Gates of Vienna News Feed 2/12/2015

Eurozone finance ministers failed to reach an agreement on a new bailout plan for Greece, but German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she is ready to compromise. Meanwhile, both the Netherlands and Sweden are experiencing unacceptably low levels of inflation, verging into actual deflation. The Swedish central bank responded by announcing a program of quantitative easing, and the stock market rallied as a result.

In other news, the FBI says it will launch a new investigation into the fatal shooting of three Muslims in Chapel Hill yesterday, to determine whether any hate was involved.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Fjordman, Insubria, JD, Mithrandir, Papa Whiskey, 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
» Dutch Inflation Falls Fast
» Eurozone Fails to Reach Greece Agreement
» Farage: If the Greeks Stand Firm, The Free World Will Applaud Them — Video
» Greece Will Not Cost the Netherlands Any More Money: Prime Minister
» Merkel: Germany Ready to Compromise on Greece
» New Low for Italian Three-Year Bonds at Auction
» No Demand for Skilled Jobs: “Millions Cannot Find Work Because the Jobs Simply Are Not There”
» Sweden Gets Record Low Negative Interest Rate
» Swedish Crown Dives, Stocks Hit Record Highs After Riksbank Decision
 
USA
» Air Carriers: Tension Between U.S. And Gulf Countries
» Black Criminals, White Victims, And White Guilt
» Chinese Immigrant: Common Core Reminds Me of Communist China
» Court Rules Details of DHS Cellphone Service Kill Switch Can Remain Secret
» Dems on FEC Open to New Regs on Donors, Internet
» FBI Launches New Investigation Into Chapel Hill Killings, As Thousands Mourn in Raleigh
» Feds Hold Hearing on Whether They Should ‘Regulate’ Sites Like Drudge, Infowars and the Economic Collapse Blog
» Indian Man Visits Family in Alabama, Cops Paralyze Him for Walking Around Neighborhood
» Net Neutrality a Looming Threat to Free Speech
» Net Neutrality is a Trojan Horse Virus Infecting the Internet
» Obama Takes Selfie Stick Photo
» Obama Set to Announce Executive Order on Cybersecurity Threat Data
» Ominous Tweet From Matt Drudge About Obama: “Like He Knows Something Terrible Coming… Very Unsettling”
» Thought Police, Coming to a Community Near You?
» What is the Threshold at Which Americans Will Revolt?
» Why Obama Wants to Regulate the Internet
 
Canada
» Sun News Network to Shut Down Permanently: Sources
 
Europe and the EU
» Blue Mussels à la Svalbard on the Menu?
» Female British Politician Speaks Out Against FGM
» Italy: Schettino Guilty, Gets 16 Years for Concordia Deaths
» Italy: Chianti Mayors Say New Property Tax ‘Strikes Soul’ of Land
» Italy Drops 24 Slots in RSF Press Freedom Rankings
» Italy: Rome Prosecutors Probe ‘Abnormal’ Bank Market Moves
» Mol Inaugurates Oil Pipeline Section, Hungary-Slovakia
» Mystery Over 15th-Century Drilled Skull Solved
» New Muslim Party Aims for French Election Wins
» Number of Muslim Children in England and Wales Doubles in a Decade With One in 12 School Pupils Now Brought Up in Islamic Faith
» Paris to Decide on 2024 Olympics Bid in April
» Russia Weighs Giving Aid to Greece Opens New Options
» Spaceplane Re-Entry is a European First
» Spain to Close Cervantes Institute Branch in Gibraltar
» Sweden: More Genes Linked to Putting on Weight
» Sweden: Three Pedestrians Injured After Car Chase
» Sweden: Suspected Jas Gripen Bribe in HSBC Account
» Take a Short Stroll: It Can Save Your Day
» UK: Dr Tasnim Arif Who Sent Sick Toddler Home Where He Died Can Carry on Working
» UK: Halifax Worker Anisyah Ali Facing Jail for Helping Steal £123k From a Wealthy Customer
» UK: Muslim Rape Gangs Could Have Abused 1,000,000 Children; Authorities Kept Silent for Fear of Being Called “Racist”
» UK: National Anti-Terror Unit Handed List of Charlie Hebdo Stockists to Local Forces
 
North Africa
» ISIS: 3,000 From Tunisia to Syria, Largest Contingent
 
Middle East
» 32 From Sweden Confirmed Dead, Fighting for IS
» ‘32 Swedes Dead Fighting for ISIS in Syria and Iraq’
» Al Qaeda Militants Seize Yemeni Military Base
» Between Romance and Kalashnikovs — The Women of ‘Islamic State’
» CIA Pullout? US Evacuation From Yemen Eases Pressure on Al Qaeda, Lawmakers Warn
» Iraq: For Erbil Archbishop, Defeating Islamic State Militants Needs Boots on the Ground
» ISIS Magazine Claims Hayat Boumedienne is in Syria
» ISIS on the Doorstep? Fighters Reportedly Seize Iraqi Town Near Base Holding US Marines
» ISIS: French-Language Magazine, Boumedienne in ‘Caliphate’
» New Norwegians Take Top Roles in ISIS Jihadi Group
» State Dep’t: 3rd U.S. Embassy Evacuation in Mideast Doesn’t Mean U.S. Is Being Run Out of Town
» Syria: NGO: Clashes Between Hezbollah-Golan Insurgents
» Turkey Detains 14 People Seeking to Join ISIL
» U.S. Believes Hostage Was Given to ISIS Fighter as Bride
» UN Cracks Down on ISIS Financing by Banning Oil Purchases
» UN Finds Credible Ties Between ISIS and Israeli Defense Forces
» What is Alarming in This Video of Jordan’s F-16s Striking ISIS; Implications, Troubling
» Widow of Paris Gunman Appears in is Group Propaganda
» Woman Wanted in French Terror Attack is With Islamic State, ISIS Mag Claims
» Yazidis ‘Slaughtering Arabs Who They Say Helped ISIS Persecute Them’
 
Russia
» Congress Ramps Up $1 Billion in Lethal Aid to Ukraine “To End the Conflict”
» Norway PM Snubs Russia on WW2 Bomber
» Ukraine Cease-Fire Deal Announced After Marathon Minsk Talks
 
South Asia
» Hindu Temple Dedicated to Narendra Modi is a “Threat to Secular India”
» Indian Prime Minister Modi ‘Appalled’ By ‘Shocking’ Statue Built to Worship Him
 
Far East
» China Executes One of the Nations’ Richest Men, Close to Zhou Yongkang, For Corruption
 
Immigration
» A Legal Way to Seek Refuge in Europe
» Italy: Milan Police Smash Eritrean People Smuggling Racket
» Morocco Crackdown Continues at Melilla
» Spain: Ceuta Judge Calls 16 Civil Guards in to Testify Over Migrant Drowning Tragedy
» Spanish Police Summoned Over Ceuta Migrant Deaths, Camp Raided Near Melilla
 
Culture Wars
» Feminist Aborts Male Child Because She ‘Couldn’t Bring Another Monster Into the World’
 
General
» Building on Lies
» Optics: Super Vision
» Peak Oil: Theory or Myth?
 

Dutch Inflation Falls Fast

The Dutch inflation rate fell to 0.0% in January, its lowest level in 27 years, central statistics agency CBS said on Thursday. The inflation rate has been falling steadily since the summer of 2013 and was at 0.7% in December. Calculated according to eurozone statistical methods, there is 0.7% deflation in the Netherlands, the CBS said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Eurozone Fails to Reach Greece Agreement

Finance ministers from Eurozone countries failed to agree on changes to Greece’s bailout programme in Brussels overnight, Eurogroup leader Jeroen Dijsselbloem said early on Thursday morning.

A joint statement had been drawn up and was ready for the finance ministers to sign.

But Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis withdraw his support at the last moment, after six hours of negotiation, although he welcome the “good, comprehensive and constructive discussion”.

