Gates of Vienna News Feed 12/10/2014

Five friends and acquaintances of Mehdi Nemmouche have been arrested by French police. The culturally enriching suspects are thought to have assisted Mr. Nemmouche in his murderous attack on the Jewish Museum in Brussels last May.

In other news, police in Courtland, Mississippi are hoping that surveillance footage from a gas station will help catch the unknown assailants who murdered a young woman by pouring accelerant down her throat and setting her on fire, leaving her by the side of the road to die.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Fjordman, Gaia, Insubria, LS, Phyllis Chesler, 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: Debt Eats Up 40% of Public Spending — Senate Report
» Juncker Says Rising Debt Prevents Growth, Jobs
» Mass Protest in Dublin Against New Austerity Measure
 
USA
» FBI Investigation Into Ex-US Diplomat Casts Cloud Over Relations With Pakistan
» Police Examine Gas Station Video in Hunt for Killer Who Set Mississippi Teen on Fire
» ‘Tis the Season: Police Hand Out Presents, Not Tickets
» US Congress Negotiators Agree Deal on $1.1 Trillion Spending Bill
» When Will ISIS Release Their Torture Report?
» Who Wants to Buy a Politician?
 
Europe and the EU
» A Sikh Principal, Too English for a Largely Muslim School
» Austria: Shopkeepers in Vienna Ask for Sunday Opening
» Belgium: Five Held Over Brussels Jewish Museum Slayings
» Denmark Invests Millions in World’s Biggest Telescope
» French Far-Right Leader Le Pen ‘Defends’ Use of Torture
» German Eurosceptics Embrace Anti-Islam Protests
» Italy: Rome Mayor Meets Prosector in Capital Mafia Case
» Italy: Mafia Probe in Umbria Leads to 61 Arrests
» Italy: Govt Loses Vote Over Life Senators
» Italy: ‘Pignatone Won’t Play Ball’ Carminati Said
» Italy: Grillo Says Rome Mafia ‘Afraid of US’
» Italy: Criminal Minds Came From ‘Alemanno’s Right Wing’ Says Marino
» Norway Nears Five Billion Text Messages in 2014
» Spain: Taking on the Mushroom Mafias
» Sweden Ranked Fifth in Global Tax Burden Report
» UK: Arrest After ‘Threat to Kill’ West Midlands Police Officer
» UK: New Royal Palace Planned in London, But it Belongs to Qatar
» UK: The PC Police State is Finally Terrorising Even the Police
 
Balkans
» Bosnia: Supporters of Islamic State Stab Imam Who Opposes it
» Brain Drain: 32,000 People Leave Serbia Each Year
» Russia to Compensate Serbia for South Stream
 
North Africa
» Risque Video Plunges Egypt Dancer in Furor
 
Israel and the Palestinians
» European Socialists: Accord With Fatah, Palestine State
» Palestinian Minister Dies After Confrontation With Israeli Police
» PNA: EU is Helping to Pay November Salaries and Pensions
» Sweden Can’t Sue Israel Over Ship to Gaza Raids
 
Middle East
» 5,000 Deaths in a Month: Shocking Toll of the 664 Jihadi Attacks in 14 Countries Around the World in November
» Akcam: Textbooks and the Armenian Genocide in Turkey: Heading Towards 2015
» Award-Winning Iranian Human Rights Lawyer Arrested: Husband
» Erdogan’s Ottoman Language Drive Faces Backlash in Turkey
» ISIS’s ‘Slavery for Dummies’: Jihadists Compile Chilling Checklist of How to Treat Thousands of Kidnapped Sex Slaves
» ISIS: Gentiloni: Italy’s Role Adequate for the Moment
» Islamic State Terrorists Throw Man Off a Rooftop, Then Stone Him to Death for Being “Gay”
» No Agreement With US Until Settlement of Syria No-Fly Zone Issue: President Erdogan
» Qatar Takes Pragmatic Path in Gulf Relations: Analysts
» Shiite Militias Win Bloody Battles in Iraq, Show No Mercy
 
Russia
» Europe Proposes Joint Moon Trips With Russia
» Russian Church Slams Tolkien Evil Eye Plan for Moscow Skyscraper
 
South Asia
» Furor Over ‘Conversion’ of Muslims in India
» Indonesia: Aceh: The New Jihad Against Tight Jeans: “They Are Contrary to Islam”
» Pakistani Family Slaughtered in Honor Killing
» Uber’s Rape Problem in India: No Woman is Safe in a Cab
 
Australia — Pacific
» New Zealand Votes in Anti-Terrorism Measures
 
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Dangerous Trade-Offs: Was French Hostage Swapped for Detained Jihadists?
» French Hostage Lazarevic Freed for ‘Al-Qaeda Prisoners’
 
Immigration
» 3,419 Dead in Mediterranean in 2014, UNHCR
» Illegal Immigrants Flocking to Denmark
» Record Numbers of Migrants Die Trying to Reach Europe
 
General
» Say Hello to iJihad
 

Italy: Debt Eats Up 40% of Public Spending — Senate Report

Average cost 308 billion a year between 2008 and 2014

(ANSA) — Rome, December 10 — Servicing Italy’s massive public debt, which currently stands at over two trillion euros, ate up almost 40% of public spending in the 2008-2014 period, according to a Senate report released Wednesday. The report said interest and payments on maturing bonds went from 276 billion euros in 2008 to 328 billion this year, an average of 308 billion a year. The report, based on data provided by the economy ministry, said debt servicing accounted for 19% of GDP.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Juncker Says Rising Debt Prevents Growth, Jobs

Tells fiscal seminar don’t over-spend on employment plans

(ANSA) — Brussels, December 10 — Jean-Claude Juncker, head of the European Commission, said Wednesday that high debt prevents economic growth and job creation. “There is neither work nor growth if debt climbs,” Juncker said in a video message to a fiscal seminar organized by ex-premier Mario Monti and attended by Economy Minister Pier Carlo Padoan. Juncker added that his plan for 300 billion euros in investment by the EC was created “without debt” to create jobs, especially for youth, “but do not spend money you do not have,” added Juncker.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Mass Protest in Dublin Against New Austerity Measure

Tens of thousands of people opposed to the introduction of new austerity measures protested in Dublin on Wednesday in a rare mass demonstration that increases pressure on the Irish government.

Dublin committed to impose water charges as part of its EU-IMF bailout but with the first bills set to arrive in the new year, a massive campaign emerged in recent months calling for an abolition of the fees.

