Gates of Vienna News Feed 2/14/2015

The two attacks in Copenhagen occupy a lot of news space tonight. The final bit of information I got (via Vlad) was from Twitter:

Police in Copenhagen have shot a man near Nørrebro train station; condition of man unknown, police say.

In other news, tribal leaders in Iraq say that Anbar province may collapse under the ISIS onslaught within hours. Meanwhile, a camel in Yemen refuses to leave its dead owner’s grave.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Fjordman, Insubria, JD, Jerry Gordon, 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.

» Feds Unveil New Surveillance Tool Developed by DARPA That Could Kill the ‘Dark Web’
» Homeless Man Charged With Necrophilia in Columbus Funeral Home
» Notes From a Defeat Jihad Summit
» Palestinians Want Role in Probing ‘Terrorist’ Killings of Chapel Hill Muslims
» Pan-Muslim Group Concerned Over ‘Rising U.S. Islamophobia’
» So Who is the Latest Mass Murdering Hater? Video
» Southern Poverty Law Center and the Dept. of Homeland Security
» USDA Approves First GMO Apple for Planting
» Will Saudi Prince Thwart Terror Probes?
Europe and the EU
» 1 Dead in Denmark in Attack on Artist Who Drew Mohammed
» At Least Two Injured After Shots Are Fired During Freedom of Speech Meeting in Copenhagen Cafe Where Artist Known for His Provocative Drawings of the Prophet Mohammed Was Speaking
» Cardinals Given Update on Child Sex Abuse Commission
» Copenhagen Shooting: We Debated Free Speech Despite the Gunfire — We Will Not Surrender
» Danish Police: Shots Fired at Copenhagen Synagogue
» Denmark: Students and Prisoners to Learn Together
» ESA’s Vega Mission Spaceplane Makes Perfect Re-Entry
» Free Speech Turns Deadly at Lars Vilks Event in Copenhagen
» Islamic State Calls for Terror Attacks in France, Belgium
» Italy’s Richest Man, Michele Ferrero, Creator of Nutella Empire, Dies After Illness
» Italy to Train Volunteer ‘Peace Corp’ With 500 Youth
» Italy: ‘Ndrangheta Infiltrating More Councils Says DIA
» Italy: Mafia Wouldn’t Exist Without Corrupt Politicians, Bindi Says
» Italy: Defence Minister Defends English Recruiting Posters for Navy
» Italy Invests Little and Badly in Schools, Says OECD
» Photos: 70 Years Ago, Dresden Was Destroyed. Here’s What it Looks Like Today
» Shots Fired at Copenhagen Synagogue: Danish Police
» Shots Fired at Lars Vilks Meeting in Copenhagen
» Sweden: Disgraced Former MP Secretly Behind Media Site
» Sweden: Rape Capital of the West
» Sweden Joins Finland and US in Baltic Air Exercises
» Sweden: Neo-Nazis Near Newspaper Offices Reportedly Detained
» UK: Video of Woman Telling Black Man ‘You Guys Used to be Slaves’ On Tube Investigated by Police
North Africa
» Egyptian Esotericism in Naples Showcased at Cairo Conference
Middle East
» Anbar Province Could ‘Collapse Within Hours,’ Says Iraqi Tribal Leader
» Danish Soldiers in Iraq Safe After Base Attack
» European Business Bodies Form Alliance for Iran Gold Rush
» Former PM Hariri in Lebanon for Anniversary of Father’s Assassination: Media
» ISIS Militants Probe Marine Air Base and Lose — Video
» Shahindokht Molaverdi: Iranian Women Are the Most Educated and Emancipated in the Middle East
» Yemeni Camel Refuses to Leave Owner’s Grave
» In Thirst for War, Sen. Inhofe Releases Fake Photos of Russian Troops in Ukraine
» Ron Paul: Ukraine Coup Planned by NATO and EU
» The US’ Suicidal Strategy on Ukraine
» The Untold Story of a Ukrainian Sniper Who Took Part in the Maidan Massacre
South Asia
» First (Actual) Demographic Data for Turkmenistan Released
» Indonesia: Saint Valentine’s Day Banned in Java Schools Because it is Too “Western”
Far East
» Hong Kong: Indonesian Maid Tortured, Employer Sentenced
» World’s Largest Shipbuilder Reports $3 Billion Loss as Baltic Dry Index Hits New Record-Er Low
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Nigerian Military Repels Boko Haram Attack on Northeast Town
Latin America
» Argentine President Accused of Bombing Cover-Up
» Obama Giving Immigrants ‘Amnesty Bonuses’ Despite Economic Woes
» Fourth Turning: The Shadow of Crisis Has Not Passed — Part 4

Feds Unveil New Surveillance Tool Developed by DARPA That Could Kill the ‘Dark Web’

The so-called “dark web” is where the visible Internet — easily accessible by public search engines and web crawlers — ends, and, everything else begins.

The dark web is an unseen iceberg composing more than 95% of the real activity of the web, where databases, password-protected websites, official records from federal, state and local governments, various intranets, messageboards, website archives, forums and vast catalogues of data all reside.

White and black hat hackers, law enforcement agencies and criminal networks all operate there in the shadows.

And now, DARPA, the Pentagon’s secretive Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, has developed a surveillance tool known as “Memex” that can be used to reveal what is hidden on the dark web, and pursue criminal groups of interest — and perhaps control or even kill the dark web for good.

[Comment: Future dissidents will have no where to hide.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Homeless Man Charged With Necrophilia in Columbus Funeral Home

Columbus police have charged a 26-year-old homeless man with necrophilia, Capt. Gordon Griswould confirmed Friday.

Domonique Smith was arrested Monday and charged with stealing a bicycle from Hill Watson Peoples Funeral Service on Hamilton Road. During the investigation of the burglary, police say they found evidence that Smith had sex with a woman who was deceased.

Smith was served with the necrophilia charge while in the Muscogee County Jail. If convicted, the charge carries a prison sentence of one to 10 years.

He is scheduled to appear Monday morning in Columbus Recorder’s Court on the necrophilia charge.

“The investigation led us to believe he had a sexual act with the woman’s body,” Griswould said.

Griswould did not comment on the kind of sexual act Smith allegedly performed on the body.

[That would fall under the rubric of “too much information.” — PW]

           — Hat tip: Papa Whiskey [Return to headlines]

Notes From a Defeat Jihad Summit

by Diana West

Earlier this week, I participated in the Center for Security Policy’s Defeat Jihad Summit.

I find that the several hours of speeches and discussion have distilled into some salient recollections and comments.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Palestinians Want Role in Probing ‘Terrorist’ Killings of Chapel Hill Muslims

(Reuters) — The Palestinian government on Saturday condemned as “terrorism” the killings of three young Palestinian-Americans in North Carolina and called on U.S. authorities to include its investigators in the probe.

