Gates of Vienna News Feed 1/10/2015

A personhunt is currently underway in France for a terrorist’s moll named Hayat Boumedienne, who is suspected of involvement in this weeks terror attacks. She is thought to be the girlfriend of the late mujahid who took hostages in a kosher supermarket in Paris on Thursday. Some reports say she has fled to Syria.

In other news, a 10-year-old girl blew herself up in a market in northeastern Nigeria, killing at least twenty people. The tragic incident had nothing to do with Islam.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Fjordman, Insubria, K, Mark H, Nick, 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.

» Bill Maher: Hundreds of Millions of Muslims Support Charlie Hebdo Jihad
» New York Times Reports, Then Scrubs Jihadis’ References to Qur’an and Islam
» The Potential for Life in a Europa Plume
» Embassy Campaign Boosts Italian in Canada
Europe and the EU
» Around 35,000 Germans Rally in Dresden Against Racism and Xenophobia
» Charlie Hebdo Attack: France Police Hunt Accomplices
» Charlie Hebdo Attack: A French Intelligence Failure?
» EU’s Far-Right Tries to Capitalise on Paris Attack
» Finland: Growing Calls to Rescind Blasphemy Law
» Finland: Former Pori Student Sent Threats in Name of ISIS
» France: Kosher Supermarket Killer ‘Told TV Station He Deliberately Targeted Jews’
» France: Hunt Goes on for Paris Gunman’s Girlfriend
» France Ponders Security Lapses After Three-Day Terror Spree
» France: Belgian Hostage Hid in Cold Store
» French Police Hunt for Accomplices in Deadly Attacks
» Germany: PEGIDA Expects Record Rally on Terror Fears
» German Police Warn of Security Gaps After French Attacks
» Italy: Railway Police Arrest Alleged Serial Rapist
» Italy: Soccer: Balotelli Appeals 10,000 Euros in Speeding Fines
» Italy: Senate Clears Way for Probe of Matteoli in MOSE Case, Update
» Italy: Rome Corruption Probe, 22 Arrested
» Italy: Chieti Mayor Investigated for Corruption
» Italy: Five Priests, One Lay Person Indicted for Embezzlement
» Lapid Urges French Jews to Immigrate to Israel
» More Than 200,000 Rally in France After Islamist Attacks
» Paris Shootings: ‘We Averted a Bloodbath’ Say French Police
» ‘Policemen, Guns Drawn, At Every French Synagogue’
» Profile: The Most Wanted Woman in France
» Spain: Las Vegas-Style Weddings Under the Canarian Sun
» Spain: Government Beefs up Security at Subway Stations and Malls
» Spain: Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba Sparks Debate
» Sweden: Gothenburg Mosque Evacuated After Bomb Threat
» Sweden: Löfven to Paris Rally
» Turkish Violations Keep Greece on Standby
» Croatia: Tourism Accounts for 20.9% of the National GDP
North Africa
» Algeria: Anti-Narghile Crusade Kicks Off in Orano
Middle East
» Al Qaeda Rep Says Group Directed Paris Magazine Attack; US Issues Travel Warning
» Bloody Rivals: Paris Attack Helps Al Qaeda Outshine ISIS
» Iraq: The Kurdish Dream of Being Able to Live Christians and Muslims Together
» Members of the Islamic State Police Abducted in Syria
» North Lebanon Suicide Attack Kills Nine
» Pope’s Message for Peace Useful to Free Nepali Slaves in Arab Gulf
» Suicide Bomb Kills 7 in Alawite Quarter of Lebanon’s Tripoli
South Asia
» India to Change Defence Procurement Rules
» India Police Probe Godman Over Alleged Castration of 400 Followers
» India: Christian Man Detained on “Security Grounds” Even Though He Did Not Commit Any Crimes
» India PM Pledges 24-Hour Power for Delhi
Far East
» Korean Hunger for Parmesan Cheese Promises Asian Bonanza
» National Education ‘Should be Introduced in Hong Kong to Halt Anti-Mainland Feelings’
Australia — Pacific
» A Muslim’s Ambush: Weekend Sunrise Bares Its Anti-Israel Bias
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Baby Suicide Bomber Kills 20 and Injures 18 in Nigeria
Latin America
» Clashes in Violent Western Mexico State Call Government’s Security Strategy Into Question
» Former Haiti Official: We Have No Idea Where All That Recovery Money Went
» In Which Illegals Dressed Like Aztecs Protest a Newspaper for Calling Them Illegals
Culture Wars
» Belgium: Ghent Celebrates Co-Motherhood
» There is a Price for Living in a Free Society
» Worry Too Much? Don’t Fret as it’s a Sign of High Intelligence, Study Finds

Bill Maher: Hundreds of Millions of Muslims Support Charlie Hebdo Jihad

By Robert Spencer

This Daily Beast report is clearly angry with Maher for breaking ranks with the Left and telling the truth about Islam and jihad. Maher deserves kudos for standing his ground and continuing to enunciate unpopular truths. I wonder how long it will take him to realize that the Left is not going to rush to his side on this issue.

“Bill Maher: Hundreds of Millions of Muslims Support Attack on ‘Charlie Hebdo,’“ by Lloyd Grove, The Daily Beast, January 8, 2015:

The comedian responded to the deadly attack on a French satirical magazine by renewing his recent criticisms of the Islamic faith.

Bill Maher didn’t hold back Wednesday night, blasting “hundreds of millions” of the world’s Muslims for allegedly supporting the Islamic terrorist massacre of cartoonists, writers, and editors at a Parisian satirical magazine that has mocked the Prophet Muhammad.

“I know most Muslim people would not have carried out an attack like this,” the host of HBO’s Real Time With Bill Maher said on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live. “But here’s the important point: Hundreds of millions of them support an attack like this. They applaud an attack like this. What they say is, ‘We don’t approve of violence, but you know what? When you make fun of the Prophet, all bets are off.”

“Hundreds of millions of Muslims?” a clearly skeptical Kimmel asked his fellow comedian, an out and proud atheist who in recent years has targeted the adherents of Islam for harsh criticism.

“Absolutely,” Maher insisted. “That is mainstream in the Muslim world. When you make fun of the Prophet, all bets are off. You get what’s coming to you. It’s also mainstream that if you leave the religion, you get what’s coming to you—which is death. Not in every Muslim country… but this is the problem in the world that we have to stand up to.”

He continued, “I’m the liberal in this debate,” adding that he grew up in a family that supported John F. Kennedy over racist Southern governments in the fight for civil rights. “The reason we were liberals is we were against oppression.”

[Return to headlines]

New York Times Reports, Then Scrubs Jihadis’ References to Qur’an and Islam

By Robert Spencer

A jihadi was widely reported — not just in the New York Times — as telling a woman in the Charlie Hebdo offices that she should convert to Islam, read the Qur’an, and wear a veil. The New York Times reported that as well. But now those references are gone from the Times. Apparently the Times editors are desperately concerned that Americans might get a negative view of Islam, and are doing all they can to prevent that.

More on this story. “WOW: New York Times caught scrubbing details about Paris terrorist attack,” by Joshua Riddle, Young Conservatives, January 9, 2015:…

           — Hat tip: K [Return to headlines]

The Potential for Life in a Europa Plume

NASA’s Planetary Science Division is convening a workshop at the NASA Ames Research Center to discuss the possibility of searching for biosignatures in a putative plume on Europa. The workshop will be jointly hosted by the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI) and SSERVI.

