Gates of Vienna News Feed 11/9/2014

According to various news sources, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Caliph of the Islamic State, was killed, badly wounded, lightly wounded, or unharmed after an American air strike against the ISIS leadership. The incident is reminiscent of similar ones involving his predecessor, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who was killed many times between 9-11 and 2006, when he finally, really, honest-to-God, got dead.

In other news, 80% of the estimated two million Catalonians who participated in an informal independence poll voted for independence from Spain. The Spanish government dismissed the results as a mere propaganda exercise organized by independence advocates.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Diana West, Fjordman, Gaia, Insubria, Jerry Gordon, Steen, Vlad Tepes, and all the other tipsters who sent these in.

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

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

Financial Crisis
» Italy: ‘Pathological’ Public Administration Debt, 32.5 Bn Paid Off
» Former President Bush Says Odds Are Even His Brother Jeb Will Run in 2016
» Governor Scott Walker on Possible 2016 Presidential Bid: “We’ll See What the Future Holds”
» Growing Support for Dismissal of Charges Against Gov. Perry
» Suspect in Dorchester Killing Found Dead in the Woods
» The GOP Establishment Plan to Steal Your Election
Europe and the EU
» 76th Kristallnacht Commemoration Marred by Antisemitism in Europe
» Catalonia Vote: 80% Back Independence, Say Organisers
» EU Spending on Ebola Research is Up to 280 Million Euros
» Greece: EU Commission Blocks Desfa Sale to Azerbaijani Socar
» Half of Italy’s Eco-Friendly Firms Based in North
» Italian Army Testing New Ebola Drug
» Italy: EU Should Safeguard Circumcision, Kosher Food Says Rome Rabbi
» Italy: First Stretch of Rome’s Metro C to be Opened Sunday
» Italy: Salvini Visit to Roma Camp ‘A Dangerous Provocation’ Says MP
» Italy: Traffic Fines Imposed on Mayor ‘Forgiven’
» Italy: Alfano Says Squatters ‘Totally Unacceptable’ Vows Action
» Italy’s President Challenges ‘Malicious Portrayals’ of EU
» Italy: Expo 2015 Waterways Project Under Compulsory Administration
» Italy: Peluso Under Investigation in Bankruptcy
» Italy: All New Graduates of Gaeta Naval School Get Jobs
» Italy: Police Seize Assets Worth 3 Mn in Tax-Crime Probe
» Local Italian Radio Website Shut Down by Pro-ISIS Hackers
» Maserati Sales Skyrocket in Italy
» Norwegian’s Success Has Pushed SAS to the ‘Brink’
» Organic Waste Collection Growing 10% a Year in Italy
» Pope Says Sacked Official Who Sold Marriage Annulments
» Romagna’s Piadina Stretches Italy’s Quality-Food Lead
» Sweden: Jimmie Åkesson Was at ‘Breaking-Point’ For Years
» UK: Blair ‘Signed Secret Contract With Saudi Oil Firm Promising Him £41,000 a Month and a Slice of Any Deals He Helped Broker’
» UK: Returning Islamist Fighters Offered ‘Jihadi Rehab’ Instead of Prosecution for Supporting Blood-Thirsty Terrorist Groups Despite May’s Pledges
» UK: The Full Story of the ‘Medieval Monarch’ of Tower Hamlets
North Africa
» Algeria: Law on Foreign Company Stakes Could be Changed
» Egypt Arrests Suspect Over Threats to American Schools
» Italy Working to Avert Disaster in Libya, Says Minister
» PM Mahlab Urges Egyptians to Limit Reproduction Rates
Israel and the Palestinians
» 10 Years After Death: Arafat Still Palestinian Icon
» Arabic Billboard in Nazareth Calls for Running Over Israelis
Middle East
» After Airstrikes, Rumors Swirl Over Fate of IS Leader Baghdadi
» Amid Terror Attacks, Iraq Faces Water Crisis
» Can ISIS Maintain the ‘Caliphate’ Without Baghdadi?
» Iran: Still a ‘Big Gap’ In Nuclear Talks, Says Obama
» Iraq Investigating Whether Islamic State Leader Al-Baghdadi Killed in US Air Strikes
» IS Executes 70 More Members of Iraqi Albu Nimr Tribe
» ISIS Reportedly Confirms Its Leader Wounded in Coalition Air Strike
» The Sword of Islamism?
» Turkish Navy Authorized Over Oil Crisis With Greek Cyprus
» US-Led Airstrikes Target ISIS Leaders in Iraq
» Heavy Shelling, Unmarked Military Columns Observed in Eastern Ukraine
South Asia
» India: Madhya Pradesh: Hindu Radicals Beat Eight Christians, Have Them Arrested
Far East
» Russia and China Sign Deal on Second Gas Route
» Italy: Migrant Sea Arrivals ‘Quadrupled in 2014’ — IOM
» Obama: ‘I’m Going to Do What I Need to Do’ on Immigration

Italy: ‘Pathological’ Public Administration Debt, 32.5 Bn Paid Off

Economy ministry says 5 bn more needed with 40.1 bn allocation

(ANSA) — Rome, November 7 — The Italian State has allocated 40.1 billion euros to pay ‘pathological’ overdue public administration debt, 32.5 billion euros of which have already been paid out to creditors, the economy ministry said on Friday.

‘Pathological’ debt is considered commercial debt which has gone far beyond the payment date. Five billion euros beyond the total allocation are still required in order to fully pay off all overdue public administration debt to creditors, and the government plans to definitively resolve the problem in a matter of weeks, the ministry said.

Recent laws allowed the Italian government to make more than 56 billion euros available to public debtors to pay off the overdue debt.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Former President Bush Says Odds Are Even His Brother Jeb Will Run in 2016

WASHINGTON — Former Republican President George W. Bush said in an interview that aired Sunday that there was a “50-50” chance his younger brother, Jeb, would run for president in 2016.

“He’s wrestling with the decision,” the former president said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “I think it’s 50-50. I’d give it a toss-up.”

Bush, the 43rd president, was promoting his new book about his father, George H.W. Bush, the 41st president, when he broached the prospect of a Bush as the 45th president. Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor, has increasingly signaled he may be interested in the job.

“I hope he runs,” Bush said during the talk at his presidential library and museum in Dallas. He said he would campaign for his brother-or stay behind the scenes, if that is preferred.

“I would be one of his strongest backers,” Bush said…

[Return to headlines]

Governor Scott Walker on Possible 2016 Presidential Bid: “We’ll See What the Future Holds”

MADISON (WITI) — Governor Scott Walker last Tuesday night, November 4th celebrated a General Election victory, and now, he’s gearing up for a second term. Meanwhile, some are talking about the possibility Governor Walker could become a presidential candidate in 2016.

Last Tuesday, Governor Walker defeated Democratic candidate for governor Mary Burke, and the win marks his third victory in four years.

But could this victory lead Governor Walker to a bid for president in 2016?

