Sunday, January 12, 2003

News Feed 20120222

Financial Crisis
»Italy: Bond-Selling ‘Boom’ From Abroad in December
»Italy: Mediobanca Sees Profits and Revenue Fall
»1 Passenger Detained After Disturbance on Continental Flight Headed to Houston
»Fired ESPN Editor on Lin Headline: ‘Honest Mistake’
»Student Shot at Armin Jahr Elementary School
Europe and the EU
»Italy: Berlusconi Move Against Mills Judges Denied
»Norway Killer Anders Behring Breivik ‘Had Hit-List of 30 Targets’
»Norway: No Utøya Summer Camp for Labour Youth: Official
»UK: At Last: An Integration Strategy. But No Full Plan to “Outflank Extremism” Yet.
»UK: Polish Farm Worker ‘Tried to Tear Out Woman’s Beating Heart With His Bare Hands’ After Stab Attack
»UK: Pregnant Woman Slashed With Knife in Brutal Kilburn Attack
»UK: Two Boys Aged 15 and 17 Beaten and Robbed by 15 Strong Teenage Gang on Glodwick Road
Israel and the Palestinians
»Is the New York Times Pro-Zionist?
Middle East
»Marie Colvin Killed: Syrian Forces Had Pledged to Kill ‘Any Journalist Who Set Foot on Syrian Soil’
South Asia
»All ISAF Coalition Forces to Follow Quran Training
»Italy Opens Channels to Other Countries on India Case
»Italy Sends Envoy for India Tanker Shooting Case
Far East
»Osaka Consul Recalled for Fascist Rock Concert
Australia — Pacific
»Rudd Turns the Tables
Sub-Saharan Africa
»Ship Seized Off Somalia Coast Not Forgotten
»Mass Immigration, And How Labour Tried to Destroy Britishness

Financial Crisis

Italy: Bond-Selling ‘Boom’ From Abroad in December

But offset by residents’ buying, Bank of Italy says

(ANSA) — Rome, February 22 — Sales of Italian state bonds from abroad “boomed” in December, the Bank of Italy said Wednesday.

Non-residents sold some 24 billion euros of state paper, the central bank said.

This was offset, however, by the amount bought by Italian residents.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Mediobanca Sees Profits and Revenue Fall

Writedown of Greek sovereign debt contributes to losses

(ANSA) — Milan, February 22 — Premier Italian merchant bank Mediobanca saw its net profit fall by 75.9% for the second half of 2011 in part due to the value of the Greek sovereign debt it holds falling to 30% of its nominal value, according to a six-month balance sheet approved by the bank’s board on Wednesday.

A statement from the bank said that the six-month period ending December 31 was “impacted by the Eurozone crisis, reduction in value of the main asset classes and exceptionally difficult operating conditions for financial institutions”.

Net profit was said to have fallen to 63 million euros, compared to 263 million euros for the same period in 2010, and was “entirely attributable” to the performance of its retail and private banking (RPD) division.

Writedowns and losses for the period amounted to 269 million euros of which 114 million euros regarded the drop in value of the Greek sovereign debt, while 55 million euros in losses were from stock held in RCS MediaGroup, which publishes leading Italian daily Corriere della Sera.

Year-on-year revenue fell 4%, to 973 million euros, which Mediobanca said was “exclusively” the result of reduced income from its Principal Investing (PI) division, which in one year fell from 113 million euros to 58 million euros.

The PI division includes Mediobanca’s strategic holdings in the Generali insurance group, RCS and Telco. PI in the last half of 2011 posted a profit of 2.5 million euros compared to 105.3 million euros a year earlier.

Mediobanca’s revenues from ordinary activities were stable at 901 million euros, the result of net interest income rising 4% to 555 million euros, which received a major boost by the RPB sector, up 15% to 362 million euros.

Net trading income was also stable at 113 million euros, while fee income slipped 12% to 234 million euros “due to reduced corporate activity”.

The half-year report also showed that operating costs dipped 2% to 399 million euros, with labor expenses falling 5%, while the cost of risk also declined and the percentage of bad loans in one year inched down from 1.9% to 1.7% of total loans.

