Saturday, January 11, 2003

News Feed 20110827

Financial Crisis
»Greece’s M&A Activity Gets Off to a Start
»Fighting the Defamation of Muslim Americans
»New Report Identifies Organizational Nexus of Islamophobia
Europe and the EU
»Council of Europe Opens to Palestinian MPs
»Don’t Let the Mafia Disturb Your Perfect Italian Beach Vacation
»France: Paris Tours in Piaggio Apes Gain Wild Popularity
»France: Pregnant Woman Raped on Train
»Italian Police Seize 300-Mln-Euro Cocaine Shipment
»Italy: Police Nab Transvestite Bank Robbers
»Italy: International Tax Fraud Uncovered, Worth 100 Mln
»Minister Apologises for German “Taliban” Remark
»Spain: Government Approves New Training Contract
»Spain: IU Proposes Far-Left Coalition for Elections
»Swiss Minister Sorry for Taliban Allusion
»UK: All Nurofen Plus is Cleared Off Shelves After Potentially Dangerous Anti-Psychotic Drugs Found in Boxes
»UK: Broken Law
»UK: EDL March in London Banned by Home Secretary
»UK: English Defence League March in London is Blocked
»UK: EDL Ban Cuts Both Ways
»UK: Hated Rules That Benefit Terrorists and Rapists
»UK: Thief Stabs Samaritan
»UK: Unite Against Fascism Statement on Home Secretary’s March Ban
»UK: Wicked Women Who Cried Rape Trapped by Three-in-Bed Photos
»UK: Witnessing the Live Birth of Gangland
»UK: Why the Left is Winning the Fight Over the Wrongs of the Human Rights Act
»Defiant Tadic Vows to Keep North Kosovo Institutions
North Africa
»Diana West: The Triumph of the “Bulgarian Nurses Affair” Cabal
»Libya: Gaddafi Tells TV, Libya is Not France’s or Italy’s
»Libya: Mystery Over Colonel’s Daughter, Hana Alive?
Israel and the Palestinians
»Manfred Gerstenfeld: Confronting Unforseen Events—europe and Israel
Middle East
»Turkey: Olive Oil Producers Seek Markets in Far East
»UAE: Scorching Summer, Not Enough Protection for Workers
South Asia
»India: Catholic Church Attacked in Andhra Pradesh, Bibles and Religious Objects Burned
Australia — Pacific
»Chocolate War Gets Messy
»Italy: Party of 102 Migrants Lands at Lampedusa
»Libya: Gaddur: Gaddafi Led Illegal Immigration
»Libya: Col Gaddafi ‘Directed Tens of Thousands of Refugees Towards Italy as Human Bombs’
»Poland Grants Amnesty to Illegal Migrants
»UK: Tory Accuses ‘Squeamish’ Lib Dems

Financial Crisis

Greece’s M&A Activity Gets Off to a Start

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, AUGUST 25 — The recent acquisition of bankrupt company Fulgor by the Viohalco group through its Hellenic Cables subsidiary was the first move in a cycle of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) starting in local industry due to the Greece’s three-year recession. A survey by Eurobank Equities — as daily Kathimerini reports — suggests that the recession will bring a wave of M&A action on the Athens Exchange and on the domestic business scene in general that will last for at least 12 months. The first phase of that process will concern companies experiencing reduced demand for their products, while the second will come when the economy has begun its rebound and will involve companies with robust financial figures and which are ahead in their sectors proceeding to acquiring companies with lower valuations, the report argues. Already Hellenic Postbank is in the process of absorbing T-Bank, while ATEbank is selling its controlling stake (82.33%) in Hellenic Sugar Industry, with interest being expressed by German sugar producers Nordzucker and Suedzucker, as well as two multinationals owned by Britons and Russians.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Fighting the Defamation of Muslim Americans

For the first time, the fear-mongering and hate-preaching of US Islamophobes — and their funding — have been exposed

Exploiting fear, hysteria and ignorance has been a lucrative business for the Islamophobia network in America. After a six-month-long investigative research project, the Center for American Progress Action Fund released a 138-page report, “Fear Inc: Exposing the Islamophobia Network in America”, which for the first time reveals that more than $42m from seven foundations over the past decade have helped empower a relatively small, but interconnected group of individuals and organisations to spread anti-Muslim fear and hate in America. I, along with co-authors Eli Clifton, Matt Duss, Lee Fang, Scott Keyes and Faiz Shakir, expose this network in depth, categorise it, trace the money trail to the donors, name the players in the network, connect the dots between them, and uncover the genesis of several fictitious threats such as the current “anti-sharia” fear sweeping the nation, as well as the protests of neighbourhood mosques as alleged “Trojan horses” and incubators of radicalisation..

We’ve defined Islamophobia as the following: an exaggerated fear, hatred and hostility towards Islam and Muslims that is perpetuated by negative stereotypes resulting in bias, discrimination and the marginalisation and exclusion of Muslims from America’s social, political and civic life. Healthy debate, disagreement and differences of opinion are a critical part of any civil society, and it is, in fact, necessary when discussing religion, race and politics. This report, however, targets those individuals who have clearly ventured towards poisonous extremist ideology and rhetoric by exploiting fears concerning terrorism and national security, as well general ignorance of Muslims, as a profitable vehicle to advance a hateful agenda.

The Islamphobia network in America is comprised of five categories:

  • The money trail: a list of seven funders who have given nearly $43m to anti-Muslim organisations and thinktanks.
  • The Islamophobia scholars and policy experts: five individuals and their respective organisations that act as the central nervous system responsible for manufacturing the fictitious memes and fear-mongering talking points about Muslims and Islam. For example, Frank Gaffney’s neoconservative thinktank, the Centre for Security Policy, has used its millions to misdefine sharia, or Islamic religious law, as the pre-eminent totalitarian threat to America, which radical Muslims will allegedly use to supplant and replace the US constitution. No religious Muslim scholar, let alone a practicing layman, would recognise this definition of sharia, which, in reality, deals primarily with personal religious observances, including practices such as charitable giving, prayer and honouring one’s parents, with precepts virtually identical to those of Christianity and Judaism.
  • Grassroots organisations and the religious right: new and existing activist networks and mainstream popular religious personalities disseminate these messages to their constituents and elected officials. The organisation Act! For America relies upon Frank Gaffney’s anti-sharia memes and promotes this fictitious threat through their 573 national chapters and 170,000 members worldwide. Currently, 23 states are in process of considering anti-sharia bills.
  • The media enablers: the mainstreaming of this fringe, extremist rhetoric is aided by media allies in network TV (Fox News), radio (Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck), online magazines (World Net Daily, Front Page Magazine) and the Islamophobia blogosphere (Jihad Watch), which give Islamophobe talking-heads an influential pulpit to broadcast their misinformation.
  • The political players: finally, these talking points end up as soundbites and wedge issues for politicians and, specifically, several 2012 Republican presidential candidates, such as Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich, who all have jumped on the manufactured, fictitious “anti-sharia” bandwagon.

  • This fear-mongering rhetoric negatively affects our fellow Muslim American citizens and portrays them as perpetual hostile suspects, instead of our neighbours and allies. Currently, this has reached a crescendo resulting in certain communities attempting to curtail constitutionally protected rights and freedoms. For example, we’ve witnessed grassroots organisations protest the construction of mosques, constitutionally protected houses of worship, in Tennessee, California and Brooklyn. In February, Muslim American families with young children attending a fundraising dinner in Yorba Linda, California were jeered by protesters who called them “Terrorists!” and told them “Take your sharia and go home, you terrorist lovers.” This was not the result of a spontaneous groundswell of public bullying, but rather a well-organised and highly effective effort orchestrated by principal grassroots organisations of the Islamophobia network, such as Act! For America, Stop Islamisation of America and state Tea Party groups.

    For example, blogger Pamela Geller, the co-founder of Stop Islamisation of America and face of the manufactured “Ground Zero Mosque” controversy — which was neither a mosque nor at ground zero — clearly reveals her bias against Muslims when she equates practising Muslims with Nazis: “Devout Muslims should be prohibited from military service. Would Patton have recruited Nazis into his army?” Brigitte Gabriel, the “radical Islamophobe” founder of the effective, anti-Muslims grassroots network Act! For America, believes a practising Muslim “who prays five times a day — this practising Muslim, who believes in the teachings of the Koran, cannot be a loyal citizen to the United States of America.”

    The Anti Defamation League has reviewed both of these groups’ rhetoric and actions and concluded they are simply promoting a conspiratorial agenda against Muslims under the guise of fighting radical Islam. This report exposes these alleged “patriots” for what they really are: the primary motivators of fear and bigotry in an economically uncertain and politically volatile climate that urgently needs less hate, division and fear-mongering. Instead, we desire a proactive, united effort towards moderation by embracing American values that protect our religious freedoms, ensure a vibrant, diverse democracy and sustain America as beacon of inclusiveness.

