Friday, January 10, 2003

News Feed 20101029

Financial Crisis
»Merkel Rams Through EU Financial Crisis Reforms
»Where, When is the LTV Tipping Point?
»2nd Sestak Scandal Days Before Election
»Court Allows Use of Fake Social Security Number
»Democrats’ Final Recourse: Massive Vote Fraud
»FBI Links 3 Military Shootings in DC Area
»Frank Gaffney: Obama’s Not-So-Hidden Agenda
»President Obama: Suspicious Packages Contained Explosives
»Rangel Plan Gives Prez ‘Civilian Security Force’
»Sen. Russell Pearce: Think Nationally, Act Locally
»Sharia Islamic Law May be Banned in Oklahoma
»The Republican Establishment and Revolution
»Whistleblower Jailed by Judges, Cops He’s Accusing
»Why Obama is Taking Time to Campaign for Rep. Tom Perriello
»Spat Ensures Steyn a Hot Ticket
Europe and the EU
»Berlusconi: I Love Life and Women and I’m Not Gonna Change
»Europe’s Most Influential Muslim Women to Meet
»International Terror Alert as Suspect Package Found on Cargo Plane in UK
»Islamic Extremists Intimidating Women and Gays at UK Universities
»Italy: Lele Mora and Emilio Fede Investigated Over Parties and Girls
»Muslims in France Are Undermining Secularism in Schools
»Sweden Set for First Circumcision Law Trial
»Sweden: More Police Join Malmö Immigrant Gunman Hunt
»The Investigation: Ruby and Berlusconi
»UK: Two in Court Over Rotherham Canal Body Death
»UK: What Justice? Thug Who Kicked Terminally-Ill Grandfather in the Head in Unprovoked Attack Walks Free From Court
North Africa
»Anti-Bishop Protest Continues in Cairo
Israel and the Palestinians
»Caroline Glick: The Scott Brown Precedent & Israel
»Crisis for Butter Market, Duties on Imports Stopped
Middle East
»Iran: Senior Cleric Confident About Victory of Islam
»Saudi Prince Backs Moving Planned NYC Mosque
»Stakelbeck: Interesting Details Surrounding the Al Qaeda Cargo Plane Plot Out of Yemen
»Swede in Yemen Kidnapping Drama
»Trends: From Cappuccino to Hamburger, Camels Become Stars
»Yemen: Terrorism Leads to Loss of 1 Bln Dollars
»Yemen Terror Alert: Obama Says Explosives Found
South Asia
»India: Obama’s Trip to be Biggest Ever
»Maldives Arrest Marriage Celebrant After ‘Hate’ Ceremony
Far East
»China Cuts Rare Earth Exports, Raising Concerns Around the World
Sub-Saharan Africa
»Girls Killed by Islamist Firing Squad in Somalia
»Think Again: A Double Standard for Islam

Financial Crisis

Merkel Rams Through EU Financial Crisis Reforms

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday hailed the results of an EU summit in Brussels that backed her demands for sweeping reforms to deal with future financial crises and ensure the stability of the euro.

“I can say on behalf of Germany that we pushed through our essential points,” the chancellor said, adding that the talks which ended at 1:30 am had been “hard and extensive.”

The European Union’s 27 leaders successfully agreed on long-term budgetary mechanisms for member countries in financial crisis at the summit, she said.

“All were in agreement that for this a limited revision of the (Lisbon) treaty will be necessary,” she added, adding that there would no longer be any bailouts for countries in distress. “The crisis mechanism is valid only in case that the stability of the euro as a whole is in danger.”

The changes to the treaty will mean swifter and harder measures against EU countries that exceed their deficit limits, and comes by in large in reaction to the recent financial problems in Greece.

In the future, private creditors including banks will have to shoulder part of any sovereign debt crisis to ensure taxpayers aren’t left with the entire cost.

Merkel was reportedly the central figure in the negotiations, taking a hard line on Germany’s demands. However, she failed to push through the suspension of voting rights for those EU countries failing to fulfil their financial commitments.

“Merkel became quite emotional during the debate about voting rights,” said one EU diplomat.

But by abandoning that demand, the chancellor was able to convince other EU leaders to back her other priorities.

EU President Herman Van Rompuy has now been tasked with preparing for a “light” treaty change before a “final” decision at a December summit. The changes would be implemented by mid-2013 when the €750-million rescue package created following the Greek debt crisis runs out.

Merkel, along with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, faced heated criticism from smaller countries for pushing the tough reforms, with high-profile EU figures saying the pair had opened a “Pandora’s Box” of problems.

Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn also warned of “a risk that we will be plunged back into months and years of navel-gazing.”

Many EU countries also disliked the idea of simply signing off on a “diktat” by Berlin and Paris.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Where, When is the LTV Tipping Point?

Inquiring minds are enjoying an article sent into by Jim, a Newport Beach, CA, mortgage broker. The article, “The LTV tipping point”, is well written and explains where the market is. The statistics defining the problem are immense:

The negative equity threshold and the point of no return

Nearly 2,500,000 California homeowners have a negative equity condition which imprisons them in houses that are black-hole assets. Each month of continued ownership sucks up sums of money in multiples of what the home would rent for — the home’s sole current value to the homeowner. Thus, a disconnect has developed between the primary use of the home to shelter the family and the secondary consideration as the family’s largest financial asset — due solely to the cyclical reversal of fortune for homeowners who bought or refinanced after 2002.

As upwards of 30% of California homeowners are now consumed by the negative equity trend which inverted the value of their home, the number of people choosing to walk away from their underwater properties is on the rise. Those rational homeowners who choose to walk away or strategically default (voluntarily defaulting on their home loan when they have the means to pay) account for nearly one out of every four defaults today in California and one in five nationally.

In it, writer Connor Wallmark explains where the actual point of inflection is currently:

This question is aggressively addressed in the May 2010 Federal Reserve Board (the Fed) study “The Depth of Negative Equity and Mortgage Default Decisions” written by Neil Bhutta, et al. The Fed’s study of homeowners in the four sand states (California, Nevada, Arizona and Florida) concludes that a loan-to-value (LTV) ratio of 162% is currently the magic “median” tipping point at which half the homeowners in their sample concluded the financial benefits of defaulting outweighed the adverse consequences of continuing to pay on their mortgage.


           — Hat tip: Bobbo[Return to headlines]


2nd Sestak Scandal Days Before Election

Unindicted terrorist co-conspirator leader claims to have hosted home fundraiser for Democrat

Since his election to the House in 2006, Democratic Senate candidate Joe Sestak has fended off strong criticism of his relationship with the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a federally designated terrorist co-conspirator shown by FBI evidence to be a front for the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas.

Now in a tight race with Republican Pat Toomey for Sen. Arlen Specter’s open seat, a report asserting Sestak was caught in a lie — denying that he was ever in the home of the director of CAIR’s Pennsylvania chapter for a fundraiser on his behalf — has resurfaced.

CAIR-PA’s Iftekhar Hussain affirmed to WND’s Aaron Klein yesterday in a recorded interview for Klein’s WABC radio show that he hosted a fundraiser for Sestak during the 2006 congressional campaign.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Court Allows Use of Fake Social Security Number

Reverses impersonation conviction, says name actually was identification

The Colorado Supreme Court has reversed the conviction of a man who admitted using someone else’s Social Security number to obtain a loan, concluding that the defendant wasn’t really trying to assume a false identity.

The opinion was written by Michael Bender, who was joined by Mary Mullarkey, Gregory Hobbs and Alex Martinez. A strongly worded dissent by Nathan Coats was joined by Nancy Rice and Allison Eid.

The case involved Felix Montes-Rodriguez, who was convicted of criminal impersonation for using another person’s Social Security number on a loan application at an automobile dealership.


Center Executiver Director Jay Foley said the court was overlooking the fact that there may be a multitude of people with the same name. The Social Security number is supposed to be the distinguishing characteristic.

“By supply either a fraudulent Social Security number or somebody else’s, I am, in fact, identifying myself as somebody other than who I am,” he said.

He said it was alarming that such a result would be coming from a state Supreme Court.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Democrats’ Final Recourse: Massive Vote Fraud

The reports are coming in from all over the country. A Craven County, NC resident attempts to vote a straight Republican ticket but his choices come up straight Democrat four times, despite receiving assistance from poll workers. In NC’s Lenoir County, registered Democrat Ervin Norville also tries to vote straight Republican but finds that his ballot has the names of several Democrat candidates selected. Boulder City, NV resident Joyce Ferrara says that when she and several others went to vote for Sharon Angle, they found that Senator Harry Reid’s name was already checked off. In Dallas County, TX’ congressional district 30, Democrat Eddie Bernice Johnson’s name was the only one on the ballot in a few locations (no, she isn’t running unopposed). And some states have been late in mailing out military absentee ballots, whose recipients, interestingly, are known for their Republican leanings.