Return on equity (ROE) was stable at 8% on December 31 while there was an improvement in funding and liquidity with funding up from 51.7 billion euros to 54 billion euros — thanks to a four-billion-euro, three-year loan from the European Central bank — and an increase in deposits for the retail bank CheBanca!, while liquid financial assets rose to 18.7 billion euros, from 16.7 billion euros at the end of September.

Mediobanca’s core tier 1 ratio dipped to 11% at the end f December from 11.2% at the end of June 2011.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


1 Passenger Detained After Disturbance on Continental Flight Headed to Houston

HOUSTON— Passengers aboard a Continental Airlines flight bound for Houston Tuesday sprang into action to help a flight attendant having trouble with an unruly passenger. Twenty minutes after the plane departed Portland, pilots returned to the city where the FBI was waiting.

Passengers said the unruly man was a problem from the beginning. After boarding Flight 1113, the man became upset because he was not seated next to his friend.

Then after the flight took off, he ignored the “No Smoking” sign and tried to light an electronic cigarette.

A flight attendant asked the passenger to turn off the cigarette, but he refused. The Middle Eastern man started screaming at the smaller woman.

“He was screaming, ‘Allah is great, Allah is great,’“ said Nancy Haywood, passenger. “And it kind of worries you when that happens, but believe me, there were enough men to hold him down.”

And they did. Men on the plane jumped up and ran to assist the flight attendant.

“Every guy that was in my area was ready to go,” said Mark Foster, passenger. “It was not even a thought. You can tell buckles were off and people were already leaning toward the aisles.”

The men subdued the unruly passenger while the flight attendant ran to the back and retrieved plastic handcuffs and ankle cuffs.

“It almost made me cry to see the way everybody responded because the gentlemen that could help got up and helped the stewardess; she was just a little bitty thing,” said Jeanna Wisher. “What happened should have happened, everybody got up and did a part that needed to do it.”

The passenger and his companion were taken into custody when the plane landed. The flight resumed and departed Portland around 2:05 p.m. The rest of the passengers finally arrived in Houston late Tuesday night.

The TSA said the incident was not a security issue.

“Continental Flight 1113, Portland to Houston, returned to Portland when a passenger refused to obey the ‘No Smoking” sign. The passenger and traveling companion were taken off the plane,” Christen David of United/ Continental Corporate Communications said in a released a statement.

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes[Return to headlines]

Fired ESPN Editor on Lin Headline: ‘Honest Mistake’

Anthony Federico says he’s used the phrase “chink in the armor” in “at least 100” headlines over the years, and the fact that it would read as a slur didn’t dawn on him this time around.

The network also suspended anchor Max Bretos for 30 days after it came to light he had also used the expression last Wednesday on the air. Bretos had asked a former Knicks player, “If there is a chink in the armor, where can he improve his game?” Bretos has also apologized, and says the racial slur did not occur to him either.

[Note from Egghead: This is so ridiculous as to defy words….]

           — Hat tip: Egghead[Return to headlines]

Student Shot at Armin Jahr Elementary School

A few minutes before the bell released the students at Armin Jahr Elementary School in East Bremerton Wednesday, a student was shot.

As of press time, police believe a fellow third-grader was the shooter.

According to a Bremerton School District information release about the shooting, police arrived shortly after 1:29 p.m. to find one student shot.

“The other student and the gun have been located,” read the release posted on the district website.

Authorities said a girl was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. As of press time Wednesday evening, authorities have not release the name of the shooter or the victim.

Tracy Harris is a mother of an Armin Jahr kindergartner, sister to one of the school’s teachers and cousin to a second grader — all of whom were safe following the shooting. Knowing her own child was safe, she stood on the sidewalk outside the school waiting to see her sister.

“Knowing she is OK is not the same as seeing, feeling and touching,” Harris said.

By 2:30 p.m., most of the students were cleared from the school grounds as parents arrived to take their children home. Several busses also took children home.

By then, police had taped off a classroom that had a sign declaring the school grounds to be a drug and weapons free zone. One investigator took away brown evidence bags.

Though much of the student body had gone home, most of the third graders were being held in classroom 2, some where eating frozen treats, only leaving randomly with parents

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Italy: Berlusconi Move Against Mills Judges Denied

Verdict expected Saturday in bribery case

(ANSA) — Milan, February 22 — An appeals court on Wednesday denied a petition from lawyers for Silvio Berlusoni to recuse the judges in a Milan trial where the media magnate and former Italian premier stands accused of bribing British tax lawyer David Mills.

