Gates of Vienna News Feed 7/20/2015

Between 150 and 200 migrants are drifting in a boat in the eastern Mediterranean off the coast of Greece. Two Greek merchant vessels are alongside it, in case the refugees need help or rescue. More than 28,000 illegal immigrants landed on Greek islands over a period of twenty days in June and July.

In other news, the United Nations Security Council unanimously approved the U.S. nuclear deal with Iran, as Iranian leaders continued to excoriate the United States. Meanwhile, the Cuban embassy in Washington D.C. reopened after being closed for more than fifty years.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Fjordman, Insubria, JD, 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
» “Bring Back Franc if Euro Fails”
» Gold Plunges to Lowest Since 2010
» Governments Worldwide Will Crash the First Week of October … According to 2 Financial Forecasters
» Greece Debt Crisis: The Euro is a Disaster Even for the Countries That Do Everything Right
» Greece to Make Key ECB Debt Payment Before Deadline
» Greek Banks Reopen With Capital Controls Still in Place
» The $42 Billion Debt Trap That Putin Has Three Years to Escape
» The Next Crash Could be the Big One: “Don’t be a Refugee in Your Own Country”
» Cruz: Obama May Not Believe We Are at War With Islamism, But Islamism is at War With US
» Cuba’s U.S. Embassy Opens for First Time in 54 Years
» Jeb and Hillary: Flawed Front-Runners Generating Little Excitement
» Muslim Cemetery Sparks Row in Texas Town of Farmersville
» New Era in Ties Begins as Cuba Raises Flag at Embassy in US
» Obama’s Diversity Police State and Government Mandated Racism
» Obama Admin Looks to Ban Some Social Security Recipients From Owning Guns
» US Should Hang Edward Snowden, Says Former Spy Panel Senator
» Watch: Former U.S. General Calls for Rounding Up and Interning “Radicalized” And “Disloyal” Americans
» Why Obama Will be the First President in Decades Not to Stay at Waldorf Astoria
Europe and the EU
» Caritas Says Italians Comprise Half of Country’s Poor
» EU Court Fines Italy Over ‘Land of Fires’
» France — Saudi Arabia: Anger as Access to Beach is Restricted for Saudi Royal Family
» Hollande Calls for Vanguard of States to Lead Strengthened Eurozone
» Italy: Businessman Arrested for Tax Evasion, Another 18 Probed
» Italy: Shepherd Arrested in Double Murder
» Italy: Palermo Probe Says Insurance Scam Cost State 1.5 Mn Euros
» Remains of Jewish Victims of Nazi Anatomy Experiments Found in France
» Romanian Music Fest Gives Free Tickets in Exchange for Blood
» The President of France Wants Eurozone Members to Transfer Their Sovereignty to a United States of Europe
» Tough Times for Portugal’s Old Fishing Families
» UK: Cameron Unveils Strategy to Beat Islamist Extremism
» UK: Harrods Restaurant Worker Wants £1m After Being Sacked for Eating Cake
North Africa
» Four Italians Kidnapped in Libya, Says Foreign Ministry
» Libya: Islamic State Group Kidnaps Three Christian Workers
Middle East
» Explosion Kills 30, Injures Nearly 100 in Turkish City Near Syrian Border
» In Turkey, Deadly Explosion Hits Town Near Syria Border
» Iran Could be a Big Deal for Asian Manufacturers
» Kidnapping of Czechs May be Tied to Detained Lebanese
» Terrorist Bomb Blast in Turkish Town Leaves Dozens Dead: Moment of Explosion Caught on Video
» Turkey’s Constitutional Court Rules Against Erdogan’s Anti-Private School Law
» UN Security Council Endorses Iran Deal, Tehran Diplomat Lashes Out at US
» Why Does the “War on Terror” Serve Western Policy?
» Why Israel is Going to Bomb Iran
» $100m Project Uses World’s Best Radio Telescopes to Find Aliens
» Last Major Soviet Statues Come Down in Lithuanian Capital
» Yuri Milner, Russian Entrepreneur, Promises $100 Million for Alien Search
South Asia
» Afghan Troops ‘Killed by US Friendly Fire’ In Logar
Far East
» Chinese Tourists Boost Thai Economy But Stir Outrage
» S Korea’s Fast-Disappearing Youth Sets Off Alarm Bells
Australia — Pacific
» More on Far Left Wing Extremists Violently Attacking Classical Liberals in Australia
Latin America
» Business Group Says Venezuela Orders Food Producers to Divert Staples to State Supermarkets
» Denmark Declines to Take Part in Migrant Relocation
» Desperate Migrants Try to Swim to Britain From France
» EU Again Falls Short of Target for Migrant Relocation
» EU to Take in 35,000 Refugees Not 40,000
» European Union Falls Short of Target for Relocating Refugees
» Europe Seeks an Agreement on How to Tackle the Migrant Crisis
» Greece: 28,260 Migrants Arrived on Islands Within 20 Days
» Greek Authorities Say 150-200 Migrants Adrift in East Mediterranean, 2 Ships at Hand to Help
» Hungary: 4 Prototypes for Anti-Immigration Fence Are Ready
» Italy: Racists Banned From Parish Church
» Italy: Renzi Asks Alfano to Replace Treviso Prefect
» Poland: No Paradise for Migrants
Culture Wars
» Former Top Gear Star Jeremy Clarkson is Blasted for ‘Homophobic’ Tweet Outside an Australian Fudge Factory During Tour Down Under
» Global Bondage: The U.N. Plan to Rule the World
» Is Polygamy Next in the Marriage Debate?
» Italy: Surgery Not Needed to Register Gender Change — Court
» New Zealand Government Recognizes ‘Gender Diverse’
» The Future Costs of Politically Correct Cultism: “I See No Other Alternative But Utter Conflict”
» Does Water ‘Go Off’? Video Reveals Why Your Bedside Glass of Water Tastes Strange in the Morning

“Bring Back Franc if Euro Fails”

If the European Union does not succeed in a further political integration, it would be better to drop the euro and return to our national currencies. That’s according to Guy Verhofstadt, the floor leader of the liberal ALDE fraction (Alliance for Liberals and Democrats in Europe) in the European Parliament. Verhofstadt was speaking in Nieuwsuur, a Dutch current affairs TV programme.

Verhofstadt is bitterly disappointed about the lack of cohesion in the European decision-making, shown by the long discussions and bickering between the European leaders last week, as they were trying to work out a solution for Greece.

“This is the kind of European policy making you would want to avoid. Night sessions to solve a problem, emergency meetings of the Finance Ministers… This is wrong.”

What Europe needs, is a real federal government. Not less, but more Europe in fact. “We have to tell the people that it’s one thing or another. It would be wrong to continue as we are doing now. Now we are caught in between two stools, so to say. This is not a comfortable position. Either we evolve into a full-fledged European currency union, with a political union behind it, or we return to the national currencies.”

“I agree with those saying that “if it can’t work properly, then go back to the national money.”“ It is unclear however how that could be put into practice.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Gold Plunges to Lowest Since 2010

The rout in gold isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. In about 15 minutes during Asian trading hours on Monday, prices fell the most in two years, sliding below key levels watched by investors who use chart patterns to trade. While gold later recovered some of the losses, it’s still at a five-year low and headed for a sixth day of declines.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Governments Worldwide Will Crash the First Week of October … According to 2 Financial Forecasters

Two well-known financial forecasters claim that virtually all governments worldwide will be hit with a gigantic economic crisis in the first week of October 2015.

Martin Armstrong is a controversial market analyst who correctly predicted the 1987 crash, the top of the Japanese market, and many other market events … more or less to the day. Many market timers think that Armstrong is one of the very best.

(On the other hand, he was jailed for 11 years on allegations of contempt, fraud and an alleged Ponzi scheme. Armstrong’s supporters say the government jailed him on trumped-up charges as a way to try to pressure him into handing over his forecasting program).

Armstrong has predicted for years that governments worldwide would melt down in a crisis of insolvency and lack of trust starting this October. Specifically, Armstrong predicts that a major cycle will turn on October 1, 2015, shifting investors’ trust from the public sector and governments to the private sector. (Armstrong is not saying that a crash will occur on October 1st … but that it will be a major turning point which sets us up for a crash within a couple of months)

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Greece Debt Crisis: The Euro is a Disaster Even for the Countries That Do Everything Right

The euro might be worse for you than bankruptcy.

