Sunday, January 12, 2003

News Feed 20120228

Financial Crisis
»Court Rules Rapid Euro Crisis Group Illegal
»ECB Rejects Greek Bonds as Collateral
»‘Europe Remains a Question of War and Peace’: Kohl Urges Germans to Stay Committed to Europe
»Finns to Vote on Greek Bail-Out
»Frankfurt Airport Strike Expands: Transport Minister Warns of ‘Disastrous Consequences’
»German Court Says EFSF Committee Largely Unconstitutional
»German High Court Calls for More Parliament in Bailout Decisions
»Greece: S&P: Selective Default; Athens: No Impact
»Italy: 1.202% Compared to Over 6% in November
»Netherlands: Think-Tank Chief Warns New Cuts Would Worsen Recession
»Spain: Nightlife Hit by the Crisis, 12,000 Clubs Closed
»Campaign Treasurer for New York City Comptroller Liu is Arrested
»China’s Space Advances Worry US Military
»Fight at Shower Cited in Slaying of 9-Month-Old Boy
»GM to Take Five Percent Stake in Peugeot: Report
»Louis Farrakhan Warns of Racial Hatred That Could Lead to Attempts to Kill President Obama
»New Evidence Suggests Stone Age Hunters From Europe Discovered America
»Report: Internet Radicalizes U.S. Muslims Quickly
»Rich People Are More Likely to Lie, Cheat, And Steal Candy From Children
»Romney Wins Arizona, Leads in Michigan
»Romney Wins Michigan and Arizona
»Third Student Dies After Shooting at High School in Ohio
»Twitter Stretching Toward 500 Million Users
Europe and the EU
»Austria Reprimanded Over Job Market Disparities
»Denmark Tops Index of Clean Tech Start-Ups
»France: Socialist Surprises With Plans for 75% Tax Rate
»France: Skirt-Wearing Cyclists Beware: Women Warned
»German Court Grants Parliament More Say in Bailouts
»Hamburg Islamist to Stand Trial in Germany
»Italy: Cabinet Approves Amendment to Church Property-Tax Exemption
»Kohl: Europe Still About War and Peace
»Notre Dame’s Biggest New Bell is Dutch
»Ötzi the Ice Mummy’s Secrets Found in DNA
»Overfishing Could Continue Under EU Fisheries Policy
»Palestinian Man Admits Hijacking Bus
»Pippa Middleton to Ski in Sweden’s Vasaloppet
»Sweden’s ‘Snow Man’ To be Documentary Film
»UK: Azad Ali, Awlaki Fan, Opponent of Democracy: Now Vice Chair of Unite Against Fascism
»UK: Football Fan Avoids Jail for Racist Tweets About Newcastle’s Demba Ba
»UK: First Black Actor to Play Heathcliff Who Racially Abused Ex-Girlfriend is Sectioned
»UK: Hounslow Unlicensed Cabbie Jailed for Sex Attacks
»UK: OAP Who Was So Terrified of Burglars He Slept in an Armchair Instead of His Bed is Murdered… By a Burglar
»UK: Police Dismantle Occupy London Campsite
»UK: The Police Chief Leading the Investigation Into Phone Hacking Said Yesterday There Was a ‘Culture of Illegal Payments’ At the Sun — With One Journalist Given £150,000 to Pay to Public Officials.
»UK: Vandalism at a Southampton Cemetery Could be Evidence of a Form of Substance Abuse New to the UK, According to a Drugs Charity.
»Ukraine Convicts Tymoshenko Ally of Embezzlement
»Van Rompuy: National Parliaments Are EU Institutions
»We Have Become the New Villain
»WikiLeaks Probed Swedish Journos: Report
»‘Young Norwegians Are Lazy’: Tyre Baron
»Macedonia — the New Kosovo?
North Africa
»Crisis Between Egypt, U.S. Deepens Over American Funding to Civil Society Organizations
»Egyptian Censors Block a Film About Love Story Between a Christian and a Muslim
»Egypt Dismisses Islam Defamation Case Against Christian Tycoon
Israel and the Palestinians
»Mideast: Hitch in Hamas-Fatah Deal, Egypt Promises Aid
»Possible Earliest Evidence of Christianity Resurrected From Ancient Tomb
Middle East
»Controversy in Saudi Arabia Over Journalist’s Tweets About the Prophet Muhammad
»Finance: Kuwait’s Burgan Joins Gulf Banks to Buy Greek EFG
»Kuwaiti Liberal: Claims of Jewish Control of World Media Are False
»Qatar: Emir: Stop the Judaisation of Jerusalem
»EU Criticises Ongoing Ukraine Crackdown
»Russian Space Program Woes Continue
»Western Media ‘Myopic’ In Reporting of Assassination Attempt on Putin, Says Russia Expert
South Asia
»At Conference Against Ahmadi Muslims, Renowned Pakistani Cleric Zahidur Rashidi Gives Two Scenarios for Future: Be Killed or Repent and Accept Islam
»Pakistan’s First Oscar is ‘A Triumph for Pakistani Women’
»Queen Fears for ‘Mandela of Maldives’
Far East
»Beijing Wants Say in Choice of World Bank Head
»China’s Billionaire Lawmakers Make U.S. Peers Look Like Paupers
»Germany Created Own Threat With Chinese Solar Aid
»The Fukushima Psychiatrist: ‘It’s Amazing How Traumatized They Are’
Sub-Saharan Africa
»Chinese Retailers Shake Things up in Africa
»Swiss Army Opens Doors to Asylum Seekers
»UK: Foreigners to be Offered Free Treatment for HIV on the NHS
Culture Wars
»From Negro Creek to Wop Draw, Place Names Offend
»Many Solar System Comets May be Sun’s Stolen Goods
»New Space Drill Could Seek Alien Life Inside Icy Saturn Moon

Financial Crisis

Court Rules Rapid Euro Crisis Group Illegal

Germany’s top court ruled on Tuesday that a small fast-track committee set up to approve emergency steps for fighting the eurozone crisis was illegal. The Federal Constitutional Court in the south-western city of Karlsruhe decided the nine-member body violated the rights of the 611 other Bundestag lawmakers, chief justice Andreas Vosskuhle said.

Budgetary policy, which includes decisions about the euro since it involves public money, “is the responsibility of the whole Bundestag”, Vosskuhle said, adding the committee therefore constituted unfair treatment.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

ECB Rejects Greek Bonds as Collateral

The European Central Bank has announced it will no longer accept Greek government bonds as collateral. While only temporary, the decision reflects a broader fear that Greece may be unable to pay back its loans. The European Central Bank on Tuesday said it would suspend the eligibility of Greek bonds as collateral for loans to banks, a day after rating agency Standard & Poor’s declared Greece in “selective default.”

The ECB’s governing council said in a statement that it would “temporarily suspend the eligibility” of Greek debt as collateral in the standard procedure of loaning cash to banks. The announcement was another symbol of the falling market confidence in Greece’s long-term ability to pay back its debt.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

‘Europe Remains a Question of War and Peace’: Kohl Urges Germans to Stay Committed to Europe

Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl stepped into the German debate about aid for Greece on Tuesday, warning that the goal of a united Europe mustn’t be questioned. Opposition leaders say Merkel’s government is teetering following Monday’s backbench revolt in the parliamentary vote on the Greek bailout.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Finns to Vote on Greek Bail-Out

Finland is to vote on the next tranche of the Greek bail-out on Tuesday, Finnish national broadcaster YLE reported. Finland’s contribution to the loan is €1.25 billion out of a total package worth €130 billion. The Finns negotiated preconditions with Greece in return for accepting the bail-out.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Frankfurt Airport Strike Expands: Transport Minister Warns of ‘Disastrous Consequences’

With German union GdF slated to expand its strike on Wednesday at Frankfurt Airport, Europe’s third largest, air transport could be massively disrupted in Germany and possibly globally. The airport’s operator and German flag carrier Lufthansa say they will seek a court injunction to stop the strike.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

German Court Says EFSF Committee Largely Unconstitutional

The German Constitutional Court Tuesday ruled that a special 9-person parliamentary committee set up to decide on use of the temporary eurozone bailout fund — the EFSF — is “predominantly unconstitutional.” The committee — established to make decisions quicker — must be bigger, reports Spiegel Online.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

German High Court Calls for More Parliament in Bailout Decisions

Germany’s Constitutional Court has declared that parliament must participate more actively in emergency decisions on eurozone aid, rejecting measures to turn over these powers to a select body of representatives. Germany’s highest court ruled on Tuesday that a select body of nine parliamentarians cannot alone make emergency decisions on eurozone financial aid, calling instead for the entire legislature to participate more actively. The Constitutional Court based its decision on the “overall budgetary responsibility of parliament.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Greece: S&P: Selective Default; Athens: No Impact

Agency lowers rating to “SD”, first time for a eurozone state

Standard & Poor’s has lowered Greece’s rating to “SD”, meaning “selective” or partial default, the lowest level before all-out default. Last night’s decision by the American agency comes three days ahead of the beginning of the “swap” operation on Greek bonds by private creditors after the laborious agreement reached a week ago. Athens, though, has been quick to play down the development. “The new rating cut was expected” and “all of its consequences have been anticipated” thanks to decisions taken by the European Council and by the Eurogroup, according to a statement released by the country’s Ministry of Finance a few minutes after news of the downgrade. The statement also said that the move “will have no impact on the Greek banking sector, given the liquidity supplied by Greece’s central bank and by the EFSF (European Financial Stability Facility)”.