In their petition, the defence lawyers had claimed bias by the judges in cutting witness lists and accelerating procedure to make sure the trial is not timed out. Hearings will resume Saturday when a verdict is likely to be reached. Milan prosecutors have requested that Berlusconi receive a five-year prison term for allegedly paying off Mills to hush up evidence in two of the ex-premier’s previous trials.

Berlusconi has consistently maintained his innocence, saying he is being targeted by politically motivated judges.

Mills has testified that the $600,000 prosecutors say he received as a bribe was given to him by another person, not Berlusconi.

Berlusconi is also on trial in three other cases.

One regards allegations he paid for sex with an underage prostitute and used his power to try to cover it up, another concerns accusations of fraud at his media empire and the third regards alleged involvement in the publication of an illegally obtained wiretap.

The Italian premier’s office is a civil plaintiff in the Mills proceedings and has requested 250,000 euros in damages from Berlusconi and Mills

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Norway Killer Anders Behring Breivik ‘Had Hit-List of 30 Targets’

Anders Behring Breivik had a death-list of 12 Norwegian “traitors” and his “Plan A” was to attack 30 targets including Norway’s Royal Palace and the HQ of Amnesty International, according to leaked police documents.

The right-wing Norwegian extremist, who has admitted killing 77 people in bomb and gun attacks last year, told police that his initial plans included senior politicians and organisations he blamed for allowing Muslims to “colonise” Norway.

On 22 July 2011, Breivik set off a car bomb outside the government’s headquarters in Oslo and then travelled, dressed as a police officer, to Utoya island, outside the capital, where he opened fire on a Labour Party youth camp.

It has now emerged that his attack, the worst peacetime massacre in Norway’s history, was a scaled down version of his original plans.

According to documents leaked to the Verdens Gang newspaper, Breivik had death and hit-lists divided into categories of importance, A, B, and C, as legitimate targets for his terror attacks.

The 12-strong A-list of Norwegian “traitors” earmarked for execution was headed by Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland, a Norwegian social democrat politician, known on the international stage for as United Nations envoy on climate change.

Police also have evidence he planned to target the Royal Palace, the ruling Norwegian Labour Party as well as as Amnesty International, and 15 other ecumenical and refugee organisations.

Paal-Fredrik Kraby, a Norwegian police prosecutor, said there were “several indications” that Brevik had planned further bomb and gun attacks.

“We have found that roughly equal amounts of bomb materials beyond what he actually used remaining on his farm. It seems that he had plans for much more,” he said.

During questioning, Breivik has claimed that his attacks were just a backup plan. His master plan  “Plan A” — was to blow not one but three or four car bombs in Oslo.

Odd Ivar Green, one of Breivik’s defence lawyers, said: “The way I see it, the police must try to find out how real all of these plans actually were.”

           — Hat tip: The Observer[Return to headlines]

Norway: No Utøya Summer Camp for Labour Youth: Official

Norway’s Labour Party youth wing, targeted in the July 2011 attack on Utøya island that left 69 young people dead, will not hold its annual summer camp on the island this year, it said on Wednesday. “From a practical point of view, it’s impossible and we have the feeling it would be inappropriate to hold a political summer camp on Utøya this year,” the head of the Labour youth wing, Eskil Pedersen, told daily Verdens Gang.

On July 22nd, right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik, dressed as a police officer, spent more than an hour methodically shooting and killing 69 people, mainly teens, attending the camp on Utøya.

The small island, located some 40 kilometres north-west of Oslo, is currently in the process of being restored. Its dining hall, where many of the victims died, is set for demolition. Immediately after the attack, Pedersen had vowed to “take back” the site and said new camps would be organised quickly, following a practice that dates back some 60 years.

“At the time it was difficult to gauge the amount of work and time needed in order to be able to reclaim possession of Utøya,” Pedersen said on Wednesday. “But our goal remains the same … we will have summer camps there, but not this year,” he said. A ceremony marking the first anniversary of the attacks may however take place on the island on July 22nd, he said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UK: At Last: An Integration Strategy. But No Full Plan to “Outflank Extremism” Yet.