After nationwide protests, Prime Minister Enda Kenny’s coalition government last month slashed the charges in an embarrassing climbdown but opposition has remained…

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

FBI Investigation Into Ex-US Diplomat Casts Cloud Over Relations With Pakistan

Is Robin Raphel a Homeland-style spy, the victim of a ‘bureaucratic snafu’, or a pawn in the distrustful relationship between two supposed allies?

A high-flying US diplomat betraying her country to spy for Pakistan may sound like an outlandish plotline of the spy drama Homeland, but in recent weeks that real life allegation has added extra intrigue to the volatile relationship between the two supposedly allied countries.

The news that a former US ambassador called Robin Raphel has been the subject of an FBI counter-intelligence investigation shocked the foreign policy establishments of both Washington and Islamabad when it was reported last month.

Officials took the extraordinary step in late October of searching Raphel’s house, finding classified documents that should not have left the State Department. Raphel’s security clearance has been revoked and her job at the office of the special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan effectively terminated.

Few details have been made public about the case but the New York Times reported the investigation was triggered after a Pakistani official was bugged claiming Islamabad had US secrets from a prominent former State Department official.

Raphel herself has expressed confidence the affair will soon be resolved, in her only public statement on the matter…

           — Hat tip: LS [Return to headlines]
 

Police Examine Gas Station Video in Hunt for Killer Who Set Mississippi Teen on Fire

Authorities are examining security footage taken from a gas station near where a 19-year-old Mississippi woman was found burning alive, as they hunt for the killer or killers who set the teenager and her car aflame Saturday in a gruesome murder.

No suspects or motive have been identified in the killing of Jessica Chambers, Panola County District Attorney John Champion told FoxNews.com Wednesday.

Chambers, of Panola County, was found badly burned on a road near her burning car Saturday night in what authorities have labeled a homicide.

Investigators are hoping Chambers’ final words will lead them to the killer who allegedly poured accelerant down her throat before lighting her on fire in a crime that has stunned the small Mississippi community of Courtland…

[Return to headlines]
 

‘Tis the Season: Police Hand Out Presents, Not Tickets

(CNN) — What if police gave out presents instead of traffic tickets. That would be a nice trick, or maybe an alternate reality.

Actually, it was a stunt for UPtv.

The family friendly cable channel pulled off the stunt in late November with the help of Lowell, Michigan, Police Department.

Officer Scot VanSolkema stopped unsuspecting drivers for minor traffic violations and then chatted them up about what their family would like for Christmas.

“Got all your Christmas shopping done?” he asked one woman as she pulled out her proof of insurance and registration.

“No, I haven’t even started,” she answered before telling VanSolkema what her daughter and son were asking for…

[Return to headlines]
 

US Congress Negotiators Agree Deal on $1.1 Trillion Spending Bill

US lawmakers have agreed on a spending bill before a deadline later this week, avoiding a possible government shutdown. Republicans managed to negotiate the easing of environmental and derivatives trading.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

When Will ISIS Release Their Torture Report?

by Myra Adams

Today the timing of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s declassified executive summary on enhanced interrogation techniques used by the Bush Administration raises an intriguing list of political questions. One is even about movies and another has huge implications for the 2016 presidential race.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Who Wants to Buy a Politician?

Don Blankenship, the recently indicted former chiefexecutive of Massey Energy, has a history of donating a lot of money to West Virginia politicians. In 2004, for instance, Blankenship spent $3 million to support the election of a lawyer named Brent Benjamin to the state’s Supreme Court of Appeals. It was, notably, more than three times the amount spent by Benjamin’s own campaign. But for Blankenship, it appeared to be a beneficial investment. Once seated, Benjamin cast the deciding vote to overturn a $50million jury verdict against Massey.

[Return to headlines]
 

A Sikh Principal, Too English for a Largely Muslim School

BIRMINGHAM, England — As a Sikh and second-generation Briton running a public school made up mostly of Muslim students, Balwant Bains was at the center of the issues facing multicultural Britain, including the perennial question of balancing religious precepts and cultural identity against assimilation.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Austria: Shopkeepers in Vienna Ask for Sunday Opening

7 out of 10 hoping for greater ‘freedom of doing business’

(ANSA) — TRIESTE — While in neighbouring Hungary the local authorities are debating whether or not to follow the “Austrian trend”, in Vienna shopkeepers are pushing for “special tourist areas”, where shops can remain open even on any public holiday, against the rules which establish that almost all businesses should remain closed.

This is reported in a survey released today by the Chamber of Commerce of Vienna (WKO), that asked its members to express their opinion on the establishment of the so-called Wiener Tourismuszonen, areas of the city where shops can remain open on Sundays, without limitation. 72.6% of respondents said they are in favour of the initiative.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Belgium: Five Held Over Brussels Jewish Museum Slayings

French police have detained five people believed to have assisted Mehdi Nemmouche, the chief suspect in the case of the murderous attack on the Jewish Museum in Brussels in May.

The French broadcaster BFM TV quotes French police sources who say that three men and two women have been held.

The arrestees are said to be friends and acquaintances of chief suspect Mehdi Nemmouche. It is the first time that anybody else is detained in connection with the attack that led to the death of four people including an Israeli couple visiting Brussels as tourists.

The five are being questioned and are suspected of assisting chief suspect Mehdi Nemmouche.

Nemmouche is suspected of carrying out the attack the Jewish Museum on 24 May. He was arrested in France’s second city Marseilles on 30 May. He has now been extradited to Belgium where is awaiting trial.

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

Denmark Invests Millions in World’s Biggest Telescope

New telescope project will help physicists answer questions about expanding universe and life in space.

Is there life on other planets? How rapidly is the universe expanding? How distant stars structured?

These are just a few of the questions astronomers hope to find answers to by building the world’s largest telescope, the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT).

The European Southern Observatory, ESO, has just passed a resolution to commence construction of the giant telescope in 2015, to the great delight of Danish astronomers.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

French Far-Right Leader Le Pen ‘Defends’ Use of Torture

Torture can be a “useful” tool in certain cases French far-right leader Marine le Pen said on Wednesday, before later backtracking and stating that her words had been “misinterpreted”.

Speaking early Wednesday on BFMTV in an interview discussing the revelations that the CIA used brutal interrogation methods, Le Pen said she “did not condemn” the use of torture when questioning terror suspects.

“Of course [torture] can be used,” she said. “It’s been used throughout history.”

“I believe that the people responsible for getting information out of terror suspects that can save civilian lives do a responsible job,” she added.

“There are times, such as if a bomb is about to go off, when it is useful to get a suspect to talk…by any means.”