Police have charged a neighbor with Tuesday’s shooting in the town of Chapel Hill of Deah Barakat, 23, his wife Yusor Abu-Salha, 21, and her sister Razan Abu-Salha, 19, saying the incident followed a dispute over parking.

But investigators said they were also looking into whether the suspect, Craig Stephen Hicks, was motivated by hatred toward the victims because they were Muslim.

Branding Hicks “an American extremist and hateful racist”, the Palestinian Foreign Ministry said the incident suggested a rise in dangerous discrimination against American Muslims.

“We consider it a serious indication of the growth of racism and religious extremism which is a direct threat to the lives of hundreds of thousands of American citizens who follow the Islamic faith,” the ministry said in a statement.

It called for “a serious investigation and the involvement of Palestinian investigators to clarify the circumstances of these assassinations and premeditated murders” in Chapel Hill.

[The funding our government provides these creatures should be terminated forthwith. — PW]

           — Hat tip: Papa Whiskey [Return to headlines]

Pan-Muslim Group Concerned Over ‘Rising U.S. Islamophobia’

A pan-Muslim body condemned Saturday the murders of three Muslim students in the United States by a neighbor who espoused anti-religious views, voicing concerns over what it said was increased “Islamophobia” in the country.

Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, his wife Yusor Mohammad, 21, and her sister Razan, 19, were shot dead on Tuesday in the North Carolina university town of Chapel Hill.

A 46-year-old neighbor, Craig Stephen Hicks, has been charged with three counts of murder over the killings, which sparked outrage among Muslims worldwide.

Police said they are investigating what may have been a parking dispute gone wrong, but have not ruled out a hate-based crime.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

So Who is the Latest Mass Murdering Hater? Video

When 3 Muslims were gunned down by a white guy in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, this week, immediately headlines were calling it domestic terrorism, but that abruptly came to a halt. Suddenly it was murder over a parking dispute. Why is that?

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Southern Poverty Law Center and the Dept. of Homeland Security

[Author’s Note: Last year Dr. Ben Carson upset Barrack Obama by speaking out against Obamacare during a public meeting in which Obama was also present. It caused shock waves and immediately catapulted Dr. Carson into the public eye and many now promote him as a possible presidential candidate in 2016. Yet, for this act, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has now placed Dr. Carson on its “Extremist” watch file. That’s what every American is faced with if they dare speak out against the radical Progressive agenda.

A while back I was asked to address the Congressional Tea Party Caucus on Capital Hill concerning the threat to Conservatives by the Southern Poverty law Center. This past year the SPLC issued yet another attack against me and those fighting Agenda 21, calling us a radical fringe element. And still, the SPLC has its contracts with the Department of Homeland Security. That’s why I believe the SPLC is a danger to freedom and why I’m renewing my call for the new Republican led congress to seriously investigate this dangerous anti-free speech hate group. Here was my testimony. TD]

Briefing to the Tea Party Caucus of the US House of Representatives

My name is Tom DeWeese, President of the American Policy Center, and according to the Southern Poverty Law Center I am a right wing extremist, a racist and a potentially violent terrorist.

In March, 2010, SPLC issued a report entitled “Rage on the Right: The Year in Hate and Extremism,” in which groups opposed to issues like the Obama health care plan and illegal immigration were lumped with white supremacist groups like the National Socialist Movement and Skin Heads.

[Comment: Recommended reading.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

USDA Approves First GMO Apple for Planting

Adding another genetically modified food to the growing list of biotech creations, the USDA has now approved the first GMO apple for commercial planting inside the United States. Slated for your dinner table, the new GMO apple is reportedly ‘resistant to turning brown when sliced or bruised.’

Coming just months after the USDA approved the first genetically modified potato, the news reminds us of the USDA’s declaration to give Monsanto and other biotech organizations ‘speedy approval’ when it comes to approving genetically modified foods. In other words, less testing and more rubber stamping.

According to the New York Times, the USDA ‘considered the issues’ over the new GMO apple (including the intense opposition), writing:

“The Department of Agriculture, which approved the apples for commercial planting, said on Friday that it had considered these issues. However, it said that under the law, approval is based on whether a genetically modified cropposes a threat to other plants. The department determined that the apples posed no such risk…. The so-called Arctic apples — which will be available in the Granny Smith and Golden Delicious varieties — are genetically engineered in a way to suppress the production of an enzyme that causes browning when cells in the apple are injured, from slicing, for example.”

The good news? You may actually be able to identify these GMO apples by their sale name ‘Arctic’ — or perhaps an FDA-approved label that they are considered ‘non-browning’. An indicator that we have not yet seem with genetically modified foods — and for good reason. After all, no one would actually purchase GMO foods (including the new GMO apple) if they carried an appropriate label.

Why do you think over 96% of Monsanto shareholders are against GMO labeling?

[Comment: Search the internet and read how GMO feed affected farmers’ livestock.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Will Saudi Prince Thwart Terror Probes?

CNN has a problem: one of its hosts, Michael Smerconish, is uncovering evidence about the Saudi role in 9/11. But a CNN analyst, Frances Townsend, has been rubbing elbows with one of the alleged Saudi financiers of al-Qaeda. Perhaps they ought to get together and compare notes.

The strange story begins with Smerconish on his CNN show last Saturday interviewing attorney Sean Carter, who recently took a sworn statement from 9/11’s so-called 20th hijacker, Zacarias Moussaoui.

Convicted terrorist Moussaoui, speaking from behind federal prison walls, had told Carter and other attorneys suing Saudi Arabia over its role in 9/11 that three major Saudi figures, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, Prince Bandar bin Sultan and Prince Turki al-Faisal, were on a list of donors to al-Qaeda prior to 9/11. The Saudi regime flatly denied the allegations and dismissed Moussaoui as a lunatic.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

1 Dead in Denmark in Attack on Artist Who Drew Mohammed

One person was killed Saturday when at least two gunmen opened fire on a Copenhagen blasphemy seminar in an apparent assassination attempt on a Swedish artist who had received death threats for publishing cartoons of the prophet Mohammed.

Lars Vilks, 68, was hustled into a side room of the Krudttoenden cafe by bodyguards and was unharmed. Three police officers were wounded, Danish TV2 reported. Police said the dead victim was a 40-year-old man.

Copenhagen police said in a statement that the assailants — who fired through a window — fled in a dark-colored Volkswagen Polo. Officers at the scene regarded the attack as an assassination attempt on Vilks, Copenhagen Police Incident Commander Jørgen Petersen told the Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet.

