Saturday, January 11, 2003

News Feed 20110624

Financial Crisis
»Bad for Business: Euro Crisis Has Decimated Greek Private Sector
»EU Summit in Brussels: Europe Throws Its Support Behind Greek Prime Minister
»EU Under US Pressure Over Greece at Crunch Euro Summit
»Euro-Securities Will be Explored: Rehn
»French, German Business Leaders Urge Joint Economic Policy
»New Portuguese PM Pledges End to Debt ‘Drunkenness’
»Ron Paul: Time to End Federal Reserve Secrecy
»Strong Swiss Franc Causes Concern
»Ten Days to Save the Euro as EU Puts Its Faith in Athens
»Alexandria Man Charged in Pentagon Shooting
»Alleged Terror Plotter ‘Looked Like Everyday Guy’
»CAIR Loses IRS Status
»Commie Van Jones to Start Socialist Tea Party
»Delta Adopts Saudi ‘No-Jew’ Fly Policy
»House Spurns Obama on Libya But Does Not Cut Funds
»How to Build the Ultimate Naval Uber-Powerful Lasers
»Is the FBI Investigating Obama?
»Judge Intervenes to Let Tea Party Hand Out Constitution
»Man Arrested in Pentagon Scare Charged in DC-Area Shootings at Military Sites
»Soros and Liberal Groups Seeking Top Election Posts in Battleground States
Europe and the EU
»Alarm as EU Budget Chief Questions Global Warming
»Autism More Common in Tech-Heavy Centers
»Germany: Muslims Say Fight Against Terror Must Not Lead to General Suspicion
»Germany: Sight for the Blind: The Growing Success of Seeing With Sound
»Mafia Makes Inroads in Switzerland
»Netherlands: No Ban on Jewish and Islamic Slaugher After All
»Netherlands: Thieves Steal Copper From Power Pylons
»Opinion: Pia Kjærsgaard, You Are Un-Danish
»Spanish Navy Recues 54 North Africans From Sea
»Spanish Police Say Chinese Crime Gang Busted
»Study: Germany’s E. Coli Was a Deadly Genetic Mix
»Switzerland: Minority Quotas to be Set in Public Service
»UK: Abuse Kid Swap
»Serbia Will Never Recognise Kosovo, Says Foreign Minister
North Africa
»France Against Any Pause in Libya Campaign: Foreign Ministry
Middle East
»EU Piles Pressure on Syria, Targets Iran Allies
»Five Russian Scientists Who Helped Iran With Nuclear Secrets Were Among 45 Killed in Plane Crash
»The Threat Next Door: A Visit to Ahmadinejad’s Nuclear Laboratory
»Russian Sets Himself Alight on Lenin Statue
»Ukraine City in ‘Communism is Nazism’ Poster Drive
»Armenia, Azerbaijan Seek Peace Breakthrough
South Asia
»Seized Phone Offers Clues to Bin Laden’s Pakistani Links
Far East
»‘I Can’t Say Anything’: Ai Weiwei’s Release Raises More Questions Than Answers
»Asylum Seekers Lie About Age
»AZ Sheriff: Why More Troops at Korean Border Than U.S. Border?
»Denmark: Controversial Homeless Shelter Closes
»‘Dramatic Rise’ In Somali Refugees in Kenya: UNHCR
»Europe Probes Migrant Deaths in Mediterranean
Culture Wars
»Parents See Political Slant in 3rd-Grade Textbook
»Shocker! Churches Promoting Islam
»Earth Must be Ready for Next Big Solar Storm
»Icy Saturn Moon May be Covering a Salty Sea
»Is Al-Qaeda on the Run?
»Migration Tracking Reveals Marine Serengeti
»Red Wine’s Heart Health Chemical Unlocked at Last
»Ride on Hypersonic Plane to Cost $10,000 or More
»U.S., IEA to Release Oil From Reserves

Financial Crisis

Bad for Business: Euro Crisis Has Decimated Greek Private Sector

Consumption has plunged in Greece and so too have the profits of several small and mid-sized companies in the country. Many say that the government isn’t doing enough to help — and a new round of austerity could make the situation even worse.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

EU Summit in Brussels: Europe Throws Its Support Behind Greek Prime Minister

Greek Prime Minister Giorgios Papandreou has become immensely unpopular back home. But at the European Union summit in Brussels on Thursday evening, EU leaders offered him their unwavering support. Opposition leader Antonis Samaras, for his part, was heavily criticized.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

EU Under US Pressure Over Greece at Crunch Euro Summit

EU leaders step into a pivotal summit Thursday with their backs to the wall as the US steps up global demands for a breakthrough on Greece to stem fears the debt crisis will spread across Europe and wider.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Euro-Securities Will be Explored: Rehn

The European Commission has agreed to examine possible legislation to create bonds issued directly at eurozone level, Economy Commissioner Olli Rehn has told the European Parliament.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

French, German Business Leaders Urge Joint Economic Policy

The European debt drama reflects a crisis of government and not the euro, with the answer “a European economic policy,” nearly 50 top French and German business leaders said in the Wednesday edition of the Le Monde newspaper. “The history of the euro is a true success … there is no serious alternative to the common euro,” the business leaders said in the paper dated Wednesday but published on Tuesday. Among the 48 signatories were the heads of French oil group Total, airline Air France and technology group Alcatel-Lucent, PSA Peugot Citroen autos, Sanofi pharmaceuticals, and German Deutsche Bank and energy giant EON.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

New Portuguese PM Pledges End to Debt ‘Drunkenness’

New Portuguese Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho vowed to sober the rescued country up by ending “debt drunkenness”, and promised to balance public finances urgently, in remarks marking his investiture. And the newly installed Finance Minister Vitor Gaspar was heading into his first talks later on Wednesday with representatives from the EU, the European Central Bank and the IMF, which are financing a debt rescue, a source close to the European Commission in Lisbon told AFP. The debt crisis in Portugal, alongside the crisis in Ireland and the most serious crisis in Greece, is causing deep concerns internationally about the resilience of the entire eurozone.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Ron Paul: Time to End Federal Reserve Secrecy

Among the facts that the Federal Reserve would rather you didn’t know is that at the height of the financial turmoil in 2008, when average Americans were just beginning to suffer, the institution was passing out sweetheart deals to protect the powerful and well-connected. Among the beneficiaries were foreign banks, Wall Street giants and even the company that then owned MSNBC.