These happenings are generally referred to as “mistakes” and “glitches,” but if that’s all they are, then we’re witnessing a truly historic anomaly. Because either the mainstream media is now suppressing stories of mistakes and glitches benefitting Republicans, or the laws of probability have suddenly been rescinded and tossed coins are coming up donkey tails every time. Welcome to American elections, Venezuelan style.

I have long said that this election would see vote fraud of unprecedented magnitude. And it does seem that a perfect storm of such criminality is brewing. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals just struck down an Arizona law requiring proof of citizenship to vote, a treasonous act that facilitates vote fraud. Of course, some liberals are more forthcoming about their intentions; in Portland, ME and New York City, there is a push to allow non-citizens to vote. Not to be outdone, San Francisco seeks to allow even illegal aliens to cast ballots in school elections. Hey, why not? They’re not illegals — they’re undocumented Democrats.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

FBI Links 3 Military Shootings in DC Area

WASHINGTON — The FBI has confirmed all three military related shootings in the Washington D.C. area are connected, saying Thursday ballistic evidence shows the same weapon was used at each site.

The latest shooting occurred at a vacant Marine recruiting station in Chantilly, Virginia sometime between Monday night and Tuesday morning.

In the early morning hours of October 19 police and FBI investigators responded in force when six shots were fired into the south side of the Pentagon, leaving bullets embedded in two different windows. Just two days earlier police in Quantico, Virginia responded to a similar attack on the Marine Corps Museum, where bullets were also fired at windows in the early morning hours.

At the time of the Pentagon shooting police said the weapon used was believed to be a high-powered rifle.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Frank Gaffney: Obama’s Not-So-Hidden Agenda

Earlier this year, President Obama drove U.S.-Israeli relations — to use one of President Obama’s oft-employed analogies — into a ditch. Arguably, ties between the two countries were never more strained than last Spring when Mr. Obama serially insulted the elected leader of Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, vilified his country and tried to euchre it into making territorial, political and other ill-advised concessions to Arabs determined as ever to destroy the Jewish State. Unfortunately, what the President has in mind for Israel after the election next week will make his previous treatment of the Jewish State look like the good old days.

To be sure, ties between the United States and Israel— far and away America’s most important and loyal friend in the Middle East— have improved lately from the nadir to which Mr. Obama plunged them since he took office. That has nothing to do, however, with a change of heart or agenda on the part of the President and his administration…

           — Hat tip: CSP[Return to headlines]

President Obama: Suspicious Packages Contained Explosives

A United Arab Emirates flight carrying cargo from Yemen has landed at John F. Kennedy International Airport alongside two military fighter jets that escorted the plane from the Canadian border to New York City.

U.S. officials said there is no known threat associated with the plane, but it was being escorted to John F. Kennedy International Airport as a cautionary move.

Earlier in the day, federal authorities determined that suspicious packages taken from a cargo plane at Newark Liberty International Airport and a truck in Brooklyn and two planes in Philadelphia do not pose any danger.

Police in Brooklyn surrounded a UPS truck on Friday after suspecting that there was an explosive device, but the package turned out to be an envelope containing receipts, New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said in a press briefing.

The Boeing Co. 767 jet, which landed at Newark Liberty Airport, originated from East Midlands, U.K. It was later cleared to leave for Louisville, Kentucky.

“There was nothing threatening in that package,” said Steve Coleman, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. “It’s not suspicious anymore.”

Coleman said the package was inspected inside the UPS cargo facility, 350, and cleared about 12:10 p.m. He referred additional questions to the FBI. The FBI referred questions to the Transportation Security Administration.

“This is bigger than us,” Coleman said.

The White House says President Barack Obama was notified about a potential terrorist threat after suspicious packages were discovered aboard two airplanes bound for the U.S. and a statement is expected at 4:15 p.m.

The Newark incident did not impact flight operations at Newark Liberty Airport.

At the UPS terminal, there are no more emergency vehicles remaining. Earlier, there were eight Port Authority vehicles and a helicopter hovering in the general area.

The plane screenings were prompted after authorities in the U.K. on Thursday discovered a “manipulated” ink toner cartridge that was on a UPS flight bound for Chicago. The flight originated in Yemen, and authorities on Friday were focusing on cargo flights from Yemen, CNN reported.

There are conflicting reports whether the cartridge contained explosives. CNN is reporting that the United States received a tip from an ally that the device might have been destined for synagogue in Chicago.

Federal officials are looking into whether the packages were a test-run for a plot to send bombs through the mail.

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes[Return to headlines]

Rangel Plan Gives Prez ‘Civilian Security Force’

Proposal provides mandatory induction for ‘national defense,’ ‘homeland security’

When Barack Obama was campaigning for president in 2008, he visited Colorado Springs and WND broke the the story that he wanted a “Civilian National Security Force” as big and as well-funded as the $650 billion-plus U.S. military. Now Charlie Rangel is proposing that he have it.

Rangel, facing ethics charges in Congress, has proposed the Universal National Service Act that would require “all persons” from ages 18-42 “to perform national service, either as a member of the uniformed services or in civilian service in furtherance of the national defense and homeland security.”


Joseph Farah, founder and editor of WND, used his daily column when the issue originally arose to alert Americans of the plans. He then elevated the issue with a call to all reporters to start asking questions.

“If we’re going to create some kind of national police force as big, powerful and well-funded as our combined U.S. military forces, isn’t this rather a big deal?” Farah wrote. “I thought Democrats generally believed the U.S. spent too much on the military. How is it possible their candidate is seeking to create some kind of massive but secret national police force that will be even bigger than the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force put together?

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Sen. Russell Pearce: Think Nationally, Act Locally

“Think Globally, Act Locally” is a clichéd environmentalist slogan often applied to other left-wing causes. When it comes to immigration, Barack Obama thinks globally and acts globally. He is a committed anti-American globalist who hates the concept of a national sovereignty. He acts globally by urging the U.N. Human Rights Council to interfere with Arizona’s S.B. 1070.

In response to this assault on our borders and rule of law, patriotic Americans need to think nationally and act locally. Even if the Republicans take back Congress, Obama will veto any legislation to stop the illegal invasion. The best we can hope for on the federal level is to keep Obama from passing amnesty, while finding a presidential candidate for 2012 whom we can trust to secure the borders, “enforce” our laws, go after illegal employees, protect American jobs, remove all economic incentives to break our laws and eliminate all sanctuary policies. In the meantime, the best way to preserve our national sovereignty is to act locally.

It is up to We the People of the Sovereign States to take charge and take our country back. Arizona’s S.B. 1070 is about states’ rights to protect their citizens and showed Americans across the country that we cannot afford to wait for Obama, Reid or Pelosi to act. But this is far from the first time states and localities took on illegal immigration.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Sharia Islamic Law May be Banned in Oklahoma

Voters in Oklahoma next week will be asked to consider an unusual ballot measure: whether the state’s constitution should be amended to outlaw Sharia, the sacred law of Islam.

Supporters of the initiative to ban Sharia, the Times reports, concede that they do not know of a single case of Sharia being used in the Sooner State, which has about 15,000 Muslims.

“Oklahoma does not have that problem yet,” said Republican state Rep. Rex Duncan, who authored the ballot measure “But why wait until it’s in the courts?”

Some conservative activists, LAT reports, contend that the U.S. is at risk of going the way of Europe, which has a larger Muslim population and allows various accommodations to Islamic religious law.

Islamic groups counter that the Oklahoma initiative is merely an effort to stigmatize their religion in order to try to muster votes. “There’s no threat of Sharia law coming to Oklahoma and America, period,” Saad Mohammed of the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City told the LA Times. “It’s just a scare tactic.”

Mohammed also voiced concern that the Oklahoma measure could lead to politicians in other states to sponsor a similar anti-Sharia law. “This garbage could really make things bad for Muslims,” he said.

A July public poll conducted on the Oklahoma initiative found it had the support of 49% of voters, with 24% opposed and 27% undecided, according to the Times.

           — Hat tip: Steen[Return to headlines]

The Republican Establishment and Revolution

For us tea partiers who have high hopes that Tuesday’s congressional midterm elections will transform the Republican Party into a fighting force for conservative and libertarian values and change, if the past is a prologue, we have another thing coming. For the last several decades at least, the blowhard Republican “country club”establishment has talked a “good game,” but has not exactly been up to the task, to put it mildly. And, regrettably, while many tea-party candidates will be elected this Tuesday, their numbers will not be enough to push the Republican Party establishment into a secondary role. For this reason, the “Revolution” will only just begin.

Lets take a look at what the Republican establishment has done, and might I add not done, during the last two years of President Obama’s and the Democrats’ rule.

