Sunday, January 12, 2003

News Feed 20120820

Financial Crisis
»Alleged ECB Bond-Buying Plans Spark Eurozone Spat
»Cypriot Banks Looking for Way to Exit Greek Markets
»ECB Plans to Set Yield Targets for Bond Purchases
»Finland: Soini Suggests “Northern Euro” As Alternative to Return to National Currencies
»‘Fishing Boom’ As Greeks Fight to Survive
»Germany Continues Hard Line With Greece
»Greek Shortfall Growing Ever Larger
»Greek Exit Manageable But Expensive, Says ECB Official
»Italy: Man Sets Fire to Himself After Job Loss
»Italy’s Monti Warns Against Euro Being EU ‘Break-Up Factor’
»Italy: Palermo: Orlando: ‘Default Risk, Govt. Not Acting’
»Monti Feels Economic Crisis is Near End
»Showdowns That Will Define Europe’s Future
»‘Too Early’ To Say if Greece Needs to Carry Out More Reforms
»Confirmed: New Nationwide “Trapwire” Surveillance System is Actively Recording, Monitoring Everything
»Dhimmi Officials Go Sharia-Compliant
»Edvard Munch Was My Grandfather: US Nun
»Frank Gaffney: Hatred’s Strange Bedfellows
»Haslam Aide: Tenn. Not Promoting Islamic Code
»Muslim Leader Reflects, Celebrates as Holy Month Ends
»NASA Unveils New Mars Mission to Probe Red Planet’s Core
»New Mosque Not Completed in Time for End-of-Ramadan Festival
»New Mosque Adds Festive Element to Eid Celebration
»Obama Blocked Bin Laden Raid 3 Times, Clinton Intervened
»The PC Insanity Surrounding the Nidal Hasan Trial
Europe and the EU
»Annual Hunt to Cull 300 Brown Bears in Sweden
»Denmark: Cinema Warns Moviegoers About “Annoying” Muslims
»France: A Mother Who Was Involved in a Bitter Child Custody Battle With a Saudi Prince She Met in London Has Plunged to Her Death From a Luxury Apartment Block.
»French MP Brands Ashton ‘Useless’
»French Resume Sniping at “Useless” EU Diplomatic Chief
»Germans Take Dim View of Light Bulb Inspections
»Germany: Compromises Necessary for Textbook on Islam
»Ireland: The Burglar Who Uses Taxis to Collect Him From Break-Ins
»Italy: Politician Who Sparked Mohammed Riot Stripped of Security Detail to Save Cash
»Spain: Barcelona Declares War on Street Prostitution
»Tree Rings Prove Climate Kept Getting Colder
»UK: Green Lane Mosque Delegation Hand Out Eid Bags
»UK: Hopes for Herefordshire’s First Mosque
»UK: The Prime Minister Wishes Muslims “A Very Happy and Peaceful Eid”
»UK: The Far Right is Fragmenting
»UK: Video: English Defence League and United Chelmsford March in City
North Africa
»Egypt: Brotherhood Leader: Morsy’s Iran Visit ‘Excellent’ Step, If Completed
»Egypt: Morsy Performs Eid Prayer, Causes Congestion
»Egypt: Eid Prayers at Egypt’s Citadel Mosque for First Time in a Decade
»Egypt: Conspiring Against Ruler is Conspiring Against God — Salafi
»Egypt: Morsy on Path-Breaking Visits to China, Iran
»Egypt: Muslim Brotherhood Against Journalists and Judges Who Criticise Morsi
»Egypt: Of Obama, Christians and Crucifixions
»Libyan General in Charge of Armaments Killed in Benghazi
»The Power Elite and the Muslim Brotherhood, Part 15
Israel and the Palestinians
»Iron Dome Anti-Missile Shield Placed Near Eilat
»Palestine is Main Issue of Islamic World — Leader
»Turkish Aid Association Building Orphanage in Gaza
»Veil to Protect God-Fearing Orthodox Jews
Middle East
»Eid in Dubai Distributes Sweets at Mosques
»Gunman Kills Nine at Yemen Mosque
»Happiness of Eid is Tempered by Plight of Syrians
»Jordan: Interviewing the Islamic Action Front
»Mosques Packed in UAE to Pray and Spread Joy
»Oman: First Day of Eid Marked
»‘Tumour’ of Israel Biggest Problem for Islamic World: Iran
»U.S. Says Iraqis Are Helping Iran to Skirt Sanctions
»War Against Iran as Costly as Peace
»Yachting: Turkish Investors Eye Ports in Greece
»Pussy Riot: Possible New Law Against Criticism of Judges
South Asia
»Afghanistan: Top US General in Afghanistan to Discuss Attacks
»India: Thousands Flee Bangalore for Fear of Persecution
»Indian Leaders Greet Nation on Eid-ul-Fitr
»India Gains Interest in Islamic Banking
»India Blames Mass Exodus on Pakistan-Based Groups
»Indian Minister Says Bureaucrats ‘Can Steal a Little’
»Indonesia: Anti-Christian Attacks Mark the End of Ramadan in Java
»More NZ Troops May be Sent to Afghanistan
»New Zealand Announces Early Afghan Withdrawal After Spate of Deaths
»Pakistan: Girl With Downs Syndrome Arrested for Blasphemy
»Pakistan’s President Orders Probe Into Blasphemy Arrest of Disabled Girl
Far East
»China Sees Red Over Europe Wine Imports
»China: Signs Point to Power Struggle in Gu Kailai Case
»Tobacco Industry Taps Into Asian Smoking Demand
Australia — Pacific
»Imposition of Sharia Law a ‘Myth’
Sub-Saharan Africa
»3 Children Found Bound, Stoned to Death in South Africa, Police Say
»A School and a Police Station Attacked in North Nigeria
»Attempts at Dialogue Between Boko Haram and Nigerian Govt.
»Genocide Looms for White Farmers
»Kenya: Prayers, Feasts and Fun Mark Idd
»Nigeria: Ready to Have Dialogue With Militants
»Nigerian Leader Rejects Change to Islam
Latin America
»Brazil: Olympic Flag Taken Up to Rio’s Christ Statue
»Mexico Replaces All Federal Police at Key Airport
»400 Migrants Land in Lampedusa
»A College Lifts a Hurdle for Illegal Immigrants
»Boatpeople ‘Threatened Self-Harm’ On Ship, Forcing Worried Skipper to Change Course
»Italian Coastgaurd Rescues 357 Migrants
»‘No Papers, No Fear’: Undocumented Immigrants Declare Themselves on Bus Tour
»UK: Fresh Doubts Over Training of Temporary Immigration Staff
»Undocumented Immigrants Confront Author of Strict Immigration Laws
Culture Wars
»An American Election and Marxist Olympic Ceremonies
»French Amputee Swims From US to Russia
»The Mirage of Moderate Islam

Financial Crisis

Alleged ECB Bond-Buying Plans Spark Eurozone Spat

A report in a German news magazine on alleged plans by the ECB to take up its bond-buying program again has triggered a fiery debate. The spat evolved even without official confirmation of such an ECB scheme.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Cypriot Banks Looking for Way to Exit Greek Markets