By Paul Goodman

Eight months on from the Prevent Review, we have at last a Government integration strategy. As Harry Phibbs reports in our Local Government section, the Daily Mail has an interview with Eric Pickles about its publication later today. The Communities Secretary says that tolerance has become twisted; that a few people want to disown the Christian faith and the English language; that public bodies have been bending over backwards to translate documents into foreign languages, and that men and women have been disciplined for wearing modest symbols of Christian faith at work. Go for it, Eric!

The Daily Express says that Whitehall diversity targets are to be scrapped; that “community cohesion” policies in national and local government must promote national unity and British values rather than encouraging ethnic or cultural division”. The Communities Secretary is quoted as saying: “Under Harriet Harman’s agenda, the Labour government encouraged different cultures to live separate lives, apart from each other and the mainstream. Political correctness replaced common sense, people were left afraid to express legitimate concerns and frustrations.” Attaboy, Pickles!

An inconvenient question remains, however — namely that given human rights laws, the agglomerated mass of equality legislation, the entrenchment of separatist ideas and the funding discretion of local authorities, how much is really going to change?

I haven’t yet had a chance to read the strategy, though I’ve spoken to sources close to the Secretary of State. But the thrust of it seems clear:

  • It is broadly similar to the draft strategy that I revealed in January. This was divided up into five themes: Common Ground, Responsibility, Participation, Social Mobility and Tackling extremism. The first two sections have now been merged into one called “Promoting Shared British Values”. The second melds the responsibility and participation sections (it is now called “Encouraging participation and empowerment”). The third is now labelled “Outflanking Extremism” (which suggests that this will not so much be confronted as bypassed) and the last “Promoting social mobility”.*
  • Pickles has been frustrated by the publication delay, but has been quietly implementing the policy in any event. I reported in January that other Departments were concerned about a lack of rigour in the draft strategy, and Downing Street clearly believes that the plan is finally in good order. But the Secretary of State and other Departments have quietly been pressing ahead with its uncontested parts: work with Youth United, Pickles’s beloved Curry College (which I revealed last year), the National Citizen Service. He wants to develop the college idea further with “cordon bleu” scholarships.
  • Pickles is going big on the faith angle. The strategy proclaims: “Some see religion as a problem that needs to be solved. We see it as part of the solution…The days of the state trying to suppress Christianity and other faiths should be over.” This fits neatly with last week’s Sayeeda Warsi Vatican speech and Pickles’s action over council prayers. The Government believes that faith communities have a place in the public square — running schools, hospices, homeless shelters, employment programmes, projects for people with substance abuse problems, debt advice services, and so on.
  • Full details of the Department’s plan to “outflank extremism” will apparently come later. Sources claim that the section about it in today’s document was inserted at a late stage, and that preparation was made last week to publish the strategy without it at all. The Department confirmed to me yesterday that more details will be published in due course. This delay could simply reflect Ministers’ desire to keep its security and integration strategies separate. Or it could indicate that the Government has not yet settled on a methodology for deciding which groups and individuals it considers extreme. Or both.

The strategy has clearly been tightened up. I’ll be interested to see if it refers to teaching British history in schools, but Pickles will apparently have more to say soon about teaching English to migrants. The Express’s detail about the scrapping of Whitehall diversity targets is encouraging, and the Communities Secretary has the authority in his Department to drive such change through. The Communities Secretary has sensibly decided that the Government’s cross-departmental working group on anti-Muslim violence and hatred will bear that name — and not be saddled with the problematic term “Islamophobia” in its title. Fiyaz Mughal, the director of Faith Matters and an adviser to Nick Clegg, has won the Government contract to try to measure the extent of that hatred and violence. This MAMA project may be the genesis of a Muslim equivalent of the Community Security Trust, which monitors anti-semitic activities and incidents, just as the new working group mirrors the work of the one on anti-semitism.