First, the Republican establishment supported massive taxpayer-financed bailouts of big banks and the mortgage industry — cash giveaways that have bankrupted the country, not produced jobs but retarded their growth, and jeopardized our children’s and grandchildren’s future, not to mention our own.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Whistleblower Jailed by Judges, Cops He’s Accusing

Retired naval officer allegedly beaten and tasered

Filing a complaint about President Obama’s eligibility has led retired Navy Lt. Cmdr. Walter Fitzpatrick III into some very deep waters.

The 58-year-old Naval Academy graduate is now paying the price for fighting City Hall. Fitzpatrick was arrested Wednesday for missing a court date, and he now sits in jail after allegedly being beaten and tasered by Monroe County, Tenn., deputies.

“I’ve been told he’s been beaten up pretty good, enough to require X-rays,” freelance reporter J.B. Williams told WND.

Williams, a Tennessee businessman, has been following the Fitzpatrick case for two years.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Why Obama is Taking Time to Campaign for Rep. Tom Perriello

Tom Perriello, a freshman Democrat from a Republican district in Virginia who is, no surprise, trailing in the polls, is also something rather unusual this campaign season: an Obama loyalist.

Why is President Obama spending crucial preelection hours campaigning for an endangered freshman House member — Rep. Tom Perriello (D) of Virginia?

After all, Representative Perriello’s district leans Republican. He won by only a few hundred votes in the Obama sweep year of 2008. Right now, he’s trailing his GOP challenger, state Sen. Robert Hurt, by anywhere from one to 12 percentage points, according to various polls. It’s quite likely he’ll lose.

As a general rule, presidents don’t waste their time standing on podiums with one-term lawmakers who are on every prognosticator’s “endangered” list, as he’s slated to do Friday night.

But this is an unusual year, and Perriello’s case is itself unusual.

For one thing, Perriello, a Yale-trained attorney and former lawyer for international human rights efforts, is eager for an Obama visit. In a year where some Democrats are boasting that they voted for John McCain in 2008, and others are literally shooting administration bills in their campaign ads, the president perhaps just wants to reward loyalty.

And Perriello has been unapologetic about his support for Obama and White House legislation. He voted for all the big ones — the stimulus, cap-and-trade climate change legislation, and the health-care bill — despite the conservative cast of his district. That has made him a hero to many liberals. It also has not escaped Mr. Obama’s notice. He mentioned Perriello by name during his appearance on Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show” Wednesday.

“There are a whole bunch of Democrats, guys like Tom Perriello in Virginia, … who are basically in Republican districts,” said Obama. “You know, they won in the big surge that we had in 2008, they knew it was going to be a tough battle, that these are generally pretty conservative districts, and yet still went ahead and did what they thought was right.”

Finally, Perriello is not irretrievably behind. He could still win, particularly if Obama’s appearance in Charlottesville, home of the University of Virginia, fires up the area’s young and African-American voters. He is an energetic, able candidate (as is Senator Hurt). He has lots of money (though Hurt has matched him ad for ad).

“Perriello has been underestimated before,” notes political analyst Charlie Cook in his Cook Political Report analysis of the race.

But Mr. Cook goes on to note that to this point many of Perriello’s 2008 supporters “simply aren’t engaged,” and that the fundamentals of the race “argue for a Hurt win.”

[Return to headlines]


Spat Ensures Steyn a Hot Ticket

They will come next week to London from as far away as Detroit, Cleveland and perhaps even sunny California, to hear a conservative commentator shut out of one public venue only to find another.

Mark Steyn will speak Monday at Centennial Hall but already buzz about his appearance has led to 800 requests for tickets, said the event’s organizer.

“We even have one woman and her husband who say they’re flying in from Santa Barbara (California) just for this speech,” said Andrew Lawton, of, the organization bringing Steyn to London.

Lawton expects to sell all 1,000 seats on Centennial’s main floor and hopes to fill some of the balcony, too.

“We’re going to have no trouble filling the venue,” he said Thursday.

The plan had been for Steyn to speak at the University of Western Ontario because organizers want his message heard by students.

But venues at Western were too small so Lawton tried to book rooms at the London Convention Centre.

But after The Free Press published an article about Steyn’s planned appearance, convention centre management decided not to give him a space.

Lori Da Silva, general manager of the Convention Centre, said last week the refusal wasn’t political but logistical and financial — she said she feared the audience might include protesters and be rowdy and might disturb others using the facility.

But Lawton said he was told by convention centre staff that the rejection was entirely political and the result of complaints by members of London’s Muslim community.


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Berlusconi: I Love Life and Women and I’m Not Gonna Change

(AGI) Brussels — Berlusconi dismissed the Ruby affair saying he loves women and life and is proud of that. Speaking to journalists shortly before leaving Brussels on his way to Naples, the Italian prime minister said: “Only respectable people who behave properly are welcome to my home. As for my reputation as a good host, an unmatchable and maybe unique host, I’m really proud of that. I’m a playful man and I’m full of life. I love life and women”.(AGI) . .

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

Europe’s Most Influential Muslim Women to Meet

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, OCTOBER 28 — They are the representatives of a generation of young, successful, European Muslims: dynamic and high in potential for making change happen — thanks to the influence they can exert within their professional, political and social fields.

The 2010 list of Influential Muslim Women has been compiled by Cedar, the leading network of Muslim professionals in Europe with representatives in twelve countries and was launched in 2008 by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue and the Salzburg Global Seminary.

Saturday will see the first public conference at Madrid’s Arab House. The event will be followed by a gala ceremony organised by the Arab House.

Women entrepreneurs, media representatives, opinion leaders and high-ranking politicians: this is the other face of an Islamic community more often perceived by public opinion as a threat than as an opportunity. Twenty-six influential Muslims will take part in a ceremony in which each will be presented with their personal stories and career histories; but there will also be time for music fusion and an art exhibition and the first screening of a documentary by director Jobeda Alì, who is one of the prize-winners, co-produced by Abrar Hussain. In the list of successful Muslims is Mahinur Ozdemir, the first Belgian MP to wear a hijab, the Muslim veil, in a country where it is now an offence to cover your face in the chamber.

There is also Kristiane Backer, who turned her back on a sparkling career as presenter on MTV to take up a new course after embracing the Islamic faith. Or there is Ndeye Andujar, organiser and jointly responsible for three international conferences on Islamic feminism. Then there is Amira Hafner-Al-Jabaji, journalist, writer, lecturer in Islamic schools under the European project for inter-religious instruction and deepening of dialogue between religions in Switzerland. There is Barni Nor, nutritionist in the UN’s development aid programme and member of the Muslim Women’s Association of Stockholm, official representative of the Muslim community there in its meetings with the government.

Apart from the opportunity to get to know the women who have made it onto the list, the event will also be a meeting of conference attendees and experts, from Cherie Blair to activist and preacher Amr Khaled, to Farah Pandith, special representative for the Muslim community in the United States; to Razia Iqbal, presenter and journalist for the BBC, to Estrella Rodriguez Pardo, General Director of immigrant integration for Spain’s Labour and Immigration Ministry. (ANSAmed)

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

International Terror Alert as Suspect Package Found on Cargo Plane in UK

A British airport was at the centre of an international terrorism alert today after the discovery of suspicious packages on cargo flights destined for the US.

An area of East Midlands airport — Britain’s largest air freight terminal — was sealed off after investigators found a package containing a toner cartridge on a United Parcel Service plane from Yemen to Chicago.

Other planes in the United States were placed under investigation, and Federal Express said a second suspicious package had been found in Dubai.

FedEx and UPS have suspended cargo flights from Yemen.

US officials say the intelligence services have recently tracked three other packages from of Yemen for delivery to the US that appear to be trial runs for the smuggling of a bomb on board a cargo plane.

It is thought that synagogues in Chicago were among the targets.

The Associated Press reported that the cartridge found in the UK had been manipulated, and that officials found wires attached to it. They were also reported to have found a quantity of white powder.

Initial tests for explosives proved negative, but concerns remained that the nature of the package meant it could be a test run for a bomb.

The FBI immediately ordered a search of other UPS planes arriving in the US, including another flight via East Midlands airport.

Nothing was found on that plane, at Newark, in New Jersey, and it was allowed to proceed to UPS’ main base in Louisville, Kentucky.

Two other cargo flights, via Paris and Cologne, were grounded at Philadelphia and the bomb squad was called out to search a UPS cargo lorry in New York.


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Islamic Extremists Intimidating Women and Gays at UK Universities

Islamic extremists are intimidating a range of minority groups across UK universities including women, homosexuals and Muslims, it has been claimed.

The Quilliam Foundation’s latest briefing paper, Radicalisation on British University Campuses: A case study, cites hate incidents at City University in London during the last academic year.

