Gates of Vienna News Feed 1/24/2015

The Islamic State has issued a video that purportedly shows that one of its two Japanese hostages, Haruna Yukawa, has been beheaded. In the video Mr. Yukawa’s fellow hostage Kenji Goto is shown holding what appears to be the decapitated body of Mr. Yukawa, who was executed when the Japanese government failed to meet ISIS’ 72-hour deadline for the delivery of $200 million in ransom money.

In other news, Germany’s Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel has met with PEGIDA supporters in Dresden.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Fjordman, Insubria, Nick, Papa Whiskey, 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
» Greece Will Not Comply With Predecessors’ Accords, Tsipras
» Greece: Children of the Crisis
» Millions of German Workers in Poverty
» After Bear Deaths Linked to Chocolate, N.H. Fish and Game to Propose Changes to Bait Regulations
» Detroit Man Who Murdered Two White Teens Declares ‘Black Lives Matter’ During Sentencing
» Hilltop Panorama Marks Mars Rover’s 11th Anniversary
» Mitt Romney: Climate Change is Real, Human-Induced, And We Must Tackle it
» Moon-Mining Company to Use Historic Florida Launch Complex
» Palin ‘Seriously Interested’ In 2016 Run, Adding Another Big Name to Growing Potential Field
» Rapper Tiny Doo Facing Long Prison Sentence Over Lyrics
» Trump Tells GOP Audience: Avoid Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush
Europe and the EU
» Extremely Dark, Dry and Rich in Organics: Virtis View of 67P/C-G
» France Charges Father With Inciting His Children to Jihad
» German Muslim Council Warns of Rise in Anti-Islam Attacks
» German Vice Chancellor Gabriel Meets With PEGIDA Supporters
» Hunt for Philae Hangs in the Balance
» Italy: SEL Leader Vendola Calls for ‘Anti-Nazareno Front’
» Italy: ‘Renzi Led Secret Anti-Prodi Vote in 2013’ Says Fassina
» Italy: Cofferati Blasts Renzi After Quitting PD
» Italy: Nun Gives Birth, Intends to Keep Baby
» Italy Thanks UK for Crackdown on Draft Imitation Prosecco
» Lefty Billionaire Gets Off Private Jet, Says Americans Have Too Much Stuff
» Norway: The People’s Revolution vs. The “Religion of Peace”
» Spanish Police Arrest Suspected Jihadists in Ceuta
» UK: Roma Gang ‘Sold Girl for Sex’ At Kent Fast Food Stores
» ‘We’re in Forza Italia But Anti Forza Renzi’ Says Fitto
» President of Kosovo: KFOR Essential for Regional Security
North Africa
» Amina Sboui, Arab Women’s Freedom Icon, Tells Her Story
» King Tut’s Mask, World’s ‘Most Famous Archaeological Relic, ‘ Has Been Permanently Damaged
Israel and the Palestinians
» Italian Aid Heading to Gaza Population
» Italy ‘Should Recognize Palestinian State’, Says Shaath
Middle East
» Islamic State Publishes a New Penal Code Threatening Crucifixion and Stoning
» John Kerry: ‘Victory Over ISIS Will be Decided in the Classroom’
» New ISIS Video Claims 1 Japanese Hostage Killed
» Purported Islamic State Video Shows Hostage Goto Claiming Yukawa Has Been Executed
» Russia Responds to Obama, ‘We Won’t be Isolated’
South Asia
» A National Anti-Conversion Law to “Save” India’s Hindus
» India Overturns Murder Life Sentences for Italian Two
» India Tiger Population Up a Third in Four Years
» Indian Bishops Tell Government No to “Saffronisation”, Yes to Secularism
» Nepal: As Constitutional Talks Stall, Bishop Calls for a Secular Charter
» Pakistan Muslim Leader Says Muhammad Cartoons Could Lead to World War III, Calls on UN to Outlaw Blasphemy
Far East
» After Occupy, the Hong Kong Government Launches a Cadets Corps of “Faithful to Beijing”
» Chinese Mining Threatens Tibetans’ Environment and Life
» Tokyo to Get $385 Million Hydrogen Makeover for Olympics
» Why We Should Study China’s Machiavelli
Australia — Pacific
» Australian Women ‘Joining IS Foreign Fighters’
Sub-Saharan Africa
» How Many Cows is a Woman Worth?
» It’s All Kicking Off in the Islamic World. Nothing at All to Do With Islam, of Course

Greece Will Not Comply With Predecessors’ Accords, Tsipras

Syriza to abide by EU obligations, ‘austerity not one of them’

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, JANUARY 23 — A Syriza government “will not comply with the agreements signed by its predecessors”, party leader Alexis Tsipras told a press conference on Friday. He said that “our party will abide by the obligations deriving from Greece’s participation in European institutions, but austerity is not part of the EU’s founding treaties.”

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Greece: Children of the Crisis

Many young Greeks have grown up with the economic crisis, complete with silent factories and stores closed down. Over half of 15-24 year-olds are unemployed. But some young people are determined to succeed.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Millions of German Workers in Poverty

More than three million Germans can barely make ends meet despite being in work, according to a German newspaper. Growing numbers of struggling workers are cutting back on heating and food.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

After Bear Deaths Linked to Chocolate, N.H. Fish and Game to Propose Changes to Bait Regulations

Four bears were found dead in September because of heart failure triggered by an overdose of chocolate that had been put out as bait.

“We are a landmark example,” Andrew Timmins, the state Fish and Game Department’s bear project leader, told the state Fish and Game Commission yesterday.

“The case in New Hampshire perhaps represents one of the most significant cases for two reasons,” he said. First, the concentration of dead bears found at the site is unprecedented, and the direct link between the chocolate and the death of an adult bear is rare.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Detroit Man Who Murdered Two White Teens Declares ‘Black Lives Matter’ During Sentencing

A black man who was found guilty of murdering two white teenagers execution-style in a vacant Detroit field defiantly declared “black lives matter” Wednesday before being sentenced to life in prison.

Fredrick Young and Felando Hunter were sentenced Wednesday to life in prison without parole for robbing, torturing and murdering Jourdan Bobbish and Jacob Kudla, who had met up with them in July 2012 to buy drugs, a local Fox affiliate reported.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Hilltop Panorama Marks Mars Rover’s 11th Anniversary

A panorama from one of the highest elevations that NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has reached in its 11 years on Mars includes the U.S. flag at the summit.

