the Guardian. The rescues took place between the north African coast and Sicily. Around 520 migrants were found in the Strait of Sicily. Another 270 Syrian refugees were rescued near northern Cyprus.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Syrian Refugees Go on Hunger Strike in Front of Greek Parliament

Some 200 Syrian refugees protesting in front of Greek Parliament for the last six days went on hunger strike on Monday.

The protesters have taped shut their mouths as they demand asylum and medical assistance. One of the Syrian women taking part in the protest fainted on Monday and had to be taken to the hospital.

Attica Governor Rena Dourou said that she spoke to the head of the Church of Greece Ieronymos, Public Order Minister Vassilis Kikilias and Deputy Interior Minister Giorgos Dolios on Sunday in an attempt to find a way to help the refugees.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Is Dark Energy Gobbling Dark Matter, And Slowing Universe’s Expansion?

Dark energy appears to be devouring dark matter and slowing the expansion of the cosmos, a new study suggests.

Dark matter makes up the backbone of the universe, and there is five times as much of it in the universe as regular matter that makes up the visible objects in the universe like planets and stars. Physicists have yet to directly detect dark matter and no one knows what it’s made of. Scientists can only tell that it exists from its gravitational pull on regular matter. Now, the new research suggests that dark matter might be slowly disappearing before physicists have even caught a glimpse of it.

The culprit behind dark matter’s disappearance, dark energy, makes up almost 70 percent of the universe. It’s a force that works opposite gravity and physicists believe it is stretching the cosmos and making the universe continually expand.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Regin, New Computer Spyware, Discovered by Symantec

A leading computer security company says it has discovered one of the most sophisticated pieces of malicious software ever seen.

Symantec says the bug, named Regin, was probably created by a government and has been used for six years against a range of targets around the world.

Once installed on a computer, it can do things like capture screenshots, steal passwords or recover deleted files.

Experts say computers in Russia, Saudi Arabia and Ireland have been hit most.

It has been used to spy on government organisations, businesses and private individuals, they say.

Researchers say the sophistication of the software indicates that it is a cyber-espionage tool developed by a nation state.

They also said it likely took months, if not years, to develop and its creators have gone to great lengths to cover its tracks.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

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