The report suggests that academic institutions can become incubators for extremist, intolerant and potentially violent forms of the political ideology of Islamism.

Responding to the Quilliam report, human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, of the LGBT rights group OutRage!, said: “This report is a wake-up call to complacent university authorities and student unions. They too often look the other way while Islamists foment hatred and intolerance among the student population.

“The vast majority of Muslim students do not share an extremist mindset. They risk ostracism and denunciation by fundamentalists.

“Quilliam have produced a commendable expose of the way Islamist fanatics are bullying and threatening other students. It highlights sexist, homophobic and anti-Semitic intimidation, and the victimisation of Muslims and non-believers who do not adhere to hard-line fundamentalist Islam.

“Radicalisation often begins with the promotion of misogynistic, queer-baiting and anti-Jewish prejudice; together with the stirring up of hostility against Muslims who believe in other strands of Islam or who have abandoned their faith. Such intolerance is can be a gateway to Islamist extremism. That’s why it should never be ignored or tolerated. City University would never host white supremacists who incite racism and racial violence. Why the double standards?” queried Tatchell.

A spokesperson the Quilliam Foundation said: “University campuses have been recognised by policy-makers as key places where Islamist ideologies can spread, but the processes of radicalisation involved have often remained unclear. This paper seeks to address this knowledge gap by identifying the factors on a university campus that may contribute to radicalising an individual towards Islamist-inspired terrorism. Whilst the paper does not suggest that everyone exposed to these factors will become a terrorist, it shows how and why exposure to them can increase the risk of radicalisation towards terrorism as well as illustrating the considerable disruption that such radicalisation can have on campus life.

“The paper concludes with specific recommendations for universities, students’ unions and government to prevent similar situations from arising on other university campuses.

“Radicalisation on British University Campuses’ is the latest of Quilliam’s publications to deal with areas where the risk of radicalisation is either high or is poorly understood. Previous reports released in the last year include studies of radicalisation in prisons and on Arabic-language jihadist websites.”

           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Italy: Lele Mora and Emilio Fede Investigated Over Parties and Girls

Lawyers claim prime minister had nothing to do with incidents involving under-age Moroccan girl

MILAN — Suspicion of complicity in prostitution in the prime minister’s inner circle has prompted judicial investigations in Milan that involve television entrepreneur Dario “Lele” Mora and Emilio Fede, the long-serving journalist who heads the Mediaset group’s TG4 news show. Both men are among those investigated by magistrates in the wake of the controversial statements made a few months ago by a minor of Moroccan origin. After running away several times from her family in Sicily, and from rehabilitation centres to which she had been sent by the juvenile court, the girl reported details of parties involving women and politicians at Silvio Berlusconi’s residence.

Investigations are not into individual life styles. No judgements are being made about the entertainment options people choose for their parties and investigators are unconcerned about how the women preferred to conclude their evening. What the inquiry does seek to establish is whether there is any substance to reports that some female participants were accompanied or directed to the parties in the expectation of prostituting themselves, possibly for the purposes of attempted blackmail. From this perspective, the inquiry is clearly seeking to dissociate itself from much of the girl’s statements, which combine elements that merit further investigation with others that are highly improbable. Nor does it help matters that there are two points apparently incongruous circumstances for a girl whose statements have triggered an inquiry that could damage the people she mentioned. The first point is that five months ago, the girl stayed with Nicole Minetti, formerly Mr Berlusconi’s dental hygienist and a dancer on the Colorado Cafè TV show. In March, Ms Minetti was fast-tracked onto Roberto Formigoni’s supposedly blocked list to be elected to the Lombardy regional council. Point number two is that in mid June, when Lele Mora’s daughter applied to become the girl’s guardian, an application rejected by the Milan juvenile court, the girl was represented by Luca Giuliante, a lawyer who is defending Mr Mora, currently under investigation in Milan for bankruptcy, and who is far from unfavourable to Mr Berlusconi’s party. Mr Giuliante sits on the People of Freedom’s (PDL) regional secretariat, is party treasurer in Milan, a former Forza Italia regional councillor and one of the lawyers who filed the Formigoni list’s appeal against exclusion from the regional elections.

One man who may have a clearer idea is the PDL parliamentarian and the prime minister’s lawyer, Niccolò Ghedini, who has already exercised his legal faculty under the law on defence inquiries to question some of those linked to the parties, long before any results of the inquiries emerge (Mr Ghedini also exercised this faculty with regard to the confidential Fassino-Consorte phone transcripts published by il Giornale newspaper). Mr Ghedini and his colleague Piero Longo said: “Reports that have appeared relating to alleged statements made by a certain Ruby with regard to incidents that may have taken place at prime minister Berlusconi’s residence are absolutely without foundation. Yesterday, Edmondo Bruti Liberati, head of the Milan public prosecutor’s office, posted Carabinieri officers to keep journalists away from his office and that of his assistant, Pietro Forno, who is coordinating investigations with public prosecutor Antonio Sangermano. According to Mr Ghedini and Mr Longo, the public prosecutor’s office has stated precisely that there are no investigations into any such incidents. “Moreover, further abundantly corroborated inquiries have revealed the radical and total lack of foundation of the journalistic conjectures advanced”.

Mr Mora has past experience with lawyer Nadia Alecci that being under investigation does not necessarily mean ending up in the dock, much less being convicted. In July 2007, the Rome public prosecutor’s office dismissed charges against him of demanding €50,000 from footballer Francesco Totti with menaces. Milan-based public prosecutor Frank Di Maio requested Mr Mora’s committal for trial but in March 2008 the investigating magistrate Enrico Manzi dismissed charges of collaborating with photographer Fabrizio Corona to blackmail motorcyclist Marco Melandri, Agnelli family member Lapo Elkann and former Inter Milan footballers Adriano and Coco. In July 2008, the Potenza-based public prosecutor Henry Woodcock asked for the dismissal of charges of criminal association for the exploitation of prostitution involving minor female TV stars.

Emilio Fede, who was never implicated in the stories regarding women in the prime minister’s entourage, is also confident of being acquitted. In 2009, when eyebrows were raised at Mr Berlusconi’s appearance at Noemi Letizia’s 18th birthday party, Mr Fede said that he had earlier, in her mother’s presence, given Noemi an audition as a weather girl for his TG4 news. He had turned her down, however, and recommended she should take a diction course. Subsequently, Ms Letizia’s former boyfriend claimed that Mr Berlusconi had discovered the girl in a book of photos that Mr Fede had received from a Rome agency, and which he left on the table at lunch or dinner with the prime minister. The boyfriend also said he was present when Mr Fede and Mr Berlusconi phoned Ms Letizia. Mr Fede vigorously denied both statements, claiming they were “a fabrication” and ascribing them to the “resentful recollections of a disillusioned young worker from Naples”.

Luigi Ferrarella, Giuseppe Guastella

English translation by Giles Watson

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

Muslims in France Are Undermining Secularism in Schools

The secular nature of the French education system is being increasingly undermined by religious demands from Muslim pupils, says a report from the High Council for Integration which will be presented to the Government next month.

A draft of the report was published last weekend in the newspaper Journal du Dimanche, noting growing problems with pupils of immigrant backgrounds who object to courses about the Holocaust, the Crusades or evolution, demand halal meals and “reject French culture and its values.”

The report says that teachers are finding it difficult to resist religious pressures. It recommends that secularism should be reaffirmed and teachers trained in how to ensure the principle is upheld.

The reports says that teachers often faced objections when they taught courses about world religions, the Holocaust or France’s war in Algeria, or discussed events related to Israel and the Palestinians or American military actions in Muslim countries, the study said. “Teachers regularly find that Muslim parents refuse to have their children learn about Christianity,” it said. “Some think it amounts to evangelisation.”

“Anti-Semitism … surfaces during courses about the Holocaust, such as inappropriate jokes and refusals to watch films” about Nazi concentration camps, it said. “Tensions often come from pupils who identify themselves as Muslims.”

Many Muslim pupils rejected evolution and insisted that Koranic explanations of creation were the end of the issue and refused to hear any more about it. On some areas Muslim pupils refuse to use the school cafeteria for religious reasons, even if alternatives are presented when pork is on the menu. “Demand for halal menus is strong, even for the very young in public crèches,” it said. “In some cities, there are petitions for halal — and sometimes kosher — meals.”

The report stressed the state could allow alternatives to pork but could not allow halal or kosher meals because the price for ritually slaughtered meat included a tax paid to religious organisations that certify the food was properly prepared. “The school cannot, in this sense, participate in the religious education of its pupils or conform to principles that it does not recognise,” the report said.

During Ramadan, some Muslim pupils harass others who don’t observe the annual daytime fast, it said. Boys who identify themselves as Muslims and reject French values harass girls who do well in class as “collaborators” with the “dirty French”. Some girls ask to be excused from gymnasium or pool sessions because they are not supposed to mix with boys, it added.