Last year, the Hubble Space Telescope observed what may have been a plume of water vapor erupting from Europa. However, the single observation has yet to be repeated.

If water vapor plumes do exist on Europa, they could provide a means of sampling material from the Jovian moon’s subsurface ocean without having to drill through the ice.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Embassy Campaign Boosts Italian in Canada

(AGI) Ottawa, Jan. 8 — More young Canadians are choosing to study Italian, as a result of a campaign by the Italian Embassy in Ottawa and consulates around the country, promoting Italian on the school curriculum. Initiatives have taken place in various cities, beginning with Toronto and York Region, where students at primary and middle schools are increasing. Similar growth has been seen in Alberta, particularly in Calgary. A series of online Italian courses is being prepared in Burnaby, British Columbia, and will begin in February, free for all students in grades 10,11 and 12 of state and private schools.

In addition, the Consulate General of Italy in Toronto has started to monitor the Italian language all over Canada, mapping teaching activities in the various provinces, identifying areas for intervention, training and updating teachers, organising information campaigns and launching projects to boost interest in the language.

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

Around 35,000 Germans Rally in Dresden Against Racism and Xenophobia

A rally against racism and xenophobia on Saturday drew tens of thousands of people in the eastern German city of Dresden, which has become the center of anti-immigration protests organized by a new grassroots movement called PEGIDA.

“We won’t permit that hate will divide us”, Dresden’s mayor Helma Orosz said in front of the 18th-century Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady).

Around 35,000 people attended the rally that was jointly organized by the state government of Saxony and the city of Dresden, officials said.

The movement Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West (PEGIDA) is holding weekly rallies in Dresden with a record number of 18,000 people attending last Monday.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Charlie Hebdo Attack: France Police Hunt Accomplices

Police in France are on high alert as they hunt for any accomplices of the gunmen who killed 17 people in two days of terror attacks.

After a security cabinet meeting on Saturday Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said France would remain on its highest state of alert “for the next few weeks”.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Charlie Hebdo Attack: A French Intelligence Failure?

Nearly every modern terrorist attack is followed by accusations of so-called intelligence failure.

In the case of this week’s attacks in France, the charge has added force: the suspects were known not just to French but also to other European and American authorities; one had travelled to Yemen over a three-year period and another had been convicted of earlier seeking to travel to Iraq; and they were plugged into long-established European jihadist networks.

So did the French drop the ball?

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

EU’s Far-Right Tries to Capitalise on Paris Attack

Far-right and populist parties in the EU are attempting to politically capitalise on the attack on France’s satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

Just one day after shootings that left 12 people dead, populist politicians in several countries have used the incident to promote their policies.

France’s Marine Le Pen, head of the anti-immigrant National Front, said that if she is elected president in 2017 she would seek to hold a referendum on the death penalty.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Finland: Growing Calls to Rescind Blasphemy Law

Finland’s criminal code has a section relating to breaches of the sanctity of religion that includes “publicly blaspheming against God”. In the wake of the terror attack on the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo, renewed calls are being heard to eliminate the offense of blasphemy from the law.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Finland: Former Pori Student Sent Threats in Name of ISIS

Yle has learned that a man who sent a threatening email to Finns Party MEP Jussi Halla-aho in the name of the Islamic State organisation was studying in the west-coast town of Pori before travelling to Syria last autumn.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

France: Kosher Supermarket Killer ‘Told TV Station He Deliberately Targeted Jews’

Amedy Coulibaly phoned French channel at height of siege, said he and the Kouachi brothers had planned their attacks together

French police released this photo of Amedy Coulibaly, suspected of killing a policewoman in Montrouge on January 8, 2015, and four people at a Paris kosher supermarket on January 9, 2015. (Photo credit: AFP/French Police)

Amedy Coulibaly, the Islamist gunman who allegedly killed four people and held others hostage before he was killed by French security forces at a kosher store in Paris on Friday, reportedly told a French journalist at the height of the siege that he had deliberately chosen to target Jews.

“He explained his target, why this kosher store: because he was targeting Jews,” French BFM-TV journalist Sarah-Lou Cohen said.

She said Coulibaly called the TV station soon after 3p.m. Paris time. “We got a phone call” from Coulibaly, Cohen said. “He called us because in fact he was looking to contact the police.”…

           — Hat tip: K [Return to headlines]

France: Hunt Goes on for Paris Gunman’s Girlfriend

French forces are frantically hunting for the girlfriend of an Islamist gunman as the country mourns 17 dead in three blood-soaked days that shook the nation to its core.

After President Francois Hollande warned the threats facing France “weren’t over” and Islamist groups issued chilling warnings of fresh attacks, authorities pursued Hayat Boumeddiene, said to be “armed and dangerous.”

She is the partner of Amedy Coulibaly, who died on Friday when security forces stormed a Jewish supermarket in eastern Paris where he had taken terrified shoppers hostage.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

France Ponders Security Lapses After Three-Day Terror Spree

French officials are under pressure to explain cracks in security following a three-day terror rampage that has roiled the nation and left at least 20 people dead.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has acknowledged “failings” in intelligence after a manhunt for the perpetrators of France’s worst terrorist attacks in half a century came to a climactic end on Friday, with police facing simultaneous sieges in and around Paris.

The attackers had long-established ties and a track record of terrorist activities, with at least one of them believed to have trained with al Qaeda in Yemen.

The scrutiny of France’s security services is likely to be all the more acute given that the main target of the attacks, Charlie Hebdo, had long been in the sights of Islamist groups angered by its cartoons mocking the Prophet Mohammed.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

France: Belgian Hostage Hid in Cold Store

A Belgian woman that was caught up in Friday’s hostage taking in a kosher supermarket in the French capital Paris hid with her baby and other customers in the shop’s cold store. 24-year-old Sarah Bitton from Brussels is married to a Frenchman and lives in Paris.

She was shopping at the Hyper Cacher store with her 6 month old son Noah when the armed hostage-taker Amedy Coulibaly burst into the store.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

French Police Hunt for Accomplices in Deadly Attacks

French police searched on Saturday for any accomplices involved in this week’s deadly attacks in Paris, including the girlfriend of a suspect who took several people hostage at a kosher supermarket.

Amedy Coulibaly, 32, died during a police siege on Friday after taking several people hostage at the Hyper Cacher supermarket near the Porte de Vincennes in eastern Paris.

But police are still searching for his companion, Hayat Boumeddiene, 26, who was identified as his suspected accomplice in the killing of a young officer in southern Paris on Thursday — as well as any other possible associates.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Germany: PEGIDA Expects Record Rally on Terror Fears

Germany’s new anti-Islamic PEGIDA movement plans to rally again on Monday, with analysts expecting its ranks to swell by thousands following this week’s bloody jihadist violence in France.

Many observers of the rise of the far-right populist movement in the eastern city of Dresden now expect it to seek to make political capital from the massacre at the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and its bloody aftermath. Fears over the events probably “will buoy currents of the vague xenophobia that exist in this country”, Everhard Holtmann of Halle-Wittenberg University told the Handelsblatt business daily.