Opportunity has driven 25.9 miles (41.7 kilometers) since it landed in the Meridiani Planum region of Mars on Jan. 25, 2004 (Universal Time, which was Jan. 24, PST). That is farther than any other off-Earth surface vehicle has driven. The rover’s work on Mars was initially planned for three months.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Mitt Romney: Climate Change is Real, Human-Induced, And We Must Tackle it

Former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney, who’s contemplating another White House run, said climate change was real, that humans helped it along and that it was the responsibility of the world to turn back the environmental tide.

“I’m one of those Republicans who thinks we are getting warmer and that we contribute to that,” he said during a Wednesday night speech at an investment management conference, The Associated Press reported.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Moon-Mining Company to Use Historic Florida Launch Complex

A historic launch complex that helped send NASA probes off to explore the solar system is being pressed into service again — this time, by a moon-mining company.

California-based Moon Express, which seeks to extract and exploit lunar resources, will base its spacecraft development and flight-test operations at Space Launch Complex 36 (SLC-36), a facility at Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station that was used for 145 Atlas V rocket launches from 1962 to 2005, company representatives announced Thursday (Jan. 22).

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Palin ‘Seriously Interested’ In 2016 Run, Adding Another Big Name to Growing Potential Field

Former Alaska GOP Gov. Sarah Palin is saying she is “seriously interested” in running for president in 2016, injecting some intrigued into next year’s race and the already crowded field of potential GOP candidates.

Palin — also a former vice presidential nominee and a perennial potential candidate — has twice told reporters over the past several days that she is interested in running.

The 50-year-old Palin made her comment before speaking on Saturday at the Iowa Freedom Summit, the first big conservative gathering of potential 2016 GOP presidential candidates.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Rapper Tiny Doo Facing Long Prison Sentence Over Lyrics

CNN — Song lyrics that glorify violence are hardly uncommon. But a prosecutor in California says one rapper’s violent lyrics go beyond creative license to conspiracy.

San Diego-based rapper Tiny Doo has already spent eight months in prison, and faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted under a little-known California statute that makes it illegal to benefit from gang activities.

The statute in question is California Penal Code 182.5. The code makes it a felony for anyone to participate in a criminal street gang, have knowledge that a street gang has engaged in criminal activity, or benefit from that activity.

It’s that last part — benefiting from criminal activity — that prosecutors are going after the rapper for.

Tiny Doo, whose real name is Brandon Duncan, faces nine counts of criminal street gang conspiracy because prosecutors allege he and 14 other alleged gang members increased their stature and respect following a rash of shootings in the city in 2013.

Prosecutors point to Tiny Doo’s album, “No Safety,” and to lyrics like “Ain’t no safety on this pistol I’m holding” as examples of a “direct correlation to what the gang has been doing.”

No one suggests the rapper ever actually pulled a trigger.

In fact, Duncan may rap about violence but he’s got no criminal record.

[Gangsta rap is execrable swill, but this is a very bad idea. Freedom of speech must be absolute, even for evil speech — because evil speech gives us a window into the minds of the evil. It must be countered by exposure, analysis, criticism, and mockery — not by the prosecutorial power of the state. — PW]

           — Hat tip: Papa Whiskey [Return to headlines]

Trump Tells GOP Audience: Avoid Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush

New York real estate mogul Donald Trump cautioned Republicans against nominating either former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney or former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush for president in 2016 — sparking a hearty applause and rounds of laughter from the conservatives gathered here for the Iowa Freedom Summit.

Mr. Trump said he is “seriosuly considering” running for president, and said that Mr. Romney had his chance, but “choked,” and that Mr. Bush is on the wrong side of the debates over immigration and the K-12 educations standards known as Common Core.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Extremely Dark, Dry and Rich in Organics: Virtis View of 67P/C-G

Based on the press release of the National Institute for Astrophysics in Italy covering the results of the VIRTIS instrument — the Visible and Infrared Thermal Imaging Spectrometer on Rosetta — that were published last night in the journal Science. The results are based on data collected by VIRTIS between August and December 2014.

The first surprising result emerging from VIRTIS’s study of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is the measurement of its albedo, or how much sunlight is reflected by the surface of the nucleus. With an albedo of only 6%, about half as much as the Moon’s, 67P/C-G is one of the darkest objects in the Solar System.

Such a low reflecting power indicates that the surface of the comet contains minerals such as, for example, iron sulfides, but also carbon-based compounds. The low albedo also indicates that there is little or no water ice on the outermost layers of the surface of the nucleus.

“This clearly doesn’t mean that the comet is not rich in water, but only that there is no water ice in the outermost shell, just over one millimetre thick,” explains Fabrizio Capaccioni, VIRTIS Principal Investigator from INAF-IAPS in Rome, Italy. “The reason for this is rooted in the recent history of the comet’s evolution, since repeated passes in the vicinity of the Sun cause surface ice to sublimate.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

France Charges Father With Inciting His Children to Jihad

A father-of-three, suspected of bombarding his children with violent images glorifiying jihad, has been charged with “inciting acts of terrorism”, prosecutors in southeastern France said on Saturday.

The man was also indicted for parental violence against minors under 15 and shirking legal obligations as a parent, the prosecutor’s office in the town of Valence said.

An investigation was launched in November 2014 after one of the three children, who are aged between six and 10, complained to school authorities of being abused while spending the weekend with their father…

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

German Muslim Council Warns of Rise in Anti-Islam Attacks

A German Muslim leader says that Muslims and mosques are increasingly becoming targets of violence in Germany. He puts part of the blame on the ‘anti-Islamization’ group PEGIDA.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

German Vice Chancellor Gabriel Meets With PEGIDA Supporters

Germany’s Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel has met with anti-Islam supporters in Dresden. Meanwhile, thousands of anti-racism demonstrators have turned out to rally against the PEGIDA movement.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Hunt for Philae Hangs in the Balance

Rosetta mission would have to sacrifice other science to search for comet lander.

Scientists at the European Space Agency (ESA) are debating whether to change part of the Rosetta mission in what would probably be the last attempt to find lost comet-lander Philae — but the shift would mean sacrificing long-planned science.