That, at least, has been the case for Finland and the Netherlands, which have actually grown less than Iceland has since 2007. Iceland, you might recall, basically went bankrupt in 2008.

Now, it’s true that Finland and the Netherlands have had their fair share of economic problems, but those should have been manageable. Neither country is a basket case, and both have done what they were supposed to do. In other words, they’ve followed the rules, and the results have still been a catastrophe. That’s because the euro itself is. Or, if you want to be polite, the common currency is “imperfect, and being imperfect is fragile, vulnerable, and doesn’t deliver all the benefits it could.” That was European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi’s verdict on Thursday.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Greece to Make Key ECB Debt Payment Before Deadline

Greece repaid about 6.8 billion euros ($7.4 billion) to creditors, as depositors queued at reopened banks in the first signs of normality after last week’s bailout deal.

The European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund both confirmed receipt of money owed, and a Greek Finance Ministry official said earlier that the country ordered payments to both those institutions and its central bank. The disbursements close one chapter on Greece’s debt crisis after five months of bailout talks that culminated in a frenzy of last-minute negotiations a week ago to meet the Monday deadline.

Repaying the ECB was one bill Greece couldn’t afford to miss because a default would probably have forced the central bank to pull support from Greek lenders, all but ensuring the exit from the currency union. In the standoff between the country and its creditors, it imposed capital controls on depositors and became the first developed-world nation to find itself in arrears with the IMF.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Greek Banks Reopen With Capital Controls Still in Place

Greek banks reopened Monday (20 July) after three weeks of closure but capital controls remained in place with a limit on weekly withdrawals.

The country’s 2,500 bank branches will start providing basic services again, such as paying cheques and opening accounts for salaries.

People will be able to withdraw €420 a week, in one go if they want, instead of the €60 a day since capital controls were imposed on 28 June.

Money transfers abroad are still forbidden, except to pay for medical services and studies.

The Athens stock exchange will remain shut until the banking and financial sector regain some stability.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

The $42 Billion Debt Trap That Putin Has Three Years to Escape

The clock is ticking for President Vladimir Putin to defuse a situation he set off in 2012 with decrees to raise social spending. That contributed to a doubling in the debt load of Russia’s more than 80 regions to 2.4 trillion rubles ($42 billion) in the past five years. Strains on their finances will grow critical in two or three years, raising the risk of bailouts from a federal budget already running a deficit for the first time since 2010, according to S&P.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

The Next Crash Could be the Big One: “Don’t be a Refugee in Your Own Country”

Though our political leaders maintain that the contagion from Europe and China won’t spread to the United States, our economy is likewise an utter catastrophe. In his latest interview with the Financial Survival Network hard asset investor Daniel Ameduri suggests that given what we know about the coming destruction to financial markets set to take place over the next six months, “maybe the conspiracy guys aren’t completely nuts after all.” When those markets finally collapse, he warns, America could look like the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, but on a massive scale as our currency loses purchasing power, credit markets lock up, and the regular flow of commerce is disrupted.

With that in mind Ameduri issues an important warning — prepare accordingly and don’t become a refugee in your own country:

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Cruz: Obama May Not Believe We Are at War With Islamism, But Islamism is at War With US

Yesterday, members of our armed services in Chattanooga, Tennessee, went to work in the service of our nation. Some went to a recruiting center to assist the young people who, like so many before them, would walk through the door on any given Thursday morning and volunteer to defend the United States of America. Four brave Marines went to a Naval Reserve Center to perform their duties to the Tennessee National Guard.

But one of the young people who visited two of those facilities was not like the others. He was there not to volunteer to serve America, but to attack America. Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez was there to carry out jihad, an act of radical Islamic terrorism. An act of war, in which those four brave Marines lost their lives, while at least two others were wounded.

In the wake of this vicious attack on our nation we need to rid ourselves of two dangerous delusions, first and foremost that a ‘lone gunman’—as President Obama described the shooter—is somehow isolated from the larger threat of radical Islamic terrorism. In the modern world, no one acts in isolation. Through social media ISIS, al Qaida, and other groups are infiltrating our nation with impunity while our government will not even admit that radical Islamic terrorism is a problem.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Cuba’s U.S. Embassy Opens for First Time in 54 Years

Cuba has re-opened its embassy in Washington, D.C. for the first time since 1961, raising its flag in a ceremony this morning as diplomatic ties are restored between the two nations.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Jeb and Hillary: Flawed Front-Runners Generating Little Excitement

By Howard Kurtz

America may well get another Bush-Clinton race once this whole presidential thing shakes out, with predictable groans about royal families and political retreads.

But in looking at the coverage this past week, I was struck by this thought: This is one weak pair of front-runners.

Jeb is losing to a guy who’s never run for public office and is in hot water over comments about Mexican immigrants. In short, he’s been Trumped. (Though maybe The Donald has trumped himself by making light of John McCain’s Vietnam captivity, not that the media were in love with him before.)

Hillary is way ahead in her race, but a socialist senator is generating most of the excitement. A majority of voters have doubts about her honesty. And she’s long been at odds with the press.

As the New York Times has noted, Hillary may have raised $47.5 million, but less than one-fifth has come in contributions of $200 or less. That means big-money donors, many of whom have maxed out at $2,700, are powering her campaign. Bernie Sanders, by contrast, has gotten four-fifths of his $15 million in small donations. (Hillary has also spent a chunk of her haul, stirring concerns about another bloated, consultant-heavy campaign.)

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Muslim Cemetery Sparks Row in Texas Town of Farmersville

Residents in a small town in Texas are seeking to block plans to build an Islamic cemetery over fears it is part of a wider Muslim “takeover”.

The proposed site in Farmersville, 40 miles (64 km) northeast of Dallas, was put forward by a local Islamic group.

Critics say they have concerns over Muslim burial procedures and fear it could lead to a mosque being built.

A spokesman for the Islamic Association of Collin County said misinformation and confusion is behind the opposition.

Farmersville already has a Buddhist centre and a Mormon church but residents turned up in force at a recent town meeting to oppose the Muslim cemetery.

The town is about 25 miles (40 km) away from where two Islamic extremists were shot dead after attacking an exhibition of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in May.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

New Era in Ties Begins as Cuba Raises Flag at Embassy in US

Cuba’s blue, red and white-starred flag was hoisted Monday at the country’s embassy in Washington in a symbolic move signaling the start of a new post-Cold War era in U.S.-Cuba relations.

The United States and Cuba severed diplomatic relations in 1961 and since the 1970s had been represented in each other’s capitals by limited service interests sections. Their conversion to embassies tolled a knell for policy approaches spawned and hardened over the five decades since President John F. Kennedy first tangled with youthful revolutionary Fidel Castro over Soviet expansion in the Americas.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Obama’s Diversity Police State and Government Mandated Racism

Obama has brought racism to a whole new level in our government. It’ s breathtaking in scope and breadth. He is solidifying his legacy before leaving office with the unprecedented gathering of information on all of us and how we live to be used in racial databases. Not only does the government already have such databases on police departments, they have created monster ones for almost every area of our lives to be used to forward “ racial and economic justice” as we have never seen before as a nation. Enforced diversity is racism. Obama is already using the databases against institutions to penalize them and it will get much worse.

In fact, I wouldn’ t put it past Obama to have other databases floating around out there having to do with demographics on gun ownership, religion and political affiliations. But what has just come to light as fact is that he’ s got people tallying everything to do with race and mining data on American’ s health, home loans, credit cards, places of work, neighborhoods and how children are disciplined in public schools. All of this is to show how ‘ hateful’ and ‘ racist’ we are as a nation. It creates racism out of thin air and shows it where it never existed. It takes all responsibility from those of color and places it on institutions. It blames repression on an evil white national structure. It’ s meant to show how discriminated against minorities are in comparison to whites in every sector of American society.

Not only will this discriminate against whites, it will be a bonanza for attorneys who will make billions off of petty law suits using these skewed statistics as testimony against individuals and businesses in court. As the New York Post points out, these databases will be weaponized against banks that don’t make enough prime loans to minorities; schools that suspend too many blacks; cities that don’t offer enough Section 8 and other low-income housing for minorities; and employers who turn down African-Americans for jobs due to criminal backgrounds.