However, Le Pen later claimed on Twitter that her words had been “misinterpreted”…

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

German Eurosceptics Embrace Anti-Islam Protests

Political row in Germany as justice minister speaks out against protests gripping city of Dresden

The wave of anti-Islam protests gripping the German city of Dresden have ignited a political row, after the leader of the country’s rapidly growing Eurosceptic party publicly backed the protesters.

Ten thousand people took to the streets of Dresden on Monday in the latest in a series of weekly rallies under the banner of Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of Europe, or Pegida, to protest against what they say is the erosion of Germany’s Judeo-Christian culture by Muslim immigrants.

           — Hat tip: Steen [Return to headlines]
 

Italy: Rome Mayor Meets Prosector in Capital Mafia Case

Delivers documents for investigation, sources say

(ANSA) — Rome, December 10 — Rome Mayor Ignazio Marino met Wednesday with prosecutor Giuseppe Pignatone and delivered a set of documents which sources said may be useful in the ongoing police probe into mafia activities allegedly reaching to high levels in Rome.

Over 100 people have been placed under investigation in the probe, including former Rome center-right mayor Gianni Alemanno.

The mafia organisation, allegedly run by ex-right-wing terrorist and gangster Massimo Carminati, allegedly managed to rig City of Rome contracts worth millions.

Marino, a member of the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) of Premier Matteo Renzi, has not been implicated.

On Tuesday, Renzi vowed that the culprits will be punished to the fullest extent.

Renzi also announced that his government will raise the minimum jail term for corruption to six years, and that the statute of limitations for graft felonies will be lengthened.

“The corrupt will pay for everything,” Renzi said via his Twitter account, @matteorenzi, as the Italian political world continued to feel the aftershocks of the probe prosecutors revealed last week. He added the changes will be proposed formally on Thursday.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Italy: Mafia Probe in Umbria Leads to 61 Arrests

Police say ‘Ndrangheta infiltrated local economy

(ANSA) — Rome, December 10 — Police on Wednesday said 61 people face arrest in a probe into the ‘Ndrangheta mafia operating in Italy’s central Umbria region.

More than 30 million euros in goods have been seized as anti-mafia investigators say they found “widespread infiltration into the local economy” by the Calabria-based mafia.

Police say charges will range from mafia association to extortion, prostitution and drug-trafficking. The ‘Ndrangheta mafia became especially involved in the construction sector, intimidating and threatening locals including setting fires to local businesses that would not cooperate, police said.

Arrests and seizures were made in the Umbrian capital city of Perugia as well as other cities in the region.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Italy: Govt Loses Vote Over Life Senators

‘Lower House floor will have last word’ says Boschi

(ANSA) — Rome, December 10 — Premier Matteo Renzi’s government lost a vote in a Lower House committee on Wednesday over its Constitutional reform bill. An amendment to the bill, which stipulated that the new Senate should have no members appointed by the president, was approved with 22 votes in favour and 20 against, even though the government was opposed to it.

Reform Minister Maria Elena Boschi downplayed the way the vote went.

“The final word belongs to the floor of the Lower House,” she said.

The Constitutional reform bill would revamp the nation’s institutions, transforming the Senate into a leaner assembly of local-government representatives with limited law-making powers.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Italy: ‘Pignatone Won’t Play Ball’ Carminati Said

City may start rotating civil service execs ‘within 36 hours’

(see related)(ANSA) — Rome, December 10 — Wiretaps show ex right-wing terrorist and gangster Massimo Carminati did not look forward to the appointment of Giuseppe Pigatone as Rome chief prosecutor, sources said Wednesday.

“He won’t play,” the jailed suspect in a Rome mafia probe said in a January 2012 wiretap. “He’ll turn Rome on its head…he did it Calabria…he won’t let politics swallow him up”.

Pignatone has placed over 100 people under investigation in the probe into an alleged Rome crime syndicate, including former center-right mayor Gianni Alemanno. The organisation allegedly run by Carminati, allegedly rigged Rome city contracts worth many millions of euros in sectors ranging from waste disposal to transportation to the management of migrant reception centres and Roma camps.

Also on Wednesday, sources at city hall said rotation of civil service managers could begin within the next 36 hours.

Center-left Mayor Ignazio Marino last weekend announced the measure designed to keep city agencies running and corruption-free while the mafia probe runs its course.

Marino, a member of the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) of Premier Matteo Renzi, has not been implicated.

The mayor’s staff is at work on a set of rules for how to rotate the agency executives, and will meet with unions shortly, the sources said. As well, prosecutors are investigating the December 5 theft of a computer after a late-night break-in into Rome’s parks services and civil protection offices.

Police sources said the theft could be linked to the ongoing mafia probe. The security cameras on both buildings had been down for several days, investigative sources told ANSA.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Italy: Grillo Says Rome Mafia ‘Afraid of US’

5-Star Movement leader responds to wire taps

(ANSA) — Rome, December 10 — The leader of anti-establishmen 5-Star Movement (M5S) Beppe Grillo said Wednesday the recently uncovered Rome mafia dubbed ‘Mafia Capitale’ is afraid of his party, not Italian Premier Matteo Renzi’s Democratic Party (PD).

“I just read the wiretaps of Carminati and Buzzi that talk about me: Mafia Capitale is afraid of us. Not the PD,” Grillo tweeted.

In a telephone conversation intercepted by police, Salvatore Buzzi, right-hand man to Mafia Capitale boss Massimo Carminati, was recorded in 2013 saying, “The problem is that we aren’t in anymore, it’s incredible, Grillo has managed to destroy PD”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Italy: Criminal Minds Came From ‘Alemanno’s Right Wing’ Says Marino

Rome mayor points finger after probe uncovers capital’s mob ring

(ANSA) — Rome, December 10 — Center-left Mayor Ignazio Marino said Wednesday that the criminal mindset behind the racketeering mob uncovered in an ongoing probe in the nation’s capital hails from the right wing of the political spectrum.

Over 100 people have been placed under investigation in the mafia probe including former center-right mayor Gianni Alemanno. Alemanno is currently in the rightwing Brothers of Italy (FdI) party, a splinter from the conservative People of Freedom (PdL) party of former premier Silvio Berlusconi. The Rome crime syndicate was allegedly run by former rightwing terrorist and gangster Massimo Carminati, and allegedly rigged Rome city contracts worth many millions of euros in sectors ranging from waste disposal to the management of migrant reception centres and Roma camps.

Many of the people incriminated in the probe are linked to Alemanno.

Several figures from the Democratic Party (PD) of Premier Matteo Renzi feature too, although Marino, who is also in the PD, is unscathed so far.

“Some in our party may have erred, but the criminal structure was born within Alemanno’s right wing,” the mayor told a Democratic Party (PD) gathering.