The strategy is welcome, but the questions linger — particularly about extremism. Who does the Government consider extreme — Stop Islamisation of Europe, the Muslim Council of Britain? And why? What counter-extremism plans does it have in the event of another India-Pakistan confrontation or — even more pressingly — British involvement in an military assault on Iran? Does it have any plans to help stop tensions between Christians and Muslims hardening, given the rise of religious cleansing abroad? Is it prepared for the consequences of a terror strike, God forbid, on a synagogue or mosque or temple — or church? It may be that the “Outflanking Extremism” section of today’s strategy has answers.. But if it doesn’t, they can’t be postponed indefinitely.

2pm Update: The paper itself — Creating the Conditions for Integration — lists the original five sections. The Department was the source of the four-section division that I quote above.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Polish Farm Worker ‘Tried to Tear Out Woman’s Beating Heart With His Bare Hands’ After Stab Attack

A woman has described how a Polish farm worker tried to rip out her heart ‘like one of his pigs’ after he stabbed her in the chest.

Christine Seymour recounted the horrifying moment she felt Andrzej Chranowski push his hands inside her knife wound in an apparent attempt to tear out her vital organ.

Chranowski, 34, claimed to be suffering from a ‘short-term psychotic episode’ when he pounced on Miss Seymour with a pair of surgical scissors.

After stabbing her, he then carried the 59-year-old into her rented property and dumped her on her bed shouting: ‘Just lie there and die.’

Miraculously, Miss Seymour survived the brutal attack after life-saving surgery.

Polish pig worker Chranowski was this week jailed for 18 years for her attempted murder.

Chranowski lived in the same rented three-storey house as Miss Seymour, in Spalding, Lincolnshire.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: Pregnant Woman Slashed With Knife in Brutal Kilburn Attack

A pregnant woman has been violently slashed while trying to stop three men from stabbing her stomach in a brutal attack in Kilburn.

The 36-year-old woman, who is six-months pregnant, was attacked in Buckley Road as she walked home from work on Monday at 7.15pm.

Police believe the violent trio followed her as she walked from Kilburn Tube Station before grabbing her from behind.

One of them pulled out a knife and began to jab the blade into her stomach.

She received cuts to her hand while trying to hold back the three inch brass coloured knife which had a serrated edge.

The suspects are described as black and between 15 and 20-years-old.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: Two Boys Aged 15 and 17 Beaten and Robbed by 15 Strong Teenage Gang on Glodwick Road

Two boys were robbed and beaten up by a gang of 15 teenagers. The victims aged 15 and 17 were attacked in Oldham. The boys are white and all of the gang were Asian but police said the incident was being treated as a robbery not a racist hate crime.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Is the New York Times Pro-Zionist?

By David HaIrvri

Is the New York Times Pro-Zionist? Wow, that was a dumb question. Unless you are a student of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, I strongly doubt that you would need a second chance to guess the answer. The New York Times is a flagship of American journalism. It is published in the heart of one of the world’s largest Jewish population-centers outside of Israel, and it has been pointed out that it has had Jewish owners and some of its influential writers over the years have been Jewish. Even with these factors considered, we are left with the follow-up question: “So what?” If this paper is located in a world Jewish center and has Jewish owners and writers, does that make it a Jewish paper? Is the Jewish Press redundant to the New York Times? Sounds a little silly, doesn’t it?

Last week, the New York Times announced that they are commissioning a new Jerusalem Bureau Chief to replace Ethan Bronner, who has completed his four-year assignment in Israel. Ethan, like his replacement, is an American Jew. Throughout his time here, both Jews and Arabs have criticized his reporting for being more sympathetic to “the other side”. I myself have had issues with his portrayal of events here, and have even engaged him about the way in which he and foreign journalists generally report on issues in Judea and Samaria — with a pre-conceived bias not complimentary to the Jewish residents and our rights here. Although my interests are clear, I guess that the fact that both Arabs and Jews equally feel that he is not reporting as they would like is a sign that he has succeeded relatively well in holding on to neutral ground…

           — Hat tip: TV[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Marie Colvin Killed: Syrian Forces Had Pledged to Kill ‘Any Journalist Who Set Foot on Syrian Soil’

Syrian forces murdered journalist Marie Colvin after pledging to kill “any journalist who set foot on Syrian soil”, it has emerged.

The 55-year-old Sunday Times reporter was killed alongside French photographer Remi Ochlik, 28, in a rocket attack on the besieged city of Homs this morning.