    History has taught us that what’s happening to Muslim Americans right now is simply a remake. In the past, the characters were Jews, Irish Catholics, Japanese Americans and gays and lesbians. But America, despite sadly succumbing to hysteria in moments past, eventually — and sometimes grudgingly — tends to regain its moral compass and strive to become a nation resilient to fear and scapegoating. Just like the McCarthyites before them, the individuals in the Islamophobia network revealed in the report should immediately cleanse themselves of their fear-mongering and ignorance, which may appear to offer short-term political gain but comes at the price of becoming the villains in our children’s history books

               — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

    New Report Identifies Organizational Nexus of Islamophobia

    WASHINGTON, Aug 26, 2011 (IPS) — A small group of inter-connected foundations, think tanks, pundits, and bloggers is behind the 10-year-old campaign to promote fear of Islam and Muslims in the U.S., according to a major investigative report released here Friday by the Center for American Progress (CAP).

    The 130-page report, ‘Fear, Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America’, identifies seven foundations that have quietly provided a total of more than 42 million dollars to key individuals and organisations that have spearheaded the nation-wide effort between 2001 and 2009. They include funders that have long been associated with the extreme right in the U.S., as well as several Jewish family foundations that have supported right-wing and settler groups in Israel.

    The network also includes what the report calls “misinformation experts” — including Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy (CSP), Daniel Pipes of the Philadelphia-based Middle East Forum (MEF), Steven Emerson of the Investigative Project on Terrorism, David Yerushalmi of the Society of Americans for National Existence, and Robert Spencer of Stop Islamization of America (SIOA) — who are often tapped by television news networks and right-wing radio talk shows to comment on Islam and the threat it allegedly poses to U.S. national security. “Together, this core group of deeply intertwined individuals and organisations manufacture and exaggerate threats of ‘creeping Sharia’, Islamic domination of the West, and purported obligatory calls to violence against all non-Muslims by the Quran,” according to the report whose main author, Wajahat Ali, described the group as “the central nervous system of the Islamophobia network.This small band of radical ideologues has fought to define Sharia as a ‘totalitarian ideology’ and legal- political-military doctrine committed to destroying Western civilization,” the report said. “But a scholar of Islam and Muslim tradition would not recognise their definition of Sharia, let alone a lay practicing Muslim.”

    Nonetheless, the group’s messages receive wide dissemination by what the report calls an “Islamophobia echo chamber” consisting of leaders of the Christian Right, such as Franklin Graham and Pat Robertson, and some Republican politicians, such as presidential candidates Representative Michele Bachmann and former Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich. Other key disseminators include media figures, especially prominent hosts on the Fox News Channel and columnists in the ‘Washington Times’ the ‘National Review’; as well as grassroots groups, such as ACT! For America, local “Tea Party” movements, and the American Family Association, which are behind current efforts by Republican-dominated state legislatures to ban Sharia in their jurisdictions.

    The report also cited the Middle East Media and Research Institute (MEMRI), a press-monitoring agency created here in 1998 by former officers in the Israel Defence Force that translates selected items from Middle Eastern print and broadcast media, as a key part of the broader network, providing it with material to bolster its claims regarding the threat posed by Islam. MEMRI, which has just been awarded a State Department contract to monitor anti-Semitism in the Arab media, has often been accused of selectively spotlighting media voices that show anti-western bias and promote extremism.

    Judging by recent polls, the network has proved remarkably successful, according to the report which cited a 2010 ‘Washington Post’ poll that showed that 49 percent of U.S. citizens held an unfavourable view of Islam, an increase of ten percent from 2002. The same network also succeeded in inciting a national controversy around the proposed construction of an Islamic community centre in Lower Manhattan — the so-called ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ — which, according to Gaffney and others, was intended celebrate the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center and “to be a permanent, in-our-face beachhead for Sharia, a platform for inspiring the triumphalist ambitions of the faithful.”

    “It’s remarkable what a small number of people have achieved with a small group of committed and generous donors,” said Eli Clifton, a co-author of the report and a national-security reporter at CAP, a think tank which is close to the administration of President Barack Obama, who has himself been a prime target of the Islamophobic network.

    The report, which was funded by the financier George Soros’ Open Society Institute (OSI), comes at a particularly sensitive moment — just two weeks before the tenth anniversary of 9/11 and less than a month after the murders of 76 people in Norway by Anders Breivik whose Internet manifesto not only echoed themes propagated by the key U.S. Islamophobic ideologues, but also quoted directly from their writings in dozens of passages. Indeed, Spencer’s blog, ‘Jihad Watch’, a programme of the David Horowitz Freedom Center, another group identified by the report as part of the Islamophobic network, was cited 162 times, while Pipes and the MEF receive 16 mentions, and Gaffney’s CSP another eight.

    According to the report, ‘Jihad Watch’ has been supported via the Horowitz Center primarily by the Fairbrook Foundation, which is run by Aubry and Joyce Chernik. Between 2004 and 2009, Fairbrook provided nearly 1.5 million dollars to Islamophobic groups, including Act! For America, CSP, the Investigative Project, and MEF. The Cherniks also supported the far-right Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) and Aish Hatorah, a far-right Israeli group behind the U.S.-based Clarion Fund, which produced the video, ‘Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West’ that was, in turn, heavily promoted by the Islamophobic groups featured in the report. Breivik praised it in his manifesto.

    Some 28 million DVD copies of the ‘Obsession’ film were distributed to households in key swing states on the eve of the 2008 presidential elections in an apparent effort to sway voters against Obama. Some 17 million dollars in funding for their distribution was provided by a Chicago industrialist, Barry Seid, according to a ‘’ report published last year, and was channelled through Virginia-based Donors Capital Fund, which includes several prominent right-wing and neo-conservative figures on its board. Donors to the Fund have also contributed 400,000 dollars to the Investigative Project and 2.3 million dollars to the MEF between 2001 and 2009, according to the report.

    Other major donors to Islamophobic groups include several foundations controlled by Richard Mellon Scaife; including 2.9 million dollars to CSP and 3.4 million dollars to Horowitz’ Freedom Center. The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, which has often coordinated its political philanthropy with Scaife’s foundations, provided some 300,000 dollars to MEF, 815,000 dollars to CSP and 3.4 million dollars to the Freedom Center. In addition to more traditional charitable activities, both Scaife and Bradley have long been major supporters of far-right and neo-conservative causes.

    Other major donors included the Newton D. and Rochelle F. Becker foundations, the Russell Berrie Foundation, and the Anchorage Charitable Foundation and William Rosenwald Family Fund, according to the report. In its mission statement, the Russell Berrie Foundation cited as one of its principal goals “fostering the spirit of religious understanding and pluralism”. “The intellectual nexus of the network is well understood,” said Faiz Shakir, CAP’s vice president. “We know it’s driven primarily by hatred against Muslims; what we don’t know is what are the motivations of the funders. We don’t know to what extent they are aware of what is being funded,” he said.

    Horowitz denounced the report in a statement issued on its website, calling it a “typical fascistic attempt to silence critics and scare donors from supporting their efforts to inform the American public about the threats we face from the Islamic jihad.” Efforts to obtain comments from MEF and CSP were not successful.

               — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

    Europe and the EU

    Council of Europe Opens to Palestinian MPs

    (ANSAmed) — STRASBURG, AUGUST 26 — Palestinian members of parliament will soon be sitting in the Council of Europe semi-circle. The parliamentary assembly of the pan-European organisation which gathers together representatives from 47 member states will soon be granting the Palestinian National Council the status of “partner for democracy”.

    The issue will be on the agenda of the meeting that the Political Affairs Commission will be holding on September 6 in the Reggia di Caserta Palace. The Palestinian parliament will then become the second one — after Morocco’s — to obtain this status. In Caserta, the Political Affairs Commission will be voting on the report prepared by the Dutch senator Tiny Kox, president of the United European Left group within the assembly. In the document, Kox will be outlining the reasons why the Parliamentary Assembly should accord special status to the Palestinian National Council, as the latter requested last November, and any reforms that the Palestinian Authority will have to commit to bringing in to continue enjoying the status of partner for democracy. Once the report is approved by the commission, it will undergo final voting by the entire assembly, most likely already in the October plenary session. The Israeli parliament, the Knesset, has had observer status at the Council of Europe parliamentary assembly since 1957.

               — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

    Don’t Let the Mafia Disturb Your Perfect Italian Beach Vacation

    Authorities say one stretch of the picturesque region of Puglia is infested with local mob bosses who extort money from beach resort owners and use the coastline for drug trafficking. Locals are scared silent

    Along the Gargano peninsula, no one seems to want to say the word ‘mafia’ aloud. This popular tourist destination in the Italian southern region of Puglia is jammed right now with summer sun seekers. But, yes, the mobsters are here too.

    In the last 10 years, 141 people have been killed in this area, with 77 of the cases still unsolved. “Are you still here, journalist?” quips Maria Piscopo, sister of the most recent mafia victims. “You should leave. It’s better that you don’t write anything. I’ve warned you.”

    Her brothers, Martino and Giovanni Piscopo, were the owners of the resort Sfinalicchio, which is near the village of Peschici. The resort includes a restaurant, beach chairs and umbrellas around a small swimming pool, and direct access to the sea. It looks like many other tourist facilities in the area.

    It was also the last place the Piscopo brothers were seen alive. The morning of Nov. 18, 2010, they left the resort and went to harvest olives. They never returned. After 10 days, their burned bodies were found in an old car; the corpses full of fractured bones. Authorities say the brothers had been tortured, killed and left few hundred meters from their resort, as a warning to everyone who might consider challenging the local mob.

    I met Maria Piscopo at her restaurant. She does not like to speak about this story. She is trying to protect her nephews. “We haven’t told them the truth. They think that it was a car accident,” she said.