“I heard someone firing with an automatic weapons and someone shouting. Police returned the fire and I hid behind the bar. I felt surreal, like in a movie,” Niels Ivar Larsen, one of the speakers at the event, told the TV2 channel.

Helle Merete Brix, one of the organizers of the event, told TV2 that Vilks “sought shelter in a room when the shots fell” and that his bodyguards “did a formidable job.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

At Least Two Injured After Shots Are Fired During Freedom of Speech Meeting in Copenhagen Cafe Where Artist Known for His Provocative Drawings of the Prophet Mohammed Was Speaking

A gunman has opened fire on a cafe in Copenhagen which was hosting a debate with an artist known for his provocative drawings of the Prophet Mohammed.

At least two people were taken away from Krudttoenden cafe on stretchers this afternoon after the shots were fired.

Local television reports the window of the popular cafe, known for its jazz concerts, was riddled with about 30 bullet holes.

The cafe had been hosting a debate on freedom of speech titled Art, Blasphemy and Freedom of Expression, featuring a number of controversial speakers.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Cardinals Given Update on Child Sex Abuse Commission

Extraordinary consistory studying Catholic Church reforms

(ANSA) — Vatican City, February 13 — As an extraordinary consistory of cardinals continued two days of meetings Friday at the Vatican, child sexual abuse was on the agenda with an update on a commission appointed by Pope Francis on the protection of minors, according to a Vatican press release.

Cardinal Sean O’Malley, who heads the commission, gave a presentation to the College of Cardinals, said the director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi.

Reports on financial reforms in the Vatican, including at the scandal-plagued Vatican Bank, were also presented as the cardinals continue to work on changes to the Roman Curia.

That is the central body though which the pontiff runs the Catholic Church. It has reportedly been hit by infighting in recent years and in December the Argentine pontiff warned that the quest for power risked infecting clergymen with “spiritual Alzheimer’s”.

As Francis opened the extraordinary consistory on Thursday, he described its goal as being “always that of promoting greater harmony in the work of the various dicasteries and offices”.

He added that “reform is not an end in itself, but a means to give a strong Christian witness; to promote a more effective evangelization; to promote a more fruitful ecumenical spirit; to encourage a more constructive dialogue with all”.

Saturday an ordinary consistory will see 20 new cardinals created at the Vatican.

The reform of the Curia is part of the Francis’s drive to overhaul Vatican structures after the Church’s image was tarnished by scandals regarding child-sex abuse, financial and media leaks during the papacy of his predecessor, Benedict XVI. Last week, Francis said that Catholic Church must rid itself of the “scourge” of child sexual abuse — and he asked for “help” in making sure predator priests were a thing of the past.

Families must know that their children are safe within the Church, the pope said in a letter sent ahead of the first meeting of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Copenhagen Shooting: We Debated Free Speech Despite the Gunfire — We Will Not Surrender

Agnieszka Kolek

After the shooting subdued everyone started to come together. We decided to continue with the presentation. I’ve presented PFF’s work and we took a few questions from the audience. Everyone thanked us that we continued. We will not surrender; they cannot kill all of us.

Agnieszka Kolek is an organiser of the annual international festival ‘Passion for Freedom’

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Danish Police: Shots Fired at Copenhagen Synagogue

Danish police are reporting that shots have been fired at a synagogue in Copenhagen.

No further details are available at present.

[Return to headlines]

Denmark: Students and Prisoners to Learn Together

Soon law students and prisoners will be learning together in a new programme set up through Syddansk Universitet.

The new programme will be modelled on the US Inside-Out Prison Exchange Programme, where university students and prisoners together discuss crime, justice and social issues, while learning from each other.

“It can have a huge positive impact on both the inmates and my law students,” Linda Kjær Minke, a criminologist at the university told Jyllands-Posten. “It will be about general education, but also about personal development because it’s another way to learn.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

ESA’s Vega Mission Spaceplane Makes Perfect Re-Entry

(AGI) Rome, Feb 13 — The European Space Agency’s experimental IXV spaceplane mission was a resounding success, with both the Vega rocket launch and the re-entry going off without a hitch.

The mission is considered an important step towards technological advances in the re-entry of objects launched into space and their recovery. “Recovering objects that re-enter from space isn’t simple”, ESA’s Vega Exploitation Manager Renato Lanfranconi told AGI. “They’re subjected to heavy stress and therefore cannot be reutilised. That’s precisely the end goal of the mission: to develop technologies that are ever more avant-garde to manage atmospheric re-entry and reuse objects sent into space. Programmed and ‘managed’ re-entry will be vital for mankind’s missions in space, but it could also be important for cost reduction. Every space mission requires enormous financial investments that correct re-entry might help lower, at least in part”, Lanfranconi explained. The mission team was struck by the precision of the spaceplane’s re-entry at the exact spot in the Pacific Ocean that the experts had identified, making its recovery a simple process. “We could start the ride again, that’s what my colleagues and I said after the mission given the IXV’s perfect re-entry”, said Lanfranconi. The ESA is already planning for the future and the construction of a new, larger spaceplane that is technologically closer to the final objective. Italy played a vital role in the mission success: it largely financed the construction of both the IXV spaceplane and the Vega rocket with which it was launched. “Hollande himself thanked Italy’s industry today for the work it has done”, Lanfranconi said.

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

Free Speech Turns Deadly at Lars Vilks Event in Copenhagen

1 Dead and Police on hunt for Two Gunmen

Today’s deadly assault by two masked gunmen spraying more than 200 rounds of automatic fire into a crowd at a Café in Northern Copenhagen took the life of one 40 year old man with both Swedish Artist Lars Vilks the honoree and the French Ambassador present. They were unhurt in the attack. We interviewed Vilks when he appeared at Rabbi Jonathan Hausman’s Massachusetts synagogue in 2010 during a tour of the US under the auspices of the International Free Press society. He discussed several attacks on him, including a firebombing attack by jihadis at his home in Sweden. This followed the publication of his Mohammed as a roundabout dog sketches and assault against him at an Uppsala University lecture. We noted his raison d’être for the Mohammed cartoon:

Vilks created the Mohammed sketch for an exhibition in Sweden entitled “Dog in the Roundabout.” He explained that Sweden’s road/highway system is dotted with roundabouts (rotaries). Often, parks are created in such rotaries or there is simply open area in which people take their dogs for walks. In 2006, there was a national competition to create dogs in roundabouts. With his artist’s eye, Vilks drew dogs in the roundabout. He then began to play with different forms of dogs…solid form, blurry form, different sizes, dogs in different settings, interchanging the body of a dog with the head of a man, Mohammed. Vilks has stated that this series of drawings stirred the ire of the Muslim world. The catalyst for his sketches was the growing violence and changes in Swedish cities caused by Muslim immigrants who displayed unbridled anti-Semitism and anti-Western animus.