Recently, my House subcommittee on domestic monetary policy held a hearing to examine information disclosed by the Federal Reserve about its bailout lending during the 2008 financial crisis — disclosure that was required by the Dodd-Frank Act and the Freedom of Information Act.

These Federal Reserve records, made available to the public on Dec. 1, 2010, and on March 31 provided a look at thousands of transactions and trillions of dollars in lending by the Federal Reserve.

The importance of this hearing cannot be overstated.


Not holding the Federal Reserve accountable for its actions is the epitome of negligence. Unlike the story sold to the American people in 2008 — that the economy would grind to a halt without trillions of dollars in bailouts — the truth has turned out to be very different.

And let me tell you — Americans will be outraged when they see what the Fed has done.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Strong Swiss Franc Causes Concern

The cabinet is considering measures to offset the negative impact of the continuing strong Swiss franc on the country’s industry. Economics Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann said preparations were underway to extend allowances to compensate for temporary salary cuts and to speed up the purchase of new fighter jets — triggering business deals with foreign companies in return. The cabinet on Wednesday also eased access for small and medium-sized companies to funds for research and development projects.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Ten Days to Save the Euro as EU Puts Its Faith in Athens

The EU has 10 days to save the euro and prevent any harm to the world economy after putting its faith in Athens to make good on a vow to impose even more unpopular austerity measures on a restive people. An initial bounce for the euro when EU leaders agreed to grant debt-stricken Greece a second bailout in little over a year faded swiftly as markets looked beyond Thursday’s EU pledge to do “whatever necessary” to shield the currency.

The creaking symbol of European unity is caught in the biggest challenge of its short life, after a series of bailouts and no guarantees that another one will finally tame the debt crisis threatening to torpedo the eurozone dream. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Friday that leaders had struck “an important political accord for the stabilisation of the euro,” which Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme said took just half an hour to thrash out.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Alexandria Man Charged in Pentagon Shooting

FBI: Marine Corps reservist also linked to vandalism in Quantico, Chantilly

An Alexandria man has been charged in connection with a series of shots fired at military installations late last year.

Yonathan Melaku, 22, faces three counts of causing injury to U.S. property by shooting with a firearm and causing damage in excess of $1,000, and one count of discharging a firearm during a crime of violence.

The charges are in relation to a string of vandalism incidents last October involving gunshots fired at military targets including the Pentagon, the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico and a military recruiting center in Chantilly.

The FBI announced the federal charges Thursday. According to the FBI, Melaku is listed as a Marine Corps reservist.

The first incident occurred at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico on Oct. 17. Officials said at least 10 shots were fired there.

“It appears that the rounds came from the Interstate 95 side of the building,” said Assistant Chief Mike Cosby of the Prince William County Police department during a press conference after the shootings.

Next, bullets were found embedded in windows at the Pentagon on Oct. 19. After the Pentagon shooting, guards there reported five to seven audible shots fired in the vicinity of the Pentagon’s south parking lot.

An FBI investigation determined that those incidents, along with shots fired at a Marine recruiting station in Chantilly’s Sully Plaza shopping center on Oct. 26, were all fired by the same weapon, but the FBI did not have any suspects in the case.

That day, Melaku was detained for trespassing after he was seen in Arlington National Cemetery overnight while the cemetery was closed, FBI officials said last week.

U.S. Park Police contacted the FBI after discovering that Melaku was carrying items in a backpack that raised concerns about public safety, FBI spokesman Andrew Ames said. The FBI and other agencies responded to the scene and shut down roads around the Pentagon.

Melaku’s backpack allegedly contained potential bomb-making materials, spent 9 mm shell casings and hand-scrawled references to Osama Bin Laden, the Taliban and al-Qaida, according to a search warrant affidavit made public Thursday.

U.S. Park Police later questioned Melaku and identified what they described as two potentially dangerous items in his possession, as well as in a red 2011 Nissan found parked in a wooded area near the Pentagon directly off routes 27 and 110. The FBI removed the vehicle from the scene for further examination.

The materials in the backpack also are undergoing further testing at the FBI laboratory in Quantico, he said. The FBI and Fairfax County police searched Melaku’s home in Alexandria, but did not comment on what was discovered from the search.

“Items discovered both in his backpack and in the vehicle were evaluated by our bomb techs and were determined to be nonexplosive and inert,” Ames said.

According to Ames, Melaku currently is listed as an active Marine Corps reservist.

U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesman Peter Carr announced the federal charges against Melaku on Thursday.

A search warrant affidavit of Melaku’s Alexandria apartment claims that Melaku was in possession of several materials that are commonly used to make improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, as well as a video allegedly showing Melaku shooting a firearm out a car window near the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico. The affidavit says Melaku’s voice can be heard on the video saying: “Last time I hit them they turned off the lights for like four or five days. So here we go again; this time I’m going to turn it off permanently.”

