Gates of Vienna News Feed 1/19/2016

A man in Sirte, the hometown of the late Libyan dictator Col. Moammar Qaddafi, was executed by the Islamic State for practicing black magic. According to a friend who managed to escape from Sirte, the man’s crime had been to treat patients with acupuncture and homeopathy.

In other news, Hillary Clinton has received the endorsement of the largest LGBT organization in the country in her run for president.

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

Thanks to AF, C. Cantoni, Fjordman, Insubria, JD, Nick, Seneca III, Vlad Tepes, and all the other tipsters who sent these in.

Notice to tipsters: Please don’t submit extensive excerpts from articles that have been posted behind a subscription firewall, or are otherwise under copyright protection.

Caveat: Articles in the news feed are posted “as is”. Gates of Vienna cannot vouch for the authenticity or accuracy of the contents of any individual item posted here. We check each entry to make sure it is relatively interesting, not patently offensive, and at least superficially plausible. The link to the original is included with each item’s title. Further research and verification are left to the reader.

Financial Crisis
» British Steel Industry Enters ‘Death Spiral’ After Tata Cuts 1,000 Jobs
» France: Hollande: Emergency Plan Against Unemployment
» IMF Confirms Italy Growth Estimates
» Italian Families Holding Fewer Bank Bonds Bank of Italy Says
» Italy: Banks Take a Beating on Milan Bourse
» Donald Trump: Ted Cruz is ‘A Great Hypocrite’, Bought and Sold by Wall Street
» Homeowner Shoots, Kills Home Invaders After They Beat Him, Pistol Whip His Mom
» Inspector General: Hillary Clinton’s Private Server Contained ‘Special Access Programs’ Intel
» Who Unleashed Climatism?
Europe and the EU
» Alfano Hosts First Council for Relations With Italian Islam
» Austrian Prosecutors File Terrorism Charges Against Swedish Teen
» Backlash Against UK Labour Leader Corbyn’s Nuclear Blunder
» Brussels Loses Patience With Rome
» Donald Trump Wins UK Parliament Debate on Banning Donald Trump… Without Even Being There
» French Lose Patience With Politicians as Terror ‘Weariness’ Kicks in
» Geert Wilders: Donald Trump, You’re in Good Company if Britain Bans You
» Gentiloni Says Italy ‘Not Taking Part in Pointless Arguments’
» Germany’s Tornado Reconnaissance Jets ‘Can’t Fly at Night’: Report
» Italy: Renzi, Merkel Meet Will Solve Problems — Ambassador
» Italy: Moroccan Arrested for Robbing Women Using Irritant Spray
» Italy: Vivendi Not Acting for 3rd Parties in Telecom Says CEO
» Italy: Carlo Calenda to be Named New Envoy to EU
» Juncker Says Critical Govts Should ‘Look in Mirror’
» Lobbyists Love TTIP: Big Business Already Exploiting New Trade Deal
» Margot Wallstrom: Swedish FM Embroiled in Housing Scandal
» Pope Could Visit Rome Mosque on Jan 27 — UCOII
» Renzi Putting EU Credibility at Risk — Weber
» UK Rules Detaining Partner of Snowden Leaks Reporter Was Lawful
» UK: Education Secretary Nicky Morgan Wants to Ban Hate Preachers on Campus
» UK: Four Men Guilty of Attempted Murder After ‘Frenzied’ Knife Attack in West London
» UK: Four Schools Closed and Thousands of Pupils Evacuated After ‘Hoax Bomb Threat’ Calls Were Made
» UK: Sister of New ‘Jihadi John’ Says He Was ‘Brainwashed’
» UK: Woman Told for 12 Years Her Insomnia, Tiredness and Dizzy Spells Were Due to Depression Discovers Her Body is Ravaged With Lyme Disease
» Vatican: Ex-Bishop Stole Millions From Church Funds
North Africa
» Islamic Scholar ‘Says Allah Allows Muslim Men to Rape Non-Muslim Women to Humiliate Them’
» ‘My Friend Was Beheaded for Sorcery — But He Was Just Doing Acupuncture’: Libyans Fear Being Executed by ISIS in Staged ‘Witchcraft Trials’
» Tunisia Imposes Curfew on Kasserine
Israel and the Palestinians
» HRW Asks Firms to End Ties With Israeli Settlements
» Israel Arrests Palestinian Teen for Woman’s Fatal Stabbing
Middle East
» British Sniper Investigated for Shooting an Iraqi ‘Without Warning Him’
» IS Holding 3,500 Women and Children as ‘Slaves’
» Tortured, Threatened and Raped by ISIS — Sex Slaves Relive Horror at Hands of Sick Jihadis
» Gazprom: 2.55 Bn Dollar Gas Bill to Ukraine
South Asia
» Afghans Revolted as Husband Cuts Off Wife’s Nose
» Pakistani Child Sex Abuse Victims Struggle to Rebuild Lives
» Pakistan ‘Blasphemy’ Boy ‘Doesn’t Regret Cutting Off Hand’
» The Devastating Silence From Labour “Feminists’ on Cologne
» Women-Only Cabs Take Off in Indonesia
Far East
» China: Xi Wants to Control the PLA, But His Maoist Campaigns Are No Longer Succeeding
» Japan’s Plan to Drop Swastikas as Temple Symbol Sparks Backlash
» North Korea Says it Has Invented Hangover-Free Alcohol
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Family’s Dreams Shattered in Burkina Faso
» Britain Bans EU Migrant Benefits to Curb Bloc’s Meddling in UK Life
» Closing Borders Will Not Solve Refugee Crisis — German Foreign Minister
» CSU Minister to Merkel, ‘We Must Soon Close Borders’
» Danish Clubs Bar Migrants in Language Row
» Dutch Police Say Ready for Anti-Migrant Rallies of Any Scale
» EU Dismiss UKIP Question Over Calais Refugees Crisis
» EU Migrant Policy Unattainable in Short-Term, National Approach Needed
» Europe’s Leaders Have No Plan to Cut Immigration, Says Leo McKinstry
» EU’s Tusk Warns Europe Has Two Months to Tackle Migration Crisis
» Female Refugees Face Physical Assault, Exploitation and Sexual Harassment on Their Journey Through Europe
» Finland: Defense Minister Refuses to Answer Why Muslims From the M.E. Will be Difficult to Integrate…
» Germany’s Schaeuble Doesn’t Want Tighter Borders Slowing EU Integration
» German Families to Take in Underage Refugees : Minister
» Germany and Tunisia Talking Deportations
» Helsinki Police Report 15 Sexual Harassment Cases on New Years Eve
» Holland: Fourth Town Riots Over Invasion (Video)
» Hungary Ready to Erect Anti-Migrant Fence on Romanian Border
» Migrants: Letter From 44 Rebel MPs Delivered to Merkel
» Serbia Warns Against Unilateral Measures
» Slovenia’s Premier: The EU Should Help Macedonia
Culture Wars
» Clinton Receives Endorsement From Largest LGBT Organization
» Portland Community College to Devote an Entire Month to ‘Whiteness’-Shaming

British Steel Industry Enters ‘Death Spiral’ After Tata Cuts 1,000 Jobs

Tata Steel will cut 750 jobs at its huge plant in Port Talbot, South Wales, pictured today, as well as 200 in support functions and 100 at four other UK steel mills.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

France: Hollande: Emergency Plan Against Unemployment

To keep election promise, 2 bil Euro drawn from budget cuts

(ANSAmed) — PARIS, JANUARY 18 — French President François Hollande who promised he would not renew his candidacy to the Elysée Palace in 2017, if he did not manage to turn around the so-called ‘unemployment curve’ submitted his labour emergency plan today, 18 months from the presidential vote.

Hollande announced seven key measures financed “with over 2 billion Euros drawn from budget efforts”.

One of the most significant measures will be one billion Euros financed by the State to train 500 thousand jobless people.

Training will mostly affect the least qualified among the unemployed, in particular with regard to fields such as digital and the environment.

Speaking before the economic and social council, Hollande said that, for the French, employment is “the single most important thing apart from security”. “ There is no statistics gimmick” in this operation — assured the president adding that “what counts is to carry reforms through until the end, beyond electoral deadlines”.

This is Hollande’s last chance. The president stated several times that he woud not seek re-election if he would not manage to turn unemployment numbers in a “credible and lasting” way.

Two billion Euros will be “wholly financed” by savings and spending cuts.

The government will also be able to count on social partners who will make an additional contribution of 80 billion Euros but partecipation by regions remains in doubt.

Hollande also announced immediate incentives to SME hiring staff with open-ended contracts or fixed-term contracts at least 6 months long.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

IMF Confirms Italy Growth Estimates

(ANSA) — New York, January 19 — The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in its World Economic Outlook (WEO) report out Tuesday confirmed Italy growth estimates of +1.3% in 2016 and of +1.2% in 2017. Italy GDP grew by 0.8% in 2015, the IMF said.

As well, the IMF revised upward its 2016 eurozone growth estimates to +1.7% (+0.1% compared to its October estimates) and confirmed +1.7% growth estimates for 2017.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italian Families Holding Fewer Bank Bonds Bank of Italy Says

Total under 200 billion euros at end September

(ANSA) — Rome, January 18 — Italian families and savers are again buying fewer bank bonds, according to figures released by the Bank of Italy central bank Monday.

Medium to long term bonds held by families fell by the end of September to just under 200 billion euros compared to 274 billion in the same period of 2014 and 204 billion in the second trimester of 2015.

The figures therefore precede the bank crisis of November that hit investment fund holders of troubled Italian banks and the bail in of January that puts savers at higher risk in case of bank failure.

On Friday the Bank of Italy disclosed that families also were selling government bonds and buying managed funds, reducing their share in total investment holdings to 5.9%.

Banks generally continued to pay dividends last summer and in November total bank bond holdings were some 410 billion euros, a decline of 13.4%.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Banks Take a Beating on Milan Bourse

Index slides below 18,000 points as MPS suspended

(ANSA) — Milan, January 18 — The Milan stock exchange continued losing ground Monday as investors sold their bank shares on concern over delays in the setting up of a so-called bad bank to absorb toxic loans.

Also weighing on Italian and European markets were Brent crude prices, which slid to 2003 lows of under $28 a barrel as the lifting of sanctions against Iran means the Islamic Republic can start exporting again.

European investors also expressed fears of a continued Asian economic slowdown ahead of China GDP numbers out Tuesday, and the closure of Wall Street as the United States celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King Day did not help matters, analysts said.

In Milan, the FTSE Mib index shed 2.65% at under 19,000 points by the close.

Banks took a hit and Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS) was suspended after plunging to a historic low of 0.76 euros a share (-15.1%).

It ended up 14.8% down on the day. This means the bank is worth 2.2 billion euros after it obtained a capital increase of three billion euros last summer.