    She is critical of the magistrate’s investigation. “They have compared us to families that we don’t know. We’re just workers. It must be a case of mistaken identity. Here there are so many cars which look exactly the same as the one my brothers used to drive,” she said.

    So two people were murdered — maybe by mistake — and the tourists are still swimming in the blue sea as if nothing had happened. Everyone chooses to ignore the Piscopo brothers’ case, and the other 139 murders of the last decade.

    Arson and a horse’s head

    There have also been regular car chases, rounds of machine-gun fire, and 90 arson cases since 2009. The Gargano mobsters used to be known as the shepherd’s mafia. They have evolved. Currently, the mobsters work mainly in tourism, just like many of the honest workers in the area. There are extortions and usury. The mobsters need direct access to the sea for their trafficking of drugs and weapons with Albania and Montenegro, just across the Adriatic Sea…

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

    France: Paris Tours in Piaggio Apes Gain Wild Popularity

    (ANSAmed) — PARIS, AUGUST 16 — Paris is swarming with Apes (Italian for bee). These three-wheeled vehicles produced by Italian automaker Piaggio, have become one of the main tourist attractions in the French capital this summer. “There has been a huge increase, and lately, this modern-day ‘rickshaw’ is everywhere, at the base of the Eiffel Tower, on the Champs-Elysees, at Notre Dame, offering itineraries to see the main attractions of the city in an alternative way,” wrote Le Parisien today.

    Also, at least 6 companies operating the vehicles have been established to divvy up the market, while illegal operations abound. “This field developed around a legal gap,” explained one of the entrepreneurs. “Authorities did not know how to classify them and therefore they were entered as motorbike-taxis. Drivers of these ‘tuk-tuks’ (as the French call the service, a word borrowed from Thai to describe 3-wheeled taxi vehicles, editor’s note) should have a motorcycle license, but they rarely do.” The French tuk-tuks are not really a taxi service, since they offer routes geared towards tourists, allowing them to discover the sites of Paris. They can transport up to three people in the back in a sort of convertible compartment. The price per ride can vary between 20 and 60 euros per person, depending on the length and route chosen. Tourists and Parisians alike love the idea.

               — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

    France: Pregnant Woman Raped on Train

    This from Novopress, dated August 23:

    A young woman four months pregnant was raped in a train. The attack occurred Sunday morning on the Coulommiers — Gare de l’Est line of the SNCF (French National Rail). The victim, in her thirties, was alone in the car with her attacker who threatened her with a knife pointed at her abdomen.

    Thanks to the video surveillance tapes the railroad police brigade was able to arrest, 48 hours later, the alleged rapist in Seine-et-Marne. The young man, 18, of Tunisian origin, is being held. This story is a reminder to us of the murder of Anne-Lorraine Schmitt, stabbed to death by a repeat sexual offender, four years ago in a car of the Regional Rail.

    Two comments from Novopress readers:…

               — Hat tip: Steen[Return to headlines]

    Italian Police Seize 300-Mln-Euro Cocaine Shipment

    Five people arrested in La Spezia

    (ANSA) — La Spezia, August 18 — Italian police have seized a cocaine shipment believed to be worth 300 million euros.

    Police said the cocaine was hidden behind a false wall in a container ship which was travelling from Colombia via the southern Calabrian port of Gioia Tauro en route to Genoa in northern Italy.

    The shipment allegedly contained a tonne of pure cocaine and was intercepted by police and custom officials in the port of La Spezia.

    Three Italians, a Spaniard and a Colombian were arrested in relation to the shipment.

    Police said they had also seized five new cars on the ship and found 10 kilos of hashish inside one of the vehicles.

               — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

    Italy: Police Nab Transvestite Bank Robbers

    Crooks disguised as women left bank empty-handed

    (ANSA) — Messina, August 18 — Police in Sicily have arrested two men suspected of dressing as women when they tried to rob a bank.

    According to authorities, Carmelo Abbate, 20, and Filippo Parisi, 21, opted to wear pantsuits and wigs instead of bandannas or ski masks during their failed July 29 heist of the Banca di Carige in the town of Barcellona Pozzo Di Gotto, which is west of Messina.

    Surveillance cameras recorded the two young cross-dressers as they entered the bank arm in arm as if all were normal until Parisi allegedly tried to force his way over the glass between him and the teller.

    Yet his weight on the counter triggered an automatic barrier that slammed down and prevented him and Abbate from accessing the cash, police said.

    One of them turned over a desk and broke a computer to scare employees and customers.

    In frustration, one of the two allegedly knocked down and beat a disabled employee who had asked to be let go.

    The wigged culprits escaped empty-handed on a motor scooter.

    However finger-print analysis and witness testimonies led police to their whereabouts.

               — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

    Italy: International Tax Fraud Uncovered, Worth 100 Mln

    (AGI) Vicenza — The Vicenza Guardia di Finanza uncovered a colossal tax evasion. An investigation on international tax evasion and possession of funds hidden abroad against one of the major tanning groups in Valle del Chiampo uncovered over 106 million euros in undeclared profits and some 800 illegal workers. Furthermore, the GdF ascertained over 1,3 billion euros undeclared and hidden abroad in violation of the tax laws and regulations.

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

    Minister Apologises for German “Taliban” Remark

    Swiss Transport Minister Doris Leuthard has apologised to southern German officials for comparing them to the Taliban in a row over noise at Zurich airport.

    Leuthard made the comment during a discussion by her Christian Democratic Party on the challenges and opportunities of Swiss-German ties.

    The authorities of the border town Waldshut in the region of Bade-Wurtemberg said they were “taken aback and disappointed” by the remark.

    Leuthard told Swiss television she had sent a letter to the Waldshut authorities saying she regretted using the term. A spokesman for Waldshut said the apology had been accepted.

    Leuthard however urged Germany to show a “constructive attitude” to resolve the dispute over late night flights at the airport.

    She explained that in the four-year long row every proposal by Switzerland had been systematically rejected. Officials on both sides have said they want to resolve the issue by the end of the year.

    Germany banned night and weekend flights en route to Zurich airport over parts of its southern territory in 2003. The development forced Zurich airport to redirect flights to its southern runway, passing over parts of the city and other densely populated areas of Switzerland. The Swiss have lost successive appeals over the German decree.

    Zurich airport, the country’s biggest, is only about 20 kilometres from the German border. It is the home of Swiss International Air Lines.

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

    Spain: Government Approves New Training Contract

    (ANSAmed) — MADRID, AUGUST 26 — “It will not be another useless contract,” Labour Minister Valeriano Gomez said today in outlining the new training contract and the changes in employment policies in the decree law approved today by the Spanish cabinet. The measure is a significant change of direction compared with the line followed up until now by the socialist government. The new training and internship contract is aimed at young people between the ages of 16 and 25 and is applicable in a transitory manner until the age of 30. It will last between 1 and 2 years, compared with the current 6 months, and will allow small and medium-sized enterprises who take on the unemployed to deduct 100% of social security contributions, while large enterprises with over 250 workers will be able to deduct 75%. At least 25% of the day must be set aside for training purposes. In the new decree, the government has also suspend the regulation obliging the employment on an open-ended contract for young people who have worked on fixed-term contracts with the same enterprise for 24 months: a ‘sine die’ suspension for the right to a permanent position. “I prefer a contract for an unemployed person, and if this must be a fixed-term one then I prefer a fixed-term one over no contract at all,” said Gomez in the press conference following the cabinet meeting. The minister made reference to the “extremely harsh” levels of unemployment, with 1,600,000 jobless young people out of a total of 5 million: meaning that one out of every four unemployed individuals is young, with the youth unemployment rate now at 46%. The minister also noted that 700,000 jobless young people do not have a high school diploma, and that 200,000 do but not any professional qualification. The cabinet meeting also approved an extension for the Plan Prepara, which fell due and August 14 and which allows the unemployed without any income to receive 400 euros in exchange for attending a training and labour market insertion course.

               — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

    Spain: IU Proposes Far-Left Coalition for Elections

    (ANSAmed) — MADRID, AUGUST 26 — Spain’s Izquierda Unida party is to propose to the parties of the left-wing Galicia and Basque nationalist movements, BNG and ERC, that they together form a “broad front” of far-left parties, which would also enfold the far-left Izquierda Anticapitalista and Equo parties, enabling to stand under a single list at the coming November 20 elections.

    The announcement has come today from the IU MP and parliamentary spokesman, Gaspar Llamazares, speaking in a radio interview. According to the IU MP, the coalition would be able to carry on beyond the elections and would aim to create its own parliamentary group in the Lower House to provide a “strong opposition to the policies of the right”.

               — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

    Swiss Minister Sorry for Taliban Allusion

    Swiss government minister Doris Leuthard has apologized for likening Germans campaigning against noise pollution from Zürich airport to Taliban terrorists. Leuthard enraged German politicians and campaigners when she argued that protesters petitioning for a reduction in air traffic volumes were like “the Taliban who are trying to sabotage Zürich airport”. The transport minister told public broadcaster Schweizer Fernsehen that the words had popped out “in the heat of the debate” after she was drawn into a verbal spat on Monday with Volker Kauder, head of the German CDU’s (Christian Democratic Union) parliamentary group. Leuthard issued her apology after local authorities in Waldshut, where Kauder grew up on the Swiss-German border, informed the minister in a statement that “she should change her tune and pull in her horns”.