“The Islamophobia syndrome, on the crest of which PEGIDA rides, could in fact gain strength.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

German Police Warn of Security Gaps After French Attacks

While German intelligence listed the Charlie Hebdo attackers as radical Islamists, no direct link between the French attacks and Germany has been found. But police unions are calling for more powers to combat terrorism.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Italy: Railway Police Arrest Alleged Serial Rapist

Romanian suspected of string of railway rapes

(ANSA) — Bologna, January 7 — Police said Wednesday they have arrested an alleged serial rapist on charges of sexually assaulting women at two railway stations in what were termed “particularly brutal” attacks.

Polfer railway police identified the suspect as 31-year-old Costantin Cristian Cunpasano, a homeless Romanian national.

Cunpasano was jailed on charges of sexual assault, battery and robbery in connection with the rape of a 25-year-old Russian woman attacked on the tracks of Bologna railway station December 10.

The suspect also is under investigation in the December 27 sexual assault and robbery of a young woman at Ferrara city station.

In both cases he allegedly approached the victims with ploys to win their trust, in one case helping to carry luggage and in another offering to acquire drugs.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Soccer: Balotelli Appeals 10,000 Euros in Speeding Fines

Lawyers says striker didn’t receive proper notice

(ANSA) — Milan, January 8 — Lawyers for soccer star Mario Balotelli are appealing a tax bill covering about 10,000 euros in speeding fines, some allegedly racked up in a rented Ferrari, media reported Thursday.

The Eco di Bergamo said that Balotelli’s legal team submitted an appeal on Wednesday asking that the fines, some imposed when the star striker alleged reached speeds of 170 km-hour in a 130 km-hour zone, be cancelled.

The fines date from 2012 and 2013.

Balotelli, who is currently playing for Liverpool, did not receive notice of the unpaid fines because of address changes, his lawyers said.

That included the period when he switched teams in 2013, leaving Manchester City for AC Milan. The Italian has already won one appeal in the case.

Balotelli has frequently made headlines for non-soccer antics as well as his onfield performance.

In late 2011, British media reported he had his new Maserati temporarily confiscated by police on suspicion of speeding, according to reports.

The police initially confiscated the vehicle because they thought it may not have been properly registered, according to reports at the time.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Senate Clears Way for Probe of Matteoli in MOSE Case, Update

Allegations 25 mln euros used for campaigns, not flood barriers

(ANSA) — Rome, January 7 — The Senate committee on immunity cleared the way Wednesday for authorities to proceed against Forza Italia Senator Altero Matteoli as part of a probe into the MOSE flood-barriers project in Venice. Prosecutors are looking at allegations that 25 million euros in taxpayer money was funnelled into political campaigns and away from MOSE, a 5.5-billion-euro system of retractable dikes set to be operable in 2016 after decades of delays. Some 100 people were initially investigated as part of the probe.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Rome Corruption Probe, 22 Arrested

Civil servants among suspects

(ANSA) — Rome, January 8 — Rome finance police on Thursday arrested 22 people in an operation linked to a big probe into corruption in the capital. They are among a total of 28 people, including civil servants, entrepreneurs and professionals, who are suspected of corruption crimes. The civil servants work at the technical offices of some Rome city boroughs and at one of the capital’s health authorities. They allegedly took bribes of a around 1,500 euros in exchange for approval of construction permits, in some cases turning a blind eye to regulation breaches.

The police also conducted searches of 40 different homes and public offices in Rome on Thursday.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Chieti Mayor Investigated for Corruption

Part of broader probe into illicit waste trafficking

(ANSA) — Pescara, January 8 — The centre-right mayor of Chieti, Umberto Di Primio, has been placed under investigation for alleged corruption, judicial sources said Thursday.

The probe is an offshoot of a broader investigation into illegal trafficking of waste being conducted by the State forestry corps in the central Abruzzo region, which has already seen four people placed under house arrest.

Di Primio is being probed along with two others for his alleged role in the construction of a large shopping centre in Chieti Scalo.

Specifically, he is suspected of helping developers bypass obstacles in order to tip over 93,000 cubic metres of earth excavated from an old building site onto the site of the planned shopping mall, located on the Pescara river flood plain. Environmental activists and politicians denounced the resulting modification of the level of the flood plain.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Five Priests, One Lay Person Indicted for Embezzlement

Allegedly misused public funds meant for ‘youth and oratories’

(ANSA) — Savona, January 7 — Prosecutors in the northwestern city of Savona have indicted five clergymen and a lay person on suspicion of embezzling public funds, sources said Wednesday.

The six allegedly misused public funding of a local affiliate of the National St. Paul Association for Oratories and Youth Clubs (ANSPI), moving the money to investment accounts or using it to pay new building mortgages instead of putting it into youth programs.

Those named in the indictment are Fathers Alessandro Capaldi, Antonio Giusto, Giovanni Ghilardi, Giulio Grosso, and Natale Poligato, as well as ANSPI Stella Santa Giustina club president and legal representative, Olga Bonifacino.

Father Giovanni Lupino reported the alleged wrongdoing, sparking an investigation that began in 2011.

The trial begins in spring, sources said.

Founded in 1965 and named after Pope Paul VI, ANSPI is a Catholic non-profit operating in 18 regions with more than 1,800 affiliated parish clubs.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Lapid Urges French Jews to Immigrate to Israel

Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid called Saturday on French Jews to immigrate to Israel, following Friday’s deadly attack at the kosher supermarket Hypercacher Alimentation Générale in Paris’s Porte-de-Vinnence.

“Terrorism and racism must be dealt with firmly and without compromise; this realization is now reaching the Europeans,” Lapid said during an event in Beersheba.

“European Jewry should understand that there is only one home for Jews and that is the State of Israel.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

More Than 200,000 Rally in France After Islamist Attacks

More than 200,000 people took to streets in France Saturday to demonstrate against terrorism after three days of Islamist attacks, according to a tally of various demonstrations.

Some 80,000 gathered in the southern city of Toulouse, 40,000 in southwest Pau, 30,000 in western Nantes, 23,000 in southeastern Nice, 22,000 in central Orleans, and 20,000 in eastern Besancon, according to estimate counts from local officials and AFP reporters.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Paris Shootings: ‘We Averted a Bloodbath’ Say French Police

French police have defended themselves against criticism over the deaths of four hostages at a Kosher supermarket, who they said were already dead before they stormed the store at dusk.

Fifteen captives escaped unharmed and the national police chief, Jean-Marc Falcone, said special forces and police had averted a worse bloodbath. “When we considered that all negotiations were fruitless, we decided that we had to intervene to save the hostages,” he said. “The assault caused no deaths or injuries to hostages,” he told BFM TV.

Jean-Michel Fauvergue, head of the RAID counter-terrorism unit, said: “We saved a baby and a pregnant woman. I’m very proud of our action.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

‘Policemen, Guns Drawn, At Every French Synagogue’

Policemen “with guns drawn” have been stationed at all synagogues in France since the terror attacks last week, according to Rabbi Moshe Levin of the Conference of European Rabbis. “Usually, police only patrol next to synagogues, but immediately after the attack, an armed guard made up of two policemen has been stationed in front of every synagogue in France,” he said.

The Director of Europe’s Federation of Jewish Organizations, Rabbi Menahem Margolin, instructed all of the Federation’s subsidiary organizations, 700 synagogues and schools to greatly increase security at the institutions, and to demand that the local authority and security forces at their locations immediately provide armed guards to protect Jewish communities.