Since its batteries ran out just days after a bumpy landing on 12 November, Philae has been silent, and its exact location remains a mystery.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Italy: SEL Leader Vendola Calls for ‘Anti-Nazareno Front’

New left needed to combat ‘Renzi-ism’ says Puglia governor

(ANSA) — Milan, January 23 — Nichi Vendola, the leader of the small Left, Ecology and Freedom (SEL) party, said Friday that an alliance was needed to prevent the next president being elected on the basis of a deal between Premier Matteo Renzi and Forza Italia leader Silvio Berlusconi. “An anti-Nazareno front is needed,” Vendola, the governor of the southern Puglia region, said referring to the so-called Nazareno pact Renzi and three-time premier Berlusconi struck last year. The pact regards a new election law and an overhaul of Italy’s slow, costly political apparatus.

But many politicians hostile to it, including members of Renzi’s own centre-left Democratic Party (PD), believe a similar deal is in the pipeline over the next head of State.

When asked if that anti-Nazareno front should include the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S), Vendola said it should feature: “all those who want to play out this match”. He added: “there is a need for a new, great, innovative, plural left of the people that knows how to uncover the deception of Renzi-ism and of Matteo Renzi”. Lawmakers from both houses of parliament and regional representatives are set to start voting next Thursday on a replacement for 89-year-old Giorgio Napolitano, who quit as president last week.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: ‘Renzi Led Secret Anti-Prodi Vote in 2013’ Says Fassina

“Party need not fear ambush from us’ he tells Radio Città Futura

(ANSA) — Rome, January 22 — House MP Stefano Fassina, who leads a dissenting minority within Premier Matteo Renzi’s Democratic Party (PD), said Thursday “it is no secret” the premier led a dramatic internal revolt that saw 101 PD lawmakers sink the party’s official candidate to become Italian president, Romano Prodi, in a secret 2013 vote. “We are serious people, unlike those who…led 101 ‘snipers’ two years ago,” he said. “A part of the PD won’t vote for the Italicum (electoral bill) in the Senate,” Fassina told Rome’s Radio Città Futura.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Cofferati Blasts Renzi After Quitting PD

Liguria primary case causes tension within premier’s party

(ANSA) — Rome, January 19 — Sergio Cofferati blasted Premier Matteo Renzi on Monday after leaving the head of government’s centre-left Democratic Party (PD) at the weekend in a dispute over the primary to select its candidate for the governorship of the northwestern region of Liguria. The case has inflamed existing tensions between Renzi and minority within the PD, who are unhappy about his style of running the party and several of the government’s policies, including its labour reform and plan to overhaul Italy’s slow-moving, costly political system.

There is talk that this tension could cause problems for Renzi when it comes to the task of electing a new president to replace Giorgio Napolitano, who resigned last week, at the end of the month.

There has even been speculation that the party could split.

Cofferati complained of voting irregularities after losing the primary to Raffaella Paita, who is considered a Renzi loyalist. On Friday a PD commission cancelled the ballots from some voting stations but confirmed that Paita had won the primary. At a party meeting later on Friday, Renzi congratulated Paita and said he considered the case closed. “Renzi has a relaxed idea of political morality,” Cofferati, an MEP who is a former head of the leftwing CGIL trade union and the former mayor of Bologna, told La7 television. “I would have expected him to talk for a minute about what happened at (Friday’s) party meeting. The fact that this did not happen, made me realise that the party could no longer be my home”. Cofferati said the primary was “contaminated” by right-wing figures voting in it and said that “groups of poor foreigners were brought in to vote” too.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Nun Gives Birth, Intends to Keep Baby

Was taken to hospital complaining of bad stomach ache

(ANSA) — Ancona, January 23 — A Bolivian nun gave birth in San Severino Marche after being taken to hospital where she complained of a bad stomach ache, Italian newspaper Corriere Adriatico said on Friday.

The newspaper said the nun, whose age wasn’t given, gave birth last Sunday and intends to keep the baby, whose sex wasn’t given.

The nun had been staying at a cloistered convent in the province of Macerata since June.

The hospital hasn’t confirmed the birth and the bishop of nearby town Camerino, Francesco Brugnaro, hasn’t made any comment on the case. Another case of a nun giving birth took place in 2011 in Marche, when a 41-year-old Congolese nun gave birth to a baby girl in Pesaro.

In that case, the nun had been raped abroad by a foreign priest and initially gave her daughter up for adoption.

The case engendered strong protests from the adoptive family after it reached Italy’s highest court of appeals in February 2014 after the nun changed her mind and was granted custody, reversing a lower court decision.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy Thanks UK for Crackdown on Draft Imitation Prosecco

Sales of cheaper fizzy wines on tap blocked

(ANSA) Rome, January 22 — Italy thanked Britain Thursday for a crackdown preventing sales of imitation Prosecco on tap in UK pubs, supermarkets and websites.

“I thank the British authorities for having blocked in many establishments a fraud like the sale of Prosecco on draft,” Agriculture Minister Maurizio Martina said.

The UK Ministry of Environment had carried out dozens of inspections to prevent the imitation fizzy wines being sold as Prosecco.

Wine sold as Prosecco, is protected by EU quality assurance labels for DOC (controlled destination of origin). These guidelines state that fizzy wine can only be sold as Prosecco if it meets certain criteria. These criteria cover the grape variety used to make the wine, its geographical origin, and crucially, that it is sold in bottles.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Lefty Billionaire Gets Off Private Jet, Says Americans Have Too Much Stuff

“Billionaire property investor Jeff Greene recently spoke at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, saying he believes people in the United States need to stop aiming so high and start living with less. . . . The only issue Americans took with the 60-year-old’s opinions was, well, everything, given he owns a $195 million palace in Beverly Hills, which has 23 bathrooms and a rotating dance floor, as well as four other blue ribbon properties, and is famous for throwing wild parties on a 145-foot yacht.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Norway: The People’s Revolution vs. The “Religion of Peace”

by Bjorn Jansen

In Norway’s educational system, history is not a valued subject. It is included under either “Social Studies” or “Norwegian.” Many Norwegians are therefore unaware how their society and democracy were formed, or of the enormous prices paid to attain them. Recent generations seem to take them for granted.

Norway’s education system is also permeated with an idealistic vision of equality and a belief in cultural relativism: that everyone, every culture and every religion are of the same value. Schools and even preschools are obliged to work to wipe out class differences. The majority of teachers are idealists who believe in the idealism they are obliged to preach. Islam is presented in schoolbooks as “just another religion” — attractive, and portrayed as if has already been reformed, a situation just not the case.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Spanish Police Arrest Suspected Jihadists in Ceuta

Police in the Spanish exclave of Ceuta have arrested a group of suspected jihadists. Spain’s Interior Minister has said the men showed similarities to the Charlie Hebdo attackers.