               — Hat tip: Rembrandt[Return to headlines]

    UK: All Nurofen Plus is Cleared Off Shelves After Potentially Dangerous Anti-Psychotic Drugs Found in Boxes

    The makers of Nurofen Plus last night recalled hundreds of thousands of packets of the painkiller after it was confirmed potentially dangerous anti-psychotic drugs had been deliberately placed in boxes.

    The prescription-only drug Seroquel XL, which is used to treat several disorders including schizophrenia, mania and bipolar depression, has now been found in four packets of Nurofen Plus. Another packet contained the anti-epileptic drug, Neurontin.

    Last night a spokesman for manufacturer Reckitt Benckiser said: ‘Sabotage is suspected and we are working with the police on a formal investigation to find the person or persons responsible.

    Yesterday the Daily Mail reported that animal activists could be behind the sabotage operation with the intention of damaging Reckitt Benckiser. It is thought the company may have been targeted because it tests products on animals — though not Nurofen Plus.

    Reckitt Benckiser called in the Metropolitan Police yesterday following two new reports of tampered packs from further batches of the painkiller. The company said a pharmacist in South London discovered a pack containing Seroquel tablets while undertaking stock checks.

    The second report came from a consumer in Northern Ireland who found a rogue pack containing Neurontin in her medicine cupboard. This is the first report of sabotage outside of the London area.

    Dr Aomesh Bhatt, medical director for Nurofen Plus, added: ‘We are taking this matter extremely seriously and have decided to recall all packs of Nurofen Plus as the most prudent course of action in the current circumstances. We’re asking consumers to return any packs of Nurofen Plus to a pharmacy. No other Nurofen products are affected or being recalled.’

    Last night the Met Police confirmed the allegations of sabotage would be investigated. A spokesman said: ‘Recent incidents involving Nurofen tablets were referred to the Met Police on Friday.

    ‘The specialist crime directorate is now conducting an investigation.’

    Drug experts yesterday warned about the potentially harmful effects of taking the anti-psychotic drug found in some packs.

    People who accidentally take the drug may experience sleepiness and are advised not to drive or operate any tools or machinery until they know how the tablets have affected them.

    Professor David Nutt, head of the department of neuropsychopharmacology and molecular imaging at Imperial College, said ‘The effect of taking Seroquel entirely depends on the dose.’

    ‘The only likely impact of a single ingestion would be sedation, but in people taking antihistamines and other sedatives the added effects could be quite extreme.’

    Pharmacists sent a safety alert by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) have been checking packs from affected batches of Nurofen Plus, a painkiller containing codeine sold only in pharmacies.

    The large capsules of Seroquel XL 50mg tablets have gold and black packaging while the Nurofen Plus tablets are smaller and have silver and black packaging.

               — Hat tip: An EDL buck[Return to headlines]

    UK: Broken Law

    JUSTICE is in the dock — charged with failing the people of Britain.

    Our pictures of vile Baby P killer Jason Owen enjoying life as a free man after just two years in jail have sickened and angered the nation. Owen has now been taken to a secret location to be protected at taxpayer expense — when most would rather pay to keep him banged up. He’ll always be hated for his crime, but public fury today is directed at a system that considers such a derisory sentence fitting punishment. One of victim Peter Connelly’s relatives summed it up when they said: “We’re disgusted by his release but there’s nothing we can do.”

    Our justice system couldn’t care less what victims, their families and the law-abiding majority think. Out-of-touch judges hand down barmy rulings and judgments from their cloistered chambers like gods on Mount Olympus. It’s an arrogant attitude shared by too many politicians. In Ken Clarke we have a Justice Secretary bent on sending fewer criminals to jail, and for less time, so he can close more prisons. And when bumbling Clarke runs out of ways to go soft on crime, villains can always fall back on the trusty Human Rights Act.

    An Act that has seen paedophiles win the right to be alone with their children, prisoners freed because jail interferes with “family life”, lags given the vote — the list goes on.

    An Act described yesterday as “hugely positive” by deluded Deputy PM Nick Clegg as he attacked his boss’s plans to rein it in. It’s a mess. But The Sun has a few suggestions for when David Cameron is back from his hols next week:

    IGNORE Clegg and all the other human rights hand-wringers.

    SACK pointless Ken Clarke.

    SHAKE UP our legal system so it performs the two tasks all ordinary, decent people ask of it: protect the innocent and punish the criminals.

    If the Government and the courts can’t work out the difference between right and wrong, the public will lose what little faith they have left in British justice.

               — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

    UK: EDL March in London Banned by Home Secretary

    Theresa May consents to request from Met to ban all marches in Tower Hamlets and four neighbouring boroughs for 30 days

    The English Defence League’s plan to march through the capital next month has been blocked by the home secretary. Theresa May banned all marches in Tower Hamlets, east London, and four neighbouring boroughs in the capital for a 30-day period, following a request from the commander for the event, which was passed on to May by Scotland Yard’s acting commissioner, Tim Godwin. The move comes amid fears of violence and disorder if the march was allowed to go ahead. May said: “Having carefully considered the legal tests in the Public Order Act and balanced rights to protest against the need to ensure local communities and property are protected, I have given my consent to a ban on all marches in Tower Hamlets and four neighbouring boroughs for a 30-day period. “I know that the Metropolitan police are committed to using their powers to ensure communities and properties are protected. We encourage all local people and community leaders to work with the police to ensure community relations are not undermined by public disorder.”

    Nick Lowles, director of the anti-extremist campaign group Searchlight, said: “This decision is a victory for common sense. The EDL clearly intended to use the proposed march to bring violence and disorder to the streets of Tower Hamlets. Their plan has been foiled.” He added: “We congratulate Theresa May and the Metropolitan police on their decision, as well as those ordinary Londoners who have joined with Searchlight and local community groups in opposing this divisive demonstration. Legitimate protest is healthy. Violence and intimidation are not.”

               — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

    UK: English Defence League March in London is Blocked

    Plans by the English Defence League (EDL) to march through five London boroughs have been blocked by the home secretary, Theresa May. The EDL wanted to demonstrate in Tower Hamlets, Newham, Waltham Forest, Islington and Hackney on 3 September.The Metropolitan (Met) Police feared there could be violence and disorder if the marches went ahead.

    Mrs May said such rallies would be banned for 30 days to reflect the need to protect “communities and property”. But Stephen Lennon, the EDL’s founder, said his organisation would “still show up” in Tower Hamlets next week. “We’ll have a static demonstration and we’ll have our voices heard,” he told BBC London. A statement on the EDL’s website said the decision was “restricting our democratic right to peaceful protest”. “Nowadays, the anti-extremism aims of our organisation are clear, and there is no reason to think that an EDL demonstration would contain any dangerous elements,” it added.

    ‘Specific intelligence’

    Mrs May said in a statement: “Having carefully considered the legal tests in the Public Order Act and balanced rights to protest against the need to ensure local communities and property are protected, I have given my consent to a ban on all marches in Tower Hamlets and four neighbouring boroughs for a 30-day period.” She added: “I know that the Metropolitan Police are committed to using their powers to ensure communities and properties are protected,” she added. “We encourage all local people and community leaders to work with the police to ensure community relations are not undermined by public disorder.” The Met said it had received “specific intelligence” which led it to believe that “serious public disorder, violence and damage could be caused by the presence of marches in these areas”. Banning the rallies was “this is the best option to prevent this”, it added

               — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

    UK: EDL Ban Cuts Both Ways

    The application from the Metropolitan Police to the Home Secretary to ban an English Defence League march through Tower Hamlets on September 3 is a double-edged sword.

    Clearly, the EDL intention is not to raise questions of theological dispute with Islam. It is to swagger through areas hosting large communities of Bangladeshi and other Asian descent, stirring up hatred. There is no reason why the good people of Tower Hamlets and neighbouring boroughs should have to put up with the EDL and its ignorant, bigoted followers. Anti-fascist campaigners Hope Not Hate, civic leaders and local community organisations are to be congratulated on securing police support for a ban, backed by a 25,000-strong petition.

    Doubtless the EDL will now try to organise a “static” demonstration which would still pose a threat to public safety. If so, the duty of trade unionists, socialists, anti-racists and anti-fascists will be to stand in solidarity with the local people of Tower Hamlets and east London on September 3. The duty of the police will be to deny EDL supporters any opportunity to disturb the peace with their provocative, racist behaviour.

    But the Met application also seeks to ban all marches in five London boroughs over a 30-day period. This could include anti-fascist, trade union and other progressive marches. Whether the blanket will be thrown over the proposed Cable Street 75th anniversary events is not yet clear. Police permission has already been granted for a march on October 2 from Aldgate East to Cable Street, supported by more than 40 organisations including national trade unions, trades councils, Searchlight, the Communist Party, the Jewish Socialist Group and a host of Bangladeshi and other local community bodies. In October 1936, the police refused local pleas to stop Oswald Mosley’s Blackshirts from marching through the area. Hundreds of thousands of people took their lead from local communist, socialist and Jewish bodies to block the way. Their slogan, borrowed from the defence of Madrid in Spain’s anti-fascist war, was “No Pasaran!” — the fascists shall not pass. The EDL cannot be allowed to pass on September 3. But nothing should stop thousands of people turning out on October 2 to celebrate a famous victory over the British Union of Fascists in 1936 and, it has to be remembered, over the Metropolitan Police too.

               — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

    UK: Hated Rules That Benefit Terrorists and Rapists

    THE despised European Convention on Human Rights has helped killers, rapists and terror suspects fight their causes and escape justice.

    Notorious hate preacher Abu Hamza was one of the most high-profile people to benefit from the ECHR, which was set up in 1949.

    He was allowed to escape extradition to the US on terror charges last year after he claimed it would breach his human rights.

    Fowzi Nejad, 52, the only terrorist to survive the 1980 Iranian Embassy siege, is unlikely ever to be booted out of Britain when freed from his life sentence for the same reason.

    Terror suspect Abu Qatada and eight others were awarded £75,000 for a “breach” of their human rights in 2009. Judges in Strasbourg decided the British Government should never have held them without trial following the attacks on 9/11, saying it violated their right to liberty and security. Suspected killers can apply for bail under human rights laws, a loophole which Helen Newlove, from Warrington, Cheshire, has campaigned against since her husband Garry, 47, was killed by 19-year-old Adam Swellings, on bail for other offences, in 2007.

    The ECHR, enforced by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg under the auspices of the Council of Europe, has also enabled rapists and paedophiles to appeal against having their details on the sex offenders register permanently. Rapist Spencer Mellors, 46, was awarded £4,000 under the ECHR because one of his two appeals against conviction took too long.

    The lawyers of celebrity love rats — including a string of Premier League footballers and a married TV star — have used human rights laws to keep their clients’ private lives out of the newspapers.

    And Britain’s compensation culture has thrived under the ECHR. Prisoner Robert Napier received £2,400 because he was made to slop out his jail cell. His case led to hundreds of similar claims.

               — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

    UK: Thief Stabs Samaritan

    A GOOD samaritan farmer who went to help a stranded motorist in the middle of the night was stabbed in the neck with a 6in knife.

    Dorian Davies, 54, was woken at 2am by Johvan Chevi, 21, who said his car had broken down with his pregnant wife inside.

    But it was a trick by bodybuilder Chevi to rob the wealthy bachelor. As they walked towards the car Mr Davies began to feel scared.

    Then suddenly Chevi plunged the knife into his neck. The victim struggled back to his farm but seconds later the front door was kicked in by 17st Chevi who ripped out the phoneline before fleeing with the farmer’s cash, heard Swansea Crown Court.

    Chevi, of Lampeter, West Wales, was jailed for nine years and four months after admitting wounding, robbery and possessing a weapon.

               — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

    UK: Unite Against Fascism Statement on Home Secretary’s March Ban

    In response to the Theresa May’s decision to ban all marches in five London boroughs for 30 days from the 2 September, Unite against Fascism (UAF) and United East End (UEE) have issued the joint statement below calling for the right to march against the racists. The statement is on the UAF website and we urge all everyone to sign and circulate to local activists and trade unionists for the maximum number of signatories. We also call on all activists in London to come out for the last day of action to build for the 3 September this Sunday at Brick Lane. 12 noon, Sunday 28 August at the corner of Brick Lane and Bethnal Green Road. Nearest tubes: Liverpool Street, Bethnal Green, Shoreditch High St (London Overground).

    UAF and UEE Joint Statement

    We the undersigned welcome the banning of the racist English Defence League’s (EDL) march through Tower Hamlets. However we believe the headlines claiming the EDL have been “banned” from Tower Hamlets are misleading. The EDL will still be holding a static protest in the borough. We are also appalled to discover that the Metropolitan Police are applying for a blanket ban on ALL marches across five London boroughs: Tower Hamlets, Newham, Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest; and the City of London for 30 days. This is a huge attack on everyone’s civil liberties and prevents people’s right to oppose racism. We have the democratic right to peacefully march through Tower Hamlets on 3 September to show unity of Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Sikh, Hindu, Black, Asian, LGBT communities, trade unions and all those against fascism and for freedom, and to voice opposition to the EDL’s attempts to divide us. Our legal advice says there is no law that says if one march has been banned all marches in that area must be banned. It is our human right to peacefully march in Tower Hamlets. We therefore support the joint UAF/UEE protest on 3 September.

               — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

    UK: Wicked Women Who Cried Rape Trapped by Three-in-Bed Photos

    Two friends who falsely claimed they were raped were jailed yesterday because the suspect had photos of them all having a threesome.

    Jennifer France, 24, and Kelly Weston, a 27-year-old mother, posed for saucy snaps on Enes Gozalan’s bed after meeting him in a pub.

    A court heard they later made the false allegations because both had long-term boyfriends and were ashamed of what they had done.

    Their 30-year-old victim was arrested and kept in custody for 18 hours because the pair claimed they had been raped multiple times.

    As soon as Mr Gozalan was arrested, he produced his mobile phone and told officers he had photos to prove his innocence.

    He later told detectives: ‘The photographs show the girls were having a good time. I do not understand why they would make up something so nasty.’

    Carolyn Branford-Wood, prosecuting, told Southampton Crown Court that Weston attended a police station two days after the alleged attack.

    ‘Miss Weston had been out with her brother’s girlfriend, Miss France, for a family meal,’ she said. ‘During the course of the evening they met two Turkish men. The four of them had been in a pub together and left together.

    ‘I have faced threats of attack following the allegations and have had sleepless nights. I hope I never see them again because they have ruined my life.’

    ‘Miss Weston went on to claim that she had been raped by one of these men at his home.

    ‘The following day Miss France also informed the police that she too had been raped by the same man.’

    But she said Mr Gozalan’s phone showed ‘not only him engaged in sexual activity, but the two women too’.

    He was released on bail following his arrest on October 18 last year and later informed no further action would be taken.

    Weston and France were arrested in January on suspicion of perverting the course of justice.

    In two interviews, Weston maintained she had been raped but, in a third, she broke down when she was shown the photographs.

    Miss Branford-Wood added: ‘She said she had gone to Mr Gozalan’s house and had consensual sexual activity with both him and Miss France. In police interview Miss France said she had made up the account to cover up the fact she had had sex with someone who was not her boyfriend.’

    In a statement read to the court Mr Gozalan said the incident had ruined his life.

    He added: ‘I was shocked when I was arrested for rape. My first thought was that I was pleased I kept the photographs, which showed the girls were having a good time.

    ‘I have faced threats of attack following the allegations and have had sleepless nights.’

    France, of Southampton, and Weston, of nearby Eastleigh, each admitted a count of perverting justice. They were jailed for 20 months.

    The court heard Weston accepted she had done wrong and feared going to jail because she wanted to look after her two children.

    Natalie Wood, defending France, said she had felt guilty about having sex with Mr Gozalan because she too had a boyfriend.

    Passing sentence, Judge Peter Ralls QC told the pair: ‘The allegations you have made are of the most serious kind and were entirely false.

    ‘Although there had been sexual activity between you and Mr Gozalan and between you together, there was no force and it was consensual.

    ‘By supporting one another with these wicked allegations, you have aggravated matters. This man was at serious risk of being imprisoned for a long period of time, perhaps ten years, perhaps indeterminately.’

               — Hat tip: Nilk[Return to headlines]

    UK: Witnessing the Live Birth of Gangland

    It’s difficult to write the words “live births to non-UK women” without sounding like a member of the English Defence League, and God knows what would happen if anyone used the phrase on Newsnight. So let me quickly point out that it comes from the Office for National Statistics, and features in the Government press release that landed on my desk on Thursday morning. “Disconcerting” is the word I’d use to describe the information it contained. Others come to mind, but this is a supremely touchy subject, so forgive me if I play safe.

    In 2010, a quarter of births were to mothers born outside the UK, according to the ONS. The same set of statistics also showed that immigration added 239,000 to our population — a number which proves that this Government has no more control over our borders than the last one. The public instinctively senses this, but immigration figures are sufficiently complex that the BBC has no difficulty in finding liberal lobby groups to obscure their meaning. Not so those “live births”.

    If a quarter of all babies born in England and Wales are to foreign mothers, then we’re experiencing the biggest change in our demographic identity since the Anglo-Saxon invasions of the fifth century. Future historians will regard this as the major development in early 21st-century British history, more important even than the loss of our sovereignty to the EU, which I’m beginning to think may be reversed one day, thanks to the slapstick collapse of the euro. Demographic change, in contrast, can’t be undone by happy accidents.

    Nothing like this has happened before. Please pay no attention next time a Left-wing historian pops up on TV to romanticise the arrival of the Normans, Huguenots, Eastern European Jews etc. These were significant influxes, but Great Britain has never been “a nation of immigrants”. Even cosmopolitan London has witnessed nothing remotely comparable to the population shift recorded by the ONS statistics. More than half of all babies born in the capital in 2010 were to foreign mothers; in the borough of Newham more than three quarters of all new mothers were born abroad.

    Another statistic that jumps out of the ONS findings relates to Poles. In 2001, there were 896 babies born to Polish mothers in England and Wales; in 2010, there were 19,762. Meanwhile, births to Middle Eastern, African and Asian mothers amounted to 14.7 per cent — that’s twice the proportion of non-British European mothers. Add that 14.7 per cent to children born to non-white British mothers and within a few years, a quarter of young Britons will be black, Asian or of mixed race. In the capital, the total will be well over 50 per cent.