PD President Matteo Orfini, who has been put in charge of the party in Rome following the probe, said the local branch has been held hostage to internal “power wars” for years.

He said that his stint as commissioner of the Rome PD will not be short, as it will be necessary to “rebuild” the party in the city.

“The PD must go back to the streets, it must return to the people without fear,” Orfini said Wednesday.

“The Rome PD has been marked by an endless war between bands that organized not for the sake of politics but for that of power,” Orfini went on. “Such a party took hostage thousands of militants, card-carrying members and voters, who worked with passion and commitment on a daily basis to build a party worthy of this name”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Norway Nears Five Billion Text Messages in 2014

Fleet-fingered Norwegians are closing in on a record year for text messaging.

By the end of November, the country’s 5.1 million people had already sent 4.6 billion texts, according to telecoms operator Telenor.

With the text-happy Christmas and New Year holiday seasons approaching, Telenor believes Norwegians will pass the five-billion mark for the year.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Spain: Taking on the Mushroom Mafias

This fall the Civil Guard has carried out a series of operations throughout Spain as part of a crackdown on illegal harvesting of wild mushrooms that has seen organized gangs of up to 50 people camping out in woodland for weeks on end and stripping forests of valuable species.

“There is huge demand,” explains a spokesman for the force’s Seprona environmental protection unit. “It’s like drugs: there is always somebody prepared to buy.”

He adds that so far the Civil Guard has been unable to establish who is behind the practice. “But it’s clear that there are wholesale buyers. The whole thing is very well organized and structured. So far, we don’t know who is selling the mushrooms.”

“This is a problem that has been brought about by the economic crisis,” explains Arturo Notivoli, the head of Seprona in the Pyrenean province of Huesca, who adds that they first began to see camps dedicated to collection on a huge scale a few years ago. Mainly made up of Romanians, according to the Civil Guard, the gangs move around the country depending on the season and the presence of the police.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Sweden Ranked Fifth in Global Tax Burden Report

Sweden is the fifth most taxed country in the world with more than 40 percent of its GDP raised through taxes, according to a new report. Sweden’s Scandinavian cousins Denmark topped the chart for the most taxed country with a figure of 48.6 percent — 5.8 percentage points higher than across the border in Sweden. Next up was France (45%) and Belgium (44.5%) while Nordic neighbours Finland were placed fourth with a rating of 44 percent.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

UK: Arrest After ‘Threat to Kill’ West Midlands Police Officer

Counter-terror police have arrested a man after a threat was allegedly made to kidnap and kill a serving police officer.

The 31-year-old was held at a property in the West Midlands in connection with the investigation into an anonymous tip-off that sparked a major security alert.

West Midlands Police earlier took the step of holding officers back on duty to give special security briefings to officers and staff overnight.

Senior officers said they were implementing what they called “additional security measures” following the alert.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

UK: New Royal Palace Planned in London, But it Belongs to Qatar

Residence would be the Kingdom’s most expensive

(ANSAmed) — LONDON, DECEMBER 10 — The royal family of Qatar already have massive investments in London. And it now plans to have its own “Palace”. Mozah bint Nasser Al-Missned, mother of the current emir, is planning to join her three 19th century residences in the Regent’s Park area so they can become one building. The project to unify the three residences at number 1, 2 and 3 in Cronwall Terrace has already been presented to the municipality of Westminster and, if approved and finished, it would be the country’s most expensive private residence, with a total surface of 3,000 square meters, a spa, gym and heated pool, all for an estimated cost of some 200 million pounds.

The new residence would also include a smoking room, a playroom, a cellar and a wing for the staff.

The floor in 15 rooms would be entirely covered in Carrara marble, according to reports.

The Regent Park’s buildings were bought last year, although the Qatari royals have been making multiple investments in the British capital since 2008: they own Harrods, as well as 95% of the Shard planned by Renzo Piano which has been towering over the Thames for the past two years.

They also own half of the most expensive apartment complex worldwide, ‘One Hyde Park’ in Knightsbridge, the Chelsea Barracks, part of the Olympic village and 20% of the Camden market.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

UK: The PC Police State is Finally Terrorising Even the Police

Policemen on the run. Who could have envisaged such a concept? That police officers in Britain’s second city would be constrained to travel to and from work out of uniform — effectually in disguise — in fear of their lives. That they would be obliged to turn their police stations into fortresses, besieged by the threat of terrorism.

Yet that is the situation in Birmingham today. West Midlands Police have gone undercover, not to track down criminals but to ensure their own safety. Yet these are our supposed protectors, the guardians of law and order. Could anything illustrate more dramatically the humiliation of Britain than this inversion of the natural order of things? First British soldiers, now the police — the forces of the Crown are living like outlaws in the country they are meant to defend.

As regards the police, cynics will opine that this situation will impede them in their vital duties of breathalysing spinsters driving home after a glass of sherry at a pre-Christmas party or persecuting Christian preachers and B & B owners, which are their principal preoccupations today.

For the unpalatable reality — to doctrinaire liberals — is that the enforcers of the politically correct, multicultural fascist state that shamelessly usurps the title “parliamentary democracy” are in turn falling victims to the forces they have nurtured. The police who directed the heaviest sanctions of the law against anyone who dared to criticise the “diversity” the political elites imposed on this country are now as beleaguered as the rest of us…

           — Hat tip: Gaia [Return to headlines]
 

Bosnia: Supporters of Islamic State Stab Imam Who Opposes it

“In an open letter earlier, Beganovic condemned the calls on young men in BiH by Bilal Bosnic, an imam in the nearby village of Buzim, to join Islamic State and fight in the wars in Syria and Iraq. Beganovic was then verbally attacked by radical Islamists, who set his car on fire and threatened to kill his children, Dnevni Avaz said. He said he believed that such persons were behind the stabbing.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Brain Drain: 32,000 People Leave Serbia Each Year

BELGRADE — More than 32,000 people leave Serbia each year. According to statistics, the biggest number of our fellow citizens leaves for Germany. More than 4,000 go to Austria every year, which makes for an unsurprising fact that 1 out of 10 citizens in Vienna are Serbian. Slovenia is the third most popular country.

The biggest number of graduates leave with university degrees in Economics, Medicine, Dentistry and Electrical Engineering.

With the highest grades in both his undergraduate and Masters studies, Djordje Lukic, an economist, looked for work for almost a year. He sees opportunity only outside of our country now.

“To put it simply, if you are ambitious and wish to reach your maximum potential and expect the same of others, it automatically includes a market maximum as well. If you do not have such conditions here, you seek places where you can refine your skills properly”, says economist Djordje Lukic.