“I don’t position him very favorable to run for president,” John McAdams, associate professor of political science at Marquette University said.

McAdams says Governor Walker is doing all of the things someone preparing to run for president would do.

“For example, publishing a book, winning elections, going around the country speaking to conservative audiences, proving he can raise a lot of money from conservative sources,” McAdams said…

[Return to headlines]

Growing Support for Dismissal of Charges Against Gov. Perry

AUSTIN — Some of the nation’s best-known lawyers and legal scholars will file a request in state district court Monday for a judge to dismiss felony charges against Gov. Rick Perry.

The 14 participants include well-known Republicans — former U.S. Solicitors General Ken Starr and Ted Olson, for example — but also Democrats such as former state Supreme Court Justice Raul Gonzalez.

Jeff Blackburn, founder and chief counsel of the Innocence Project of Texas, which has worked to free defendants who were wrongly convicted, is also joining in the effort, according to the request.

KVUE News and the Austin American-Statesman received a copy of the request Sunday…

[Return to headlines]

Suspect in Dorchester Killing Found Dead in the Woods

A man suspected in the killing of a woman in Dorchester was found dead near his car in the vicinity of the Rehoboth/Swansea line this morning, officials said.

Boston police had issued a warrant for the arrest of Paulo Rosa, 30, after the woman, was found dead in their home at 45 Bowdoin St. Saturday afternoon.

Police said Saturday they believe that the woman’s death was the result of a domestic incident, but did not say how she died. They said they did not believe a firearm was involved, however. She was the sister of a Boston police officer, according to a law enforcement official briefed on the investigation.

Neighbors and a cousin of Rosa’s identified the woman as Audilia Daveiga, who public records indicate was 33…

[Return to headlines]

The GOP Establishment Plan to Steal Your Election

by Diana West

Almost every anti-establishment firebrand is the same. Elected to break the chokehold that Beltway elites have on the republic, they come to Washington with their constituents’ concerns foremost. They are eager to heave overboard the dead weight that sinks the balance of powers, and ready to defend the Constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic.

Then it happens. One taste of the waters of forgetfulness on Capitol Hill and suddenly their goal is something called “incumbency,” and their allegiance is to the powers that be — “the leadership.” It hardly matters which party’s.

After the earthquake election of 2014, in the wake of a historic mandate against the Obama agenda — from “executive amnesty” for millions of illegal aliens to Obamacare — it seems as if the Republican leadership in Washington isn’t even waiting for the usual inside-the-Beltway conversions to take place.

They are thinking, it seems, “What if this new class of freshmen members is more Constitution-minded than before? What if they won’t support us Republican custodians of status quo government who are practically indistinguishable on the issues from Democratic custodians of expanding government? What if the 114th Congress means business — the people’s business?”

The question puts the fear of powerlessness into Beltway elites. And so, as American polls closed, Beltway elites closed ranks. It was clear there was no appetite on high for the red-meat message of Obama-rejection that the electorate sent. Indeed, House Speaker John Boehner reacted to this stupendous Republican victory as “not a time for celebration.” He expressed hope for “bipartisan steps,” and working with President Obama. It’s hard to imagine how his statement would have differed had he been responding to GOP losses instead of gains.

It’s also hard to imagine he will heed the demand from the American voter that elected officials reverse course from Obama’s socialistic agenda before it’s too late, and probably literally so. If, even after this “Republican wave,” Obama is permitted to enact an executive order for “amnesty,” turning millions of illegal aliens into legal Democrats, this could well have been the Republicans’ last national hurrah — and the republic’s.

           — Hat tip: Diana West [Return to headlines]

76th Kristallnacht Commemoration Marred by Antisemitism in Europe

Kristallnacht, the “night of broken glass” that erupted across Nazi Germany and Austria on November 9, 1938 was commemorated across the West and in Israel. There with ecumenical prayer gatherings, concerts of liturgical Jewish music, testimonials by Holocaust survivors, and candles lit in memoriam. In a commemoration on the 72nd anniversary of Kristallnacht we chronicled the horrors that befell Jews that night:

Kristallnacht -”the night of broken glass” that occurred throughout Germany and Austria. Kristallnacht was Nazi retribution for the assassination an anti-Nazi German diplomat Ernest Vom Rath in the Paris by a young Polish Jew, Herschel Grynzspan on November 7th, 1938. That event was seized upon by Herr Hitler and his Nazi SA and SS thugs to unleash a torrent of ‘spontaneous’ violence. That violence was graphically set against the lurid flames of more than 1,000 synagogues torched, several hundred of them destroyed, thousands of Jewish businesses and homes broken into, destroyed and vandalized. 91 Jewish men were killed, thousands beaten and more than 30,000 dragged off to concentration camps. Many of the later would never to return to their frightened families, many of whom were to disappear in the Holocaust. Kristallnacht was the prelude to the Final Solution that murdered six million European Jewish men, women and children.

This year Kristallnacht coincided with the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, a triumph of freedom over totalitarianism. Tens of thousands gathered before Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate. Eight thousand balloons were released. German Chancellor Andrea Merkel speaking to the multitude at the celebration noted the ‘twinning” of these historic event:

That was the opening note for the murder of millions; I feel not just joy, but the responsibility that German history burdens us with.

Over at the Alexanderplatz, German Police were separating violent rival protests by left wing groups opposing the commemoration of the fall of the Berlin Wall, while so-called nationalist groups who were commemorating the Nazi attacks on Jews during Kristallnacht. On the West Bank, Palestinians celebrated the fall of the Berlin Wall by symbolically breaking through Israel’s security barrier. In Norway, “Nye SOS Rasisme” , a so-called anti-racist group, demanded that a Bergen community event bar Jews from attending a Kristallnacht commemoration. The group held their own procession featuring banners that said “Zionism is Racism”.

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

Catalonia Vote: 80% Back Independence, Say Organisers

An informal vote on independence for Catalonia has shown more than 80% in favour, officials say.

The provisional results followed a day of voting across the region in north-eastern Spain.

Earlier, Catalan leader Artur Mas hailed the non-binding poll “a great success” that should pave the way for a formal referendum.

The non-binding vote went ahead after Spain’s constitutional court ruled out a formal referendum.

Spanish Justice Minister Rafael Catala dismissed the poll as “fruitless and useless”.

“The government considers this to be a day of political propaganda organised by pro-independence forces and devoid of any kind of democratic validity,” he said in a statement.

Vice President Joana Ortega said that more than two million people had taken part in the poll and that with almost all votes counted, 80.72% had backed independence.

Mr Mas said that the “consultation of citizens” was a historic success that set the stage for a full referendum…

[Return to headlines]

EU Spending on Ebola Research is Up to 280 Million Euros

Goal to hasten development of vaccines and drugs

(ANSA) — Brussels, November 6 — The European Union said Thursday that it is increasing its spending on aid to combat the epidemic of Ebola in Western Africa, exceeding an earlier target of one billion euros.