“There are two pairs of very radicalized brothers who are highly trained militarily, physically and mentally and are prepared to carry out an attack, and ready, according to police, to blow themselves up in the act,” Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz said.

Diaz said investigators were struck by the similarities between the detained suspects and the brothers who killed 12 people when they attacked French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo earlier this month.

According to a ministry statement, investigators were assessing the cell’s infrastructure to see whether they were planning to carry out an attack in Spain.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UK: Roma Gang ‘Sold Girl for Sex’ At Kent Fast Food Stores

An Eastern European gang drugged and sold a teenage girl for sex at fast food shops in Kent, a court has heard.

The victim was also repeatedly raped between January 2013 and February 2014, Canterbury Crown Court was told.

Roman Brodnar, Marion Cisar, Rene Bandy, and Josef Dirdar, are all charged with rape.

They, along with Alice Kalejova and Jolana Rohalova, are also charged with causing child prostitution. The six defendants deny all charges.

Jurors were told the defendants, who are also of Slovakian-Roma origin, were in “differing ways and to differing degrees” involved in the girl’s sexual exploitation at various locations in Kent.

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes [Return to headlines]

‘We’re in Forza Italia But Anti Forza Renzi’ Says Fitto

‘Internal dissent not what is weakening Berlusconi’

(ANSA) — Rome, January 22 — Prominent Forza Italia (FI) MP Raffaele Fitto said Thursday his dissenting faction within the party led by ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi is of the party, but against its majority line.

“We are in Forza Italia but against the ‘forza Renzi’ line,” said Fitto, a one-time confidant of Berlusconi who now leads a dissenting minority within FI that is not happy with the fact that the media mogul has sealed a pact on electoral law reform with centre-left Premier Matteo Renzi.

“I think Berlusconi is being weakened not by us but by the choices being made as we speak,” he told reporters at a news briefing in the Lower House.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

President of Kosovo: KFOR Essential for Regional Security

Jahjaga,strongly committed to struggling against foreignfighters

(ANSA) — ROME — “The presence of NATO and KFOR in Kosovo is really necessary . I would say it is essential , especially at a time like this, when no state is safe from global threats ‘ ‘ . This is what the president of the Republic of Kosovo , Mrs. Atifete Jahjaga , said in recent days in Rome where she met with the chairmen of the House and Senate.

“The presence of KFOR goes beyond the borders of Kosovo ‘ ‘ , and is absolutely necessary ‘ ‘ to ensure peace and stability in the Western Balkans ‘ ‘, Jahjaga reiterated, speaking with ANSA and clearly referring to the threats and challenges posed by Islamic terrorism . ‘ ‘ Kosovo — the president stated — is strongly committed to struggling against the foreign fighters and we are about to pass a law that will provide the police and the judicial authorities with the right tools to respond in an effective manner”.

Jahjaga , who along with many other heads of state and government marched in Paris alongside the president Hollande after the violent terrorist attacks in France , does not want to talk about numbers, but admits: the so-called phenomenon of foreign fighters in Syria must be eradicated . ‘What happened — she said — gave us the wakeup call: we can not ignore these threats that are getting stronger and stronger in every country, no matter its size ‘ ‘ . To fight against extremism you can use many different tools. ‘ ‘ Integration , security, education , and economic self-sufficiency for the population: all these elements must be integrated’ ‘ said the president, who used to hold the top police position.

The economic situation in the country is certainly not good.

Many Kosovars, especially young people, are searching for a job in other countries of the EU. ‘ ‘ We do have resources , we do have a young population ( about 65% of the population is under 35) . What we want is to reduce is illegal migration of our citizens’ ‘ . For this reason, ‘ ‘ we need help from other countries which are friends of ours, such as Italy . And we are open to investment and it is this message that I want to convey to the Italian authorities ‘ ‘ . Finally, among the issues to be resolved, the resumption of dialogue with Belgrade, scheduled for February 9 . “We have made great progress — she said -, but normalizing relations will take us a long time . Serbia needs to make many efforts to implement the agreements signed in Brussels, especially with regard to the dismantling of the existing parallel structures financed and supported by Serbia in northern Kosovo, structures that hold our citizens hostage in these areas’ ‘ .

There is no alternative, ‘ ‘ to an improvement in our relations with Belgrade. We are grateful to former EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Lady Ashton, and we know that even Federica Mogherini will make every effort to help us normalize our relations and promote dialogue”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Amina Sboui, Arab Women’s Freedom Icon, Tells Her Story

In Rome to present her book “My body belongs to me”

(ANSAmed) — ROME — “The coerced isolation my family forced upon me for almost a month in Tunis at a time in which I was beginning to embrace ideas and patterns of behaviour contrary to Islamic morals, was a terrible experience, worse than prison”. This is how the young Tunisian blogger Amina Sboui, one of the icons and main players in the women’s revolt of the Arab world, spoke about one of the most intense moments of her adolescence while presenting her autobiography published by Giunti, in Italian “Il mio corpo mi appartiene”, “My body belongs to me” . Amina analyzed some of the passages of her book, a diary of sorts dominated by the intense feelings of a twenty year old Tunisian girl, who at 18 finds herself enmeshed into politics and the rebellion against the Ben Ali regime, during a meeting with Lia Migale, Azzurra Meringolo and Bianca Pomeranzi held at the International women’s house. Amina’s autobiography is centred around the brave choices of a “rebellious, impudent and heavy smoker”, as she describes herself, who lays bare her feelings and reactions in a conservative Muslim contest traditionally hostile to women. She calls her story a “testament” to her generation. Amina, high-school student and daughter of a doctor and a teacher, embarked on her battle in February last year when she wrote the word “women” on a search engine. The image of a group of naked Indian girls below a sign that said “the Indian army is raping us” , made her understand the power of the naked body. She was seeking for that same strenght when she appeared topless with the words “to hell with your morals” or “my body belongs to me” the phrase that gave the title to her autobiography, written on her bare body. “Ethics differ from person to person” said the young Tunisian woman, underscoring that she was opposed to anyone seeking to stifle individual or collective freedoms. Amina, who has now settled in Paris, spoke with a shy firmness of the time when her family cut her out of the outside world to make sure she would not spread her “revolutionary” ideas. She was made to see both a psychiatrist and an exorcist and spent 75 days in prison. “The women I met there — she said — are the most honest, kind and supportive I have ever encountered”. Delving into her experience with Femen, which Amina disowned accusing the group of “islamophobia”, the young Tunisian said she pursued the same objectives but that she employed different tools. “Religion must be a private matter, something to live within oneself”, stressed Amina calling the attack against Charlie Hebdo “a sad episode that should encourage us to fight without fear”. To the people accusing her of selling her body Amina replied once again alluding to the title of her book. “I have used my body as I wished and will carry on doing so in the future”. The last thought shared by the blogger who repudiated the Muslim faith to embrace agnostic ethics went to the future: “After my graduation I will probably go on to study political science or philosophy”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