Melaku was charged May 27 with four counts of grand larceny by the Leesburg Police Department.

He made an initial appearance in Loudoun County District Court on Monday, where a judge ordered him to be held without bond on two of the grand larceny counts. A trial date for the charges is pending.

The two grand larceny charges are in addition to a rash of other vehicle tampering cases Melaku is believed to have caused, according to Chris Tidmore of the Leesburg Police Department.

           — Hat tip: heroyalwhyness[Return to headlines]

Alleged Terror Plotter ‘Looked Like Everyday Guy’

The Justice Department says two men have been arrested in a plot to attack a military recruit processing station in Seattle with machine guns and grenades.

Both men are U.S. citizens and converts to Islam, according to the charges. Abdul-Latif is a felon who spent 21/2 years in prison on robbery and assault charges. Mujahidh had been living in Los Angeles, but came to Seattle as the plan developed, according to the charges. He has no felony criminal history, although he was named in a civil domestic-violence protective order filed in King County in 2007 by his wife.

The men are charged with conspiracy to murder U.S. officers, conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction (a grenade) and other firearms-related counts. U.S. Magistrate Judge Mary Alice Theiler ordered them held pending a detention hearing next Wednesday. The maximum penalty for the crimes is life in prison; however, the firearms-related counts carry 30-year mandatory minimum sentences.

U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan urged people to keep the arrests in perspective.

“These are the actions of individuals who adhere to a violent and extreme ideology and do not represent and should not reflect on the Muslim community as a whole,” she said. “We hope there is no backlash here. That would not be fair or what we stand for.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

CAIR Loses IRS Status

Donations to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) no longer are tax deductible after the organization was among 275,000 tax-exempt organizations purged earlier this month by the Internal Revenue Service.

The groups failed to file required annual reports, known as form 990s, detailing their revenues and expenses, for three consecutive years. CAIR had been a non-profit on its own, but in 2007, the IRS approved a separate tax-exempt CAIR Foundation. The foundation never filed any subsequent reports. Both the foundation and CAIR national are on the purge list.

CAIR has 30 state chapters throughout the country, many of which have their own non-profit designations which remain active.

While the IRS believes most of the organizations stripped of status have shut down, those still operating can apply for reinstatement. Meanwhile, CAIR’s web site continues to solicit donations by touting them as tax deductible two weeks after the IRS issued the list and notifications were sent to all 275,000 purged groups.

Donors still could deduct the money on their tax returns if CAIR is reinstated between now and April 15. All the purged organizations have 15 months to seek reinstatement. But it is unclear whether CAIR will file the required papers or whether their explanation about past reporting failures will be enough to satisfy the IRS.

“This listing should have little, if any, impact on donors who previously made deductible contributions to auto-revoked organizations because donations made prior to the publication of an organization’s name on the list remain tax-deductible,” an IRS statement said. “Going forward, however, organizations that are on the auto-revocation list that do not receive reinstatement are no longer eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions, and any income they receive may be taxable.”

To regain its exempt status, CAIR must file the missing three annual reports, along with a new application for exempt status. Finally, it must explain why it failed to file the 990s for three consecutive years and explain any new procedures which will ensure future compliance.

The annual reports include financial information on donations and other sources of income, operating expenses and names and payments given to directors and key staff members.

The CAIR Foundation won exempt status in 2007 and then never filed any annual reports. That year, the Washington Times reported that CAIR’s membership plummeted by 90 percent, from a high of 29,000 people in 2000 to less than 1,700 in 2006. CAIR vehemently denied the report when it was issued. But a year later, when the organization sought to have its name removed from a list of unindicted co-conspirators in a Hamas-financing prosecution, CAIR attorneys tied the diminishing support to the 2007 co-conspirator list.

“Furthermore, the amount of donations that they have been receiving has dwindled well below their monthly budget, and as their associational activity necessarily relies upon donations from the public, the government’s labeling of them as an unindicted co-conspirator has chilled their associational activity.”

Anecdotal information indicates the group increasingly has turned to foreign donors for operating revenue. In 2006, State Department records obtained by the Investigative Project on Terrorism show, CAIR sent delegations to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates seeking millions of dollars in support.

The delegation included CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad, spokesman Ibrahim Hooper, then-board chairman Parvez Ahmed, and current chairman Larry Shaw.

In 2009, Awad solicited Libyan Dictator Muammar Gaddafi to help underwrite a program to distribute 1 million copies of the Quran to government officials and the general public in America and to help start up a new foundation Awad was trying to launch.

When it applied for exempt status, the CAIR Foundation told the IRS that it would solicit “nationwide, although it is expected that the largest support will come from Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia, where CAIR-Foundation’s visibility is most prominent to potential donors.”

[Return to headlines]

Commie Van Jones to Start Socialist Tea Party

At last weekend’s Netroots Nation gathering in Minneapolis, liberal activists expressed frustration that they lacked the political power or media focus given to the conservative tea-party movement. Former White House environmental official Van Jones is hoping to change that with a new political effort dubbed “The American Dream Movement.”

Organizers are hoping to emulate the the success of the tea party, which became a significant force in the 2010 midterms, uniting like-minded people across the country who were previously uninvolved in politics or participating locally but not at the national level.

They hope to motivate unemployed veterans, struggling homeowners and other alienated Americans who are angry at Republicans’ desire to drastically cut government spending in Washington and collective bargaining rights for state employees in places like Wisconsin. And to lure those people simply struggling to find a job while worried about their unemployment benefits ending.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Delta Adopts Saudi ‘No-Jew’ Fly Policy

Challenge to discrimination building as Congress, lawyers warned of plan

Delta Air Lines’ plan to add Saudi Arabian Airlines to its SkyTeam Alliance of partnering companies would require the American carrier to ban Jews and holders of Israeli passports from boarding flights from New York or Washington bound for Jeddah, prompting outraged accusations of illegal religious discrimination.