The European Commission and the pharmaceutical industry said that a budget of 280 million euros has been set aside for research on the Ebola virus.

The goal is to accelerate development of vaccines and drugs.

Luxembourg was the first European country to make a plane available for medical evacuations, and a ship from the Netherlands will transport ambulances, laboratories, mobile hospitals and other facilities to West Africa.

Last month, the EC announced plans to increase financial aid to one billion euros for the fight against Ebola.

The Ebola outbreak continues in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.

The World Health Organization said its latest figures show there have been 13,042 confirmed, probable and suspected cases of Ebola around the globe and 4,818 reported deaths.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Greece: EU Commission Blocks Desfa Sale to Azerbaijani Socar

Over concerns of breaching legislation on competition

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, NOVEMBER 7 — The European Commission has announced an investigation into the sale of the National Natural Gas System Operator (Desfa) to Azerbaijani Socas, in order to determine whether the sale conflicts with European legislation on mergers. According to an EC press release, as To Vima online reported, there are concerns “that the transaction may reduce competition on the upstream wholesale supply market for natural gas in Greece because it could allow the merged entity to hinder Socar’s competitors in accessing the Greek gas transmission network”. A preliminary investigation into the proposed sale of Desfa has shown that Socar may have an “incentive to shut out competitors from access to the network”, which in turn would result in fewer potential natural gas suppliers and thus higher gas prices for consumers. The press release notes that the aim of the investigation is to ensure that “the sale of Desfa, part of the Greek government privatization programme with a view to modernize and liberalize the energy markets, does not result in competitive harm and ultimately higher gas prices for consumers in Greece” and that a decision will be made by the 23rd of March 2015.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Half of Italy’s Eco-Friendly Firms Based in North

The rest spread out in center, southern regions

Half of Italy’s 341,500 green-friendly companies are located in the north, while the remaining 50% is spread out between the central and southern regions, Unioncamere chambers of commerce association and Symbola Foundation think tank said Tuesday. According to the data, 94,000 eco-friendly enterprises are based in the north-west of the country and 75,600 in the north-east. The south boasts 94,000 green companies and the centre 65,000. Lombardy tops the list of regions with the highest number of enterprises that have cut CO2 emissions and invested in green technologies, with 62,000 companies, while Veneto and Emilia Romagna come in second and third with 35,650 and 29,480 such companies, respectively.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italian Army Testing New Ebola Drug

Could become ‘very important’ says Pinotti

(ANSA) — Milan, November 7 — A pharmaceuticals laboratory belonging to the Italian army is testing a new anti-Ebola drug, Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti said Friday.

She said the production of the drug “could become extremely important”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: EU Should Safeguard Circumcision, Kosher Food Says Rome Rabbi

Di Segni ‘sensitises’ EPP officials

(ANSA) — Rome, November 7 — The European Union should fight anti-Semitism and protect Jewish circumcision and kosher food slaughtering rituals, Rome Chief Rabbi Riccardo Di Segni said Friday.

These attacks were often “aimed at Muslim communities but often knock on to Jews”, he said after a meeting at Rome’s Synagogue with the leader of the European People’s Party (EPP) caucus, Manfred Weber, and his deputy, Antonio Tajani.

“We sought to sensitise the representatives of the European People’s Party on these issues,” Di Segni said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: First Stretch of Rome’s Metro C to be Opened Sunday

Trains to begin service after seven years of construction work

(ANSA) — Rome, November 7 — The first stretch of Rome’s long-awaited third underground railway line, Metro C, will be inaugurated Sunday morning when Mayor Ignazio Marino will ride the line, Marino told ANSA Friday.

Metro C will be serviced by Rome’s first fleet of driverless trains, comprised of six interconnected carriages per train, with a carrying capacity of up to 1,200 passengers per train.

Work on the line began in 2007 and when finished is planned to have 24 stations total, stretching from the historic center at the Imperial Fora to the city’s far eastern periphery at Pantano.

The first stretch to open on November 9 runs approximately 13 kilometers on a 15-station route covering the easternmost tract of the line, from Pantano to the Centocelle neighborhood.

Trains on that stretch were put into testing at the end of 2013.

The first 13 trains to go into service were produced by the Ansaldo Breda company in Reggio Calabria.

Completion of the entire line is scheduled for September 2020.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Salvini Visit to Roma Camp ‘A Dangerous Provocation’ Says MP

‘Fomenting hatred, blowing on fires of intolerance’

(see related) (ANSA) — Bologna, November 7 — A Democratic Party (PD) MP from Bologna on Friday berated city authorities’ decision to give MEP Matteo Salvini from the xenophobic, separatist and anti-immigrant Northern League party permission to visit a Roma camp on Saturday.

“Salvini’s move is a dangerous provocation…that will only foment hatred,” said MP Andrea De Maria.

“There is nothing worse than blowing on the fires of intolerance in times of economic crisis and social suffering,” he said.

Salvini, who once reportedly called for immigrants to travel in separate compartments, is slated to visit the camp Saturday along with city councillor and fellow League member Lucia Borgonzoni, who was slapped in the face by a Roma woman on a visit to the camp earlier this week.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Traffic Fines Imposed on Mayor ‘Forgiven’

Marino received 80 euro fines for car in Senate parking space

(ANSA) Rome, November 7 — Eight fines slapped on Rome Mayor Ignazio Marino’s car after he allegedly forgot to renew a parking permit have been forgiven, Transport Councillor Guido Improta said Friday.

“There is no abuse,” claimed Improta, “it is a normal practice, called friendly administration. If somebody forgets to renew their pass and is given a fine the citizen can write to the Mobility Agency or the fines office to ask to act in self-defense, avoiding an appeal and so eliminating the fines”.

“In the same way the public administration can autonomously amend the oversight”.

Improta was responding to opposition New Centre Right Senator Andrea Augelio who in a parliamentary question said the fines left on the mayor’s Fiat Panda, each for 80 euros, had evidently been “frozen” as a favour to the centre-left mayor and surgeon.

“This is valid for all citizens,” claimed Improta, “the charge sheet is sanitized in self defense. The offices are at the disposal of the public to show that this happens normally”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Alfano Says Squatters ‘Totally Unacceptable’ Vows Action

Levels of illegal occupation of vacant homes rising

(ANSA) — Rome, November 3 — Interior Minister Angelino Alfano said Monday that the illegal occupation of homes in Milan is “totally unacceptable” and the Italian government is “ready to take action”.

In an interview with television program ‘La telefonata di Belpietro’, Alfano said the government has approved a law that includes measures against illegal property occupation.

“We will not accept that this lawlessness goes ahead,” he added.

The city council in Milan says there has been a jump in complaints about aggression and violence surrounding the illegal occupation of houses, often by immigrants.

The public housing agency has reportedly seen a significant jump in the number of illegal occupants who force their way through locked doors into vacant homes and settle in.