[Comment: all part of communist strategy to create conflict wtween blacks and whites. Keeps them divided and fighting each other insterad of the banksters.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Obama Admin Looks to Ban Some Social Security Recipients From Owning Guns

The Obama administration wants to keep people collecting Social Security benefits from owning guns if it is determined they are unable to manage their own affairs, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The push, which could potentially affect millions whose monthly disability payments are handled by others, is intended to bring the Social Security Administration in line with laws that prevent gun sales to felons, drug addicts, immigrants in the United States illegally, and others, according to the paper.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

US Should Hang Edward Snowden, Says Former Spy Panel Senator

The U.S. should publicly hang leaker Edward Snowden if and when he falls into the government’s hands, according to the former top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee.

“We need to hang him on the courthouse square as soon was we get our hands on him,” retired Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) — who served as vice chairman of the powerful intelligence panel before stepping down from Congress last year — said during an appearance at the University of Georgia this month.

“I hope none of you have any sympathy for him,” he told students at the Terry College of Business.

The comments reflect the animosity that many national security hawks on Capitol Hill and within the government feel for Snowden, who has sought refuge in Russia for the last two years to avoid U.S. espionage charges.

Federal officials say that Snowden’s revelations about the scope of spying by the National Security Agency (NSA) and other agencies have risked Americans’ lives and helped foreign extremists to avoid detection.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Watch: Former U.S. General Calls for Rounding Up and Interning “Radicalized” And “Disloyal” Americans

Scores of seemingly innocuous activities are now red flags for the federal government. If you home school your child, discuss big government policies in a negative light, or simply declare the U.S. Constitution as the law of the land, you are a threat.

A federal prosecutor who recently prosecuted a man for selling gold and silver coins as an alternative to the U.S. dollar said the man was engaging in a conspiracy against the United States and treated the case as domestic terrorism.

Congressman Rand Paul has previously warned that even people who store food in their closets or keep extra ammunition are now suspected of terrorism.

Given the broad definitions purposely included within laws such as The Patriot Act millions of Americans could be identified as threats to national security and subsequently imprisoned without cause should people like Wesley Clark have their way.

And perhaps that is exactly where all of this is going.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Why Obama Will be the First President in Decades Not to Stay at Waldorf Astoria

For decades, whenever an American president came to New York, he would stay at the Waldorf Astoria hotel. That is about to change with President Barack Obama.

According to an Associated Press report, that has everything to do with the hotel’s new Chinese ownership.

Last fall, Hilton Worldwide Holdings sold the hotel in October 2014 to Beijing-based Anbang Insurance Group for $1.95 billion. China’s government and companies have invested heavily in prime New York City real estate.

The planned renovation raised eyebrows at the White House, according to AP, over fear of potential Chinese electronic eavesdropping. The administration has suspected the involvement of Chinese hackers in a massive data breach and, at the time of the sale, officials said that the change in ownership could have implications for the relationship between the White House and the hotel. Chinese hacking has even become a element of the presidential race, with Hillary Clinton stating that China tries to “hack into everything that doesn’t move in America.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Caritas Says Italians Comprise Half of Country’s Poor

Almost 63% of country’s poor unemployed

(ANSA) — Rome, July 15 — Almost half of those who turned to Catholic relief agency Caritas last year were Italians, and almost 63% of the poor were unemployed, it said in a report Wednesday.

Caritas made the comments on the same day that national statistics agency Istat released new data on poverty showing that in 2014, the number of poor was stable after two years of increases.

However, more than 4.1 million people were living in absolute poverty last year, Istat added.

According to Caritas about 46.5% of those defined as poor were Italians, with remainder immigrants to the country.

Having a job was also a key factor, as 62.7% of the poor had no work, said Caritas.

The agency said that in the first half of last year, some 46,000 people turned to its centres for help including food and clothing. Subsidies to pay utility bills and health-care expenses were also given out by Caritas.

According to the Istat report, last year 5.7% of the population was living in absolute poverty and 10.3% in relative poverty.

It defined the relative poverty threshold, for a two-member household, as the equivalent to 1,041.91 euros — about 10 euros less compared with 2013 threshold.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

EU Court Fines Italy Over ‘Land of Fires’

Nation ordered to pay 20 million euros

(ANSA) — Rome, July 16 — The European Court of Justice has slapped Italy with another fine for failing to resolve waste management problems in the Terra dei Fuochi (Land of Fires) in the southern region of Campania, ordering the country to pay 20 million euros.

The court has also imposed a daily fine of 120,000 euros that Italy must pay every day until the problems are adequately solved.

In December, the court handed Italy a 40-million-euro fine for failing to combat illegal waste dumping in the area around Naples.

The rulings highlight the Italian government’s struggle to deal with an environmental disaster in parts of the region, where criminal organisations have dumped toxic waste for decades.

In 2014, firefighters were called to put out 2,531 blazes in in the Land of Fires.

This was down from the number of episodes recorded in 2013 and in 2012, when firefighters intervened 3,984 times.

Efforts have been made to monitor and clamp down on the environmental damage caused by the powerful Naples-based Camorra mafia.

The local mob, whose activities have been detailed by writer Roberto Saviano, has deeply infiltrated the rubbish collection industry.

It has raked in huge profits even as its illegal dumps and uncontrolled burning of waste and other toxic materials have been blamed for unusually high levels of cancer and other diseases linked to pollution.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

France — Saudi Arabia: Anger as Access to Beach is Restricted for Saudi Royal Family

Access to a kilometre-long stretch of beach will be restricted near the royal villa. Local authorities stopped the construction of a fence, but allowed the construction of a private elevator on condition that it be dismantled once the king leaves. Saudi Arabia has major stakes in the French economy.

Cannes (AsiaNews/Agencies) — Decision by French authorities to restrict access to a beach near a villa owned by Saudi King Salman and work at the site have generated anger on the French Riviera.

The Saudi monarch is expected to arrive shortly on a family vacation. The decision by the Grasse Prefecture to restrict access to “La Mirandole” beach at Golfe-Juan, in the town of Vallauris, where the king’s villa (pictured) is located, has not been welcomed.

Nestled in the rocks between the coastal railway and the translucent waters of the Mediterranean, the royal family’s immense villa stretches across a kilometre of Riviera coastline. During the royal’s stay, coastguards will stop anyone coming within 300 metres of the villa by sea.

“Looking after their security is fine, but they should at least let us go for a swim,” said a disgruntled local.

When Saudi security provide the date of the “king’s arrival, with a 24 hours notice, the beach will be off limits to everyone,” said Grasse Sub-Prefect Philippe Castanet.

Last week, workers hired by the Saudis started building a fence to close off access to the beach, but were ordered to stop.

Conversely, and despite the lack of a permit, local authorities have allowed work on an elevator to continue on condition that it be dismantled when the family vacation ends.

Work is also underway in the villa. New, bulletproof glass is going in, as well as new shrubs and flowers.

According to French media, King Salman is coming with an entourage of 400 people, including a medical team.

Locals wonder what impact a crowd of wealthy people will have on the local economy.

“Whether it’s him or another billionaire, they always have priority over ordinary people,” said a local woman. Still, “I heard they might even fix the roads.”

Saudi Arabia has strong economic interests in France. On 25 June, the two countries signed several deals worth US$ 12 billion, including the purchase by Saudi Arabia of 23 Airbus H145 helicopters, at a cost of US$ 500 million.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius also announced that Saudi Arabia is preparing feasibility studies for the construction of two nuclear reactors with French cooperation.

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

Hollande Calls for Vanguard of States to Lead Strengthened Eurozone

French president Francois Hollande has called for a stronger more harmonised eurozone following a politically turbulent few weeks in which crisis with Greece has exposed the fault-lines in how the single currency is managed.

“What threatens us is not too much Europe, but too little Europe,” he said in a letter published in the Journal du Dimanche.

He called for a vanguard of countries that would lead the eurozone, which should have its own government, a “specific budget” and its own parliament.

“Sharing a currency is much more than wanting convergence. It is a choice that 19 countries have made because it is in their interest,” he wrote adding that this “choice” requires a “strengthened” organisation.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Italy: Businessman Arrested for Tax Evasion, Another 18 Probed

Finance cops seize 40 million in assets

(ANSA) — Naples, July 16 — Finance and anti-mafia police on Thursday arrested a businessman and seized assets worth over 40 million euros as part of an anti-tax-evasion operation targeting the Neapolitan Camorra crime organisation.