The issue, which has caught the attention of the American Center for Law and Justice already, was raised when Washington attorney Jeffrey Lovitky was perusing airline procedures for travel.

“As we learn more about the issue and facts, we are determined to ensure that American citizens do not face discrimination by airlines like Delta that are passenger code-sharing with Saudi Arabian Airlines,” said Colby M. May, director and senior counsel of the ACLJ.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

House Spurns Obama on Libya But Does Not Cut Funds

The House of Representatives dealt a symbolic blow to President Obama on Friday by resoundingly failing to approve a bill authorizing the contentious military operations in Libya. But the House stopped short of a total desertion of a war-time president by also rejecting a measure to limit financing to support the military operations.

[Return to headlines]

How to Build the Ultimate Naval Uber-Powerful Lasers

The U.S. Navy wants to put powerful lasers on its ships to shoot down artillery shells and even cruise missiles at the speed of light (and really, who wouldn’t). But there are a few scientific details to sort out before sailors can deploy the beams. “First we want to make sure the physics is right before throwing buckets of salt water over the thing,” says Ed Pogue. Pogue is the program manager for Boeing’s free electron laser (FEL) program, potentially the most ambitious laser weapons program since the Pentagon’s controversial airborne laser. In that program, the Missile Defense Agency spent billions of dollars and over a decade to get a laser-rigged jumbo jet to destroy a ballistic missile in its boost phase of flight. They eventually succeeded in February 2010, but the Obama administration nixed plans to develop the experiment into a battle-ready weapon.

Maybe the Navy’s project will meet a better fate. In 5 years, at a cost of $163 million, Boeing hopes to get the physics right and demonstrate an extremely powerful—and hopefully seaworthy—giant laser. It’s no small task, in part because the laser they’re using is powered by several particle accelerators.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Is the FBI Investigating Obama?

In a front page story about a major FBI terrorism investigation, The Washington Post has reported that the targets include “Chicagoans who crossed paths with Obama when he was a young state senator and some who have been active in labor unions that supported his political rise.” The implication is that the trail could lead to the White House.

This is an unusual investigation that does not primarily involve Islamists. Instead, it is focused on elements of the old international communist networks that many people mistakenly thought had faded away with the collapse of the Soviet Union. Those under investigation are suspected of providing support to foreign terrorist organizations such as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in the Middle East, a Marxist group. The Post called them “Colombian and Palestinian groups designated by the U.S. government as terrorists.”

The investigations came into public view last September when the FBI raided the homes of several “activists,” as the Post called them. Some lived in Chicago.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Judge Intervenes to Let Tea Party Hand Out Constitution

‘It is outrageous library sought to restrict distribution’

Just in time for the Independence Day holiday, a judge in California has intervened to allow members of the tea party there to hand out copies of the U.S. Constitution, which had been banished by a local library board decision.

The news of the battle comes from Brad Dacus, of Pacific Justice Institute, who has been fighting officials in Redding, Calif., since earlier this year on behalf of tea party groups who want to give out copies of America’s founding document.

“As a matter of policy, they said they could not pass out the Constitution … We’re talking about outside the library in the breezeway, where people have passed things out before. [Library officials] saw this group, a tea party group, passing out the Constitution and specifically amended their policy to make it more restrictive,” he told WND.

A judge in Shasta County Superior Court now, however, has granted a preliminary injunction against the library, clearing the way for a distribution when tea party members choose, Dacus said.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Man Arrested in Pentagon Scare Charged in DC-Area Shootings at Military Sites

WASHINGTON — A Marine Corps reservist arrested for suspicious activity near the Pentagon last week has been charged in connection with a spate of shootings at military sites in the Washington, D.C., area last fall, federal officials said Thursday.

Yonathan Melaku videotaped himself shouting “allahu Akbar” after firing shots at the US Marine Corps museum and documents concerning bomb-making were found in his home, FOX News reported.

He is charged with two counts of willfully injuring property of the United States, and two counts of carrying and discharging a firearm, FOX said.

In a press conference Thursday, Neil MacBride, the US Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, said that the investigation is ongoing and additional charges are possible.

The 22-year-old Marine Corps reservist, who is a Muslim believed to be a naturalized US citizen originally from Ethiopia, was arrested by US Park Police last week with a backpack full of suspicious items.

Melaku fled from law enforcement when he was approached at Arlington National cemetery early Friday. During the chase, he dropped a backpack, which contained spent 9mm shell casings, clear plastic bags containing a powdery substance, spray paint, and a spiral notebook containing references to the Taliban, al Qaeda and Usama bin Laden, among other references to terrorism.

An FBI chemist found that the powdery substance was mostly ammonium nitrate, FOX said.

A search of his home turned up a list of items used to make an improvised explosive device, or IED, as well as a laptop computer holding documents concerning bomb-making, FOX reported. Officials also found a videotape showing Melaku repeatedly firing a handgun while driving near the National Museum of the Marine Corps.

According to FOX, he says in the video: “That’s what they get. That’s my target. That’s the military building. It’s going to be attacked.” He also yells, “allahu Akbar” repeatedly after firing.

Forensic evidence linked him to five shootings at four military buildings in October and November of 2010, FOX News reported Wednesday.

The D.C.-area shootings occurred at the National Museum of the Marine Corps, Coast Guard and Marine Corps recruiting centers, and at the Pentagon, where windows were shattered just before 5:00am on Oct. 19, 2010.