In comparison, UniCredit (-18% since the beginning of the year) has market cap of 25 billion euros and Intesa Sanpaolo of 45 billion euros. MPS share prices have lost 50% since the end of October and 38% since the last trading day of 2015.

Investors shunned the Siena-based bank on fears it won’t be able to get rid of its non-performing loans.

The lender announced on December 28 that it is selling one billion euros’ worth of toxic loans to Epicuro SpV, owned by Deutsche Bank.

MPS said the operation is part of its plan to transfer 5.5 billion euros in receivables under its 2015-2018 industrial plan.

MPS CEO Fabrizio Viola on Monday downplayed the 14.8% bourse fall, saying the Tuscan lender was “stable” and focused on getting better results on non-performing loans (NPLs). “We confirm the economic and financial stability of the Bank, highlighted by the results of the (European Banking Authority’s Supervisory Review and Evaluation Process) SREP and the improvement in operating management as shown by the results achieved in the first nine months of 2015,” he said. “The share price’s drop occurred without any management issues apt to justify such progress,” Viola said.

“With reference to the management and sale of NPLs,” he said, “we are concentrating (on this) in particular in order to obtain results that are even better than the (Business) Plan”.

Also suspended were Banco Popolare, Bper, Carige, and UBI bank.

They continued losing ground after trading resumed, with Bper (-8.67%), Banco Popolare (-6.7%) and UBI (-7.3%), BPM (-5.5%), Intesa Sanpaolo (-5%) and UniCredit (-5.4%) by the close of trading. Bucking the trend were Luxottica (+0.6%), STM (+1.7%), and Telecom steady after Vivendi increased its stake to about 21.4%.

Elsewhere in Europe, markets opened up, plunged mid-morning, then recovered to trade flat.

European bourses closed with marginal falls, with London 0.42% off, Frankfurt down 0.25% and Paris 0.49% off.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Donald Trump: Ted Cruz is ‘A Great Hypocrite’, Bought and Sold by Wall Street

After talking about Cruz’s failure to disclose two $500,000 loans from big banks to fund his 2012 senate campaign, Trump said “he’s being a great hypocrite.”

“You know, he talks about he’s going to be Robin Hood, he’s protecting, then it finds out on his personal disclosure form he didn’t disclose that he’s borrowing a lot of money from Goldman Sachs,” Trump told a crowd of supporters.

He added that Cruz’s claims of making a “paperwork error” just don’t add up since filed for the same procedure for various loans.

“And he said, oh well he forgot. And then so he forgot about Goldman Sachs, but then today they have another story where he forgot another bank, Citibank, where he forgot,” Trump said. “So he obviously didn’t want the voters to know he is totally controlled lock, stock and barrel by Citibank and by Goldman Sachs. And I think that’s very hypocritical, I’ll be honest with you, I think it’s very, very hypocritical.”

[Comment: Trump is blunt but 100% correct about Goldman Sachs. ]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Homeowner Shoots, Kills Home Invaders After They Beat Him, Pistol Whip His Mom

“I feel like if I hadn’t had the gun in there, this whole news story would be about me and my mother being dead…”

A Georgia man used a firearm to fend off and subdue two gunmen after they invaded his home and proceeded to beat him and his mother.

Last Wednesday afternoon, Decatur resident Timo Hernandez, 28, and his visiting mother were sitting down for a chili dinner when they heard a knock on the door.

“When I opened the door, these two guys stormed in with guns and started pistol-whipping me and took me to the ground,” Hernandez recounted to WTVM.

The homeowner said one of the intruders next targeted his mother.

“He started pistol whipping and kicking her in the side,” Hernandez described.

Fortunately, one intruder made the mistake of leading Hernandez to the extra bedroom where he kept his father’s old hunting rifle. That’s when the resident was able to turn the tables on his attacker.

“He put a gun to my head, and I just started fighting back.”

Hernandez grabbed the stashed gun and began firing at the two assailants, putting bullets in both and sending them fleeing out the door.

One intruder died in a neighbor’s yard, according to WTVM. The other attacker ended up crashing in the parking lot of a nearby Zaxby’s restaurant. “He remained in critical condition until passing Thursday from his wounds,” WTVM reports.

Upon finding badges and zip ties at the scene, police concluded the two appeared to be impersonating police officers.

Hernandez said he was grateful he had a gun in the house for protection.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Inspector General: Hillary Clinton’s Private Server Contained ‘Special Access Programs’ Intel

The Inspector General for the Intelligence Community has told members of Congress that Hillary Clinton’s private email server contained some emails which were derived from “special access programs” intelligence, a level of classification regarded as above top secret.

Catherine Herridge of Fox News reports the information came in a letter from Intelligence Community Inspector General I. Charles McCullough III to Republican members of Congress who had inquired back in November about the process for identifying classified material in Clinton’s emails.

The IG’s response states, “To date, I have received two sworn declarations from one [intelligence community] element. These declarations cover several dozen emails containing classified information determined by the IC element to be at the confidential, secret, and top secret/sap levels.”

The term “special access programs” (SAP) refers to intelligence that is limited to a relatively small number of people at the top levels of government. Only the president and a handful of cabinet secretaries can authorize such a program.

Clinton has maintained that she was not aware of any classified information on her system, but the discovery of SAP level intelligence could make it more difficult for her to claim ignorance. An unidentified law enforcement source tells Fox News, “There is absolutely no way that one could not recognize SAP material. It is the most sensitive of the sensitive.”…

           — Hat tip: AF [Return to headlines]

Who Unleashed Climatism?

Guest essay by Ari Halperin

This article is intended mostly for American audiences. Today, it seems almost normal that the IPCC, UNFCCC and CAN (Climate Action Network International) interfere in American internal affairs, deciding who are scientists and who are not, telling us how much energy to use and from what sources, and generally sowing discord and polarizing society (with enormous success, I must admit). For more than 30 years, their claims of dangerous global warming caused by CO2 emissions have served as an excuse for this invasion. If there is a “problem,” and the “problem” is global and America is its main cause, they reason, why not gang up on America?

But the “problem” is imaginary, and has always been imaginary. The readers of this site know that. Serious scientific assessments have never come to alarming conclusions, even when assuming exaggerated climate sensitivity to CO2. So what happened? To answer this question, we need to clearly understand three historical facts:

           — Hat tip: AF [Return to headlines]

Alfano Hosts First Council for Relations With Italian Islam

Tasked with proposing integration strategies

(ANSA) — Rome, January 19 — Interior Minister Angelino Alfano on Tuesday presided over the first meeting of the Council for Relations with Italian Islam. “The Council will be tasked with providing opinions and formulating proposals on…the integration of the Islamic population in Italy,” Alfano said.

“Respect and collaboration between religious and cultural identities in Italy must be the premise for a dialogue that will enrich democracy, promoting the reasons of peace, social cohesion, and unity,” the minister continued.

That dialogue intends to “favor a community of intents among all those who…intend to contribute to the peaceful development and prosperity of the country, in the full respect our laws and our Christian and humanistic tradition,” he said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Austrian Prosecutors File Terrorism Charges Against Swedish Teen

VIENNA (Reuters) — Austrian prosecutors have filed terrorism charges against a 17-year-old Swedish girl with a Somali family background, accusing her of wanting to travel via Vienna to join jihadis, a court spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

           — Hat tip: Nick [Return to headlines]

Backlash Against UK Labour Leader Corbyn’s Nuclear Blunder

UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn — a life-long anti-nuclear campaigner — faced a huge backlash Monday over his statement that Britain could retain its Trident nuclear missile deterrent, but without carrying warheads.

Corbyn has long campaigned against nuclear weapons, having been a member of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) and the national chair of the Stop the War Coalition from June 2011 until September 2015.

He is at odds with the rest of his party over his stance on Trident — the UK’s nuclear deterrent consisting of nuclear weapons carried aboard Vanguard class submarines. The current fleet is coming up for replacement and there is a huge debate over their replacement.

Both UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative and the Labour Party support the replacement of the current Trident program. It is current Labour Party policy, as voted on at the annual conference.

Corbyn — who was elected Labour leader in a surprise result after party supporters were able to gain party membership for just US$4.29, which boosted a surge in left-wing support for him — wants to change party policy so that Trident is not replaced.

He moved anti-nuclear lawmaker Emily Thornberry to the position of shadow defense secretary and appointed anti-nuclear ex-London Mayor Ken Livingstone to conduct a review of Labour defense policy.


However, his anti-Trident stance is at odds with the Labour-supporting unions, who say any move to not replace Trident will lead to the loss of thousands of jobs, with the Labour Party claiming 19,000 jobs depending on Trident in Scotland alone.

Fears that the non-replacement of Trident would lead to thousands of job losses — and a dive in union membership and party support — prompted Corbyn to declare that the UK could keep its Trident nuclear fleet without carrying any warheads.

Fearful of the loss of jobs on building replacement submarines, Corbyn said they would be built, but:

“They don’t have to have nuclear warheads on them.”

His move was treated with derision in Monday’s London newspapers, with The Sun running the headline: “Off his war head” and the left-wing Labour-supporting Daily Mirror running a cartoon showing a submarine with the instructions: “Load tube 1 with a strongly worded letter and tube 2 with a custard pie… a big one, mind/”

The Metro provided a picture of a submarine named “HMS Impotence.” The Times had a similar submarine, flying a flag with “Bang” written on it.

Twitter was equally derisive, with many calling Corbyn “delusional” and “insane.”

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

Brussels Loses Patience With Rome

There is growing concern at the highest EU levels over the war of words between Jean-Claude Juncker and Matteo Renzi. “Communication issues can turn into political problems,” EU sources told news agency ANSA on Monday. Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni blamed Europe: “I consider some of the remarks that have come from Brussels to be useless.” Last week president of the European Commission Juncker declared that the Italian prime minister “vilifies and criticises the Commission on every street corner.” Renzi retorted that, “the time when we used to go cap in hand [to Brussels] is over.”

The latest row arose over Italy blocking an EU plan to provide Turkey with €3 billion in aid in exchange for a commitment to stem the flow of migrants into Europe. Italy objects to the funding of the plan, which sees €1 billion coming from the EU budget and the remaining two thirds from EU states. But there is a feeling in Brussels that the Italian premier is simply spoiling for a fight. In December, he lambasted German Chancellor Angela Merkel over EU policies on banking, migration and energy policy.

Why is Renzi being so aggressive? British prime minister, David Cameron, currently renegotiating the terms of Britain’s EU membership, is considerably more circumspect in his language. On the one hand, he needs to convince his partners in Europe and Eurosceptics at home that he is prepared to lead Britain out of the EU, if he does not get new terms and the British public vote to leave in a promised referendum. On the other hand, he does not want to say anything to tip the scales in favour of a Brexit that he does not really want.