Now the ministers must continue their negotiations when they next meet on Monday, Dijsselbloem said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Farage: If the Greeks Stand Firm, The Free World Will Applaud Them — Video

Nigel Farage comments “If the Greeks stand firm, the free world will applaud them”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]
 

Greece Will Not Cost the Netherlands Any More Money: Prime Minister

Any new agreement between the European Union and Greece will not cost the Netherlands more money, Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte told parliament on Wednesday. No one should be afraid this might happen, given the boundaries of the on-going debate with the Greeks, Rutte told MPs. The prime minister chose his words carefully so as not to ‘inflame the situation’, the Financieele Dagblad reports.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Merkel: Germany Ready to Compromise on Greece

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Greece is a “sideline” topic to the EU summit on Thursday. “The success of the EU lies in compromise. We compromise when we find that advantages outweigh disadvantages. Germany is ready to compromise, but our credibility relies on sticking to rules,” she said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

New Low for Italian Three-Year Bonds at Auction

BTPs snapped up at average interest rate of 0.44%

(ANSA) — Rome, February 12 — The average interest rate on the Italian three-year BTP State bond reached a new low of 0.44% at a Treasury auction on Thursday, down from 0.61% at an equivalent sale in January. The Treasury sold 2.5 billion euros’ worth of the bonds, which will mature in January 2018. It also sold 1.5 billion euros of 15-year bonds at 2.1%, another low, and four billions euros of seven-year bonds at 1.23%.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

No Demand for Skilled Jobs: “Millions Cannot Find Work Because the Jobs Simply Are Not There”

Editor’s Note: As this article points out, the scheme announced by Obama to make community college free will not make America prosperous or fully employed. While have a well educated, skilled and knowledgeable populace is worthwhile, there is already a glut of over-educated degree holders — including many with master’s degrees and other specialized qualifications — who cannot find work in their field.

Why? Because the jobs just aren’t there. America doesn’t do much of anything anymore but consume. More and more skilled jobs are paying wages as low as fast food joints, and are so flooded with applications, that the job may as well not be there. There is too much demand by a workforce for work that isn’t there… so most have lowered their standards, and become adjusted to skating by with low wage, low skilled work when they have already over-achieved in the educational field. Student loans don’t get paid back this way, and the economy doesn’t bounce back either.

Unless the other side of this equation changes, there will be a continued downward slide, while millions more graduate with nothing to do, no where to go. Fired Before Hired: How The Economy Has Killed The American Dream

The latest corporate scam is to blame workers for the high unemployment rate. They say there is a skills gap. Even President Obama is in on the joke.

In his most recent State of the Union address, Obama called for Congress to make community college free. Because nothing will get you a job more than an associate’s degree from your local college.

The real skills gap is the other way around: too many skills for the low-wage menial jobs that pervade the labor market. The person who makes your coffee or your Big Mac might be able to design the next major bridge or write for The New York Times. Instead of high school kids cooking up your lunch, true professionals are behind the counter, and the future of the country is behind it too.

If this doesn’t qualify the United States as a third world country, what will?

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]
 

Sweden Gets Record Low Negative Interest Rate

Sweden’s central bank (the Riksbank) has cut its key interest rate, the repo, from zero to -0.1 percent, the lowest figure in history.

In a statement, it said that the reason for the move was continuing low inflation.

“The recovery in the world as a whole is expected to continue in the coming years, although it is slow. Since December, however, the risks of weaker growth abroad have increased. Oil prices have fallen, which is positive for global growth, but it will also lead to low global inflation,” the bank said.

It is the first time that there has been a negative interest rate in Sweden.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Swedish Crown Dives, Stocks Hit Record Highs After Riksbank Decision

(Reuters) — The Swedish crown dived to a six-year low and local stocks hit record highs on Thursday after Sweden’s central bank unexpectedly launched a quantitative easing programme and cut its main repo rate into negative territory.

The Riksbank lowered its key repo rate by 10 basis points to -0.10 percent and said it would buy 10 billion crowns’ (£772 billion) worth of government bonds. It also said it was prepared to do more at short notice to safeguard its inflation target of 2 percent.

The majority of analysts in a Reuters poll had forecast no change this month. Analysts were divided on whether the Riksbank would adopt further unconventional policy measures.

In the battle against deflation, the European Central Bank has already taken its interest rates to negative and will launch a 1 trillion euro quantitative easing programme next month.

That has already led the Swiss and Danish central banks to lower rates deeper into negative territory.

Thursday’s measures hit the Swedish currency hard.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Air Carriers: Tension Between U.S. And Gulf Countries

US companies against ‘invasion’. Emirates, be competitive

(by Alessandra Antonelli) (ANSAmed) — DUBAI, FEBRUARY 12 — Be competitive and offer better services, Dubai-based air carrier Emirates has told leading US airlines Delta, American and United Continental after they asked Washington to stem the expansion of Gulf carriers in America.

“When an agreement was signed in 1999, it was the US who insisted on an Open-sky policy, underestimating us”, said sheikh Ahmad Bin Said al Maktoum, CEO of Emirates Airlines.

“Offer the best and passengers will return to you”, the sheikh was quoted as saying by Gulf News.

Managers at Delta, American and United have presented to the American government a 55-page document asking it to revise an open-sky agreement with Gulf countries, in particular with Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways who are absorbing portions of the US market that have raised their concern.

Among the issues raised are 40 billion dollars of which Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways have benefited in 2004 through loans, tax exemptions and other incentives, violating US commercial regulations.

Emirates President Tim Clark said his company had never received financial aid nor obtained a bailout.

Clark added in a statement that the company had received 10 million dollars in start-up capital in 1985 and subsequently 88 million for structural investments, including the acquisition of two Boeing 727 and the construction of a training center. The investment, the statement added, was repaid through revenues to the government of Dubai totaling today 2.8 billion dollars.

Since growing from debutante to protagonist of international skies, Emirates in 2013 was the sixth leading company worldwide after three US colleagues and European carriers Air France-Klm and Lufthansa.

Offering the standards of excellence suggested by sheikh Said to American competitors isn’t however that simple. Gulf air carriers have the newest and most modern fleets. Available cash flow has enabled them to buy 477 new planes against the 142 Americans over the past decade.

However, the three American companies have bought 675 Boeing planes for short flights, an investment for destinations that don’t affect competition with Gulf carriers.

Emirates currently flies to nine US destinations, including Boston and Chicago, and since 2004, the year in which it started operating connections with the US, flew over 10 million passengers to these destinations.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Black Criminals, White Victims, And White Guilt

The media have relentlessly fanned the flames of racial hatred, while engaging in a systematic pattern of misinformation and blatant suppression of facts surrounding the perpetrators and victims of crime. As a result, so-called “criminal justice reform” is now being proposed to release more criminals from jails, supposedly to make amends for the unjust “mass incarceration” of black men.

The figures come quickly but are never subjected to the necessary scrutiny. Last fall, for example, the George Soros-funded ProPublica published a claim that black youths are killed by the police at a rate 21 times higher than white youths. Mass media parroted that claim, but the data are incomplete and biased. They represent just 1.2 percent of police departments nationwide, and most reports come from urban areas, where the population is disproportionately black.

More reliable data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) suggest that in 2012, 123 blacks were killed by police using firearms while 326 whites, including 227 non-Hispanic whites, were killed. These data, however are also not entirely reliable, but represent a larger data set than the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR).

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]
 

Chinese Immigrant: Common Core Reminds Me of Communist China

Chinese-American Lily Tang Williams says she is scared of America’s Common Core education system because it reminds her of the Communist education she received as a young girl growing up under Mao Tse-tung’s regime in China.

In a video posted to YouTube, Williams points out the many similarities between her education and the one her 15-year-old daughter is currently receiving in a Colorado public school. Similarities like the national standards and guidelines Chinese teachers were expected to implement, lest they lose their jobs. Or the Chinese parents who have no choice, or rights, in what their children learn, and no privacy whatsoever. Williams described even having to hand over her private diaries for teacher review.

“In our diary,” Willaims says, “we’re supposed to do self-criticism and we’re supposed to report on others who have politically incorrect speeches… including friends, sometimes your family. It is a very sick system.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]
 

Court Rules Details of DHS Cellphone Service Kill Switch Can Remain Secret

The U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington DC has ruled that the Department of Homeland Security’s procedure for shutting down cell phone service during a declared emergency can remain secret.

The lawsuit was brought by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) after the DHS failed to release its criteria for network shutdowns following an incident in 2011 when government officials in San Francisco disabled cell phone service during a peaceful protest. The demonstration was against the police killing of Charles Hill, a homeless man shot dead by a Bay Area Rapid Transit (“BART”) officer.

A federal judge initially ruled in EPIC’s favor but the DHS won the case on appeal. However, the federal agency may still have to disclose some portions of the protocol.

All that is known about the DHS procedure for the cellphone service kill switch is its name — SOP 303 — which “provides detailed procedures for the [NCC] to coordinate requests for the disruption of cellular service,” including kill switches for, “commercial and private wireless networks during national crises.”…

The ruling is sure to spark more concerns that the DHS is preparing to use such powers to restrict peaceful protest. Documents emerged in 2013 which indicated that the federal agency, founded after 9/11 in the name of fighting terrorists, “has a policy of spying daily on peaceful activists and protesters in the United States.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]
 

Dems on FEC Open to New Regs on Donors, Internet

Claiming that thousands of public comments condemning “dark money” in politics can’t be ignored, the Democrat-chaired Federal Election Commission on Wednesday appeared ready to open the door to new regulations on donors, bloggers and others who use the Internet to influence policy and campaigns.