FOX reported that the cost to repair the windows and exterior of the Pentagon after the Oct. 19 shooting totaled $15,144. Damage resulting from two shootings at the National Museum of the Marine Corps was $83,985.

Meanwhile, the US Marine Corps announced Thursday that Melaku, who held the rank of Lance Corporal, will be processed for “administrative separation” from the Marine Forces Reserve due to an unrelated “grand larceny” charge.

“The leadership became aware after the larceny charges were widely reported in the news when Melaku was detained Friday by the United States Park Service for trespass in Arlington National Cemetery at a time when the cemetery was closed,” the Corps Division of Public Affairs said in a written statement.

According to the statement, Melaku was notified Tuesday at the detention center where he was being held that he would be processed for administrative separation.

The statement noted that Melaku had no record of misconduct when he was admitted into the Marine Corps.

“The Marine Corps takes allegation of misconduct seriously and is working with the FBI’s investigation,” the statement said.

           — Hat tip: heroyalwhyness[Return to headlines]

Soros and Liberal Groups Seeking Top Election Posts in Battleground States

A small tax-exempt political group with ties to wealthy liberals like billionaire financier George Soros has quietly helped elect 11 reform-minded progressive Democrats as secretaries of state to oversee the election process in battleground states and keep Republican “political operatives from deciding who can vote and how those votes are counted.”

Known as the Secretary of State Project (SOSP), the organization was formed by liberal activists in 2006 to put Democrats in charge of state election offices, where key decisions often are made in close races on which ballots are counted and which are not.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Alarm as EU Budget Chief Questions Global Warming

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso is apparently unconcerned that the chief architect of the EU’s forthcoming multi-annual budget has major doubts over the existence of global warming.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Autism More Common in Tech-Heavy Centers

Cities that are hubs for jobs in information technology (IT) may have a higher prevalence of autism, a new study says. The study, conducted in the Netherlands, found more children with autism living in Eindhoven, a region known for its IT sector, than in two other regions with fewer IT businesses. The findings may apply to other IT-rich regions, including California’s Silicon Valley, said study researcher Simon Baron-Cohen, director of the Autism Research Center at the University of Cambridge in England.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Germany: Muslims Say Fight Against Terror Must Not Lead to General Suspicion

The Central Council of Muslims has warned against putting all Muslim people under general suspicion of being radical or terrorists, ahead of Friday’s ‘Prevention Summit’ being held by the Interior Ministry.

Muslim groups and security authorities have been called together by Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich for the meeting to discuss strategies to prevent and fight Islamist violence.

“Those who have become radicalised are a disappearing, small minority,” Aiman Mazyek, head of the Council told the Schwäbische Zeitung.

“It would be fatal if the more than four million Muslims in Germany were to come under general suspicion.”

He added that Mosque-based and Muslim religious communities presented no danger.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Germany: Sight for the Blind: The Growing Success of Seeing With Sound

In recent decades, a number of blind people have developed a bat-like method of determining their surroundings using tongue clicks. Following recent success in Berlin, the technique could become more widespread in Germany. Some even use “flash sonar” to ride bikes and go hiking in the mountains.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Mafia Makes Inroads in Switzerland

The Italian Mafia is becoming more and more active in Switzerland, according to an annual police report published Thursday. The country is mainly being used for money-laundering operations, the report says.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Netherlands: No Ban on Jewish and Islamic Slaugher After All

THE HAGUE, 23/06/11 — There will be no ban on the unanaesthetised slaughter of animals that is carried out in Jewish and Islamic abattoirs. The Lower House majority that earlier existed for such a ban has evaporated. The Lower House wants unanaesthetised ritual slaughter to remain possible after all, providing Jews and Muslims can show that this does not cause more suffering for animals than anaesthetised slaughter. Labour (PvdA) and centre-left D66 have received support from the conservatives (VVD) and leftwing Greens (GroenLinks) for a plan giving the abattoirs a year and a half to demonstrate that their method of slaughter is animal-friendly. If they do not succeed, then there could be a ban after all.

PvdA and D66 did earlier back a proposed bill from the Party for Animals (PvdD) on a ban of unanaesthetised slaughter. But under pressure from their Islamic supporters, both parties went back on this.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Netherlands: Thieves Steal Copper From Power Pylons

Copper theft in the Netherlands has spread from railway infrastructure to high-voltage electricity pylons. Power grid operator TenneT says kilometres of copper wires have been stolen in the southern province of Noord-Brabant. Speaking on national radio on Friday morning, a spokesperson from TenneT warned of the dangers of stealing copper from the power mast. “It’s highly dangerous to climb up a mast with 150,000 volts running through the wires. If something goes wrong, then it goes totally wrong,” she said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Opinion: Pia Kjærsgaard, You Are Un-Danish

If nobody else will say it, then I will. You are un-Danish Pia Kjærsgaard. And your perpetual jabs at Germany show not just bad form, but also a lack of understanding of both diplomatic style and of the EU co-operation with Germany in questions of immigration. The attacks also bear witness to a total ignorance of Danish history.