See a separate interview with Vilks in our collection, The West Speaks. Today’s fatal attack at the Krudttønden Café unfortunately reminds us that blasphemy under Sharia can result in death.

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

Islamic State Calls for Terror Attacks in France, Belgium

The Islamic State group on Saturday released a new video threatening new attacks against France and Belgium, a month after deadly attacks in the French capital by radical Islamists left 17 dead.

The nine-minute video in Arabic and French entitled “A Message to France” claims that Islamic State operatives are deployed throughout both European countries and await orders to commit additional attacks, specifically in Paris and Brussels, Israel Radio reported.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Italy’s Richest Man, Michele Ferrero, Creator of Nutella Empire, Dies After Illness

Michele Ferrero, the Italian who built up the chocolate empire of Nutella and Ferrero Rocher, has died. His son, Giovanni, takes over the family business which employs 22,000 people.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Italy to Train Volunteer ‘Peace Corp’ With 500 Youth

Body to respond to emergencies, help in conflict zones

(ANSA) — Rome, February 2 — The Italian government has created a Peace Corp involving some 500 young volunteers who will be trained to help with emergencies that could include work in conflict zones, cabinet ministers said Monday.

The new corp could also help with environmental emergencies, according to Labour Minister Giuliano Poletti. “This is an innovative initiative,” said Poletti.

A cabinet decree was signed last week enabling the corp, and plans include an initial body of about 300 volunteers that will begin work in mid-year with the rest added in 2016.

The foreign affairs ministry will help identify areas of the world where the volunteer Italians can help, officials said.

Their work could include supporting “democratization, monitoring respect for human rights, education, peace, support for civilian population that face environmental emergencies, conflict prevention, assistance to refugees,” added Luigi Bobba, labour undersecretary.

A possible model could be the United States Peace Corp, a volunteer body that first began working in 1961 and has served in about 140 countries.

Typically, a volunteer with the US Peace Corp serves abroad for two years in areas from agriculture to education to technology after three months of training.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: ‘Ndrangheta Infiltrating More Councils Says DIA

Cosa Nostra leadership includes ‘foreigners, Roma’

(ANSA) Rome, February 2 — ‘Ndrangheta, the Calabrian version of the Mafia, is infiltrating more local government organs in Italy and not just in its Calabrian power base, the national anti-mafia police department DIA said Monday.

Calabrian local councils face a ‘cyclical emergency’ of infiltration by the crime gang that led to as many as 14 councils in the region being dissolved in 2014, the DIA said in its regular six-monthly report.

But the report cautioned that the high number of councils being detected could be because police are on their guard in Calabria whereas in other regions they may be less so.

The ability of the Calabrian mafia to infiltrate councils in other regions where Calabrians have emigrated for decades should not be underestimated, the report says, citing the example of the council at Sedriano in Milan province dissolved in October 2013 because of mafia infestation.

The DIA also warned that the Sicilian Cosa Nostra now is being led by people “with a criminal curriculum without background” instead of the “leadership that meant the historic clan leaders”.

This is due to “the growing enrolment of foreign manpower and even of (Roma) gypsies”, according to the DIA, which also cautioned that the Sicilian crime organisation has undergone “re-generative metamorphoses” toward “more flexible spheres of influence” than in the past.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Mafia Wouldn’t Exist Without Corrupt Politicians, Bindi Says

Anti-mafia commission chair slams local-government corruption

(ANSA) — Rome, February 4 — Italy’s various mafias are “rooted” in the country’s economy, and to combat them, politicians have to refrain from “letting themselves be corrupted,” said Rosy Bindi, chair of parliament’s anti-mafia commission, on Wednesday in an interview with Radio Anch’Io.

Bindi said the most striking thing is that the mafias have spread outside of their original territorial boundaries, specifically citing last December’s bust of a homegrown Rome mafia that was operating in collusion with local city government officials and politicians.

“It’s typical of the mafia to find footing in politics and the public administration, and now it’s mainly through local political entities,” Bindi said.

“The tight bond between corruption and mafia wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for cooperation on the part of those with political and administrative power”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Defence Minister Defends English Recruiting Posters for Navy

Pinotti says slogan ‘Be Cool, Join the Navy’ is effective

(ANSA) Rome, February 11 — Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti rebutted criticism Wednesday of a military recruiting campaign using the English slogan “Be Cool, Join the Navy,” saying it has boosted the numbers joining Italy’s senior service.

Pinotti was responding to an attack by right-wing Fratelli d’Italia (FdI, Brothers of Italy) MP Fabio Rampelli who said the minister should be suspended from office for ‘wounding patriotism” with the advertisement painted prominently on Rome city buses.

“The campaign is effective and addresses itself to young people who now compare each other on the Web all over the world,” she told the lower house.

Rampelli began his speech by saying “dear colleagues” in English, adding that “if I continued like that the Speaker would have stopped me speaking — I ask myself how it came into the mind of the Italian Navy to launch, with our money, a campaign in the English language to recruit young people — this is an unacceptable slogan.” Pinotti said that applications to join the Naval academy have increased by 20 %. “The fact that the campaign is discussed also in parliament is evidence of the effectiveness of the message showing the capacity of the armed forces to renew themselves,” she said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy Invests Little and Badly in Schools, Says OECD

Agency urges Italian government to boost efficiency in education

(ANSA) — Paris, February 9 — The Italian government invests too little and too inefficiently in education, the OECD said Monday.

In a report on the economy, the agency said that the country “must improve the fairness and efficiency of its educational system,” adding Italy is not seeing enough value for what it does spend.

The Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development added that Italy must also do more to improve opportunities for those with lower levels of skill.

Premier Matteo Renzi has said that improving Italy’s education system, particularly hiring more teachers and increasing spending on schools, was a high priority for his government.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Photos: 70 Years Ago, Dresden Was Destroyed. Here’s What it Looks Like Today

Exactly 70 years ago, the eastern German city of Dresden was virtually destroyed within one night in an attack that killed 25,000. The morning after having been bombed by Allied forces, the city’s historic city center lay in ruins.

Since then, the attack on Dresden has often been questioned and criticized. Even amid the horrors of WWII, the firebombing stands out as a particular example for the atrocities of war.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Shots Fired at Copenhagen Synagogue: Danish Police

(Reuters) — One person was shot in the head and two police were wounded in an attack on a synagogue in central Copenhagen, Danish police said, adding that it was too early to say whether the incident was connected to an earlier one at an arts cafe.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Shots Fired at Lars Vilks Meeting in Copenhagen

BREAKING: Shots have been fired at meeting in Copenhagen attended by controversial Swedish artist Lars Vilks, known for his depictions of the Prophet Muhammad, according to Danish media reports. The artist himself was unhurt, but several police officers were injured, according to the reports.