King Tut’s Mask, World’s ‘Most Famous Archaeological Relic, ‘ Has Been Permanently Damaged

King Tut’s 3,300-year-old funeral mask, called “the most famous archaeological relic in the world,” has been permanently damaged, Cairo’s Egyptian Museum announced this week. It’s still not entirely clear what happened. But it seems Tut’s drooping beard was somehow knocked off at some point last year. And then everything went from bad to worse.

Competing stories abound, the Associated Press found. “Three of the museum’s conservators reached by telephone gave differing accounts of when the incident occurred last year, and whether the beard was knocked off by accident while the mask’s case was being cleaned, or was removed because it was loose,” the news agency reported.

Amid the pandemonium, someone had the idea to hastily glue that sucker back on.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Italian Aid Heading to Gaza Population

Consul La Cecilia meets government ministers in the Strip

(ANSAmed) — JERUSALEM — Italian aid is heading to Gaza, where almost 80,000 people are currently homeless, announced Consul General Davide La Cecilia while meeting with four ministers belonging to the Palestinian national unity cabinet led by Rami Hamdallah and designated by Palestinian National Authority (Pna) leader Mahmoud Abbas. La Cecilia spoke with minister of justice, Saleem Al Saqqa, minister of labour, Mamoun Abu Shahla, women’s affairs minister, Haifa Al Agha and her colleague at the ministry of public works Mufeeed Hassayneh about the content of one of the shipments: 500 emergency kits, consisting of 250 ‘emergency shelters boxes’ (tents, blankets, insulating materials, camp stoves and field kitchens) that are currently being distributed by the Jerusalem office of the Italian ong Acted.

According to the consulate, 500 families who had their houses damaged or destroyed during the conflict last summer are set to benefit from the consignment. La Cecilia confirmed Italy’s commitment towards Gaza and recalled the support offered by his country since last summer.

At the beginning of August Italy operated a flight carrying humanitarian supplies destined to the population of the Strip containing 30 tons of basic necessities (worth 350,000 euros).

Italy also contributed with 700,000 euros given to International Agencies (Ocha, Who and Icrc) for intervention in the area. Subsequently, Italy pledged other 18 million euros during the international conference for the reconstruction of the Strip held in Cairo in October: 15 million donated in credit-aid for a home reconstruction programme, 1 million towards Unrwa, 200,000 euros to Unmas for the cleaning up of unexploded ordances and over 2 million euros for emergency intervention. Another million euro, destined to emergency intervention in the Strip, was added in December. Italian Ngos have just launched six initiatives in the Gaza Strip in three fundamental areas: water, health, protection of refugees and displaced people.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy ‘Should Recognize Palestinian State’, Says Shaath

Abbas’s former chief negotiator; parliamentary vote 24/1

(ANSAmed) — ROME, JANUARY 20 — Only by recognizing Palestine can Italy contribute to a two-state solution in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, said Palestine’s former negotiations chief Nabil Shaath on Tuesday.

Shaath was speaking at the Italian Society for International Organization (SIOI) at a meeting entitled ‘Palestine and the Road to Peace’. “On the 24th of this month,” said Shaath, who is now the head of international affairs for Fatah, “your parliament will vote on recognizing the Palestinian state. I know that parliaments do not grant recognition, although I think that Italy should have recognized the Palestinian state long ago, but we are asking for your help.” His words were echoed by Palestinian Ambassador to Italy Mai Al-Kaila, who said that without steps like this “peace will be impossible”. “Our strategic partner is the European Union and, within it, Italy can play a decisive role in the peace process in the Middle East, as well as on the ground,” Shaath said.

“Italy,” he continued, “has always stood alongside Palestinians” and could help out.

“I am optimistic by nature. There is the need to find a solution that ensures independence, justice, freedom and security to everyone involved. This is why I am asking for your help,” he said. “I think that your parliament should recognize the Palestinian state, thereby sending a signal to the Italian government.” If the two-state solution is the goal, he stressed, “the Palestinian state must be recognized. No peace process can resume without this precondition”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Islamic State Publishes a New Penal Code Threatening Crucifixion and Stoning

ISLAMIC State leaders have published a chilling penal code straight from the Middle Ages.

It lists crimes punishable by crucifixion, stoning and amputation.

The gun-toting extremists have vowed to ensure the medieval laws are brutally enforced in areas of Iraq and Syria which are now under their control.

Jihadists have butchered and tortured countless civilians in the name of Islam for “crimes” including watching football, playing the piano and performing magic tricks.

Other so-called “offences” include homosexuality and committing adultery.

Their list of laws outlines penal ties for the most serious acts which are deemed anti-Islamic.

For blasphemy against Allah, Mohammed or Islam, the fate is execution.

           — Hat tip: Nick [Return to headlines]

John Kerry: ‘Victory Over ISIS Will be Decided in the Classroom’

“Now inevitably there will be, yes, a military component to the strategy,” Kerry admitted reluctantly Friday at World Economic Forum.

“But ultimately, this fight is not going to be decided on the battlefield,” Horseface continued in the video above. “The outcome is going to be determined in classrooms, work places, houses of worship, community centers, urban street corners, in the perceptions and the thoughts of individuals, and the ways in which those perceptions are created.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

New ISIS Video Claims 1 Japanese Hostage Killed

A vide released on Saturday purportedly by ISIS claims the extremist group has killed one of two Japanese hostages.

Japanese officials said they were investigating the video message from Islamic State about the two hostages it holds.

Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also is commenting on the development.

The killed hostage is being identified as Haruna Yukawa, a 42-year-old adventurer fascinated by war.

The other Japanese hostage is 47-year-old journalist Kenji Goto.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Purported Islamic State Video Shows Hostage Goto Claiming Yukawa Has Been Executed

A video was posted online Saturday night showing a still image of journalist Kenji Goto, one of two Japanese hostages held by the Islamic State group, holding a picture of what appeared to be the body of fellow captive Haruna Yukawa, a private security contractor who was believed abducted in Syria in August.