But Italy’s membership of the EU is not seriously in doubt. Renzi does want greater fiscal leeway in his 2016 budget, although Pierre Moscovici, the EU’s Economic Affairs Commissioner, has declared bluntly that Italy had already been given more budget flexibility than most of its partners. But the fundamental conflict in Europe is between those who want a United States of Europe and those who do not want individual states to lose their autonomy. Like Cameron, Renzi is a champion of the latter position. In his Sunday editorial, Eugenio Scalfari, founding editor of La Repubblica, argued that Renzi’s current anti-EU rhetoric was for domestic consumption.

“Our Prime Minister, whose interest should be to assert the autonomy of our government, but to do so quietly and in an appropriate manner, has adopted the tone almost of a campaign rally. And in fact this is the real reason: to move Italian public opinion with a wave of nationalism.”

Public opinion in Italy, once one of the most staunchly pro-EU of European countries, has shifted substantially, as a recent Demos poll for La Repubblica shows. Scalfari argues that Renzi’s Democratic Party, and the government he leads, are in principle Europeans, as are the centre-right parties. On the other hand, the Five-Star Movement, Northern League and far-right Fratelli d’Italia (Italian Brothers), supported by 45% of the voting public, are against Europe and the euro. “Nationalism” is a word not used since the time of Mussolini, Scalfari says. “Renzi has dusted it off in order to shake the indifferent and to take votes away from the parties that will vote against the EU and against the euro.” Scalfari thinks he will succeed. “Or at least he will not lose votes.”

Nationalism is rising throughout Europe without any help from Renzi. Responsible governments should be fighting it, not encouraging it. Renzi may gain votes this way, but once he has fanned the flames of nationalism, will he be equally adept at putting them out? And will he be able to restore communication with an increasingly irritated Brussels?

Percentage of those who declare “a very great deal or a great deal” of faith in the European Union.

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

Donald Trump Wins UK Parliament Debate on Banning Donald Trump… Without Even Being There

by Raheem Kassam

Hundreds of years of parliamentary tradition, British expectancy over free speech, and indeed decades of the “special relationship” were tossed out of the window today as hard-line left-wing Members of Parliament, combined with virtue-signalling pseudo-conservatives gathered in a British Parliament committee room to debate banning U.S. Presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Some of the language — “Trump’s an idiot” — was quite unparliamentary. But what was MOST unparliamentary was the way in which MPs conducted themselves today, and the fact that the debate went ahead at all.

Because around half a million lefties signed a government e-petition, Parliament was forced to debate the matter. But when half a million people signed a petition to “Stop All Immigration” into the UK — it scarcely got any news coverage.

Instead, the political and media establishments of Britain today once again coalesced to lampoon themselves unknowingly, discussing why a U.S. presidential candidate should be banned for calling for a moratorium on Muslim immigration to the United States.

I’ve already written about what a joke the premise of the debate was. But the proceedings were worse than anyone could ever have expected.

Notable were the thick Scottish accents, in the packed out Committee Room, slating Donald Trump for being a “bigot” and a “racist”. Many of these are the same Scottish MPs you’d often find in their constituencies slagging off the English. But that’s not racism. That’s patriotism, right?

But what concerned me most, as a man born into a Muslim family in Britain, was the clear abdication of any modicum of “Britishness” by the Muslim Members of Parliament in the chamber.

They whinged. They whined. “Islamophobia! Our feelings are hurt!”

And their contention was as follows: Ban Donald Trump because he’s making us feel bad.

Curtail centuries of Britain’s free speech laws to make an overtly political statement against not just Mr. Trump, but the millions of Americans who support him — to placate Muslims and Muslim MPs.

Do you see what’s going on here?…

           — Hat tip: AF [Return to headlines]

French Lose Patience With Politicians as Terror ‘Weariness’ Kicks in

The French people have said they are “weary” and “morose” and lacking faith in politicians after a year which has seen the country devastated by a series of terror attacks starting with Charlie Hebdo and ending with the November 13 Paris attacks.

A new poll, conducted by the polling firm OpinionWay for France’s political science research center Cevipof, found that nearly one-third of French people (31 percent) said they felt “weary” and used the words “morose” (29 percent) and “mistrustful” (28 percent) to express their feelings after a year of terror.

France has been on maximum alert after being rocked by a series of terror attacks that have pushed intelligence services and the police to the limit. The 2015 attacks began on January 7, when Said and Cherif Kouachi forced their way into the offices of the French satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris and shot 11 people dead, wounding 11 others, before fleeing and killing a policeman outside.

The shootings were followed by another hostage-taking event involving Amedy Coulibaly who was a close friend of the Kouachi brothers. Coulibaly entered and attacked people in the kosher food mini-supermarket in Porte de Vincennes, where he murdered four Jewish hostages and held fifteen other hostages.

Police ended the siege by storming the store and killing Coulibaly.

Then on November 13, gunmen and suicide bombers launched a series of attacks at the Stade de France, the Bataclan music venue and cafes and restaurants killing 130 people in the deadliest assault on French soil since the Second World War.

Democracy Not Working

The Cevipof study found that while 81 percent of French people expressed confidence in the country’s army, and 75 percent the police, confidence in politicians was low.

President Hollande was not enjoying high personal ratings because of his poor track record on reviving the French economy and he was quick to use the terror attacks to show strength of leadership in a crisis

The study revealed a lack of faith in the French political system with 67 percent saying: “Democracy in France works ‘not well’ or ‘not at all well.’ “

The result is likely to reflect the view that, while police and the army can move to protect lives, politicians are being seen as being impotent in the face of global terror threats — and, possibly, the refugee crisis.

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

Geert Wilders: Donald Trump, You’re in Good Company if Britain Bans You

Deja-vu. It is not an English word, but French. However, the word immediately springs to mind when hearing about yet another Western politician or Islam critic, whom some British politicians want to ban from entering their country. Welcome, Donald Trump, in the company of Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer and myself.

Both Pamela, Robert and myself have been banned from entering the United Kingdom. In my case, it happened on February 12, 2009. Two highly respected members of the British House of Lords, Lady Caroline Cox and Lord Malcolm Pearson, had invited me to show my 2008 documentary Fitna to members of the House in a conference room of the parliament building in Westminster. Fitna is a movie, juxtaposing Koranic versed calling for violence with footage of terrorist attacks and other violent deeds these verses inspired.

Fitna, as well as my view that Islam, rather than a religion, is primarily a totalitarian political ideology aiming for world domination, has resulted in several death threats against my person. I am on the death list of Al-Qaeda, ISIS and the Pakistani Taliban. Since 2004, I have been living under round-the-clock police protection, but I have a mission: Speak the truth about Islam.

However, a Pakistani-born Islamic member of the House of Lords, one Nazir Ahmed, demanded that the then British Labour government ban me from entering the UK. He threatened that he would personally mobilize 10,000 Muslims to prevent me from entering the Upper House. The government complied and had me banned. Though a member of the Dutch parliament, invited by British colleagues, I was locked up in a detention room upon arrival at Heathrow Airport. Three hours later, I was put on the next flight to Amsterdam…

[Return to headlines]

Gentiloni Says Italy ‘Not Taking Part in Pointless Arguments’

Renzi, Juncker traded barbs last week

(ANSA) — Brussels, January 18 — Italy “doesn’t take part in pointless arguments”, Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni said on his way in to a council of EU foreign ministers Monday. “I consider some of the remarks that came from Brussels to be useless,” Gentiloni said after Premier Matteo Renzi and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker traded barbs Friday.

“The situation in Europe is very delicate right now, both economically and on the migration front, and this delicate situation should be faced without the argumentative tones I heard coming from Brussels recently and which are, I repeat, pointless,” the minister said.

Gentiloni’s comments came after European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Friday hit back at growing criticism of the EU executive from Italian Premier Matteo Renzi in an unusual frontal attack on a member nations’s head of government.

“I think that the Italian prime minister, whom I love very much, is wrong to offend the Commission at every opportunity, I don’t see why he does it,” Juncker said.

“In truth, Italy should not criticise it too much. We have introduced (greater budget) flexibility against the will of member States who some say dominate Europe”.

Juncker also accused Rome of blocking the plan to give Turkey three billion euros in exchange for cooperation on the refugee crisis.

Renzi responded to Juncker’s criticism by rapping back: “We won’t be intimidated”.

Speaking to TG5, he said “Italy deserves respect”.

Renzi stressed that the EC, in his view, had only conceded flexibility on budget spending “after a lot of insistence on Italy’s part”.

Renzi has frequently criticised the European Union, saying it is too focused on budget austerity and dominated by bureaucrats and does not give enough importance to promoting growth and employment.

Furthermore, Rome reacted angrily when the Commission opened infringement proceedings last year against Italy for failing to respect the rules on taking the finger prints of asylum seekers.

The Italian government responded by saying EU should thank it for the thousands of migrants it saves at sea and complained of slow progress on a deal to relocate refugees to other European countries.

The was also tension when the Commission denied it had stopped the Italian government softening its rescue of four small Italian banks last year to lessen the effects on bondholders in this lenders.

Juncker admitted that relations between the EC and Italy were not going well at the moment.

“I’ll probably go to Italy at the end of February because the atmosphere between Italy and the Commission is not the best,” Juncker said.

“Renzi always complains that I have not been to Italy since I became president”.

Economy Minister Pier Carlo Padoan said Italy’s criticism of the European Commission was meant as constructive and not offensive.

“There is no intent to offend on the part of the Italian government, but a constructive attitude,” Padoan said.

“(The relationship between the EU and Italy is a) relationship between the government of one of the main countries in the EU that is addressing the (European) Commission in an open and frank way, bearing in mind that we want to reinforce the EU but at the same time that we have rights on a par with those of others and we mean to make ourselves heard”.

Padoan also denied the charge that Italy was preventing the EU giving the three billion euros to Turkey.

“Italy gives full backing to the support of Turkey to manage the migrant flows,” Padoan said.

“Italy is not blocking anything. But we believe it is necessary to clarify whether there is still space in the European budget to ensure that the three billion euros is fully covered without using contributions from the (member) States”.

Earlier Juncker blasted Rome’s stance on this issue.

“I struggle to understand Italy’s amazing reservation about the three billion euros to Turkey because the money is not going to Turkey but is for Syrian refugees in Turkey,” Juncker said.

“These three billion are a question of credibility for the EU” Federica Mogherini, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs, said Friday that creating division within the block was senseless, when asked to comment on Juncker’s comments.

“It’s stupid to create divisions within Europe,” said Mogherini, who served as Italian foreign minister under Renzi before being nominated to her current post.

“The Europeans need to be united when faced with the many crises that exist,” she told reporters during a visit to the Community of Sant’Egidio in Rome.

“Italy needs Europe like Europe needs Italy”.

Mogherini stressed that both Italy and the European Commission had wanted to introduce greater scope for flexibility in the EU’s budget rules after Juncker argued that he had passed the changes, not Renzi.