Now communication between Syrian Army officers intercepted by Lebanese intelligence staff has revealed that direct orders were issued to target the makeshift press centre in which Colvin had been broadcasting.

If journalists were successfully killed, then the Syrians were told to make out that they had died accidentally in firefights with terrorist groups, the radio traffic revealed.

Just before she died, Colvin had appeared on numerous international broadcast networks including the BBC and CNN to accuse Syrian dictator Bashar Al-Assad’s forces of ‘murder’.

Jean-Pierre Perrin, a journalist for the Paris-based Liberation newspaper who was with Colvin in Homs last week, claimed they had been told that the Syrian Army was “deliberately” going to shell their centre.

Mr Perrin said: “A few days ago we were advised to leave the city urgently and we were told: ‘If they (the Syrian Army) find you they will kill you’.

“I then left the city with the journalist from the Sunday Times but then she wanted to go back when she saw that the major offensive had not yet taken place.”

Mr Perrin, who headed to Beirut from Homs, said the Syrians were “fully aware” that the press centre was broadcasting direct evidence of crimes against humanity, including the murdering of women and children.

“The Syrian Army issued orders to ‘kill any journalist that set foot on Syrian soil’.”

It was in Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, that Mr Perin received news of the intercepted Syrian Army radio traffic.

The Syrians knew that if they destroyed the press centre, then there would be “no more information coming out of Homs”, said Mr Perrin…

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]

South Asia

All ISAF Coalition Forces to Follow Quran Training

Commander of NATO-led force mandates training on handling religious materials

“The uproar prompted Gen. John Allen, commander of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force, to issue a directive “that all coalition forces in Afghanistan will complete training in the proper handling of religious materials no later than March 3,” the NATO-led force said..

The training will include “the identification of religious materials, their significance, correct handling and storage,” according to the statement from coalition forces.”

           — Hat tip: EDO[Return to headlines]

Italy Opens Channels to Other Countries on India Case

‘Constant, not hasty action’ says Terzi

(ANSA) — Rome, February 21 — Italy has opened channels with other countries and international bodies to try to solve the case of two marines being held for the suspected murder of two fishermen in India, Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi said Tuesday.

“We have activated discreet channels with other bodies and countries,” Terzi said.

In the case, where Italy believes Indian authorities made a mistake, Terzi said: “I believe we must not be hasty but maintain a constant and precise action through all official diplomatic channels and between governments”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy Sends Envoy for India Tanker Shooting Case

Staffan de Mistura ex-UN man in Iraq, Afghanistan

(ANSA) — Rome, February 21 — Italy on Tuesday sent a veteran trouble-shooting envoy to handle the case of two marines held in India for allegedly murdering two Indian fishermen while defending an Italian oil tanker.

Foreign Undersecretary Staffan de Mistura, a former United Nations diplomat, will liaise with a delegation of Italian foreign, defence and justice ministry officials already in the southwestern Indian port of Kochi ahead of a visit by Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi next Tuesday.

Terzi instructed De Mistura to “continue contacts at the highest level with both state and federal authorities”.

Italy maintains the marines only fired warning shots at a pirate vessel, not an Indian fishing boat.

Rome says it should have jurisdiction in the case, in which the marines face life imprisonment or death according to Indian law.

On Monday the marines were remanded in custody for up to a fortnight, after which a judge said he would decide whether to incarcerate them.

De Mistura, 65, is an Italian-Swedish diplomat whose work has taken him to many of the world’s trouble spots including Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan and the former Yugoslavia.

After de Mistura’s 36-year career in various UN agencies, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed him as his Special Representative for Iraq in September 2007.

In July 2009 de Mistura became the Deputy Executive Director for External Relations of the World Food Programme in Rome.

In March 2010 de Mistura assumed the post of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Afghanistan.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Far East

Osaka Consul Recalled for Fascist Rock Concert

Diplomatic scion Mario Vattani to be reassigned after media flap

(ANSA) — Tokyo, February 22 — Italy’s Consul General in Osaka, Mario Vattani, has been definitively called back to Rome after hitting headlines as the leader of a Nazi-rock group, the foreign ministry said Wednesday.

Vattani, 45, will empty his desk in the Japanese city before being reassigned as a disciplinary measure, it said.