The artist was attending a debate on the theme of ‘Art, blasphemy and freedom of speech’ in the Österbo area of the Danish capital.

Delegate Dennis Meyhoff Brink, a satire researcher, told Jyllands Posten that he heard 30 shots over a two minute period. Danish security police then ordered everyone to remain inside.

“[Security police] came running through the room brandishing guns, and they took Lars Vilks out a back door.”

Copenhagen police confirmed to the Berlingske Tidenen newspaper that three officers were wounded in the shooting and that two suspected gunmen were at large.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Sweden: Disgraced Former MP Secretly Behind Media Site

The newspaper Dagens Nyheter reports that Erik Almqvist, who was expelled from the top leadership of the Sweden Democrat Party and supposedly stripped of all party functions, has been secretly running the anti-immigration party’s online news service.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Sweden: Rape Capital of the West

by Ingrid Carlqvist and Lars Hedegaard

In 1975, the Swedish parliament unanimously decided to change the former homogeneous Sweden into a multicultural country. Forty years later the dramatic consequences of this experiment emerge: violent crime has increased by 300%.

If one looks at the number of rapes, however, the increase is even worse. In 1975, 421 rapes were reported to the police; in 2014, it was 6,620. That is an increase of 1,472%.

Sweden is now number two on the global list of rape countries. According to a survey from 2010, Sweden, with 53.2 rapes per 100,000 inhabitants, is surpassed only by tiny Lesotho in Southern Africa, with 91.6 rapes per 100,000 inhabitants.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Sweden Joins Finland and US in Baltic Air Exercises

As tensions increase between Russia and the West, it’s been reported that Swedish fighters will be taking part in exercises over the Baltic with American and Finnish warplanes.

Neither Sweden nor Finland are part of NATO, but are members of the Partnership for Peace program. In recent weeks some opposition politicians have called for a study into possible Swedish NATO membership, a proposal the government has rejected.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Sweden: Neo-Nazis Near Newspaper Offices Reportedly Detained

Several people have been taken into custody in Stockholm, on suspicion of illegal threats to a group.

The police have declined to say who was under threat, but according to Radio Stockholm those detained were neo-Nazis who had been in the vicinity of the offices of the newspapers Dagens Nyheter and Expressen.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UK: Video of Woman Telling Black Man ‘You Guys Used to be Slaves’ On Tube Investigated by Police

A video of a woman who appears to tell a passenger that his ancestors “used to be slaves” during an argument on the London Underground is being investigated by police.

The incident had erupted between the woman, who appears to be European, and the black man on the Jubilee line train between Stratford and West Ham.

The man can be heard shouting at the woman and he said she allegedly told him “don’t touch me” after he accidentally bumped into her.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Egyptian Esotericism in Naples Showcased at Cairo Conference

Scholar details role of processions

(by Rodolfo Calò) (ANSAmed) — CAIRO — Marian processions inspired by the Egyptian goddess Isis, squares, necropolises and churches in Naples and the surrounding Campania region all bear the vestiges of Egyptian esoteric sciences.

The scholar Marco Ruggiero illustrated these influences during a recent conference at the Italian Cultural Institute in the Egyptian capital. Practices linked to Isis, the most highly venerated Egyptian goddess and and sister-bride of Osiris, were seen in Naples during the Roman era and remains of Isis worship can still be glimpsed in some processions, especially marian ones, noted Ruggiero. In Pollica, a town in the Salerno area in Parco del Cilento, a procession is held on July 2 for the Our Lady of Grace feast day in which women — often barefooted — carry miniature boats decorated with flowers and candles on their heads and sing devotional songs. The practice is a descendant of the ‘Navigium Isidis’ (‘Isis’s ship’), which in Antiquity consisted in a masked procession featuring a boat filled with floral tributes, noted the esoteric sciences expert. Other common votive containers include a basket, a castle and an egg, all of which are symbols for Isis, he said. ‘Isis’s ship’ reappears in Acciaroli as well (the tourism area of Pollica) during the Feast of the Assumption on the second Sunday of August, when a statue of the Virgin Mary is loaded onto a fishing boat for a procession at sea, followed by other fishing boats loaded with believers holding candles. Orphic-Dionysian and Isis rites have been brought to Naples since Antiquity by merchants, Ruggiero said. As examples, he noted a votive inscription from the second century dedicated to Isis, a statue, the memory of a temple built by her worshipers and the ‘Piazzetta Nilo’ ( ‘Nile Square’). In the Sanità area of the city there is also the ‘Cimitero delle Fontanelle’ (‘Cemetery of the Fountains), a pagan necropolis where a burial system was used that was reminiscent of mummification. Until 1700, the burials were in a niche shaped like a chair in which the body was situated in a sitting, ‘Pharaonic’ position. “It may just be a coincidence, but in Naples there are two churches in honor of Santa Maria Egiziaca, an Egyptian nun and hermit born in Alexandria in 344 and revered as a saint in the Catholic, Orthodox and Coptic Churches,” the expert said, citing the monumental Baroque church named after her in Forcella and one on the Pizzofalcone hill, one of the city’s basilicas. More evidence of the link between Naples and Egypt can be found in the Egyptian Collection at the Naples National Museum of Archaeology (MANN), considered one of the most important in the world for Roman era history.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Anbar Province Could ‘Collapse Within Hours,’ Says Iraqi Tribal Leader

An Iraqi tribal leader said Saturday that Islamic State militants are quickly gaining ground in Anabar province and predicted Iraqi army forces could “collapse within hours” if tribal forces withdraw.

Sheikh Naim al-Gaoud, a Sunni Muslim leader of the Albu Nimr tribe, called for more U.S. intervention in the region, including ground troops and arming tribes directly, CNN reported Saturday.

U.S. officials have insisted that the terrorist group is on the run in Iraq in Syria, but Mr. al-Gaoud told reporters that that is not the case in Anbar.

“In Anbar, we’re losing ground, not gaining,” he said, according to CNN.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Danish Soldiers in Iraq Safe After Base Attack

The Ayn al-Asad military base in western Iraq, where 120 Danish troops are stationed, was attacked on Friday by Islamic State forces. No Danes were harmed in the attack.