“There are lots of things that Italy and Europe have done together in the first year of the Juncker Commission,” Mogherini said.

“(These go) from the introduction of the rules on flexibility, which Italy very much wanted and which the European Commission very much wanted and which benefit everyone, to the great challenges at the European level on the management of immigration”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Germany’s Tornado Reconnaissance Jets ‘Can’t Fly at Night’: Report

German Tornado jets deployed to Syria for reconnaissance missions can’t fly at night, Bild daily reported Tuesday in a new embarrassment for the defence ministry which has been battling equipment problems.

The six aircraft sent to Syria are fitted with surveillance technology, and had been touted as being capable of taking high-resolution photos and infrared images, even at night and in bad weather.

But Bild reported that night flights were impossible as pilots are blinded by the cockpit light which is far too bright…

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

Italy: Renzi, Merkel Meet Will Solve Problems — Ambassador

‘Confident’ solutions will be found

(ANSA) — Rome, January 18 — Next week’s meeting in Berlin between Italian Premier Matteo Renzi and German Chancellor Angela Merkel “is an important meeting between two close European partners, between two heads of government who esteem each other,” German Ambassador Susanne Marianne Wasum-Rainer told Radio Radicale Monday.

“I am confident that the solutions for the problems that have been posed will be found,” she said. The ambassador spoke amid a flap between Rome and Brussels about an alleged lack of communication on Italy’s part on key dossiers.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Moroccan Arrested for Robbing Women Using Irritant Spray

Attacked two in central Bologna

(ANSA) — Bologna, January 19 — Italian police have arrested a 38-year-old Moroccan man in Bologna accused of robbing women in the street after spraying an irritant in their eyes.

Jaouad Sbar, who is living in Italy unofficially, attacked two women in central Bologna in the space of 20 minutes on January 14, police said.

The first was a 30-year-old off-duty policewoman who managed to get him to run away. He then attacked another woman, 34, and stole her mobile phone. Both women reported that he sprayed irritant in their eyes, provoking slight injuries.

Sbar has a previous record of crimes related to drugs and violence, police said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Vivendi Not Acting for 3rd Parties in Telecom Says CEO

French group ‘long-term investor’

(ANSA) — Rome, January 19 — Vivendi CEO Arnaud De Puyfontaine reiterated on Tuesday that the French group is not moving on behalf of any third parties after acquiring a stake of over 20% in Telecom Italia. “Vivendi is a long-term investor in Telecom Italia,” De Puyfontaine told an Italian Senate hearing.

“We want to develop a strategic industrial plan. We are not moving on behalf of third parties. We want to build a success story for Italy, for Telecom Italia, for its capacity to create another strong link between France and Italy”. French businessman Xavier Niel, who owns Internet provider Iliad, has taken a 15% stake in Telecom Italia. Vivendi and Niel have repeatedly denied they are acting in concert.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Carlo Calenda to be Named New Envoy to EU

Replaces Stefano Sannino

(ANSA) — Rome, January 19 — Deputy Industry Minister Carlo Calenda will on Wednesday be tapped as Italy’s new ambassador to the European Union, replacing Stefano Sannino, government sources said Tuesday. Calenda’s appointment will be formalised at a cabinet meeting Wednesday night, they said. The appointment comes at a sensitive time in EU-Italy relations, amid a row between Premier Matteo Renzi and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker over alleged “insults” to the EC. Calenda, a former businessman who is a member of renzi’s ruling Democratic Party, is the first career politician to be named as envoy to Brussels after a long line of career diplomats. Calenda, 43, is a former marketing director for Sky Italia who served as deputy executive of business group Confindustria under its former head, Luca de Montezemolo, In that latter capacity he handled trade dossiers with countries including India, China, Brazil, Russia, UAE, Thailand, Kazakhstan, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Egypt, Turkey, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Israel, South Africa and Mexico. Calenda is the son of economist Fabio Calenda and film director Cristina Comencini.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Juncker Says Critical Govts Should ‘Look in Mirror’

EC chief blasted Renzi last week for offending executive

(ANSA) — Strasbourg, January 19 — European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said governments that are critical of the EU executive should take a look at themselves first.

“Without common action, a European policy on migration, Schengen will not survive,” said Juncker. “Some governments are quick to attack Brussels, but they should look in the mirror, they are Brussels too”. Juncker on Friday blasted Italian Premier Matteo Renzi for allegedly offending the EU executive at “every opportunity”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Lobbyists Love TTIP: Big Business Already Exploiting New Trade Deal

Activists opposed to TTIP have discovered at least six instances of lobbyists exploiting the agreement to change EU laws in their favor, Der Spiegel reported.

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) trade agreement has been exploited on several occasions by lobbyists who used the agreement to interfere with the legislative process in Europe, Der Spiegel reported on Monday.

One aspect of TTIP negotiations between the US and EU uses the framework of “regulatory cooperation” to dismantle “regulatory barriers” to transatlantic trade, and prevent the emergence of new regulations that could block trade.

The mechanism has sparked concerns that it is used by lobbyists to change EU standards in favor of business, at the expense of regulations regarding such areas as environmental protections, safety at work and public health and food safety.

“Big industry has succeeded in using the framework of the Transatlantic Business Dialogue to enforce its interests at the expense of the common good,” Max Bank from the campaign group Lobbycontrol told Der Spiegel.

Transatlantic Business Dialogue (TABD) is a lobby group of CEO’s that has been meeting with top officials from the European Commission and US Department of Commerce since the 1990s.

Der Spiegel reported that executives from companies such as BASF, Audi, Merck und Ford have used the meetings to push their agenda.

The newspaper also quoted EU Commissioner Erkki Liikanen, who said in 2003 that TABD “makes recommendations to governments,” and that “The EU and US have collectively undertaken to examine and implement the recommendations of the TABD.”

“The financial crisis revealed a few years later that no-one is really in control anymore,” wrote Der Spiegel.

“For example, the world’s then largest insurer, AIG largely unnoticed used credit default swaps to make incredible bets. In the financial crisis, AIG had to be saved by the US government, with $182 billion.”

Lobbycontrol and the NGO Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) have produced a report showing that “regulatory cooperation procedures have already been used to delay, water down and prevent legislation in the public interest.”

“The report examines the origins and impacts of TTIP’s proposals for regulatory cooperation and shows that the process has been dominated by big business right from the start,” CEO said, which published the report on its website.

“The examples highlighted in the study are the weakening of EU ambition on the management of hazardous electronic waste, the lack of supervision of the insurance giant AIG in the years leading up to the 2008 financial crash, the free pass offered to US companies on the Safe Harbour agreement that allowed them to ignore rules on the protection of personal data, and delayed or weakened proposals on animal testing, ozone-depleting substances, and aviation emissions.”

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

Margot Wallstrom: Swedish FM Embroiled in Housing Scandal

Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom, a rising star of the left-wing who’s made a name as an uncompromising women’s and human rights defender, could see her lustre fade after becoming embroiled in a housing scandal.

At 61, the frank-talking Social Democrat has courted controversy since taking office in October 2014, launching what she termed a “feminist foreign policy” and subsequently ruffling feathers in Russia, Saudi Arabia and Israel in less than a year.

Throughout her four decades in Swedish and international politics she has stuck fiercely to her convictions and leftist ideals, in a career marked by her tough-talking, no-nonsense style.

Wallstrom has “a rare ability to stir things up,” opposition leader Anna Kinberg Batra of the Conservatives said recently…

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

Pope Could Visit Rome Mosque on Jan 27 — UCOII

‘Dialogue important more than ever before,’ president Elzir says

(ANSA) — Vatican City, January 19 — Pope Francis could visit the Great Mosque of Rome on January 27, the president of the Union of Islamic Communities in Italy (UCOII), Izzedin Elzir, said Tuesday.

“A delegation representing the community at Rome mosque will meet in the Vatican this afternoon to reaffirm and underscore the importance of the dialogue with the Catholic Church that has been taking place for decades,” the imam told Catholic broadcasters Tg2000 and inBlu Radio.

“Today it is necessary to highlight the importance of this dialogue more than ever before,” Elzir concluded. On Monday ANSA reported that the pope might visit the mosque in Rome — allegedly the largest place of Muslim worship in Europe — during the course of the special Holy Year of Mercy.

Francis would be the first pope to visit the mosque, which was inaugurated in 1995.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Renzi Putting EU Credibility at Risk — Weber

‘To the benefit of populism’

(ANSA) — Strasbourg, January 19 — European People’s Party (EPP) caucus leader Manfred Weber of Germany said Tuesday that Italian Premier Matteo “Renzi is jeopardizing the credibility of Europe to the benefit of populism”. Weber told the European Parliament “when we see that Italy is not willing to help Turkey unless there is a trade-off, all that hurts Europe, its strength and credibility”. Italy is resisting a three-billion-euro package to help Turkey cope with Syrian migrants over concerns that national governments, and not the EU’s common fund, may foot too much of the bill. Weber, a key ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, was also speaking amid a row between European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, also of the EPP, and Renzi over alleged “insults” against the EC and barbs over migrants, economic flexibility, banks and other issues.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

UK Rules Detaining Partner of Snowden Leaks Reporter Was Lawful

LONDON (Reuters) — Britain’s Court of Appeal ruled on Tuesday that the detention of the partner of a journalist who helped bring leaks from former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden to world attention was lawful.

           — Hat tip: Nick [Return to headlines]

UK: Education Secretary Nicky Morgan Wants to Ban Hate Preachers on Campus

Universities are today condemned by Nicky Morgan for allowing terrorists apologists — such as Cage group — to peddle hatred on campus.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Four Men Guilty of Attempted Murder After ‘Frenzied’ Knife Attack in West London

Four men have been found guilty of attempted murder after a man was stabbed more than 15 times around his heart, lung and liver in a “frenzied” knife attack.

The victim only survived after doctors and paramedics from London’s Air Ambulance performed emergency life-saving surgery in the street.

The 29-year-old had visited Emerald supermarket in Staines Road, Feltham, at 1.30am on June 14 last year when the four defendants attacked him.

He was punched to the ground before being stabbed more than 15 times, with some of the wounds penetrating his heart, lung and liver.

The attackers then fled in a waiting car and police said the attack appears to have been motivated by a previous dispute.

Mohammed Mohammed, 21, of Copley Close, Hanwell, Zakariya Ibrahim, 19, of Chesham Terrace, Ealing, Saad Sharif, 19, and Hanad Mohammed, 19, both of no fixed abode, were today convicted of attempted murder.

Abdi Wahab Mohammed, 26, of Down Way, Northolt, who drove the men to and from the scene, was found guilty of causing section 18 grievous bodily harm…

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes [Return to headlines]

UK: Four Schools Closed and Thousands of Pupils Evacuated After ‘Hoax Bomb Threat’ Calls Were Made

Four schools in the West Midlands have evacuated thousands of pupils and closed after receiving hoax bomb threats.