The downgrade by S&P’s, however, means that a eurozone country for the first time has a rating of “selective default”. This comes after a cut in the last few days by another agency, Fitch, which lowered Athens’ rating from CCC to C last week, claiming that the swap of Greek bonds to be carried out by private creditors represented a “distressed debt exchange”, tantamount to partial default. Last night, a statement by the agency said, S&P’s “lowered the rating on long-term and short-term bonds from CC and C to SD (selective default) respectively”, explaining that the decision was linked to the fact that “guarantees on certain obligations have not been provided”. This does not, however, apply for all obligations.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Italy: 1.202% Compared to Over 6% in November

(ANSA) — Rome, February 27 — Rates plummeted to 1.202% at a six-month bond auction Monday from 1.969% at the last such sale on January 27.

In November, when Mario Monti became premier after Silvio Berlusconi resigned, the six-month lending rate was over 6%. The Treasury sold all the 12.25 billion euros of bonds it was offering.

The spread between Italian and German bonds edged down to 359.5 points Monday with the yield at 5.42%.

The Milan bourse closed 1.09% down.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Netherlands: Think-Tank Chief Warns New Cuts Would Worsen Recession

A new round of spending cuts would aggravate the recession and instead European governments should undertake ‘credible reforms’ to get national budgets under control, Coen Teulings, director of the government’s macro-economic think-tank CPB says in an article in the Financial Times.

The opinion piece, written jointly with Jean Pisani-Ferry, director of European economic think-tank Bruegel, comes a week before the Dutch cabinet is due to start negotiations on new cuts in an effort to get the budget deficit under control.

However, more cuts would not only hurt in the short term, but research has shown they have a longer-lasting effect as well, Teulings and Pisani-Ferry write.

‘A better path to sustainable public finances is to launch credible reforms today that ensure rebalancing of the government budget tomorrow,’ they said, suggesting an increase in the retirement age or social benefit reforms as good options.

‘However, it is hard for financial markets to monitor the implementation of such measures,’ the article’s authors say. ‘The Commission is right to ask for them, and it should have an important role in the surveillance of policy actions and the evaluation of their effects.’

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Spain: Nightlife Hit by the Crisis, 12,000 Clubs Closed

(ANSAmed) — MADRID — Spanish nightlife is a major victim of the crisis, with Spain’s nightclubs, discos, hit over the last three years along with its bars and restaurants. A total of over 12,000 clubs have closed, with the record number of 232,000 recorded in 2008 falling to 220,000 at year end 2011, according to figures from the 2012 Yearbook of the consulting company Nielsen, released today. According to the report, last year the catering sector also suffered the effects of tightening the smoking ban, with the closure of 3,000 businesses, in addition to the 4000 closed in 2010 and 5,000 in 2009. The worst hit were nightclubs (-2.3%), followed by hotels and restaurants (-1.4%), and cafes and bars (-0.5%). According to the consulting company, closures directly related to the crisis, have brought the total number of rooms similar to that recorded in 1997.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Campaign Treasurer for New York City Comptroller Liu is Arrested

The campaign treasurer for City Comptroller John C. Liu was arrested on Tuesday as a part of a widening investigation into Mr. Liu’s fundraising practices.

The treasurer, Jia Hou, faces charges of fraud and obstruction of justice for what federal prosecutors say was her role in funneling illegal campaign money to Mr. Liu by using straw, or phony, donors.

[Return to headlines]

China’s Space Advances Worry US Military

The rise of China’s space program may pose a potentially serious military threat to the United States down the road, top American intelligence officials contend.

China continues to develop technology designed to destroy or disable satellites, which makes the United States and other nations with considerable on-orbit assets nervous. Even Beijing’s ambitious human spaceflight plans are cause for some concern, since most space-technology advances could have military applications, officials say.

“The space program, including ostensible civil projects, supports China’s growing ability to deny or degrade the space assets of potential adversaries and enhances China’s conventional military capabilities,” Army Lt. Gen. Ronald Burgess, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, wrote in testimony presented before the U.S. Senate’s Armed Services Committee Feb. 16. Burgess was delivering the DIA’s annual assessment of threats to U.S. security and interests around the globe.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Fight at Shower Cited in Slaying of 9-Month-Old Boy

A fight over a seat at a baby shower triggered the killing of a 9-month-old boy, according to the victim’s grandmother.

Delric Miller IV died Monday as he slept on the couch in his home on the 8400 block of Greenview Avenue. Police said someone fired at the house with an AK-47-type assault rifle about 4:30 a.m., leaving behind 37 shells. One of the rounds hit the baby, who was pronounced dead at Sinai-Grace Hospital. Delric’s grandmother, Cynthia Wilkins, said she believes the shooting was retaliation for a skirmish Sunday at a baby shower at Club Celebrity on Plymouth Rd. in Detroit.

A task force consisting of the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives and the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the case.

“Life is not valued in Detroit. It’s a war zone here,” Wilkins said. “We need some ground troops patrolling these streets; they send them all overseas, but they need to be here.” The death was the 43rd homicide in the city this year, up from 35 in the period last year.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

GM to Take Five Percent Stake in Peugeot: Report

US auto giant General Motors is in talks to buy out five percent of France’s biggest car builder PSA Peugeot Citroën, business daily Les Echos reported on Tuesday citing several sources. Sources close to the negotiation said the deal was a so-called standstill agreement in which GM could not increase its stake in Peugeot without prior permission from the car group.

Last week French Labour Minister Xavier Bertrand revealed that GM and Peugeot were in talks towards a strategic partnership confirming a report on a website. Contacted by AFP, Peugeot refused all comment.

Peugeot is France’s top car manufacturer, ahead of Renault, and Europe’s second, behind Volkswagen. The Peugeot family controls 30.3 percent of the capital and 45.75 percent of voting rights in the firm which effectively took over French car manufacturer Citroen in 1976.

Last year, the firm, which employs 205,000 people worldwide, sold 3.5 million cars around the world, two-thirds of them in Europe where the market is under pressure as the economy slows sharply.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Louis Farrakhan Warns of Racial Hatred That Could Lead to Attempts to Kill President Obama

Nation of Islam leader in Chicago to speak at annual event

In a fiery lecture to thousands of followers of the Nation of Islam on Sunday in Chicago, Minister Louis Farrakhan warned that racial hatred could lead to attempts to assassinate President Barack Obama.

Farrakhan spent much of his oration decrying what he cast as Satan’s influence over racist forces in politics and society before asking a pointed rhetorical question: “Do you think they’re wicked enough to be plotting our brother’s assassination as we speak?”

Farrakhan delivered his speech to an enthusiastic crowd of adherents packed loosely into the United Center for the Nation of Islam’s annual observance of Saviours’ Day, which celebrates the birth of the faith’s founder, W. Fard Muhammad. This year’s events marked the 82nd year of the religion’s existence in North America.

With his finger jabbing at the air above him and his voice frequently raising to an indignant shout, Farrakhan, 78, delivered his message to a crowd of men in dark suits with bow ties and women in shimmering white gowns and scarves.

He spoke for more than three hours on a broad array of topics, excoriating U.S. foreign policy, suggesting that the9/11attacks were a government-planned pretext for war in the Middle East, lamenting recent extreme weather and attacking mothers for serving their children food from McDonald’s. He also returned repeatedly to a topic that has attracted intense controversy in the past: the influence of Jews in politics and media.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

New Evidence Suggests Stone Age Hunters From Europe Discovered America

New archaeological evidence suggests that America was first discovered by Stone Age people from Europe — 10,000 years before the Siberian-originating ancestors of the American Indians set foot in the New World.

A remarkable series of several dozen European-style stone tools, dating back between 19,000 and 26,000 years, have been discovered at six locations along the US east coast.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

Report: Internet Radicalizes U.S. Muslims Quickly

Zachary Chesser, a 22-year-old Virginia man now serving 25 years for terrorism crimes, took less than two years to transform “from an average American kid to a hardened supporter of terrorist organizations,” according to a study of his case by staff from the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.


“Chesser represents a growing breed of young Americans who have such comfort and facility with social media that they can self-radicalize to violent Islamist extremism in an accelerated time period, compared to more traditional routes to radicalization,” the report said.

Chesser, who converted to Islam after graduating high school in 2008, is “a harbinger, not an outlier,” according to the report.