Morgan Meluzio from the town of Battipaglia in Salerno province was arrested and another 18 people were probed on charges of racketeering, using front men to falsify asset ownership, attempted fraud, and issuing false invoices.

Assets seized in Campobasso, Rome and Salerno provinces as well as overseas in Bulgaria included 11 dairy and trash collection companies, six buildings and lots of land, five large-cylinder vehicles, two large pleasure boats, stocks, and accounts in some 40 banks.

Investigators say the assets amounted to much more than the suspects’ declared income.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Shepherd Arrested in Double Murder

Allegedly shot two Tunisians dead after arguing over a woman

(ANSA) — Trapani, July 8 — Carabinieri police on Wednesday arrested a shepherd in Sicily’s Trapani province on suspicion of murdering two Tunisian men last month.

Domenico Centonze, 40 anni, allegedly shot to death Alì Essid, 34, and Rafik El Mabrouk, 31, on the night of June 3 after arguing with the latter over a woman in a nightclub.

Investigators say Centonze was enraged after his Eastern European dancer friend gave El Mabrouk her number.

When El Mabrouk and Essid left the club on a moped, Centonze and an accomplice allegedly followed them in a car, opening fire on the two with a rifle once they had reached an isolated country area.

Police tracked the suspect down after finding a night club ticket in one of the victims’ pockets.

One of Centonze’s relatives is under investigation as a possible accomplice, they said.

Centonze is related to the local Bonafede Mafia clan, but has no rap sheet.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Palermo Probe Says Insurance Scam Cost State 1.5 Mn Euros

Police arrest six, including one linked to Sicilian Mafia

(ANSA) — Palermo, July 16 — Police on Thursday arrested six people and issued orders to twelve others to appear before judicial officials as part of an investigation into a disability insurance scam that investigators say defrauded 1.5 million euros from Italian social security institute INPS.

Three of those arrested were sent to jail, including Giovanni Tantillo, 41, who police said is linked to the Borgo Vecchio clan of the Cosa Nostra mafia in Palermo.

Investigators said they were tipped off to the scam when Tantillo’s ex-girlfriend brought them documentation of the operation in order to exact revenge on Tantillo for cheating.

Giuseppe Cinà, 61, who went into early retirement at age 30 and was arrested in 2007 along with Tantillo on similar charges, was also arrested and sent to jail Thursday along with his driver and assistant Nicola Cipolla, 63.

The other three arrested were placed on house arrest.

Police said they confirmed 25 cases of fraudulent disability claims in their investigation, but suspect there may be as many as hundreds more.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Remains of Jewish Victims of Nazi Anatomy Experiments Found in France

A decade of investigating Nazi holocaust victims has led a researcher to the discovery of the remains of as many as 86 Jewish victims, in test tubes and a jar in a medical facility in France.

Raphael Toledano — a researcher from Strasbourg — stumbled upon a 1952 letter from Camille Simonin, the director of the forensic science school at the University of Strasbourg, detailing the storage of tissue samples taken from some of the 86 Jews gassed for the experiments of August Hirt, a notorious Nazi anatomy researcher.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Romanian Music Fest Gives Free Tickets in Exchange for Blood

Romania is tapping into the Dracula legend, offering concert-goers free tickets in exchange for their blood.

The campaign is part of a push to increase blood donations in a country where only 1.7 percent of the people donate blood.

Adrian Chereji, marketing director for the UNTOLD Festival, said Monday the “Pay with Blood” campaign, jointly organized with the National Blood Transfusion Institute, aims to raise public awareness.

Mobile blood collection units will be set up in 42 Romanian cities for 10 days this month. Donators in Bucharest and Cluj will be eligible for free tickets for an electro-dance music festival in the Transylvanian city of Cluj. Cut-price tickets will be offered to donators elsewhere.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

The President of France Wants Eurozone Members to Transfer Their Sovereignty to a United States of Europe

The President of France has come up with a very creative way of solving the European debt crisis. On Sunday, a piece authored by French President Francois Hollande suggested that the ultimate solution to the problems currently plaguing Europe would be for every member of the eurozone to transfer all of their sovereignty to a newly created federal government. In other words, it would essentially be a “United States of Europe”. This federal government would have a prime minister, a parliament, a federal budget and a federal treasury. Presumably, the current national governments in Europe would continue to function much like state governments in the U.S. do. In the end, there may be some benefits to such a union — particularly for the weaker members of the eurozone. But at what cost would those benefits come?

When I first learned that French President Francois Hollande had proposed that the members of the eurozone should create their own version of a federal government, I was quite stunned. But I shouldn’t have been surprised. For the global elite, the answer to just about any problem is more centralization. The following comes from a Bloomberg article that was posted on Sunday…

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Tough Times for Portugal’s Old Fishing Families

Too many boats and fewer fish. Making ends meet has never been harder for the fishermen of Sao Miguel in the Azores, yet from father to son they continue to fish.

“This is how I was brought up, it’s a miserable life, but I love it,” said 47-year-old Jose Vieira, shirtless and a cigarette hanging out his mouth as he folded away his nets, helped by son Paulo Miguel, who’d just turned 12.

Owner of a small boat, he and his seven crew — all of them family — were unloading 700 kilos (1,500 pounds) of squirming snapper, red lionfish and eels at the Portuguese archipelago’s biggest fishing port, in the north of the Atlantic ocean.

It was an average day’s haul, yet the crusty fisherman and his crew take home a meagre 400 euros ($435) a month like most others in the town on the north coast of Sao Miguel, the biggest of the nine islands in the Azores…

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

UK: Cameron Unveils Strategy to Beat Islamist Extremism

Prime Minister David Cameron has set out the government’s strategy to defeat the “poison” of Islamist extremism in Britain.

He pledged to tackle what he called “the failures of integration” which have seen hundreds of UK citizens joining Islamic State (IS) militants.

Some British-born Muslims “have little attachment” to UK society, he said.

He promised to act to “de-glamourise” groups like IS by making young people aware of the “brutal reality”.

Speaking in Birmingham, Mr Cameron set out four major issues which needed to be addressed — countering the “warped” extremist ideology, the process of radicalisation, the “drowning out” of moderate Muslim voices, and the “identity crisis” among some British-born Muslims.

He talked about Britain as a “multi-racial, multi-faith democracy” and as a “beacon to the world”. He said no-one should be demonised and moderate Muslims also hated the “sick world view” of extremists.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UK: Harrods Restaurant Worker Wants £1m After Being Sacked for Eating Cake

Juan Mackenzie, 35, ate the Devil’s Dog Cake after a customer complained about it being dry. He then tasted a slice from a fresh cake to make sure it was moist enough, an employment tribunal heard.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Four Italians Kidnapped in Libya, Says Foreign Ministry

Sources say they were returning from Tunisia when grabbed

(ANSA) — Rome, July 20 — Four Italians have been kidnapped in Libya, the foreign ministry said Monday morning. The four were kidnapped near an Eni oil and gas company complex in the city of Mellitah in western Libya, the ministry said in a statement.

It added that the four were workers for the Bonatti construction company that specializes in oilfield work.

Libyan sources said the four were kidnapped as they returned Sunday from Tunisia.

The sources said that local security officials had not yet identified the kidnappers.

The Greenstream underwater pipeline project begins near Mellitah and runs underwater to the Sicilian city of Gela.

Greenstream is said to be the largest pipeline running under the Mediterranean, stretching some 520 kilometres at a depth of more than 1,100 meters. Italy closed its embassy in Libya on February 15, and urged Italians to leave the North African country because of risks to foreigners there, the ministry statement said.

Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni said the crisis unit of his department was working urgently on the case but it was difficult to speculate on who was behind the kidnappings.