    The colour of people’s skins isn’t the problem, of course. The danger lies in a clash of ethnic and religious cultures against a background of broken families. London is already well on the way to turning into a US city, with sprawling black ghettos and a semi-invisible network of foreign white gangs: organised crime from Eastern Europe, one of the most powerful forces in the world today, has only just begun to flex its muscles in Britain. Alas, as the riots proved, we don’t have a clue how to police this emerging landscape — and, let’s face it, with Theresa May as Home Secretary, Ken Clarke as “Justice Secretary” and the ultra-wimpish Liberal Democrats as Coalition partners, we’re not about to find out. So watch this space, but from a safe distance.

               — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

    UK: Why the Left is Winning the Fight Over the Wrongs of the Human Rights Act

    Conservatives never seem to understand the importance of language as much as their Labour opponents do.

    Are you in favour of human rights? Of course you are. Who could be against them? In as much as I thought at all about Labour’s Human Rights Act, which incorporated our treaty commitment to the European Convention on Human Rights into British law, I imagined that it was a money-making scheme for barristers, who would test the patience of the rest of us with an irritating but mostly harmless sequence of cases involving school uniforms and religious jewellery. Then came the demand that prisoners should be allowed to vote, and my patience snapped.

    It’s easy to mock the Leftist fetish for the adjectival phrase “human rights”, as though a worldly noun is imbued with goodness simply because it has a certain prefix. Colonel Gaddafi’s Libya once chaired the UN Human Rights Council: the council wasn’t particularly good as a result. To mock is not sufficient, however. The phrase itself has political power. Someone who understands this is Denis MacShane, the Labour MP for Rotherham, who published the following on the internet on Tuesday: “Just popped into [the] Nuremberg rally memorial site, to recall what happens when [the] Right gets carried away. Wonder if Germans trash human rights?” We should listen to Mr MacShane, not least because the IT systems he uses to transmit his thoughts cost us all so dearly (he famously claimed for eight laptops in three years; the police are currently investigating his expenses). I don’t judge Mr MacShane’s probity (we’ll leave that to the police, shall we?). But let’s not forgive his frankly disgusting equation of Nazi Germany with the Government’s response to the riots in Britain a fortnight ago — and rather than react to them in his own terms, let’s consider why he would want to make such an unpleasant remark, and, more importantly, why he knows he can get away with it.

    Labour MPs like Mr MacShane can set themselves up as ethical judges of anyone who questions the Human Rights Act, and its cultural consequences, because language lets them. Conservatives never seem to understand the importance of language as much as their opponents do; because of this they consistently lose every cultural battle of consequence.

    The words used to describe a law ultimately control the parameters of the debate which polite society will permit about it, even if the words so used have almost no connection with the object they attempt to describe. The Human Rights Act should really be entitled The “Incorporation into UK law of the right for citizens to sue the government in a British court, in the kinds of cases that used to be heard in a faintly quaint institution which doesn’t resemble a British court in constitution or practice, and which we could safely ignore” Act. To support the repeal of that would be applauded. To speak out against the same thing, once it is named “the Human Rights Act”, is not: Denis MacShane is not a fool. He knows exactly the mood he wants to create, and how to use language to create it.

    Which government ministers are the most successful? Surely Iain Duncan Smith at welfare, and Michael Gove at education. Not only are their policies effective and in tune with majority opinion, but they have also found a language which is hard to attack from the Left. IDS talks of the immorality of abandoning a person on benefits, turning a debate about workfare into a Good Samaritan duty. Gove speaks angrily about the scandal of under-performing schools, and the young lives they blight, which leaves his teaching union opponents looking selfish. Other Conservatives should learn from them: mimicking the Left’s language (about “diversity” and so on) is not a game a Tory can ever win. But if you choose the language of the fight yourself, you’re more than half way there.

    Now answer the question we opened with. The only acceptable public answer is “Of course I am in favour of human rights”. But honestly? “Usually, I am. Sometimes, I am not. Not when such ‘rights’ are used to demand votes for prisoners, or to prevent foreign killers from being expelled from the country. Furthermore, I refuse to accept the Left’s insistence that the laws which govern all of human interaction can be codified into a text which will never contradict itself, and which should be immune to criticism, just because they gave it a nice-sounding name.” It’s not (only) knowledge that is power, in the old phrase; it’s language, too. There may one day be a government, free of the baleful influence of the Liberal Democrats, which deletes the Human Rights Act from the statute book and reappraises our relationship with bodies such as the Council of Europe. But what if it turns out that the Act was a symptom, and not a cause? A culture or a party which uses language to end political debate is far more chilling than any single legislative act. Denis MacShane understands this. That’s why he will call you a Nazi if you dare to disagree with him: because he knows that he can.

               — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


    Defiant Tadic Vows to Keep North Kosovo Institutions

    Defiant Serbian President Boris Tadic reiterated Saturday that German-set conditions for EU candidacy over Kosovo were unacceptable, but vowed to work towards EU membership nevertheless. “If an unacceptable condition for a EU candidate status is set we must clearly tell our European friends and partners that such a demand is impossible,” Tadic said in an interview to state-controlled Politika daily. He referred to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s request earlier this week that Serbia, if wants to obtain the status of a EU candidate this year, has to abolish parallel institutions in Serb-dominated northern Kosovo, such as municipal administrations, judiciary, schools and hospitals. “Our people in the north of Kosovo will not survive if they do not have their institutions, because without them they would not have security, schools or hospitals,” Tadic said.

    [Return to headlines]

    North Africa

    Diana West: The Triumph of the “Bulgarian Nurses Affair” Cabal

    While making a correction in my column regarding Libyan “rebel” front man Mustafa Abdul Jalil, the former Qaddafi justice minister who now heads Libya’s government-in-waiting, the National Transitional Council (NTC), I realized that US and NATO support for this man and the NTC and the “rebels” is actually worse than I previously thought, which was already pretty bad.

    I don’t refer only to the role Abdul Jalil played in the Bulgarian nurses show trial, which I mistakenly underestimated: I originally wrote that Abdul Jalil sentenced the five nurses and Palestinian medic to death when, in fact, as president of the Tripoli appeals court, he twice upheld their death sentences. Indeed, for these blatant perversions of justice (charges that the nurses had infected hundreds of Libyan children with HIV virus were unsubstantiated), Abdul Jalil was well rewarded. According to a March interview in L’Express with a Bulgarian journalist who has followed the case since it began in 1999, “loyal and loyal” Abdul Jalil “was named [justice] minister in 2007 as compensation for his intransigence during that trial.” (Thanks to Nidra Poller for the translation.)

    2007 was also the year the Bulgarian nurses were freed due to EU intervention (money?), particularly from France, after serving eight years in Libyan prison. Bulgaria is still seeking a credible probe into allegations that the nurses were tortured by the Qaddafi regime into making confessions (later recanted).

    Lotsa luck on that. The new and supposedly improved post-Qaddafi government-in-waiting is a veritable “Bulgarian nurses affair” cabal.

    There’s Mustafa Abdul Jalil, as noted above. His lead role in upholding the show trial death sentences has completely vanished from the record. Now, he’s the “reformer” whom Uncle Sam has had his approving if blind eye on for years. From McLatchey just this week:…

               — Hat tip: Diana West[Return to headlines]

    Libya: Gaddafi Tells TV, Libya is Not France’s or Italy’s

    (ANSAmed) — ROME, AUGUST 25 — “Let Libya belong to the Libyans, not to France: not to Italy: not to the colonialists”.

    Colonel Muammar Gaddafi has been speaking in a new audio recording transmitted by Al Orouba TV.

    “Do not let the rats hand Tripoli to the colonialists,” Mr Gaddafi repeated, calling on “men, women and tribes to defend Tripoli from the foreigners”.

    “There will be no safe hiding place for the rebels,” he continued, “Kill the rebels in the streets and don’t fear the bombing raids”. Colonel Gaddafi concluded by calling on the Libyan “men and women” to “cleanse” Tripoli of rebels.

               — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

    Libya: Mystery Over Colonel’s Daughter, Hana Alive?

    (ANSAmed) — LONDON, AUGUST 26 — Hana Gaddafi, the ‘tiny martyr’ who fell in the US bombing raids on Libya in 1986, is, apparently, still alive. A correspondent for the Irish Times in Tripoli has discovered documents which allegedly show that the Colonels’ adopted daughter is still living.

    Photos, certificates and examination results from the Medical Faculty in the Libyan capital have been uncovered by Irish journalist Mary Fitzgerald in one of the apartments occupied by relatives of the dictator in Bab al Aziziya. Apparently, the young lady had been working in one of Tripoli’s hospitals until recently, the Irish Times writes. A photo shows Hana standing beside Aisha, the Colonel’s natural daughter. The young lady appears to have studied English at the British Council in Tripoli, and achieved a pass with distinction in 2007.

    The mystery surrounding Hana thickens that surrounding her adoptive father, whom rebel and NATO forces have been attempting to track down for days now. The suspicion that the ‘tiny martyr’ might in fact be alive had already been raised some weeks ago when the Daily Telegraph saw documents at the Libyan embassy in London relating to a visit by a British dentist to Tripoli to treat a certain Hana Gaddafi.