[Note from Egghead: Wow! I am glad that we solved that mystery. It is officially the INTERNET that radicalizes U.S. Muslims rather than Islam, the Koran, hadith, sura, mosques, Friday services by ranting imams, Mohammed cartoon drawing by European infidels, or Koran-burning by hapless G.I.s in Afghanistan. So, if the world denies internet access to Muslims around the world then ALL Islamic terrorism will stop? Well, that sounds like a cheap and easy solution to me — certainly cheaper and easier than sending our young G.I.s to have their limbs blown off and brains rattled by roadside bombs. But then, who would guard the hearts and souls of the local Muslim Afghan chiefs during their dancing boy sessions?!]

           — Hat tip: Egghead[Return to headlines]

Rich People Are More Likely to Lie, Cheat, And Steal Candy From Children

The wealthy are more likely to lie, cheat, steal, and break the law, seven separate studies designed to weigh ethics concluded, according to Bloomberg’s Elizabeth Lopatto.

The results, which were presented today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, showed that the rich were more likely to steal candy from children, lie while negotiating, and cheat when trying to win a price because they “perceive greed as positive and beneficial.”

Participants were found online through sites such as Craiglist and Amazon Inc, to partake in experiments that ranged from self-reporting the outcome of rolling a dice to win a prize to traffic experiments which showed if the participant would illegally cut someone off.

Overall, the experiments measured the likelihood of partaking in bad behavior. The experiments did not measure the relationship between socioeconomic status and violent crimes.

One of the study’s authors, Paul Piff, told Bloomberg that the poor might be less likely to cheat because they rely more on the community for support and therefore want to behave within community standards and not exile themselves. But “upper-class individuals are more self-focused, they privilege themselves over others, and they engage in self-interested patterns of behavior,” Piff told Lopatto.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Romney Wins Arizona, Leads in Michigan

Detroit (CNN) — Mitt Romney will win Tuesday’s Arizona primary, CNN projected based on exit polls, and he took an early lead over rival Rick Santorum in Michigan, a key contest in the Republican race for a candidate to run against President Barack Obama in November.

The victory in Arizona, where exit polls showed Romney getting 43% to 28% for Santorum, gives the former Massachusetts governor all of the state’s 29 delegates in the winner-takes-all primary. Trailing well back were the other two GOP contenders — Newt Gingrich and Texas Rep. Ron Paul.

In Michigan, Romney was ahead with 41% to 38% for Santorum, 12% for Paul and 7% for Gingrich, with 54% of unofficial returns counted. The state’s 30 delegates will be allocated on a proportional basis, and Romney and Santorum each won three so far, according to the early returns.

Romney needs to win Michigan, where he grew up when his father was governor, to assert his ability to overcome the conservative challenge from Santorum.

A Santorum victory in Michigan would be a major upset and would give the former Pennsylvania senator sustained momentum after his surge to the top of the polls earlier this month as the conservative alternative to the more moderate Romney…

[Return to headlines]

Romney Wins Michigan and Arizona

Mitt Romney’s tentative hold on the status of GOP front-runner received a significant boost with victory in Michigan, where he won his native state and fought off a spirited challenge from Rick Santorum.

Combined with a resounding triumph in the winner-take-all state of Arizona, Romney extended his lead in the delegate race and assuaged concerns of party leaders that the GOP race was on track for a prolonged and bitter battle…

[Return to headlines]

Third Student Dies After Shooting at High School in Ohio

Two more victims of a shooting rampage on Monday at a high school outside of Cleveland have died, the authorities said Tuesday.

[Return to headlines]


Twitter Stretching Toward 500 Million Users

Social media tool Twitter will reach 500 million users Wednesday afternoon, according to news reports. Trending this way means Twitter could have one billion users within 18 months, Forbes magazine says. According to that article, Myspace has attracted one million new members in the past month. Google+ has about 90 million users.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Austria Reprimanded Over Job Market Disparities

The European Commission (EC) has appealed to Austria to abolish the various hindrances immigrants are facing on the country’s labour market.

EC officials decided yesterday (Mon) to issue a warning to the Austrian government coalition of Social Democrats (SPÖ) and People’s Party (ÖVP) as well as to Austrian private economy decision-makers. EC experts said highly skilled migrants were still struggling to find work in Austria because of a wide range of bureaucratic burdens. They called on the European Union (EU) member’s lawmakers and businesspeople to improve the situation.

SPÖ and ÖVP tried to reform integration and labour market policies by introducing the Red White Red Card (RWR Card, Rot-Weiß-Rot Card) last year. The RWR Card considers factors such as an immigrant’s age, profession and work experience. The card also registers whether a domestic company already made clear that it plans to employ the foreign job seeker.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Denmark Tops Index of Clean Tech Start-Ups

Denmark, Israel and Sweden provide the best conditions for clean technology start-up companies, says the WWF. The Global Cleantech Innovation Index evaluated 38 countries. Germany ranked sixth, Russia came last. Denmark has topped an index of 38 countries taking action to promote new business solutions to environmental problems, like climate change.

It stood out for its “unique combination” of a supportive environment for green-minded entrepreneurs, the number of clean technology start-ups emerging there, and its strong track record of commercializing innovations. Small economies and northern European countries distinguished themselves, with Israel, Sweden, Finland and the United States rounding out the top five countries of this year’s Global Cleantech Innovation Index, published by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

Germany ranked sixth while Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Russia ranked last. The results were based on 15 indicators including entrepreneurial culture, supportive government policies, numbers of patents and numbers of success stories.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

France: Socialist Surprises With Plans for 75% Tax Rate

Socialist presidential candidate François Hollande showed he plans to hit high income earners by announcing plans to introduce a tax rate of 75 percent for those earning more than €1 million a year ($1.34 million). The candidate made his surprise announcement during a televised TV discussion programme on Monday evening.

After accidentally announcing that the tax would be for those earning “one million euros a month,” he corrected himself to say “one million euros a year.” “I’ve seen the incredible increases in salaries of company bosses — two million euros a year on average,” he said. “How can we accept that?” “What I don’t like is indecent wealth,” he said “These salaries that have nothing to do with talent, intelligence or effort.”

France currently has a top tax rate of 45 percent for incomes over €500,000. Hollande has already said he plans to impose the 45 percent rate on those earning more than €150,000 a year. As well as this France has a wealth tax on those with assets over €800,000.

Speaking at an agricultural show on Tuesday, Hollande defended the proposed measure. “This sends a signal of social cohesion,” he said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

France: Skirt-Wearing Cyclists Beware: Women Warned

A cycling association in Toulouse has warned women cyclists that wearing a skirt while on a bike can be dangerous. The group, La Maison Du Vélo (House of Cycling), has organised a debate for Thursday evening to discuss the issue, reports regional newspaper La Dépeche du Midi.

Dangers associated with skirts include those that are too short hindering the movement of the legs and those that are too long taking on a life of their own. “A skirt that’s too long can get caught in the wheels and cause an accident,” said one cyclist, reported on the newspaper’s website.

Special bicycle attachments are available that can stop the skirt getting caught in the wheels. Another cyclist complained that short skirts can attract unwanted attention from men. “I don’t know if cycling in a skirt is dangerous, but I will say it can attract unwanted remarks and wolf-whistles,” said Margot, another cyclist.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

German Court Grants Parliament More Say in Bailouts

The nine-member panel set up by the German parliament to monitor the activities of the temporary euro bailout fund is “in large part” unconstitutional, Germany’s top court said on Tuesday. The ruling could curtail Berlin’s ability to fight the euro crisis.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Hamburg Islamist to Stand Trial in Germany

Ahmad Sidiqi, an Islamist from Hamburg who received terrorist training in Pakistan for attacks in Germany, is about to go on trial in Koblenz. The 37-year-old, arrested in Kabul in 2010, became a key witness who has provided insights into al-Qaida. His testimony sparked a Europe-wide terror alert.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Italy: Cabinet Approves Amendment to Church Property-Tax Exemption

Move goes to parliament

(ANSA) — Rome, February 27 — The government on Monday unanimously approved an amendment that would end the Church’s tax-exempt status for its non-religious property. According to current law, Church-owned properties including hotels are exempt from taxes so long as a portion of the property serves a religious function.

The amendment would not affect property used exclusively for worship or religious purposes.

The amendment must now go before the House and the Senate for approval.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Kohl: Europe Still About War and Peace

Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl has warned against losing confidence in the benefits of a united Europe, saying “the bad ghosts of the past” were not gone and that the continent remained, “a question of war and peace.” Writing in the Bild newspaper, Kohl, who is widely credited as one of the architects of united Germany and Europe’s single currency the euro, said: “The current discussion in Europe and the crisis-like situation in Greece cannot now lead us to lose the aim of a united Europe from view, or even to question it and pull back.”

He said the opposite was true. “We must use the crisis as a chance. We need — particularly now — more and not less Europe.” He said the most important motivation of what he called Europe’s founding fathers — including in this Winston Churchill and Konrad Adenauer among others — was the desire to prevent further war. This remains valid, he said.