Pupils at three schools in the Sandwell area and one in Dudley were told to leave the premises because of the security scare after the threatening calls were made.

The schools affected were Bristnall Hall Academy, Oldbury Academy and Holly Lodge in Oldbury and Leasowes School in Halesowen.

Several other colleges which did not receive any threat were also believed to be taking extra precautions.

But by lunchtime, both Leasowes High School and Bristnall Academy had been given the all clear and staff and pupils were allowed to return…

           — Hat tip: Seneca III [Return to headlines]

UK: Sister of New ‘Jihadi John’ Says He Was ‘Brainwashed’

The sister of the Briton filmed by Daesh, also known as ISIL, in its latest propaganda video showing the killing of several “British spies” has told UK lawmakers that her previously “fun-loving, normal” brother had become “brainwashed.”

A Daesh propaganda video in January showed a man speaking with a London accent ahead of the shooting of several men accused of being informant of the western nations currently conducting airstrikes over Syria and Iraq. He has been identified as 32-year-old Siddhartha Dhar from London.

He was referred to as the ‘new Jihadi John’ after Mohammed Emwazi, another Londoner, who is believed to have beheaded a number of prisoners held hostage by Daesh and who fronted previous propaganda videos. Emwazi is thought to have been killed in a drone strike last year.

‘Jihadi John 2’ was identified as Hindu convert Siddhartha Dhar, a former inflatable castle salesman from London, who had become radicalized and fled to Syria in 2014.

Giving evidence to the UK Home Affairs Committee of lawmakers, his sister Konika Dhar said she had not seen him since September 2014, when he appeared to be “OK.” She told the committee: “He’s obviously been a convert for many years and it would be hard to say at what point he changed and what the reason was.

“The memories that I have of him is nothing that I am seeing today and that’s what’s quite tragic. He was fun-loving and very laid-back, easy-going, very friendly with everyone. I think it’s quite hard for me to know within myself what it was that triggered him to become the person that he is today. And I honestly wish I knew,” she said.

‘Left in the Dark’

Appearing close to losing her composure, she explained that her family were originally Hindu, but that her brother had converted to Islam without their full knowledge.

“We were left in the dark with his journey to becoming who he is today. To be honest, everything came to me as quite a shock.”

When she first saw the video and the media reports, she said:

“I think that, for me, it was the realization that he had been brainwashed. If you look at the circumstances around his conversion, he was told certain things at the time: for example, only Muslims can go to heaven and you can die at any time.”

Asked whether she had been in touch with her brother she said: “I’ve made numerous attempts to contact him and I’ve only managed to have two responses, so it’s been very difficult to maintain a relationship.

“I’m still holding to the firm belief that what I’m seeing is not him. If it is, then I can’t accept that he could ever do that. I still don’t believe that.

“I feel a sense of guilt. Why could I not stop it, because he’s a part of me? I feel there’s an obligation on my part as the younger sister to make sure that he’s ok and if he’s not ok then I must have failed him,” she said.

Asked what her advice was to other families in similar situations, she replied: “Not to give up hope. Always remind the person that you love them.”

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

UK: Woman Told for 12 Years Her Insomnia, Tiredness and Dizzy Spells Were Due to Depression Discovers Her Body is Ravaged With Lyme Disease

Vanessa Boyd, 28, of Dronfield, Derbyshire, began experiencing bizarre symptoms from the age of 16 and claims she saw at least 30 different health professionals.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Vatican: Ex-Bishop Stole Millions From Church Funds

If Pope Francis ever manages to clean up Vatican finances to his satisfaction, he should perhaps turn his attentions to local dioceses and parishes, where it appears that powerful prelates are able to help themselves to church funds with impunity.

Two million euro of donations destined for prisoner rehabilitation, support facilities for the mentally disabled, and reception centres for immigrants ended up in the pocket of the former Bishop of Trapani, Francesco Micciché. According to La Repubblica sources, magistrates have concluded their investigations into the prelate’s alleged embezzlement, and for defamation and slander against the former treasurer of the diocese, Don Antonio Treppiedi, who he tried to blame for the hole in the finances.

The money came from the “8 per thousand”, the 0.8% of their income tax that Italians can choose to donate to a recognised religion or government social programme. Part of the money the Catholic church receives is distributed to dioceses explicitly for charitable work. But instead of being spent on helping the poor and disadvantaged in his Sicilian diocese Micciché is accused of having spent the money on apartments and villas, including an enormous palace in Monreale where he has been living with his sister and her husband since Pope Benedict XVI removed him from his post. Police also seized works of art, precious crucifixes and jewels belonging to various Trapani churches from the bishop’s home.

Apparently, Micciché has tried on several occasions to approach Pope Francis to ask for Vatican citizenship in order to avoid being tried as an Italian citizen. La Repubblica was told that the last meeting occurred as recently as 9 December. His request was not granted. The magistrates had better luck in asking for an international letter rogatory to discover whether the former bishop had an account with the IOR, the Vatican bank. It turns out that Micciché, who comes from a family of very modest means, had managed to salt away €400,000 in cash.

The ex-bishop is alleged to have used a complex system of bank transfers from the Curia’s official accounts, some paid to a couple of construction companies that issued false invoices for non-existent contracts and then handed over bundles of cash to the bishop and his accomplices, including the Reverend Sergio Librizzi, director of the local branch of the Catholic charity Caritas. Librizzi has confessed to helping the bishop in return for Micciché remaining silent about his sexual abuse of immigrants. Librizzi demanded sexual favors from migrants fleeing the Middle East and Africa in return for helping them acquire residents visas. In October, he was found guilty and sentenced to nine years imprisonment. Thus covering up cases of sexual abuse can be added to the sins of the bishop emeritus.

This is not an isolated case. In November the former abbot of Montecassino, Pietro Vittorelli , was placed under investigation for stealing half a million euros from the Abbey’s accounts, which he spent on cocaine, ecstasy and champagne dinners, among other treats.

The church needs to ask itself how the openly lavish lifestyles of high-ranking clerics like Micciché and Vittorelli fail to arouse suspicion. In Italy, Catholic clerics continue to enjoy enormous respect among large swathes of the population, and when their crimes are exposed, they rarely attract the kind of media attention one would expect in other countries, even those traditionally dominated by the Church. How many other cases have never been uncovered? How long before significant numbers of Italians stop donating 0.8% of their earnings to buy an abbot’s champagne or expand a bishop’s property portfolio?

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

Islamic Scholar ‘Says Allah Allows Muslim Men to Rape Non-Muslim Women to Humiliate Them’

AN ISLAMIC professor has allegedly claimed Muslim men are allowed by Allah to rape non-Muslim women in order to “humiliate” them.

Professor Saud Saleh — from Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt — reportedly said rape is allowed between times of “legitimate war” between Muslims and their enemies.

In a television interview Saleh appears to try to discourage the purchase of slaves from Asian countries for sex, claiming Allah has given Muslim men a “legitimate” way to have sexual relations with slave women.

[An Islamic professor, it says. And Muslim men. Not ‘extremists’ or ‘Islamists’ or ‘radicals’.]

           — Hat tip: Nick [Return to headlines]

‘My Friend Was Beheaded for Sorcery — But He Was Just Doing Acupuncture’: Libyans Fear Being Executed by ISIS in Staged ‘Witchcraft Trials’

Libyans forced to live under ISIS have told of their fear they will be wrongly convicted of sorcery in staged witchcraft trials — and brutally beheaded.

ISIS has become notorious for its sickening executions in Iraq and Syria of anyone performing what it believes to be ‘black magic’, an art condemned as questioning the existence of Allah.

But the terror group’s death squads are now meting out similar punishments across Libya after establishing a stronghold in Colonel Gaddafi’s hometown of Sirte.

One Libyan elder, who fled Sirte six months ago, told how his friend was executed simply for practising homeopathy and acupuncture.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Tunisia Imposes Curfew on Kasserine

After police disperse protestors with tear gas

(ANSAmed) — TUNIS, JANUARY 19 — The Tunisian interior ministry has declared a curfew from 6 PM Tuesday evening until 5 AM Wednesday morning after police were forced to use tear gas to disperse protestors in the morning. Unemployed youth have been holding the protest for days in front of the governorate offices of Kasserine in western central Tunisia to open an inquiry into the death of a young protestor who had been demonstrating for clarification on a job he had been promised. The young man was electrocuted when he climbed an electricity pylon. The protestors set some tires on fire and forced the police to intervene in mass. Demonstrations against the marginalization of the region were also held in the working-class areas of Zouhour and Ennour. High unemployment remains a concern in several disadvantaged areas of the country.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

HRW Asks Firms to End Ties With Israeli Settlements

Report by human rights group says Palestinian rights violated

(ANSAmed) — RAMALLAH, JANUARY 19 — In order to respect human rights, companies should stop funding, providing services and having commercial relations with the Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a 162-page report on “Occupation Inc: How settlement businesses contribute to Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights”.

Such commercial activities, wrote HRW, contribute to the confiscation of Palestinian land by Israeli authorities and discriminatory policies providing privileges to settlers at the expense of the Palestinians, like access to land and water, government subsidies and permits to develop the territory, according to the organization.

According to data published by HRW, over half a million Israelis live in settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Commercial activities quoted in the report “contributed to the expansion process of those settlements”, the organization said. The only way for foreign companies to reduce their role in the Israeli violations denounced by the group “is to stop operating with and in Israeli settlements”, said Arvind Ganesan, director of the Business and Human Rights division of HRW.

HRW in particular cited Israeli banks funding the construction of settlements and international real estate agencies selling the properties. Also under accusation was the army’s activity in the Area C, 62% of the West Bank.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Israel Arrests Palestinian Teen for Woman’s Fatal Stabbing

Israel on Tuesday arrested a Palestinian teen accused of stabbing a Jewish woman to death in the occupied West Bank and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged to demolish his home after the attack provoked Israeli outrage.

Sunday’s killing and another stabbing of a pregnant woman inside an Israeli settlement on Monday further boosted tensions after months of unrest, raising fears of an escalation in violence as well as a harsh Israeli crackdown on Palestinians.

Most of the previous knife attacks occurred in public places, including checkpoints and junctions.

Sunday’s incident saw the woman stabbed to death at her home in the Otniel settlement while some of her children were in the house…

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

British Sniper Investigated for Shooting an Iraqi ‘Without Warning Him’

The soldier — accused because he gave no warning — is one of hundreds to have received a letter from taxpayer-funded detectives. Pictured is a file photo of a British soldier.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

IS Holding 3,500 Women and Children as ‘Slaves’

Islamic State is holding an estimated 3,500 women and children as slaves in Iraq, the United Nations has said.