The report said French schools must insist on co-education, equal rights and mutual respect. “Being a French citizen means accepting challenges to one’s opinions … this is the price to pay for the freedom of opinion and expression. Must we recall that the crime of blasphemy has not existed in France since the French Revolution? The principle of secularism leads to a profound relativisation of religion. This is a philosophical upheaval that religions only consent to with difficulty,” it said.

           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Sweden Set for First Circumcision Law Trial

A 50-year-old man is the first person to be charged in Sweden on suspicions of performing illegal circumcisions.

The man, an Egyptian citizen, is believed to have circumcised nine boys without a licence from the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen).

Sweden’s law on circumcising boys hasn’t been tested in court since it came into force nine years ago.

“This is the first time. We haven’t reported any other case to the police,” the health board’s Torsten Mossberg told TT.

The man is also charged with several cases of assault. During the trial, a film will be shown to support allegations that a boy from Tierp in eastern Sweden wasn’t sufficiently anesthetized during the procedure.

According to the indictment, two brothers from the Stockholm suburb of Botkyrka suffered tissue damage, pain, and loss of circulation from a bandage which was used as a tourniquet.

The man has denied committing any crimes.

The 50-year-old previously had a licence, but the health board revoked it because of doubts about his abilities.

“My client feels like this happened for no reason,” the man’s defence attorney, Leif Silbersky, told TT.

According to the law, only people with a special licence issued by the health board can perform circumcisions for non-medical reasons, and only on children younger than two-months old. Doctors can also carry out the procedure, including on older children.

The health board doesn’t think Sweden’s law works, estimating that only one third of the roughly 3,000 boys circumcised for religious reasons in Sweden each year have the procedure performed by people with authorisation.

The the remaining circumcisions are carried out by people who lack qualifications, according to the agency.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Sweden: More Police Join Malmö Immigrant Gunman Hunt

About 50 extra police have been sent to Malmö to help hunt for a suspected gunman targeting immigrants, the police chief in the southern Swedish city said on Friday.

Other reinforcements could follow, Ulf Semper said in a statement.

“We have been promised by the head of the criminal police that all our needs in terms of staff will be satisfied,” he said.

The extra forces were drafted from the Skåne region surrounding Malmö in the southernmost part of Sweden.

Panic has spread in the city since police announced last week they were investigating whether a lone shooter with racist motives was behind some 15 attacks, killing one person and injuring many others and may even have committed unsolved murders dating as far back as 2003.

Police have set up a special task force and profiling unit to deal with the case, but Sempert said the inquiry could take weeks or months.

According to a preliminary profile, the shooter is believed to be a man aged 20 to 40 who probably uses some mode of transport, perhaps a bicycle, to flee the scenes of his attacks.

The recent incidents bear a chilling similarity to the case of an immigrant-shooting sniper in Stockholm in the early 1990s and the Swedish press has quickly dubbed the Malmö shooter “the new Laser Man.”

Laser Man was the nickname given to John Ausonius, who shot 11 people of immigrant origin, killing one, around Stockholm from August 1991 to January 1992.

Ausonius, who got his nickname by initially using rifle equipped with a laser sight, was sentenced to life behind bars in 1994 and remains in prison.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

The Investigation: Ruby and Berlusconi

“My nights in Arcore”

The young woman was held in custody, being accused of theft. Then someone from the Prime Minister office called the Police Headquarters in Milan: “Release her”

At Milan Police Headquarters, in the large “Photographical Identification” room, is just Ruby R., Moroccan. To say “just” is an error, because Ruby is very beautiful and it is impossible not to look at her. She is on the threshold, by the door, and waits for the two agents in white coat to do their work, but it is as though she occupies the whole room. It is 27th May of this year, after midnight, and the policemen have already performed a test: the blinding white light works perfectly. The procedure is strict in cases where a foreign minor is found without documents: once the person’s identity has been verified, if the same has no home or family, he or she will be sent, after having informed the Public Prosecutor’s Office for Minors, to a community. And that is what the agents are preparing to do, because Ruby is seventeen and one-half years old (she was born on 11 November 1992) and nobody has answered at the address she has given, on Via V. It was to be expected: a friend who lives there, Ruby says, is an escort and often is out.

Suddenly, the silence of the large room is broken. A voice rises in the corridor. And, somewhat breathless, an official appears. The categorical order: Close everything and send her away! The agents are dumbfounded. Their colleague, a female, is forced to repeat: That’s enough, we’re letting her go, there’s someone waiting for her outside!

Things don’t always work this way in a police headquarters. The girl has no documents. Moreover, the computer has spit out its sentence: the previous year Ruby left — it was May 2009 — a foster home in Messina, where her family lives. Nor is the reason why she has ended up at police headquarters a mere trifle: she is accused of a theft amounting to two month’s pay of the policemen.

This is how things went. A few evenings before, a girl who loves discotheques; Caterina P., goes to one with two female friends. They dance until late. When they leave the privé they end up together with Ruby R. and all four make themselves comfortable at Caterina’s home. The next morning, while Ruby is sound asleep — or so it seems — the three friends go out for breakfast at a nearby bar. On their return, Ruby is no longer there … and so what? But three thousand euros are missing from a drawer along with some jewels. Caterina curses herself. She doesn’t know where that girl came from, she doesn’t know where she lives, she doesn’t know where to look for her.

Luck lends a helping hand. On 27th May the sun has set quite a while ago and Caterina is walking along Corso Buenos Aires, when she glimpses Ruby in a fitness centre. She immediately dials 113 and reports the thief. The Monforte flying squad is the closest and operations headquarters sends it to the spot. Ruby is apprehended and accompanied to “Photographical Identification.” With a like story, still completely to be cleared up, how can she be released?

The agents pose the same question to the female official. She shakes her head and says, “Up above [where the Chief of Police’s offices are located] it’s a shambles, Pietro Ostuni [the Private Secretary] has already called a couple of times and as you see [the telephone rings] he’s still calling. It’s the premiership from Rome. They say to let the girl go straightaway, it seems this is Mubarak’s niece, they don’t want photos or service reports.”

Now all eyes are on the girl. “And who is Mubarak?” asks an agent. The President of Egypt, patiently explains the official, who in the meantime answers the umpteenth phone call from the Private Secretary, and then goes on to say: “Pull yourselves together, boys, let’s hurry up, Ostuni has informed Palazzo Chigi that the girl has already been sent on her way.”


The latest affaire or scandal involving Silvio Berlusconi thus is born between the first floor and the ground floor of Via Fatebenefratelli 11, on a night in late May. It has as its protagonist a minor, without documents, accused of theft. And the story line has an odd feature: the girl is released owing to the powerful pressure of Palazzo Chigi, which maintains that she is “the niece of Hosni Mubarak.” What does the premiership have to do with a “thief”? And why does someone in the name of the government lie about her identity?

What are the reasons that convinced the Milan Police Headquarters to cover up an identification, and in any case to make a false move? The anomalies of that night are not at an end, because now a new character takes the stage. She is waiting for Ruby at the entrance of police headquarters. She is Nicole Minetti and she had her moment of fame when, at age 25, the dental hygienist of Silvio Berlusconi became the successful candidate for election to the Regional Council of the Region of Lombardy. Nicole learns about Ruby’s “detention” in real time from a common friend. She makes a few phone calls, including to Rome, and rushes over to the outer desk at police headquarters. She asks to see the girl. She demands to take Ruby away with her. She says Ruby has problems and that she is dealing with them like an older sister … but she doesn’t get past the first courtyard of police headquarters.

Only when Palazzo Chigi calls the Private Secretary does the situation become fluid and does the procurator for minors on duty, questioned over the phone, authorise placing Ruby in Nicole’s custody. It is nearly 3 AM on 28th May when the two friends are finally able to leave.

Ruby would explain what happened afterwards, but under questioning two months later, in July when the affaire that crumbled at police headquarters materialises — first at the Court of Minors and, immediately afterwards, before the pool dealing with sex offences.

Once outside, Nicole — Ruby maintains — calls Silvio Berlusconi: it was Silvio who told her to hurry over to police headquarters; it was Silvio who urged her to keep him informed and to call him as soon as the thing was cleared up. Now that the emergency is over, Nicole explains, she laughs at the Premier’s charming ways and then hands the telephone directly to Ruby. Silvio says this to me: You’re not Egyptian, you’re not an adult, but I’m fond of you all the same. I’ve never seen him since, but in these months we have been in touch by phone.