“Europe is our future. There is no alternative to Europe. We have every reason for optimism that we, that our Europe can also emerge from the current crisis stronger — if we want it. Let us not be led astray.” Chancellor Angela Merkel had to rely on votes from the left-wing opposition Social Democratic Party for a parliamentary vote to endorse a multi-billion euro bailout for Greece on Monday evening.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Notre Dame’s Biggest New Bell is Dutch

Dutch company Koninklijke Eijsbouts has been commissioned to make a massive new bell for the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris. The new bell, named Marie, will weigh 6,000 kilos and will have a diameter of 1.6 metres. Marie is a sister bell to the south tower’s Emmanuel, cast in 1686 but now too frail to be used apart from on special occasions, according to the Independent.

‘In total, there will be nine new bells and we are making the largest one,’ deputy director Joep van Brussel is quoted as saying. The new bells will be placed in Notre Dame next year for the cathedral’s 850th anniversary celebrations. According to the BBC, the new bells will sound much more like the original medieval bells than those currently in use.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Ötzi the Ice Mummy’s Secrets Found in DNA

Ötzi the ice mummy may have met his death in the Alps some 5300 years ago, but his descendants live on — on the Mediterranean islands of Corsica and Sardinia. The finding comes from an analysis of Ötzi’s DNA, which also reveals he had brown eyes and hair, and was lactose intolerant.

The ice mummy was found in 1991 on an Alpine glacier between Austria and Italy, where he met a violent end in the Neolithic. Albert Zink of the Institute for Mummies and the Iceman in Bolzano, Italy, and colleagues have now analysed DNA extracted from Ötzi’s pelvis to find out more about his life.

Mutations to the iceman’s MCM6 gene suggest he could not digest the lactose protein in milk — unlike most modern Europeans. “Maybe at that time most people were still lactose-intolerant,” says Zink. “The change to farming livestock (in Europe) only began between about 5000 and 10,000 years ago and so digesting milk became an advantage.”

Ötzi was more likely than most to develop heart disease. He carried one genetic mutation that in modern humans raises the risk of coronary heart disease by 40 per cent, and two others that made him prone to a build-up of fat in the linings of his arteries. Zink says these findings fit with earlier investigations showing that Ötzi’s major arteries, including his aorta, were all calcified — a sign they were clogged with fatty deposits.

The team also compared Ötzi’s DNA with that of 1300 Europeans, 125 North Africans and 20 people from the Arab peninsula to establish that his closest living kin are found on Sardinia and Corsica. “His contemporaries have disappeared from the European mainland,” says Zink. Although the analysed DNA was partially degraded, Zink says most of it was intact and free from contamination.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Overfishing Could Continue Under EU Fisheries Policy

EU subsidised trawlers fishing off the coastlines of developing countries may be exempt from strict quotas, the Guardian newspaper reported Monday. Documents seen by the newspaper show that Spain is lobbying EU ministerial meetings to exempt EU vessels from tighter rules when fishing outside EU waters.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Palestinian Man Admits Hijacking Bus

A 24-year-old Palestinian man has admitted he was behind the hijacking of a bus on Monday evening in an incident that left passengers terrified in Skien, south-eastern Norway. The hellish episode began at around 7.30pm when the man refused to buy a ticket and instead threatened the driver with an emergency hammer he found on-board the bus.

The 24-year-old then declined to let any of the passengers off the coach. “He told the driver he was not allowed to drive at less than 60 kilometres per hour. It was a scary experience,” one passenger, Sandra Svendsen, told newspaper VG.

Svendsen, 15, said she and her fellow passengers believed the hijacker was intoxicated. After several minutes had passed, one passenger shouted out that he had to pick up his children. The hijacker then gave the driver permission to stop the bus. Sensing their opportunity, and much to the hijacker’s dismay, all of the passenger quickly slipped out of the bus once it had come to a halt.

“He became furious. He shouted to the driver:’ Don’t let them off, don’t let them off’,” said Svendsen. Alone with the driver, the hijacker ordered his to continue the journey. By then, the police had begun to give chase, eventually catching up with the bus at nearby Bjørnstad.

Once the bus had stopped the 24-year-old took to his heels. He was arrested at 8pm, around 700 metres from where the bus had pulled in. Police said the driver had emerged physically unscathed. “But he was very shaken by the incident,” said investigating officer Jens Arne Bærland.

Prosecutor Odd Skei Kostveit said the 24-year-old hijacker was a stateless Palestinian who lived in Porsgrunn but did not have a Norwegian passport. Police have encountered the man on several occasions previously in connection with intoxication and public order offences, “The man appeared intoxicated on Monday evening and was recently released from psychiatric care,” said Kostveit.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Pippa Middleton to Ski in Sweden’s Vasaloppet

Philippa “Pippa” Middleton, sister-in-law to Britain’s Prince William, is set to compete in Sweden’s annual Vasaloppet cross-country ski race in a bid to raise money to fight children’s hunger. Middleton and her brother James, siblings of Princess Catherine the Duchess of Cambridge, have signed their names to take part in the 90 km race on Sunday, March 4th, together with 15,800 other registered participants.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Sweden’s ‘Snow Man’ To be Documentary Film

The 44-year-old man who was trapped in his snowed-in car in Umeå, northern Sweden, for over two months is set to become the basis of a documentary by the Discovery Channel. “We want to explain who he is, how he ended up in this situation and how it was possible to survive under such extreme conditions,” said Discovery Channel producer Andy Dunn to daily Aftonbladet.

The channel has expressed keen interest in the story, and aims to delve into the man’s life before and during his experiences in the now world famous snow-covered Jeep. “It’s an incredible story of survival,” he said.

The man, named in media reports as Peter Skyllberg, has captured the international media’s attention after allegedly surviving on only snow for 61 days. He was stranded in his car at the end of an unused path, behind a closed gate, and there were no traces of him having left the car. Following Skyllberg’s rescue, more details have emerged about his precarious financial situation and how he hasn’t been on speaking terms with his family for decades.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UK: Azad Ali, Awlaki Fan, Opponent of Democracy: Now Vice Chair of Unite Against Fascism

Unite Against Fascism has just elected, as its Vice Chair, the Islamic Forum Europe’s Azad Ali.

Here’s a report by the AWL’s Sacha Ismail:

Meanwhile the alliance with right-wing political Islam continues, now in the shape of the East London-based Islamic Forum of Europe, whose Azad Ali was “elected” UAF vice chair. No one on the left, as far as I know, suggests the IFE and its like are terrorists (I mention this because it’s a straw man Ali raised repeatedly — criticise us, and you must think we’re al Qaeda) or that we should refuse to stand even with Islamists to physically defeat fascist violence. But the idea that the left should be building a political alliance with a group that has established a bigoted, reactionary and repressive political climate in the Bengali community of Tower Hamlets is astonishing.

Just to recap:

Azad Ali opposes democracy “if it means at the expense of not implementing the sharia”

Azad Ali sued the Daily Mail for suggesting that comments on his blog showed that he was “a hardline Islamic extremist who supports the killing of British and American soldiers in Iraq by fellow Muslims as justified”. He lost.

Azad Ali used to attend talks by the spiritual leader of Al Qaeda in Europe: Abu Qatada…

           — Hat tip: Derius[Return to headlines]

UK: Football Fan Avoids Jail for Racist Tweets About Newcastle’s Demba Ba

A football fan who caused outrage on Twitter for posting a series of racist tweets about Newcastle United and the club’s striker Demba Ba has been given a suspended jail sentence.

Sunderland supporter Peter Copeland, 29, was jailed for four months after pleading guilty to two offences under the Malicious Communications Act, but District Judge Roger Elsey suspended the sentence for 18 months.

Sunderland Magistrates’ Court had heard how Copeland, who is unemployed and lives with his parents in West Rainton, Durham, had been arguing with a Newcastle United fan on Twitter.

But the banter between rival fans became criminal when Copeland tweeted a racist comment about Newcastle’s Senegalese striker Ba.

He then followed up the tweet with another offensive message suggesting there were too many black players in the Newcastle team.

District Judge Elsey said the four-month sentence was warranted because of the ‘grossly offensive’ racist comments, but that it would be suspended for 18 months because Copeland, who will also carry out 150 hours of unpaid work and pay £85 costs, had pleaded guilty and ‘deeply regretted’ his actions.

‘I hope you understand you must never again use racist abuse of this nature,’ the judge added.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: First Black Actor to Play Heathcliff Who Racially Abused Ex-Girlfriend is Sectioned

The actor chosen as the first black man to ever play the character Heathcliff today missed his sentencing for racially abusing his ex-girlfriend after being sectioned under the Mental Health Act.

James Howson, 24, who starred as the iconic anti-hero in the new 2011 film adaptation of Wuthering Heights, was due to be sentenced at Leeds Magistrates today for racially aggravated harassment.

He had pleaded guilty at an earlier court hearing to shouting racist abuse and threats at his former girlfriend Shakira Ramdihal, 23, after their three-year relationship ended.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: Hounslow Unlicensed Cabbie Jailed for Sex Attacks

AN UNLICENSED cab driver has been jailed following sexual assaults on two women in 2010.