Those being held are primarily women and children from the Yazidi community, but a number are from other ethnic and religious minority groups, according to a report issued in Geneva.

The UN Assistance Mission for Iraq and the UN’s human rights office have documented widespread abuses that “in some instances amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity, and possibly genocide”.

           — Hat tip: Nick [Return to headlines]

Tortured, Threatened and Raped by ISIS — Sex Slaves Relive Horror at Hands of Sick Jihadis

WOMEN captured by Islamic State before managing to escape the evil clutches of sick jihadis have revealed their horrifying stories.

More than 5,000 Yazidi victims were captured and enslaved by ISIS — also known as Daesh — the militant terrorists attacked the city of Sinjar in Iraq in 2014.

Horrifyingly they were forced to watch ISIS militants murder their families, before they were sold into sex slavery.

           — Hat tip: Nick [Return to headlines]

Gazprom: 2.55 Bn Dollar Gas Bill to Ukraine

Clause: minimum supply, payment within 10 days

(ANSA) — MOSCOW — Gazprom has presented a $ 2.55 bn gas ‘bill’ to Ukraine according to the ‘take or pay’ clause, providing a minimum annual gas supply, that is over 10 bn cubic metres, payable in the third quarter of the year. Gazprom has sent the bill to its Ukrainian counterpart Naftogaz.

The company said the payment is expected “within 10 days”.

“Ukraine — Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said — decided not to buy Russian gas in the third quarter, but no agreement was reached to cancel the clause ‘take or pay’ during that period”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Afghans Revolted as Husband Cuts Off Wife’s Nose

A photograph of an Afghan woman whose nose was sliced off by her husband in a fit of rage has sparked online anger, with activists demanding punishment for what one called a “barbaric act”.

Reza Gul, 20, was rushed to hospital after the attack in Ghormach district in the northwestern province of Faryab on Sunday. Her husband is said to have fled to a Taliban-controlled area.

“Mohammad Khan (the husband) cut off Reza Gul’s nose with a pocket knife,” Faryab governor’s spokesman Ahmad Javed Bedar told AFP…

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

Pakistani Child Sex Abuse Victims Struggle to Rebuild Lives

“I don’t regret speaking out, but since then, people have looked at me with strange eyes,” laments 16-year-old village boy Irfan.

He was one of 20 children sexually abused by a gang who sold videos of the acts and used them for blackmail purposes, in a scandal that shocked Pakistan.

The police, who had conspicuously failed to act despite pleas from some parents, eventually arrested 37 men after clashes between relatives and authorities brought the issue into the media spotlight last summer, years after the abuse began.

Six months after one of the country’s biggest paedophilia scandal broke, police now confirm 17 of the accused remain in prison awaiting trial, while three more are out on bail…

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

Pakistan ‘Blasphemy’ Boy ‘Doesn’t Regret Cutting Off Hand’

A Pakistani boy who cut off his own hand, believing he had committed blasphemy, says he does not regret his action.

The 15-year-old raised his hand by accident when a cleric asked worshippers who did not believe in the teachings of the Holy Prophet to identify themselves.

Admirers praising the boy’s “devotional” act have travelled to his village to meet him, but his cleric has been arrested under anti-terrorism laws.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

The Devastating Silence From Labour “Feminists’ on Cologne

by Paul Nuttall MEP

On the night of the Oldham West and Royton by-election result I accused the Labour Party of engaging in “dangerous identity politics.” The result of me uttering this sentence on TV was that the political journalists both local and national went into a spin. Labour politicians were also horrified and tried to suggest I was being racist, which of course I wasn’t, and they knew it. Indeed, calling someone is a “racist” is the fall back tactic for Labour politicians when they know they’ve been rumbled.

By “dangerous identity politics”, I meant ditching one’s own values and pandering to the prejudices of others. And the Labour Party is doing this on an increasingly regular basis, which I maintain is dangerous politics.

They did this on a minor scale in Oldham when Labour politicians (both Oldham MPs and local councillors) attended a meeting that was segregated on the basis of gender.

This meeting was organised by the Labour Friends of Bangladesh and was a political meeting, not a religious one. Labour of course denied the meeting was gender segregated, but it was obvious to anyone who saw the photos that men and women were sitting on opposite sides of the room. More evidence then came to light that the Labour leader, hard left London luvvie Jeremy Corbyn, had also been addressing gender segregated meetings.

Now one would think such gatherings would vex Labour feminists like Harriet Harman, but she has never publicly said a thing. Maybe this was because her husband, Labour MP Jack Dromey, was also caught addressing a gender segregated rally in Birmingham last year.

The question surely must be: Why do Labour politicians agree to address such meetings? The answer is simple: votes.

They cast aside their so-called profoundly long held beliefs and values to appeal to the Muslim community in areas like Oldham and Birmingham because they are reliant on their votes…

           — Hat tip: AF [Return to headlines]

Women-Only Cabs Take Off in Indonesia

Jakarta has one of the largest public transportations systems in the world, but often, women feel unsafe on crowded trains and public vans. The startup “LadyJek” is now offering the first woman-only cab service.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

China: Xi Wants to Control the PLA, But His Maoist Campaigns Are No Longer Succeeding

China’s president has staked everything on controlling the media and the military. If he succeeds, he can control the situation in the short term. However, this is unlikely. In the last three years, nothing has gone smoothly for him, including his latest steps. This is because Xi Jinping’s basic ideas are wrong. The analysis of a great dissident follows.

Washington (AsiaNews) — From the expulsion of the French reporter Ursula Gauthier, we can perceive Xi Jinping’s plan to control public opinion. Since Xi Jinping came to power, nothing seems going smoothly for him, economically, politically, and diplomatically. Previously he pinned his hope on an anti-corruption campaign, thus defrauding the support of some people. But soon people realized that the campaign was false — in fact it was his way to remove his dissidents through a selective way of anti-corruption, and therefore the people’s support he received started to drop.

What followed was the counterattack of the corrupt officials, including a panic mood by everyone of the bureaucratic class. In the recent Fifth Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party, Xi Jinping did not realize the dictatorship he wanted, but was made disappointed and depressed. Thus, he has to put his hopes on controlling military power and controlling the media. If he were successful on both, it would be possible for him to control the situation in the short term.

Unfortunately, in my opinion, these are unlikely. Just like everything in the past three years has not been going smoothly for him, these actions will not be smooth. That is because his basic ideas are wrong, so even though the fine details are done delicately and accurately, the result would still be wrong to a degree that is irreparable.

For example, Xi relies on punishing foreign correspondents to control public opinion. We can recall the era of Mao Zedong, to see if he won a favorable public opinion through punishing foreign correspondents. What Mao Zedong relied on was to make the Western public opinion more Marxist, or left-oriented, in addition with fully control the domestic media and surround the foreign reporters completely. This approach made the international public opinion of that time unable to see any of the domestic situation in China; yet to produce reports, they had to cite largely from the Communist Party’s newspaper.

Now the situation is completely different. The public opinion of the world has reversed from sympathy to the Communist Party to disgust with the Communist Party. Even the people on the left do not like the Communist Party anymore. They tried to draw a line to avoid being implicated by the authoritarian systems of the communist countries. Even the people of the communist countries have long abandoned the lies of the communism. Xi Jinping has the delusion to revive the Communist Party by the propaganda tune of the 1950’s. This effort will only meet the Chinese ancient fables such as: “to drill the wood hoping to catch the fish”; and “to mark the boat in search of the sword that fell into the river”. It looks just like a joke.

Now the Internet and social media are so advanced, with updates every passing day. Without being stationed in Beijing or leaving home, one can still know events of the whole world. Public opinion domestically and internationally has formed as a whole, and is maintaining a strong trend that is unstoppable. The Internet police of Xi Jinping have also met one ancient fable in China, which is “the mantis raises its arm in an effort to stop the carriage”. No matter how much money Xi Jinping funds his mantis’ arm in an effort to maintain stability, a mantis’ arm is only a mantis’ arm that cannot stop the carriage. Even with the arms of many mantis one still can not stop the wheel of history, which can not be changed by one person’s will.

Another example is the current “military reform” in China. “Military reform” has become the most popular term in the media recently. A minimum of thought will realize such reform is just for the purpose of controlling military power through ways of playing magic. Things were changed from this to that, guards were moved from here to there, all are just excuses to clear the house of dissidents in a large scale while cultivating cronies. This rearrangement will inevitably lead to military instability, even uprising. To the least, it will result a sharp decline of military fighting power. There are numerous precedents in history already.

Does the Chinese military need reform? Of course it is indeed needed. But first and foremost, the military needs a stable morale. What is the primary condition to have a stable morale in the military? That is to know whom they are and what they are suppose to do. In the era of the Communist Party when it was still popular, the Schutzstaffel nature of the Communist army was recognized and agreed to by its military officials and soldiers. As the illusion of the Communist Party has disappeared, especially with a very strong recognition of the state and national identity, could Xi Jinping’s desire to restore the military back to the nature of the Schutzstaffel be agreed to with the recognition of the vast majority of officers and soldiers? The results can only be demoralization, with rebellious moods becoming popular.

In the past when Chinese were poorly educated, Yuan Shikai could gather support from the military by advocating enough food to eat if one joins the army, thus creating a private army. During the eras of Chiang Kai-shek and Mao Zedong, private armies were still very popular. The SS system that the Chinese learned from the Soviet Union was more suitable to meet soldiers’ qualities of that time. It replaced the outdated private army, and was able to deal with the Japanese army that was more like an army of the country, for as long as eight years.

After a lapse of more than half a century, the quality of modern people and military personnel has greatly improved, with rising national consciousness in people’s hearts. The continuing SS system has been departing from the self-identity of the people and the military personnel. This is the main reason that the morale in the military has been falling apart in the past decades. The corruption of military officials is also a consequence from decline of identity, rather than the cause. The civil officials love money, and so do the military officials.

Can patriotism be educated out? No. First the system of this country must be recognized by its people, and thus be able to improve the sense of recognition through education, leading the effect of consistent ideology. There is no political commissar and no political officers in the US military, yet its soldiers remain with a clear and unified political goal — fighting for their country and their people is not something they need to think about and to doubt.

Regardless how Xi Jinping tries to change in his “military reform”, he is still strengthening his SS system. Now the people do not recognize the corruptive one-party authoritarian system of the Communist Party anymore, how the slogan of “fighting for the Communist Party” will still be able to gather people’s hearts? I am afraid that goal will be less consistent than the mercenaries who fight for money. Xi’s military reform, inevitably will degenerate the SS army into private armies. This is the real chaos-creating action of usurping the military, that also makes a foundation for others to usurp the military and to create chaos.

As the economy in China declines further, the social conflicts in China will deteriorate further as well. With the selective anti-corruption campaign becoming more and more cruel, internal fighting within the Communist officialdom will intensify. With the diminishing effect of money spread abroad, money diplomacy will be less and less effective, while international conflict becomes increasingly acute. This is the new situation in the New Year for Xi Jinping.