Rome’s prosecutors and investigators from the Carabinieri anti-terrorism ROS unit said they were investigating the kidnappings as being carried out for the purpose of terrorism. Built by Italian oil groups Eni and Agip in partnership with Libya’s state oil company NOC, Greenstream carries some 10 billion cubic meters of gas a year from Mellitah to Gela and then on into southern Europe.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Libya: Islamic State Group Kidnaps Three Christian Workers

The abduction occurred near Sirte, east of Tripoli. The victims come from Egypt, Nigeria and Ghana. In its statement to social media, the Islamic State group also posted the passport pictures of the three men. In the recent past, the Jihadi group beheaded some 20 Copts in Libya. Yesterday, four Italian workers were also abducted.

Sirte (AsiaNews/Agencies) — The Islamic State (IS) kidnapped three Christian men from Egypt, Nigeria and Ghana, this according to a statement the group posted on social media with their passport pictures.

The three men were seized in Noufliyah, an IS stronghold southeast of the city of Sirte, said a local source, who asked not to be named for security reasons. A representative for the internationally recognised government based in Tobruk confirmed the abduction.

In a similar incident, four Italians who worked at the Eni-owned Mellitah oil and gas complex in western Libya, were abducted in the nearby Zuwara, a city under the control of Islamist militias that back the Tripoli government. The four men were on their way back from Tunisia.

This is not the first time that IS targets Christians (and foreign workers) in North Africa, more specifically in Libya.

On 19 April, IS released a video showing the execution of almost 30 men, described as “enemies” from the Ethiopian Church. About 12 of them were beheaded on a Libyan beach, and another 16 were shot in the back of the head.

Back in mid-February, IS had released another video showing the decapitation of 21 men, mostly Egyptian Copts, on a Libyan beach in a morbid set-up that foreshadowed the April beheadings.

After the fall of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in 2011, Libya plunged into chaos from which it has not come out yet. This has favoured the emergence of fundamentalist groups like the Islamic State.

The country is split between two governments and parliaments, one based in the capital Tripoli (western Libya) and the other based in the eastern city of Tobruk, each vying for power.

Last month, Jihadis took advantage of chaotic situation to seize Sirte, a city some 450 kilometres east of the capital.

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

Explosion Kills 30, Injures Nearly 100 in Turkish City Near Syrian Border

Turkey will increase security measures along its border with Syria, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Monday, after an apparent suicide bomber turned a youth group meeting at a garden in southeastern Turkey into a scene of bloodied bodies and terror, killing 30 people.

About 200 young people were staying at the center at the time of the explosion, to assist in rebuilding work in the nearby Syrian town of Kobani. The private Turkish news agency DHA said they were part of a political group — The Federation of Socialist Youths — holding a news conference on Kobani’s reconstruction.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast but a Turkish official said authorities have evidence that the attack was a suicide bombing and suspect the Islamic State group (ISIS) initiated it. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the record.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan condemned those responsible for what he called a “terrorist attack.” Erdogan was speaking at a news conference during an official visit to Nicosia, Reuters reported.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

In Turkey, Deadly Explosion Hits Town Near Syria Border

At least 28 people have been killed in an explosion in the southern Turkish town of Suruc, near the border with Syria. Turkey’s president has described the blast as an “act of terror.”

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, although a government official quoted by Reuters said there was strong evidence to suggest it was “a suicide attack by the ‘Islamic State’ (IS).”

Around 300 people from the pro-Kurdish Federation of Socialist Youths had reportedly gathered at the cultural center ahead of a planned trip to help with rebuilding efforts in the conflict-torn town of Kobani in northern Syria.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Iran Could be a Big Deal for Asian Manufacturers

Iran will soon be open for business. That means more oil going out, but also everything from airplanes to cars going in, with Asian manufacturers set to be among the biggest winners.

Take cars, for example. Iranians are sure to snap up Asian cars that were unavailable 36 years ago when the Islamic revolution swept what was then the Middle East’s biggest auto market. The country bought over 1 million units prior to the imposition of sanctions, according to Anna-Marie Baisden, London-based head of auto analysis at BMI Research.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for Asian automakers,” she said of the imminent end to the trade restrictions. “There’s quite an appetite for foreign brands with good quality.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Kidnapping of Czechs May be Tied to Detained Lebanese

The kidnapping of five Czech citizens in Lebanon last week may be linked to a Lebanese man detained in Prague, whose family said Monday his lawyer was among those abducted.

The five went missing in the Bekaa Valley in eastern Lebanon on Friday, with security services confirming they had been kidnapped along with a Lebanese citizen.

The case appears to be linked to the arrest in 2014 of Ali Taan Fayyad, whose family said his lawyer was among the abducted group.

“We know the missing Czech team very well,” said Kamal Mohsen al-Haf, a legal representative of Fayyad’s family.

“One of them is Ali’s lawyer, who has come to Lebanon four or five times and who we have met here,” said Haf, who is also Fayyad’s cousin.

“The group also included two Czech journalists, a translator, and Ali’s brother Saeb Taan Fayyad, who was driving them in his car,” Haf said, adding that the identity of the fifth Czech citizen was unknown.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Terrorist Bomb Blast in Turkish Town Leaves Dozens Dead: Moment of Explosion Caught on Video

Several hours ago, in yet another deadly bomb attack attributed to ISIS, at least 27 people were killed and more than 100 others injured in a powerful explosion in the town of Suruc in southeastern Turkey, 10 km from the Syrian border and across from the heavily contested town of Kobane in Syria where surprise ISIS attacks killed more than 200 people last month.

As Xinhua reports, the blast hit the garden of Amara Cultural Center of Suruc district in Sanliurfa province, near the Syrian town of Kobane, also known as Ayn al-Arab, according to private NTV news channel.

Deputy of pro-Kurdish People’s Democracy Party (HDP) was quoted as saying that a group was making a press statement about the “rebuilding of Kobane town” when the blast occurred at the cultural center…

The actual moment the deadly explosion went off was captured by a Twitter account which for bomb experts should provide some information what sort of explosive device was used.

Viewer discretion advised:

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Turkey’s Constitutional Court Rules Against Erdogan’s Anti-Private School Law

This is the latest chapter in the fight against Gulen, a Muslim cleric in self-exile in the United States who heads the powerful Hizmet movement. In Turkey, ‘dershanes’ are very popular private schools. Some 3,800 centres cater to 1.2 million students who hope to get into the Country top schools and universities.

Ankara (AsiaNews/Agencies) — Turkey’s constitutional court ruled against a controversial law that had closed “dershanes”, private schools, run mostly by Fethullah Gulen’s Hizmet movement, a self-exiled Muslim cleric living in the United States, and an archival of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the original sponsor of the law when he was still prime minister.

The ‘dershanes’ are very popular in Turkey, with 3,800 centres catering to 1.2 million students who hope to win a place in the top schools and universities.

The law declared unconstitutional by the Court had been adopted in March 2014, when Erdogan was prime minister, with orders to close the facilities by September of last year.

The law was part of a long-running feud between the two former allies. Through it, Erdogan sought to eliminate or at least limit the role of Hizmet, an Islamic group that is a major economic and cultural force funding and running schools and universities in scores of countries.

The group provides scholarships, housing and moral guidance to students who come from the countryside. It also tries to reconcile science and technology with Islam and organised the Olympics of Turkish culture for Turkish-speaking people around the world.

When he was prime minister, Erdogan blamed Gulen, a former ally, and his movement for the corruption allegations that rocked his government in December 2013, and which he dismissed as a plot by the cleric to unseat him.

After the law was adopted, Turkey’s main opposition party, the Republican People’s Party (Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi or CHP), turned to the Constitutional Court to have it overturned, arguing that it would exclude the most disadvantaged students from the most sought-after universities and increase the impact of socio-economic differences on the results of entrance examinations.

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

UN Security Council Endorses Iran Deal, Tehran Diplomat Lashes Out at US

The U.N. Security Council on Monday unanimously endorsed the Iran nuclear deal, though the show of support was interrupted shortly afterward by a war of words between the American and Iranian ambassadors.

Iran’s ambassador lashed out at the U.S. mere moments after the vote, in retaliation for U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power bringing up Tehran’s human rights record.

Power, during the session, had raised concerns about Iran’s support for terror proxies and reiterated a U.S. demand that Iran release all unjustly held American prisoners. Iran’s ambassador fired back, blaming the U.S. for instability in the region and calling Power’s criticism “ironic.”

“The country that invaded two countries in our region and created favorable grounds for the growth of terrorism and extremism is not well placed to raise such accusations against my country,” Iranian U.N. Ambassador Gholamali Khoshroo said, calling past U.S. actions in the region “feckless” and “reckless.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Why Does the “War on Terror” Serve Western Policy?