During a broad FEC hearing to discuss a recent Supreme Court decision that eliminated some donor limits, proponents encouraged the agency to draw up new funding disclosure rules and require even third-party internet-based groups to reveal donors, a move that would extinguish a 2006 decision to keep the agency’s hands off the Internet.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

FBI Launches New Investigation Into Chapel Hill Killings, As Thousands Mourn in Raleigh

RALEIGH — The FBI has opened a parallel investigation into the killings of three Muslim American students in Chapel Hill this week.

The announcement came late Thursday following a somber funeral, where 5,500 mourners gathered at N.C. State University.

[…]

The father of the two women who died, Dr. Mohammad Abu-Salha, took the stage and called on President Barack Obama to send the FBI to look carefully at the motivation behind the slayings.

“This has hate crime written all over it,” Abu-Salha said. “Let’s stand up and see what these three children were martyred about. It was not about a parking spot.”

[This bereaved father can be forgiven his harping on the “hate crime” trope, as he must be half-mad with grief. But politicizing this case and bringing federal pressure to bear on the local police to satisfy Muslim demands is very bad juju. — PW]

           — Hat tip: Papa Whiskey [Return to headlines]
 

Feds Hold Hearing on Whether They Should ‘Regulate’ Sites Like Drudge, Infowars and the Economic Collapse Blog

The control freaks that run our government always seem to want to “regulate” things that they do not like. And so it should be no surprise that there is a renewed push to regulate independent news websites. Sites like the Drudge Report, Infowars.com and The Economic Collapse Blog have been a thorn in the side of the establishment for years. You see, the truth is that approximately 90 percent of all news and entertainment in this country is controlled by just six giant media corporations. That is why the news seems to be so similar no matter where you turn. But in recent years the alternative media has exploded in popularity. People are hungry for the truth, and an increasing number of Americans are waking up to the fact that they are not getting the truth from the corporate-controlled media. But as the alternative media has grown, it was only going to be a matter of time before the establishment started cracking down on it. At the moment it is just the FEC and the FCC, but surely this is just the beginning. Our “Big Brother” government ultimately wants to control every area of our lives — and this especially applies to our ability to communicate freely with one another.

The Federal Election Commission is an example of a federal rule making body that has gotten wildly out of control. Since just about anything that anyone says or does could potentially “influence an election”, it is not difficult for them to come up with excuses to regulate things that they do not like.

And on Wednesday, the FEC held a hearing on whether or not they should regulate political speech on blogs, websites and YouTube videos…

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]
 

Indian Man Visits Family in Alabama, Cops Paralyze Him for Walking Around Neighborhood

A 57-year-old Indian man visiting his family in Alabama has been left paralyzed after police bodyslammed him to the ground in an exchange that occurred when the man went for a stroll around the block.

Sureshbhai Patel, a farmer from a small town in India, was visiting his son, three years a US citizen, to help look after his 17-month-old grandson. When he decided to take a look around the neighborhood, someone called the cops and reported Mr Patel, who has been approved as a permanent resident of the United States, as a ‘suspicious’ person.

The officers arrived on the scene and, upon discovering Mr Patel couldn’t speak English very well, began to pat him down. Patel is said to have repeatedly told them he couldn’t speak English, and pointed to his son’s house, also repeating his son’s phone number, but to no avail.

One of the officers grabbed him by the arm, twisted it behind his back and slammed him to the ground, face first.

The resulting injury left Patel bleeding and temporarily paralyzed. He was later hospitalized and had to undergo surgery to fuse two vertebrae due to swelling in his spine. Patel has regained some motion in his arms and left leg, but his right leg remains paralyzed, according to the report. Patel, who previously had no health issues, now faces lengthy therapy in order to fully recover.

“He was just walking on the sidewalk as he does all the time,” said his son, Chirag Patel, who is taking a masters degree in electrical engineering at the University of Alabama.”They put him to the ground. This is a good neighborhood. I didn’t expect anything to happen,” the younger Patel added.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]
 

Net Neutrality a Looming Threat to Free Speech

Net neutrality is being sold as a method to make broadband access inexpensive, but to paraphrase P.J. O’Rourke, “If you think [the Internet] is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it’s free.” Net neutrality is a form of price control, and price controls everywhere distort the market. By affording equal access to all comers at below cost, demand will skyrocket while supply dries up. If an ISP cannot provide Internet access at a profit, it will go out of business. The government will then step in to take its place.

And it won’t be cheap. FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai, who opposes the plan, recently warned that it will give FCC power to micromanage virtually every aspect of the Internet. “If you like dealing with the IRS, you are going to love the President’s plan,” he says. According to Pai, this is what’s coming:

  • Billions of dollars in new taxes, higher prices and hidden fees
  • Reduced investment in broadband networks, slower internet speeds and less access
  • A move from a largely unregulated Internet to a regulated monopoly

Pai’s predictions are not theoretical. Local governments all over the country have experimented with creating government-run ISPs using money obtained from President Obama’s stimulus and other taxpayer financing. They have been unqualified disasters…

This viewpoint is not about having “equal access.” It’s about having an information monopoly. The interrelated goals of net neutrality are thus to first seize control of the Internet, then influence content.

[Comment: Highly recommended reading. The end result will be the same as TV — only propaganda MSM will be able to afford the bandwidth. The internet will be priced out of reach of the serfs. No more using the internet as a medium of exchanging ideas — especially truth.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]
 

Net Neutrality is a Trojan Horse Virus Infecting the Internet

At least one FCC commissioner sees the newly proposed regulations as a real threat to the liberty of Internet users. Commissioner Ajit Pai tweeted a picture of himself (right) holding the plan with a picture of President Obama in the background. His tweet read, “Here is President Obama’s 332-page plan to regulate the Internet. I wish the public could see what’s inside.” He also issued a press release listing several points that call the 332-page secret document into question. His release begins by setting the tone in clear, bold language: “The American people are being misled about President Obama’s plan to regulate the Internet. Last week’s carefully stage-managed rollout was designed to downplay the plan’s massive intrusion into the Internet economy and to shield many critical details from the public. Indeed, Chairman Wheeler has made it clear that he will not release the document to the public even though federal law authorizes him to do so.“ Pai then lays out, point by point, why this is bad news for all who value Internet freedom.

Any one of his six major objections to FCC regulation of the Internet is damning all on its own; when seen in toto, they are frightening indeed. Pai says he has studied the document “in detail” and determined that it is worse than he thought. For example, he says that regulation will include rate regulation, rules that stifle competition and innovation, tax hikes on broadband services, provisions that morph the FCC into a sort of “Department of the Internet” with authority to “micromanage the Internet,” and future utility-style regulations. In other words, this is the beginning of a complete government takeover of the Internet.

[Comment: World need more people like Ajit Pai.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]
 

Obama Takes Selfie Stick Photo

BuzzFeed has released the video the website shot this week with President Obama, showing the commander in chief smiling for a selfie stick photo.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Obama Set to Announce Executive Order on Cybersecurity Threat Data

President Barack Obama is expected to announce an executive order directing the government and companies to share more information about cybersecurity threats in response to attacks like that on Sony Entertainment.

As in other policy areas where Obama has been unable to get legislation through the now Republican-controlled Congress, the White House is turning to more limited administrative actions to advance its agenda as much as it can.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]
 

Ominous Tweet From Matt Drudge About Obama: “Like He Knows Something Terrible Coming… Very Unsettling”

by Mac Slavo

On Sunday night President Obama delivered a pre-taped speech to audience members at the Grammy awards. Drudge posted a photo of the President from the speech and called Obama’s appearence “greasy.” He continued with the following ominous words:

Hoarse, watery eyes. Like he knows something terrible coming. Very unsettling…

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]
 

Thought Police, Coming to a Community Near You?

As Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said: “I’m not going to get more money. I’m not going to get more cops. I have to be better at using what I have, and that’s what predictive policing is about.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]
 

What is the Threshold at Which Americans Will Revolt?

Ladies and gentlemen, the threshold for a peaceful American revolution is at hand. But Americans are going to have to be the “cat” that turns on the “dog” no matter what the consequences, or the “dog” will win. All Americans have to do is to “step outside of the main stream and the accepted”, to overcome their fear of government, or the consequences of challenging government…

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]
 

Why Obama Wants to Regulate the Internet

The mainstream media’s declining influence is motivating the federal government to regulate the Internet because controlling information is the most powerful way to control the public.

The U.S. mainstream media, which is predominantly owned by six corporations with close ties to the government, is used by the establishment to control public opinion, but for the past several years it has lost influence as the public seeks alternative sources of information.

“Just a handful of global news corporations can, in one day, make billions of people around the world simultaneously aware of something that was completely unknown the day before,” Joseph Plummer wrote in Tragedy & Hope 101. “With this kind of power, the Network [the establishment] can choose to spread any lie, or withhold any truth, that it chooses.”