    According to the official version, Hana was killed by bombs fired by US fighter jets under orders from Ronald Reagan, dying along with around sixty Libyan civilians and service personnel and the two F-111 pilots who were kit by ground-to-air fire.

    Gaddafi — the story goes — escaped by the skin of his teeth, while his 16-month-old adopted daughter was left behind beneath the rubble of Bab al Aziziya. The Colonel’s wife appeared in front of television cameras, threatening revenge, with a boy by her side and a baby girl, probably Aisha, in her arms.

    Since then, Hana has been mourned as a martyr, a powerful propaganda instrument in the hands of the regime, to be wielded against the West. Some of the rooms in the compound were preserved as a shrine and in 2006, on the 20 th anniversary of the air-strike, Colonel Gaddafi named the festival of Freedom and Pace after Hana in commemoration of the event.

    During the following years, however, opposers of the Gaddafi regime began to raise doubts about what — if the documentation found by the Irish Times proves to be authentic — could turn out to be a giant sham. According to the Chinese press agency, among the invitees to a supper offered by Gaddafi in honour of Nelson Mandela in 1999 was again, Hana Gaddafi. And in February this year, a German newspaper, nosing among the dossiers of the Colonel’s secret frozen Swiss accounts, came across the names of 23 relatives, including a certain Hana, born November 11 1985: who would have been six months old at the time of the Reagan raid.

    Before the bombing raid, nobody had ever heard that the Colonel had another daughter apart from Aisha (born in 1977).

    The USA Today correspondent, Barbara Slavin, who was shown the body of ‘Hana’ after the raid, suggested at the time that the Colonel may have adopted her ‘post mortem’, to be able to use her for propaganda purposes.

               — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

    Israel and the Palestinians

    Manfred Gerstenfeld: Confronting Unforseen Events—europe and Israel

    After the massive looting riots spread across England, British Prime Minister David Cameron declared: “There are pockets of our society that are not just broken, but frankly sick.” He added that the problem was even larger saying: “There are things badly wrong with our society.”

    Can one relate Cameron’s statement on societies gone wrong with sick pockets to all Western democracies? Out of nowhere sudden upheavals emerge, seemingly with increased frequency. Could a large societal event cause lengthy chaos in a post-modern democracy?

    Before focusing on aspects of pathology in Western societies, one should analyze a bigger issue: Are these unforeseen upheavals stand-alone, or linked to key characteristics common to many democracies? And as far as Israel is concerned — what do we learn from what happens to others?

    The increasing complexity of Western society is one of its major characteristics. This will expand further, partly due to advances in technology. Complexity brings with it more confusion, fragmentation and often polarization. Western societies will become even less transparent and thus more difficult to govern. A growing percentage of the population will have difficulty in coping with the increased intricacies of social order and its rapid changes. Fewer people will therefore have to carry a larger number of marginalized ones financially. In such a general environment, a smaller entity can, in principle, identify looming problems easier.

    The European Union is a prime example of a large complex system without proper checks and balances. It is in urgent need of drastic revision rather than further uncontrolled integration. Similarly, the E.U. should not be made into an even more opaque “transfer union” whereby wealthy states continuously finance poorer ones. A better approach would be to determine which countries should leave the Eurozone in order to make it more homogeneous.

    Had one understood the disadvantages of increasing complexity a few decades ago, Europe would not have allowed mass immigration of non-Westerners, especially considering that xenophobia is ubiquitous in Europe. To make matters worse, significant percentages of these immigrants are adherents to ideologies alien to the rule of democracy. Angela Merkel, Nicolas Sarkozy, David Cameron and several others have declared — far too late however — that multiculturalism is a failure.

    Another key characteristic of complex societies is increased vulnerability. Oftentimes a single person or a small group has the ability to cause major damage. In 1995, American terrorist Timothy McVeigh killed 168 people and wounded more than 680 in Oklahoma City. Anders Breivik recently followed his example. A small group of Arab terrorists caused the mass murders of 9/11. Even Richard Reed, the failed “Shoe Bomber” made a major impact on society. Due to increased security measures at international airports after 2001, millions of travelers have had to remove their shoes since. The Wikileaks affair is another major example of exposing the vulnerability of complex systems. So are the hackers who create havoc in the computer systems of large organizations.

    A third key characteristic of Western societies is the decline of authority. The 1968 Paris student riots and others elsewhere accelerated the breakdown of authority which is another result of increasing complexity in a democracy. This involves governments, political systems, the police, churches, schools, academia and last but not least, parents.

    One can also apply this analysis to Israel…

               — Hat tip: KGS[Return to headlines]

    Middle East

    Turkey: Olive Oil Producers Seek Markets in Far East

    (ANSAmed) — ANKARA, AUGUST 18 — A decade after planting tens of millions of trees, Turkey expects next year to become the world’s second largest producer of olive oil, surpassing Italy, Greece, Tunisia and Syria, and cater to the growing market in the Far East. “We have increased the number of trees in past 10 years from 90 million to about double that and so we are expecting an increase in production and in the very near future to be the number one producer of table olives and number two producer of olive oil in the world,” Metin Olken, Chairman of the Turkish Olive and Olive Oil Publicity Committee, told The Media Line website. According to Olken, Turkey produced 160,000 tons of olive oil in 2010 and expects a crop of 200,000 tons this year.

    Within two years it expects to surpass the half-million mark and by 2015, 700,000 tons. While becoming the prince of olive production, Turkey still falls well behind the king — Spain — which makes 1.2 million tons, or over half of the world’s olive oil. “We will take over from Greece, Italy, Tunisia and Syria,” Olken said. According to the International Olive Oil Council (IOOC), Italy produced 480,000 tons, Greece 336,000, Syria 193,000 and Tunisia 120,000 last year. About 95% of the world’s olive trees are in the Mediterranean region. Olive oil is so well liked here that according to the UNCTAD, Mediterranean basin countries also account for 77% of the world’s consumption. Italy and Spain have long ago branded themselves as supreme olive oil producers and have virtually cornered the market in North America and Europe. Olken told The Media Line that Italy and Spain supplement their brand by repackaging oil from Turkey, Greece and Tunisia. Olive oil consumption has dramatically risen over the past decade largely due to the popularity of the “Mediterranean diet.” World olive oil consumption will reach 2.98 million tons, with a 3.65 % increase from 2009. New markets have also opened up as the world became aware of the health benefits of the one of nature’s oldest commodities.

               — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

    UAE: Scorching Summer, Not Enough Protection for Workers

    (ANSAmed) — DUBAI, AUGUST 25 — Heat-linked stress had been announced in the spring and measures to fight it were supposed to have been made operative by now. However, now in mid-August and at the peak of a UAE summer in which the thermometer has stayed well above 40 degrees Celsius during the day and never dropping to below 30 at night, and where thousands of foreign workers are involved in real estate and infrastructure projects requiring long shifts in the open air, the expected regulations on Thermal Work Limits (TWL) have not yet been implemented.

    However, the project — drawn up by the Labour Ministry in collaboration with healthcare and environmental authorities — has not yet been heard of by many construction firms working in the confederation of the seven Emirates.

    As was the case with the previous circulars, assurances have been made that measures are brought in guaranteeing a safe climate for workers. In addition to the law providing compulsory intervals between 12:30 PM and 3 PM in the summer months, temperature, humidity and wind are monitored (in some cases even sun exposure), ensuring extra rest periods if the temperature reaches 45 degrees or the plan for outdoor tasks is modified if humidity levels exceed the 60% limit, with water and saline-integrated drinks handed out, as well as air-conditioned rest areas set up. In these days during the month of Ramadan the workday has been shortened and the work shift moved to from 6am to midday. Despite company reassurances, in a country where at least 4 million foreign workers are registered with the Labour Ministry, as well as one in which there have been reports of an insufficient number of inspectors, it is difficult to monitor the work sites to verify that all measures are complied with and that workers are not victims of abuses. Since 2006, with the dizzying boom seen in Dubai, the UAE has fallen into the spotlight of a number of human rights organisations. Among the latter, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has criticised a lack of attention to humane, work and hygienic conditions in which hundreds of thousands of immigrants labour amidst skyscrapers. Since then the government has brought in measures both for the inside of works sites and those outside. A hotline and office have been set up to register complaints and abuses, new payment systems have been implemented (from cash to obligatory bank transfers), contract terms with placement agencies have been revised which used to facilitate exploitation and slavery, and mobility has been granted to workers to leave one employer for another in the case of unfulfilled contractual obligations. The measures have received praise from human rights associations but are still considered in need of improvement.

               — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

    South Asia

    India: Catholic Church Attacked in Andhra Pradesh, Bibles and Religious Objects Burned

    It is the second case in a few days against a Malankara church after an assault in Pune. Parish of Mother Mary in Secundrabad targeted by extremists. The faithful denounce the attack, but police have not yet identified the culprits. Four years ago the same building targeted by Hindu extremists.

    Delhi (AsiaNews) — Another Malankara Catholic church has been targeted by extremists in India, who set fire to the altar and burned copies of the Bible contained within. The attack was reported by activists of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) and comes only days after another attack on a Malankara Church, in Pune, in the early morning of August 15 (see AsiaNews 8/17/11 Catholic church attacked in Pune).