In the photo, Goto is holding a composite of two images. In one of them, Yukawa is kneeling on the ground. The other image appears to show his decapitated body. The photo, if authentic, suggests Yukawa was executed after a 72-hour ransom deadline imposed by the terrorist group expired at 2:50 p.m. Friday Japan time.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Russia Responds to Obama, ‘We Won’t be Isolated’

Foreign minister calls on US for ‘constructive cooperation’

(ANSA) — Moscow, January 21 — Russia’s foreign minister on Wednesday denied that Western countries could isolate Moscow, following US President Obama’s remark in his state of the union address Tuesday that “Russia is isolated, with its economy in tatters”.

In his annual press conference reviewing Russian diplomatic and political relations, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said attempts to isolate Moscow won’t bring results.

“Russia will never follow a path of self-isolation,” Lavrov said.

Lavrov invited the US to return to “constructive cooperation” based on “respect for reciprocal interests”.

“Moscow doesn’t want and won’t permit a new cold war,” he said.

Lavrov also said that eastern Ukrainian rebels of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics have agreed to withdraw heavy artillery from the contact line separating them from Kiev’s troops.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

A National Anti-Conversion Law to “Save” India’s Hindus

The leader of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) is calling for legislation to this effect. In the past three days, more than 100 Christians have been involved in “reconversion” to Hinduism. For the Global Council of Indian Christians, this is a “grave violation of a person’s freedom of choice and conscience”.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) — Praveen Togadia, president of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), a ultra-nationalist Hindu group known in India for its attacks against minority communities, wants to continue “reconversions” to Hinduism (ghar wapsi). He is also calling for a national anti-conversion law.

On Sunday, Togadia spoke in Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) at a rally organised by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a Hindu paramilitary group with which the VHP shares the same nationalist ideology.

On this occasion, the extremist leader said, “We do not want a situation in which Hindus, who are now 82 per cent of the population, become 22 per cent in our country”.

On the same day in Kerala, local members of the VHP celebrated two Ghar Wapsi, i.e. “home coming” ceremonies as fundamentalists call these conversions to Hinduism.

The first took place in the village in Idduki district and involved about a hundred of Pentecostal Christians. The second took place in the district of Alappuzha, and involved 27 people.

Speaking to AsiaNews, Sajan George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), said that Togadia’s claims about conversions are “baseless allegations, only intended to sow social disharmony and discord”.

In fact, “the last [available] government census shows a decline in the proportion of Christians in the country,” said the Christian leader. “From 2.60 per cent in 1971, they dropped to 2.44 per cent in 1981, to 2.34 per cent in 1991, to 2.30 per cent in 2001”.

Starting in the second half of 2014, radical Hindu groups like the VHP and the RSS have organised several Ghar Wapsi ceremonies, involving mostly poor Muslim and Christian communities. In many cases, the “reconverted” said that they were induced by monetary incentives.

For Sajan George, such ceremonies “are a serious violation of a person’s freedom of choice and conscience. They should be stopped by all necessary legal means. These elements [ultra-nationalist Hindus] feel encouraged by the silence of the authorities.”

According to Fr Errol Fernandes SJ, “there seems to be a rise of fundamentalism and other forms of domination in the world, even in our country. Where does that lead to?”

For the Jesuit priest, who is a Holy Scriptures expert, “Violence is often the result of fear, and only cowards and bullies react to situations with violence and destruction. In doing so, they do not understand that they are hurting themselves. “

Calls for a national anti-conversion law also worry minority communities. In fact, whilst freedom of religion and the state’s secular nature are enshrined in the Constitution, some states have already adopted laws against conversion.

In theory, only forced conversions are targeted but such laws discriminate against and persecute those who embrace religions other than Hinduism.

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

India Overturns Murder Life Sentences for Italian Two

Supreme Court orders immediate release

(ANSA) — New Delhi, January 20 — The Supreme Court in New Delhi on Tuesday overturned life sentences against two Italians for the murder of their travel companion and ordered that they be immediately released. Tomaso Bruno and Elisabetta Boncompagni, who had been found guilty by a high court of killing Francesco Montis, had been in prison since February 2010. The Italian Ambassador to India told ANSA that he felt “great satisfaction at the result achieved”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

India Tiger Population Up a Third in Four Years

‘Huge success story’

(ANSA) — Rome, January 20 — The tiger population in India, which has almost three quarters of the world’s tigers, has risen by almost a third over the last four years thanks to government action, officials said Tuesday.

Presenting the findings of the latest tiger census, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said the tiger population had risen from 1,706 in 2011 to 2,226 in 2014.

He said a number of government initiatives to streamline tiger conservation were behind the increase.

India is estimated to be home to around 70% of the world’s tigers. Javadekar described the results of the census as a “huge success story”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Indian Bishops Tell Government No to “Saffronisation”, Yes to Secularism

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) calls on Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take “urgently intervene” to stop threats against religious freedom across the nation. The impunity enjoyed by radical Hindu groups represents a danger for minorities.

New Delhi (AsiaNews/CBCI) — Following repeated attempts to “reconvert Christians and Muslims to Hinduism,” attacks against “churches, clergy and laity,” and the “saffronisation” of education and culture, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) has made a direct appeal to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and to the central government to take a clear position against extremists and radical groups who have gained in power in the wake of the victory by the ultra nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and in so doing they have created a climate of tension and discrimination among minorities.

Recently, a major fundamentalist group called for a national law to stop conversions to religions other than Hinduism. In view of this, “putting an end to such dangerous tendencies is inevitable for the growth and progress of our great nation,” the bishops said.

“The Constitution of India guarantees that all the citizens of our country can profess, practice and propagate a religion of their choice. India is a land where different religious faiths have long since flourished, and our Founding Fathers made special efforts to ensure that the rights of all were safeguarded, irrespective of our religious beliefs, gender or caste. Christianity has its roots in Indian soil for more than 2000 years.

“The Christians of India believe in God and believe in the goodness of people and have been selflessly serving the people of this country in the fields of education, health care, etc. without any discrimination on the basis of caste, creed or religion.