“At the end of the day, if people aren’t looking beyond the Network’s instruments for their information, they cannot expect to know what the Network doesn’t want them to know.”

And that’s why the government is targeting Internet-based independent press: to reduce the mainstream media’s competition.

The establishment media’s decline has been nothing short of legendary.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]
 

Sun News Network to Shut Down Permanently: Sources

Right-of-centre news network had trouble attracting viewers

Sun News Network is about to sign off, permanently. CBC News has learned that the cable news television channel will shut down early tomorrow.

The network began broadcasting in 2011, launching a right-of-centre programming schedule.

It has had a constant challenge attracting viewers.

Its supporters blamed the CRTC for not giving it the same access enjoyed by news channels operated by CBC and CTV.

[Return to headlines]
 

Blue Mussels à la Svalbard on the Menu?

Back when the Vikings ruled, blue mussels had a natural habitat in Svalbard. They disappeared when the climate cooled, but today blue mussels have re-established themselves at 78 degrees North. The Svalbard blue mussel is thus a clear and present climate indicator of a warming Arctic.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Female British Politician Speaks Out Against FGM

“There are tens of thousands of cases of FGM in the UK and not one person has been brought to justice.

It’s the failed policy of multiculturalism which has given rise to this abomination across the UK.

In the UK elected officials and representatives have turned a blind eye to this practice in order not to ´offend´ minority communities and avoid being labelled as racist.”

           — Hat tip: Mithrandir [Return to headlines]
 

Italy: Schettino Guilty, Gets 16 Years for Concordia Deaths

Ex-captain convicted by Grosseto court

(ANSA) — Grosseto, February 11 — Former skipper Francesco Schettino was found guilty by a Grosseto court on Wednesday of various charges related to the January 2012 Costa Concordia disaster off the Tuscan island of Giglio and sentenced to 16 years and one month in prison. Prosecutors had requested Schettino be sent to jail for over 26 years.

The court also banned Schettino from commanding a ship for five years and banned him from holding public office indefinitely. Schettino and his former employers Costa Criuses were also ordered to pay massive damages to a long list of civil plaintiffs, including Concordia passengers, central government, the civil protection department, the Tuscan regional government and the municipality of the Giglio.

The former commander was dubbed captain coward in the media for abandoning the ship before all his passengers were evacuated.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Italy: Chianti Mayors Say New Property Tax ‘Strikes Soul’ of Land

Warn that government is undermining Tuscan agriculture

(ANSA) — Florence, February 3 — The government’s IMU property tax is putting at risk agricultural production in the rich Chianti countryside of Tuscany, two local mayors complained Tuesday.

“The IMU agricultural (tax) strikes at the soul of Chianti,” say Giacomo Trentanovi and David Baroncelli, representing Barberino Val d’Elsa and Tavarnelle Val di Pesa.

They accused the national government of “harassing” property owners with the tax that they say could drive many out of business when it should instead being “giving a hand” during the ongoing economic crisis.

“We believe the measure once again places a heavy burden on taxpayers and municipalities, and is going to penalize the economic potential of our region which is related inescapably to the vocation of rural life in Chianti,” they said. Chianti is internationally famous, particularly for its production of wine, olive oil, and related products.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Italy Drops 24 Slots in RSF Press Freedom Rankings

‘Mafia threats, unjustified defamation suits rise’

(ANSA) — Paris, February 12 — Italy fell 24 slots to 73rd out of 180 countries in the latest Reporters Without Borders (RSF) press freedom index, “after a difficult year for journalists, for whom mafia threats and unjustified defamation suits greatly increased,” the NGO said Thursday. “The situation of journalists worsened dramatically in Italy in 2014, with a big surge in attacks on their property, especially cars,” it said. “A total of 43 cases of physical aggression and 7 cases of arson attacks on homes and cars were reported during the first 10 months of 2014. “Unjustified defamation suits also rose, from 84 in 2013 to 129 in the first 10 months of 2014. “Elected public figures filed most of these lawsuits, which constitute a form of censorship”, said RSF.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Italy: Rome Prosecutors Probe ‘Abnormal’ Bank Market Moves

Shares in popolari banks active before govt announcement

(ANSA) — Rome, February 12 — Rome prosecutors said Thursday they had opened an investigation into unusual financial market activity in shares of some ‘popolari’ banks ahead of an announcement that the government intended to change ownership rules. Market watchdogs are also looking into the activity around cooperative banks affected by the new regulations announced January 20 by Premier Matteo Renzi. Activity in some Italian banks jumped even before rumours hit the media in mid-January about the new rules in the 10 largest popolari.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Mol Inaugurates Oil Pipeline Section, Hungary-Slovakia

Friendship I/Adria, capacity almost doubled

(ANSA) — TRIESTE — Hungary’s Mol and Slovakia’s Transpetrol have announced the completion of a project “which is important and strategic issue in Central Europe”, that is the renovation and expansion of a section of the oil pipeline “Friendship I/Adria”, opened in 1962 and which has become quite decrepit over the years.

The new section was inaugurated in the presence of the Prime Ministers of Hungary, Viktor Orban, and Slovakia, Robert Fico.

Through a $ 80 million investment, the pipeline has in fact doubled its capacity, from 3.5 to 6 million tons. A press release issued by Mol reported that the modernization and strengthening of “Friendship I /Adria” in the section between Szazhalombatta in Hungary and Ipolysag in Slovakia will enable Hungarian energy giant “to meet the needs of its refinery in Bratislava” and “Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic to further diversify their sources of supply, thus improving regional energy security”. Renovation work lasted only a year and involved a 128 km section (119 in Hungary, 9 in Slovakia): some pipes have been replaced, whereas some structures between the two sections have been modernized. Mol has also increased the pipeline’s capacity from the Adriatic Sea to Hungary, from 10 to 14 million tons of crude oil per year.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Mystery Over 15th-Century Drilled Skull Solved

Beatified in 1771 and canonized by Pope Francis on May 12, 2013 the so-called “martyrs of Otranto,” whose identities are largely unknown, are now the patron saints of the city of Otranto.

They all met their end on Aug. 14, 1480, following a 15-day siege by the Ottoman force commanded by Gedik Ahmed Pasha. During the assault, all Otranto men over the age of 50 were slaughtered, while women and children under the age of 15 were either slain or sold into Albanian slavery.

The remaining men, including more than 800 exhausted survivors, were told to convert to Islam. As they refused, they were taken to a hill and beheaded one by one.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

New Muslim Party Aims for French Election Wins

A relatively new Muslim political party is eyeing up a stronger presence on the French political landscape, announcing on Thursday that it was planning to field candidates in eight cities in time for the local elections next month.

Spokespeople from the Union of French Muslim Democrats (UDMF) have announced plans to do something about the under-representation of Muslims in French politics.

The group said on Thursday that it would send two candidates forward in Bobigny, Paris, in time for the local election next month.

It will also send representatives for seven other cities around the country, including Marseille and Nice.

The party’s founder, Najib Azergui, told French newspaper Le Parisien that he believed the party’s values were compatible with French democracy, much in the same way that France’s Christian Democratic Party manages to separate religion from politics.

The UDMF was founded in 2012 in order to provide Muslims “an alternative in France when it comes to economics, society, and politics”, its official website says.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Number of Muslim Children in England and Wales Doubles in a Decade With One in 12 School Pupils Now Brought Up in Islamic Faith

The number of Muslim children in England and Wales has doubled in a decade, according to the most detailed study of its kind.

An analysis of 2011 Census data carried out by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) suggests the Muslim population increased by more than a million in the ten years from 2001, rising 75 per cent from 1.5 million to 2.7 million.

The research shows that one in 12 school-age children is now Muslim, and a third of all Muslims are aged 15 and under, with half under the age of 25.

And, due to settlement patterns, in some inner city areas as many as 86 per cent of all children aged between five and 15 are officially classed as Muslim.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]
 

Paris to Decide on 2024 Olympics Bid in April

The Paris Town Hall will make an official decision in April as to whether the French capital should bid to host the Olympics in 2024, a move that most of the French public backs.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Russia Weighs Giving Aid to Greece Opens New Options

Athens ‘against EU sanctions over Ukraine’, Kotzias reciprocates

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias (L) and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov(R)

(by Patrizio Nissirio) (ANSAmed) — MOSCOW — The Tsipras government is aiming for an agreement with eurozone partners on debt, but the negotiations are difficult and the result still very much up in the air. If the situation were to get worse, Athens might decide to look eastwards.