At a Rome performance in May Vattani was captured on video praising the Fascist “bandiera nera” (black flag) and raising his arm in a Fascist salute.

Vattani’s rock group, Sotto Fascia Semplice (Under a Simple Fascist Banner), was playing at a rally organized by Casa Pound, a radical rightwing group.

Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi referred Vattani’s case to a disciplinary commission when it appeared in the media in late December. He was then recalled to Rome as his superiors decided what to do with him.

“The situation is serious and we’re moving ahead quickly,” Foreign Undersecretary Staffan De Mistura said at the time. “We all feel shame and the young Mario Vattani should feel it as well. He was representing Italians and not his personal opinions”.

Vattani comes from a line of Italian diplomats.

His father, Umberto Vattani, was the Italian ambassador to Belgium and Germany, an advisor to seven-time premier Giulio Andreotti, and secretary-general at the foreign ministry.

Vattani formed his rock band in 1996.

In 1989 he was accused and acquitted of beating two leftist young men outside parliament in Rome.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Australia — Pacific

Rudd Turns the Tables

NOT one person predicted Kevin Rudd would resign as Foreign Minister. That’s how brilliant the move was.

Until that second, Prime Minister Julia Gillard seemed to have outmanoeuvred him, and was certain to humiliate him in the party room next week.

But now he’s warned that it’s game on. He’s painted himself as the plucky choice of the voters, fighting the “faceless men”.

He’s the little guy who was done wrong by silent assassins, party bosses and union heavies and the woman they installed. He won’t launch a “stealth attack” on Gillard, he declared, as she did to him.

He’d fight out in the open, the old hypocrite declared.

And Rudd has challenged the frightened MPs, already looking at polls putting Labor catastrophically behind, do you feel lucky with Gillard, punks?

Or as he put it yesterday, the question now facing his colleagues was: “Who is best placed to defeat Tony Abbott at the next election?”

No contest, of course. When was the last time Gillard was mobbed by crowds as Rudd is every week?

And on Monday, maybe Tuesday, Rudd will have a huge ace to play when the fortnightly Newspoll comes out to remind Labor that the person killing its vote is not Rudd, but Gillard.

Rudd will have one further undeclared threat to sharpen MPs’ minds. Reject him roundly now, and he could quit Parliament. End of Government.

Brilliant work. Turned the contest on a dime.

The past couple of days had been good for Gillard. A string of loyalist ministers accused Rudd of inflating his support among MPs, robbing him of momentum.

Rudd’s adviser Bruce Hawker had publicly claimed more than 40 of the 112 Labor MPs backed him against Gillard. Gillard’s troops, convinced this was overreach, pushed for a showdown vote next week to show his numbers were fewer than 30.

Then Rudd would be sacked. Exposed and deposed. Humiliated.

Moreover, with Rudd trapped overseas on his duties, Gillard had another five days of calm to show she was back in charge. As a minister, Rudd could not even say how he would run Labor differently.

But then Rudd turned himself into a suicide bomber.

By quitting, he reclaimed mastery of his destiny, and became not the defeated but the aggrieved.

He has been careful in his plotting. No one can point to a single public comment and shout “disloyal” — which, of course, he is.

So-called Gillard allies weren’t half so smart. Regional Australia Minister Simon Crean, hoping to make himself the third option in Labor’s leadership fight, insulted Rudd outrageously — calling him disloyal, a prima donna, gutless. Another MP, Steve Gibbons, called him a “psychopath”.

And, as Rudd reminded TV viewers yesterday, these are the people who wrongly took from him the job of Prime Minister.

Did Gillard, their creation, now rebuke them for their public abuse of him? And so, said, Rudd, he had to quit his beloved job.

As a public pitch it was perfect, reinforcing perceptions of Gillard as a dishonest, untrustworthy schemer. Rudd now has nearly a week to speak openly about how he would lead.

Will Rudd now challenge? Almost certainly — or resign.

Will he win?

The numbers are not with him right now, but Rudd shocked waverers with his boldness. Everyone assumed he was the old Kevin, who never dared challenge unless sure to win.

Rudd tried to tell colleagues he’d changed — become softer and more consultative. But few guessed he’d changed quite this much and they will look again.