(ANSAmed) — NICOSIA, AUGUST 20 — Cypriot banks are examining ways of reducing their exposure to the Greek economy, including their total withdrawal from Greece, according to reports. The Cypriot edition of daily Kathimerini reported that the Bank of Cyprus and Greece’s Alpha Bank are considering exchanging loan portfolios — so that Alpha takes over Bank of Cyprus’s loans in Greece and vice versa — and that Marfin Investment Group (MIG) is considering taking over Cyprus Popular Bank’s Greek operations. Greek markets account for about 40% of Cypriot banks’ operations and their branches in Greece operate as subsidiaries, which means any losses are recorded on the books of the lenders on Cyprus. In a statement on the Cyprus Stock Exchange on Monday, Bank of Cyprus admitted that it was looking at an assets exchange but did not identify a specific Greek lender.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

ECB Plans to Set Yield Targets for Bond Purchases

Interest rates on Spanish sovereign bonds have been rising to dangerous levels in recent weeks. Now, SPIEGEL has learned that the European Central Bank plans to use a new instrument to stop the trend: The bank is considering setting yield targets on the bonds of euro-zone countries. Should interest rates exceed those levels, the ECB would intervene by buying up their debt.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Finland: Soini Suggests “Northern Euro” As Alternative to Return to National Currencies

Opposition Finns Party leader, MP Timo Soini has reiterated his view that a return to a separate national currency would be the best option for Finland. On Sunday the Oulu-based newspaper Kaleva quoted Soini as suggesting separate currencies for the northern and southern countries in today’s eurozone. “If it is not possible to return to a national currency, a division is the second-best solution. The worst is the present situation”, Soini said to Helsingin Sanomat.

Commenting on Soini’s proposal MP Kimmo Sasi (Nat. Coalition Party) welcomed Soini’s apparent acceptance of a common currency. These views were echoed by Miapetra Kumpula-Natri (SDP). “It’s wonderful that he has some notion of European cooperation, even though the land area would be different. Carl Haglund (Swed. People’s Party) rejected Soini’s ideas. He said that a proposal for a northern euro would be “fatal” for Finnish imports. His views were reflected by Centre Party chairman Juha Sipilä.

Professor of Finance Vesa Puttonen of the Aalto University says that a strong northern currency zone would not necessarily hurt Finnish exports as much as people might think. He notes that importing raw material would become easier, and that some of the exports would be targeted at the northern eurozone. However, Puttonen feels that a split of the euro would be technically and politically impossible.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

‘Fishing Boom’ As Greeks Fight to Survive

No longer a hobby, Greeks take to the water

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, AUGUST 20 — Ordinary Greeks are turning to fishing as a way of putting food on the table during the economic crisis. According to official figures 37,000 people applied for a fishing permit last year — double the number of the year before, while 49,272 renewed an existing permit. A fishing license allows the permit holder to fish in the sea, lakes and rivers, by boat or from the shore, to a maximum of 10 kg of fish per day. In parallel, the number of people caught poaching, or fishing illegally, has risen, with the Greek Coast Guard blaming the phenomenon on the economic crisis crippling the country.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Germany Continues Hard Line With Greece

No ‘softening’ of agreements with Athens

(ANSAmed) — BERLIN, AUGUST 20 — German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle’s spokesperson reiterated Monday that there will be no ‘softening’ of agreements made with Athens, ahead of a meeting today in Berlin between Westerwelle and Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.

Speaking at a press conference in the German capital, the government spokesperson Steffen Seibert said that Germany is waiting for a Troika report on Greece’s economic situation.

On Sunday Germany’s Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble spoke of a ‘plan B’, in case Greece exits the Euro.

Today is the beginning of a crucial week for Athens. Samaras meets Wednesday with Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the Eurogroup, and Angela Merkel. The Greek PM is expected to ask the German Chancellor to grant an extra two years for his country’s reforms.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Greek Shortfall Growing Ever Larger

The Greek prime minister has spent weeks searching for ways to come up with 11.5 billion euros to satisfy international conditions for emergency aid. Now, though, SPIEGEL has learned that the shortfall may be as much as 14 billion euros. German politicians are becoming increasingly exasperated.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Greek Exit Manageable But Expensive, Says ECB Official

German member of the ECB board, Joerg Asmussen has told Frankfurter Rundschau that he prefers Greece to stay in the eurozone but its exit would be “manageable”. A Greek exit would be “associated with a loss of growth and higher unemployment and it would be very expensive,” he said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Italy: Man Sets Fire to Himself After Job Loss

Turin, 20 Aug. (AKI) — A man has died after setting himself on fire to in the northern city of Turin after losing his job.

The 48-year-old man torched himself in the outskirts of Turin because he had lost his job and couldn’t find another one, as it was explained by a note the police found in his house.

The incident happened late Sunday and was only reported this morning by a passer-by who found the man’s lifeless charred body.

The police found a bottle of flammable substance next to his body and managed to identify him thanks to his car, parked just a few metres away.

A series of dramatic suicides have been slashed across Italian newspapers this year as unemployment surges amid a recession that is expected to last into next year.

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

Italy’s Monti Warns Against Euro Being EU ‘Break-Up Factor’

(ROME) — The euro must not become a “break-up factor” that pits northern Europe against crisis-choked nations in the south of the continent, Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti said in a speech Sunday.

“The biggest tragedy for Italy and for Europe would be to see the euro become, because of our failures, a break-up factor which awakens the prejudices of the north against the south, and vice-versa,” Monti told an audience of young people in Rimini on the Adriatic coast.

“The risk exists,” he said.

The European Union and eurozone countries are split over how to solve the financial crisis convulsing various nations, especially in Europe’s south.

Former eurocrat Monti has previously warned the rest of the eurozone that Italy must be allowed breathing space on the markets to have any chance of pulling away from the debt crisis brink and resisting contagion from other weaker members such as Spain.

Italy, eurozone’s third largest economy, is wallowing in deep recession and Italians have seen a series of austerity packages, tax hikes and reforms to try to tackle the country’s debt.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Italy: Palermo: Orlando: ‘Default Risk, Govt. Not Acting’

(AGI) Palermo — Palermo’s Mayor Leoluca Orlando commented on the state of the city during a press conference. “I cannot not denounce the inaction of the national government, which today, beyond the sharing of Minister Cancellieri on the risks to public order connected with the GESIP and AMIA affairs, continues to not move and not to produce concrete action.” He warned, “We know that the city is on the brink of default because the national and regional cuts have subtracted a sum of around 12 million euros in 2012 which could arrive at over 40 under this plan starting in 2013.

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

Monti Feels Economic Crisis is Near End

(AGI) Rimini — Speaking at the Comunione e Liberazione meeting in Rimini, Prime Minister Mario Monti said a year ago the economic crisis was worse than it is today. He went on to say that for many reasons he felt the time was close when it will end. “I find myself being called to execute a not easy role at a not very easy time in the life of the nation. Rather than becoming a nervous wreck, it is best to be understated and use it as a means to be brave.” .

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

Showdowns That Will Define Europe’s Future

EU leaders may soon have to choose between keeping the euro and maintaining democracy, says Mats Persson.