In the first place, it is Denmark that shows a master race and nationalist mentality if we think we own both sides of the border. We own it just as little as Kjærsgaard owns the boundary between her garden and her neighbour’s. That’s why not even Kjærsgaard can build a high concrete wall between her and her neighbour without speaking to her neighbour first.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Spanish Navy Recues 54 North Africans From Sea

A total of 54 people sailing from North Africa towards the Spanish coast were rescued at sea early Thursday, Spanish maritime sources said. The group including two pregnant women and two babies were aboard a rubber boat when their boat were seen by a spotter plane and rescued by a Spanish Navy craft 52 nautical miles off the coast of southern Spain, the sources said. Spain is a major entry point for a wave of illegal immigrants fleeing poverty in Africa for the European Union.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Spanish Police Say Chinese Crime Gang Busted

Spanish police said Wednesday they arrested 34 Chinese citizens as they smashed a family-run crime gang suspected of importing fake goods and laundering the profits, with the help of a chain of laundries. The raids in Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Cadiz, Seville and Huelva broke up the largest Chinese-linked criminal gang based in Spain, operating since the 1990s, said a Civil Guard police statement. Police detained 34 Chinese nationals and seized assets worth 11 million euros ($16 million), it said. The gang may have earned more than 40 million euros a year, importing four-to-six containers a month through Valencia packed with fake tobacco, clothes and other goods bound for sale in Spain, Britain, France, Italy and Portugal, they said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Study: Germany’s E. Coli Was a Deadly Genetic Mix

A strain of E. coli bacteria which killed dozens of people in Germany is a genetic mix whose ability to stick to intestinal walls may have made it so lethal, a study in The Lancet said on Wednesday.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Switzerland: Minority Quotas to be Set in Public Service

Quotas for women, disabled people and French speakers are to be introduced into Swiss public service, the government decided on Wednesday.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UK: Abuse Kid Swap

Parents ‘hid injured twin’

A BRUTAL couple hid horrific injuries they caused to their baby by switching her with her twin when health visitors called, a jury heard yesterday.

Twin M was left with a broken rib, leg, arm and brain damage after at least three attacks during her seven-month life, it was alleged.

Each time health visitors came to the house Mohammed Karolia, 29, and wife Nafisa, 22, made excuses for only one of their twins being in the home.

Prosecutor Joe Boyd said: “There was a deliberate attempt by the parents to conceal the ailing twin from the outside world — most probably because she was exhibiting signs of ill treatment.”

Neighbours in Blackburn, Lancs, were unaware the couple had twins, the court heard. Twin M died from broncho-pneumonia in June 2009. Her death was unrelated to her 20 injuries.

The couple deny child cruelty and neglect at Preston Crown Court. Case continues.

           — Hat tip: Nilk[Return to headlines]


Serbia Will Never Recognise Kosovo, Says Foreign Minister

Undeterred by the eurozone turmoil and the borders debate, Serbian foreign minister Vuk Jeremic hopes to start EU membership talks as soon as possible, but warns that his country will “never” recognise the independence of Kosovo. “EU accession is a strategic choice for Serbia, pursued by no matter what government is in place,” Jeremic told this website in a video interview on the margins of the opening of a representation in Brussels for the Serbian city of Nis.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

North Africa

France Against Any Pause in Libya Campaign: Foreign Ministry

France is against any pause in military operations against Libyan strongman Moamer Kadhafi, the foreign ministry said Wednesday, after NATO ally Italy urged a “suspension of hostilities”. “The coalition and the countries that met as the Abu Dhabi contact group two weeks ago were unanimous on the strategy: we must intensify the pressure on Kadhafi,” ministry spokesman Bernard Valero told reporters. “Any pause is operations would risk allowing him to play for time and to reorganise. In the end, it would be the civilian population that would suffer from the smallest sign of weakness on our behalf,” he said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Middle East

EU Piles Pressure on Syria, Targets Iran Allies

The European Union piled pressure on the Syrian regime on Friday, warning that its legitimacy was undermined by a brutal crackdown and imposing sanctions on three of its Iranian military allies. EU leaders holding a summit in Brussels were to adopt a declaration condemning the “unacceptable and shocking violence the Syrian regime continues to apply on its own citizen,” according to a draft obtained by AFP. “By choosing a path of repression instead of fulfilling its own promises on broad reforms, the regime is calling its legitimacy into question,” says the draft.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Five Russian Scientists Who Helped Iran With Nuclear Secrets Were Among 45 Killed in Plane Crash

Five Russian scientists who died in a plane crash on Tuesday had been helping Iran with nuclear secrets, it has been revealed.

They were among 45 killed when the plane’s lights failed in heavy fog and careered into a motorway before bursting into flames — leading conspiracy theorists to believe it was a deliberate plot to kill the nuclear experts.

Russian security sources confirmed that the dead scientists worked at the controversial Bushehr nuclear plant on the Iranian Persian Gulf.


‘Although Iranian nuclear scientists have in the past been involved in unexplained accidents and plane crashes, there is no official suspicion of foul play,’ a source said today.

‘Investigators are investigating human error and technical malfunction as the causes of the crash.’

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

The Threat Next Door: A Visit to Ahmadinejad’s Nuclear Laboratory

A recent United Nations report reinforces suspicions that Iran’s nuclear program may be serving military purposes — and that it is being infiltrated and attacked by computer viruses. During a recent visit by SPIEGEL reporters to Tehran’s contested nuclear laboratory, scientists wouldn’t comment on the developments, but the sensitivity of the issue in Iran is clear.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Russian Sets Himself Alight on Lenin Statue

An unemployed Russian man climbed on to a statue of Lenin in a Siberian town and set himself on fire, suffering serious burns, police said Friday. “After climbing the steps up to the pedestal of the Lenin monument, the man set fire to himself and, engulfed in flame, fell to the ground,” the police for the Krasnoyarsk region said in a statement.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Ukraine City in ‘Communism is Nazism’ Poster Drive

Authorities in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv on Wednesday pinned up posters on billboards equating Nazism to Communism to mark the 70th anniversary of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union. The posters, with the slogan “Communism = Nazism”, were a hugely provocative gesture in a country whose east still fondly remembers the rule of the USSR, which the more nationalist west regards as an occupation. The billboards were put up at the behest of the local authorities and show two pictures, one of locals murdered murdered by the Soviets in 1941 and another of seven people hung in public by the Nazis in 1942 after the invasion.