According to Statistical Office data, 700 university educated people leave Serbia in order to refine their professional skills. Four decades ago, university graduates who emigrated to other countries accounted for 2% of the population. Today, that number has grown to 15%.

“Of course this has negative economic, demographic and intellectual implications for Serbia. It is a great loss”, says Snezana Lakcevic from the Republic Statistical Office.

These statistics speak to the fact that we receive a better educational structure among those who leave our borders, than among those who stay.

“It’s a double sided attack: on the one hand, the reproduction rate is already low, and those with reproductive potential demographically speaking are leaving, along with the associated economic prosperity. This is an enormous challenge for a country like ours, in the next period”, says demographer Vladimir Nikitovic.

The biggest number of graduates leave with university degrees in Economics, Medicine, Dentistry and Electrical Engineering. The paradox is that our labour market is desperate for these professionals too. The only thing that could retain them is a job.

“National Employment Services (Nacionalna sluzba za zaposljavanje — NSZ) has had active measures in employment policy in the past, such as professional practice programs, ‘first chance’ programs in vocational training, job search techniques, introductions to employers, as well as motivational training sessions”, says Desanka Mihajlovic Kovac from NSZ.

Similar projects, along with job market demands will be made available to those seeking employment in the future.

The supply will hopefully be better than abroad.

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

Russia to Compensate Serbia for South Stream

Through energy cooperation, investments, Moscow ambassador says

(ANSA) — BELGRADE — Russia could compensate Serbia for the damage suffered due to Moscow’s decision to abbandon the plans for the construction of the South Stream pipeline, said the Russian Ambassador to Belgrade, Aleksandr Cepurin.

“I believe that part of the damage can be compensated — Russia plans to take into consideration Serbia’s interests, which has already been a topic of the talks between the leaders of the two countries”, said Cepurin as cited by Serbian media. The consequences of Russia’s decision to stop the South Stream project have been at the centre of the telephone conversations between Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic and Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic and their Russian counterparts, Vladimir Putin and Dmitri Medvedev. The compensations could come not through collaborations in the energy field, but also through investments in other sectors, Cepurin said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Risque Video Plunges Egypt Dancer in Furor

Controversial Egyptian belly dancer Sama al-Masry sparked controversy once again this week after appearing holding underwear in her latest video clip.

In the clip, called “Ahmed, el shebsheb daa” or “Ahmed, I lost my slipper,” the singer appears in provocative clothes and holding underwear in her hands.

After the release of the video clip, many social media users reacted to the scenes.

“The only terrorism act is Sama al-Masry being on television,” one user wrote on Twitter.

Another user said: “Sama al-Masry’s latest video clip is by far the worst thing I’ve seen in my life.”

@itsnada3 wrote in Arabic: “All right, what are we supposed to tell someone like Sama al-Masry” while @AE_Kenawy said: “Is this clip a sign of freedom of expression?”…

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes [Return to headlines]
 

European Socialists: Accord With Fatah, Palestine State

S&D resolution on vote. Pittella calls for resumption of talks

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS — The European Socialists support Fatah, the party of President Abbas, and vie to forge an alliance with the Israeli Labour party to re-launch the peace process. Moreover the Socialists & Democrats group at the next plenary assembly in Strasbourg will present a resolution to ask the 28 EU countries to recognize the State of Palestine. The announcement was made by S&D whip, Gianni Pittella, during the signing with Nabil Shaath, in charge of international relations for Fatah, of the renewal of a cooperation agreement between European Socialists and Fatah.

Pittella and Shaath signed in the morning, in the offices of the Socialist group at the European Parliament, under a symbolic image of Nelson Mandela, the accord’s renewal. The agreement was launched in 2010 by then-whip Martin Schulz, the current president of the European Parliament.

Pittella stressed the will to teach a similar partnership accord with the Israeli Labour party, recalling that for the S&D group “re-launching talks for the creation of ‘two States’ is a top priority”.

For his part, Shaath recalled that “relations between Fatah and the Social Democratic family are becoming stronger”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Palestinian Minister Dies After Confrontation With Israeli Police

(Reuters) — A Palestinian minister died on Wednesday shortly after an Israeli border policeman shoved and grabbed him by the throat during a protest in the West Bank, an incident Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas described as barbaric.

Ziad Abu Ein, 55, a minister without portfolio, was among scores of Palestinian and foreign activists who were confronted at an Israeli checkpoint in the occupied Palestinian territory while heading to a demonstration against Jewish settlements.

Around 30 Israeli soldiers and border policemen fired tear gas and sound grenades at the group and a scuffle ensued in which one border policeman pushed Abu Ein and grabbed his neck firmly with one hand. Footage of the incident and pictures taken by Reuters do not show Abu Ein responding with any violence.

Minutes later the minister began to look faint and fell to the ground clasping his chest. He died on his way to hospital.

It was not clear what caused his death. An autopsy is being carried out with Palestinian, Israeli and Jordanian pathologists present, with the results expected later on Wednesday…

[Return to headlines]
 

PNA: EU is Helping to Pay November Salaries and Pensions

Gatt-Rutter, PA made tangilbe progress over the past few years

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, DECEMBER 10 — The European Union is continuing to help the Palestinian Authority. Brussels made a contribution of approximately 23.5 million euros to the payment of November salaries and pensions of around 68,500 Palestinian civil servants and pensioners in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. This contribution, is being funded by the European Union (18.3 million euros) and the governments of Sweden (4.3 million euros) and The Netherlands (0.9 million euros).

“We are fully aware of the financial difficulties the PA is facing particularly at a time when it is working to assume its full responsibilities in Gaza” said the EU Representative John Gatt-Rutter, hoping that “other donors will generously provide assistance to enable the PA to continue to function efficiently and effectively”. The Palestinian Authority “has made significant tangible progress over the past few years in building the institutions of a future Palestinian state” he added. “The EU will continue to support these efforts not only in order to guarantee the delivery of essential services to the Palestinian people, but also, as part of its contribution to Palestinian state building” concluded Gatt-Rutter.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Sweden Can’t Sue Israel Over Ship to Gaza Raids

Sweden cannot sue Israel for raids against two international aid ships headed for Gaza between 2010 and 2012 even if the assaults were staged in violation of international law, prosecutors have said.

Acting on behalf of Swedes on board as the vessels tried to break an Israeli blockade of Gaza in 2010 and 2012, the Swedish Prosecution Authority launched a probe in June.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

5,000 Deaths in a Month: Shocking Toll of the 664 Jihadi Attacks in 14 Countries Around the World in November

A ground-breaking study has revealed that a shocking 664 jihadi attacks were carried out around the world in November alone, resulting in the deaths of more than 5,000 people.