John Riber Nordby, the commander of the Forsvarsakademiet, the Defence Academy, told DR that there is “no reason to fear” that there will be reports of soldiers being killed.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

European Business Bodies Form Alliance for Iran Gold Rush

As talks progress between Iran and six world powers over Tehran’s controversial nuclear program, multinational companies are beginning to prepare for an eventual lifting of sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

But despite the thaw at the political level, European companies feel impeded in trading with Iran, in part because many banks refuse to handle their payments. The companies fear their American rivals will be able to move first once sanctions are lifted.

In an effort to level the playing field, three European business bodies — the Iranian chambers of commerce of France, Germany and the U.K. — have formed an alliance to facilitate business between Iran and the European Union.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Former PM Hariri in Lebanon for Anniversary of Father’s Assassination: Media

Beirut, Reuters—Lebanon’s former prime minister Saad Al-Hariri arrived back in the country overnight on a rare visit and will make a speech on Saturday to mark the 10th anniversary of his father Rafik’s assassination, Lebanese media said.

He will speak at a ceremony dedicated to his father in central Beirut, state news agency NNA and pro-Hariri newspaper Al-Mustaqbal said. Soldiers patrolled streets near the venue in the capital on Saturday and blocked off traffic.

Rafik Hariri was killed in a 2005 Beirut waterfront bombing that brought the country back to the brink of civil war.

Five members of the Lebanese Shi’ite group Hezbollah have been indicted over the killing by an international tribunal in The Hague, which is being closely watched in Lebanon. The trial in absentia began in January 2014 and Hezbollah has denied any involvement in the killing.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

ISIS Militants Probe Marine Air Base and Lose — Video

Infowars reporter Joe Biggs discusses the events today at Marine Base al-Asad in Iraq where ISIS insurgents led an attack against US Marines with small arms fire and suicide bombers.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Shahindokht Molaverdi: Iranian Women Are the Most Educated and Emancipated in the Middle East

The Iranian vice president spoke to AsiaNews about the status of women in her country. Iranian women are in a better position than those of other Islamic nations of the area in terms of education, university enrolment and health. In Iran, efforts are being made to boost women’s participation and representation in politics and the economy.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) — “Since the 1979 revolution, Iranian women have made great strides and are in many respects better off than their counterparts in other Muslim countries in the region. However, their work is not done yet; they still have a long journey ahead,” said Shahindokht Molaverdi, vice president of the Islamic Republic of Iran for Women and Family Participation Affairs.

Ms Molaverdi spoke to AsiaNews after she was in the Vatican for a meeting with a delegation of the Pontifical Council for the Family. On the same occasion, Iran’s vice president also met with Pope Francis in a private audience. Later she spoke with reporters.

During the press briefing, she noted that Iran’s female population stands out in the education field. “There is no comparison with other Muslim countries in the region in terms of education, university enrolment and percentage of graduates. At present, 60 per cent of university students are women. Half of all educated people are women.”

Such a good literacy level also has positive effects on health. “Women’s well-being is better than in other countries,” Ms Molaverdi told AsiaNews.

However, “When it comes to participation in the economy, the journey is still long,” the vice president explained. “The same goes for income. For the same job, women earn less than men.”

One of the most important points of the current government’s programme “is to increase the presence of women in politics and decision-making positions,” she said. “Our goal is to give women access to the economic and policies resources they are entitled to and deserve. For now, we plan to increase by 10 per cent the number of women in senior positions each year.”

Likewise, “We are looking for ways to make sure that more women run in the upcoming parliamentary elections, through quotas for example,” she said. “This way, women now constitute 27-30 per cent of all Members of Parliament in Afghanistan. In Iraq, they are 35 per cent.”

“However, quotas are not the only way forward,” she added. “We are studying other ways to reach the same goal. One would be for parties to have more women leaders or have more of them run for office in the country’s various elections.”

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

Yemeni Camel Refuses to Leave Owner’s Grave

Has neither ate nor drank in days, offers to buy it

(ANSAmed) — DUBAI, FEBRUARY 3 — In a small Yemeni village, a camel has refused to leave its owner’s grave after ‘taking part’ in his funeral.

The story bears a resemblance to that of Hachiko, a Japanese dog who lived on the gravestone of his deceased owner for years and then had a bronze monument built in his honor in front of the Shibuya station and gained world renown after a film starring Richard Gere was told his story. The camel of Ali Al-Na’na sat down in the cemetery next to the grave in the Sidah village of the central Ibb province after recognizing the man’s smell. After the funeral was over and attendees had left, Al-Na’na’s son forced the camel to go home with him to prevent him from being stolen. Once the camel got to the farm, however, he turned around and went back to his owner’s grave, reports Gulf News, and refuses to eat or drink. In only a few days the camel and his loyalty have become an attraction for visitors and several offers have been made by would-be buyers in the Gulf. Camels are a regional resource that in recent years has made it onto the international markets for camel milk chocolate and hamburgers, and are also admired for their physical features. A beauty contest with a large number of prizes has been established, and some camels cost over a million euros.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

In Thirst for War, Sen. Inhofe Releases Fake Photos of Russian Troops in Ukraine

In his best attempt to impersonate war crazed Senator John McCain, Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma released photographic proof of Russian solders in Ukraine in order to push forward his bill to provide U.S. arms to Ukraine. Or so he thought…

There’s just one slight problem here. Some of the photos are totally fake, and are actually from Russia’s 2008 conflict with Georgia. More from the Washington Free Beacon:

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Ron Paul: Ukraine Coup Planned by NATO and EU

As Ron Paul recently exclaimed, the war propagandists are very active and are winning over the support of many unsuspecting American citizens. So we thought the followingg 90 seconds of ‘pure Paul’ would provide a refreshingly different perspective as he explains, “I’m not pro-Russia, I’m not pro-Putin, I’m pro-facts.”

“The Ukraine coup was planned by NATO and EU… The best thing we can do for Ukraine is get the foreigners out.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

The US’ Suicidal Strategy on Ukraine

As I’ve written previously, the West, especially the US, was instrumental in toppling the democratically-elected President of Ukraine back in February 2014. US officials were caught on tape plotting the coup, and then immediately supported the hastily-installed and extremist officials that now occupy the Kiev leadership positions.

In short, the crisis in Ukraine was not the result of Russia’s actions, but the West’s. Had the prior President, Yanukovych, not been overthrown, it’s highly unlikely that Ukraine would be embroiled in a nasty civil war. Relations between Russia and the West would be in far better repair.

Russia, quite predictably and understandably, became alarmed at the rise of fascism and Nazi-sympathetic powers on its border. Remember the repeated statements by Kiev officials recommending extermination of the Russian speakers who make up the majority living in Eastern Ukraine. Were a parallel situation happening in Canada, for example, I would fully expect the US to be similarly and seriously interested and involved in the outcome.