“The inhabitants of Lviv suffered both under the Nazi and Communist regimes in the war,” said deputy mayor Vasyl Kosiv. “Prisons and concentration camps were used by both the Soviet NKVD and the Gestapo.” “These were two forces identical in their criminal actions,” he added. When the Nazis entered western Ukraine in 1941, some greeted them as liberators from the Soviets. Nationalist guerrillas continued to fight Soviet forces in the mountains of western Ukraine into the 1950s and are regarded as heroes in the region to this day.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Armenia, Azerbaijan Seek Peace Breakthrough

The rival leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia meet Friday at a summit hosted by Russia to seek a breakthrough on an old territorial row that has shackled development in the strategic Caucasus. The meeting in the Russian city of Kazan between Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian and his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev will be supervised by Russia’s Dmitry Medvedev and is accompanied by rare optimism. The two sides still exchange deadly fire around the Nagorny Karabakh conflict zone, 17 years after fighting a war over the now Armenia-controlled region in western Azerbaijan.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

South Asia

Seized Phone Offers Clues to Bin Laden’s Pakistani Links

The cellphone of Osama bin Laden’s trusted courier, which was recovered in the raid that killed both men in Pakistan last month, contained contacts to a militant group that is a longtime asset of Pakistan’s intelligence agency, senior American officials who have been briefed on the findings say.

The discovery indicates that Bin Laden used the group, Harakat-ul-Mujahedeen, as part of his support network inside the country, the officials and others said. But it also raised tantalizing questions about whether the group and others like it helped shelter and support Bin Laden on behalf of Pakistan’s spy agency, given that it had mentored Harakat and allowed it to operate in Pakistan for at least 20 years, the officials and analysts said.

In tracing the calls on the cellphone, American analysts have determined that Harakat commanders had called Pakistani intelligence officials, the senior American officials said. One said they had met. The officials added that the contacts were not necessarily about Bin Laden and his protection and that there was no “smoking gun” showing that Pakistan’s spy agency had protected Bin Laden.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Far East

‘I Can’t Say Anything’: Ai Weiwei’s Release Raises More Questions Than Answers

The Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has unexpectedly been released from detention. He told reporters on Thursday that he was well but could not talk about what had happened. His case raises many questions about the motives of the Chinese authorities, but it is clear that they have succeeded in intimidating human rights activists.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Asylum Seekers Lie About Age

According to a report in Friday’s edition of the daily ‘De Morgen’, young adults wanting to claim asylum in Belgium often lie about their age in an effort to avoid deportation. Minors can not be deported against their will so would-be asylum seekers have every interest in claiming that they are under 18.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

AZ Sheriff: Why More Troops at Korean Border Than U.S. Border?

Arizona Sheriff Paul Babeu said the Obama administration’s decision to extend the deployment of 1,200 U.S. National Guard troops along the U.S. border with Mexico until Sept. 30 is “pandering” and that those numbers “fall far short” of what military power is needed to keep the country safe. Babeu noted, for comparison, the 28,500 U.S. troops stationed in South Korea to help defend it against North Korean aggression; U.S. troops have been stationed in South Korea for 58 years. Babeu is the sheriff of Pinal County in southern Arizona and is on the frontlines against illegal immigration, human traffickers, drug smugglers, and potential terrorists. He was named the 2011 National Sheriff of the Year by the National Sheriff’s Association on Sunday, June 19.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Denmark: Controversial Homeless Shelter Closes

En Varm Seng welcomed homeless foreigners barred from publicly-funded facilities

But when A Warm Bed manager April Chris decided to open its doors to foreigners, managers of other Copenhagen hostels criticized the decision, arguing it could attract more homeless people to Denmark. Chris dismissed attacks against her, telling Politiken: “I take the position that people in need should be helped regardless of the nationality.” According to Sørup there are very few shelters in Copenhagen where foreigners are allowed to stay. A Warm Bed was mostly used by eastern Europeans and Africans who had traveled up from southern Europe.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

‘Dramatic Rise’ In Somali Refugees in Kenya: UNHCR

Over 20,000 Somalis have fled to Kenya’s overcrowded Dadaab camp in the past two weeks, the UN refugees agency said Friday, highlighting the “shocking conditions and state of the people” who had arrived. “There’s been a dramatic rise” in the number of refugees, said Melissa Fleming, spokeswoman of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Europe Probes Migrant Deaths in Mediterranean

The Council of Europe’s parliamentary assembly on Thursday said it has opened an investigation into the cases of 1,000 migrants who went missing in the Mediterranean while fleeing unrest in North Africa. The Strasbourg-based body said it will issue a report in October to establish responsibility in the deaths of around 1,000 migrants who perished at sea while trying to reach Europe from turmoil-wracked North Africa since January.

“There have been allegations that migrants and refugees died after their calls for help were ignored,” said Dutch lawmaker and parliament member Tineke Strik who is tasked with the inquiry. “Such a grave allegation must be urgently investigated,” she said, adding she will examine how the migrant ships were intercepted by different national coast guards, military vessels and EU border agency Frontex. Last month reports said 61 boat people had died after distress signals had been ignored by armed forces operating in the Mediterranean.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

Parents See Political Slant in 3rd-Grade Textbook

FREDERICK, MD. — Some Frederick County parents are upset over a third-grade textbook that they say promotes such ideas as government-sponsored child care and universal health care.