“We partake, of course, in the French public’s sorrow, and express condolences to the families of victims, whoever they may be,” he added. “The Jews of Europe have been warning all of the governments of the EU — and publicly — for some time, that forgiveness and understanding to any motives of terror toward a minority, will wind up increasing the terror and augmenting its lethal effect against the European fabric of life.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Profile: The Most Wanted Woman in France

Hayat Boumeddiene, 26, suspected of involvement in this week’s shooting of a policewoman in Montrouge and the siege at a kosher supermarket, remained at large on Saturday. She has been linked to a disciple of London cleric Abu Hamza.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Spain: Las Vegas-Style Weddings Under the Canarian Sun

It all began to change in 2009 when the number of civil marriage ceremonies (95,000) began to outnumber church weddings (80,100) for the first time in Spain. Since then, there has also been a surge in the number of marriage officiants, which has today almost become a profession. Madrid now has its own training center for wedding officiants — the first graduating class consisted of 12 people, who have been busy ever since, even though their role has no official legal standing in Spain.

One particular location has also begun to stand out in this boom in civil marriages: the Canary Islands, which is emerging as Spain’s answer to Las Vegas, where hundreds of people tie the knot around the clock every week.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Spain: Government Beefs up Security at Subway Stations and Malls

Since the government raised the terror level threat this week, a large contingent of riot police and Civil Guard officers have been deployed to patrol areas and secure sites that could be potential targets of terrorist attacks.

Interior Minister Jorge Fernández on Thursday said he could not specify how many officers have been called out, because they will be used depending on needs. The National Police’s Intervention Unit and the Reserve and Security Groups of the Civil Guard are the largest forces now patrolling the streets across the country.

Spain announced a level three alert, out of a maximum of four, on Wednesday following the attack in Paris on the French weekly Charlie Hebdo, which left 12 people dead and several others wounded.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Spain: Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba Sparks Debate

Listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List since 1984, the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba, located in Andalusia in southern Spain, has become the subject of discussion after the Catholic Church has laid claim to it.

The episcopacy of Cordoba removed the word “mosque” from the name of the ancient monument at the end of 2014, and named it only “the Cathedral of Cordoba” without announcing the change to any public administration. The episcopacy embezzled the mosque-cathedral in 2006 by taking advantage of the current Spanish laws.

Now an exhibition in which symbols of the church stand out is being held in the mosque-cathedral. It has been announced that Catholic symbols brought from 44 monasteries in Spain will be exhibited there for four months.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Sweden: Gothenburg Mosque Evacuated After Bomb Threat

The Gothenburg mosque was evacuated Friday evening, following a telephone threat.

“It was someone with a very determined voice who said ‘soon it will explode in the mosque’“, the mosque’s press spokesperson Mohammad El-Alti told the TT news agency.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Sweden: Löfven to Paris Rally

The Swedish government has announced that Prime Minister Stefan Löfven will be taking part in the mass rally in Paris Sunday in support of the French people and the magazine Charlie Hebdo.

He’ll join other European leaders, including British Prime Minister David Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The march follows the killing of 12 people at the offices of the satirical weekly and twin sieges that took the lives of four hostages.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Turkish Violations Keep Greece on Standby

Despite recent meetings with top-ranking Turkish government officials and the mutual expression of good intentions from both sides, Greek authorities remain on standby following a spike in violations of Greek air space by Turkish fighter jets, Kathimerini understands.

Turkish aircraft entered Greek air space without clearance a total of 81 times within the space of three weeks in December following a period of relative calm, putting Greek defense officials on edge.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Croatia: Tourism Accounts for 20.9% of the National GDP

Sector grew in 2014 even compared to 2008, a record year

(ANSA) — TRIESTE — In the first ten months of 2014, the activities related to tourism in Croatia generated a turnover of 6.77 billion euros, 168 million euros more than in the same period in 2013 ( + 2.5 % ) , and thus increased the share of GDP produced by tourism to 20.9 % of the whole GDP (+ 0.7 %), according to Croatian Ministry of Tourism , which quoted a statement issued by the National Bank ( HNB ) in Zagreb. Between July and September last year , the growth of the sector was +2.8% compared to the same period in 2013 and also higher even compared to 2008, the year which recorded the very best results. These numbers make it evident that ‘ ‘ the tourist industry ‘ ‘ in Croatia ‘ ‘ is increasingly important ‘ ‘ and confirm that the country is ‘ ‘ an increasingly competitive destination’ ‘ in Europe and worldwide , said Tourism minister Darko Lorencin commenting on these positive results.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Algeria: Anti-Narghile Crusade Kicks Off in Orano

Smoke from ‘chicha’ more dangerous than cigarettes

(by Diego Minuti) (ANSAmed) — ROME — In a short while in Orano there will be no sight of those — men, as well as women, but mostly youth — who spend hours smoking narghilè in bars and public places. The local health authority is drafting a measure banning the “chicha”, the mixture including 25% of tobacco together with molasses and fruit essences.

The campaign could be implemented throughout Algeria if it gives the hoped-for results.

Narghilè — a cult for western tourists who buy them in the casbah of Arab cities mostly as home decoration rather than to smoke — is deeply connected to the Arab tradition and smoking it is an occasion to meet others, as is the case for young people, to make them feel mature. But its smoke is highly damaging, although smokers don’t realize it , inebriated by the delicate flavor of fruit and those small chunks of charcoal burning out.

Based on clinical studies, Orano does not mean to foster a highly damaging habit. Data proved two key issues: smoking the narghilè (consuming a dose of chicha) is seven times more harmful than cigarette smoke. Also, smoking a dose of chichi (an operation that can last a couple of hours) is like smoking a whole packet of cigarettes.

The decision of health authorities in Orano will apply both for smokers, would-be smokers and passive smokers. Indeed the decree will provide for the shutdown of bars or restaurants enabling clients to smoke the narghilè for hours.

But in Algeria, as in other countries, a ban is one thing, implementing it is quite another, as proven by the poor results of a ban on smoking in public places. But Orano is doing things seriously and will also start a campaign mostly aimed at those aged between 15 and 25 with healthcare workers explaining that smoke can be fatal. Smoking perhaps comes today a close second after car accidents as a cause of death.

Those at risk of being attracted to the chicha will be presented with the connected risks: viral hepatitis, cancer to the mouth, gums, lips and respiratory diseases. Will it be enough?

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Al Qaeda Rep Says Group Directed Paris Magazine Attack; US Issues Travel Warning

A member of Al Qaeda’s branch in Yemen said Friday that the group directed the massacre earlier this week at a Paris magazine, as the U.S. State Department issued a travel warning to citizens, saying they faced an increased risk of reprisals.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Bloody Rivals: Paris Attack Helps Al Qaeda Outshine ISIS

Friday’s claim from Al Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) that it had directed the jihadist brothers, whose commando-style raid Wednesday left 12 dead at Charlie Hebdo, would appear to be a coup for the older and more established terror network, which for much of 2014 was overshadowed as Islamic State gained momentum.

Al Qaeda’s prominence among terrorist groups, undisputed in the years following 9/11, had been largely eclipsed as the newer group, also known as ISIS, seized territory in Iraq and Syria and carried out a series of high-profile beheadings that elevated its bloody brand. The Paris operation gives Al Qaeda’s relevance a new boost, said Steve Emerson, executive director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism.