‘It will not be the case that the south will get the so-called wealthy states to pay. Because then Europe would fall apart.” Thus spoke Horst Köhler, former German president, finance secretary and IMF head, almost two decades ago. Köhler’s remarks are worth pondering. A series of multi-billion-euro bail-outs — and more to come — have now planted a north-south political divide at the heart of the European project. Taxpayers in Europe’s north resent underwriting their southern neighbours, while voters in the south are equally frustrated at having austerity imposed upon them from abroad. As has been noted repeatedly, this is the greatest tragedy of this crisis: a project that was meant to bring people together, now risks driving them further apart. Alas, events in the eurozone this autumn could further exacerbate this tension. There are at least five key stand-offs to watch over the next few months


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

‘Too Early’ To Say if Greece Needs to Carry Out More Reforms

The EU Commission Monday said it was “too early” to say if Greece needed to undertake more reforms to fill a reported €2.5bn greater-than-expected gap in its finances. A next decision on Greece will be taken by the eurogroup only after the troika has completed a progress report, due September.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Confirmed: New Nationwide “Trapwire” Surveillance System is Actively Recording, Monitoring Everything

The Trapwire system is actively monitoring every major city in the country. You know those little cameras on the stoplights at the intersection by your house? Or those CCTV cameras that business owners opened up to local law enforcement surveillance systems?

Every one of them is recording and transferring what they capture to a centralized database — this includes your location, license plate, and facial identification. That information is then aggregated, fused together with other pieces of information (like what you bought on your credit card today and who you interacted with via text message or your favorite social network), and then processed through a threat assessment system.

Naturally, the Trapwire organization, in a recent press release, touts their new surveillance infrastructure as being focused solely on potential terrorist activity and in no way violative of your sensitive personal information:

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Dhimmi Officials Go Sharia-Compliant

by Pamela Geller

The brouhaha over pro-Israel ads I placed on buses in San Francisco and counter-jihad ads I put in train stations in towns just north of New York City just keeps getting larger. Some people just can’t stand it when others tell the truth. On Friday, I received an e-mail from Peter Swiderski, mayor of the village of Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, saying: “I wanted to share with you what our Board of Trustees sent to the entire village tonight.” What the mayor wanted to “share” was a statement about our billboard that states: “19,250 Islamic attacks since 9/11: It’s not Islamophobia, it’s Islamorealism.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Edvard Munch Was My Grandfather: US Nun

A 72-year-old American nun is likely to get DNA assistance from the Norwegian artist’s heirs as she seeks to prove her sensational claims to be the granddaughter of Edvard Munch.

Although the artist behind The Scream was long thought to have died childless, US-based nun Janet Weber has for the first time come forward with her claim that Munch may in fact have had twins with her grandmother, the violinist and model Eva Mudocci.

“It’s fun for us if it’s true,” Elisabeth Munch-Ellingsen, one of the artist’s Norwegian heirs, told broadcaster NRK.

Munch-Ellingsen said she would have “no problem” getting a DNA test to prove whether or not she was related to Janet Weber.

“But it’s a bit sad if he was the father of two children who were 34 years old when he died. If this is true, then he never got to meet his children. That’s a shame,” said Munch-Ellingsen.

The model for one of his best-known paintings, The Brooch, Mudocci became romantically involved with Munch after they met in Paris in 1903.

The London-born musician, originally know as Evangeline Hope Muddock, gave birth to twins, Isobel and Kai, at a hospital in Copenhagen in December 1908.

While Mudocci never revealed their father’s identity to her children, her musician friend Bella Edwards told Janet Weber’s mother, Isobel Weber, that she was in fact Edvard Munch’s daughter, NRK reports.

According to Janet Weber, Edvard Munch was likely never informed he had children.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Frank Gaffney: Hatred’s Strange Bedfellows

Last week’s near-massacre at the Family Research Council (FRC) put into sharp relief a curious fact: The people most aggressively denouncing others for their “hatemongering” sure are engaging in a lot of it themselves — with dangerous, and potentially lethal, repercussions.

Take, for example, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). Back in the heyday of the civil rights movement, the SPLC helped counter the Ku Klux Klan and other racists and anti-Semites. At the moment, though, the SPLC is hanging out with today’s counterpart to the KKK and the preeminent threat to civil rights — especially those of women — in America: Islamists bent on insinuating here their anti-constitutional, misogynistic and supremacist doctrine known as shariah…

           — Hat tip: CSP[Return to headlines]

Haslam Aide: Tenn. Not Promoting Islamic Code

Nashville, Tenn. (AP) — Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration is responding to what it calls “confusion” about the role of a Muslim staffer and a council that has advised two state departments on Islamic affairs. The Republican governor was criticized this summer by several GOP groups over what they perceived as the growing influence of a version of the Islamic code called Shariah in state government. Claude Ramsey, the deputy to the governor, sent a letter distributed to the state GOP’s executive committee last week seeking to quell those concerns.

“I want to start by clearly expressing there is no effort by the Haslam administration, the State of Tennessee, or any agency or department of the State to promote or advance Shariah law or Shariah complaint finance,” he said in the letter. “The promotion or advancement of religious ideology is an inappropriate role of state government that is unacceptable, and will not happen during this administration.” Ramsey stressed the credentials of Samar Ali, who joined the state’s Department of Economic and Community Development earlier this year, as “a bright, young Tennessean.” He noted that she is a former student body president at Vanderbilt and a White House fellow, and that her brother has led the software team for NASA’s Mars rovers.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Muslim Leader Reflects, Celebrates as Holy Month Ends

For Dr. Zaher Sahloul, the holy month of Ramadan has tested his strength and recharged his spirit. Gathering with thousands of other Muslims in Bridgeview’s Toyota Park on Sunday to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr, a day of prayer and festivities to break the Ramadan fast, Sahloul made the same supplications he had offered for the last 30 days. He asked God to grant a sense of responsibility to politicians who condemn Islam just to win votes. He prayed for his brethren whose sacred spaces have been targeted by vandals. And he grieved for his homeland of Syria, which suffered more bloody violence this weekend. But he also thanked God for getting him through the 30-day trial and preparing him for even greater ordeals to come.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

NASA Unveils New Mars Mission to Probe Red Planet’s Core

NASA’s next low-budget planetary mission will land a probe on Mars in 2016 to study why the Red Planet went down such a different evolutionary path than Earth did, the agency announced today (Aug. 20).

The new mission, called InSight, will attempt to determine whether Mars’ core is liquid or solid, and why the Red Planet’s crust does not appear to be composed of drifting tectonic plates like Earth’s is. Such information could help scientists better understand how rocky planets form and evolve, researchers said.

“InSight will get to the ‘core’ of the nature of the interior and structure of Mars, well below the observations we’ve been able to make from orbit or the surface,” John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, said in a statement.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

New Mosque Not Completed in Time for End-of-Ramadan Festival

Mosque is full for end of Ramadan

A new mosque expected to open for an end-of-Ramadan festival wasn’t completed in time for Sunday’s celebration. More than 600 people crowded into the current mosque of the Islamic Society of Augusta for Eid al-Fitr, the festival that marks the end of Islam’s holy month. Rain caused construction delays, and a few final touches still need to be put on the new $3.8 million, 33,000-square-foot mosque and community center on Old Evans Road in Martinez. “It’s almost complete,” said Mohamed Fard, the resident engineer on the project. “We’re just waiting on our certificate of occupancy.”