In a 24-hour period in mid-October, inspectors confirmed 24 of 39 complaints of squatters and in 16 cases, could not convince occupants to leave.

Similar levels have been reported for two years, with some 1,400 Milan houses illegally occupied since the beginning of 2013.

Politicians from the centre-right Forza Italia (FI) and Northern League have complained that crimes by foreigners, particularly rape and sexual violence, have risen rapidly in areas where squatters stay.

“The illegal squatting in public housing in Milan is a national emergency,” said Mariastella Gelmini, a Lombardy regional coordinator with FI, founded by ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi.

“The situation is dramatic, with neighborhoods dominated by criminal gangs who run a real squatting racket”.

The Milano head of Italy’s Conference of Italian Bishops (CEI) urged compassion and better treatment of people who have no other homes than those they occupy illegal.

Cardinal Angelo Scola called Sunday for “solidarity” with those who are in crisis.

During an open-air Mass, Scola said that he understood the hardship and trials being placed on the community, but said Christians should be able to balance “rights, duties, and laws”.

Waves of migrants have arrived in Italy, fleeing war and famine in the Middle East and Africa in particular.

But with the economy stagnant for the past six years, steady employment and rental money has been increasingly hard to find in Italy.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy’s President Challenges ‘Malicious Portrayals’ of EU

(AGI) Rome, Nov 7 — The European Union should not be viewed as an external entity hostile to Italy, Italian President Giorgio Napolitano said on Friday. As host of “Europa siamo noi” (lit. We Are Europe), an event designed to bolster awareness of the EU among students, Napolitano warned his young audience against the many “mean, malicious and demeaning portrayals” of the Union.

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

Italy: Expo 2015 Waterways Project Under Compulsory Administration

Two commissioners appointed after Acerbo jailed

(ANSA) — Milan, November 3 — Milan authorities on Monday appointed two State commissioners to take over the Expo 2015 Waterways project after its former executive was placed under house arrest in a corruption probe. Giuseppe Airoldi and Emilio Bartezzaghi replace ex-Expo manager Antonio Acerbo, who is suspected of steering a 100-million-euro contract for the World Fair’s Waterways project to a consortium led by construction magnate Enrico Maltauro in exchange for consultancy contracts for his son Livio, prosecutors said.

Acerbo, 65, was placed under house arrest earlier this month along with two others as part of a broader investigation into corruption related to next year’s keenly awaited Universal Exhibition in Milan.

Prosecutors are investigating two contracts in particular: one, for 36,000 euros paid by Maltauro in 2012; and the other promised by consortium member company Tagliabue but which never materialised.

Maltauro was placed under house arrest in May in a larger probe that rocked preparations for next year’s event and led to the arrests of former Expo procurement and planning manager Angelo Paris and several others, including a former Christian Democrat MP.

Expo Milano 2015, on the theme of feeding the planet, is being widely touted as a major showcase for Italian ingenuity, inventiveness and hard work.

But a series of probes, as well as reports that several firms linked to the Ndrangheta’ (Calabrian mafia) have been found to have won initial contracts, have threatened to muddy the event’s image.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Peluso Under Investigation in Bankruptcy

Ex justice minister’s son ‘conspired to squander Imco assets’

(ANSA) — Milan, November 7 — Piergiorgio Peluso, son of former justice minister Anna Maria Cancellieri, is being investigated by Milan prosecutors in connection with the failure of Imco, one of the holdings of the Ligresti family which at the time controlled the Fonsai insurance group, officials said Friday. Peluso is being probed for fraudulent bankruptcy in connection with the 2010 failure of Imco and parent company Sinergia, whose restructuring entailed the transfer of 108.5 million euros of its debt onto the “none too sturdy shoulders” of Imco, prosecutors said.

Peluso allegedly conspired to squander Imco’s assets while loading it with debt to the benefit of creditors UniCredit and GE Capital, according to the prosecution.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: All New Graduates of Gaeta Naval School Get Jobs

D’Amico, Carboflotta and F.lli d’Amico hire assistant engineers

(ANSA) — Gaeta, November 5 — All eleven pupils, graduates of the I.T.S “G.Caboto Foundation”, will be boarding vessels of the shipping companies, d’Amico Shipping Company Group, Carboflotta Group and F.lli d’Amico, as third assistant engineers, the Institute announced on the day the letters of hire were delivered. The Institute thereby confirms its role in the training of personnel for the main Italian shipping enterprises — states a memo — offering a wealth of talent to those searching for new sea professionals. All new graduates were also “hired” six months ago at their graduation ceremony. “We are proud to confirm that our education model gives privileged access to the workforce and boasts a 100% rate of employment at the time of graduation”, commented Cesare d’Amico, President of G. Caboto Foundation “Three years after the beginning of their course pupils were able to reach this goal demonstrating great will and commitment.

We are certain that their education coupled with experience on the ground will allow them to get on board with the right skills to “navigate” in a context as competitive as the present one”. Eleven out of twenty pupils of year 2011 successfully passed the training course for Superior mobility technician for people and wares, Management of devices and on board-assembly, having completed over 1,400 classroom hours and 3,000 hours on board. Once awarded with their diploma, they will have to pass the relevant qualifying exam to obtain the title of engineer officer from the harbour master’s office. Nine pupils will board the vessels of the d’Amico Shipping Company Group, one will join Carboflotta Group and another F.lli d’Amico.

In the next few days, 300 candidates coming from all over Italy will attend interviews to try and secure a place in the among the 25 new pupils dreaming of a future as naval officers of the Merchant Navy.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Police Seize Assets Worth 3 Mn in Tax-Crime Probe

Suspects implicated in false-invoice scam officially own nothing

(ANSA) — Treviso, November 4 — Finance police on Tuesday carried out a precautionary seizure of assets worth over 3 million euros linked to two entrepreneurs currently under investigation for alleged tax crimes.

Twenty police officers sequestered property and cash available to the suspects, neither of whom officially owns anything, across the northern provinces of Treviso and Padua. In particular a fleet of luxury sports cars including several Ferraris and a Lamborghini were seized. The businessmen, who were arrested at the start of October, are accused of issuing false invoices to the tune of 30 million euros.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Local Italian Radio Website Shut Down by Pro-ISIS Hackers

(AGI) Trieste, Nov 8 — The website of a local Italian radio station, Radio Punto Zero, was targeted by foreign pro-ISIS hackers on Saturday, forcing the radio station to close the site for maintenance. Phrases written in Arabic promoting jihad and Sharia law had replaced the site’s content, accompanied by a voice chanting a jihadist song. The station stated that police and its technicians are “gathering all possible information to locate the source of the attack”.

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

Maserati Sales Skyrocket in Italy

Luxury car sales soar 507% in Italy, 304% in Europe

(ANSA) — Bologna, November 7 — Maserati sales in Italy have increased 507% in the first ten months of 2014 with respect to the same period in 2013, the automaker reported on Friday.

In the luxury car manufacturer’s home country, 1,105 new Maseratis were registered for the road, making Italy the biggest market for the iconic brand.