“It will accrue to their positive development in terms of financing, reputation and all that,” Emerson said. “And there’ll probably be a brigade named in the brothers’ memory.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Iraq: The Kurdish Dream of Being Able to Live Christians and Muslims Together

Kurdish Islam has always been moderate and lived in peace with Christians, Yazidis, Zoroastrians … But the fundamentalist pressures are shaking this coexistence. “With us there were no veiled women; now you see them here and there: they are paid by Saudi Arabia to wear the veil. Fundamentalism is the child of poverty.” The war is sucking the resources of Kurdistan and enriching Turkey.

Komane (AsiaNews) — The terrorist attack in Paris is unleashing in Europe a rejection of coexistence with Muslims. Here in Iraq — and more specifically in Kurdistan — things are seen with more nuances: there is the condemnation of sectarian violence, but there are also glimmers of friendship.

Towards evening Msgr. Rabban al-Qas, the bishop of Duhok, accompanies us to present condolences to a Muslim family, whose relative has died. The bishop has known this family since the 1970s, when these Muslim Kurds, persecuted by Saddam Hussein, were driven from Baghdad. Some of them have spent long periods in prison. Msgr. Rabban welcomed them and helped them to settle in the village where they still live, also building their homes. Their gratitude to the bishop is great and they treat him like a member of their family. The younger children call him “my uncle bishop.”

Upon our arrival we greet the head of the family and the close relatives of the deceased, an elderly man. We also greet some women, who — unlike what one might expect in the Muslim world — shake our hands in greeting.

Then we enter the condolence room: a large living room with pillows all around; guests sitting in the lotus position, a stove in the center. Some of them are the heads of the village and wear the distinctive Kurdish headgear, a black and white keffiyeh wrapped around the head. There is talk of this and that, the friendship of Msgr. Rabban with them and ours with the Bishop; they recall old times, and then the conversation falls onto present: the refugees, the misery, the insecurity of the war, the Islamic State (IS).

The oldest, Hassan, the head of the family, says he “ashamed to be a Muslim” because the IS (they still call it “Daesh”, the Arabic acronym for “Isis, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant”) carries out all this violence in the name of Islam.

One of Hassan’s sons, who also speaks English, and is a member of the Kurdish party Barzani, cuts short: “We don’t want to live with Isis, we don’t want to live with the Arabs: we have always had trouble from them.” The reference is not only to the IS, but also to Saddam Hussein after the first Gulf War: to hold on to power, he gave himself the air of a Muslim, despite being an atheist, by promoting policies of the fundamentalist type.

“Our Islam is not violent, it is a friend of the Christians: look how we love the bishop and his community. Among the people who came today to offer condolences, at least half are Christians.”

Msgr. Rabban explains to me that Kurdish Islam has always been moderate and lived in peace with Christians, Yazidis, Zoroastrians… But the fundamentalist pressures are shaking this coexistence. The men sitting around the room speak of the influence of Iran, Turkey, but above all Saudi Arabia. “With us there were no veiled women; now you see them here and there: they are paid by Saudi Arabia to wear the veil. Fundamentalism is the child of poverty.” Of course they accuse Saudi Arabia of funding the radical Islam of Isis, similar to that of the Saudis in its cruelty and fanaticism.

Turkey also has its weight. Here and there in the area of Duhok one sees large and small mosques that follow the model of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, with a large central dome and at least two pencil-thin minarets that rise up the sides.

Turkey is interested in crumbling Iraq because this way it is even more difficult to establish a Kurdish state, autonomous or even independent, which would give strength to the Kurdish minority in Turkey (about 16 million). In fear of seeing the southern part of the country torn away, Turkey is helping Isis: it allows them to find refuge at the border; it allows them training camps; it buys their oil…

At the same time, since the war is sucking away the resources of Kurdistan, Turkey is enriched by all that Kurdistan can sell. With Iraq divided in two by the Islamic State (the Kurdish north, the Shiite south and in the middle Daesh), the Kurdish trade can only take the road of Iran and Turkey, the two neighboring countries. There would also be Syria, but it is drowning in the war. Every day there depart from Erbil long lines of trucks and tankers carrying oil, kerosene, gasoline, agricultural products, to Diyarbakir, the Kurdish area, in the southeast of Turkey. The Kurdish government is building a wide highway that leads from Erbil to Zakkho, the last place on the Kurdish border that because of the war is becoming a large city with construction sites, shops, banks.

The member of the Kurdish party begs me: “Tell Italy to help us become autonomous or even independent. With these neighbors peace becomes impossible. Italy was among the first to help us in the time of Saddam Hussein. Do something for us also today.”

Fundamentalism is also the child of ignorance. For this reason, the real way to fight it is education. Msgr. Rabban has been beating this track for at least 10 years. In 2003 he involved Church and government in a project to create a school, the International School of Duhok, which houses up to 500 students, males and females together, of all religions, Christians and Muslims, where they learn to live together and not be afraid of each other. The school covers the path from middle to high school. The courses, all highly qualified, are taught in English and French. This allows the young people coming out of this school to compete for scholarships abroad. Many former students are now in the universities of Great Britain, France, Germany and the United States.

In school they teach Kurdish, Arabic and even the ancient Aramaic. All families are competing to enroll their children because the school offers good prospects for their future. But also their present has its fruit: the young are uninhibited, girls wearing veils are not ashamed to wear makeup, or to be close to their male companions; Christians and Muslims respect each other’s holidays and customs.

A situation very different from what happens in Mosul. I was told that a Christian boy always played with a Muslim friend of his own age. At one point one day the Muslim said to the other: “I am not going to play with you anymore. My uncle told me that I should not play with Christians.” And the friendship was over. At least for now.

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

Members of the Islamic State Police Abducted in Syria

According to some sources, gunmen in the eastern city of Mayadin ambushed Islamic extremists in charge of enforcing Sharia in areas under “Caliphate” control.

Damascus (AsiaNews/Agencies) — Members of a religious “police” set up by the militant group Islamic State (IS) have been ambushed and abducted by unknown gunmen in the eastern city of Mayadin, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reports.

This comes a day after other reports indicate that unknown attackers killed the force’s local deputy chief.

The IS “police” patrols swathes of Syria and Iraq that IS captured and declared as a “caliphate”.

“There is an escalation in the operations against the Hisbah [IS police] because they are arresting people and insulting their dignity for reasons like smoking,” said Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman.

The IS police has confiscated and burnt tobacco products and punished those caught smoking.

This might be the reason for the abduction, torture and killing of the IS deputy police chief.

His severed head was reportedly found with a cigarette in his mouth, a note pinned close-by with a mocking reference to the fact that “smoking is a sin” in the eyes of the religious police.

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

North Lebanon Suicide Attack Kills Nine

TRIPOLI, Lebanon: A suicide bomber blew himself up in a crowded cafe in the neighborhood of Jabal Mohsen in the northern city of Tripoli Saturday evening killing nine people and wounding more than 30, a security source told The Daily Star. Another suicide bomber blew himself up outside the coffee shop, according to unconfirmed reports.

The Nusra Front claimed responsibility for the twin blasts that targeted the Omran cafe in the majority Alawite neighborhood of Jabal Mohsen.

“A suicide operation targeted a cafe (belonging to) the Alawite Arab Democratic Party,” the Nusra Front said on its social media pages, in reference to Jabal Mohsen’s dominant group the ADP.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Pope’s Message for Peace Useful to Free Nepali Slaves in Arab Gulf

Nepali authorities share Francis’ position on “slave labour” and hope to influence Kuwaiti authorities who have blocked the repatriation of 135 Nepali women. Malaysia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and UAE are the most common destinations for unskilled migrant workers, the first victims of human trafficking.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) — The government of Nepal will “use” Pope Francis’ message for the 48th World Day of Peace to save its citizens enslaved in Arab countries.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of Nepalis leave the country to seek work abroad. However, in most cases, they are caught up in the human trafficking racket, or forced to work in inhumane conditions.