[JP note: Ditto the rest of the planet.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

New Mosque Adds Festive Element to Eid Celebration

For about 30 days, local Muslims engaged in the physical sacrifice of a daytime fast while turning their attention to spiritual elements of Islam. They pored over the Quran and prayed more often and intensely. They gave to charity and mended broken friendships from the past year. On Saturday, the yearly observance of Ramadan came to an end, paving the way for Sunday’s celebration of Eid al-Fitr. The festive holiday recognizes God’s blessings through enduring the fast from drink, food and marital relations.

Many Muslims spent Sunday morning praying together in local mosques and then taking part in social events — from picnics in parks to meals at homes and restaurants — that will go on for another week. For the city’s largest Muslim congregation, the Islamic Center of San Antonio, Eid prayers took place for the first time in its new, $2.9 million mosque. With 21,500 square feet, it is designed to ease overcrowding and add new features to an all-purpose campus.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Obama Blocked Bin Laden Raid 3 Times, Clinton Intervened

(AGI) London — A shadow has fallen over Barack Obama’s great “military success”, the elimination of Bin Laden. A newly published book has revealed that the President, “reluctant” to take the initiative and could have carried out the raid prior to May 2nd, 2011 in Pakistan, blocked the operation three times, in January, February and March. It was Hillary Clinton who induced him to end the delays through her intervention.

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

The PC Insanity Surrounding the Nidal Hasan Trial

One could be forgiven for thinking that political correctness is only one step away from complete insanity. Last Friday, a military appeals court halted the murder case against Maj. Nidal Hasan indefinitely. Why? Because Hasan refuses to shave a beard he grew beginning in June to express his allegiance to Islamo-fascism.

According to CNN, U.S. Army Col. Gregory Gross, the military judge presiding over the case, “had previously held that Hassan’s beard disrupts the court proceedings and held him in contempt of court five times, the Army said in a news release.” The case is on hold in order to “sort out issues” surrounding the judge’s threat to have Hasan forcibly shaved.

Let me tell what this case is not about. It’s not about trying an alleged mass murderer in a timely manner, for killing 13 people and wounding another 32. We already know that the PC-infested swamp of the Obama administration’s Defense Department has referred to this atrocity as “workplace violence,” as opposed to the Islamic terrorist attack it truly was. That in and of itself is a flirtation with insanity, one that allows for such a definition despite the reality that Hasan was shouting Allahu Akhbar! as he executed one person after another.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Annual Hunt to Cull 300 Brown Bears in Sweden

Sweden’s annual bear hunt begins Tuesday, with over 300 of Sweden’s brown bears to be killed over the next two months in an effort to control the predator’s population figures.

The 312 bears, a figure which equates to roughly 10 percent of Sweden’s bear population, will be professionally hunted in the period between August 21st and October 15th. In County Västerbotten in northern Sweden, the bear population is estimated to be somewhere around 300, and 25 bears are to be killed there this season.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Denmark: Cinema Warns Moviegoers About “Annoying” Muslims

Advisory in a Copenhagen theatre creates a firestorm of criticism and an eventual apology

A poster that appeared in the window of Copenhagen’s Palads theatre Saturday night warned patrons that due to Eid, the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, more Muslims would be in the theatres than normal and they could get loud and become annoying to other cinema guests.

The sign even offered advice as to which of the films on offer could be the noisiest: “Movies like the Batman 3 (Dark Knight Rises), the Bourne Legacy, Total Recall, Abraham Lincoln and Prometheus, but one can never be sure in advance,” read the warning.

Guests were advised to contact security guards if they experienced noisy Muslims.

“G4S guards will be available all day, so if you experience unacceptable behaviour, please contact them,” read the notice.

The notice went on to apologise “in advance” to cinema guests for any “bother” that may occur.

Following a firestorm of criticism on Facebook and Twitter, the head of Nordisk Film cinemas, John Tønnes, has apologised for the sign.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

France: A Mother Who Was Involved in a Bitter Child Custody Battle With a Saudi Prince She Met in London Has Plunged to Her Death From a Luxury Apartment Block.

Candice Cohen-Ahnine, 35, had told relatives ‘I feel threatened’ in the days before she fell from the fourth floor of the complex off the Champs Elysees in Paris.

Suicide has been ruled out, prompting fears that the tragedy may be connected to her dispute with Sattam al-Saud, a member of the hugely wealthy Saudi royal family.

The prince separated from Miss Cohen-Ahnine six years ago after an on-off relationship during which he had only allowed her fleeting meetings with their now 10-year-old daughter, Aya.

Miss Cohen-Ahnine was awarded custody of Aya by a French court earlier this year, but the prince had failed to hand over the girl before the mother died.

Miss Cohen-Ahnine had been due to visit her daughter in Saudi Arabia next month.

Today it emerged that Ms Cohen-Ahnine, a Frenchwoman whose original Jewish faith always caused tensions with the Muslim Saudis even after she converted, had complained of threats shortly before she died.

Police were reportedly investigating the theory that the woman fell while trying to get out of her flat ‘as if she was escaping something dangerous’.

‘Candice’s custody battle with the Saudis was becoming increasingly bitter, but she was determined to get Aya back,’ said a source close to the police investigation into her death, which happened on Thursday.

‘A relative has confirmed that she complained of being threatened over the past few days.’

The claim was backed by Ms Cohen-Ahnine’s French lawyer, Laurence Tarquiny-Charpentier, who said: ‘What I can tell you is that it was not suicide’.

The lawyer added: ‘She was a woman who was a real fighter and a very positive person, and plus, there were plans to see Aya in mid-September.

‘That was her greatest motivation of all.’

Miss Cohen-Ahnine met the Saudi prince in 1998 at Browns nightclub in London, and their daughter was born in November 2001.

But the relationship broke down after Sattam al-Saud said he was obliged to marry a cousin in 2006, and Miss Cohen-Ahnine refused to be his second wife.

Relations became even more acrimonious in 2008 after Miss Cohen-Ahnine agreed to visit the Saudi capital Riyadh with her daughter.

Miss Cohen-Ahnine alleged that they were locked up in a palace and that she was also accused of being a Muslim convert from Judaism — a crime punishable by death in Saudi Arabia.

Miss Cohen-Ahnine was able to escape to the French embassy after a maid left her door open, and she eventually returned to France.

However, Aya remained in Saudi Arabia and Miss Cohen-Ahnine went on to express worry about her upbringing when she came across Facebook images of the girl wearing a niqab and playing with guns.

Miss Cohen-Ahnine wrote about her incarceration in a book called Give My Daughter Back, published last year.

She claimed she was locked in a room without any soap to wash with.

She said she was given rotten food and no drinking water, adding: ‘When Aya managed to escape from her room to bring me a piece of bread or a bit of toothpaste, she was hit in front of me.’

In January a Paris criminal court ordered Sattam al-Saud to hand Aya back and pay child custody of some £8,000 a month.

The prince, who faced an international arrest warrant for ignoring the custody terms, denied he had ever ‘kidnapped’ his own daughter, saying: ‘She was free to come and go as she pleased.’

However, after the hearing, the prince was reported to have told Nouvel Observateur magazine: ‘If need be, I’ll go like [Osama] bin Laden and hide in the mountains with Aya.’