Amir Bhatti, 33, of Cranford Lane, Hounslow, admitted two counts of sexual assault, and one count of theft in October last year.

He was sentenced to four years imprisonment for public protection at Isleworth Crown Court on Friday (24).

Detective Constable Serena D’Adamo said: “Bhatti used his job as an unlicensed cab driver to target vulnerable women and get them into his car so he could carry out the assaults. This case should serve as a reminder to women to take sensible precautions when planning a night out and ensure they have a safe way of getting home.”

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: OAP Who Was So Terrified of Burglars He Slept in an Armchair Instead of His Bed is Murdered… By a Burglar

A grandfather who was so scared of being burgled that he slept downstairs in his armchair was throttled to death by a serial thief who had been released early.

Paul Cox had taken to spending nights in his living room two years earlier after becoming the victim of burglaries only months apart.

But his fear of being targeted again became a reality when he was killed by drunken intruder Cory Youlden, who escaped with a bag of coins and Mr Cox’s car.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: Police Dismantle Occupy London Campsite

Police and bailiffs have begun to dismantle the Occupy London campsite outside St. Paul’s Cathedral. The action came after a court rejected an appeal by protesters to be allowed to stay. Bailiffs and police on Tuesday cleared the campsite set up by Occupy London campaigners after the protesters lost a legal battle to remain at the site.

Police said they arrested 20 people in the “largely peaceful” operation to clear the Occupy London campsite. The local authority, the City of London Corporation, confirmed the eviction from the four-month-old encampment in front of St. Paul’s Cathedral had begun.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UK: The Police Chief Leading the Investigation Into Phone Hacking Said Yesterday There Was a ‘Culture of Illegal Payments’ At the Sun — With One Journalist Given £150,000 to Pay to Public Officials.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner (DAC) Sue Akers, who is leading the Metropolitan Police’s latest inquiries into allegations of phone hacking, email hacking and corrupt payments, said investigations pointed to payments being made to officials in ‘all areas of public life’.

The Met boss said that illegal payments from the Sun to public officials were part of a ‘trade craft’ within the newspaper. In one example, she claimed that one journalist had been given £150,000 in cash over a number of years for him to pay public officials and sources.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: Vandalism at a Southampton Cemetery Could be Evidence of a Form of Substance Abuse New to the UK, According to a Drugs Charity.

It is thought teenagers misusing a legitimate feminine anti-inflammatory product damaged the Old Cemetery.

DrugScope said the product is available over the counter but its misuse can produce hallucinogenic effects.

Police said they were looking into allegations of possible drug or legal high use by those responsible.

Harry Shapiro of DrugScope said it was the first time the charity had heard of the gynaecological anti-inflammatory product being misused in the UK.

But he said there were reports of it being abused in Eastern Europe and Brazil.

Mr Shapiro said: “It produces visual hallucinations, people get confused, over-excited and agitated which would explain the vandalism. People could get themselves hurt and indulge in fairly mindless behaviour.”

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

Ukraine Convicts Tymoshenko Ally of Embezzlement

A Kyiv court has sentenced a key ally of opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko to four years in prison for abuse of power and embezzlement. The European Union has criticized the trial and the verdict. Former Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko was convicted on Monday of giving illegal bonuses and perks to his driver.

From a cage in the courtroom, Lutsenko said the trial was politically motivated. “We have seen that there is no fair judiciary in Ukraine,” he said. “This ruling is aimed at destroying me as a politician.” His lawyer said he would appeal the conviction.

The EU’s high representative for foreign affairs, Catherine Ashton, criticized the ruling. “We are disappointed with the verdict against Mr. Lutsenko, which signals the continuation of trials in Ukraine which do not respect international standards as regards fair, transparent and independent legal process,” Ashton said in a statement.

“Respect for the rule of law will be of crucial importance for the speed of Ukraine’s political association and economic integration with the EU,” she added. The European Union and the United States had previously condemned the trial.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Van Rompuy: National Parliaments Are EU Institutions

BRUSSELS — Tasked with approving bail-outs, national budgets and labour market policies which can affect the stability of the eurozone, national parliaments are similar to European institutions, Herman Van Rompuy, EU council president, said Monday (27 February).

“In the old days, exaggerating just slightly, the European Community used to exist on one planet, and national politics on six, nine, twelve, fifteen other planets. This is over now. The debt crisis, difficult and painful as it is, brings home the fact that the Union is us,” Van Rompuy told a gathering of national and EU deputies discussing economic policy across the bloc.

He noted that decisions by one national parliament — be it in Germany, Ireland, Slovakia or Portugal — are now being watched all over Europe when it comes to approving tax-payer funded bail-outs or adopting deficit reduction measures. “Maybe not formally speaking, but at least politically speaking, all national parliaments have become, in a way, European institutions,” Van Rompuy said.

This development also comes at the expense of some sovereignty. “National parliaments keep their budgetary sovereignty, at least as long as national policies do not threaten the financial stability of the whole. To prevent that, countries in excessive deficit will conclude a ‘contract’ with the European Commission to bring down the deficit below the 3 percent ceiling (of gross domestic product).”

But deficits are not the only area where parliaments have to take into account the EU and other member states: economic reforms such as in the labour market “have a major impact on the rest of the union.”

“The commission and other euro area member states have to be consulted before adoption of any major fiscal or economic policy reform with potential spill-over effects, so as to allow for an assessment of possible impact on the euro area as a whole,” Van Rompuy explained, adding that it is the responsibility of national parliaments to “adapt” to this new situation.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

We Have Become the New Villain

A Commentary By Jan Fleischhauer

The German parliament is set to approve a new multibillion euro bailout package for Greece on Monday, but instead of thanks, southern Europeans are expressing their dislike of us. Germans will have to get used to their new role: We have become the Americans of Europe.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

WikiLeaks Probed Swedish Journos: Report

Swedish journalists were the subject of a secret probe by WikiLeaks aimed at exposing what leaders of the whistleblower website are convinced is a conspiracy by Sweden against founder Julian Assange. According to Swedish tabloid Expressen, WikiLeaks tasked a team of activists to secretly investigate the newspaper’s editor, Thomas Mattson, as well as Ulrika Knutson, the head of Sweden’s National Press Club (Publicistklubben).

“They have ascertained that at least three reporters who work for two different media houses are involved in the conspiracy,” WikiLeaks sources told Expressen. “They have surreptitiously photographed people suspected of being involved in the conspiracy against Assange, they have also accessed information from public records and gained access to secret material from government databases.”

Expressen is the Swedish newspaper which first reported in August 2010 that Assange had been accused of sex crimes and that a warrant had been issued for his arrest.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

‘Young Norwegians Are Lazy’: Tyre Baron

The number of young Norwegians on disability benefits has risen rapidly in recent years, prompting some commentators to wonder if the country has lost its work ethic. Last year, Norway paid out some 6.4 billion kroner ($1.15 billion) to young people deemed ineligible to work, business daily Dagens Næringsliv reported.

The number of young people claiming disability benefits has risen by 24 percent in just four years to encompass 9,200 people today, according to figures from the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration. In all, 36,000 Norwegians under the age of 30 receive either disability benefits or rehabilitation payments.

Tasawer “Tommy” Sharif, a multi-millionaire tyre magnate, described the figures as “hair-raising”. The 35-year-old Sharif believes many young people have simply chosen to take advantage of the country’s generous welfare system. Sharif, whose father came to Norway from Pakistan in 1969, said he hadn’t taken a day off sick in the 17 years he has been working to build up a highly successful tyre business.

Noting that there were of course plenty of hard-working exceptions, Sharif told the newspaper: “Young Norwegians are lazy. The work ethic here is different than in our neighbouring countries,” Sharif told the newspaper. He referred specifically to a trend that has emerged in recent years of young Swedes crossing the border in their thousands, lured by more attractive pay packets in oil-rich Norway.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Macedonia — the New Kosovo?

By Srdja Trifkovic

Both demographically and politically, the republic has a precarious present and an uncertain future.

An Orthodox church was set ablaze in the southwestern part of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) on January 30. The incident reflects raising tensions between local Christian Slavs and Albanians, more than a decade after an Albanian rebellion brought FYROM to the verge of an ethnic war. It also evokes memories of the early stages of the conflict in Kosovo, in the late 1980s.

The Church of St. Nicholas, in the majority Albanian-Muslim village of Labuniste, was two centuries old and housed valuable icons. The arson at Labuniste followed the burning of a Macedonian flag and the raising of Albanian and Islamic banners in the neighboring town of Struga, allegedly in reaction to an incident of “mocking Islam” at a local carnival last month.

The town, on the shores of Lake Ohrid, lies at the southern edge of the line of ethnic separation between the two communities.

The exact figures are disputed, but Macedonian Slavs account for about two-thirds (1.3 million) and Albanians for 30 percent (600,000) of the republic’s two million people.