Nepali authorities have taken a number of steps to protect their citizens. However, abroad, Nepalis are subject to the laws of the host country.

This is the case for 135 women currently holed up in the Nepali embassy in Kuwait. The women want to go home because they are no longer willing to submit to the conditions in which they were forced to work.

For this reason, they asked their country’s diplomatic mission for help. The latter has organised everything for their repatriation; however, because of Kafala, the Kuwaiti government has not allowed them to leave.

Widespread in the Gulf countries, the Kafala system allows employers to seize documents and passports from their foreign employees, to prevent them from changing jobs or going home.

Nepali Labour Minister Tek Bahadur Gurung said that the Nepali government’s hands are tied. All it can tod is wait for a bilateral agreement with Kuwait. However, “Our demands and choices are stronger since the pope encouraged us globally.”

Currently, more than 400,000 Nepali workers live in Kuwait. According to data provided by the Department of Foreign Employment of Nepal, 556,790 left the country in 11 months of fiscal year 2013-14. For 403,090, this was their first experience abroad. For another 153,700, this is the second. The highest rate of emigration in a single month was 58,937.

Among Islamic countries, Malaysia is the first destination for unskilled Nepali workers, followed by Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Kuwait.

The growth of “slave labour”, as Pope Francis called, has been facilitated by the fact that most migrants are unskilled.

In Nepal’s case, “Only 2 per cent are skilled workers, 23 per cent are semi-skilled and 75 per cent are unskilled,” said Purna Chandra Bhattarai, joint secretary at the Labour Ministry.

“Ninety-five per cent of those who emigrate choose Malaysia or the Gulf countries, whilst 90 per cent of them choose unofficial channels to reach their destination. This makes them even more vulnerable.”

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

Suicide Bomb Kills 7 in Alawite Quarter of Lebanon’s Tripoli

A suicide blast killed seven people and wounded 36 others in a flashpoint Alawite neighbourhood of the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli Saturday, a Red Cross official and the army said.

“Seven people were killed and 36 others wounded in a blast that struck the Jabal Mohsen neighbourhood,” the Red Cross official told AFP.

The army said that, “at around 7:30 pm (1730 GMT), a suicide attacker struck a cafe in Jabal Mohsen, killing and wounding several citizens.”

A security source confirmed the reports to AFP, adding that the bodies of two of the victims had been ripped apart by the force of the blast…

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

India to Change Defence Procurement Rules

On the last day of 2014, the Narendra Modi government in India planned to take a bold step to boost defence procurement. Keeping in mind that the country needs critical technology and equipment systems, the government decided to make it easier for foreign manufacturers to negotiate defence deals with India by allowing agents in the process.

Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar announced on Wednesday that the government would soon adopt a new policy to legalise agents (read middlemen) in arms purchases. While making the announcement, the minister admitted that middlemen were source of massive controversies in the past, saying that the new policy would resolve the problem.

Talking to the local media in New Delhi, Parrikar said: “The middlemen have to be declared and their commission cannot be linked to the outcome of negotiations.” According to him, the government will allow agents (or middlemen) to take part in meetings so that they can help companies represented by them to negotiate properly, as it may not be possible for official representatives to visit India for participating in the negotiation process.

He explained that transparent norms would be adopted for arms companies to hire agents with declared fees. However, the minister made it clear that commissions would not be allowed. The government, keeping operational requirements in mind, will liberalise blacklisting norms and also partially lift blanket ban on Finmeccanica and Tatra trucks, apart from prioritising acquisitions of arms and weapons as per operational necessity.

Since the multi-million dollar Bofors guns scandal in the 1980s, the involvement of middlemen in defence deals has been banned in India. Middlemen had reportedly paid kickbacks to politicians and government officials in the purchase of Bofors guns in the late 1980s. In 2003, the government indicated that it would legalise middlemen and make negotiations transparent.

On Wednesday, Parrikar said that the Defence Ministry was ready to give conditioned and limited approval to deal with banned defence firms as the government is committed to boost defence procurement. “Private companies must be allowed to export defence equipment made in India and for that, rules will be changed,” stressed the minister. He also said that he recently asked the External Affairs Ministry to come out with a list of countries and equipment that could not be exported.

Currently, private companies cannot export weapons, defence equipment or components without clearance from the Indian government. Parrikar believes that the proposed move will reduce arms procurement cycle to three years, instead of the present five-six years, and also remove bottlenecks for arms exports. The government will identify ‘safe’ products for export to ‘friendly’ countries in the coming days. The minister further informed the press that the government would fund 80% of weapon development costs in ‘high-risk’ projects. It can go up to 100%, if MSME (micro, small and medium enterprises) are involved. Parrikar is of the opinion that the proposed changes in defence procurement rules will be a major thrust to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ initiative, with greater private sector participation in submarine, helicopter, artillery and other projects.

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

India Police Probe Godman Over Alleged Castration of 400 Followers

Indian police said they are investigating a popular self-styled godman for allegedly encouraging 400 followers to undergo castrations at his ashram so they could get closer to god.

The country’s top crime fighting agency has registered a case against Gurmeet Ram Rahim, known as the “guru in bling” for his penchant for garish clothes and jewellery, over the operations in the country’s north.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said in a statement late Wednesday Rahim is being investigated for criminal intimidation and causing grievous bodily hurt, saying 400 castrations were allegedly carried out.

The guru, who heads the Dera Sacha Sauda organisation based in Haryana state, is already facing trial for conspiracy over the murder of a journalist in 2002 along with claims of sexually exploiting female followers.

The latest case was filed after one of his devotees, Hans Raj Chauhan, lodged a complaint in court alleging he was manipulated into having the “painful” operation at the ashram.

“They were told that only those who get castrated will be able to meet god,” Chauhan’s lawyer, Navkiran Singh, told AFP on Thursday.

“We will put all the facts of the case to the court and seek compensation for the victims.”

He said doctors carried out the castrations over a period from 2000, but for years his client had been too scared to come forward.

The court asked the CBI to undergo an investigation into the alleged castrations.

Forty-seven-year-old Rahim could not immediately be contacted for comment.

The Dera Sacha Sauda says it is a social welfare and spiritual organisation with millions of followers in India and abroad.

On its website, the group describes Rahim as a saint as well as an author, inventor, scientist, philosopher, philanthropist, peace activist and “the ultimate humanitarian”.

Rahim also stars in an action movie to be released later this month called “MSG: Messenger of God” in which the guru fights criminals, sings songs and is shown dousing himself in water in slow motion after a rugby game.

India has been rocked by numerous scandals involving popular godmen who are mostly Hindu ascetics claiming to possess mystical powers.

In November, police arrested Baba Rampal Maharaj after a long and violent siege at his ashram in Haryana when he refused to comply with court orders in a murder case.

In a bizarre case, devotees of a dead guru are fighting a court battle in Punjab state to preserve his body in a freezer, insisting he is only meditating.

For many Indians, gurus play an integral role in daily life. They say they offer a pathway to enlightenment in return for spiritual devotion and often give donations to ashrams, temples and charity projects.