The only people seemingly surprised by this predictable Russian reaction towards protecting its people and border interests are the neocons at the US State Department who instigated the conflict in the first place. In my experience, these are dangerous people principally because they seem to lack perspective and humility…

Looking at the state of things, it’s not going well militarily for the Kiev regime. Huge losses and persistent reports of low morale among Ukrainian troops tell the tale: Kiev is losing badly…

The rebels have encircled and ruined a number of Kiev forces over the past several months in what are called ‘cauldrons’, where the encircled forces are slowly ground down and destroyed. This appears to have finally happened in Debatlseve, which would be just another in a long string of heavy losses for Kiev.

The losses in prior cauldrons have been staggeringly high, with many analysts concluding that Kiev has been underreporting losses by as much as 90%.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

The Untold Story of a Ukrainian Sniper Who Took Part in the Maidan Massacre

One of the biggest mysteries surrounding the February 2014 US-staged coup in Ukraine and the violent overthrow of then president Yanukovich, is “who started shooting first” by which we, of course, refer to the lethal shooting escalation between the government’s police force and random snipers who conducted target practice with various citizens and officials of the law during the crackdown at the Euro Maidan square protests, which eventually escalated into all out violence whose culmination was the overthrow of the president.

In order to preserve the western narrative that the entire event was not one staged, massive, and very deadly false flag event, protest organisers have always denied any involvement. Which is why stories such as the one we wrote in March, which revealed that “Behind The Kiev Snipers It Was Somebody From The New Coalition” — A Stunning New Leak Released” got precisely zero traction in the western press.

But now, for the first time, one man has spoken up and told the BBC a different story. The story of “Sergei” does not answer all the questions, or even most of them. But it does shine a light on what else happened, what has not been reported in the western media until now, and why the events played out as they did.

It goes without saying, that since this is a story about Ukraine, one sourced by an anonymous Ukraine resident, and one which has been filtered by the establishment media, that everything below should be taken with a huge grain of salt.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

First (Actual) Demographic Data for Turkmenistan Released

Turkmenistani authorities have traditionally withheld ethno-demographic data for political and economic reasons. Downplaying or exaggerating the size of ethnic minorities has been used to get investment from neighbours. A Turkmenistani Internet portal published unreleased data.

Ashgabat (AsiaNews) — The population of Turkmenistan is around 4.8 million and not 5.5 million as stated by the government. Ethnic Turkmen represent 85.6 per cent are; 5.8 per cent are ethnic Uzbek and 5.1 per cent are ethnic Russian.

Overall, 4 per cent of the population owns 45 per cent of the country’s wealth, and 60 per cent of families do not own their own homes.

The figures come Turkemistan’s 2012 census, previously unreleased by the government, that was recently published in part on a Turkmenistani Internet portal.

Turkmenistan is perhaps the most opaque country in Asia, if not the world. However, some officials of the Turkmenistan State Committee on Statistics, speaking on condition of anonymity, provided with selected census data from the December 2012 enumeration.

Demographic data are a “sensitive” issue for Turkmenistani authorities. For the past 25 years, the government has not released actual census data; instead, “official” statistics have been used in foreign policy to get aid.

On some occasions, the government data showed higher figures for the indigenous population. On others, the authorities indicated higher numbers for non-native groups to encourage more investment, especially from Russia.

The 2012 census claims that 100 per cent of men and 90 per cent of women of working age are working, figures that says are almost certainly false given the high level of unemployment that anyone can see “with an unaided eye.”

Last month, Turkmenistani diplomats at a United Nations conference in Geneva said that ethnic Uzbeks formed somewhat fewer than 9 per cent, ethnic Russians made up 2.2 percent, and ethnic Kazakhs are 0.4 per cent. The goal was to use the false data to get Uzbekistan to invest in its mining sector.

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

Indonesia: Saint Valentine’s Day Banned in Java Schools Because it is Too “Western”

Festivities on and off school grounds have been cancelled in Depok, Bekasi and Surabaya because they “tarnish our youth’s future”. Over the past ten years, students and the urban middle class have taken to the celebration, but for most Indonesians, it means little.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) — Three regencies (districts) on the island of Java — Depok, Bekasi and Surabaya — have banned Saint Valentine, the patron saint of lovers, a Western tradition that has spread to the East over the past few years, especially in schools and among young people.

Because of the ban, all festive activities, including school parties, have been cancelled. In Bekasi, Deputy Mayor Ahmad Syaikhu said, “Such a celebration is not relevant to local Indonesian social mores,” and would only “tarnish our youth’s future.” Similarly, the head of the regency’s Education Bureau quickly sent a memo to all schools to this effect.

In Depok (West Java), the local Education Bureau chief followed suit, banning “Valentine’s Day celebration both on and off school premises”.

In Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, many people took to celebrating the patron saint of lovers over the past ten years, especially among urban youth, private school students and the middle classes.

Schools in particular have become the venue of choice for Valentine Day-related activities with students organising a variety of events, and giving each other chocolate and flowers outside school hours in an atmosphere of fun.

Shopping malls too have become places for young people and lovers to meet over a meal. However, for most ordinary Indonesians, the celebration means nothing.

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

Hong Kong: Indonesian Maid Tortured, Employer Sentenced

The court convicted Law Wan-tung of 18 out of 20 criminal charges. These include “abuse, torture, criminal intimidation and unpaid wages” against Erwiana Sulistyaningsih a young domestic worker enslaved by her employers. Immediately after the ruling, the young Indonesian knelt to pray and said: “I forgive my torturers, but justice must take its course.”

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) — A Hong Kong court has sentenced a citizen on charges of “abuse, torture, criminal intimidation and unpaid wages” against an Indonesian migrant, hired through an agency as a domestic worker. The judges considered Law Wan-tung guilty of 18 out of 20 counts presented: the two for which she was not found guilty concern another collaborator, employed at a later date. The sentence will be made public at the end of February.

The story of Erwiana Sulistyaningsih, 23 (pictured right after her return home), triggered a wave of global outrage and has turned the spotlight on the real situation of the approximately 300 thousand migrants from different parts of Asia, who enter the territory in search of a job opportunity. These people suffer abuse while still in their country of origin, which they can only leave through “specialized agencies” and they often end up in a nightmare of unpunished crimes and slavery.

The woman was hospitalized in January 2014 in a hospital in Central Java: her body bore the marks of cuts, burns and bruises of varying gravity that were inflicted by her former employer. Her health conditions have improved, but she was bed bound for a considerable period and then confined to a wheelchair. During the trial, the defense argued that Erwiana “is an opportunist who procured the wounds to cover her clumsiness and now wants her employers to pay”.