The latter, 98% Muslim, have had a remarkable rate of growth since 1961, when they accounted for only 13% of the total. The Albanian birthrate has been more than twice that of Slavs for decades.

Following the signing of the NATO-brokered Ohrid Agreement that ended the 2001 Albanian rebellion by the “NLA” (a Kosovo Liberation Army subsidiary), FYROM has become binational and bilingual and the Albanians its second constituent nation. They are guaranteed proportional share of government power and an ethnicallybased police force. This has turned FYROM into the weakest state in the Balkans and its de facto ethnic partition has become formalized and internationally guaranteed.

Having secured their dominance along the borders of Albania and Kosovo, the current main thrust of the Albanian ethno-religious encroachment has the country’s capital city as its primary objective. It is a littleknown fact that today’s Skopje is effectively as divided as Nicosia or Jerusalem. Once a city quarter becomes majority-Albanian, it is quickly emptied of its Slavic, non-Muslim population.

The time-tested technique is to construct a mosque in a mixed area, to broadcast prayer calls at full blast five times a day, and to create the visible and audible impression of dominance that intimidates non- Muslims (the locals call it “sonic cleansing”).

During the 2001 Albanian rebellion the NLA was largely financed by the smuggling of narcotics from Turkey and Afghanistan. In addition to drug money, as The Washington Times reported on June 22, 2001, “the NLA also has another prominent venture capitalist: Osama bin Laden.”

French terrorism expert Claude Moniquet told The Christian Science Monitor in 2006 that up to a hundred fundamentalists, “dangerous and linked to terrorist organizations,” were ready in sleepercells in Macedonia. New recruits are offered stipends to study Islam in Saudi Arabia, and they are given salaries and free housing to spread the Wahhabi word on their return to FYROM.

In March 1999, on the eve of the war in Kosovo, I wrote in The Times of London that NATO support of ethnic Albanian separatists in Kosovo would unleash a chain reaction whose first victim would be Macedonia, because “once KLA veterans acting as policemen start to patrol Kosovo, the rising expectations of Macedonia’s Albanians will be impossible to contain.”

“Nonsense,” a US State Department official snapped at a conference in Washington a few days later. “The problem in Kosovo is [Slobodan] Milosevic..

In Macedonia the Albanians don’t need to make trouble because their rights are respected.”

The issue was that of “human rights,” he said, not nationalism: the notion of Greater Albania was a Serb paranoid invention.

Thirteen years later we know the score…

           — Hat tip: Srdja Trifkovic[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Crisis Between Egypt, U.S. Deepens Over American Funding to Civil Society Organizations

Part II: The Islamists Join the Government/SCAF Campaign against the U.S.

By: L. Lavi

Recent months have witnessed an intense campaign by Egypt’s ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), after it accused the U.S. of providing illegal funding to civil society organizations in Egypt. The SCAF has attempted to use the crisis as leverage to win domestic support, attempting to counterbalance its loss of legitimacy among the Egyptian public, which has increasingly called for handing over the rule to civilian hands, especially as Egypt marked the first anniversary of the January 25 revolution.

In addition to its legal measures against American civil society activists in Egypt, the country’s authorities are waging an anti-American media campaign, manifest in articles in the Egyptian press inciting against the U.S. and lauding what is being depicted as the SCAF’s revolutionary stance against American attempts to interfere with Egypt’s domestic affairs.

In February 2012, in response to calls by Egyptian youth organizations to wage a campaign of civil disobedience on February 11 — the anniversary of Mubarak’s ouster — the SCAF has ratcheted up its anti-American campaign.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Egyptian Censors Block a Film About Love Story Between a Christian and a Muslim

The subject of the relationship between people of two religions is viewed as particularly “sensitive” and the media refrain from talking about it. The film was to be presented at the Luxor African Film Festival. The authorities have also prevented the screening for the jury, journalists and critics.

Cairo (AsiaNews / Agencies) — In a move slammed by the movie industry and critics, censors have blocked the screening of a film that tackles a sensitive subject in Egyptian society: the love between a Christian woman and a Muslim man. Religious tensions and relationships between the Christian minority and Muslim majority is in fact an issue that the Egyptian media avoid talking about.

“Cairo Exit “ by Hesham Issawi was to have been presented yesterday at the Luxor African Film Festival, but it did not have written permission that Egyptian law requires for the screening of a film. Violation of this rule is also punishable by imprisonment.

The festival organizers have asked permission to screen the film at least to a select audience, composed of only the members of the jury, critics and journalists, but received no response.

The incident has prompted dozens of filmmakers, journalists and the world of cinema to report in writing the “authorities’ decision to exclude the censorship of the film”.

The document expresses “regret that such practices continue in Egypt after the revolution” that “has taken the concepts of freedom and civil State” and defines “the idea of censorship ridiculous “ in a country emerging from dictatorship.

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

Egypt Dismisses Islam Defamation Case Against Christian Tycoon

An Egyptian court dismissed a lawsuit Tuesday against a prominent businessman accused of insulting Islam by posting an image online of Mickey Mouse with a beard and his counterpart Minnie wearing a veil.

Many conservative Muslims were angered when Naguib Sawiris, a member of the minority Christian community, posted the image on his Twitter account in June.

Sawiris faces two other lawsuits over the same picture.

“The verdict lays an important principle for other claims against Sawiris to be rejected,” the defendant’s lawyer Naguib Gobrail told dpa.

One of the lawsuits was filed by member of parliament and lawyer Mamdouh Ismail, vice president of the radical Al Asala Party, saying that Sawiris’ actions were a “deliberate mockery of Islamic clothing and symbols.”

Ismail’s case was adjourned till March 3.

Sawiris, a billionaire and the head of Orascom Telecom, turned to politics last year and founded the liberal Free Egyptians Party after the revolt that forced Hosny Mubarak to step down.

He has posted an online apology, saying he meant no harm and simply thought the images were amusing, and subsequently deleted the cartoons. Hardline Islamists have rejected his apology.

           — Hat tip: Nick[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Mideast: Hitch in Hamas-Fatah Deal, Egypt Promises Aid

Energy crisis also weighs on Gaza Strip

(ANSAmed) — GAZA/TEL AVIV — New elements are obstructing an agreement between Hamas and Fatah for the creation of a unity government of experts led by Mahmoud Abbas in the dual role of President and Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority. This is according to the Palestinian press, which says that Egypt’s ambassador to the Palestinian Territories, Yasser Othman, has promised that his country will continue with all efforts to bring both sides closer together. Relations between the two main Palestinian political forces have been strained by an arrest warrant issued in Gaza against a civil rights representative (Khalil Abu Shamala, who is “guilty” of blaming Hamas for the energy crisis in the Gaza Strip) and the arrest in the West Bank by PNA secret services of the son of a Hamas deputy, Omar Abdel Razeq.

Commenting on the meeting in recent days in Cairo between delegates from the Palestinian factions, ambassador Othman told the Palestinian press agency Maan that “more time is needed” to implement the deals reached in the Qatari capital Doha between Mahmoud Abbas and the leader of the political wing of Hamas, Khaled Meshal. Othman added that Egypt would do its bit to help the population of Gaza to overcome the current energy crisis. He believes, though, that a definitive resolution of the issue will take at least two years.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Possible Earliest Evidence of Christianity Resurrected From Ancient Tomb

In an ancient tomb located below a modern condominium building in Jerusalem, archaeologists have found ossuaries — bone boxes for the dead — bearing engravings that could represent the earliest archaeological evidence of Christians ever found. The tomb has been dated to before A.D. 70, so if its engravings are indeed early Christian, they were most likely made by some of Jesus’ earliest followers, according to the excavators.

One of the limestone ossuaries bears an inscription in Greek that includes a reference to “Divine Jehovah” raising someone up. A second ossuary has an image that appears to be a large fish with a stick figure in its mouth. The excavators believe the image represents the story of Jonah, the biblical prophet who was swallowed by a fish or whale and then released.