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]

French MP Brands Ashton ‘Useless’

French sniping at EU foreign affairs supremo Catherine Ashton, a recurring feature of the diplomatic landscape in recent years, resumed Friday with a Socialist Party MP branding her as “useless.”

François Loncle, a party colleague of President Francois Hollande, issued the damning assessment of Baroness Ashton’s performance as the EU’s High Representative on Foreign Affairs in reaction to suggestions France should be doing more to force Russia to help end the crisis in Syria.

“France can’t do it all by itself,” said Loncle, a former minister who currently sits on the French parliament’s foreign affairs committee, told Radio France International.

“It has to be done with other members of the (UN) Security Council that agree with the need to put an end to the crimes being committed in Syria.

“In this respect, one can’t help but notice, once more, the weakness of European diplomacy and the uselessness of Madame Ashton, who never says anything and does strictly nothing.”

Ashton, a former British Labour MP, has been repeatedly criticised by French media, diplomats and politicians since her appointment to the post in 2009 in the wake of a low-key career in British politics.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

French Resume Sniping at “Useless” EU Diplomatic Chief

(PARIS) — French sniping at EU foreign affairs supremo Catherine Ashton, a recurring feature of the diplomatic landscape in recent years, resumed Friday with a Socialist Party MP branding her as “useless.”

Francois Loncle, a party colleague of President Francois Hollande, issued the damning assessment of Ashton’s performance as the EU’s High Representative on Foreign Affairs in reaction to suggestions France should be doing more to force Russia to help end the crisis in Syria.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Germans Take Dim View of Light Bulb Inspections

German state governments say they would have to employ extra staff to police the European ban on filament light bulbs if they are to make the checks called for by the European Commission.

Reports suggest shops are increasingly offering special bulbs which are exempt from the ban — but the European Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger said checks should be made to ensure these were not being sold for domestic use.

“To be able to sell such bulbs legally, manufacturers must write visibly on the packaging that these bulbs are not meant for the household,” his spokeswoman Marlene Holzner told Die Welt newspaper.

The EU’s ban on old-fashioned energy-guzzling filament bulbs has been phased in one wattage at a time, over the past few years, but the complete ban comes into effect on September 1.

There is an exemption for reinforced bulbs meant for workshops or mines, and Holzner said retailers had to put these in separate, specially designated sections. “It would not be acceptable to put these lamps on the same shelves as LED and energy-saving bulbs for normal households,” she said.

But this is exactly what is happening according to Sunday’s edition of the Tagesspiegel newspaper. The commission has called on German authorities to carry out in-shop inspections to police the ban.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Germany: Compromises Necessary for Textbook on Islam

Brand new and brightly colored: a book for use in courses on Islam in German schools. There are plans to adopt the textbook as part of a curriculum available throughout the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

North Rhine-Westphalia is preparing a state-wide expansion of a pilot curriculum that introduces pupils to Islam. Students heading back to school on Thursday (23.08.2012) may soon have a new textbook: “Miteinander auf dem Weg” (On the Way Together).

Along with six additional authors, including members of Germany’s four largest Islamic associations, Khorchide tried to incorporate the wishes of scholars, community groups, parents and students. The many tensions between traditionalism and modernity made compromises necessary, including in the depictions of Sarah, Bilal and other students in the book.

“The Muslim community would like to see the teacher wear a headscarf. But that is forbidden in Germany,” Khorchide noted. The authors skirted the issue by using a male teacher.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Ireland: The Burglar Who Uses Taxis to Collect Him From Break-Ins

“I think I must have a bit of the kleptos in me; I’d rob anything,” says Ronny, a drug addict and by his own admission a serial burglar and robber in his late 30s, whose name has been changed for this piece.

He first got into trouble with the Garda (Irish police) before the age of 10, and more than 200 convictions** and nearly three decades later he’s still “on the rob”. He says it’s common for people to leave substantial quantities of cash in their homes.

“You find it [cash] anywhere; under the bed, in a biscuit tin, a coffee jar. I got a roll of notes once in an ice cream box in the freezer; no ice cream in the f***ing thing, just cash. Sometimes they even leave it out on a counter . . . I don’t do old people’s gaffs, but if you do the money is always under the bed.”

Modern security features are not a major hindrance to breaking in, he says.

“There’s no door or window you can’t get past with the tools; a Philips screwdriver, a jemmy bar, a hammer. When you get in, if the alarm goes off you’ve two or three minutes [to] fly around the gaff looking for the money. If you have a car with you and if the gaff is not in an estate, you might stay a bit longer; get the plasma , the PlayStation, Xbox, all the games and all that. If you don’t leave prints forget about it, the Garda’ll never get you.

“If the gaff is a bit out in the country and the Garda station is miles away or closed down you have loads of time to load up the car if you have one. You just go up to a gaff, knock on the front door and if someone answers say you want a drink of water or water for the car. If nobody answers, just go round the back and get in.

“A couple of times . . . I called a taxi and got them to collect me at the gaff. You tell them you’re moving and you want to put a bit of gear in the car, the plasma and that. And when they come you put the gear in and they drive you off. They have to know what you’re up to; they’re not thick. But you pay them the fare; you might give them a few quid extra to keep their mouth shut.”

Ronny spoke to The Irish Times last week at a facility for homeless, drug addicted and alcoholic men. He says he needs to keep stealing to feed his drug habit. He describes himself as “a creeper as well as a burglar”.

“You go into a cafe or a shop, whatever it is, looking for [shoppers’] bags for the purses, wallets or the iPhones. If you get one of the iPhones in a burglary or in a handbag, that’s €100 you’ll get for that. If you do a gaff and you get an iPad, you’re looking at €200. You can sell them in dodgy little phone shops cos they’ll clean them up and get even more for them. Sometimes if they know you’re really strung out they’ll offer you less money. They’re bastards they are.”

Ronny insists he is not without some sympathy for those who houses he breaks into, adding that at present burglary is a big lure for petty criminals. “Course I’d have a bit of sympathy — you’re robbing their stuff, man. You’re going into their gaff and just taking it so, yeah, you might think of them a bit. But you just get in and out.

“You’re looking for money and jewellery; just get the cash . . . You can sell the jewellery, you’d sell it anywhere. Moorcroft bowls are a big seller as well. Just go up to Ballymun or somewhere. There’s loads of people up there owe money to the credit union or the loan sharks. You bring something up there that they know they’ll never be able to get unless they buy it from you at a knock-down price and they’ll give you money for it, f***ing sure they will.”

While he says organised criminals and those who work in groups will plan burglaries and carefully select targets, his crimes are more opportunistic and spur-of-the-moment.

“You know the places; Foxrock, Blackrock, Monkstown, Dun Laoghaire, all over there. You never rob in your own area. You never rob from the working class area you’re from; no way. If they catch you doing it they’ll break you up or they’ll cut you up.

“Take Ballymun, even. It’s right beside Santry; it’s only a wall between the two of them. The burglars do be saying, ‘Come on, they’re all bleedin’ loaded in Santry.’ But they’re probably not, man. But you go up there anyway to try and get a bit of money.