The abuses were reported by the agency that handled her recruitment only January 12, 2014, two days after her return to Indonesia. According to the Association of Indonesian Migrant Workers, when she was taking her to the airport, her employer handed her 100 Hong Kong dollars (about 12 €) and a T-shirt, warning her not to talk to anyone before takeoff.

Immediately after the guilty verdict against her tormentor, Erwiana knelt outside the court and prayed to Allah. After her prayer he told the South China Morning Post: “As a human being, I can forgive Law Wan-tung and her family. But justice must take its course.”

When testifying against Law, she told Hong Kong’s District Court that she was assaulted frequently, with rulers, clothes hangers and metal tubes from a vacuum cleaner. She was given inadequate food and water and on several occasions was forced to urinate in plastic bags due to a toilet ban Law imposed on her.

Throughout her ordeal, she thought only of escape — even considering sneaking to freedom through one of the flat windows. But I didn’t have the courage. “It was on the 38th floor, I was afraid that I would fall down and die. I was locked up in the house. I couldn’t open the door. If I opened the door, the alarm would sound and the employer would hit me. Sometimes when I recall the time I was hit and abused, I will cry. I can’t contain my tears”.

However, her ordeal has also produced some positive results. In addition to obtaining justice, she was admitted last July 2014 at the Sanata Dharma University in Jakarta with a scholarship to attend the courses of business management and economics. Four months later, in November, she was invited to Thailand to speak at the Asia Pacific Civic Society Forum.

Honored the invitation, says: “In the beginning, I didn’t want this case to be this big because it’s too much of a burden for me emotionally and psychologically. I was glad that my case could reveal other cases that the government hadn’t paid attention to. really hope that the governments will recognise domestic workers not only in words, but action”.

This case has underscored the plight of foreign workers in Hong Kong. Most of them are from the Philippines and Indonesia, mostly employed as domestic helpers or in cleaning companies. However given the low wages, difficulty in finding housing, inability to obtain citizenship and a veiled racist hostility, their life is often very complicated. Despite the internal laws and regulations, the Hong Kong authorities often seem to prefer to ignore their terrible situation.

This scourge does not only affect Hong Kong or mainland China however. With the full backing of by Pope Francis, on 8 February the universal Church celebrated the first World Day of Prayer and Reflection against Trafficking in human beings, a phenomenon that affects almost 23 million people worldwide today.

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

World’s Largest Shipbuilder Reports $3 Billion Loss as Baltic Dry Index Hits New Record-Er Low

“Some Shipping Folks Are Sinking…” South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries, the world’s largest shipbuilder, has reported operating loss of KRW 3.25 trillion in 2014, or about USD $2.96 billion. The operating loss in 2014 is compared to a profit of KRW 802 billion in 2013.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Nigerian Military Repels Boko Haram Attack on Northeast Town

Nigeria’s military Saturday repelled an attack on a northeastern town by Boko Haram Islamic extremists who, as they retreated, warned residents not to participate in the country’s elections in March.

Scores of the rebels assaulted Gombe in the morning and engaged in heavy fighting with the army. Two air force jets also attacked the rebels.

The Boko Haram fighters left in a convoy of vehicles carrying dozens of corpses, according to residents.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Argentine President Accused of Bombing Cover-Up

Argentine prosecutors formally accused President Cristina Kirchner on Friday of shielding Iranian officials from prosecution over a 1994 Jewish center bombing, renewing the firestorm around the embattled leader.

The accusation advances the case against Kirchner that was being pursued by late prosecutor Alberto Nisman before he died mysteriously on the eve of congressional hearings on his allegations.

Nisman, 51, was found in his Buenos Aires apartment with a gunshot to the head after alleging that Kirchner had protected high-ranking Iranian officials from prosecution over the bombing in exchange for oil.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Obama Giving Immigrants ‘Amnesty Bonuses’ Despite Economic Woes

Millions of immigrants benefiting from President Barack Obama’s executive actions could get a windfall from the IRS, a reversal of fortune after years of paying taxes to help fund government programs they were banned from receiving.

Armed with new Social Security numbers, many of these immigrants who were living in the U.S. illegally will now be able to claim up to four years’ worth of tax credits designed to benefit the working poor. For big families, that’s a maximum of nearly $24,000, as long as they can document their earnings during those years.

Some Republicans are labeling the payments “amnesty bonuses,” one more reason they oppose Obama’s program shielding millions of immigrants from deportation.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Fourth Turning: The Shadow of Crisis Has Not Passed — Part 4

“The risk of catastrophe will be very high. The nation could erupt into insurrection or civil violence, crack up geographically, or succumb to authoritarian rule. If there is a war, it is likely to be one of maximum risk and effort — in other words, a total war. Every Fourth Turning has registered an upward ratchet in the technology of destruction, and in mankind’s willingness to use it.” — Strauss & Howe — The Fourth Turning

The drumbeats of war are pounding. Sanctions are implemented against any country that dares question American imperialism (Russia, Iran). Overthrow and ignominious imprisonment or death awaits any foreign leader questioning the petrodollar or standing in the way of America spreading democracy (Iraq, Libya, Syria, Ukraine, Egypt). The mega-media complex of six corporations peddle the government issued pabulum about ISIS being an existential threat to our freedoms; Russia being led by the new Hitler and poised to take over Europe; Syria gassing innocent women and children; and Iran only six months away from a nuclear bomb (they’ve been six months away for the last fourteen years). Hollywood does their part with patriotic drivel like American Sniper, designed to compel low IQ unemployed American youths to swell with pride and march down to enlistment centers, located in our plentiful urban ghettos.

The most disconcerting aspect of Fourth Turnings is they have always climaxed with total destructive all-out war. Not wars to enrich arms dealers like Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria, but incomprehensibly violent, brutal, wars of annihilation. There are clear winners and losers at the conclusion of Fourth Turning wars. Leaders mobilize all forces, refuse to compromise, define their enemies in moral terms, demand sacrifice on the battlefield and home front, build the most destructive weapons imaginable, and employ those weapons to obtain victory at any cost.

[Comment: Highly recommended reading.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

3 thoughts on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 2/14/2015

  1. Je suis Danois

    Tonight we’re all Danish, says Charlie-journalist and doctor Patrick Pelloux

    The police shot dead the person at Nørrebro, according to Jyllands-Posten.

  2. Notes From a Defeat Jihad Summit.

    Surely being Moderately Muslim is like being Moderately pregnant – it doesn’t exist. Islam is Islam is Islam, geddit?

  3. I just read,that the mayor of Paris intends to visit Copenhagen.Hopefully the
    integration-mayor of Copenhagen will find time to show the parisian mayor
    some of the no-go-zones around Copenhagen.Perhaps the lady from Paris will
    then be able to recognize a no-go-zone when she sees one………

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