    The assault by a group of unidentified assailants occurred on 25 August, who targeted the Malankara Catholic church of Mother Mary in Secundrabad, Andhra Pradesh state, in central-east India. The vandals set fire to the altar, the Bibles, the cross, books of songs, clothing and vestments. They also damaged the churches’ audio system, erected in 1996 near the Krupanand Hall, in the colony of Ganesh, in Pickett.

    In recent days, two parishioners (Matthew Papachan and his assistant) had thoroughly cleaned the place of worship, flooded following the heavy rains during the week. Each Friday moments of Eucharistic adoration take place and the place of worship had been arranged to accommodate the faithful. At one o’clock in the afternoon when Papachan returned to complete the cleaning, he saw smoke escaping from the church.

    The parish priest Fr Felix Thondalil denounced the vandalism to the police, the police took steps to create a security system around the church, but have not yet tracked down the perpetrators of the act. Four years ago the place of worship had been the victim of an attack by Hindu extremist activists of Bajrang Dal. “We are very sad — the priest points out — because many sacred objects were destroyed.”

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

    Australia — Pacific

    Chocolate War Gets Messy

    PEOPLE brave enough to venture out into the wet at Brisbane’s South Bank yesterday found themselves caught in the crossfire of very abusive protesters.

    What started out as a protest against chocolate store Max Brenner turned into a heated face-off with those who turned out to support the company.

    Pitted against each other outside the chocolate shop, the two opposing groups screamed at each other for 45 minutes before police moved one of the groups on.

    The aim of the protesters, made up of the Socialist Alternative and the Justice for Palestine groups, was to highlight the support of Max Brenner’s parent company, the Strauss Group, for the Israeli military and its sale of provisions to it.

    Chanting “Max Brenner, come off it; there’s blood in your chocolate”, the group held up placards accusing Max Brenner of supporting apartheid.

    The counter-protesters, made up of students, Israeli community members and politicians, screamed at their opponents: “Go home, Nazis!”

    Logan City councillor Hajnal Black was repeatedly restrained by police as she pushed through the barricade line yelling: “We don’t want Nazis in this country!”

    There was a big police presence at the protest yesterday after a demonstration outside a Max Brenner store in Melbourne last month led to 19 arrests and three police officers being injured.

    A law student, Danielle Keys, organised the student contingent of counter-protesters on Facebook after seeing footage of the Melbourne protest.

    “I don’t have a particularly strong opinion either way on Israel or Palestine. What’s more important is dealing with freedom of enterprise and freedom of association and freedom of religion in this country,” Ms Keys said.

    “This is really about the innate anti-Semitic attitudes of extremist groups like the Socialist Alternative. We’re all turning up to say, ‘No, in Australia we support tolerance.’ “

    The Queensland Liberal National Party senator, Ron Boswell, said Max Brenner was a popular and “legitimate business” that should not be targeted in this way. “I think it’s absolutely outrageous,” he said. “I don’t mind if people don’t want to buy Max Brenner chocolates, but there shouldn’t be pickets and intimidation and rallies to stop people.

    “I think people that are trying to hit it with a boycott and picketing it, particularly a Jewish business, reminds me of some of the things that happened in the early 1930s.”

    The Socialist Alternative website says protesters will target Max Brenner Chocolates because it is owned by the Israeli-based Strauss Group.

    It says the corporate responsibility section of Strauss Group’s website — since amended — pledged the company’s support to the Israeli army, including providing soldiers with food for training and missions.

    The Socialist Alternative says the company has supported a platoon “infamous for its involvement in the 2006 invasion of Lebanon and other atrocities”.

    Senator Boswell, who spoke about the boycotts issue in Federal Parliament last week, said the protest was driven by the “super-left”.

    He said anyone wishing to protest on the issue should do so outside the Israeli embassy. “But don’t pick on someone that comes to a chocolate shop; seriously, that’s petty,” he said.

               — Hat tip: Nilk[Return to headlines]


    Italy: Party of 102 Migrants Lands at Lampedusa

    (AGI) Rome — A total of 102 migrants landed on the island of Lampedusa yesterday evening (Aug 26), the Italian Coast Guard reports.

    The party included 3 Tunisians.

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

    Libya: Gaddur: Gaddafi Led Illegal Immigration

    (ANSAmed) — ROME, AUGUST 26 — Gaddafi himself was responsible for the flow of illegal migrants from Libya to Lampedusa, as punishment for Italy’s participation in the UN-decided intervention. So said Libyan ambassador to Italy Abdulhafed Gaddur in a radio interview.

    Gaddur confirmed in programme ‘Radio anch’io’ on Radio Uno what was earlier said by Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini regarding Gaddafi’s use of immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa as “human bombs” against Italy.

    “He was in charge” of immigration from Libya, said Gaddur.

    “He led the flow of illegal immigration. He said he wanted to colour Lampedusa ‘black’, sending many Africans ‘so that the Italians would understand what it means to participate in the enforcement of the no-fly zone’. I confirm that Gaddafi himself organised this flow of illegal migration…. He was the one who gave the orders.” Gaddur added that he believes at least a thousand migrants have drowned in the Mediterranean in an attempt to reach Italy from Libya.

               — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

    Libya: Col Gaddafi ‘Directed Tens of Thousands of Refugees Towards Italy as Human Bombs’

    Col Gaddafi directed tens of thousands of refugees towards Italy as “human bombs” with the intention of turning the tiny island of Lampedusa into a “migrant hell”, the Italian government has said.

    Col Gaddafi directed tens of thousands of refugees towards Italy as “human bombs” with the intention of turning the tiny island of Lampedusa into a “migrant hell”, the Italian government said yesterday.

    The Libyan leader deliberately unleashed the floodgates of African immigrants desperate to reach Europe, as punishment for what he saw as Italy’s betrayal and its participation in the Nato-led air campaign.

    He largely succeeded in his objective — nearly 50,000 migrants have arrived on Lampedusa since the beginning of the year, putting a huge strain on the tiny island’s resources.

    They came from Libya but also Tunisia, after that country’s regime was toppled in a popular revolt which marked the start of the Arab Spring.

    Hundreds were forced to live in a makeshift shanty camp, sleeping in the scrub under sheets of plastic stretched over driftwood, on what islanders dubbed “the hill of shame”.

    “Italy has proof of orders given by Col Gaddafi to turn Lampedusa into hell,” said Franco Frattini, the foreign minister..

    “There is proof Gaddafi gave the order to send thousands of desperate people on boats, in order to throw the island into chaos,” he said.

    “We have terrible messages (in our possession) and they will be made public soon,” Mr Frattini said in an interview with Avvenire, a Catholic newspaper.

    Hafez Gaddour, Libya’s ambassador in Italy, who defected from the regime in February, told Rai radio that Gaddafi controlled illegal immigration “in person, saying that he wanted to turn Lampedusa black with Africans,” to punish Italy for its role in the Nato campaign.. The migrants would act as “human bombs”, he said.

    Italy contributed warplanes to the air offensive and allowed British and other coalition aircraft to use its bases, with RAF Tornados and Typhoons based out of Gioia del Colle in the south-east of the country.

    African refugees and economic migrants have for years tried to reach Lampedusa by sea in search of a new life in Europe.

    The flow was blocked after Italy signed an accord with Libya providing for joint patrols in the Mediterranean.

    That agreement collapsed when the Libyan revolt broke out earlier this year and relations soured between Col Gaddafi and Silvio Berlusconi, the prime minister, who had previously had a close rapport.

    There had long been suspicions — reported by The Daily Telegraph in April — that the Gaddafi regime was encouraging refugees to flee to Lampedusa as revenge for Italy’s support for military action.

               — Hat tip: Steen[Return to headlines]

    Poland Grants Amnesty to Illegal Migrants

    European Union member Poland which is also part of the 25-state Schengen free travel zone on Friday granted amnesty to some of the estimated 50-70,000 illegal migrants believed to be living on its territory. “We want Poland to be an open, hospitable and friendly country for those who are looking for the opportunity of a better life here,” Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski told reporters after having signed the amnesty Friday.

    Approved in parliament in late July, the amnesty law will come into force January 1, 2012 and migrants wishing to make use of its provisions have six months to register with Polish authorities. The amnesty applies to foreign nationals residing in Poland illegally since at least December 20, 2007, as well as illegal migrants who were refused refugee status before January 1, 2010 but stayed on in Poland. Citizens of neighbouring non-EU Ukraine make up the majority of illegal migrants residing in Poland followed by Georgians, Chechens and Armenians as well as Vietnamese and persons hailing from the Middle East.

    [Return to headlines]

    UK: Tory Accuses ‘Squeamish’ Lib Dems

    Liberal Democrat “squeamishness” is in danger of undermining the Government’s crackdown on immigration, claims a senior Tory backbencher. Wrekin MP Mark Pritchard hit out at his party’s coalition partners after it emerged that net migration to the UK rose by a fifth last year. The figures alarmed many rank-and-file Conservatives by casting doubt on whether David Cameron’s target of bringing immigration down to the “tens of thousands” by 2015 can be achieved. The Prime Minister has previously admitted that he would be taking “further steps” on the issue if the Lib Dems were not in government. Mr Pritchard highlighted the risk that Labour could “outflank” the Tories on core policies such as immigration and crime. “Some of the Government’s so-called red lines, such as immigration, are looking decidedly wobbly,” he said. “The Conservatives cannot allow Labour to outflank the Government on immigration and law and order because of the squeamish nature of some Liberal Democrats.

               — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]