From Benghazi to Turkey, the ISIS “supply lines” are directly from NATO-controlled territory, and apparently it never occurs to the minds of western media to ask where, in fact, the so-called Islamic State obtains their arms. The reason for this is obvious, as it would demonstrate that the Islamic State is not a homegrown, indigenous Wahhabist extremist group, but western creation, funded and aided like Al Qaeda since its inception, as Carter and Brzezinski openly discussed. Not much has changed in the international terror theater since 1979, save the targets. Counterpunch noted over a decade ago:

“Q: The former director of the CIA, Robert Gates, stated in his memoirs [“From the Shadows”], that American intelligence services began to aid the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan 6 months before the Soviet intervention. In this period you were the national security adviser to President Carter. You therefore played a role in this affair. Is that correct?

Brzezinski: Yes. According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise: Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Why Israel is Going to Bomb Iran

Thanks to Barack Obama, it is only a matter of time before Israel feels forced to conduct a massive military strike against Iran’s nuclear program.

When that happens, Iran will strike back, and hundreds if not thousands of missiles will rain down on Israel. This exchange will likely spark a major regional war in the Middle East, and that could end up plunging the entire planet into chaos. If Barack Obama was attempting to prevent such a scenario from playing out, he failed miserably. Personally, I think that the deal that was just made with Iran is absolutely horrible. Perhaps you disagree. Perhaps you believe that it is the greatest piece of diplomacy of all time. But it doesn’t really matter what any of us think. If this deal was going to work, it had to be strong enough to convince Israel that Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons has been completely stopped. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has sworn that he will never, ever let Iran get a nuclear weapon, and he has pledged to use military force if necessary. So what Barack Obama needed was a deal that would calm Israeli nerves while satisfying the Iranians at the same time. Such a deal may have theoretically been impossible, but that is what it was going to take to prevent war. Instead, Obama has made a deal which has utterly horrified the Israeli government. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu even called it “a license to kill”. So now the odds that war will happen have gone way up, but Barack Obama is too busy congratulating himself to notice.

And it isn’t just the Israeli government that has responded very negatively to this deal. One recent survey found that a staggering 74 percent of Israelis do not believe that this deal will prevent the Iranians from developing a nuclear weapon.

A different survey discovered that 47 percent of Israelis would now support a military strike against Iran and only 35 percent of Israelis are currently against one.

Of course the Israeli government would very much prefer not to have to bomb Iran. Before resorting to military action, the Israeli government will certainly try to encourage the U.S. Congress to derail this deal. And we should probably expect to see more covert action against Iran’s nuclear program.

But in the end, those methods will almost certainly not be enough. At that point, the Israeli government will have a decision to make, and I think that the following exchange between Netanyahu and Steve Forbes gives us some insight into what Israeli officials are thinking right now…


Just like the U.S. government, the Iranians have a very long track record of blatantly lying. And they were caught lying even in the midst of these recent negotiations. The National Council of Resistance of Iran produced evidence that the Iranians were enriching uranium intended for nuclear weapons at a site known as “Lavizan-3” just outside of Tehran. But even after this information came out, the Iranians and the Obama administration just continued with their negotiations as if this facility did not exist.

This is how utterly incompetent the Obama administration is. The Iranians were hiding things and blatantly lying to us before the negotiations were even completed. And the truth is that it is possible that Iran might already have developed nuclear weapons.

Let us hope that this is not the case, but if reports about Lavizan-3 are accurate, the Iranian nuclear program may be far more advanced than any of us have been led to believe.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

$100m Project Uses World’s Best Radio Telescopes to Find Aliens

The hunt is on. We have been scanning the skies for signs of life for decades, but the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) has never been a high priority when it comes to allocating public money. This has made long odds even longer, says Russian billionaire and venture capitalist Yuri Milner who, alongside Stephen Hawking, today launched a $100 million project called Breakthrough Initiatives to reinvigorate the search for ET.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Last Major Soviet Statues Come Down in Lithuanian Capital

Workers started dismantling monumental statues of soldiers, students, labourers and farmers in Lithuania’s capital early on Monday, the last major Soviet artworks in a city now on the eastern frontier of the European Union and NATO.

Cranes began hauling them off plinths after midnight, a quarter century after the Baltic state re-emerged from the wreckage of the Soviet Union, a highly charged demolition job as Lithuania faces fresh tensions with its neighbour Russia.

“The statues represent a lie. Their heroic portrayal of the Soviet people — that is all a lie … The statues are a mockery of the real people who had to live during the Soviet period,” Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Simasius told Reuters before the first monument, a pair of soldiers, came down in a metal cage.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Yuri Milner, Russian Entrepreneur, Promises $100 Million for Alien Search

Extending his idea of philanthropy beyond the earth and even the human species, Yuri Milner, the Russian Internet entrepreneur and founder of science giveaways like the annual $3 million Fundamental Physics Prizes, announced in London on Monday that he would spend at least $100 million in the next decade to search for signals from alien civilizations.

The money for Breakthrough Listen, as Mr. Milner calls the effort, is one of the biggest chunks of cash ever proffered for the so far fruitless quest for cosmic companionship known as the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, or SETI. It will allow astronomers to see the kinds of radar used for air traffic control from any of the closest 1,000 stars, and to detect a laser with the power output of a common 100-watt light bulb from the distance of the nearest stars, some four light-years away, according to Mr. Milner’s team.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Afghan Troops ‘Killed by US Friendly Fire’ In Logar

At least eight Afghan soldiers have been killed in a US air strike on an army checkpoint in Logar province, south of Kabul, Afghan officials say.

They say two US helicopters attacked the checkpoint in broad daylight on Monday. Several troops were injured.

The defence ministry said the helicopters returned fire after being attacked by insurgents on the ground.

The army commander in the area told the BBC that the checkpoint was clearly flying an Afghan flag.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Chinese Tourists Boost Thai Economy But Stir Outrage

Accused of urinating in public, spitting on the street, or kicking a sacred temple bell — free-spending Chinese tourists are receiving a mixed welcome as their soaring numbers help the kingdom’s creaking economy.

Growing outrage over the perceived disrespect of visitors from the Asian giant saw authorities print thousands of Chinese-language etiquette manuals earlier this year in a bid to keep their tourists in check.

Last month it was a photo of a young girl peeing in the grounds of Bangkok’s Grand Palace that triggered the latest round of enraged, and sometimes racist, comments as Thai social media users claimed she was Chinese.

In March a Thai model’s video of tourists from China jumping the queue at an airport was viewed more than two million times and saw a similarly angry rant against Thailand’s largest group of foreign holidaymakers…

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

S Korea’s Fast-Disappearing Youth Sets Off Alarm Bells

Statistics Korea shows that the country is set to become the world’s second oldest country in the world after Qatar by 2060. Compared to the 1970s, fertility rates have dropped from 4.21 to 1.23.

Seoul (AsiaNews/Agencies) — South Korea is forecast to be the world’s second-oldest country in 2060, due to declining birth rates and higher life expectancies, a government report said Wednesday.

According to the study by Statistics Korea based on current demographic trends, the ratio of people older than 64 is expected to rise to 40.1 per cent in 2060, up from the current 13.1 per cent, second only to Qatar (41.6 per cent).

Between 1970 and 1974, South Korea’s total fertility rate — the average number of children a woman of childbearing age — was 4.21. Between 2010 and 2014, it fell to 1.23. By comparison, the average in Europe was 1.58 and 1.94 in North America.

At the same time, South Koreans are living longer than Europeans or Americans on average. Average life expectancy in South Korea rose from 62.7 in the early 1970s to 81.3 in 2010-2013, higher than the current 76.1 in Europe and 79.1 in North America.

Another facet of the problem is the constant decline in South Korea’s “economically active population,” i.e. those between the ages of 15 and 64.

The latter peaked in 2012, at 73.1 per cent of the total population. However, it is expected to plunge to the 49.7 per cent by 2060.

As a result, an economically active person in Korea is expected to support an average of 1.01 elderly dependents older than 64 and younger than 15 in total, up from 0.37 now.