“If it’s old windows in a house you just pop them open. If it’s new windows it’s harder, but you just use a jemmy bar and get the door or the window popped open, you’ll do it if you pull hard enough. The sliding patio doors around the back, you just bust the lock with a screwdriver, something like that. And once it moves you just lift the sliding door off the rails. You lift it and lean it against the wall beside you, real quiet. ‘Thank you very much, in ya go.’“

Ronny began thieving when he was “five or six”, he says. “Me Ma left me with her best friend to look after me, then her best friend was stabbed to death — I seen it happening. Then I stayed in that house with the other people from the family. They’d have me wheeling shopping out of the shopping centre without paying, food and all that stuff. I was about five or six.

“Then when I got a bit older, you’d go into the shops and have a competition; see who can rob the most cans of Impulse . You’d be putting them down your tracksuit legs, up your sleeves, everywhere. You’d come out and everyone would count them all up to see who won. The winner got, well the winner got nothing, but you could say ‘I got the most cans of Impulse’. Stupid when you think about it.”

He says despite spending time in prison many times for crimes including burglary and dealing drugs, he has never reformed. “Since I seen my Ma’s mate getting stabbed to death my life has been a disaster, chaos . . . One place after another as a kid, all over the place.

“The people who help me in court now, some of them were around when I was only 10 or less, more than 20 or 30 years ago; they were in the Children’s Court then trying to look after you. I was JLO’d hundreds of times.

“I never knew me Da, never seen him, don’t know who he is. At first I used to be robbing for the people I was living with, then for drink for meself, for a long time for drink. Now it’s the drugs, this ages; burgling for it, ya know?”

[**200+ criminal convictions and he’s NOT in jail.]

           — Hat tip: McR[Return to headlines]

Italy: Politician Who Sparked Mohammed Riot Stripped of Security Detail to Save Cash

20 Aug. (AKI) — A far-right Italian politician whose t-shirt satirizing the Prophet Mohammed led to a deadly riot in Libya had his 8-person security detail of his villa removed to save money.

Roberto Calderoli of the xenophobic Northern League party was a minister in Silvio Berlusconi’s coalition government in 2006 when he appeared on national television and showed his t-shirt lampooning the Prophet Mohammed. Ten people later died during a violent protest in front of the Italian consulate in the the port city of Benghazi.

The security detail of his home near Bergamo in the Lombardy region of northern Italy cost the government 900 thousand euros a year, according to the La Repubblica newspaper.

Italians have vociferously spoken out against the country’s politicians who are paid the most in Europe and have enviable perks, while taxpayers have been forced to make sacrifices like paying more taxes and work longer before retirement in an effort to cut debt and balance the budget.

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

Spain: Barcelona Declares War on Street Prostitution

Customers face 3,000 euro fines, prostitutes, 750

(ANSAmed) — Madrid, august 17 — Customers who are caught paying for sex on the streets of Barcelona will face fines of up to 3,000 euro after tougher laws prohibiting public prostitution came into being last night. The new sanctions, which represent a tightening up of a similar public order in place since 2006, give police increased power to clamp down on prostitution with fines of 1,000 euro for anyone caught in the act, increasing to 1,500 euro if an offence takes place within 200 metres of a school. A maximum 3,000 euro fine is applicable for anyone caught having sex with a prostitute in the street. Prostitutes now risk fines of between 100-300 euro for soliciting sex, increasing to 750 euro if the offence takes place near a school.

78% of the public said they were pleased by the tougher new sanctions, according to an online survey by local newspaper La Vanguardia. Along with the sanctions, Barcelona Council is offering prostitutes the chance to enrol in rehabilitation courses. ‘We are protecting the group most at risk of exploitation’ explained Francina Vila, Councillor for Womens and Social Rights in Barcelona. ‘It sends a clear message about what we don’t want to see happening in our streets.’ But the Catalan Social Action group criticised the ruling for punishing the wrong people. ‘It castigates prostitues, the weakest link in the chain, without overcoming the problem and combatting the issue at its roots,’ Teresa Crespo, President of the Catalan Social agency is quoted as saying.

The new sanctions were approved with votes by ‘Convergencia i Union’ who are at the helm of the Council administration, and the Partido Popular. Socialist PSC movement, eco-communists ICV-EUIA and Barcelona Independence party Unitat, voted against the ruling.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Tree Rings Prove Climate Kept Getting Colder

Tree rings retain information about temperature, moisture, volcano eruptions and forest fires. Researchers have managed to reconstruct the climate of the last 2000 years and found it kept getting colder until 1900.

Each year, between spring and fall, cells divide under a tree’s bark and a growth ring emerges. Every ring contains information for climate researchers because no two rings are the same. In warm temperatures, trees grow faster than if it’s cold. Trees will grow less in dry climate than in wet periods.

These differences are particularly obvious in trees that grow close to the tree line, like in high mountains.

“Trees can’t grow beyond the upper timber limit because it’s too cold there. Cold years usually become materialize in narrow growth rings. This pattern is repeated not just in one, but in several trees that grow close to the tree line,” explained Jan Esper, the head of the tree ring research section at Mainz University. His field of research is called dendrochronology.

Finland’s high north is home to a climatic border area which makes for ideal research conditions for dendrochronologists because they can analyze more than living trees there. Dead wood also keeps the information, making it some sort of a mini climate archive.

“There are many shallow lakes in Finland. If trees fall into a lake they are conserved in great shape for thousands of years,” Esper said. With the help of Finnish trees, he and his team reconstructed the climate of the past 2000 years.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UK: Green Lane Mosque Delegation Hand Out Eid Bags

MEMBERS of a Birmingham Mosque delivered smiles and goodies to sick children. A delegation of old and young from Green Lane Masjid visited the Children’s Unit at Heartlands Hospital in Bordesley Green, on Thursday to distribute free Eid bags to patients.Christine Morrel, hospital play specialist, welcomed the visit as a “wonderful initiative that brought smiles to the faces of young children”.

A Masjid spokesman said, “Since Ramadan is a month of self-purification, reflection, humility as well as acknowledging the less fortunate and supporting them, Green Lane Masjid and Community Centre felt an obligation to reach out to young children who are hospitalised, so that they too can mark the end of the blessed month and part take in celebrating Eid al-Fitr, bringing people together from all walks of life, for the betterment of our community and to support community cohesion in British society.”

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Hopes for Herefordshire’s First Mosque

The Muslim community of Herefordshire is raising funds to build a mosque.

Currently the Kindle Centre in Hereford is rented for prayer as there are no mosques or community centres in the county. The community has so far raised about £40,000 through weekly donations at Friday prayer and from outside help. Zac Pandur, chairman of the Herefordshire Muslim Society, said the mosque would welcome people from across the county.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: The Prime Minister Wishes Muslims “A Very Happy and Peaceful Eid”

The Prime Minister, David Cameron, has released a message wishing Muslims “a very happy and peaceful Eid” — the holiday that marks the end of Ramadan:

“Eid is a time for families and friends. A time of joy and happiness. As families and friends come together in celebration, I want to recognise the immense contribution that British Muslims make to our country. And I want to say a particular thank you to those Muslims who have helped to make the London Olympics so successful. From those who volunteered and gave visitors such a warm welcome to our country. To members of our armed forces who have helped to keep us safe. To our medal winners who have won a place in our nation’s heart. Peace and unity are the spirit of Eid and I am proud of the way Britain has demonstrated these values to the world during the Olympics. So to Muslims around the world on this very important day of celebration, I wish you all a very happy and peaceful Eid.”