“The unfortunate incidents that happened in the past few months in various parts of our country have hurt the sentiments of the Christian community and have shaken the faith in the secular fabric of the nation. The shocking incidents that have taken place against Churches, clergy and laity in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi have caused great concern for the Christian community. The recent controversies in the name of religious reconversions portray a negative image of India. Communal polarization and the bid to homogenize India are posing threat to all minorities — women, Dalits, and all linguistic, cultural and religious minorities.

“The Ghar Wapsi (homecoming) programmes, the saffronisation of education and culture, and the demands for a Hindu Rashtra (nation) are again posing challenges to the secular ethos of our beloved country. Conversions of a religious nature are an exercise of one’s free will and one’s fundamental constitutional rights, which include freedom of conscience and of religion. Ghar Wapsi is a political process, carried out by the powerful exponents of religious nationalism — much against the principle of secularism. It does not even have the legitimacy of freedom of political expression.

“The Christians of this country need assurance from the Government that we are protected and secure and safe in our motherland. We express our strong concern on the aforementioned issues. Putting an end to such dangerous tendencies is inevitable for the growth and progress of our great nation. This great secular nation has to remain as a place where people of all religions and of different cultural backgrounds can live freely, practicing their faith without fear or threat and in harmony. While we recommit ourselves to the progress and development of our nation, we strongly urge Prime Minister Narendra Modi to urgently intervene and take appropriate action to stop incidents that are a big threat to the unity of this secular nation.

(Santosh Digal contributed to this article)

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

Nepal: As Constitutional Talks Stall, Bishop Calls for a Secular Charter

Nepal’s Constituent Assembly fails to agree on a draft proposal for a new democratic constitution. Various parties blame each other. For the ruling party, Maoist proposal for ethnic federalism is wrong. For Maoists, the majority is denying minorities their “identity” and are showing them little “respect”. Catholics and Protestants pray for Nepal’s future.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) — In spite of the prayers and exhortations from tens of thousands of ordinary Nepalis, Nepal’s Constituent Assembly yesterday failed to agree on a draft proposal for the country’s first democratic constitution after centuries of absolutist Hindu monarchy.

In view of the setback, the government has tried to reassure the international community, saying that the dispute would soon be resolved and that a new constitution would be ratified.

However, divisions between the government and opposition run deep on some key elements. And the day after failing they failed to agree on a joint proposal, the various parties began trading accusations, blaming each other for the flop.

KP Oli, president of the governing UML party blamed Maoists who “insist on ethnic federalism,” which “is not sustainable.” Such a division, warns the UML, would lead to a “disastrous conflict”.

Worse even, as long as Maoists are in the Constituent Assembly, “there is little chance of reaching an agreement.”

Conversely, for former Maoist Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai, the current majority is “violating the terms” of the Constituent Assembly and is “denying scores of minority groups their identity” and showing them “little respect.”

“The new constitution must recognise the identity of minority groups and respect their dignity and rights,” the Maoist leader said.

Still, although ethnically based federalism is a source of divisions, a consensus exists on the mixed form of government, the electoral law and the justice system. The republican form of government and the principle of the separation between state and religion are also non-negotiable.

Concerned about the turn of events, Nepali Catholic leaders are praying for an agreement. Apostolic Vicar Mgr Paul Simick said, “The whole community is praying that a secular and democratic constitution is soon promulgated.” In his view, it is high time to end the “transition” and move towards “peace and prosperity”.

Evangelical Bishop Narayan Sharma hopes that “all faiths” and “all groups” will be respected, and that every citizen will be able to enjoy “internationally recognised” human rights and civil rights.

After over 240 years of a Hindu absolutist monarchy, Nepal formally became a secular state in 2006.

The interim constitution, approved under the supervision of the UN, bans proselytising, but it allows all citizens to express their faith, even through missionary and charitable activities.

However, the political and economic instability of recent years — linked to power struggles among secularist parties — has strengthened pro-monarchist Hindu movements in, among other things, their efforts to stop conversions, which have been growing since the monarchy was abolished.

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

Pakistan Muslim Leader Says Muhammad Cartoons Could Lead to World War III, Calls on UN to Outlaw Blasphemy

Jamaat-e-Islami chief Sirajul Haq has said the west’s ‘extremist standpoint’ on blasphemous caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) may lead to a third world war.

“The path that the West has chosen will take the world to a third world war,” Siraj said on Friday.

He was addressing thousands of people at a rally, organised to protest against the insulting caricatures published in Western publications, particularly French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

The JI chief demanded that the United Nations make laws to discourage blasphemy of all religious personalities. He said France must apologise for hurting sentiments of billions of Muslims across the world.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

After Occupy, the Hong Kong Government Launches a Cadets Corps of “Faithful to Beijing”

The new para-military group rallies students from middle and high school to teach them “civic awareness through training and team spirit”. The members wear uniforms of the People’s Liberation Army and gather in the barracks on the Chinese mainland. Democrat MPs: “A worrying move”. Wide coverage of the pro-Beijing media to the “success” of the inauguration, but two participants counter: “There, just out of curiosity, we did not sign up”.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) — The Hong Kong government has created a new para-military force composed of cadets (middle school and high school students) and modeled on the army of mainland China. The “commander in chief” of this new group is Regina Leung Tong Ching-yee, wife of the contested Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying. The purpose of the formation, according to the Communist newspaper China Daily, “is to promote civic awareness through training and team spirit”.

The inauguration was held last January 18, 2015 at one of the People’s Liberation Army barracks in the Territory. Under national law, Hong Kong has a “high degree of autonomy” in various fields: but not foreign affairs and defense. This is why, since the return of the former British colony to mainland China, Beijing has opened barracks and training centers of the army recruits in the Territory.

According to the South China Morning Post, only pro- Beijing journalists were allowed to the event. The uniforms of the cadets, given away to those present, are modeled on those of the Chinese national army. It is not yet clear what program the cadets will follow, but if that of the mother country it will be a weekly meetings to “study the principles of the socialist state of China” and prepare through gymnastics and the rudiments of military art to “defend the ‘integrity of the nation”.

Fung Wai-wah, head of the Teachers Union of Hong Kong, defines this development as “dangerous”, which “clearly stems from the popular Occupy Central protests”. The reference is the occupation of the financial and commercial heart of Hong Kong by the Occupy Central with Peace and Love movement and the Federation of Students. The two groups came together to ask the central government to respect the right to democracy in Hong Kong, as per the agreement between London and Beijing before 1997. The Chinese mainland responded by maintaining its political reform for the Territory — which in reality annuls popular vote — and by clearing the barricades.