Russia, which like Greece has a predominantly Christian Orthodox population and which has decades-old relations with the country’s left, said on Wednesday that it would take into consideration the possibility of extending financial aid to Greece if such a request were to come from Athens. On a day of a crucial eurozone finance ministers meeting in Brussels overshadowed by an air of pessimism, Greek foreign minister Nikos Kotzias (an academic and diplomat known for his pro-Russian views) met his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov.

During the press conference following the talks, Lavrov said that Russia would “take into consideration” the possibility of extending financial aid to Greece “if such a request comes from Athens”. Greece reciprocated with statements pleasing to Russia, such as that Athens does not support sanctions on Russia over the conflict in Ukraine.

“There is the need,” Kotzias said, “to look for other instruments, other suitable solutions.” On January 27, the day the Tsipras government was sworn into office, the executive expressed its annoyance with the EU document in which heads of state and governments asked foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini to “consider any suitable action, and especially restrictive measures, for a fast and full implementation of the Minsk accords”. Athens released a statement saying that the document on behalf of the entire EU “was issued without the foreseen procedure to obtain agreement from member states, and in particular without getting agreement from Greece. In this context, Athens does not agree with the declaration”. The disagreement was officially for procedural reasons, but the political significance was clear. The position received immediate praise from Russian pro-government media. On Monday in Brussels, Kotzias said that “Greece is working to restore peace and stability in Ukraine and, at the same time avoid rifts between the EU and Russia”. Tsipras’s party Syriza has never hid its sympathies for Moscow, and in 2014 its MPs voted against the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. The ‘axis’ is based on economic relations that totaled 7 billion euros in 2013. Sanctions harmed Greek agriculture exports by some 400 million euros, say government sources. However, the Greek interest in the Ukrainian crisis is not motivated solely by possible economic developments, as there are 100,000 ethnic Greeks in Mariupol, a city in eastern Ukraine currently at the center of clashes between Kiev and pro-Russian militants.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Spaceplane Re-Entry is a European First

Prototype for reusable vehicle opens up potential for ferrying planetary samples and carrying humans.

A car-sized European spaceplane splashed down in the Pacific Ocean at 16:19 Central European Time today, marking a milestone in the European Space Agency’s efforts to build a craft that can return to Earth from orbit.

European scientists and engineers have launched rockets, sent satellites into space and even landed a probe on a comet. But Europe has never had the ability to bring back a craft through Earth’s atmosphere, and so far the European Space Agency (ESA) has relied on US or Russian partners to do so.

The 5-metre-long craft, called the Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle (IXV), is a prototype for a larger spaceplane known as PRIDE (Programme for Reusable In-Orbit Demonstrator for Europe), which ESA hopes could eventually be used for missions that return samples from celestial bodies in the Solar System, as well as for carrying crew. In addition to providing Europe with the means to return from space, PRIDE will open up scientific opportunities closer to home, the agency says.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Spain to Close Cervantes Institute Branch in Gibraltar

Foreign Minister José Manuel García-Margallo stirred up the diplomatic waters on Wednesday when he announced the closing of the Cervantes Institute in Gibraltar, saying it did not make sense having a center promoting Spanish language and culture in an area that is considered “Spanish territory.”

“In Gibraltar everyone speaks Spanish, apart from the apes, “ the foreign minister said.

The government opened a branch of the Cervantes Institute in the British colony in 2006 as part of an agreement by the so-called Tripartite Forum that for the first time brought together representatives of Spain, Britain and Gibraltar at a meeting in Córdoba.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Sweden: More Genes Linked to Putting on Weight

Swedish researchers have contributed to understanding on how our genes affect how people put on weight.

Around 100 genes linked to fat storage have been identified and published in the Nature journal, by a team including Swedish scientists.

But a connection does not mean the genes “cause” people to become overweight. Genetics often provides an altered context, which interacts with people’s circumstances to create a tendency towards certain outcomes.

Certain genes linked to appetite and habit forming seem to be closely connected to BMI.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Sweden: Three Pedestrians Injured After Car Chase

Two women and one infant were injured after a car chase in central Malmö went awry on Wednesday afternoon.

Twice the police had tried to stop and check on a car, which kept getting away. Shortly after 2 pm it disappeared again from the scene, driving fast southwards on Amiralsgatan. The next time police see the car, it has smashed into three parked cars, one of which was thrown up onto the pavement.

A witness to the accident told the tabloid Kvällsposten online that car was chucked “seven, eight metres into the air” and landed on the pavement.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Sweden: Suspected Jas Gripen Bribe in HSBC Account

A man allegedly involved in bribery over the sale of Swedish fighter jets to South Africa is the latest name to emerge from the HSBC Swiss secret bank accounts scandal that has grippped the global financial world.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Take a Short Stroll: It Can Save Your Day

New research shows that a 30-minute walk in the middle of the day cheers up sedentary office workers. This makes the actual working hours more fun.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

UK: Dr Tasnim Arif Who Sent Sick Toddler Home Where He Died Can Carry on Working

Harry Connolly, 19 months, from Northampton, was admitted to hospital with sickness, diarrhoea and lethargy — but died three days after being discharged by Dr Tasnim Arif.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]
 

UK: Halifax Worker Anisyah Ali Facing Jail for Helping Steal £123k From a Wealthy Customer

Anisyah Ali, 25, who worked at Halifax’s North Finchley branch, passed confidential details to her then-fiance Salim Hussain, 29, and others who looted customer Julian Masters’ bank account

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]
 

UK: Muslim Rape Gangs Could Have Abused 1,000,000 Children; Authorities Kept Silent for Fear of Being Called “Racist”

“Talking about her concerns of corruption within the police force she pointed out the IPCC started their investigation within a month they had suspended 14 police officers.” The police officers are just fall guys. They’re not responsible for the political culture that made authorities cower in fear of being smeared with charges of “racism” and “Islamophobia” for doing anything about these predators. In Rotherham, British officials “described their nervousness about identifying the ethnic origins of perpetrators for fear of being thought as racist; others remembered clear direction from their managers not to do so.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

UK: National Anti-Terror Unit Handed List of Charlie Hebdo Stockists to Local Forces

Are the police at war on terror or with free speech? National anti-terror unit handed list of Charlie Hebdo stockists to local forces who then went round demanding to know who bought copies…

Sir Peter Fahy, chief constable of Greater Manchester Police (GMP) and national police lead for preventing extremism, said he was now urgently clarifying guidance to all UK forces.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]
 

ISIS: 3,000 From Tunisia to Syria, Largest Contingent

Ahmed’s story, how he became a fundamentalist fighter

(by Paolo Paluzzi) (ANSAmed) — TUNIS — Since the beginning of the conflict in Syria, an estimated 3,000 Tunisian nationals have travelled to the war-torn country to join ISIS and fight the jihad. They represent the largest contingent of foreign fighters, at least according to the Tunisian interior ministry, whose data has been confirmed by the US National Counterterrorism Center.

From the city of Gabe’s left Ahmed, one of the best friends of Mohamed M., a man we met in one of the many bars in the outskirts of the capital Tunis crowded with young people who spend their whole day seated at a table, drinking coffee and mineral water and playing cards. Mohamed told us that the Salafites, who appeared at the beginning of 2000 in Tunisia were at first entirely dedicated to preaching and, after the revolution, started recruiting volunteers to fight in war zones.

So his friend Ahmed stopped drinking, going out with girls, leading a normal life and embraced extremism, spending time with Al-Nusra extremists and ultimately joining the group.

“His mentality progressively changed, he accused other Muslims of apostasy, talking to him became progressively difficult, everything was banned, it was impossible to have a conversation with him”, continued Mohamed.

In order to understand how Tunisia could be the only country to have completed a democratic transition and at the same time the main provider of foreign fighters who join ISIS, it is necessary to consider the living conditions and perspectives of the young who are marginalized, unemployed, without a future.

Alaya Allani, a well-known Tunisian historian and Islam expert, believes brainwashing isn’t the only tool used by recruiters as the economy also plays a relevant role.

“The manipulation of ideas works on an ideological level but what attracts the most is the dream of a better life”, he explained. “They promise these jihadists that they will build a fortune once they get to Syria and instead the contrary often happens, most of them die. But the call of fundamentalism seems to be irresistible for these desperate young people. Once they are ready to leave, would-be fighters cross the Libyan border for training or fly to Turkey to then get into Syrian territory illegally”.

Mohamed’s friend never came back, he died in combat, according to information he was able to get.

The same happened to 23-year-old soccer player Nidhal Selmi, who died in Syria after a brief, successful career in the etoile Sportive du Sahel, which he ended when he said he felt the call to fight a holy war, for which he left Tunisia to join his brother and fight with ISIS.

Hundreds of Tunisian youth also listened to the “call”, also thanks to the sermons of radical imams who have long been allowed to preach undisturbed in the country.