Now it is time to explain Ruby’s relations with Silvio Berlusconi, which is no easy matter because their relationship is reconstructed in a judicial investigation charged with making clear (something that up to now she has done only partially and in a non-exhaustive or non-final way) when, at her tender age, Ruby is telling the truth and when she is lying. It is an investigation (the hypothesised offence is abetting prostitution) where the Premier is not under investigation, even if those being investigated number three: Lele Mora, Nicole Minetti and Emilio Fede. To the contrary, the Premier could even become the injured party, because prisoner of blackmail, victim of slander or even of extortion.

To avoid the irritating misunderstandings spread in these days, it is opportune to say at once that before the public prosecutors Ruby rules out having had sex with the head of government, just as she confesses having lied to Berlusconi: I told him I was 24 years old and not 17. Nicole knew that I was a minor and then Lele, Lele More, also knew it.

However, Ruby tells of her three visits to Arcore, of the parties at the villa and of the dozens of young women, both famous and unknown — many of them escorts — who took part in them. The minor puts a novel expression on the court records: “bunga bunga.” This is the term referring to the host’s habit of inviting some female guests, the most willing, to an erotic after-dinner interlude. “Silvio (I call him Silvio and not Papi as he would like to be called) told me that he’d copied that expression — “bunga bunga” — from Gheddafi: it’s a rite of his African harem.”

Ruby was interrogated a couple of times in July, but it was during an August session that she explicitly begins to better relate her relations with Berlusconi, Fede, Mora and Nicole Minetti. It is worthwhile to give her leave to speak.

Ruby maintains that little more than a year ago — when she was still in Sicily — she met the director of Tg4, Emilio Fede, in his capacity as the head and leading personality of a beauty contest panel. As previously occurred in the fall of 2008 with Noemi Letizia, the journalist, age 79, is friendly and affectionate with Ruby. He acts to ensure her future, introducing her to Lele Mora. He tells her that Lele would be able to help her should she want to work in the world of show business. The minor didn’t brood long over this idea that drains and torments so many young girls without any special skills or connections. It’s an opportunity that she doesn’t want to waste. She slips away. She arrives in Milan. She looks up Lele straightaway.

For starters, Mora steers her to an ethnic disco bar, housed in a cellar on the road for Linate. Ruby is a “cubist.” She says: It’s nothing special, to the contrary, the most eccentric thing I do is belly dance, something I learned from my mother. From that coloured cube Milan is even more magnificent and dazzling. Thus begins the transformation of Ruby R. One or two more steps and her life will become most fortunate in concrete terms, especially with the frenzied activism of Emilio Fede in the middle.

It is 14th February, St Valentine’s Day. Ruby’s age is 17 years and 95 days. She arrives in the Milan of poverty and soup kitchens. On that day, devoted to those in love, she enters Arcore and Villa San Martino: it’s a lucky strike for someone who for all intents and purposes can be described as a “runaway.”

The minor tells it more or less as follows: Emilio calls me and says, I’m taking you out. I don’t know where, he doesn’t tell me with whom or at whose place. He comes by to pick me up with a blue car. I get in, we zoom off escorted by police car of the Carabinieri toward Arcore. We don’t enter the main gate, where there were other members of the Carabinieri, but through a side entrance. I get introduced to Silvio. He is very polite. There are a score of girls, but as for men — just two, Silvio and Emilio.

(Ruby names the guest. The complete catalogue of the female world of Silvio Berlusconi is there: TV hostesses of greater or lesser fame, stars on the rise, some of whom very famous, starlets on the wane, some television stage assistants, more than one escort, two female government ministers, single girls and girls apparently very much engaged. Repubblica does not intend to name them.)

That fairytale world remains engraved on Ruby’s memory, including due to a tiny detail truly worthy of Cinderella. We dined, she recalls, but I didn’t stay overnight. After supper I left. By 2:30 AM I was already home. With a black and white dress by Valentino and Swarovski glasses, given to me by Silvio.

The second time I went to Arcore — goes on Ruby’s account — was the following month. I went with a limousine all the way to the Milano Due area to Emilio Fede’s, and from there, with an Audi, we reached Villa San Martino. Straightaway Silvio tells me that he would be pleased if I stayed there all night. Lele had already mentioned that he would have asked me to. She had reassured me: Don’t worry, you won’t be the object of sexual advances, nobody will embarrass you. And that’s the way it was. We had supper and afterwards I participated for the first time in “bunga bunga.”

(This onomatopoeic “game” going beyond a sense of the grotesque is described by Ruby to the appalled public prosecutors of Milan with great vividness, even with excessive material vividness. She dwells on the modalities of the sexy, male chauvinist ritual that was related by Mu’ammar Gheddafi and imported amidst laughter to Arcore. Ruby specifies what was done and who did it — a long list of famous and popular names in television or in Parliament.)

I — Ruby goes on — was the only one dressed. I watched while I served a drink (a Sanbitter) to Silvio, the only man. Afterwards, they all went for a swim in the covered swimming pool; I wore white shorts and top that Silvio found for me and immersed myself in the hydromassage tub.

The third time that I went to Arcore was for a dinner, which was a much, much calmer event. When I arrived Silvio told me that he would introduce me as Mubarak’s niece. At table — she maintains — were Daniela Santaché, George Clooney and Elisabetta Canalis.


Is Ruby telling the truth? Or is she lying? That is the burning issue facing the investigators…

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

UK: Two in Court Over Rotherham Canal Body Death

A man and a teenage boy have appeared in court charged with the murder of a 17-year-old mother from Rotherham whose body was found in a canal.

Laura Wilson was found in the Sheffield and South Yorkshire Navigation Canal in the town on 12 October.

Ishaq Hussain, 21, of Ferham Road, Rotherham, and a 17-year-old boy appeared at Rotherham Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.

They were remanded in custody and will appear again on 4 November.

[Return to headlines]

UK: What Justice? Thug Who Kicked Terminally-Ill Grandfather in the Head in Unprovoked Attack Walks Free From Court

[WARNING: Graphic content.]

A thug who attacked a terminally-ill grandfather and kicked his head ‘like a football’ has walked free from court.

Vicious Reece Kent, 19, repeatedly punched Ken Oliver in the head before kicking him on the floor because he mistakenly thought he was the father of a girl he knew.

Cancer sufferer Mr Oliver — who has been given just three months to live — was left in a pool of blood on his doorstep with horrific injuries. The 62-year-old spent a week in intensive care following the assault, with bleeding on his brain.

Reece admitted carrying out the unprovoked attack — which was filmed on a mobile phone by his friends — and pleaded guilty to grievous bodily harm.

But Mr Oliver, a grandfather-of-three from Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, watched in disbelief as his attacker walked free from court last week with a six-month suspended sentence.

Today he said: ‘I would love to have seen him go away for a long, long time. I could quite easily have died. I was expecting him to go to jail. I am gutted.

‘Before I knew what was going on I was being punched and kicked. My head was used as a football and the whole attack was recorded on a mobile phone.

‘I am appalled at the sentence. They were swearing and laughing in my face. He should have been locked up for what he did.

‘His barrister said he feels remorse but when he turned up in court he just sneered at me. I hope he is ashamed for the rest of his life.’

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Anti-Bishop Protest Continues in Cairo

Hundreds of Muslim worshippers staged a protest on Friday at Amr Ibn al-’As Mosque demanding that Coptic Bishop Bishoy to be tried in court following his negative remarks about the Quran.

Last month, Bishop Bishoy, secretary of the Coptic Church’s Holy Synod, angered Muslims when he publicly challenged the authenticity of certain verses of the Quran, the Muslim holy book.

Demonstrators chanted slogans condemning the silence of the Grand Sheikh of al-Azhar, Ahmed al-Tayyeb and the Grand Mufti of Egypt, Ali Gomaa on this issue, saying “Sheikh Tayyeb, Sheikh Gomaa, why are you silent? Whose side are you on?”

They carried signs with pictures of women who have allegedly converted to Islam, but who they claim are kept hostage inside churches. They demanded that the women, whom they believe to have converted from Christianity to Islam, should publicly proclaim their faith.

During the protest, which took place under the gaze of an intensified security presence, including 12 security vehicles and nearly 1000 officers, hundreds of protesters called for what they described as the “trial of the leaders of religious discord”, because of the refusal of church leaders to allow Camillia Shehata to make public media appearances in order to reveal the truth and stop religious discord.

The Coptic Church revealed that it has informed security agencies about the date and location of the demonstration.

A source from the Papal headquarters told Al-Masry Al-Youm, that they have “informed security agencies immediately of what we knew about the date, time and location of the demonstration, and despite this security made no attempt to prevent the protest or prevent the abuses that they directed at the church and at Pope Shenouda III.”

           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Caroline Glick: The Scott Brown Precedent & Israel

On Tuesday, US voters are set to repudiate US President Barak Obama’s agenda for their country. Unfortunately, based on his behavior in the face of a similar repudiation last January, it is safe to assume that Obama will not abandon his course.