Sales growth continues to skyrocket in Europe as well, soaring in 2014 to 304% over 2013 figures, with 4,642 new vehicles registered in Europe between January and October 2014.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Norwegian’s Success Has Pushed SAS to the ‘Brink’

Over the past decade, Norwegian Air Shuttle has brought budget travel into the Nordic mainstream, pushing Scandinavian legacy carrier SAS to the brink, despite criticism from rivals and unions reports AFP’s Pierre-Henry Deshayes.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Organic Waste Collection Growing 10% a Year in Italy

Milan sets world record with 100% organic waste collection

(ANSA) — Rome, November 5 — Waste separation for recycling grows by an average of 10% a year in Italy, data from the Italian Composting Consortium showed Wednesday.

Milan is the biggest city worldwide that has extended organic refuse collection to 100% of its inhabitants, according to the data.

As well, organic waste collection was most effective in Italy’s southern regions, where authorities collected up to 130 kilos of such waste per person per year, against a national average of 86 kilos per capiuta.

Organic waste — made up of waste from kitchens, gardens and parks — last year made up 42% of of the 12.5 million tonnes of trash collected for recycling. Paper was next at three million tonnes, followed by glass at 1.6 million tonnes collected.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Pope Says Sacked Official Who Sold Marriage Annulments

Pontiff urges ‘justice and charity’ for the faithful

(ANSA) — Vatican City, November 5 — Pope Francis on Wednesday told participants in a cuore on canon law that the Vatican justice system must “beware” of letting marriage annulments “stray into the realm of business”, as some “public scandals” have shown.

Francis went on to recount that he sacked a Church official for selling marriage annulments.

“I had to dismiss a person…who some time ago said: ‘$10,000 and I’ll do both the civil and ecclesiastical procedure’,” the pope told participants at the Apostolic Tribunal of the Roman Rota, which is the Catholic Church’s highest appeals court.

“Please, this must not happen!” the pope entreated his audience. “There are always those in the Synod that propose we should charge a gratuity…but when spiritual interests go hand in hand with economic ones, that does not belong to God. Mother Church has the generosity to mete out justice free of charge. This point is important: detach the two”.

The pope went on to recall one of the themes under debate at the bishops’ Synod on Family held October 5-19.

“There was concern about streamlining marriage annulment procedures” while following a policy of “justice as well as charity” towards those who have been awaiting a ruling for years, the pope said.

“Even before the Synod, I set up a commission to come up with a policy that would be just but also charitable, because there are so many people that need to hear from the Church on their matrimonial status,” Francis said.

“Some procedures are so lengthy or so difficult that people just give up,” he said. “They say ‘God understands me and I will go on as before, with this burden on my soul’. But the Mother Church must mete out justice…so that they can live their lives without this doubt, this darkness in their souls”.

The pontiff ended his speech by thanking participants for taking the course. “We must always study and move forward and always seek out the soul’s salvation, which is not necessarily found outside the realm of justice, but rather, along with justice,” Francis said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Romagna’s Piadina Stretches Italy’s Quality-Food Lead

Traditional flat-bread sandwich gets PGI laurel

(ANSA) — Rome, November 4 — The culinary pride of Romagna, the time-honoured piadina flat-bread sandwich, has kept up Italy’s lead in Europe’s quality-food stakes.

The piadina, which dates back to Roman times, has been recognized by European officials for its unique origins and importance as a traditional fast food, receiving formal protection as a significant Italian product.

The European Protected Geographic Indication — IGP in Italian or PGI in English — means the soft, rich flatbread that is the perfect base for cheese, ham or other sandwiches will now be protected from weak imitations and fakes.

“This is an important achievement,” said Italian Agricultural Minister Maurizio Martina.

“Our heritage is increasingly unchallenged on a European and world stage,” he added.

The IGP designation has become increasingly well known internationally as representing quality food products with a confirmed Italian pedigree.

The more stringent Protected Denomination of Origin — DOP in Italian or PDO in English — is also known around the world as a certification of the authentic origins and production methods, specific to a region.

These protect some of Italy’s most iconic products as olive oil and the balsamic vinegar of the Emilia Romagna region. Under EU law, products must abide by strict production regulations and geographical restrictions to be graded as genuine and worthy of an IGP or DOP seal.

The IGP certification traces food specialties back to their geographical origin during at least one phase in production, but not to all phases like the DOP seal.

Italian authorities are continually battling the sale of the counterfeits of the nation’s traditional food products.

The piadina’s IGP designation was announced this week in the official Journal of the European Union and will come into force on November 24.

Italy is a leader in food designations, with more than 1,000 products on its registries.

Excluding wines, as of December 31, 2012, Italy boasted 248 products sporting the EU’s coveted DOP, IGP, or Guaranteed Traditional Specialty (STG) seals.

France came in a distant second at 192 such products, followed by Spain with 161.

Italy had kept up its lead over the years with a fund of scrumptious entries.

For example, three years ago, in 2011, a sheep’s cheese produced on the hillsides near Enna in Sicily earned an EU quality-food laurel.

The Piacentinu Ennese, cultivated with centuries-old lore and laced with a distinctive touch of saffron, won a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) appellation, the most prestigious of the EU’s three food quarantees that keep genuine articles safe from inferior pretenders.

Italy’s almost 250 quality foods generate a turnover of some six billion euros a year, amid rising interest from new consumers in China, India, Vietnam and Thailand.

Before the Enna cheese, the most recent Italian entry was a type of chestnut native to the Val di Susa in Piedmont, the ‘Marrone della Valle di Susa’, which won a PGI label in November.

The nut owes its creamy-white and crunchy flesh to the special soil of the valley north of Turin, experts say, and has been a staple of the local economy since the Middle Ages.

The nut followed into the rankings a type of wheat called spelt (‘farro’) once used by the Romans and still cultivated in the fields around Spoleto, which earned a PDO in July.

Before the farro, entries included a traditional pastry from Siena and a potato grown around Bologna.

Siena’s famed Ricciarelli biscuits, a slim lozenge-shaped dainty that morphed from an original curly creation by a Crusading knight impressed by an Arab sweetmeat, won a PGI label. The ‘Patata di Bologna’ won a PDO.


Italy’s special foods have put in a spurt in the last three years.

A fragrant white celery from Sperlonga received a PGI label aimed at keeping other celeries from posing as the aromatic product from the marshlands near the ancient coastal village between Rome and Naples which have for centuries produced the unique vegetable.

The ‘Mela di Valtellina’ won a PGI label to guard the strongly scented, firm-fleshed apple from the sub-Alpine valley.

In January 2010 that Italian food glory, Neapolitan pizza, got a long-awaited TSG label.

In December 2009 a ‘prosciutto crudo’ from Cuneo claimed a PDO.

It was the third product to get a PDO in less than a week, following a chestnut from the Tuscan village of Caprese Michelangelo and the Piennolo tomato from the slopes of Mt Vesuvius.