Mohamed told us that people are offered in Libya 1,000 dollars a day to embrace a machine gun, 5,000 a day to drive a pickup truck and 10,000 to drive a tank.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

32 From Sweden Confirmed Dead, Fighting for IS

A total of 32 Swedes have been confirmed dead after fighting for the Islamic State (IS), justice minister Anders Ygeman told the daily Nerikes Allehanda.

The number is confirmed also by the Swedish Intelligence Service Säpo. However, there are no further details about where in Sweden these people travelled from.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

‘32 Swedes Dead Fighting for ISIS in Syria and Iraq’

Sweden’s Security Service, Säpo, has confirmed that 32 Swedes have been killed fighting for the Islamic State (Isis) in Syria and Iraq.

Asked by local newspaper Nerikes Allehanda, press officer Sirpa Franzén said that the information had been sourced from, among others, relatives of the dead, social media and foreign security agencies.

“But we can never receive officially confirmed information from a conflict zone such as this. It is near impossible right now and it is possible that it will never be fully confirmed,” she told Swedish news agency TT.

The comments come a week after The Local reported a Swedish man from the town of Örebro was said to be among the dead.

In total around 130 Swedes have travelled to Syria and Iraq to fight alongside Isis since summer 2012, but it has been reported the number could be as high as 300. All dead are men.

A Swedish-Norwegian islamist convert appeared in an online video last week calling on other Scandinavians to travel to Syria to join the terror group.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Al Qaeda Militants Seize Yemeni Military Base

SANAA, Yemen — Al Qaeda militants seized control of an important army base Thursday following clashes with soldiers that left at least eight people dead, military officials said.

The officials say at least four soldiers and four militants died in the fighting and that at least 15 soldiers were taken hostage. The base is home to Yemen’s 19th Infantry Brigade and is located in the Baihan area in southern Shabwa province.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to talk to reporters.

A Twitter account affiliated with Yemen’s Al Qaeda branch, considered to be the most dangerous affiliate of the global terror network, posted images of militants raising their black flag over the base.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Between Romance and Kalashnikovs — The Women of ‘Islamic State’

Marriage at age nine is permitted, working is not; make-up is evil. A new treatise by female “Islamic State” supporters sheds light on the role of women. Professor Susanne Schröter contributed the following article.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

CIA Pullout? US Evacuation From Yemen Eases Pressure on Al Qaeda, Lawmakers Warn

The evacuation of American diplomats, soldiers and even CIA operatives from Yemen is stirring deep concerns that the U.S. is losing a vital foothold in territory that the most notorious Al Qaeda affiliate calls home.

The White House says Defense Department officials remain on the ground and are coordinating with Yemeni counterparts, but the retreat of most U.S. personnel is seen as a significant setback for what had been a cornerstone of American counterterrorism operations.

“Bottom line is increased danger to the United States homeland,” House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, told Fox News.

President Obama last fall, in announcing military action against the Islamic State, cited counterterrorism efforts in Yemen as a model and a success story.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Iraq: For Erbil Archbishop, Defeating Islamic State Militants Needs Boots on the Ground

Speaking at the British Parliament, Mgr Warda said, “We don’t have much time left”. Air strikes are “not enough” to defeat jihadists. Noting that Iraq’s Christian communities are on the verge of disappearing, he said that the situation is worse than in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, the Kurdish forces retake IS-controlled areas near Mosul.

London (AsiaNews/Agencies) — “We don’t have much time left as Christians in this region,” said Mgr Bashar Warda, Chaldean archbishop of Erbil, as he pleaded for military action, before a group of cross-party MPs and peers in Westminster.

For him, air strikes were “not enough” to defeat Islamic State militants and “begged” for western troops to be deployed on the ground to allow Christians who fled Mosul and the villages of the Nineveh Plain to go home.

In response, a government representative said the international coalition was taking a “comprehensive approach” against IS.

Mgr Warda’s address in parliament was part of the visit the Chaldean archbishop of Erbil is conducting in Great Britain, to plead the cause of Iraqi Christian refugees victims of Islamist violence. In fact, after yesterday’s meeting in the British parliament, the prelate met today with the General Synod of the Anglican Church.

Archbishop Warda told parliamentarians that Iraq’s Christian communities had fallen “dramatically” over the last decade — from 1.4 million during the rule of Saddam Hussein.

At the same time, “As a Catholic I find it hard to say, but I want military action, there is no other way now,” Mgr Warda said. “I beg you to focus on the need for military action,” he said as he called for the deployment of British troops on the ground.

For the Chaldean bishop, the situation in Iraq “is worse than in Afghanistan” under the Taliban, because of the growing number of people (especially young) who “want to fight in the ranks of the Daesh”, the acronym of the Islamic State’s Arabic name — ad-dawla al-islāmiyya.

Recently, Chaldean Church leaders and Iraqi Christian community leaders have come to recognise, with slightly different emphasis, the need for military action against the jihadists, even if it is an “unpleasant solution.”

Likewise, the Chaldean patriarch, Iraqi bishops and priests have called on Christian families not to leave Iraq. By doing so, they are depriving the country of a small albeit important group whose presence can contribute to its development.

Meanwhile, backed by US air strikes, Kurdish forces seized some bridgeheads near Mosul, in northern Iraq.

The advance is the latest push by Kurdish Peshmergas around jihadist-held Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, considered a crucial battleground for an eventual major counteroffensive against the IS group by Iraqi government troops and Kurdish forces.

On this occasion, coalition military advisers provided “intelligence assistance” to the Kurdish fighters, who are preparing to advance.

US military sources also said that Iraqi government troops are preparing to launch a major offensive to retake IS-held territory “in the weeks ahead.”

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

ISIS Magazine Claims Hayat Boumedienne is in Syria

(CNN) The widow of Paris kosher supermarket gunman Amedy Coulibaly has linked up with ISIS, the terror group claims.

The second issue of an ISIS French language magazine, which began circulating on pro-ISIS Twitter accounts Wednesday, contains a purported two-page question-and-answer story with Hayat Boumedienne, who is believed to have disappeared into Syria before the attack.

The new issue of Dar al Islam magazine was entitled “May Allah Curse France” and featured on its cover a picture of the Eiffel Tower being guarded by French soldiers. It also included several pictures showing the aftermath of the Paris attacks, praised Coulibaly and called for more attacks against those “insulting the Prophet.”

It claimed an associate of Coulibaly who had reached Syria had provided them a report of his positive qualities.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

ISIS on the Doorstep? Fighters Reportedly Seize Iraqi Town Near Base Holding US Marines

Islamic State fighters reportedly seized most of a western Iraqi town on Thursday, in fighting taking place mere miles from an air base where hundreds of U.S. Marines are training Iraqis.

Reuters, quoting local officials, reported Thursday that ISIS militants had overrun much of the town of al-Baghdadi. One local Iraqi official told Reuters that, “Ninety percent of al-Baghdadi district has fallen under the control of the insurgents.”

A Defense Department spokeswoman confirmed to Fox News that “heavy fighting” took place in that area on Thursday, but referred questions about the status of the town to the Iraq government.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

ISIS: French-Language Magazine, Boumedienne in ‘Caliphate’

Coulibaly’s partner, one of Paris’s attackers

(ANSAmed) — BEIRUT, FEBRUARY 12 — Hayat Boumedienne, the partner of Amedy Coulibaly, one of the Paris attackers in January, lives in the “Islamic State”, ISIS said through a French-language magazine Wednesday. The second issue of the magazine was published over the past few hours on the internet.

The weekly Dar al Islam featured a front page with an image of the Tour Eiffel and the headline “God curse France”. The main article was an “interview with the bride”, or Boumedienne, who was presented as Abu Bassir Abdullah al Ifriqi, Coulibaly’s battle name.

It is impossible to verify the authenticity of the interview in which ISIS quotes the woman as confirming Coulibaly’s connection to the Islamic State. “I am in the land of the Caliphate, in the land governed by God’s law”, Boumedienne was quoted as saying.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

New Norwegians Take Top Roles in ISIS Jihadi Group

Several new Norwegian citizens have entered leadership positions in Isis, the militant group battling to establish a caliphate in Iraq and Syria, according to new information gathered by Norwegian military intelligence.

“We believe that some of the Norwegians in Isil (Isis) have risen to middle-management functions,” Lieutenant General Kjell Grandhagen, head of the Norwegian Intelligence Service, told Dagbladet newspaper.

Bastian Vasquez, a Norwegian Chilean from Bærum, outside Oslo, who was last summer reported to have become a prominent commanders within the organisation, was reportedly killed in the autumn.

A Norwegian Eritrean from Skien was also last summer reported to have become an Isis commander.

“There are still several Norwegians who hold leadership positions in Isil,” Grandhagen told the paper.

Many of the Norwegians fighting for Isis were first radicalised by the group Profetens Ummah, which is centred around Østfold, Vestfold and Telemark near Oslo.