Last year, in an attempt to block Obama’s plan to nationalize healthcare, Massachusetts voters elected Republican Scott Brown to the Senate. Brown was elected because he pledged to block Obamacare in the US Senate.

Rather than heed the voters’ message and abandon his plans, Obama abandoned the voters. Instead of accepting his defeat, Obama changed the rules of the game and bypassed the Senate.

So it is safe to assume that for the next two years, Obama will do everything he can to bypass the Congress and govern by executive orders and regulations. Although much can be done in this fashion, Congress’s control of the purse strings will check his domestic agenda…

           — Hat tip: Caroline Glick[Return to headlines]

Crisis for Butter Market, Duties on Imports Stopped

(ANSAmed) — ROME, OCTOBER 28 — Increases to prices globally and to domestic demand have brought the production and distribution chain for butter to the brink of a crisis. The Agriculture Ministry has decided to ask the Treasury to increase the 400-tonne limit for butter imports, while the government has temporarily cancelled duties on butter imports to the country. Until today imports have been limited to 550 tonnes annually compared to domestic production of 9,000 tonnes. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Iran: Senior Cleric Confident About Victory of Islam

Tehran’s provisional Friday Prayers Leader Ayatollah Mohammad Emami Kashani expressed confidence about the victory of Islam, and called for unity among Muslims.

“The future is that of Islam and it will overtake the world,” Ayatollah Emami Kashani said, addressing a large and fervent congregation of people on Tehran University campus on Friday.

Ayatollah Emami Kashani called on Muslim leaders to put aside their differences and unite against the enemies.

Elsewhere, he warned against division between the country’s religious and political groups, stressing the significance of solidarity among Muslims.

“The difference in human society must be limited to certain factors such as race, language, countries and borders and everyone must be united in action and ideology,” Ayatollah Kashani reiterated.


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Saudi Prince Backs Moving Planned NYC Mosque

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — A Saudi prince who has aided the imam spearheading a proposed Islamic center near New York’s ground zero is appealing for another site not associated with the “wound” of the Sept. 11 attacks, a report said Thursday.

In interview excerpts published by the Dubai-based Arabian Business magazine, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal was quoted as saying that moving the planned mosque and other facilities would respect the memory of those killed in the 2001 attacks and allow American Muslims to choose a more suitable location.


“Those people behind the mosque have to respect, have to appreciate and have to defer to the people of New York,” the prince was quoted as saying by the magazine, which said the full interview will be published Sunday. “The wound is still there. Just because the wound is healing you can’t say, ‘Let’s just go back to where we were pre-9/11.”‘

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Stakelbeck: Interesting Details Surrounding the Al Qaeda Cargo Plane Plot Out of Yemen

By now, you’ve likely heard the key details surrounding an Al Qaeda plot involving explosives found aboard cargo planes bound for the U.S, originating from Yemen.

Here are a few interesting details on Yemen that I became aware of this afternoon after speaking with an intelligence source who actually flew out of Sana’a, Yemen to Dubai yesterday, around the time the explosives were found.

1) The source noticed several things which seemed strange or outright alarming at Sana’a International (El Rahaba) airport in Yemen. For one, according to my source, pre-teen boys were pulling bags out of x-ray machines and essentially acting as porters, complete with uniforms. And you thought TSA had problems.

2) The source noticed a good deal of large bags, “30 or 40 of them,” being brought by porters (grown adults, this time) to the personal baggage terminal, rather than to the cargo terminal, which seemed odd. Given the conditions my source described, it obviously isn’t very hard to imagine a suspicious package making its way onto a plane flying out of Yemen.

It also isn’t difficult to imagine that Al Qaeda may have sympathizers or operatives actually working at the airport who would help facilitate getting explosives onto flights.

3) Virtually all of the women on the Yemen-to-Dubai flight, not surprisingly, wore Islamic clothing that covered their faces. They were not asked to remove these face coverings as they moved through security. That can be problematic, to say the least.

4) The intelligence source told me that Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which is based in Yemen and spearheaded this plot, is growing in size and influence—with thousands of indigenous new fighters, particularly from south Yemen, lining up to join the cause.

More details to come as this story continues to unfold

           — Hat tip: Erick Stakelbeck[Return to headlines]

Swede in Yemen Kidnapping Drama

Yemeni tribesmen kidnapped and then later freed the Swedish technical director of a cement works in the troubled southern province of Abyan on Friday after holding him overnight, a provincial official told AFP.

The Swede, who was kidnapped at gunpoint as he left work in the provincial capital Zinjibar on Thursday to travel to the main southern city of Aden, was in good health after his ordeal, the official added.

“The Swede was freed after the kidnappers received assurances from the local government that President Ali Abdullah Saleh would personally review the case of one of their clansmen,” said the official, who works in Khanfar district where the hostage was taken.

A security official told AFP earlier that the kidnappers were believed to be members of the Maraqish tribe, which has been campaigning for the release of a clansman on death row in the capital Sanaa.

A spokesman for the Swedish foreign ministry in Stockholm said it had little information about the abduction.

“We have no confirmation he was even a Swede, though he seems to be,” spokesman Anders Jorle said.

Yemen’s powerful tribes often kidnap foreigners for use as bargaining chips in disputes with the central government. Of about 200 foreigners seized in Yemen over the past decade, almost all have been released unharmed.

After the brief abduction of two US tourists in May from near Hajara, a village west of the capital which is famed for its historic mountaintop buildings, Yemen pledged tough action against kidnappers of foreigners.

The security forces had been engaged since mid-2008 in a “relentless war against abductions and those responsible for them… the kidnappers being as dangerous as terrorists,” an interior ministry statement said at the time.

Yemen is the ancestral homeland of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and, with US military aid, the security forces have also been fighting a mounting campaign of attacks by the jihadist network’s local affiliate.

The formerly independent south has also seen a wave of protests in recent months by supporters of the Southern Movement, a coalition of groups campaigning for autonomy or secession.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Trends: From Cappuccino to Hamburger, Camels Become Stars

(ANSAmed) — DUBAI, OCTOBER 28 — “A camelccino with foam, thank you”. No, it is not a mispronunciation or a spelling mistake. It is the latest potential expressed by camel milk which, according to researchers, naturally guarantees a cappuccino with “foam to the last drop” that is the envy of the world’s most skilled bartenders. Cappuccino made with camel milk, which became a reality in the laboratories of the faculty of Food sciences of the University of Al Ain, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), is simply the latest frontier conquered by the humped animal and its precious milk, which in the Arab culture is known as the “white gold of the desert”. Its cosmetic properties are long known to the ladies of the region who make ample use of it, but recently camel milk, which is less fat and richer in vitamin C than cow’s milk, anallergic and in taste the most similar to mother’s milk, is being exploited for other sophisticated uses, such as the making of an exclusive range of chocolate.

Introduced in occasion of the 2008 Ramadan by Nassma Chocholate in five different combinations, it is now being sold in the most exclusive shops and shopping centres of Abu Dhabi including in stylish packaging. Sometimes, however, this is not enough to convert ‘western’ palates to the more dense and lasting taste of the exotic product.

The team led by professor Louis Layale, of the Al Ain University, is working on the creation, with the aim of mass distribution, of other products based on camel’s milk. They have already prepared powdered milk to be mixed with water or coffee, and are developing yoghurt and cheese.

The research is currently being slowed down by the lack of the right enzyme to curdle milk, but aside from gastronomic purposes there are also economic consequences. In the UAE more than 300,000 camels produce 40,000 tonnes of milk, most of which is not used. Therefore the camel, which is an icon for the Bedouin cultures of the desert, is changing from a reliable travel companion in the dunes of the desert into a delicacy, even though it is still highly respected and paid in fairs and beauty contest. Aside from the traditional serving at wedding banquets, it is being presented between two pieces of bread, in the shape of a hamburger as can be found in Local House restaurant chains, along with milkshakes, clearly made out of camel milk.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Yemen: Terrorism Leads to Loss of 1 Bln Dollars

(ANSAmed) — ROME, OCTOBER 28 — The terrorist attacks that shook Yemen in 2009 led that country’s tourist sector to loose around one billion dollars through a reduction in the number of foreign visitors. The estimate comes in a report by the Yemeni government which has been cited in the daily Al Hayat. According to the report, the damage was not limited to the tourist sector, but also contributed to slowing down forecast economic growth and forced an increase in military and security expenditure. The report also stresses the reluctance of donor countries and organisations to repeat financial commitments made with Yemen: in 2009 international aid reached its lowest level at 87 million dollars.