The deadly toll of militant-related violence was equivalent to one attack and seven deaths every hour — or three attacks on the scale of the July 21, 2005, bombings in London every day for a month.

The figures revealing the extend of jihadist carnage around the world emerged as chilling images of a man being hurled off a building by Islamic State fighters on the Syria-Iraq border simply for being gay were posted online.

IS, now the most notorious Islamist terror group, has carried out beheadings, crucifixions and massacres while capturing huge swathes of Iraq and Syria as it rules its seized territory with an iron fist.

It has handed out barbaric punishments for actions they see as violating their strict interpretation of Islamic law, such as adultery, stealing and blasphemy.

           — Hat tip: Steen [Return to headlines]
 

Akcam: Textbooks and the Armenian Genocide in Turkey: Heading Towards 2015

Firstly, the textbooks characterize Armenians as people “who are incited by foreigners, who aim to break apart the state and the country, and who murdered Turks and Muslims.” Meanwhile, the Armenian Genocide—referred to as the “Armenian matter” in textbooks—is described as a lie perpetrated in order to meet these goals, and is defined as the biggest threat to Turkish national security. Another threat to national security is missionaries and their activities.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Award-Winning Iranian Human Rights Lawyer Arrested: Husband

Award-winning Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh was arrested on Dec. 10 on unknown charges, her husband said, weeks after she was barred from practising for three years.

The couple’s car was surrounded by intelligence agents on a highway in Tehran, Reza Khandan wrote on his Facebook page.

“Nasrin and I were arrested. I was freed but Nasrin is still in detention,” he said, describing it as “their gift for World Human Rights Day” which was being marked on Wednesday.

Sotoudeh, who won the European parliament’s prestigious Sakharov rights prize in 2012, was released from jail last year halfway through a six-year sentence for “actions against national security” and spreading “propaganda against the regime”…

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

Erdogan’s Ottoman Language Drive Faces Backlash in Turkey

President Tayyip Erdogan stirred fierce criticism on Tuesday with plans to make lessons in Ottoman Turkish mandatory in high schools, prompting one opposition politician to declare that an army could not force his daughter to learn the language.

Erdogan said on Monday that Ottoman, an old form of Turkish using a version of Arabic script replaced by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk with the Latin alphabet on foundation of the secular Republic in 1923, should be taught in schools to prevent younger generations losing touch with their cultural heritage.

“Erdogan’s concern is not teaching the Ottoman language…His real aim is a settling of accounts with secularism and the Republic,” Akif Hamzacebi, spokesman for the main opposition CHP in parliament. “Erdogan actually wants to revive the Arabic alphabet in Turkey,” he said.

Opponents accuse Erdogan of behaving like a modern-day sultan, his Islamist ideology and intolerance of dissent taking Turkey far from Ataturk’s secular ideals.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

ISIS’s ‘Slavery for Dummies’: Jihadists Compile Chilling Checklist of How to Treat Thousands of Kidnapped Sex Slaves

Islamic State militants fighting in Syria and Iraq have been provided with a chilling list of dos and don’ts explaining how to treat the thousands of sex slaves held in the terror group’s prison-brothels.

A document issued earlier this month by the group’s ‘Department for Prisoners and Women’s Affairs’ explains in sickening detail exactly who can be made a sex slave, when a woman should be beaten, and under what circumstances it is justified to rape prepubescent girls.

Up to 5,000 kidnapped women and children are held as sex slaves in the vast swathes of Syria and Iraq controlled by ISIS, many of them in the group’s stronghold and de facto capital Raqqa.

The vast majority of the captives are members of the Yazidi religion who were kidnapped during the Mount Sinjar massacre in early August. The rules state that these women can be imprisoned and raped on a daily basis by militants who purchase them as slaves for as little as £27 each.

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

ISIS: Gentiloni: Italy’s Role Adequate for the Moment

“And it is highly appreciated by coalition”

(ANSAmed) — WASHINGTON — Italy’s contribution in the anti-ISIS coalition “is for the moment considered adequate to needs, as well as being appreciated”, Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni told a press conference in Washington, responding to a question over the deployment of 1,500 soldiers by coalition members, announced by Commander James Terry.

“Italy is also engaged on a humanitarian level, both regarding Syria and Kurdistan. On a military level, we have provided light weapons and munitions to the peshmerga, in agreement with the government of Baghdad. We are sending 280 trainers, also in the area of Erbil, in agreement with the Iraqi government. We have several assets in Kuwait, four Tornados and two Predators, all with a non-combat but recognition mission”.

“A lot depends on the political evolution both in Iraq, where a few steps forward have been taken towards a greater inclusion by the government of Kurds and Sunni communities, and in Syria, where we are supporting the position of UN envoy, Staffan De Mistura, who is trying to progress one step at a time — by seeking local truces, starting if possible from Aleppo, Syria’s second most important city”, continued the minister.

According to Gentiloni, “political progress is as important as military action of containment, which has obtained some results, but will not on its own quickly resolve the challenge posed by ISIS”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Islamic State Terrorists Throw Man Off a Rooftop, Then Stone Him to Death for Being “Gay”

The terrorist group posts pictures online showing a man thrown from a rooftop and then finished off by stoning on the ground. He was killed for being “gay”. The posting was made yesterday. The killing took place somewhere in the Islamic State-controlled region carved out of Syria and Iraq.

Baghdad (AsiaNews/Agencies) — The Islamic State (IS) group in Iraq and Syria on Tuesday posted pictures appearing to show jihadists throwing a man “guilty” for being homosexual off a rooftop and then stoning him to death.

“The Islamic court in Wilayet al-Furat decided that a man who has practiced sodomy must be thrown off the highest point in the city, and then stoned to death,” read a statement accompanying the images.

Wilayet al-Furat (Furat province) refers to an area stretching across the Syrian-Iraqi frontier, where the Euphrates flows from Syria into Iraq at the Albu Kamal-Qaim border crossing.

One image shows a man whom the jihadists claimed was gay being hurled off a building at an unspecified location in Syria or Iraq. The next picture shows him lying on the ground.

The killing comes after IS militants in November stoned two men to death in Syria, claiming they were homosexuals.

The Islamic State emerged for the first time in all its brutality in the spring of 2013, in the context of the Syrian conflict.

Since then, it rapidly forged forward in the region, seizing large swathes of Syrian and Iraqi territory, where it has imposed a reign of terror.

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

No Agreement With US Until Settlement of Syria No-Fly Zone Issue: President Erdogan

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said Ankara and Washington are “on the same page” about equipping and training moderate Syrian rebels, but differences remain over the no-fly zone and safe zone issues, thwarting the striking of a deal.