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: The Far Right is Fragmenting

by Mathhew Goodwin

The BNP is in freefall but there is potential for one of its many rivals to move into the space it vacates

Last week, a new report on the English Defence League was released. Detailing the key personalities within the movement and their links to the global “counter-jihad” movement, the document sought to set out what “really lies behind” the group that attracts considerable attention but remains little understood. The author, however, was not a researcher, campaigner or thinktank. It was the chairman of the British National party, Nick Griffin.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Video: English Defence League and United Chelmsford March in City

IT WAS a victory for the police as a potentially explosive double-march involving an anti-Islamic group and their anti-fascist opponents passed through Chelmsford almost trouble free on Saturday. A ring of police officers surrounded more than 50 members of the anti-Islamic group, the English Defence League, as they walked slowly from the Wheatsheaf pub in New Street to Chelmsford Library.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Egypt: Brotherhood Leader: Morsy’s Iran Visit ‘Excellent’ Step, If Completed

Sabry Khalaf, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood Shura Council, said that President Mohamed Morsy’s planned visit to Iran would be an excellent step on the road to the normalization of relations between Egypt and Iran. He said relations have been interrupted for several years because of irresponsible policies of the previous regime, which damaged Egypt’s relations with Arab and Islamic countries.

Khalaf told Al-Masry Al-Youm that the goal of the invitation is not to support Shiism in Egypt. He also stressed that the concept of Guardianship of the Islamic Jurist, which elevates the status of Iran’s supreme guide, does not exist in the Sunni faith and is completely rejected. He said that the Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed Badie, understands the sensitivity of relations between himself and the Supreme Leader of Iran. He ensured that there would be no relationship between the two whatsoever.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Egypt: Morsy Performs Eid Prayer, Causes Congestion

President Mohamed Morsy performed Eid al-Fitr prayers Sunday at the Mosque of Amr ibn al-Aas, causing severe congestion and chaos in the area surrounding the mosque. Thousands gathered around the mosque, attempting to get inside, but they could not because of the large number of worshippers present. Thus, lines of people performing prayers were formed in streets surrounding the mosque. Towards the end of the sermon of the Imam, Shiekh Ismail al-Deftar, some began chanting, “We love you Morsy” and “God is Great.”

Deftar prayed that God guides the president to “whatever is good for our country.” He also prayed for “the development of the nation, and the recovery of Jerusalem.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Egypt: Eid Prayers at Egypt’s Citadel Mosque for First Time in a Decade

For 10 years security threats kept Cairo’s historic Mohamed Ali Mosque shut; worshippers reflect on tumultuous month in Egypt after Eid sermon calls for loyalty to the president

For the first time in a decade, Cairo’s iconic Mohamed Ali Mosque, situated in the Citadel, opened its doors for Eid prayers, allowing hundreds to worship at the historic Ottoman site on the most important day of the Islamic calendar. The popular tourist destination, whose familiar silhouette dominates Cairo’s skyline, was shut 10 years ago due to security risks. “The Ministry of Islamic Affairs and the Ministry of Tourism made an agreement and we have been working for the last two months to ensure it is open today,” Sheikh Khalid Abdel-Fattah, who conducted the Eid prayers, told Ahram Online. “Its history and its location makes it so important to the capital.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Egypt: Conspiring Against Ruler is Conspiring Against God — Salafi

Salafi (ultraconservative) leader and member of the constituent assembly, tasked with rewriting the constitution, Saeed Abdel Azeem, said that conspiring against Egypt’s ruler (President Mohamed Mursi) is equal to conspiring against God. Describing Egypt’s president as the “ruling imam”, Abdel Azeem argued that as Mursi may be unable to apply the law of God fully at this point, the nation must overcome political differences and rally behind him. He added in his Eid speech on Sunday in Alexandria’s Shohadaa Square that Egypt will return to being ruled by Islam and Prophet Mohamed’s Sunnah and not democracy, socialism or nationalism.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Egypt: Morsy on Path-Breaking Visits to China, Iran

Egypt’s President, Mohamed Morsy is heading for China and Iran — a path-breaking visit that is unlikely to please the United States that has gone overboard to cultivate the recently elected new leadership in Cairo. Mr. Morsy will land in Beijing on Monday, before heading for Tehran to attend the summit of the Non Aligned Movement (NAM) there. This will be the first visit by an Egyptian President to Iran, since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. The importance of the visit has not been lost on the Iranians. “Since long time ago, Egypt and Iran as two big Muslim countries have had close ties and played key roles in the Islamic civilization,” observed Ali Larijani, the Speaker of Majlis, Iran’s parliament.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Egypt: Muslim Brotherhood Against Journalists and Judges Who Criticise Morsi

TV host Tawfiq Okasha is accused of insulting Islam after he broadcast the ritual execution of an apostate. President Morsi wants him banned from all TV channels. The Muslim Brotherhood wants to eliminate all anti-Islamist judges and control the Constitutional Court.

Cairo (AsiaNews/Agencies) — Fearing a drop in popular support, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood is trying to silence its critics. In the past few months, journalist Tawfiq Okasha (pictured) has been one of the loudest voices speaking out against the Brotherhood and President Mohammed al-Morsi. As a result, he has been accused of defaming the president and portraying Islam in a bad light, opening him up to attacks.

Okasha is a well-known TV presenter and owner of a satellite channel, Al Fara’een. He has always been a staunch critic of the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists. In the past, he even showed a young man having his throat cut in a ritual execution for apostasy.

He also went after Egypt’s intelligence chief, General Abdel Fattah al-Seesy, accusing him of being a paid agent of Qatar and having favoured Morsi’s election as president of Egypt. In fact, in last June’s election, Morsi defeated Ahmed Shafiq, who raised doubts about the fairness of the elections since many Copts (up to half in his opinion) were not able to vote.

Given his outspokenness, Okasha has been accused of slandering Islam and causing sectarian divisions, as well as uttering “intentaional falsehoods and accusations that amount to defamation and slander” against Presidetn Morsi. The latter, for his part, has called for Okasha to be banned from TV. Meanwhile, Okasha is scheduled to appear in court on 1 September.

In light of the atmosphere, an Egyptian NGO, the Union of Lawyers for Legal Studies, said in a statement that lawyers should defend Okasha because “Defending Okasha is defending freedom of opinion and expression, which must be guaranteed to all after the revolution, whether pro- or anti-government.”

At the same time, the Muslim Brotherhood is trying to extend its control over the country’s justice system and the courts. The new Justice Minister Ahmed Mekki, who was in favour of judicial independence during the Mubarak era, now wants to purge all Mubarak-era jurists. In his opinion, purging the judges is another step in Egypt’s revolution.

Conversely, other observers view Mekki’s plans as a way to purge anti-Islamist judges and place the court system under the control of the Muslim Brotherhood. Until now, courts have remained the only institution that has not yet bent to the will of the Brotherhood.

Islamists are especially eager to clip the wings of the Constitutional Court, guilty in their view of declaring unconstitutional the Islamist-Salafist-controlled parliament, which had been elected at the start of the year.