The countermeasure policies of Xi Jinping could only focus on domestic affairs. He should set further back externally: giving up the sovereignty disputes in the South China Sea and the East China Sea, while repairing the relationship with the United States in order to get the cooperation of the United States and Europe in his economic adjustment, or at least not enter economic confrontation with them.

This direction requires at the same time gradually establishing a democratic system and restoring the rule of law. Otherwise he will remain the opposition against the Western democracies, with both politics and the economy remaining in mismatch states to the Western countries. As the Western countries lose their need to fight against the Soviet Union, their tolerance toward China will gradually disappear. If he does not want to take this path but continues his path of one-party dictatorship, he will only run into a dead end.

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

Japan’s Plan to Drop Swastikas as Temple Symbol Sparks Backlash

A Japanese proposal to stop using swastikas to identify temples on tourist maps has sparked a backlash.

Japan’s official map-making body said foreigners might mistake it for a Nazi symbol, and that temples should be represented by a three-storey pagoda instead.

Many say the ancient Sanskrit symbol — which has been adopted into Japanese where it is pronounced manji — has long been associated with Buddhism and Japanese culture, and that the tourists should learn this.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

North Korea Says it Has Invented Hangover-Free Alcohol

North Korean scientists have invented a hangover-free alcohol, according to the Pyongyang Times.

The state newspaper says the “suave” liquor will spare you wincing when you wake, despite boasting 30%-40% alcohol.

The brew is reportedly made from a type of indigenous ginseng called insam and glutinous rice, and cultivated by an organic farming method.

The product apparently “exudes national flavour”, without dampening your national fervour the following morning.

Among its other unique selling points, according to the Pyongyang Times — the spirit “is highly appreciated by experts and lovers”.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Family’s Dreams Shattered in Burkina Faso

The Santomenna family had been running the Cappuccino Cafe, attacked by Al Qaeda, since 2012

The end of a beautiful dream. This was what the dual terrorist attacks in Ouagadougou, last Friday, meant for Gaetano Santomenna, the Italo-Lebanese owner of the Cappuccino Cafe, who was out of town that tragic evening. “He was in Niger for work,” said Nabil Attieh, a Lebanese acquaintance, who also owns a restaurant in Ouagadougou. “Now he’s coming back to nothing: his wife, son and sister in law, all dead. A life destroyed. No words can describe it.”…

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

Britain Bans EU Migrant Benefits to Curb Bloc’s Meddling in UK Life

UK plan to limit work benefits for EU migrants is an attempt to curb the bloc’s interference in British everyday life, UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — A four-year ban on work benefits for EU migrants in the United Kingdom is one of the major stumbling blocks to the ongoing reform negotiations between the European Union and Britain, ahead of the 2017 Brexit referendum.

UK main goals are to decrease migration within the European Union and show that “EU intervention in our national life” has passed the “high water mark,” Hammond said after visiting all EU member states to canvas support for the United Kingdom’s renegotiation of its EU membership, as quoted by The Telegraph newspaper.

“There’s nothing magic about four years. That’s where we’ve set our stall and I think if anyone’s going to suggest that it needs to be less, they’d have to show us that there’s some compensating mechanism that would have the same effect on migration — because in the end this is about the impact on migration,” the secretary added.

Hammond stressed that the limit on access to welfare benefits is only one of the mechanisms that might be considered by the UK government during the renegotiation process.

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

Closing Borders Will Not Solve Refugee Crisis — German Foreign Minister

BERLIN (Reuters) — Closing borders will not solve Europe’s refugee crisis, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Tuesday.

“The solution…does not lie with closing borders,” Steinmeier told reporters in response to a question about a suggestion by Germany’s transport minister that Germany should prepare to shut is borders.

Steinmeier added that it was essential to address the conflict in Syria, as well as working with Syria’s neighbours to manage the refugee flow, while also setting up “hot spots” in Greece and Italy to handle those arriving in Europe.

           — Hat tip: Nick [Return to headlines]

CSU Minister to Merkel, ‘We Must Soon Close Borders’

Alexander Dobrindt, ‘we can no longer show a friendly face’

(ANSA) — ROME — Germany’s Transport Minister, Alexander Dobrindt (CSU), urged Chancellor Angela Merkel to prepare o prepare to close Germany’s borders to keep out refugees, adding that Berlin Berlin must act alone if it cannot reach a Europe-wide deal.

In an interview with the daily Muenchner Merkur, Dobrindt — member of the Bavarian CSU — said the country could no longer show the world a “friendly face”, a phrase used by Merkel last September, when migrants began arriving in the country and if the number of new arrivals did not drop soon — he pointed out — Germany should act alone.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Danish Clubs Bar Migrants in Language Row

Some nightclubs in Denmark are reportedly refusing entry to migrants unless they speak either Danish, English or German.

It comes after claims that asylum seekers and refugees have been harassing female guests.

Women in at least three Danish cities, Thisted, Haderslev and Sonderborg, have recently reported they feel uncomfortable at night because of how some migrants behave in bars and clubs.

Clubgoer Stephanie Kleis Nielsen in Sonderborg told TV SYD: “I feel inconvenienced because they want to reach us all the time and they do not understand an answer.

“They stare and are very pushy.

“I have experienced standing outside a nightclub where my hair was pulled and it is uncomfortable that people need to tinker with me.

“It is tiresome and annoying. If they must be in the nightlife, so they must learn how to behave in Denmark.”

It comes in the wake of dozens of alleged assaults on women by migrants in Cologne , Germany, on New Year’s Eve.

And German town Bornheim has banned male asylum seekers from a public swimming pool after women complained they were being sexually harassed.

Some drinking premises in Denmark are believed to have brought in extra security guards while others have decided to keep out guests who are unable to communicate with staff.

Among the clubs that have adopted the new policy is reportedly the Buddy Holly discotheque in Sonderborg where no one can enter unless they can speak either Danish, English or German.

Several others are considering a similar move, said industry group Danmarks Restauranter og Cafeer, which has over 1,500 members nationwide.

           — Hat tip: Nick [Return to headlines]

Dutch Police Say Ready for Anti-Migrant Rallies of Any Scale

Dutch police are ready for a potential anti-migrant manifestations regardless of their scale, a press officer with the Dutch Police Mediadesk of the Oost-Brabant unit told Sputnik on Tuesday.

MOSCOW (Sputnik), Alexander Mosesov — On Monday, a massive anti-refugee rally took place in a small town of Heesch in the Netherlands over plans to construct a center to accommodate 500 asylum seekers in the town with a population of merely 12,500. About 1,000 people took to the streets after clashing with riot police.

“Our unit is called Oost-Brabant, and in Oost-Brabant, a couple of thousand policemen are working, ready to react all over our region. If necessary, we can ask colleagues from other places,” the press officer said answering a question whether local police units have enough staff to deal with massive demonstrations and rallies.

He added that youth arrested during the protest in Heesch arrived from the nearby towns.

“One person is 21 years old, he comes from a small town called Geffen and the other two are from the town of Oss, they are 20 and 26 year old,” the press officer said adding that the three were arrested for resisting police forces and refusing to follow the orders.

The European Union is currently struggling to manage a massive refugee crisis, with hundreds of thousands of people fleeing conflict-torn countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

According to the Dutch authorities, 59,100 refugees sought asylum in the country in 2015, over two times more than in 2014.

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

EU Dismiss UKIP Question Over Calais Refugees Crisis

The anti-EU party’s defence spokesman Mike Hookem submitted a written question to top Brussels chief Jean-Claude Juncker’s European Commission over the ongoing crisis in the northern French town.

British truck drivers have recently warned of escalating violence as refugees camped out in Calais and at other French ports turn to increasingly desperate measures in their bid to stowaway on lorries and enter the UK.

It is not for unelected eurocrats to decide what is and isn’t allowed to be debated when it comes to the truth.

Mr Hookem had asked the Commission whether they would consider changing the terms of the continent’s borderless Schengen Area — of which Britain is not part — or EU laws on asylum seekers in a bid to calm the situation in Calais.

But, in emails seen by, Brussels bureaucrats dismissed the UKIP MEP’s question, in part, on the grounds it could be “considered as offensive for a specific group”.

Mr Hookem, MEP for Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire, blasted the Commission for “trying to shut down debate” over EU legislation amid the ongoing Europe-wide refugee crisis.

He said: “I submitted that question after meeting constituents, who told me of the levels of violence which have been escalating, including a driver’s brush with death after a missile was hurled through his windscreen.

“As an elected Member of the European Parliament I think I should have the ability to ask a question about an ongoing crisis brought about by EU laws without the PC brigade trying to shut down debate.”

He added: “It is not for unelected eurocrats to decide what is and isn’t allowed to be debated when it comes to the truth.

“Censorship is truly offensive but shutting down debate is what the EU is rather good at and they wouldn’t let something inconvenient like the future of an entire industry or people’s lives allow them to face up to what their disastrous policies have done.”…

           — Hat tip: Seneca III [Return to headlines]

EU Migrant Policy Unattainable in Short-Term, National Approach Needed

Austria’s Finance Minister Hans-Joerg Schelling said that of the some 1.5 million refugees who have arrived in Europe, 1.3 million have chosen to stay in Germany, Austria and Sweden.

VIENNA (Sputnik) — The European Union will not be able to bring the flow of refugees under control through a coordinated policy, so the member nations need to make decisions accordingly at a national level, Austria’s Finance Minister Hans-Joerg Schelling said on Tuesday.

On Saturday, Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann announced that Vienna was temporarily suspending the Schengen Agreement and toughening border checks.

“Now we have a problem with the direction and organization of refugee flows. We have reached our capacity. And this problem should be solved. I’m sure we will not be able to do this, to achieve a European solution within the European Union in the coming months, so we need to tackle it at the national level,” he said at the Euromoney Conference in Vienna.

Schelling added that of the some 1.5 million refugees who have arrived in Europe, 1.3 million have chosen to stay in Germany, Austria and Sweden.

“If we do not get over the migration problem, we will face the even greater challenge of nationalism,” the minister stressed.

The European Union is currently struggling to manage a massive refugee crisis, with hundreds of thousands of people fleeing conflict-torn countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

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

Europe’s Leaders Have No Plan to Cut Immigration, Says Leo McKinstry

IN THE European hall of political infamy, a special place is reserved for the German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Through her catastrophic decision to open the migrant floodgates, she perpetrated a spectacular act of vandalism against the fabric of our once well-ordered civilisation.

The mass sexual assaults by so-called refugees in cities across Germany and Scandinavia are the ultimate symbol of the terrible damage that she has inflicted.

Europe was in a state of near permanent crisis before this new migrant disaster unfolded. Due to the twisted ideologies of cultural diversity, free movement and federal unification, the EU in recent years has presided over continual economic meltdown and social upheaval.