If enough do, Gillard is gone.

           — Hat tip: Nilk[Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Ship Seized Off Somalia Coast Not Forgotten

‘Italians must return home’, says Terzi

(ANSA) — Roma, February 22 — Efforts for the release of crew members on the Italian oil tanker Enrico Ievoli being held off the coast of Somalia by pirates since December 27 “have not ceased,” Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi told the Senate on Wednesday.

“Quiet negotiations should not be mistaken for distraction,” said Terzi. Terzi spoke to a Senate committee about the pirate-seized oil tanker and diplomatic efforts towards the release of two Italian marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen last week.

It is “imperative” that the marines held in India and the sailors aboard the Ievoli return home soon, said Terzi.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Mass Immigration, And How Labour Tried to Destroy Britishness

Throughout the tenure of the last Labour government this newspaper, and others — while praising the huge contribution immigrants had made to this country in the past — attacked the laxity of what were supposed to be our border controls.

It was clear the very nature of our society was being changed by a new kind of uncontrolled mass immigration — and without the British people ever having been asked whether they supported the policy.

Labour arrogantly accused its critics of racism — though most of the incomers were white — and of scaremongering.

It claimed it had no choice but to open our borders to the nationals of ten mainly ex-Soviet bloc countries which joined the EU in 2004.

The truth was that — as other EU countries which restricted immigration from these states proved — it did have a choice.

The cynicism did not end there. Such, Labour claimed, was its commitment to ensuring that only people with a right to be in Britain could come here that in 2008 it set up the UK Border Agency. The truth, unfortunately, was very different.

Theresa May, the Home Secretary, has announced that the agency is being wound up next month precisely because it is useless, and the officials who ran it — rather like the borders they supposedly policed — were out of control.

Despite the strong threat from international terrorism, the evidence of eastern European criminal gangs infiltrating Britain, and our overburdened public and social services, 500,000 unchecked people were let in to Britain via Eurostar between 2007 and last year, while countless so-called students were just nodded through.

Though Labour clearly left the system in a shambles, it should be noted that it has taken almost two years for this Government to admit the mess our immigration procedures are in, and to do something about it.

So Mrs May’s department — and notably the Immigration Minister Damian Green — also have a case to answer.

They seemed unaware that their officials, too, were ordering the relaxation of controls. Yet while the Coalition has been derelict, Labour was downright malign.

The game was given away in 2009 by Andrew Neather, a former Labour Home Office and Downing Street adviser, who revealed that mass immigration was a deliberate policy by the Left to change the social fabric of the country and to ‘rub the Right’s nose in diversity’.

This appalling policy was never discussed publicly because Labour strategists feared it would upset the party’s traditional white working-class support. For self-interested political reasons, the public could not possibly be consulted.

Mass immigration gratified the Left in two ways that have inflicted enormous damage on our country. It furthered the bogus notion of multiculturalism — undermining national identity and common values, and preventing the successful integration of immigrant communities into the British cultural mainstream.

Moreover, at a time of growing economic crisis, it added an enormous number of people to Labour’s client state.

Recent immigrants were grateful for their admission to the country, and for the costly safety net of the welfare state that was provided for them: a gratitude that, Labour hoped, would help it garner more votes at elections.

That aside, it is generally accepted that new arrivals to a country — who are often relatively impoverished — are more likely to vote for Leftish governments.

So although present ministers have much explaining to do, this cocktail of ideology and blatant gerrymandering is of the Left’s making.

In the interests of creating a society with which Leftist ideologues felt comfortable, and which would help shore up Labour’s vote at elections, the wishes of the vast majority of the British people, and their security, were ridden roughshod over.

The idea of multiculturalism was advanced with varying degrees of stealth over several decades by politicians, civil servants and council officials. Its doctrine was spread in schools and in teacher-training colleges…

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes[Return to headlines]


Anonymous said...

The authentic people of Britain need to begin documenting these crimes, for the future treason trials. Evidence needs to be recorded, and collected, statements taken, dockets held. There is going to be a mass treason proceeding against these people, mark my words.

You can't buck history forever...

Perchancetodream said...

Long live St.George and England.
Rose of Enland Thou Shalt Not Fade Nor Die!