“No commitment has yet been given by the coalition powers, particularly about a no-fly zone and safe zone,” Erdogan told reporters at a joint news conference with visiting Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite late on Dec. 8.

“This is an issue being negotiated between our delegations. There seems to be a consensus in the equip-train [program planned for Syrian rebels], but unfortunately there has been no consensus over the two other issues yet,” said Erdogan…

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

Qatar Takes Pragmatic Path in Gulf Relations: Analysts

Qatar has bowed to political realism by setting aside differences with Gulf neighbours and backing Egypt’s anti-Islamist leadership at a summit that reflected a thaw in regional relations, analysts say.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s crackdown last year on the Doha-backed Muslim Brotherhood triggered a rift pitting Qatar against Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, who see the group’s political Islam as a threat to their stability.

But leaders of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) presented a united front at a summit in Doha Tuesday, pledging their “full support to Egypt” and Sisi’s political programme.

London-based analyst Abdelwahab Badrkhan said Qatar “made major concessions” on Egypt as well as Libya, where Doha has been accused of supporting Islamist militias…

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

Shiite Militias Win Bloody Battles in Iraq, Show No Mercy

Fatwa-Inspired Fighters’ Take-No-Prisoners Tactics Deepen Worries About Sectarian Tensions; ‘We Get Their Confessions, and Then We Kill Them’

JURF AL-SAKHER, Iraq—In a makeshift barracks about 40 miles south of Baghdad, Ahmed al-Zamili flipped through pictures on his mobile phone: an Islamic State fighter’s corpse hanging from a crude noose, a dead man on the ground clutching an AK-47 and a kneeling, blindfolded man uttering a confession.

Mr. Zamili says the men were captured when his militia of more than 650 Shiite fighters, known as Al Qara’a Regiment, drove Islamic State out of Jurf al-Sakher in late October. After briefly interrogating the enemy soldiers, Mr. Zamili ordered their executions, he says.

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

Europe Proposes Joint Moon Trips With Russia

Science ministers in Europe have resurrected plans to explore the Moon’s surface — and the only strategy currently on the table is to join two uncrewed Russian missions. The developments, which follow the shelving of a proposed European Space Agency (ESA) Moon lander two years ago, come amid growing political tensions between Russia and Western nations.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Russian Church Slams Tolkien Evil Eye Plan for Moscow Skyscraper

The Russian Orthodox Church warned Tuesday of dire consequences for Moscow if plans proceed for a skyscraper light installation modelled on the all-seeing evil eye at the centre of JRR Tolkien’s fantasy novels.

A property company plans to raise what resembles a giant glowing eye on the 21st floor of a skyscraper this week to celebrate the release of the final part of Peter Jackson’s movie adaptation of “The Hobbit.”

In Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” and also in the subsequent “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, the Eye of Sauron is a giant flaming eye controlled by the “dark lord” Sauron and allowing him to watch anyone who puts on the fateful, power-giving ring.

But for the Russian Orthodox Church, the evil eye is no fiction.

“This is a demonic symbol,” the Russian Orthodox Church’s head of public affairs, Vsevolod Chaplin told Govorit Moskva radio station.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Furor Over ‘Conversion’ of Muslims in India

Opposition MPs attack ruling party over mass conversion of about 200 Muslims to Hinduism by far right Hindu groups.

India’s opposition politicians have protested inside parliament against the alleged mass conversion of about 200 Muslims to Hinduism in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.

Opposition MPs on Tuesday attacked the conservative Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party over the conversions in Agra city, reportedly under allurement by groups linked to the ruling party’s ideological parent, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

“This is a serious matter as allurement was given to poor [people] to get them converted,” Dalit leader Mayawati was quoted as saying by Times of India website.

The opposition has asked the government to ensure the religious freedom of minorities as enshrined in the country’s constitution.

“The House and the country need reassurance that the Constitution will not be violated,” Congress leader Anand Sharma was quoted as saying by the NDTV channel.

A day after much publicised mass conversion, Muslim families have told local media that they were tricked into conversion and did not speak against the act “out of fear of violence”…

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes [Return to headlines]
 

Indonesia: Aceh: The New Jihad Against Tight Jeans: “They Are Contrary to Islam”

The aim of a series of impromptu raids by Tadzkiiratul Ummah conducted by on-site spraying of colored paint is to “moralize” the inhabitants of the Indonesian province which is subject to sharia law. Those wearing jeans or tight clothes are the targets. The leader of the movement accuses authorities: “they do not apply Islamic law”. Moderate Muslim movements condemn the action.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) — A new extremist Islamic group active in Aceh, in particular in the district of North Aceh, and going by the name of Tadkiiratul Ummah, has shot into the limelight recently thanks to its “new” campaign of “moralization” according to the dictates of sharia, Islamic law. Its members are “striking out” at girls and young women who are guilty of wearing “too tight pants”. Instead of limiting themselves to a warning, as had already occurred in the past in the region, the militants spray the offender’s pants with indelible color spray and paint (in the photo). When asked about the reasons that triggered the group to take up this particular moralization campaign, Teungku Nurdin Usman explains that “local authorities have shown poor performance in implementing the sharia law-based regulations”.

According to the spokesman of the extremist group it is a “moral duty” to assure that sharia is respected “both by men and women”, both of whom are targeted “by raids and inspections in the streets”. He says that boys and men who wear pants that are too tight will be punished in the same way. “It is our hope — Teungku Nurdin Usman concludes — that they (the guilty) will be shamed in public, and will refrain from repeating similar misleading behavior.” The extremist leaders will give a sarong to the women who are caught in public wearing inappropriate clothing to put on in place of their tight jeans.

Nevertheless, moderate Muslim movements like that of the Nahdlatul Ulama (Nu) take their distance from the initiative promoted by Tadzkiiratul Ummah, highlighting the fact that the movement lacks the authority to promote this kind of action. Furthermore, during the month of October, the “moral police” (known as Wilayatul Hisbah) in the Aceh Besar district encouraged disciplinary action and fines against women whom they felt were guilty of wearing tight jeans or pants in public.

Indonesia, the most densely populated Muslim nation in the world, is often the stage of attacks or acts of intolerance against minorities, be they Christian, Ahmadi Muslims or of other faiths. In the province of Aceh — the only one in the Archipelago — sharia law is implemented following a peace agreement between the central Government and the Free Aceh Movement (Gam). In many other areas (like Bekasi and Bogor in Western Java) the expression of Islam is becoming more and more radical and extreme. Many Christian places of prayer have been shut down in the past two years due to pressure by extremist movements.