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

India: Christian Man Detained on “Security Grounds” Even Though He Did Not Commit Any Crimes

In Uttar Pradesh, a radical Hindu group filed a complaint against the Christian man, accusing him of forced conversions. Although there is no evidence of the use of force, the police placed him in a state of preventive detention for 14 days.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) — Arvind D’Souza was stopped by the police “for reasons of public order,” even though he had committed no crime. The incident occurred on 2 January in the district of Amethi, in Uttar Pradesh.

Mr D’Souza, who is still in prison under preventive detention, the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) told AsiaNews, ran afoul of a group of Hindu radicals in the village of Maulvikhurd.

The latter filed a complaint with police against the Christian man for “spreading Christianity” and “forced conversion of women and children through the gift of Bibles.”

The local police, as Superintendent of Police to Amethi Hira Lal admitted, “found no evidence that D’Souza used force in converting anyone.”

“However, since the fact could undermine public order, they took him into custody in accordance with Article 151 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and placed him under preventive detention for 14 days.”

“This is a serious violation of human rights,” said GCIC president Sajan George. It is part of “a trend that is spreading more and more in India.”

“In Madhya Pradesh, families, including small children, have been arrested for forced conversions under the state’s anti-Conversion law,” George explained.

Sadly, such legislation is being used “as a political tool to terrorise and persecute the Christian minority.”

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

India PM Pledges 24-Hour Power for Delhi

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi vowed to provide round the clock electricity for India’s capital Saturday as he kicked off his party’s campaign in elections to Delhi’s state assembly.

Delhi has an unenviable reputation both for blackouts and as one of the world’s most polluted capitals, with diesel fumes from back-up generators adding to the cocktail of smog that regularly blankets the city.

But in a speech to supporters of his right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the prime minister said he would soon make generators redundant.

“I promise that I will provide you with a 24-hour supply of electricity,” said Modi who came to power after a landslide general election win in May.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Korean Hunger for Parmesan Cheese Promises Asian Bonanza

Sales of hallowed foodstuff increased over Christmas, New Year

(ANSA) — Reggio Emilia, January 8 — Production of Parmesan cheese dipped 1.1% in December but exports of the hallowed cheese increased by more than 5% in the first nine months of 2014 while Asian markets promise exponential growth in the future, the Parmigiano Reggiano consortium said Thursday.

The slow-down in December following the hike in exports of Parmesan amount to “a reversal of trend that meant 2014 ended substantially stable” in what was “an important signal for the markets”.

“We are seeing a dip that indicates the way forward for recovering equilibrium between demand and supply,” the cheese consortium said.

Exports for the first nine months of 2015 “appeared to be increasing at levels above 5%,” the consortium said.

Sales jumped 7% during Christmas and New Year’s over the same period in 2013, it added.

South Korea’s decision to resume importing cheese bodes well for the Italian cheese trade throughout Asia, which has been trending upward in recent years, according to the consortium.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

National Education ‘Should be Introduced in Hong Kong to Halt Anti-Mainland Feelings’

Beijing “should try again to introduce national education into Hong Kong schools with the emphasis on Chinese culture rather than ideology”, a mainland law professor who advises Beijing on Hong Kong affairs said.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews/Agencies) — The government should try again to introduce national education into Hong Kong schools with the emphasis on Chinese culture rather than ideology, a mainland law professor who advises Beijing on Hong Kong affairs said.

Rao Geping, a Basic Law Committee member and law professor at Peking University, said the city’s government should also do more to remove the legacy of its colonial past to stave off anti-mainland sentiment among young people.

“Hong Kong hasn’t done ideally in educating its youth about how to adapt to its status under ‘one country, two systems’,” he told a two-day forum in Beijing hosted by the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macau Studies on the political implications of the city’s education.

“Many young people haven’t been able to get used to the fact that Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China. They grew up with a lack of national education, coupled with sentiments against the Communist Party of China, which has led to some of them being on the political front line.

“I think national education should be introduced again, but with an emphasis put on Chinese history and culture, but not ideology. We should have it in schools.”

There were contradictions between the education system that Hong Kong inherited from colonial days and the one it should have as part of China — so young people should be taught about “decolonisation”, he said.

Some speakers at the forum said teachers were often not qualified to give the right information about the city’s status.

In 2012 parents, students and teachers have launched a strike against the new subject, which had to “uphold” the economic successes of mainland China without discussing issues such as the Tiananmen Square crackdown or the human rights situation in the country. Launched by the central government in 2002, the reform was immediately opposed by the Catholic Church, according to Cardinal Zen, it is a “brainwashing” of students.

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

A Muslim’s Ambush: Weekend Sunrise Bares Its Anti-Israel Bias

On a recent trip to Australia I was booked by Ch7’s Weekend Sunrise to discuss Project Rozana, an Israeli-Palestinian initiative to train West Bank physicians (predominantly Palestinian Muslims)in Israel’s Hadassah hospital. As an ambassador for the Project, I was lock step with my ideals both as a physician and as an observing Muslim opposed to virulently anti-Semitic Islamism.

A veteran media commentator, my suspicions should have been raised when the producers didn’t indicate the nature of my interview, nor even confirm that I would be discussing Project Rozana. Minutes before live broadcast, the young segment producer Maddy still ‘didn’t know’ what the anchors would be asking.

[…] In my ignorance, I had unwittingly collaborated in my own exploitation by the Australian broadcaster who chose to cast me not as an anti-Islamist Muslim physician volunteering in pursuit of coexistence but as a vapid tool serving the malignant media construct of a two-dimensional anti-Semitic caricature of Zionism. This was a deliberate and opportunistic objectification of my identity as a Muslim and a physician, of the Jewish state reduced to an anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist mannequin, and of my political position as an opponent of Islamism; a position which entails significant personal and professional risk. This is neither journalism nor broadcasting; it’s pure pro-Hamas propaganda .

           — Hat tip: Nick [Return to headlines]

Baby Suicide Bomber Kills 20 and Injures 18 in Nigeria

(AGI) Maiduguri (Nigeria), Jan. 10 — A 10-year-old suicide bomber blew herself up at 12:40 p.m. on Sunday in northeastern Nigeria, killing at least 20 people and injuring 18 more. The explosion took place in the market of Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State and a stronghold of the Boko Haram terrorist group, reported sources of the Red Cross. The girl had been stopped at the market entrance after the metal detector revealed something suspicious, reported Ashiru Mustapha, the head of the local security guards. The guards did not act quickly enough to intervene before the explosive device deflagrated. The device was probably remotely triggered by a militant who was keeping at a safe distance, without the girl knowing or understanding what was going on. Another two young girls blew themselves up in the same market last November and a third failed to trigger the explosive device that she concealed under her niqab by pure chance. She later said she had been obliged to blow herself up by her parents.

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

Clashes in Violent Western Mexico State Call Government’s Security Strategy Into Question

New clashes between vigilante groups and government forces in Mexico’s violent western state of Michoacan are calling into question the strategy of a federal commissioner appointed a year ago to restore order.

Top cartel leaders have been captured or killed, and President Enrique Pena Nieto’s administration has held up Michoacan as a success in battling drug violence. But now former vigilantes are clashing with government forces and each other. All sides are accused of being infiltrated by drug traffickers trying to take over from the Knights Templar, which controlled commerce, politics and daily life in much of the state until self-defense groups rose up in February 2013.