In October 2009, a traditional sour cherry jam produced near Modena, ‘Amarene Brusche di Modena’ was awarded a PGI, while ‘Ciauscolo’, a large soft spreadable sausage from the Marche region, got the same recognition in August 2009.

Other recent additions have included Sicily’s ‘Pagnotta del Dittaino’ bread, with a PDO label; Roman suckling lamb, abbacchio romano, which earned a PGI label; and Modena’s balsamic vinegar, another PGI.

Italian culinary glories like Parmigiano, buffalo mozzarella, mortadella, lardo di Colonnata, Ascoli olives, pesto sauce and Pachino plum tomatoes have been protected for some time.

Lesser-known munchies like Mt Etna prickly pears and Paestum artichokes swelled the ranks in 2009 along with two kinds of saffron, from San Gimignano and L’Aquila.

A range of salamis, rices, honeys and nuts are also on the protected list.

Several up-and-coming regional wines have earned TGIs.

PDO identifies a product whose characteristics are exclusively dependant on a geographical origin and whose productive phases all take place in the specified area.

PGI defines a product whose characteristics can be connected with its geographical origin and that has at least one productive phase located in the specified area.

TSG distinguishes a product whose raw materials, composition or recipe, production method or transformation, are of a traditional type.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Sweden: Jimmie Åkesson Was at ‘Breaking-Point’ For Years

The acting leader of the Sweden Democrats has revealed that Jimmie Åkesson had been battling fatigue symptoms for years and even struggled to recall what he had been doing during his last parliamentary leader debate.

Mattias Karlsson, who was Åkesson’s deputy until the party leader went on sick leave citing exhaustion, told Dagens Nyheter that his political colleague had been finding it difficult to cope for several years.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UK: Blair ‘Signed Secret Contract With Saudi Oil Firm Promising Him £41,000 a Month and a Slice of Any Deals He Helped Broker’

Tony Blair signed a secret contract with a Saudi oil firm, which promised him £41,000 a month and commission on deals he helped broker, it has been claimed.

The former prime minister signed the agreement with PetroSaudi — founded by a senior member of the Saudi royal family — in November 2010 in a deal that would promote the firm to Chinese leaders.

It proposed fees of £41,000 a month and a two per cent cut on any successful negotiations for Blair, while the firm was told it was prohibited from disclosing his role without consent.

The 21-page leaked document, obtained by The Sunday Times, is the first time a detailed contract agreed by his office — Tony Blair Associates — has been revealed.

The newspaper claims it is also the first piece of evidence of his work for a Middle Eastern oil firm.

Mr Blair’s role as a Middle East Peace Envoy is to hammer out a ceasefire in times of conflict between the Israelis and Palestinian

But it is thought the revelations will give rise to fresh criticism of his role and his private interests.

PetroSaudi, which was jointly founded by Saudi businessman Tarek Obaid and son of Saudi Arabia — King Abdullah — Prince Turki bin Abdullah Al Saud, has projects in Tunisia, Ghana and Indonesia.

A senior PetroSaudi source told the Sunday newspaper: ‘[Blair] has got deep ties to the Middle East and that is how we got to know him.

‘It was a confidential engagement to help us develop business in China.’…

           — Hat tip: Gaia [Return to headlines]

UK: Returning Islamist Fighters Offered ‘Jihadi Rehab’ Instead of Prosecution for Supporting Blood-Thirsty Terrorist Groups Despite May’s Pledges

Returning Islamist fighters are being offered ‘jihadi rehab’ instead of prosecution for supporting blood-thirsty terrorist groups.

The vast majority of more than 300 young men who have arrived back from Syria and Iraq are being allowed to continue their normal lives.

Many have been offered places on the Government’s counter-radicalisation scheme, known as the Channel programme, which has seen a substantial rise in referrals.

Evidence of the ‘softer approach’ comes despite assurances from Home Secretary Theresa May that terrorist sympathisers will face the full force of the law.

She said new legislation should be ready by the end of this month as David Cameron insisted returning jihadists should face ‘criminal investigations and prosecution’.

Two Cardiff men who travelled to Syria have been allowed to return to their homes despite being arrested under the Terrorism Act…

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes [Return to headlines]

UK: The Full Story of the ‘Medieval Monarch’ of Tower Hamlets

Ballot recount suggests that ‘significant irregularities’ put Lutfur Rahman in mayoral robes

By Andrew Gilligan

A high court recount of thousands of votes cast for the extremist-linked mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman, in May’s election has uncovered “significant irregularities” that may, if reflected in the whole sample, be sufficient to overturn the result.

The official “scrutiny”, in the presence of a judge, took place in strict secrecy last week as part of a legal challenge to the election, which was marred by widespread claims of intimidation and fraud.

It is the latest and potentially most serious blow to Mr Rahman, many of whose functions were last week taken over by government commissioners, after an official report found he had presided over serious abuses of public money and property.

Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, described Tower Hamlets as a “rotten borough” infected by a “culture of cronyism”, and said Mr Rahman was like a “medieval monarch” who had “misused” his “unchecked” personal power to favour ethnic and political allies.

At the election in May, votes for each candidate were sorted into bundles of 50, with the tellers then counting the number of bundles to give each candidate’s total vote. During the ballot paper scrutiny, which lasted from Monday to Thursday of last week, the bundles were brought to the High Court. Several hundred of Mr Rahman’s bundles, at least a quarter of his total vote, were recounted by court officers.

According to sources with knowledge of the proceedings, the scrutiny uncovered “significant irregularities” consistent with allegations made against the original count.

“There was a significant number of Mr Rahman’s bundles where there were fewer than 50 votes for him in the bundle, or votes for other candidates in the bundle,” said a source.

“There was also a significant number of ballot papers where a vote for John Biggs [Mr Rahman’s Labour opponent] had been crossed out and a vote for Rahman written in. Almost all the irregularities favoured Rahman.”

In July, Mr Biggs, who lost by just 3,250 votes after second preferences were counted, accused Mr Rahman’s supporters of a “considerable amount of election fraud, principally centred around the manipulation of postal votes” and said there were “very significant doubts about the integrity of the ballot”.

The election petition, by a cross-party group of six Tower Hamlets voters, also alleges that some polling stations were besieged by crowds of “hostile and threatening” supporters of Mr Rahman, with Bengali voters, especially women, intercepted outside polling stations, then “accompanied” into the polling booths and “directed how to vote”…

           — Hat tip: Steen [Return to headlines]

Algeria: Law on Foreign Company Stakes Could be Changed

Law 51/49 of the capital discourages investors from abroad

(by Diego Minuti) (ANSAmed) — ROME, NOVEMBER 7 — Ever since a law regulating the percentage of Algerian and foreign company stakeholders was approved in 2009, it has been considered key in preserving Algerian businesses from predatory foreign investors.