Despite this situation, the tourism development plan for up to 2015 includes the creation of 37,000 direct jobs and thousands more in ancillary sectors. Among the other objectives in the plan is an increase in the number of foreign tourists by 15 per cent, bringing the number up to 2.5 million by 2015 and to attain a contribution to GDP of two billion dollars.(ANSAmed)

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Yemen Terror Alert: Obama Says Explosives Found

US President Barack Obama says initial examinations of two suspicious packages bound for the US show they appeared to have contained explosive materials.

He said the packages, found in the UK and Dubai on two overnight planes in transit from Yemen, were destined for Jewish places of worship in Chicago.

Security alerts are under way in the US, UK and Middle East after the packages were found.

Two cargo planes were also searched in Newark and Philadelphia.

A lorry owned by the freight company UPS was also searched in New York City.

In other developments:

New aviation security measures are being taken in light of the alert, the US Homeland Security Department announces

The US says that if a terror link is confirmed, the main suspects will be al-Qaeda’s branch in Yemen — al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)

US fighter jets escorted Emirates flight 201 from Dubai into New York, with officials saying the action was being taken “out of an abundance of caution” because cargo from Yemen was on board

Cobra, the UK government’s emergency planning committee, met on Friday and was to meet again on Saturday, the BBC understands, as discussions continue about how to tighten UK security further

Yemeni support

Mr Obama said the discovery represented a credible terrorist threat against the US.

“Although we are still pursuing all the facts, we do know that the packages originated in Yemen,” he told a White House press conference.


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

South Asia

India: Obama’s Trip to be Biggest Ever

US President Barack Obama’s trip to India next month is set to be the biggest ever by any US president in terms of the protocol and logistics.


The presidential entourage will have 40 aircraft, including the Air Force One that will ferry the president. There will be six armoured cars, including the Barack Mobile, a Cadillac.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Maldives Arrest Marriage Celebrant After ‘Hate’ Ceremony

Police in the Maldives have arrested a marriage celebrant who abused a foreign couple as “swine” and “infidels” during a luxury ceremony in the holiday paradise, an official said.

Maldivian police spokesman Ahmed Shiyam said the celebrant, who conducted the ceremony in the local language at an upmarket resort fringed by white sand and turquoise water, had been arrested with another hotel employee on Thursday.

A video of the ceremony, during which the hapless couple are taunted and subjected to a series of insulting and religious-tinged abuse, was posted on YouTube and has sparked fears for the country’s tourism-dependent economy.

The hotel had initially identified the victims as Swiss, but a highly placed tourism source in the Maldives told AFP said they were in fact French. Police declined to confirm their nationality.

“We started investigations and treat this as a very serious matter,” Shiyam told AFP by telephone when contacted in the capital island Male.

He said the two men were taken before a magistrate who ordered them to be detained for five days. “Both are being held at a police station in Male,” he added.

The Vilu Reef hotel, where the ceremony took place, said it was “unforgivable” that a staff member had read out the sexual and religious slurs in the Dhivehi language and apologised for his conduct.

“You are swine,” the couple were told. “The children that you bear from this marriage will all be bastard swine.

“Your marriage is not a valid one. You are not the kind of people who can have a valid marriage. One of you is an infidel. The other, too, is an infidel and, we have reason to believe, an atheist.”


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Far East

China Cuts Rare Earth Exports, Raising Concerns Around the World

Rare earth elements are essential for high tech industries. Until 2009, China met 97 per cent of world demand, but this year it has drastically cut its export to “protect” the resource. The European Union is looking into legal action, whilst the United States wants “clarifications” over the move.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) — “China will not use rare earths as an instrument for bargaining. Instead, we hope to co-operate with other countries in the use of rare earths on the basis of win-win outcomes and jointly protecting this unrenewable resource,” said Ministry of Industry and Information Technology spokesman Zhu Hongren when asked about growing concern over the drop in rare earth exports.

The 17 elements called rare earths possess magnetic, luminescent and other properties used in lasers, electronic components and clean energy technologies. They also have military applications.

So far, China supplied about 97 per cent of the world’s demand, mining about 120,000 tonnes of rare earths in 2008. But Beijing has curtailed exports, saying it needs to protect reserves from reckless exploitation. This year it slashed export quotas to about 40 per cent below last year levels, 72 per cent in the second half of the year.

Exports to Japan have been particularly affected following a diplomatic row between Beijing and Tokyo over sovereignty in the Senkaku Islands (Diaoyu for the Chinese). Officially, the Chinese blamed red tape for the drop.

This has alarmed most industrialised nations. The European Union is looking into the possibility of taking legal action, whilst Germany has turned to the World Trade Organisation (WHO) to see whether any rules have been broken or not.

Yesterday, at a press conference with Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Beijing to clarify its position. She also urged the world to develop additional supplies. The issue is likely to come up at the next G20 meeting.

In the past two decades, little exploration has been done in rare earth metals since Chinese production was more than adequate to meet world demand at a reasonable cost. In 2010, prices of some rare earths have increased tenfold on world markets. Many are concerned about possible shortages, and mining firms are scrambling to speed up development timetables.

In fact, mining and exploration outside of China were abandoned because of low prices. Now that the trend is reversing, non-Chinese production can be expected to rise.

In responding to all the concerns, Industry and Information Technology Ministry spokesman Zhu reiterated his country’s position, namely that “China has exercised orderly management of the exploitation, production and export of rare earths, [. . .] in line with WTO rules”.

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

Sub-Saharan Africa

Girls Killed by Islamist Firing Squad in Somalia

Victims reported to be 18 or younger were shot in front of hundreds of residents in Beledweyne, near border with Ethiopia

An Islamist militia in Somalia has publicly shot dead two teenage girls by firing squad after accusing them of spying for the government, it emerged today.

The victims — reported to be 18 or younger — were killed in front of hundreds of residents in Beledweyne, near the border with Ethiopia.

The town is controlled by the hardline al-Shabaab rebel movement, which has become notorious for its extreme form of punishment, including stonings and cross-amputations, for various crimes, usually adultery and theft.

The killings, which happened on Wednesday, are believed to the first instance of any females in Somalia being executed for spying. The girls’ relatives denied they were guilty of the charge.

According to eyewitnesses accounts, a Shabaab “judge” sentenced the girls to death shortly before they were executed. No evidence was presented, and the two were not allowed legal representation.

Militiamen then used pickup tricks with loudspeakers on the back to summon residents to attend the ceremony at the Islamists’ headquarters. They were warned not to take mobile phone pictures.

The girls — named by the Associated Press as Ayan Mohamed Jama, 18, and Huriyo Ibrahim, 15 — were brought to the site blindfolded, with their hands bound. They were made to sit on the ground. About 10 masked men then shot them.

“Two very young girls were shot … and no one could help,” Dahir Casowe, a local elder, said.

After the execution, the local Shabaab commander, Sheikh Yusuf Ali Ugas, told the crowd that Islamist fighters had arrested the girls last week. He claimed hey had confessed to the crime, and said dozens of other people in custody faced a similar fate.


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]


Think Again: A Double Standard for Islam

Islamists everywhere demand respect for Islam, the prophet and the Koran, and threaten murderous mayhem should that demand not be honored. At the same time, they do not hesitate to express their contempt for other religions and their adherents, as well as the system of democratic rights protecting the freedom of religion.

Nor are those threats to be taken likely. More than 50 people died in violence triggered by the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s 1989 edict against Salman Rushdie, author of The Satanic Verses, and all those connected with its publication or distribution. Dozens of Europeans are now in hiding or under police protection because of death threats from Muslims.

Sadly, the West has to a shocking degree acquiesced in this double standard. The Washington Post removed from its website a cartoon including the words “Where’s Muhammad,” even though it contained no depiction of him; South Park’s producers edit episodes mentioning Islam but not those ridiculing Christianity; Yale University Press deleted all the actual cartoons from a book on the Danish cartoon controversy. Australian preachers were fined for quoting the Koran, and leading Dutch politician Geert Wilders was put on trial for his strident criticism of Islam.

Hate speech laws are applied in Europe against those critical of Islam, but never against Muslim imams who mock Jewish or Christian infidels. Even here, Tatiana Susskind was sentenced to two years in jail for posting a cartoon of the face of Muhammad on the body of a pig, but preachers from the Islamic Movement can broadcast what they want about Jews and Judaism.

The double standard conveys to the Islamists two dangerous messages. First, violence works; the West is terrorized. Second, Islam is the one true religion: Behold, even Westerners treat it with a deference not shown to Christianity or Judaism.

INTELLECTUALS AND cultural elites have played a major role in fostering the West’s acceptance of voluntary dhimmitude by manipulating the level at which the debate takes place whenever it touches issues of Islam. In part, intellectual attitudes are motivated by fear; in part by a refusal to acknowledge a civilizational struggle between the West and expansionist Islam. For some, the frisson of seeing their own bourgeois society under attack contributes to the fun.


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]