In the most recent bloodshed, nine civilians died Tuesday during federal operations in the community of Apatzingan.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Former Haiti Official: We Have No Idea Where All That Recovery Money Went

In 2010, Haiti was rocked by a deadly earthquake that claimed the lives of somewhere between 200,000 and 300,000 people. In response to the tragedy, the international community pledged an estimated nine billion dollars in foreign aid help the Haiti’s recovery efforts.

However, according to Joseph, much of the pledged cash never made it to Haiti. And the money that did make it to Haiti has mysteriously disappeared.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

In Which Illegals Dressed Like Aztecs Protest a Newspaper for Calling Them Illegals

By James Kirkpatrick

An estimated 200 people converged on De la Guerra Plaza in downtown Santa Barbara on Thursday night to protest a recent headline in the Santa Barbara News-Press that referred to undocumented immigrants as “Illegals.”

The demonstrators, who gathered outside the newspaper’s iconic building, also stopped traffic on State Street as they marched, chanting slogans such as “News-Press, you’re a mess” and “Undocumented, unafraid” in response to the headline.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Belgium: Ghent Celebrates Co-Motherhood

The East Flemish city of Ghent held a celebration on Saturday of a new law that grants so-called “co-mother” the same rights as birth mothers. Since 1 January the partners of lesbian mothers that have given birth to a child no longer have to adopt their partner’s child in order to become its legal parent.

Since the beginning of the new year so-called “co-mothers” can follow the same procedure as partners in heterosexual relationships to gain recognition as a child’s legal parent.

Previously the partner in a lesbian relationship that had not carried a child had to adopt the infant in order to gain legal recognition as one of its parents. However, a change in the law means that since 1 January they are given automatic legal recognition as the child’s mother providing they are married to its birth mother.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

There is a Price for Living in a Free Society

It’s time we stopped tip-toeing around the problem of religious intolerance

It is a bad habit, but I often listen to Thought for the Day on BBC Radio 4. On Wednesday morning, it was presented by Nick Baines, the Bishop of Leeds. He did not like the recent demonstrations in Germany against the Islamisation of the West. Some marchers had made “irrational” comments, he said. The bishop offered us a choice: “Be driven by fear and insecurity into suspicion and hatred of the other, or take the risk of dancing to a different tune.”

I felt irritated. I have no desire to hate “the other” and I deplore all religious leaders who do so — numerous ayatollahs and imams, for example, who insult Jews, homosexuals, bare-headed women etc from the pulpit. I would, in principle, prefer to take the risk of dancing to Bishop Nick’s tune round the streets of Leeds in one of those displays of weedy niceness which are a precious part of our Anglican heritage. But he made me cross, because he was not being honest.

A few hours later came an event which must have made even that Right Reverend gentleman stop dancing. Two prize examples of “the other” murdered ten Parisian journalists and two policemen. Yesterday another of them was dealing death in a kosher shop. If we say that these events have nothing to do with Islam, we are lying. If we do not try to work out, publicly, what the link is and try to break it, fear and hatred will become uncontrollable.

Not enough attention has been paid to the precise reason why the cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo were targeted. It is because they deliberately insulted the Muslim God and his Prophet. In Islamic culture, such insults are the worst thing there is, because they profane what matters most of all…

           — Hat tip: Mark H [Return to headlines]

Worry Too Much? Don’t Fret as it’s a Sign of High Intelligence, Study Finds

They are mocked for their frequent fretting but worriers may have the last laugh.

Research suggests that being a worrier is a sign of high intelligence.

Those who live in constant fear they won’t get everything done and who can’t switch off worrisome thoughts are more articulate.

In tests, worriers scored higher in something called verbal intelligence — the ability to understand and work with the written and spoken word.

The study also found links between high verbal intelligence and depression.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

10 thoughts on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 1/10/2015

  1. France
    As many as possible on public transport. It’s free today(…!)
    People are encouraged to go to demonstrations by public transport this Sunday.

    – …cattle?! Trains…(!)

  2. One thing I’ve noticed with this particular go round of the media trying the hide the meaning of the news they’re reporting on is that there are some people who have a direct pipeline to the media and have full access to counter the no-Islam-to-see-here narrative are dissident leftists. Bill Maher is probably the most prominent of those currently. He can from his show or from other shows (like Jimmy Kimmel a few days ago) go on and say “hey it is Islam that’s the problem.” No one on the right could ever get access to say such things before a large public audience.

  3. March in Paris
    La Marseillaise

    On a day like today….

    Does the Marseillaise reveal something inconvenient about the French history and what killing methods her peoples were facing through the centuries?

    “Aux armes citoyens”
    “They are coming, to slit the throats of your children, and your spouses
    Take to your weapons..”

    Is this why the mahometans refuse to sing the Marseillaise..?

    Worthwhile reading (in French) of a priest on the recent events, Je ne suis pas Charlie.

    “Ce terrorisme est aussi une nouvelle forme de totalitarisme ; mais nous ne pouvons pas l’étudier si nous refusons de voir ses accointances avec l’islam et le Coran. Nous ne pouvons pas aimer en vérité nos frère Français musulmans, si nous ne les aidons pas à mener une réflexion en profondeur sur le statut de la violence dans l’islam et dans le Coran.”

    This terrorisme is also a new form of totalitarisme, but we cannot study it if we refuse to see its acquaintance with Islam & the Coran. We cannot really truthfully like our muslim brothers if we cannot help to deeply reflect on the status of violence in Islam & in the Coran.

  5. Paris Shooters Just Returned from NATO’s Proxy War in Syria

    Paris Shooting a Distraction For This Filthy Scandal Going on Right Under Our Noses .
    Are there any nice & curious people here?

    Paris False Flag:
    Clinton Scandal:
    Prince Andrew Scandal:
    Pope Scandal:
    Royals Scandal:

  6. Here’s a question: What makes the EU think Muslims are the only people getting ready to eliminate offensive depictions of their deity? I can envision a sect of Christianity, perhaps channelling the Kinghts Templar, deciding to eliminate the creator of “Piss Christ” for instance…

    Because rationalising the actions of Muslims who take action also serves as a shining example to other creeds, faiths and movements: violence is the way to get respect…

    • As an heir of the Swiss-Rhenish-Puritan (and Huguenot) Reformation myself, I believe any attempt to depict any of the three persons of the Holy Trinity is wrong. While I’ll sign in my own blood if need be that God the Word took to himself a true human nature in Jesus Christ, I note that the New Testament gives only one physical description of Jesus, and that’s of the risen and glorified Jesus in Revelation 1. I defy any artist to truly capture that. Durer tried manfully, but even he fails.

      As for “Piss Christ” and much of the rest of Mapplethorpe’s work, if someone buys it for me and delivers it to my home, I will gladly take a torch to it–unless some organization might be willing to ransom it for many times its supposed “worth”.

      As for the Knights Templar, I hold no soft spot for them. However, the Dutch Sea Beggars, Scots Covenanters, and the English Parliament men of the 1630’s and ’40’s, and the Apprentice Boys of Londonderry are another matter.

      Wilhelmus van Nassouwe, ben eck van duytschen Bloet
      Der Vaderlandt getrouwe…

      Ne ne suis pas Charlie–I will fight back.

      Je suis Juif–albeit one that believes M’shiach has come.

      ana Nazrani!

  7. That’s not the point. The point is that rationalising this sort of violence encourages this sort of violence, and if history is any guide, what makes Muslims think THEY alone have a monopoly on using violence to get a point across “more clearly”…

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