According to Grandhagen, Isis commanders have been shaken by the group’s loss of the border town of Kobani, where they were defeated by Kurdish Peshmerga forces.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

State Dep’t: 3rd U.S. Embassy Evacuation in Mideast Doesn’t Mean U.S. Is Being Run Out of Town

(CNSNews.com) — First Syria, then Libya, now Yemen: The United States has now evacuated its embassies in all three of those countries, but on Wednesday, a State Department spokesman said “it’s not a reflection” of U.S. “engagement” or “leadership.”

A reporter asked spokesperson Jen Psaki: “This is the third embassy that you guys have had to, uncharitably perhaps say, abandon in an Arab Spring country since the first one, which was Syria. Is there a broader concern that you’re being — the U.S. is being run out of town in the Arab world?”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Syria: NGO: Clashes Between Hezbollah-Golan Insurgents

(ANSAmed) — BEIRUT, FEBRUARY 12 — Intense clashes between pro-Iranian Lebanese militia and local insurgents, including al Qaida-linked fighters, resumed on Thursday morning in south-west Syria right next the Golan Heights occupied by Israel over control of the territory close to Golan, according to the UK-based monitoring group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The group, close to the Syrian opposition, added that the Hezbollah are assisted by members of Iran’s Pasdaran corps and by Syrian government forces.

Members of the Jabhat an Nusra, the Syrian arm of al Qaida, are among the insurgents.

Syrian official media reported “important successes” achieved by government forces and that “several terrorists” were killed in an area south-west of the capital.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Turkey Detains 14 People Seeking to Join ISIL

(ANSAmed) — ISTANBUL, FEBRUARY 12 — Turkish security forces detained 13 foreigners and a Turk seeking to cross the border into Syria to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) militants, daily Today’s Zaman reported quoting military sources. Turkey has been accused in the past of being lax in controlling the border, which is used as a transit point by foreign fighters joining the civil war in neighbouring Syria.

The 14 suspects were caught on Monday afternoon in Oguzeli district of the southeastern province of Gaziantep, according to a statement on the website of the General Staff. After questioning, it said, the foreigners were handed over to police to be deported while the Turkish national was released on the orders of a state prosecutor. Turkish authorities have banned some 8,000 foreigners from entering the country over the past year alone because of security concerns, and had further improved coordination with European intelligence agencies, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said recently describing the Syrian conflict as a major national security threat.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

U.S. Believes Hostage Was Given to ISIS Fighter as Bride

The U.S. intelligence community believes that American hostage Kayla Mueller was given as a bride to a fighter with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, during her captivity, CBS News has learned.

The White House confirmed the Arizona woman’s death Tuesday.

She is the fourth American to die in the hands of the extremist group.

[This is in line with Islamic scripture, which relegates female captives to the status of war booty. CNN reports that the National Security Council (that is, the Obama White House) is trying to debunk this as “speculative and unproven at this time.” Rings true, though. — PW]

           — Hat tip: Papa Whiskey [Return to headlines]
 

UN Cracks Down on ISIS Financing by Banning Oil Purchases

The United Nations Security Council ramped up pressure on the Islamic State Thursday by threatening actions against anyone buying oil from the terror group, as well as the Al Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front.

The council also voted to ban antiquities trade with Syria and urged states to stop paying ransoms for hostages.

The 15-nation council unanimously passed the Russian-drafted resolution, which gives the council power to enforce decisions with sanctions on countries that buy the oil. The text urges governments to share information on ISIS’ financing abilities and forces countries to adopt laws and regulations that punishes those who are involved with terror-related activities.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

UN Finds Credible Ties Between ISIS and Israeli Defense Forces

“We’ve always been at war with Eastasia!”

So goes the famous line from George Orwell’s novel 1984. And so, too, can our forces today claim over a number of groups we find in the Middle East. In many ways, the enemy of my enemy is my friend when dealing with the Middle East, and in the battle between ancient tribal groups, when you lack an enemy, sometimes you need to make one.

In a new report from the UN, it is revealed that the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) were maintaining regular contact with members of the so-called Islamic State since May of 2013. Initial reports from the IDF stated that this was only for medical care for civilians, but that story fell apart when the UN observers identified direct contact between IDF forces and ISIS soldiers, including giving medical care to ISIS fighters. Observations even included the transfer of two crates from the IDF to ISIS forces, the contents of which have not been confirmed at this time. Further the UN report identified what the Syrians label a crossing point of forces between Israel and ISIS, a point of concern brought before the UN Security Council. This report from the UN strengthens the claims by the Syrian regime that Israel is heavily involved in operations within the nation.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]
 

What is Alarming in This Video of Jordan’s F-16s Striking ISIS; Implications, Troubling

After last week’s barbaric execution of a Jordanian pilot who was burned alive, the King of Jordan is vowing shock and awe against ISIS. I believe he will give it everything he’s got, but it won’t be enough. Military equipment is very, very expensive to get and maintain. The US is already giving Jordan $1 billion in economic and military aid this year and has signed an agreement with Jordan boosting security assistance by up to $400 million a year through 2017. But Obama has refused to give them drones and vital military equipment that could actually go towards defeating ISIS and the clock is ticking. Since Obama’s sympathies lie with Islamic extremists, I believe he wants to see Jordan fall and he may very well get his way. Jordan is being forced to use ineffective bombing campaigns, either putting many civilians or their pilots at risk and they will have a very limited success against ISIS.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]
 

Widow of Paris Gunman Appears in is Group Propaganda

Hayat Boumeddiene, the widow of Paris kosher store gunman Amédy Coulibaly and France’s most-wanted woman, has resurfaced in an interview in a French-language online propaganda magazine run by the Islamic State (IS) militant group.

Wednesday’s edition of “Dar al-Islam” (“The home of Islam” in Arabic) marked the first claim by the jihadist group that Boumedienne is in their territory, which spans parts of Syria and Iraq.

French authorities launched a search for her following the January 7-9 attacks on French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo and the Hyper Cacher grocery store in Paris that left 20 people dead, including Coulibaly and fellow gunmen Saïd and Chérif Kouachi.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Woman Wanted in French Terror Attack is With Islamic State, ISIS Mag Claims

The widow of a terrorist who was gunned down during an attack on a Paris supermarket last month is now residing in Islamic State territory, the terror group claims, in a new issue of its French-language magazine.

Hayat Boumeddiene is France’s most-wanted woman after her husband, Amedy Coulibaly, killed a policewoman in Paris and then shot and killed four shoppers the following day at a kosher grocery store.

The terror group’s French-language magazine, Dar al Islam, has published an interview that shows Boumeddiene is in the group’s territory in Syria and Iraq, Sky News reports.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Yazidis ‘Slaughtering Arabs Who They Say Helped ISIS Persecute Them’

Arabs living in Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh province say groups of heavily armed Yazidis have made four raids on the villages over the past two weeks, leaving 21 people dead and a further 17 missing.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]
 

Congress Ramps Up $1 Billion in Lethal Aid to Ukraine “To End the Conflict”

Up until now, on the record at least, all aid military and otherwise that the US has sent to Ukraine has been more in the vein of non-aggression.

Lethal aid is a line that has not been crossed yet, and for good reason. By all accounts, if the US were to lethally arm the Ukrainian government that it put into power over there, it would send a clear signal to Russia that America wants a full-blown war.

In fact, just days ago, Obama said that lethal weapons weren’t ruled out, and top Russian MP and close friend of Putin, Alexi Pushkov, warned the European Parliament that if the United States supplied lethal weapons to the Ukrainian government, it would not only undermine the whole European security system but would result in ‘all out war.’

Now that’s exactly what new legislation introduced in the US House aims to do, to the tune of one billion dollars.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]
 

Norway PM Snubs Russia on WW2 Bomber

Norway’s Prime Minister has flatly refused a Russian request for help to recover a crashed World War II fighter plane sunk beneath the seas on Norway’s Russian border, saying Russia “hadn’t chosen the best time” to ask.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Ukraine Cease-Fire Deal Announced After Marathon Minsk Talks

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a cease-fire agreement for eastern Ukraine had been reached Thursday, bringing an end to marathon talks between the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France.

The agreement is due to take effect at midnight Sunday (4 p.m. ET Saturday), but questions remain about whether the deal will hold up after the collapse of a previous cease-fire in September. French President Francois Hollande called the agreement a “serious deal” in comments to the BBC, but noted that not every issue had been resolved. Hollande said that he and German Chancellor Angela Merkel were committed to helping verify the cease-fire process.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Hindu Temple Dedicated to Narendra Modi is a “Threat to Secular India”

Indian Prime Minister stops the inauguration of the religious site, saying he was “appalled” by it. For a temple’s backer, Modi is like a “god”. For Fr Cedric Prakash, SJ, director of the Prashant Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace, “This is a deplorable initiative” because “Hinduism does not turn human beings into gods”.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Indian Prime Minister Modi ‘Appalled’ By ‘Shocking’ Statue Built to Worship Him

Narendra Modi expressed his horror at a temple built to deify him, saying it went against Indian culture.