Together both the inscription and the image of the fish represent the Christian belief in resurrection from death. While images of the Jonah story became common on more recent Christian tombs, they do not appear in first-century art, and iconographic images like this on ossuaries are extremely rare.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Controversy in Saudi Arabia Over Journalist’s Tweets About the Prophet Muhammad

On February 4, 2012, the festival of the Prophet’s birthday, Hamza Kashgari, a columnist for the Saudi daily Al-Balad, posted comments on Twitter which many in the country perceived as offensive to the Prophet and to Allah. The tweets sparked a media uproar and prompted a harsh response from the Saudi authorities; the country’s information minister banned Kashgari from writing in the Saudi press, and the King ordered to issue a warrant for his arrest. (1) Fearing for his life, Kashgari fled to Malaysia, but was arrested and deported back to Saudi Arabia. (2) The affair evoked a debate in the kingdom between those who called to arrest Kashgari and even execute him for heresy, and those who advocated leniency and called to stop the media campaign against him.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Finance: Kuwait’s Burgan Joins Gulf Banks to Buy Greek EFG

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, FEBRUARY 27 — Kuwait’s Burgan Bank has reached a deal to acquire Greek Eurobank EFG’s 70% stake in Turkeys Eurobank Tekfen, according to an undisclosed source close to the matter who spoke with news agencies. According to the same source, as daily Hurriyet reports, Burgan Bank will also have the option to purchase the remaining 29.26% of Tekfen’s stake. An official announcement is expected to be made in one to two weeks, but the price is most likely to be based on shareholder’s equity. In its September 30, 2011 balance sheet, Eurobank Tekfen posted a net profit of 20.3 million Turkish Liras (8,52 million euros) and had 608.3 million liras (255,5 million euros) in shareholder equity. Recently, there has also been much talk that Qatar National Bank (QNB) is eyeing Denizbank, the fast-growing Turkish arm of eurozone debt casualty Dexia, in a deal potentially worth up to 6 USD billion, people familiar with the matter said. QNB, 50% of which is owned by sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority, would be the latest Qatari interest in Dexia’s assets after the Gulf state’s royal family bought Banque Internationale Luxembourg, a private bank. Qatar’s al-Thani royal family also runs investment groups including QIA, which has invested in European banks including Barclays in the past.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Kuwaiti Liberal: Claims of Jewish Control of World Media Are False

In a sarcastic article in the Kuwaiti daily Al-Watan, liberal Kuwaiti journalist Khalil ‘Ali Haidar mocks the claims that Israel and the Jews control world media and are responsible for morally corrupting Arab and Muslim societies. Haidar also rejects the usage of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion to besmirch the Jews. According to him, unlike Israel and the Jews, it is actually Arabs and Muslims who invest major capital in various satellite channels to promote their interests, while there is not even a single Israeli satellite channel in the region.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Qatar: Emir: Stop the Judaisation of Jerusalem

Conference in Doha on Jerusalem, call for UN action

(ANSAmed) — DOHA — The Emir of Qatar, Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, said that the Arab, Islamic and Christian identities of Jerusalem are in danger. The emir spoke at the International Conference for the Defence of Jerusalem in Doha, which was attended by over 350 politicians, diplomats and academics from the Islamic, Jewish and Christian worlds. “The Judaisation of Jerusalem must be stopped. We must move quickly to protect the holy city,” said the Emir, who wants to involve the UN Security Council in approving a resolution for the establishment of an international committee of investigation of Israel’s occupation of Jerusalem since 1967.

Rabbi Yisroel Weiss D, leader of the Jewish sect Neturei Karta International (Jews United Against Zionism), said that the State of -Israel created by Zionists has no legitimacy for the Jewish faith or under international law. “We are the true Jews of Palestine who believe in God and the Torah and are against the Zionist occupation of Jerusalem. The Jews do not have a nation.

Those who believe in the Torah cannot support the creation of a Jewish state,” said D. Weiss at the Doha Conference, accusing the Zionist movement of having exploited the Holocaust and arguing that the only solution is not the establishment of two states, but the creation of a single Palestinian state.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


EU Criticises Ongoing Ukraine Crackdown

EU foreign relations chief Catherine Ashton has criticised Ukraine’s jailing for four years of former interior minister Yuriy Lutsenko, saying it “signals the continuation of trials in Ukraine which do not respect international standards.” EU-Ukraine relations are currently on ice due to its jailing last year of former PM Tymoshenko.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Russian Space Program Woes Continue

Roscosmos, Russia’s space agency, has been beset with numerous setbacks in recent months. However, NASA says it’s not worried, but other analysts aren’t so sure. Russian and American space authorities announced in early February that due to faulty test procedures, the next manned mission of the Russian Soyuz capsule bound for the International Space Station would be delayed by a month. It is now set to launch no earlier than May 15, while teams in both countries are continuing to work on the problem in more detail.

“This particular event is very unfortunate, but you know this is a complicated business and things happen,” said Mike Suffredini, NASA’s International Space Station program manager, at a press conference when announcing the delay earlier this month. “To me, this is not indicative of some overarching problem at the Energia corporation,” Russia’s main space contractor.

However, Russia is the only country ferrying astronauts and cargo to the International Space Station and back since NASA retired its aging fleet of space shuttles last year — and that’s put newfound pressure on Roscosmos, the Russian space agency.

Russia’s space agency has experienced a string of mishaps in recent months. The latest was the failure of its Phobos-Grunt probe. The satellite failed to leave earth orbit and crashed into the Pacific Ocean. Russia’s space agency says foreign microchips and heavily charged space particles caused the probe to malfunction. These latest findings have some analysts worrying about the reliability of Russia’s space program.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Western Media ‘Myopic’ In Reporting of Assassination Attempt on Putin, Says Russia Expert

MOSCOW, February 28, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — Reporting of the assassination attempt on Russian President Vladimir Putin has exposed the hypocrisy of the Western media, according to Srdja Trifkovic, foreign affairs editor of Chronicles magazine.

Trifkovic said, “The news that a plot by Chechen terrorists to kill Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has been foiled by Russian and Ukrainian security services was greeted in the Western media by skepticism bordering on scorn.

“The New York Times set the tone with a long quote by a ferocious Russian critic of the Kremlin, Dmitri Oreshkin, who claimed that ‘the real leaders of Mr. Putin’s political structure, the people from the Federal Security Service, are trying to mobilize public opinion.’

“ quoted unidentified Russian ‘posters on blog platforms’ as saying this was but ‘a good PR move for the country’s main thief.’ Like the rest of the pack, Australia’s ABC suggested that the timing of the announcement was meant to help ‘the Russian strongman’ at next week’s presidential election.

“Not one major Western daily paper or TV channel has bothered to look into the substance of the story itself. Is it actually true, or likely to be true, regardless of any political effect? What is the track record of the accused? If the official story is suspect, are they then the victims of a sting operation, or just plain innocent?

“One hoped in vain for a commentator on either side of the Atlantic to point out the obvious:…”

           — Hat tip: Srdja Trifkovic[Return to headlines]

South Asia

At Conference Against Ahmadi Muslims, Renowned Pakistani Cleric Zahidur Rashidi Gives Two Scenarios for Future: Be Killed or Repent and Accept Islam

Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan were declared to be non-Muslims under a law enacted in 1974 by Pakistani Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. The law paved the way for social ridicule and religious discrimination of Ahmadis in Pakistan, who are pejoratively dismissed as Ahmadis or as Qadianis, after the town of Qadian in northern India where the Ahmadiyya movement began. Islamic clerics accuse the Ahmadi Muslims of not believing Prophet Muhammad to be the final prophet, and hence a strong religious movement is underway in Pakistan and also in India against Ahmadi Muslims.

In recent decades, Ahmadi Muslims have been publicly ridiculed in Pakistani society, attacked by Islamic extremists, and implicated under the blasphemy laws of Pakistan, which carry the death penalty. Islamic clerics have demanded that they be removed from government and military jobs, and Ahmadi Muslim students have been expelled from schools.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Pakistan’s First Oscar is ‘A Triumph for Pakistani Women’

Documentary filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy has become the first Pakistani to win an Oscar ever. Her short film ‘Saving Face’ looks at the issue of acid attacks on women in Pakistan. Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy became the first Pakistani to ever win an Oscar on Sunday. She and her American co-director Daniel Junge won the coveted prize for Best Documentary (Short Subject) for “Saving Face.”

The documentary chronicles the lives of two acid attack survivors, Zakia and Rukhsana, and the arduous task to bring their assailants to justice. It also focuses on the work of British-Pakistani plastic surgeon Mohammad Jawad, who moved to Pakistan to help restore the faces and lives of acid attack survivors.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Queen Fears for ‘Mandela of Maldives’

It is less than a month since Mohamed Nasheed, the go-ahead, British-educated journalist who earned the sobriquet ‘Mandela of the Maldives’ after he turned the islands from a dictatorship to a fledgling democracy, was toppled in a power grab backed by the security forces. A warrant is now out for his arrest.


The Queen will certainly be monitoring the situation. If the Maldives does not hold elections soon, then the Commonwealth will have no choice but to suspend or even expel the Islamic republic.

And the last thing the Head of the Commonwealth will want in her Jubilee year is a Zimbabwe-style bust-up.

[Note from Egghead: What precisely makes the Queen presume that she will maintain power when the Muslims gain the upper hand in England?]

           — Hat tip: Egghead[Return to headlines]

Far East

Beijing Wants Say in Choice of World Bank Head

Traditionally, the US gets to appoint the president of the World Bank. But China is keen to make its influence felt in the search for a successor to Robert Zoellick, who will step down in June. The next head may still be American, but he or she will need to get Beijing’s blessing.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

China’s Billionaire Lawmakers Make U.S. Peers Look Like Paupers

The richest 70 members of China’s legislature added more to their wealth last year than the combined net worth of all 535 members of the U.S. Congress, the president and his Cabinet, and the nine Supreme Court justices.