In the meantime, the world population will grow from 7.32 billion to 9.96 billion over the next 45 years. By contrast, South Korea’s population will dwindle from 51 million in 2015 to 44 million in 2060, making the country slide from 27th most populous to 49th.

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

More on Far Left Wing Extremists Violently Attacking Classical Liberals in Australia

The media, still desperate to try and at least present the two groups as equally dangerous, illiberal and threatening, are contorting themselves right into physiotherapy trying to show the nice group of peaceful and rational Australians who oppose Islamic fascism as somehow equivalent to the rabid and obviously violent Alinsky inspired, far left wing extremists.

More videos here and soon, in comments below…

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Business Group Says Venezuela Orders Food Producers to Divert Staples to State Supermarkets

CARACAS, Venezuela — Private companies in Venezuela say the government has ordered them to distribute food staples to a network of state-run supermarkets amid chronic shortages of basic goods.

The Food Industry Chamber said Monday that authorities ordered producers of milk, pasta, oil, rice, sugar and flour to supply between 30 percent and 100 percent of their products to the state stores.

Rigid currency controls and a shortage of U.S. dollars make it difficult for Venezuelans to find imported goods. Companies say controls make it hard to turn a profit and justify production.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Denmark Declines to Take Part in Migrant Relocation

As European leaders failed on Monday evening to discuss to find a solution for the relocation of refugees crossing the Mediterranean, Denmark remained largely on the sidelines due to its EU Justice and Home Affairs opt-out.

Migration ministers from all 28 EU member states met on Monday in an unsuccessful attempt to finalize European Commission plans to resettle 40,000 refugees based in Italy and Greece and another 20,000 asylum seekers from outside of Europe.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Desperate Migrants Try to Swim to Britain From France

Migrants desperate to get to England from the French port of Calais are now trying to swim across the English Channel — with disastrous consequences, reports the BBC’s Paddy O’Connell.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

EU Again Falls Short of Target for Migrant Relocation

137,000 people arrived this month in Italy, Spain, Greece, Malta

(ANSA-AP) — BRUSSELS — European Union interior ministers have fallen well short of finding takers for the relocation of 40,000 refugees who have made perilous boat trips across the Mediterranean into Italy and Greece.

At a meeting on Monday the EU nations committed to relocating a total of 32,256 refugees.

The special meeting was called to break a stalemate within the 28-nation EU over how to divide up the refugees in an equitable way over the next two years. It came amid criticism that any solution for the number under consideration would still be insufficient by far to contain the migrants crisis this year.

Earlier this month, the UN said some 137,000 people had arrived in Greece, Italy, Spain and Malta alone, with many more coming by land across the Balkans.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

EU to Take in 35,000 Refugees Not 40,000

Union to reassess situation in six months

(ANSA) — Brussels, July 20 — The EU-28 member nations have agreed to take in 35,000 refugees presently in Italy and Greece, not 40,000 as requested under a draft accord, European diplomatic sources said Monday. The EU will reassess in six months whether it can reach the original 40,000 target, the sources said. The draft accord would have relocated 40,000 people rescued off migrant boats in the Mediterranean and “in clear need of international protection”, giving EU members latitude to decide how many refugees to take in. The draft was aimed at overcoming conflicts among EU members after some balked at being ordered to accept a set number of refugees.

Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni said last month that “solidarity is not optional” when it comes to Italy’s appeals for help from the EU in handling the Mediterranean migrant crisis.

The launch of the EUNAVFOR naval operation targeting migrant traffickers is only a “part” of the European initiative on migrants, the minister said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

European Union Falls Short of Target for Relocating Refugees

Plan to move 40,000 people from Greece, Italy became voluntary after some countries resisted quotas

BRUSSELS—European governments on Monday fell a few thousand short of their target of redistributing 40,000 refugees currently in Italy and Greece to other European countries, while promising to take more directly from U.N. camps outside Europe.

European Union leaders in June agreed to help Italy and Greece—the two countries on the front line of a wave of migration across the Mediterranean Sea—by spreading the task of housing refugees and processing their asylum claims around.

Spanish Interior Minister Jorge Fernández Díaz, on his way into the meeting, called it “a bad proposal.” “It’s like when you have a leaky roof: Instead of fixing it, we distribute water between the rooms,” Mr. Diaz said.

In the end, Spain pledged to take in 1,300 asylum seekers, a third of what the EU commission had proposed for it.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Europe Seeks an Agreement on How to Tackle the Migrant Crisis

Following the deaths of some 700 people on a fishing boat heading for Italy from Libya in April, the European Commission, the EU’s executive, has proposed a plan to keep more migrants from attempting the dangerous crossing. But it faces objections from EU governments dealing with anti-immigrant parties at home.

Despite an agreement among EU leaders at a summit in June, Spain and Poland have emerged as the staunchest critics of a relocation plan, opposing the number of asylum seekers they are expected to take in from Italy and Greece.

“We are very critical of the relocation plan because it will create a pull factor” attracting more migrants to Europe instead of preventing their departure, Spain’s home affairs minister, Jorge Fernandez Diaz, told reporters before the meeting in Brussels. The minister said that Spain will propose on Monday the figures that “it considers fair.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Greece: 28,260 Migrants Arrived on Islands Within 20 Days

Between June 23 and July 12, 2015, a total 28,260 illegal immigrants disembarked on Greek islands in the Aegean Sea, GreekReporter website write quoting an OnAlert article claiming that 4,266 new immigrants arrived at various Greek islands over the past weekend alone. It stated that the Greek Navy has spent five million euros due to its increased efforts to find boats that are smuggling illegal immigrants and its success rate has increased by 40%. Sources within the Navy said that frustration with Europe’s indifference to the situation is growing. Despite the Navy’s increased effectiveness, their mission is still challenging because at the sight of authorities, immigrant smugglers throw the immigrants into the sea. A United Nations report released in late June had found that between January and the end of June, Greece had the most seaborne immigrants and refugees out of all the European countries.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Greek Authorities Say 150-200 Migrants Adrift in East Mediterranean, 2 Ships at Hand to Help

Greek authorities say a boat carrying 150 to 200 migrants has been located adrift in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, and two merchant ships have reached it to offer help or evacuate the vessel if necessary.

Greece is a major destination for refugees from Syria and other war-torn parts of the Middle East and Africa, as well as economic migrants, seeking a better life in the European Union.

Thousands enter the country illegally every year, typically risking the dangerous sea crossing from neighboring Turkey in crowded, unseaworthy vessels. Fatal accidents are common.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Hungary: 4 Prototypes for Anti-Immigration Fence Are Ready

Barbed wire, razor blades, towards most effective solution

(ANSA) — BUDAPEST — The prototypes that will be used to build the anti-immigration fence in Hungary, in the area of Morahalom (South), are now ready, according to Hungary’s Interior Ministry. For the fence, commissioned by Viktor Orbans’s government, four models have been designed, all of them equipped with barbed wire and razor blades, so that people will be prevented from climbing the obstacle. Tomorrow the “most effective” solution will be chosen, to be placed on the border with Serbia, 175 km long. The work on the samples was carried out by the military, aided by the inmates of a local prison. Meanwhile, the flow of immigrants in Hungary continues to rise: Saturday, officials from the Immigration Office recorded the arrival of 1,302 illegal immigrants. This year, the overall number exceeds 80,000.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Racists Banned From Parish Church

Priest enraged at anti-immigrant violence

(ANSA) — Rome, July 20 — The parish priest of Sant’Angelo in Mercole in the Umbria town of Spoleto on Monday hung a sign on the church door banning racists from entering the premises.

“Racists are not allowed in this church” says the sign in gigantic red and black letters on a white background.

Father Gianfranco Formenton is enraged at violent anti-immigrant protests staged last week by local residents and extreme rightwingers in the town of Quinto di Treviso in his native Veneto region and in a Rome suburb. “For I was a stranger and you did not take me in,” continues the sign in a paraphrase of Matthew 25:35.

“Far from me, cursed ones, into the eternal flames,” the sign carries on.

A picture of the sign has gone viral on social media.

The outspoken prelate is no stranger to controversy. He celebrated a Mass for right-to-die activist and artist Piergiorgio Welby, who died in 2006, against the wishes of the Catholic hierarchy.