The law provides for Algerian investors to get 51% of stakes and foreign partners 49% in order to protect local businesses — both startups and well-established firms. The measure has obtained results — with strict rules which cannot be ignored — but has fostered a climate of doubt among foreign investors who are not always willing to place their capital in the hands of the ‘hosts’.

This is not difficult to understand given that firms have often been created almost exclusively thanks to foreign capitals, leaving the logistics to Algerian partners, or business management.

But in the long run this, at times, praise-worthy model has made foreign investors feel that their efforts (including the capital they spend) is in the hands of the majority stakeholder.

So leading economists and policy-makers have been progressively evaluating whether the so-called ‘51/49’ law should remain in place as it is or whether the time has come to change it in order to encourage foreign investment.

The logic to preserve local businesses makes it hard right now to substantially change the law. But the evolution of international finance places Algeria one step behind other countries with no ‘51/49’ limits, which are now welcoming investors who are choosing them based on the conviction they will be the ones to directly manage capital, rather than their local partners. Indeed local partners can be capable but are majority stakeholders in Algeria only thanks to the law and not for financial merit.

A first hypothesis is to limit the rigid division between Algerian and foreign capital, perhaps changing it for non-strategic sectors and thus modifying percentages to benefit foreign partners.

Apart from energy, a key sector for Algeria, a different solution could be found for the food industry and manufacturing- a change which could encourage foreign investors to return to a country that relies too much on fluctuations of the energy market to make long-term plans.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Egypt Arrests Suspect Over Threats to American Schools

Egypt on Saturday announced the arrest of a US-Egyptian citizen accused of having posted on jihadist websites a threat to attack American and other international schools in the region.

At the end of October, US embassies in the Gulf states of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman and the United Arab Emirates, as well as the mission in Egypt, called for vigilance over a threat to American schools there.

The suspect “posted a call through jihadist websites for attacks targeting government and foreign interests… including against foreign teachers at American and international schools in the country”, it said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Italy Working to Avert Disaster in Libya, Says Minister

(AG) Rome, Nov 9 — Half the world is pushing for a divided Libya and Italy is exercising its traditional power in the Mediterranean, and in that area in particular, in a bid to discourage people wishing to fuel the situation, said Foreign Minister Gentiloni. In an interview with Lucia Annunciata on the television talk show In Mezz’Ora, he said that any United Nations intervention force should be a peaceful one.

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

PM Mahlab Urges Egyptians to Limit Reproduction Rates

Egyptian Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab called on Egyptians to work towards reducing reproduction rates in an effort to curb ongoing population growth that he said further strains a stretched state budget.

Egypt’s population of 87 million has increased threefold in the period between 1950 to 2000, exceeding the country’s economic growth, Mahlab told a population and development conference on Thursday.

Reports reveal that Egyptian population has increased by 25 million since 2000, with a birth rate exceeding 2.6 million over the past year, Mahlab said, further besetting an already ailing economy that faces a crippling budget deficit of around 11 percent of GDP.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

10 Years After Death: Arafat Still Palestinian Icon

For decades, Yasser Arafat was the incarnation of the Palestinian fight for independence. Ten years after his death, he remains a national hero for a still stateless people.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Arabic Billboard in Nazareth Calls for Running Over Israelis

A large billboard in Israel’s largest Arab city, Nazareth, is using a play on words in Arabic between ISIS — “Daesh,” and running down with a vehicle — “daes,” to promote vehicular terror attacks against Israelis, Israel’s Walla News reported Sunday.

The billboard — not some private poster hanging on a porch, but rather a professional billboard erected, amazingly enough, close to the city’s police station — can be understood as saying “ISIS/Overrunning Nazareth.”

Spokesmen for the Israel Police Northern District said “the issue was as yet unknown and would be investigated,” and Nazareth municipality officials have not yet offered a response to the unprecedented incitement to murder.

The billboard comes in the wake of several such lethal attacks in the last weeks, which have killed an infant, a young woman, a young man, border policemen, and wounded scores of others.

As well, such calls have flooded both Palestinian official and private social media, with scores of graphic images and photos flooding Facebook and Twitter posts, blogs, and newspapers and magazines, urging drivers to use their vehicles to ram down Israelis in a “car intifada.”

On Friday, Yeshiva student Shalom Aharon Baadani, 17, died of injuries he sustained in Wednesday’s vehicular terror attack in Jerusalem, becoming the second victim in the incident…

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes [Return to headlines]

After Airstrikes, Rumors Swirl Over Fate of IS Leader Baghdadi

“Islamic State” (IS) top commander Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was rumored to have been wounded or killed in a recent US-led airstrike. Central Command officials could not however confirm the fate of the jihadist group leader.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Amid Terror Attacks, Iraq Faces Water Crisis

Islamic State’s assault on dams and water systems threatens Iraq’s supply, which was already squeezed by dams in Turkey and Iran.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Can ISIS Maintain the ‘Caliphate’ Without Baghdadi?

News reports that the United States-led coalition attacked successfully a 10-truck Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) convoy outside Mosul injured top leaders of ISIS including, as reports suggest, its leader and self-appointed caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, is significant. According to the reports, Baghdadi, was “critically wounded” in the American-led air strike that targeted the western Iraqi border town of al-Qaim.

The key question is how ISIS fighters will interpret the loss of the leadership and especially if al-Baghdadi is critically injured and ultimately dies. We must recall that al-Baghdadi was reportedly injured just months before.

We have a number of occasions where American airpower decapitated the leaderships of Islamist extremist terrorist groups.

The deaths of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and U.S.-born radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki immediately come to mind. Yet the results of the high-level killings, as well as other targeted strikes on key planners and operators, seem to be limited. While such strikes provide instant gratification, the problem still remains.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Iran: Still a ‘Big Gap’ In Nuclear Talks, Says Obama

(AGI) Washington, Nov 9 — U.S. President Barack Obama said on Sunday that there was still a big gap in nuclear negotiations with Iran, and that they might be unable to meet the rapidly approaching Nov. 24 deadline to conclude the talks. This deadline was established by the provisional agreement reached last year. Meanwhile, trilateral talks between the U.S., UK, and Iran on Tehran’s nuclear programme have begun in Muscat, Oman.

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

Iraq Investigating Whether Islamic State Leader Al-Baghdadi Killed in US Air Strikes

Iraq was on Sunday investigating whether Islamic State (Isil) chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed in air strikes by US-led coalition warplanes targeting the group’s leaders.

The death of the elusive Baghdadi would be a major victory for the coalition of countries carrying out air strikes against Isil and aiding Iraqi forces fighting to regain large areas of Iraq that the jihadists have overrun.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

IS Executes 70 More Members of Iraqi Albu Nimr Tribe

(AGI) Baghdad, Nov 9 — Islamic State (IS) militants have killed another 70 members of the Iraqi Albu Nimr tribe in the western Anbar province, local police said. The latest execution took place ahead of an expected attack on Hit, a city 85 miles west of Baghdad captured by IS in September. IS has killed hundreds of Sunni tribal fighters in the past weeks in Anbar.