The net worth of the 70 richest delegates in China’s National People’s Congress, which opens its annual session on March 5, rose to 565.8 billion yuan ($89.8 billion) in 2011, a gain of $11.5 billion from 2010, according to figures from the Hurun Report, which tracks the country’s wealthy. That compares to the $7.5 billion net worth of all 660 top officials in the three branches of the U.S. government.

The income gain by NPC members reflects the imbalances in economic growth in China, where per capita annual income in 2010 was $2,425, less than in Belarus and a fraction of the $37,527 in the U.S. The disparity points to the challenges that China’s new generation of leaders, to be named this year, faces in countering a rise in social unrest fueled by illegal land grabs and corruption.

“It is extraordinary to see this degree of a marriage of wealth and politics,” said Kenneth Lieberthal, director of the John L. Thornton China Center at Washington’s Brookings Institution. “It certainly lends vivid texture to the widespread complaints in China about an extreme inequality of wealth in the country now.”

Most Powerful

The National People’s Congress, whose annual meeting will run for a week and a half, is legally the highest governmental body in China. While the legislature, with about 3,000 members, is often derided as a rubberstamp parliament, its members are some of China’s most powerful politicians and executives, wielding power in their home provinces and weighing in on proposals such as whether to impose a nationwide property tax.

“The NPC is not exactly what you would call a center of power, but being on it certainly gets you deeply engaged in the political system,” Lieberthal said.

Hurun, a Shanghai-based publisher of magazines targeted at the Chinese luxury consumer, uses publicly available information such as corporate filings to compile its annual list of the richest people in China. It then cross-checks that data with the government’s list of NPC members.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Germany Created Own Threat With Chinese Solar Aid

Germany long aimed to be a front runner in the solar energy industry, but waning subsidies and rising competition from China have clouded its outlook. To add insult to injury, the Chinese boom has been generously supported by German financial aid.

The environment minister with the center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) is aware who is principally to blame for the plight of the German solar industry: the Chinese. The emerging economy’s dumping policy has led to ruinous competition in the global market for solar panels, Röttgen said last Thursday, when he accused the Chinese of pursuing a “pricing policy designed to displace German companies.” Thanks to generous Chinese government subsidies, he added, the competition is able to “obtain almost unlimited capital.”

It is indeed true that Asian low-wage manufacturers have access to funding sources to which German companies do not. Those sources include the German government’s budget for development aid, as well as the budgets of government institutions that aim to promote what the environment ministry calls “global climate justice” in its brochures. More than €100 million ($134 million) in government subsidies have already reached China from Germany, partly along circuitous routes, to bolster an industry that has already become the dominant global market player in some areas.

Somehow the German government must have lost sight of the fact that its policy in fact encourages the demise of Germany’s own solar industry.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

The Fukushima Psychiatrist: ‘It’s Amazing How Traumatized They Are’

Since the Fukushima catastrophe almost one year ago, Jun Shigemura has been providing psychological care to workers from the stricken nuclear facility. In an interview with SPIEGEL ONLINE, he tells of the immense challenges facing TEPCO employees — and why most of them have elected not to quit their jobs.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Chinese Retailers Shake Things up in Africa

Chinese market stalls in Ghana and Senegal are the latest signs of China’s growing economic involvement in Africa, according to German researchers. They provide new opportunities, but there are downsides too. Chinese economic involvement in Africa has received a lot of attention of late. Over the past fifteen years, Chinese imports from Africa, especially natural resources, have grown continuously. At the same time, a tidal wave of mass-produced Chinese consumer goods has flooded the continent. The result is a highly visible Chinese presence across Africa.

Chinese state mining companies are routinely exploring and exploiting mineral resources in countries like Nigeria, Sudan or Angola. Chinese construction firms build infrastructure projects including roads, sports stadiums and public buildings. Beyond the headlines, however, Chinese businesses are also active in Africa on a much smaller scale. In several African countries, independent Chinese market traders have become an increasingly common sight.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Swiss Army Opens Doors to Asylum Seekers

The Swiss military is making more than 5,000 beds available on a temporary basis to handle an overflow of asylum seekers in Switzerland. Defence Minister Ueli Maurer said on Monday that the accommodation would be made available as quickly as possible.

Discussions have been under way since April 2011 between the federal immigration department and the department of defence, civil protection and sport over ways to expand facilities for asylum seekers. Switzerland has faced an increase in the number of people seeking asylum in the mountain country, particularly since the Arab spring revolutions.

The military beds are housed in more than 20 surplus barracks around the country, including those in mountain regions. However, these rudimentary facilities must be modernized to conform with the latest fire protection and other building standards, the defence department said in a news release.

The department acknowledged that the renovations would in some cases be limited. Many Swiss military barracks in mountain areas do not conform with civil standards. For example, one alpine facility in the Jaun Pass in the canton of Bern, offers beds for 150 people but has only a single exit door.

The building will be limited to use by 50 people, the government said. Cantonal laws also restrict the use of such facilities to six months.

The Swiss defence department has at its disposal more than 100 sites with quarters above and below ground, offering a total capacity of around 35,000 beds.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UK: Foreigners to be Offered Free Treatment for HIV on the NHS

Foreigners are to be offered free treatment for HIV on the NHS for the first time under controversial plans backed by ministers.

Those from abroad, including failed asylum seekers, students and tourists are currently barred from receiving free HIV treatment — unlike other infectious diseases.

However, the Government is to support proposals recommended by peers which will end the “anomaly” and allow free treatment even for those not legally settled in Britain.

Campaigners argue that the free treatment is essential as it reduces the risk of Britons being infected — and can help people to be treated for HIV before their condition becomes serious and life-threatening.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

From Negro Creek to Wop Draw, Place Names Offend

Demeaning names were often given to areas settled by ethnic or racial minorities

Pickaninny Buttes is one of thousands of places across the United States still saddled with names that are an insight into our divisive past, when demeaning names given to areas settled by ethnic or racial minorities were recorded on official government maps and often stuck. Some, like Wop Draw in Wyoming; Jewtown, Ga.; Beaner Lake, Wash.; Wetback Tank reservoir in New Mexico and Polack Lake in Michigan, can sound rudely impolitic to the ears of a more inclusive society.

Others, such as the former Olympic ski resort of Squaw Valley near Lake Tahoe have become so ingrained in the vernacular that they’re spoken without a second thought. And yet, nine states are on a mission to scrub “squaw” from their maps, a slang word first given to Native women that came to mean both a part of the female genitalia and a woman of ill repute. California is not among those states, to the continuing frustration of many regional Indian tribes.

“It’s so disrespectful I’m not even going to say the name,” said Chairman James Ramos of the San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians in Southern California. “Every time I hear that I think of our women elders and my daughters and my wife, and I’m not going to degrade them that way by repeating the name. It’s deplorable to all native people across the United States.”

Some state legislatures take it upon themselves to change names deemed offensive. In 1995 Minnesota was first to pass legislation outlawing “squaw,” a process that took five years to complete. Oregon once had 172 places with the name squaw, the most in the U.S., and since 2001 has been engulfed in the tedious process of determining historically accurate new names. Oklahoma has passed a nonbinding resolution encouraging the change. Idaho, Montana, South Dakota, Florida, North Carolina and Tennessee also are making state-mandated changes. In September 2011 the last six offensive place names in Maine were changed. Still, there are 297 Savages nationwide and 11 Redskins.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]


Many Solar System Comets May be Sun’s Stolen Goods

At least 5 percent of the comets orbiting our sun may have been stolen from other stars, scientists say.

Our solar system is thought to include trillions of comets — small chunks of rock and ice — that circle the sun in a spherical swarm called the Oort cloud, a region that extendsabout 100,000 times the distance from the Earth to the sun in any direction. The average distance between the Earth and sun is 93 million miles (150 million kilometers).

Now scientists suggest that many of these bodies may actually have originated around other stars and were snatched up by the sun’s gravity during a close swipe sometime over the past 4 billion years.

Astronomer Stephen Levine of Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Ariz., and undergraduate student Catherine Gosmeyer of Indiana University created a computer simulation to calculate how often stars would be likely to exchange comets when they passed close by each other, as stars often do in the course of their lives orbiting the center of the galaxy.

“It turns out it’s much more frequent than in fact even I would have guessed,” Levine told

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

New Space Drill Could Seek Alien Life Inside Icy Saturn Moon

To see if life does lurk beneath the frigid crust of one of Saturn’s moons, scientists are developing a powerful drill that can melt and bore its way down to the moon’s icy depths.

Giant jets of water ice have been seen spewing into space from cryovolcanoes on Enceladus, Saturn’s sixth largest moon. When NASA’s Cassini spacecraft flew through these icy fountains, the probe detected organic compounds that hinted at the possibility of life.

But the problem with investigating cryovolcanoes for alien life is that landing directly on them is too risky. Furthermore, any potential traces of life could be destroyed during their launch from the fissures and subsequent exposure to the hostile conditions of space.

Instead, researchers are envisioning ways to dig into the icy crust of Enceladus to look for signs of life in the water that is thought to lurk beneath the moon’s surface, before the icy fountains burst upward.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]