He also railed against what he said is an excess of flowers at funerals and “the new liturgy invented by those who de facto manage the celebration of death in our society: funeral parlors”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Renzi Asks Alfano to Replace Treviso Prefect

After violent anti-immigrant protests in Quinto

(ANSA) — Rome, July 20 — Premier Matteo Renzi on Monday asked Interior Minister Angelino Alfano to replace the prefect of the northern Treviso province after violent anti-immigrant protests took place on her turf last week.

Prefect Maria Augusta Marrosu agreed to bus 101 refugees from the town of Quinto di Treviso to a former barracks located midway between Treviso city and a town called Casier after Quinto residents flanked by rightwing extremists from the Forza Nuova group staged two days of protests — including burning mattresses meant for the asylum seekers.

Marrosu at the weekend thanked the refugees for not reacting to the protests, which she said “had reached inconceivable levels”.

She also said the asylum seekers had been quartered in Quinto because the barracks, which had been authorities’ first choice, was not made available until later.

Governors from the anti-immigrant, anti-euro Northern League party have been inciting mayors in the Italy’s wealthy northern regions to fight the arrivals of asylum seekers.

Among them is Veneto Governor Luca Zaia, who complained about the “Africanization” of his region through the admission refugees into his area.

Similar violent protests also took place in Rome, where protesters including extreme rightwingers from the Casapound group blocked access roads, hurled bottles and insults at a bus carrying 19 asylum seekers to a reception center in the outlying Casale San Nicola district.

They also burned garbage and threw chairs at police, 14 of whom were injured.

Rome Prefect Franco Gabrielli was adamant that the protesters would be cleared.

“We won’t take any steps back,” he said, calling the demonstrations “indecent and unseemly” and urging swift identification and prosecution of the culprits.

Alfano said he will replace the Treviso prefect at the next cabinet meeting.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Poland: No Paradise for Migrants

A small room with a whiteboard is filled with 20 people from all over the world. Africans, Asians, South Americans are slowly repeating Polish phrases.

For some many of the sounds are almost impossible to pronounce. But learning the language is a gateway to a better life.

In the Foundation for Somalia, in Warsaw, there are currently seven groups of free language courses. In each group there are 20 people. More than 200 people are on the waiting list.

Hamdi came to Poland a year ago with his young Polish wife whom he met in Egypt, his country of origin.

They fell in love, got married and quickly decided to move to Poland, a more stable and secure option than Hamdi’s homeland.

It took the Polish authorities a long time to recognise his marriage and grant him a residence permit.

“I felt like I bought her on the market and forced her to marry me. I was treated with lot of suspicion,” Hamdi recalls.

After half a year he managed to get a job in a travel agency, largely because he speaks Arabic. But he doesn’t feel accepted at work.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Former Top Gear Star Jeremy Clarkson is Blasted for ‘Homophobic’ Tweet Outside an Australian Fudge Factory During Tour Down Under

Jeremy Clarkson was today accused of being homophobic after tweeting a poor-taste joke about being sacked by the BBC.

The 55-year-old posted a photo of himself and Richard Hammond outside the Margaret River Fudge Factory in Australia with the caption: ‘We have got jobs at last. Here. As packers’.

His joke was a nod to a phrase commonly considered a slur used to describe gay men, and has caused uproar.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Global Bondage: The U.N. Plan to Rule the World

by Cliff Kincaid

The United Nations is now openly laying plans for a World Government to go along with its already functioning World Army. These plans include global taxation and an International Criminal Court that could prosecute American citizens.

Kincaid also exposes U.N.’s support for forced abortion and forced sterilization, efforts to destroy the traditional family, transformation of U.S. soldiers into the U.N., etc.

Kincaid Exposes:

  • U.N. support for forced abortion and forced sterilization.
  • U.N. involvement in efforts to destroy the traditional family.
  • U.S. — Russian “peacekeeping” operations and the possibility of Russian military commanding U.S. troops.
  • The transformation of American soldiers into “U.N. Fighting Persons”
  • Will America sign away its sovereignty?

In Global Bondage, journalist Cliff Kincaid blows the lid off the United Nations, documenting its strategy for gaining complete control of the world. The author warns that the move toward global government is gaining ground and that it will succeed if steps are not taken to stop it.

[Comment: Kincaid is an excellent investigative journalist.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Is Polygamy Next in the Marriage Debate?

The Supreme Court’s decision in June that legalized same-sex marriage across the country has unleashed a renewed debate over polygamy, leaving some to wonder why marriage should be considered between just two persons.

The first legal challenge involving polygamy came last week after a man from Montana said the Supreme Court’s decision inspired him to apply for a marriage license so he can legally marry a second woman. Nathan Collier, who was featured on the reality television show “Sister Wives,” said he will sue the state if it denies him the right to enter into a plural marriage.

“It’s about marriage equality,” Collier told the Associated Press. “You can’t have this without polygamy.” A county civil litigator Kevin Gillen said he was reviewing Montana’s bigamy laws and expected to send a formal response to Collier by this week.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts’s dissenting opinion raised the question of whether the court’s rationale could be used to legalize plural marriage down the road.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Italy: Surgery Not Needed to Register Gender Change — Court

‘Historic ruling’ says Lenford Network for LGBTI rights

(ANSA) — Rome, July 20 — Gender reassignment surgery is not necessary to have a sex change registered in Italy, the high Court of Cassation ruled Monday. The high court upheld an appeal from a transgender person who, after having had their surgery authorised, then changed their mind but still wanted the public registry office to record the change. “The desire to make body and psyche coincide is the result of a hard-won and personal processing of one’s gender identity…including in the absence of surgical alteration,” the court wrote in its opinion.

This was a “historic” ruling, according to the Lenford Network of lawyers for LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Transgender and Intersexual (LGBTI) rights, which brought the suit on the appellant’s behalf.

The appellant is a man who has been living and is socially recognized as a woman for the past 25 years and therefore no longer feels the need for the actual surgery, the Lenford Network said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

New Zealand Government Recognizes ‘Gender Diverse’

Stats bureau to offer third choice in addition to male, female

(ANSA) — Sydney, July 20 — New Zealand’s statistics bureau has announced that it will begin offering a third choice for gender in official data collection, offering the option ‘gender diverse’ in addition to male and female.

Jo-anne Allan of Statistics NZ said the classification, announced last Friday, is the first of its kind in the world for gender identification.

“The term ‘gender diverse’ is fairly new, but we believe that over time it will be widely used and accepted,” Allan said.

“It’s a complex issue, as gender identity is about how a person feels and experiences their gender, which can change over their lifetime,” she added.

“We believe the gender diverse population see it as a step towards being seen, counted, and understood,” she said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

The Future Costs of Politically Correct Cultism: “I See No Other Alternative But Utter Conflict”

I rarely touch on the subject of political correctness as a focus in my writings, partially because the entire issue is so awash in pundits on either side that the scrambling clatter of voices tends to drown out the liberty movement perspective. Also, I don’t really see PC cultism as separate from the problems I am always battling against: collectivism and the erasure of the individual in the name of pleasing society. Political correctness is nothing more than a tool that collectivists and statists exploit in order to better achieve their endgame, which is conning the masses into believing that the group mind is real and that the individual mind is fiction.

Last year, I covered the PC issue in my article “The Twisted Motives Behind Political Correctness.” I believe I analyzed the bulk of the issue extensively. However, the times are changing at a pace that boggles the mind; and this is by design. So, it may be necessary to square off against this monstrosity once again.

In order to better examine the true insanity of what many people now term “social justice warriors,” I must study a few aspects of that strange movement separately. First, let’s take a brief look at the mindset of your average social justice circus clown so that we might better understand what makes him/her/it tick…

Younger generations are highly susceptible to social trends and are often easily manipulated by popular culture and academic authority, which is why we are seeing PC cultism explode with the millennials and post-millennials. In my brief participation on the left side of the false paradigm, political correctness was only beginning to take hold. A decade later, the speed of the propaganda has far accelerated, and we now have a bewildering manure storm on our hands.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Does Water ‘Go Off’? Video Reveals Why Your Bedside Glass of Water Tastes Strange in the Morning

If you’ve ever left a glass of water on your bedside table overnight, you may have noticed that it tastes a little strange in the morning.

It turns out this effect is not all in your head — subtle chemical changes that happen overnight can actually change the composition of the water, making it ever so slightly acidic.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]