Now this dysfunctional, undemocratic organisation has decided to compound Europe’s problems through the import of a vast migrant horde from dysfunctional, undemocratic foreign countries.

           — Hat tip: Nick [Return to headlines]

EU’s Tusk Warns Europe Has Two Months to Tackle Migration Crisis

STRASBOURG, France (Reuters) — European Council President Donald Tusk issued a stark warning on Tuesday that the European Union had “no more than two months” to tackle the migration crisis engulfing the 28-nation bloc or else face the collapse of its passport-free Schengen zone.

Tusk was speaking to the European Parliament in Strasbourg amid growing frustration in Brussels and Germany — the bloc’s biggest economy and main destination for migrants arriving in Europe — that the EU seems unable to get its act together on its worst migration crisis since World War Two.

“We have no more than two months to get things under control,” Tusk, who chairs the summits of EU leaders, said.

“The March European Council (summit) will be the last moment to see if our strategy works. If it doesn’t, we will face grave consequences such as the collapse of Schengen.”

           — Hat tip: Nick [Return to headlines]

Female Refugees Face Physical Assault, Exploitation and Sexual Harassment on Their Journey Through Europe

Governments and aid agencies are failing to provide even basic protections to women refugees traveling from Syria and Iraq. New research conducted by Amnesty International shows that women and girl refugees face violence, assault, exploitation and sexual harassment at every stage of their journey, including on European soil.

The organization interviewed 40 refugee women and girls in northern Europe last month who travelled from Turkey to Greece and then across the Balkans. All the women described feeling threatened and unsafe during the journey. Many reported that in almost all of the countries they passed through they experienced physical abuse and financial exploitation, being groped or pressured to have sex by smugglers, security staff or other refugees.

“After living through the horrors of the war in Iraq and Syria these women have risked everything to find safety for themselves and their children. But from the moment they begin this journey they are again exposed to violence and exploitation, with little support or protection,” said Tirana Hassan, Amnesty International’s Crisis Response director.

Women and girls travelling alone and those accompanied only by their children felt particularly under threat in transit areas and camps in Hungary, Croatia and Greece, where they were forced to sleep alongside hundreds of refugee men. In some instances women left the designated areas to sleep in the open on the beach because they felt safer there…

           — Hat tip: AF [Return to headlines]

Finland: Defense Minister Refuses to Answer Why Muslims From the M.E. Will be Difficult to Integrate…

Now is the time for clarity, not mush mouthed responses due to fear how the media will run with it.

He should have blurted out, “there are hierarchies in culture, which is amazingly clear when dealing with these people. It’s why we need training films to teach them how to behave among the civil society”.

“I will not respond to this,” says the Minister of defence to the question of: What makes it difficult for Middle East asylum seekers to integrate?…

           — Hat tip: AF [Return to headlines]

Germany’s Schaeuble Doesn’t Want Tighter Borders Slowing EU Integration

BERLIN (Reuters) — Tightening border controls between European Union countries would jeopardise EU integration and member states must address the influx of refugees into Europe by controlling the bloc’s external borders, Germany’s Finance Minister said on Tuesday.

“We don’t want to fall back into a time when borders were hindering the political and economic integration,” Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaueble told a news conference in Berlin after meeting the finance ministers of France and Poland.

           — Hat tip: Nick [Return to headlines]

German Families to Take in Underage Refugees : Minister

Family Minister Manuela Schwesig has introduced a new project to sponsor underage refugees. The government is investing 10 million euros in the initiative to help integrate them into German society.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Germany and Tunisia Talking Deportations

Germany is debating measures to speed up the deportation of rejected asylum seekers from North Africa. Tunisia has agreed to support the government and asked for Germany to downgrade its travel warnings.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Helsinki Police Report 15 Sexual Harassment Cases on New Years Eve

HELSINKI (Reuters) — Finnish police are investigating 15 reported cases of sexual assault of women near Helsinki city centre on New Year’s Eve carried out by men of foreign appearance some of whom were likely to be asylum seekers, a police report said on Tuesday.

           — Hat tip: Nick [Return to headlines]

Holland: Fourth Town Riots Over Invasion (Video)

An angry crowd of 1,000 anti-invader protestors attacked the council building in the center of the south-eastern Dutch town of Heesch with eggs, projectiles, and an alleged Molotov cocktail on Monday evening, January 18, in the latest upsurge of militant Dutch resistance against the nonwhite “refugee” invasion of their country.

The crowd—which had to be dispersed by riot police deployed under an emergency order—made Heesch the fourth town in Holland to be rocked by violent protests against planned nonwhite invader centers.

The riot, which took place between 6 and 9:15 p.m. on Monday evening, was an almost identical repetition of a similar protest carried out in the northern town of Geldermalsen in December 2015, and two earlier disturbances in the towns of Steenbergen and Purmerend.

According to a report by the Omroep Brabant news service, more than 1,000 white Dutch people gathered outside the Heesch town hall in response to a call by local activists to protest a council meeting taking place that evening.

Tensions have been growing in the town ever since the Labor Party-controlled council announced plans to build a nonwhite invader center there.

These plans made provision for providing accommodation for at least 500 “refugees” for a “period of ten years”—all at the local taxpayers’ expense.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Hungary Ready to Erect Anti-Migrant Fence on Romanian Border

BUDAPEST (Reuters) — Hungary is ready to build a fence on its border with Romania “the next day” if migrants switch to that route instead of going via Croatia, Hungary’s foreign minister said on Tuesday.

Peter Szijjarto told Reuters the southern frontiers of Europe were still wide open to the continuing influx of hundreds of thousands of migrants from the Middle East and Africa, which has put in doubt the future of the Schengen system of open internal borders within the EU.

           — Hat tip: Nick [Return to headlines]

Migrants: Letter From 44 Rebel MPs Delivered to Merkel

Against reception, they call for rigorous application of law

(ANSA) — BERLIN — The letter written by the “rebels” belonging to Angela Merkel’s CDU party, calling for a breakthrough in Germany’s asylum seeker policy, has been delivered to the chancellery in Berlin. The document was signed by 44 representatives of the Union (CDU-CSU), but the malcontents are at least one hundred, that is one third of the group in the Bundestag (which includes 310 MPs).

“We are faced with an excessive effort for our country — they wrote in the letter, which had been announced some days ago -, for this reason, we deem it necessary to change the current immigration policy and resume the rigorous application of existing laws”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Serbia Warns Against Unilateral Measures

‘Belgrade may also adopt restrictions’, says Dacic

(ANSAmed) — BELGRADE, JANUARY 19 — Serbia on Tuesday warned against the adoption of unilateral restrictive measures by countries affected by migrant and refugee influxes along the Balkan route. Foreign minister Ivica Dacic, in referring to recent announcements by Austria and Slovenia, said that any unilateral decisions on border closures and suspensions of the Schengen accords would be bound to create a chain effect across all the countries on the Balkan route. “Measures of the sort are expected to be adopted in Austria, which will probably cause a reaction in Slovenia and Croatia.

This will obviously induce us to adopt similar measures as well,” Dacic said in talks on Tuesday in Belgrade with his Slovenian counterpart Karl Erjavec. This is why unilateral measures must be avoided, he said, adding that “Serbia has behaved more fairly than many other European countries but we are not stupid and we will certainly act in defense of our interests”. The foreign minister then underscored that Serbia would not allow refugees and migrants to be sent back to its territory. Since the beginning of the year, he added, 35,000 migrants and refugees had entered in Serbia — 6,000 more than in the first five months of 2015.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Slovenia’s Premier: The EU Should Help Macedonia

Schengen, Slovenia will take appropriate measures

(ANSA) — LJUBLJANA — “The EU should help Macedonia check the external borders of the Union and prevent a new wave of migration”. This is the proposal launched by the Slovenian premier Miro Cerar this evening, at a press conference. Cerar said that he has already submitted his proposal to all the EU’s governments. “This solution could even prevent potential conflicts between the countries in the whole area”. The prime minister kept things vague in regard to a potential suspension of the Schengen agreement that could be decided by the government in Ljubljana. “If the countries which are situated north of Slovenia take stricter measures — Cerar said -, Slovenia will take proportionate measures”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Clinton Receives Endorsement From Largest LGBT Organization

Hillary Clinton received an endorsement Tuesday for her White House bid from America’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization.

The Human Rights Campaign announced its endorsement for the Democratic front-runner, which she is expected to officially accept at an event in Iowa next week ahead of the state’s leadoff Feb. 1 caucus.

The organization’s board of directors, comprised of 32 community leaders nationwide, voted to endorse Clinton, the group said in a statement.

“Too many LGBT Americans still face discrimination — in employment, in housing, in education, in health care — because of who they are or who they love,” Clinton said in a statement Tuesday. “The stakes in this election couldn’t be higher.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Portland Community College to Devote an Entire Month to ‘Whiteness’-Shaming

Portland Community College has designated April “Whiteness History Month” (WHM), an “educational project” exploring how the “construct of whiteness” creates racial inequality.

“‘Whiteness History Month: Context, Consequences, and Change’ is a multidisciplinary, district-wide, educational project examining race and racism through an exploration of the construction of whiteness, its origins, and heritage,” PCC states on its website. “Scheduled for the month of April 2016, the project seeks to inspire innovative and practical solutions to community issues and social problems that stem from racism.”

The WHM site makes clear that the project is not a “celebratory endeavor” like heritage months, but is rather “an effort to change our campus climate” by “[challenging] the master narrative of race and racism through an exploration of the social construction of whiteness.” (“Challenging the master narrative,” PCC explains, “is a strategy within higher education that promotes multicultural education and equity.”)

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

5 thoughts on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 1/19/2016

  1. Dutch member of parliament mrs Wasilla Hachchi (D66) announced she will leave the Netherlands and join the Hillary Clinton campaign.

    Mrs Hachchi is a muslim and a denier of the Armenian Genocide of 1915.

  2. I could barely make it through half of the above news stories. The world is burning and the elites are living it up in Davos and the rest of the lower-level elites are still lying their heads off. Where does this end?

    Dang, it makes me glad to be old but it worries me that my kids and grandkids will have to face this mad world eventually.

    In the meantime, keep up the good work — I find my international news here, for the most part.

    However, I am seriously considering a newsfast, just to maintain my sanity. I don’t how you guys manage it. Martinis? Nice walks? A healthy diet?

    Salute to Baron and Dymphna, from Mariadee (the occasional mad Hungarian — but really I’m American!)

    sorry for being silly, but sometimes you just have to do it.

  3. P.S. I can’t tell you how much I despise Hillary (Killary) Clinton — I will really despair for America if by some chance she wins the next election. I thought the current president a mistake, but she almost makes him look sainted.

  4. All these elites just want to destabilize and depopulate so money can keep flowing to them.

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