In particular, the clamp-down in Aceh has coincided with the rise to power of the current Governor, Zaini Abdullah, former leader of the armed independence movement (Gam), who is now a politician and has replaced his more “secular” predecessor, Irwandy Jusuf. However his choice of tightening laws, regulations, norms and modes of behavior has not met with the approval of a large slice of the local population that finds itself suddenly forced to change habits and costumes which are rooted in time. Amongst the decisions that are contested by the citizens of Aceh, there is a whole list of bans aimed specifically at women: the wearing of tight jeans and skirts, riding motorcycles with legs astride, dancing in public because they “provoke desire”, or celebrating Saint Valentine.

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

Pakistani Family Slaughtered in Honor Killing

Pakistani police are looking for four men believed to killed a couple and their four children as retribution for a perceived “honor crime.”

Police officer Mohammed Aslam said Wednesday that the killings happened Tuesday in the town of Athara Hazari in central Pakistan.

Aslam said the men are believed to have hacked the family to death with axes and knives. One daughter survived and relayed what happened to authorities.

Aslam said the survivor told authorities the killings stemmed from the mother’s first marriage nearly 30 years ago to another man.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Uber’s Rape Problem in India: No Woman is Safe in a Cab

by Phyllis Chesler

The number of taxi rapes and sexual assaults—in which largely immigrant, mainly Muslim drivers have raped or sexually harassed infidel girls and women, have been on the rise in Europe, particularly in England, Sweden, and Germany.

But there have been similar taxi rapes and/or sexual assaults in Canada and the United States as well, in DC, NYC,Chicago, and Florida.

The Dallas City Council is currently debating whether to allow Uber, a taxi competitor, to operate there. They are basing their deliberations on the taxi rapes in Uber taxis in India, and elsewhere.

The taxi service Uber has just been banned in New Delhi, as well as in Spain and Thailand because their drivers raped and sexually harassed their female passengers. In New Delhi, the drivers were Hindus, not necessarilyMuslims.

More than 7,000 people have signed a petition calling on ride-sharing app Uber to impose a manadatory seven-year background check on its drivers in India, as it does in the United States. One 25 year-old victim fell asleep, awoke to find the car in a secluded location where the driver, 32-year-old Shiv Kumar Yadav, allegedly raped her. Yadav had a previous conviction for the rape of a passenger.

Uber’s spokesperson, Evelyn Tay, released a statement which read: “Our thoughts are with the victim of this terrible crime and we are working with the police as they investigate.”

           — Hat tip: Phyllis Chesler [Return to headlines]
 

New Zealand Votes in Anti-Terrorism Measures

Lawmakers in New Zealand have voted in new anti-terrorism laws to prevent people from travelling abroad to fight with extremist groups. Passports belonging to terror suspects can also be cancelled for up to three years.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Dangerous Trade-Offs: Was French Hostage Swapped for Detained Jihadists?

A day after French President François Hollande announced the release of Serge Lazarevic, who was kidnapped in Mali in November 2011, the contrast between the headlines in France and Mali could not have been starker.

While French news sites on Wednesday splashed images of a smiling Hollande greeting Lazarevic on the tarmac of a military base near Paris, Malian media displayed images of an unsmiling man sporting a Salafi beard and turban.

“Libération de Mohamed Ali Ag Wadoussene,” read the banner headline of Malian daily Le Républicain, while the Nouvel Horizon featured a story about the Malian Human Rights Association accusing the Malian government of liberating four prisoners in exchange for Lazarevic’s release.

On Tuesday, shortly after Hollande announced Lazarevic’s release, the Mali-based news site, Sahelien.com, reported that al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) had released their 50-year-old French captive in exchange for two jihadists in Malian custody. By Wednesday, a number of news organisations said at least four — some put the figure at five — inmates were freed in the prisoner swap…

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

French Hostage Lazarevic Freed for ‘Al-Qaeda Prisoners’

A Frenchman held hostage by an al Qaeda-linked group in Mali was reportedly freed as part of a prisoner swap with two jailed militants.

Serge Lazarevic was welcomed home on Wednesday by family members and French President Francois Hollande.

Reports say his release was facilitated by a deal that saw at least two militants — including his alleged abductors — freed from a Malian prison.

The French government has repeatedly denied paying ransoms for hostages.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

3,419 Dead in Mediterranean in 2014, UNHCR

At least 3,419 migrants have lost their lives in the Mediterranean Sea since January, said the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on Wednesday.

The UN agency also reported that in 2014 a record number of people worldwide — at least 348,000 — risked their lives at sea to emigrate or seek asylum in other countries and at least 4,272 died.

With conflicts in Libya, Ukraine and Syria-Iraq, Europe is the main destination of migrants travelling by sea. Almost 80% of departures occur from the Libyan coast towards Italy and Malta.

Along with the Mediterranean, at least three other navigation routes used by migrants and people fleeing war and persecution were cited: in the Horn of Africa region, 82,680 people crossed the Gulf of Aden and Red Sea in 2014. In South-East Asia, some 54,000 left Bangladesh or Burma towards Thailand and Malaysia. Finally, in the Caribbean, the number reported was 4,775, according to UNHCR.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Illegal Immigrants Flocking to Denmark

Tens of thousands of immigrants are living and working illegally in Denmark, according to new analysis from the independent Rockwool Foundation Research Unit.

The analysis found there were about 33,000 illegal immigrants in Denmark in 2013 — more than twice as many as 2008.

“The Scandinavian welfare society is known to be regulated and organised — its citizens through their CPR numbers are granted the right to a number of benefits,” Torben Tranæs, the research head behind the analysis, told Jyllands-Posten newspaper.

“So it’s an awkward situation when there is such a big group of people who don’t have any rights whatsoever — or duties.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Record Numbers of Migrants Die Trying to Reach Europe

More than 3,400 people have died in the Mediterranean this year trying to reach Europe, the UN refugee agency said Wednesday, urging governments to take more action to save lives.

More than 207,000 people have made the risky sea crossing since January, almost three times the previous high of 70,000 during the Libyan civil war in 2011, the UNHCR said.

Of these, a record 3,419 died, out of a total of 4,272 reported deaths worldwide on migrant vessels this year.

Most set off from Libya bound for Italy and Malta, looking for work or, increasingly, asylum — the numbers include 60,051 Syrians and 34,561 Eritreans…

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

Say Hello to iJihad

Not to be outdone by the rest in the Internet age, the Jihadists have readily embraced modern communication technologies. From their recruitment videos on YouTube to timely tweets of their vicious attacks on civilians, the Jihadists are out and about preaching online to whoever is willing to listen to their diatribe.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]