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

ISIS Reportedly Confirms Its Leader Wounded in Coalition Air Strike

Tweeter account purporting to be by ISIS spokesperson tweets ‘speedy recovery’ for Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, doesn’t elaborate.

The militant group Islamic State reportedly confirmed its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was wounded during U.S.-led air strikes in Iraq on Saturday.

The group’s spokesman Mohammed al-Adnani purportedly tweeted that the “emir” is okay, and wished him a speedy recovery, though failing to elaborate on al-Baghdadi’s injuries.

“Do you think the Caliphate would end with the Caliph’s death? We announce leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is in well, and wish him a speedy recovery,” the tweet reads.

On Saturday, it was reported that coalition air strikes have targeted a gathering of Islamic State leaders in Iraq in a town near the Syrian border, possibly including the group’s top commander…

[Return to headlines]

The Sword of Islamism?

by Diana West

The following excerpt is from a harrowing report at about Christians and Yezidis who have fled for their lives to Kurdistan to escape the rampaging Islamic State in Iraq.

It recounts the flight of Faten, a young Christian refugee who used to lived in Qaraqosh in northern Iraq

Then, just three months ago, the Islamic State — commonly called Daesh in Kurdistan — swept into Qaraqosh after decimating Mosul’s Christian community.

The invaders offered Qaraqosh’s Christians the usual three options: Convert, pay the jizya tax, or get out.

Otherwise, they would face the Islamist’s sword.

Come again?

Convert, pay the jizya tax, or get out. Otherwise, they would face the Islamist’s sword.

This formulation is typical.

Here we have a classic description of Islamic holy war, or jihad, as it has been waged by Muslim gangs, bands and armies across centuries and continents since Islam began — by the sword of “Islamism,” according to today’s de rigeur Islamic apologetics. Indeed, in the US today, in opposition to the argument that non-Islamic “extremism” drives (Islamic) violence, it is only conceiveable, only acceptable that “Islamists” wield this same sword of Islam — not Koranically grounded, Mohammed-following, Allah-pleasing, and very definitely Islamic-paradise-bound Muslims.

Then again, maybe that makes the rapaciously violent, conquering Muslims of yore premature Islamists — and Mohammed, the jihad model, the world’s first “Islamist” and prophet of “Islamism.” So the prophet of “moderate Islam” is … ?

           — Hat tip: Diana West [Return to headlines]

Turkish Navy Authorized Over Oil Crisis With Greek Cyprus

The Turkish Navy has been authorized by the government for the full implementation of recently amended rules of engagement in the eastern Mediterranean in the face of growing tension between littoral countries, including Turkey, Greek Cyprus, Egypt and Israel over oil and natural gas drilling projects.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

US-Led Airstrikes Target ISIS Leaders in Iraq

A series of U.S.-led airstrikes launched Friday targeted what was thought to be a gathering of Islamic State leaders in Iraq, a defense official told Fox News.

The airstrikes, that took place near the Iraqi town of Mosul near the Syrian border, destroyed a vehicle convoy of 10 armed trucks. The official offered no further information and said they could not confirm if Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was among those present.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Heavy Shelling, Unmarked Military Columns Observed in Eastern Ukraine

Observers reported heavy shelling and large columns of unmarked tanks and artillery moving through eastern Ukraine overnight. Continued violence threatens the complete breakdown of a ceasefire signed in early September.

Large columns of unmarked tanks, howitzers and troop carriers were spotted moving through eastern Ukraine in territory held by pro-Russian separatists, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) reported.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

India: Madhya Pradesh: Hindu Radicals Beat Eight Christians, Have Them Arrested

Bajrang Dal activists take advantage of the state’s anti-conversion law to attack a small Pentecostal community. For the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), “it is essential that Hindu and Christian leaders engage in an active dialogue and genuine collaboration.”

Mumbai (AsiaNews) — Hindu radicals from the Bajrang Dal attacked eight Pentecostals from the village of Kotla, in Madhya Pradesh. During the attack, the victims were stripped naked, punched, whipped with belts and then arrested.

On Tuesday, Rev Rana met with seven members of his congregation to prepare a prayer service. When local Bajrang Dal activists learnt about the meeting, they stormed it and beat up the all the participants. Afterwards, police came to the scene of the attack and arrested the Pentecostals.

Adopted in 1968, the Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act “is a tool to harass and intimidate the vulnerable Christian minority,” said Sajan George. “Hindu radicals use it to make false accusations of forced conversions”.

In August 2013, the Madhya Pradesh government amended the law, making it even tougher, by requiring priests to provide local authorities with all the details concerning would-be converts at least 30 days before the ceremony. Failure to respect the law’s provisions is punished by heavy fines.

“It is essential that Christian and Hindu leaders engage in an active dialogue and genuine cooperation, to clear the clouds of suspicion and fear that agitate Madhya Pradesh and create instead a climate of mutual tolerance,” added the GCIC president.

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

Russia and China Sign Deal on Second Gas Route

Russia and China have pledged to expand cooperation, particularly in the energy sector. An agreement on a second route to supply China with Russian gas gives Moscow a boost amid EU and US sanctions.

The deals give Russia a welcome boost as it continues to suffer economically under sanctions imposed by Washington and the European Union over its alleged role in the Ukraine crisis.

The meeting was the tenth between the two leaders since Xi came to power in March 2013, according to China’s official People’s Daily.

Ties between China and Russia have been strengthened in recent times by their shared geopolitical concerns, including a wary stance towards the United States.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Italy: Migrant Sea Arrivals ‘Quadrupled in 2014’ — IOM

Over 150,000

(ANSA) — Rome, November 7 — Migrant arrivals to Italy by sea almost quadrupled in the first 10 months of 2014, to 154,075, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said Friday.

In the same period in 2013 some 38,882 sea-borne migrants arrived, the IOM said.

Migrant sea journeys rose after Italy launched its Mare Nostrum rescue operation following the deaths of 400 migrants in October 2013.

The operation has just ended and been replaced by a smaller EU op, Triton.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Obama: ‘I’m Going to Do What I Need to Do’ on Immigration

President Obama repeated Sunday that he intends to change U.S. immigration law through executive action, over Republican leaders’ repeated requests to wait and dire warnings about the consequences of sidestepping Congress.

“I’m going to do what I need to do,” Obama told CBS’ “Face the Nation,” in an interview taped on Friday.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

2 thoughts on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 11/9/2014

  1. Take that Catalan independence straw poll with a heaping helping of salt. Those who are satisfied with things the way they are have little incentive to vote. It’s not as if the election would decide anything. Voting no means going to the trouble of voting, and they just don’t care all that much. So they just don’t vote.

    That means that however little sentiment there is for independence, the “vote” will be lopsidedly “yes”.

    Even in Scotland, where the vote was for real, sentiment for independence was stronger in polling ahead of time than it was when the votes were counted.

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