The PM, who was instated last year, disapproved of the temple in Rajkot, Gujurat.

It was reported that approximately 350 of his supporters had collected funds to build the temple.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

China Executes One of the Nations’ Richest Men, Close to Zhou Yongkang, For Corruption

Liu Han, 46, was on the list of the 500 wealthiest businessmen in China. During the investigation that led to his death sentence, connections emerged with Zhou Yongkang, former “national security Tsar” who is awaiting trial. Liu’s brother and three “collaborators” also executed. The campaign “against the Tigers and the flies” launched by Xi Jinping.

Beijing (AsiaNews) — The Chinese central government has executed Liu Han, a former industry boss tied to the mining sector and one of the richest men in the country. Liu was linked to former “national security Tsar” Zhou Yongkang, disgraced after the seizure of power by President Xi Jinping. In May 2014 a court found him guilty of 13 criminal charges — including murder, organising casinos, running a mafia-style gang and illegally selling firearms — and sentenced him to death. In August, the appeal filed by his lawyers was rejected.

This morning, his younger brother Liu Wei and three “collaborators”, Xianbing Tang, Zhang Donghua and Tian Xianwei were executed with him. The executions were confirmed by the Intermediate People’s Court of the city of Xianning, Hubei province. Before carrying out the sentences, the five men were able to meet family members in prison.

Liu Han — 46 years and originally from the province of Sichuan — was the founder and owner of the Hanlong Group, a conglomerate founded in 1997 and with interests ranging from energy to real-estate. The court fined the company 300 million yuan (about 40 million euro) for several crimes, including the manipulation of stock and the use of private information to obtain bank loans. During the trial, the prosecution described the group as “a criminal organization, with an internal hierarchy similar to that of the Mafia, with profits obtained from criminal activities”.

With $ 650 million, Liu was among the 500 richest men in China. The meeting between Zhou Yongkang and the industry boss took place in 2003 through the eldest son of former Politburo member, now expelled from the Party and awaiting trial for corruption. Zhou Bin became Liu’s protégée at the direct request of the powerful father. During the investigation, details emerged about the relationship between industry boss and Party leader: the sale of real estate for inflated or ridiculous prices, “gifts” for hundreds of thousands of yuan, industrial fillers (and management salaries ) conferred without any reasons.

The trial and death sentence of Liu is one of the most spectacular results in the campaign “against the Tigers and the flies” of corruption in China, launched by President Xi Jinping soon after his coming to power in November 2012. The campaign aims to punish the communist officials at all levels who are guilty of pocketing public money or living an exaggerated lifestyle. The great political analyst and dissident Bao Tong, however, questions the true nature of this campaign, which in his opinion is a smokescreen for a settling of powers within the Party.

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

A Legal Way to Seek Refuge in Europe

Over 50 million people are currently displaced in the world, many of them caught in a cold and harsh winter. One fifth of these are Syrians in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. Approximately 2 million of the Syrian refugees are living in refugee camps in Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and Egypt, where access to medical care and medication is scarce.

Only about two percent of the refugees make their way to Europe. Most of them come through a dangerous boat ride across the Mediterranean Sea. I’m proud of the fact that Sweden last year granted asylum to 26,000 Syrians, just as many as Germany.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Italy: Milan Police Smash Eritrean People Smuggling Racket

Eritreans paid from 250 to 1300 euros to reach north Europe

(ANSA)- Milan, February 11 — Police in Milan province and elsewhere in Italy arrested a number of suspected people smugglers Wednesday who charged Eritreans up to 1300 euros to enter Italy illegally en route to northern Europe, police said.

Eritreans paid from 250 euros to as much as 1300 be passed through Italy on their way to Milan after landing in Sicily with final destination Germany, France or Sweden, police sources said.

The Africans could be obliged to wait for weeks along the way before receiving a ride in a van or a false passport and air ticket, the sources said.

As many as 25 arrest warrants were being carried out by the Milan flying squad with at least 14 people arrested while fake documents were forged in Athens and then sent to Milan.

The probe began in September 2013 after a car with five Eritreans aboard was intercepted in Monza heading for the frontier.

A Brazilian at the wheel of the car provided important details to start the inquiry into the network, said the sources.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Morocco Crackdown Continues at Melilla

Morocco on Wednesday vowed further crackdowns on illegal migrants after rounding up hundreds of foreigners close to the Spanish enclave of Melilla, in a move criticised by local rights groups.

Thousands of migrants have tried to reach Melilla or the other Spanish territory of Ceuta, which together make up Europe’s only borders with Africa.

Rights groups and the UN refugee agency have accused Spanish forces of using violence towards migrants trying to climb the border fences.

The flow of migrants seeking to enter Europe via Melilla has intensified, with more than 65 attempts to climb the fence in 2014, compared with 38 in 2013, Spain says.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Spain: Ceuta Judge Calls 16 Civil Guards in to Testify Over Migrant Drowning Tragedy

One year after 15 sub-Saharan immigrants drowned in controversial circumstances while trying to reach the Spanish North African exclave of Ceuta, a judge has decided to officially investigate 16 civil guard officers allegedly involved in the incident.

The tragedy took place on February 6, 2014 when the undocumented migrants were attempting to swim around a seawall at the Tarajal border crossing between Ceuta and Morocco.

The Spanish government has admitted that the Civil Guard fired rubber bullets and threw smoke canisters in the direction of a group of several hundred individuals making a concerted attempt to reach Spanish territory. After being driven back, 15 members of the group drowned.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Spanish Police Summoned Over Ceuta Migrant Deaths, Camp Raided Near Melilla

Authorities for the Spanish territory Ceuta bordering Morocco have summoned 16 police officers for questioning over the deaths of migrants. Separately, Moroccan security forces raided a migrant camp overlooking Melilla.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Feminist Aborts Male Child Because She ‘Couldn’t Bring Another Monster Into the World’

A feminist blogger has created a massive uproar by detailing her decision to kill her male child in an article entitled “I Aborted My Baby — Because it was a Boy”. She initially believed that she was going to have a girl, and she was making all sorts of plans for her future. But when an ultrasound showed that it was going to be a boy, she decided that she must have an abortion because she “couldn’t bring another monster into the world”. And she says that she would do it again “if the curse returns”. So what would cause a woman to want to kill her own child just because it is a boy? How twisted has feminism in America become if this is the result?

You can read her entire article right here. A lot of people that have read it have become extremely angry, but personally it makes me very sad. We will never know what that young boy could have become. We will never know what gifts he could have shared with the world. He will never love and be loved. And it is all because of a very selfish and cruel decision by his mother.

So is this what the “right to choose” is all about? When this young mother initially believed that she was going to have a girl, she was filled with joy…

“As spring turned into summer and my belly started to grow, my mind ran wild with the thoughts of teaching my daughter from a young age tolerance and feminist ideals. Choosing the right all-girls daycare, then elementary school, all so that she could grow up and thrive in an environment where women are told that they can do anything that they want to do. No man will be around to hurt her progress, no boys there to demean her or call her names.”

But then one day she went in for an ultrasound, and her joy turned into utter despair…

“I was in shock, I started crying, weeping at the thought of what I was about to curse the world with.”

To many people, this kind of radical feminism seems extremely bizarre. But the truth is that this is what they are teaching our young women at colleges and universities all over the nation. For much more on the state of our institutions of higher learning, please see my article from the other day.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]
 

Building on Lies

Yup—all lies. Because Saving the Planet provides an excuse for just about anything, they will do everything in their power to make people believe in Global Warming (known as Climate Change, when it’s cold). They took the temperature readings at various weather stations around the world and simply changed them into higher numbers. Presto! The gol-darn warmest year in history, according to the UN…

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]
 

Optics: Super Vision

Using techniques adapted from astronomy, physicists are finding ways to see through opaque materials such as living tissue.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Peak Oil: Theory or Myth?

Peak oil — the point in time when domestic or global oil production peaks and begins to forever decline — has been looming on the horizon for decades. Countless research reports, government studies and oil industry analyses have tried to pin down the exact year when peak oil will occur, to no avail.

The final word on peak oil may belong to Campbell, who was among the first to foresee its arrival: “The Stone Age did not end because we ran out of stone, but because bronze and iron proved to be better substitutes,” he wrote in 2001. “Firewood gave way to coal; and coal to oil and gas, not because they ran out or went into short supply but because the substitutes were cheaper and more efficient. But now, oil production does reach a peak without sight of a preferred substitute.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]