The county’s Board of Education met Wednesday to discuss “Social Studies Alive! Our Community and Beyond,” a book the county has used since 2004 but has come under fire in recent months.

The book examines culture, government and public service in the U.S. and other countries, but some parents have pointed to passages in the text they believe subtly promote foreign political systems while disparaging the U.S.

“The entire slant of the book is youre getting used to the idea of government running your life,” said Cindy Rose, a parent who requested that the book be removed from the countys curriculum.

“Government is setting the rules. Were all going to live by it and were all a collective society,” she said.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Shocker! Churches Promoting Islam

‘Spiritual treason’ seen as ‘something hostile to Jesus Christ himself’

Dozens of churches, from Park Hill Congregational in Denver to Hillview United Methodist in Boise, Idaho, and First United Lutheran in San Francisco to St. Elizabeth’s Episcopal Church in Honolulu, are planning to send “a message both here at home and to the Arab and Muslim world about our respect for Islam” with a time to read the Quran during worship this Sunday.

It’s not just wrong, but dangerous, according to Christian trends analysts.

The aim of the program, which is promoted by social activists behind the Faith Shared website, is to counter the message from Islamic activists who say opposition to their religion is the product of what they call a cottage industry of hate.

So the Interfaith Alliance and Human Rights First is calling on Christian clergy to read portions of the Quran during their services Sunday.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Earth Must be Ready for Next Big Solar Storm

In September 1859, the sun unleashed one of the most powerful storms in recorded history. The solar eruption induced electrical currents that set telegraph offices on fire and sparked dramatic displays of northern lights over Cuba and Hawaii. Scientists and officials from a range of organizations gathered in Washington, D.C., yesterday (June 21) to ask a simple but frightening question: What if it happens again? “A similar storm today might knock us for a loop,” Lika Guhathakurta, a solar physicist at NASA headquarters, said. “Modern society depends on high-tech systems such as smart power grids, GPS and satellite communications — all of which are vulnerable to solar storms.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Icy Saturn Moon May be Covering a Salty Sea

Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus conceals a salty ocean beneath its frozen surface, scientists now suspect. Using NASA’s Cassini spacecraft orbiting Saturn, scientists have discovered that the water geysers erupting from Enceladus contain a significant amount of salt — enough to suggest the presence of a subterranean sea. The finding might have implications for the possibility of life on Enceladus, researchers said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Is Al-Qaeda on the Run?

US experts now believe that they have fatally wounded the global terrorist organisation, reports Alex Spillius from Washington.

In the battle against al-Qaeda, we may be taking our shoes off in airports for some time. There may never be a moment when we can be sure that someone, somewhere isn’t plotting to blow up our planes and trains.

But are we at a point where we can collectively pause and quietly dare to say that we are winning? That al-Qaeda’s demise is a matter of time? There is good reason to say yes.

For Osama bin Laden was not the only terrorist leader to be “taken down” or “brought to justice” — as American counter-terrorist officials like to say — in the past few weeks.

Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, the mastermind of the network’s first devastating attacks, on the US east African embassies in 1998, was shot at an army checkpoint in Somalia on June 12. Ilyas Kashmiri, a senior operative in Pakistan, is believed to have been killed by a drone in South Waziristan.

The death of bin Laden has allowed the Obama administration to quietly boast of previous successes against his cadre in Pakistan’s tribal areas. We now know that unmanned flying killing machines have over the past 18 months eliminated 20 out of the top 30 al-Qaeda members identified by US intelligence agencies.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Migration Tracking Reveals Marine Serengeti

Decade of tagging has mapped predatorial pathways in the north Pacific Ocean.

Two vast areas of the north Pacific Ocean, one off the west coast of the United States and the other between Hawaii and Alaska, have been revealed as marine counterparts of East Africa’s Serengeti plain. Teeming with life, these oceanic ‘hotspots’ provide major migration corridors for large marine predators ranging from tuna to whales.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Red Wine’s Heart Health Chemical Unlocked at Last

FANCY receiving the heart protecting abilities of red wine without having to drink a glass every day? Soon you may be able to, thanks to the synthesis of chemicals derived from resveratrol, the molecule believed to give wine its protective powers. The chemicals have the potential to fight many diseases, including cancer.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Ride on Hypersonic Plane to Cost $10,000 or More

If you’re hoping to reserve a seat aboard a proposed new hypersonic airliner’s maiden voyage in 2050, you’d better start saving up now. Tickets for a trip in the superfast jet, known as ZEHST (for Zero Emission Hypersonic Transportation), will likely cost in the neighborhood of $10,000 to $30,000 in today’s dollars, according to aerospace industry experts. That hefty price tag will keep most regular folks out of the skies — a fact that perhaps doesn’t bode well for ZEHST’s long-term survival. “This kind of thing would be limited to the rich business class, most likely,” said Ajay Kothari, president and CEO of the aerospace engineering firm Astrox Corporation. “At least at this point in time, it’s hard to make a business case” for the vehicle, he added. Aerospace giant EADS, which owns aircraft manufacturer Airbus, introduced the idea for ZEHST over the weekend at the Paris Air Show. The concept vehicle would be capable of flying at about four times the speed of sound, or Mach 4.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

U.S., IEA to Release Oil From Reserves

Oil prices fell to a four-month low after the International Energy Agency said its members will release 60 million barrels of crude from emergency stocks, half from the U.S. strategic reserve, to offset production lost to the unrest in Libya, only the third time in its history that the IEA has intervened in this way. The move on Thursday came two weeks after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries roiled oil markets by failing to agree to raise production, despite pleas from consuming nations worried about oil prices that have risen nearly 20% this year.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]