Fung says “linking a uniformed group with the Peoples Liberation Army is obviously a sign of building a stronger sense of Chinese national identity “. called the new cadet force a “worrying” sign that will fuel fears China is tightening its grip on Hong Kong. “The (Chinese) military have for years been quite self-restrained. They don’t get involved in local things. Suddenly to do it in such a high profile way, of course people are very worried,” Lau said.

Despite the Chinese propaganda, however, the new body does not seem to attract many young people of Hong Kong. The pro-Beijing media have called the first day “a success” and spoke of “hundreds of new cadets.” Two boys, interviewed by the South China Morning Post and anonymous for security reasons, report being presented to the media as “members of the organization”, but deny that they enrolled: “We went out of curiosity along with other friends, but we certainly have not signed up”.

The chairman of the Government Youth Commission Bunny Chung-bun, who had presented the cadets to the press, was forced to back down: “In reality, there were more than 300 children at the opening ceremony, but only a few dozen signed p to be recruited. The others were just spectators”.

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

Chinese Mining Threatens Tibetans’ Environment and Life

Fresh protests against mining operations break out in Qinghai Province. Locals slam mountain deforestation and waterways pollution caused by complicity between mine owners and local and central government officials.

Dharamsala (AsiaNews/RFA) — Chinese mining operations in a Tibetan-populated region of Qinghai province are wrecking the environment, with mountains stripped bare and waterways polluted by runoff from the mines, sources told Radio Free Asia (RFA).

Tibetan villagers are protesting the mining work in the Tsojang (in Chinese, Haibei) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, but have been blocked by close ties between mine owners and higher authorities.

“The mine owners make a lot of money from the mines,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity for security reasons.

In order “to continue their work, they pay money to authorities at the provincial and central-government levels. [. . .] So when we appeal for help to local authorities in the county and prefecture, they cannot address our concerns,” he said.

Last year, an elderly man named Ugyen Kyab from Gongma village in Tsojang’s Kangtsa (Gangcha) county appealed to Chinese central authorities to take action against mining in the area. Instead of heeding his concerns, local authorities arrested him.

Moreover, payments of 100,000 yuan [U.S. $16,090] promised in compensation to Tibetan nomads for the use of their land have also been denied.

Mineral surveys in Tsojang over the last few years revealed “rich deposits of iron, copper, and lime in our area,” RFA’s source said. “Now, the mining is going full swing, with no consideration given to the local environment,” he added.

The land available for grazing nomads’ herds has been drastically reduced. The mountains have been opened and stripped bare, causing diseases for both humans and animals. The valleys are filled with dust, falling eventually into rivers and brooks.

To top it off, miners’ use of explosives has hindered local Tibetans’ harvesting of cordyceps — a prized parasitic fungus sold for its purported medicinal properties.

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

Tokyo to Get $385 Million Hydrogen Makeover for Olympics

Tokyo plans to spend 45.2 billion yen ($385 million) on fuel-cell vehicle subsidies and hydrogen stations for the 2020 Olympics as part of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s plan to reduce Japan’s reliance on nuclear power.

Japan’s capital will build 35 stations to fuel hydrogen-based FCVs and is in negotiations with Toyota Motor Corp. (7203) and Honda Motor Co. (7267) to put 6,000 hydrogen cars on its roads by 2020, said Makoto Fujimoto, who heads the planning team at the metropolitan government’s energy department.

Japan is putting resources into hydrogen power after suffering its worst nuclear disaster since World War II in March 2011, when an earthquake and tsunami damaged the Fukushima Daiichi power plant. Spending on hydrogen infrastructure comes as Tokyo’s government is under pressure to rein in costs as it prepares to host the quadrennial games.

“The Olympics are a good opportunity to showcase new technologies,” said Hiroshi Takahashi, a research fellow at Fujitsu Research Institute. “It’s also a significant chance to attract new investment and update the city’s transportation system to make it fuel-cell friendly.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Why We Should Study China’s Machiavelli

The similarities and differences between Niccolo Machiavelli and Han Feizi are illuminating.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Australian Women ‘Joining IS Foreign Fighters’

Increasing numbers of young women are altering the profile of Australians joining the Islamic State (IS) group in Iraq and Syria, Attorney-General George Brandis said Saturday, enticed by the “false glamour” of the organisation.

“At an earlier time, perhaps even six months ago, we were concerned almost entirely about young men,” Brandis said, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

“But a more recent estimate by the national security agencies suggests that a growing number of young women are travelling to participate in that fighting as well.”…

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

How Many Cows is a Woman Worth?

New app that calculates how many bovine a groom’s family should pay for traditional South African dowry rates wives… and sparks fury

A new phone app calculates how many cows a South African bride-to-be is worth.

The ‘Lobola Calculator ‘ — Lobola means bride price, or dowry — calculates a woman’s marital value and then determines what she is worth based on the dowry averages in different South African provinces, which vary.

In Gauteng, which includes Johannesburg and Pretoria, the average Lobola is 12 cows, or £893.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

It’s All Kicking Off in the Islamic World. Nothing at All to Do With Islam, of Course

Everywhere you look in the Islamic world there is outrage and fury and screaming and violence. An anger not occasioned by the vicious executions of 11 people in Paris, but in response to the ‘Je suis Charlie’ stuff, and the magazine’s post-murder edition featuring Mohammed on its front page. The murders did not bother them at all and a substantial majority, by the look of things, will have wholly approved of them. It’s the cartoons which made them go on the rampage, killing people of a different faith.

So next time some jackass of a politician tells you that the Charlie Hebdo attacks were ‘nothing to do with Islam’, or some hand-wringing, PC, public-school broadcaster on the BBC puts it all down to ‘extremists’ — point them in the direction of the millions of people in the Islamic world who rather fervently disagree with that flip and patently delusional diagnosis. If all those people are ‘extremists’, then we need to redefine the word ‘extreme’ so it means something closer to, say, ‘mainstream’ or ‘moderate, consensual centre’. In this, our own vile and incendiary Islamic preachers, such as Anjem Choudary, are much closer to the truth than are our politicians: this is not ‘nothing to do with Islam’. It is all about Islam.

           — Hat tip: Nick [Return to headlines]

One thought on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 1/24/2015

  1. Regarding how many cows a South African bride is worth….

    It might be of more general interest if someone posted a report on how many cows a North American bride is worth. Might even break it down to something like Canadian v. Mexican or Alaskan v. Texan.

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