Since parliamentary and presidential elections were held, the Muslim Brotherhood has lost about 40 per cent of its support. Thus, all the moves it is currently undertaking are an attempt to maintain its absolute majority in parliament, and avoid a defeat in next year’s parliamentary elections.

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

Egypt: Of Obama, Christians and Crucifixions

[WARNING: Disturbing content.]

The crucifixion of Christians and death of truth

Current news reports from Egypt describe the crucifixions that are presently taking place in a similar manner the beheadings of a decade ago were described. There is a deliberate element of sanitation and secularization of the news from Egypt by both those in power as well as those reporting the news, which is consistent with my previous findings. News reports describe the victims of this horrific and barbaric ritual as radical political opponents to Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi by a small portion of equally radical Muslim proponents. It certainly sounds simple enough, at least for a sound bite or a drive time report.

Much like the gruesome beheadings at the hands of al Qaeda, however, there is a much deeper and more sinister component to these activities that you will not hear in the corporate media. Even most of the conservative press is deliberately shying away from the truth. What many are saying is that this persecution is an Arab Spring that has “run amok.”

Most analysts and talking heads are stumbling all over themselves to explain that the crucifixions taking place in Egypt are a largely secular or “partisan” response to the opposition of Mohammed Morsi. They downplay the Christians and Jewish religious characteristics of the victims, noting that they are only dissidents who just happen to be non-Muslim. They further degrade and dilute the Judeo-Christian aspect of the persecuted as unintended consequences of a power vacuum created by the toppling of Hosni Mubarak and the implementation of a new, democratically elected government. Such claims are myopic, naive or deliberately disingenuous.

Closer investigation of what is taking place in Egypt tells a much different story and does not comport with a plan gone awry, but rather a plan coming to fruition.


As far as Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood goes, Obama announced his intention to bypass congress and provide $1.5 billion in American taxpayer funded aid to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Libyan General in Charge of Armaments Killed in Benghazi

(AGI) Benghazi — There’s no peace in Libya almost one year after the killing of Muammar Gaddafi. Mohammed Hadiya Al-Feitouri, a General of the regular army, was killed in Benghazi while leaving a mosque after Friday prayers. The Army officer was shot in the head from a gun fired inside a car racing past. Feitouri, who had defected abandoning the Colonel during last year’s revolt, had been appointed Head of the Army Armaments and Munition Command.

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

The Power Elite and the Muslim Brotherhood, Part 15

A key agent of the Power Elite (PE) has been Zbigniew Brzezinski (ZB). In previous articles, I have explained his facilitation of the Ayatollah Khomeini’s replacement of the Shah of Iran almost 25 years ago. And in keeping with the PE’s long-range plans, ZB in a recent interview with NEWSMAX (July 18) warned that “a war (with Iran) in the Middle East, in the present context, may last for years. And the economic consequences of it are going to be devastating for the average American — -high inflation, instability, insecurity. Probably significant isolation for the United States in the world scene…”

The PE’s plan is not for a massive war in the region, but rather a gradual takeover by the Muslim Brotherhood (MB). Relevant to the MB, on June 12, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann and 4 other members of Congress sent letters to the Inspectors General at the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Justice and State, and the Director of National Security requesting information regarding the influence of the MB inside the U.S. government. One of the individuals about whom there is concern is Huma Abedin (Deputy Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton), whose mother, father and brother have connections to organizations with ties to the MB.


In Egypt, the next important event is the writing of a new constitution, which will deal with the powers of the president, parliament and military, as well as the role of Islam. On July 30, a court deferred until late September a decision on whether to disband the 100-member Islamist-led constituent assembly which is charged with writing the new constitution. This is considered a victory for the MB, as the assembly can now continue to work on the constitution.

What seems to be occurring is what I predicted — -a temporary accommodation between the MB and the military. One by one, the older members of the military leadership will retire (in luxury, perhaps to the Riviera), and the MB will gain more and more control. Signs of such an accommodation are that President Mohammed Morsi’s new Cabinet sworn in on August 2 included Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi as defense minister, and 2 other generals were minister of the interior (which covers the police) and minister of local government.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Iron Dome Anti-Missile Shield Placed Near Eilat

To defend Red Sea touristic site

(ANSAmed) — TEL AVIV, 20 August — Israeli army has installed yesterday a battery of ‘Iron Dome’ (a system able to intercept incoming rockets) in the vicinity of Eilat, a popular tourist site that overlooks the south of Israel on the Red Sea, adjacent to the Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.

This was announced by a military spokesman. The missile defense had been located not far from the place where a few days ago some fragments of a Grad rocket had been found.

For the second time during the summer the deployment of this type of shied has occurred: last week another battery — Ynet underlines — had been placed near Safed, a town in northern Israel. The military spokesman said that the adoption of the defense system — located in a mountain area, not visible from the highway nearby Eilat, as Ynet website explains — is part of the effort to disguise the Iron Dome with the topography of the area.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Palestine is Main Issue of Islamic World — Leader

TEHRAN — Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has said that Palestine is the main issue of the Islamic world and has advised Muslim countries to maintain vigilance in the face of the plot to bury the Palestinian issue. The Leader made the remarks during a meeting with a number of Iranian officials and ambassadors of Muslim countries in Tehran on Sunday. Ayatollah Khamenei stressed the importance of understanding the sensitive situation in the region and maintaining vigilance in the face of the complicated plots of the front of arrogance. “The main issue of the Muslim world is the issue of holy al-Quds (Jerusalem) and oppressed Palestine, which has been highlighted thanks to the Islamic Awakening,” he stated.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Turkish Aid Association Building Orphanage in Gaza

(ANSAmed) — GAZA, AUGUST 9 — A Turkish aid association, Cansuyu, is constructing a 600-children capacity orphanage in Gaza. Construction of approximately a million USD worth centre is expected to conclude by the end of 2012. Cansuyu’s Ankara Chairman Sukru Gok told Anatolia news agency on Thursday that they decided to set up this centre in 2009, after the second Intifada. He stated that they started building the orphanage three years ago however the due date of the completion was extended because of Israel’s embargo. Gok added that they cover hundreds of children’s expenses in Gaza and underlined that the centre based on 2,500 square metre will serve 600 children.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Veil to Protect God-Fearing Orthodox Jews

(ANSAmed) — TEL AVIV — Orthodox Jews in Israel can now wear a dark veil beneath their hats to protect themselves from potentially disturbing scenes or images as they go about their daily business, the Hebrew-language newspaper Maariv reports.

The proposal comes from a company popular with ultra-Orthodox Jews that also makes special adhesive lens covers for eyeglasses that reduce users’ range of vision to just a couple of metres, allowing them to walk around safely but also screening them from undesirable images. The same company has also come up with a “modesty” solution for air passengers: a foldable cardboard screen that can be erected to protect them from indiscreet eyes.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Eid in Dubai Distributes Sweets at Mosques

Dates and sweets with Arabic coffee for all shoppers at malls

Dubai: Festive organisers, Eid in Dubai, handed out more than 100,000 pieces sweets at key mosques across the city. After the Eid prayers, worshipers at some of the most crowded mosques in Dubai such as Mankhool Mosque, Jumairah Mosque, Al Rashidiya Mosque and many others, were given the treats as part of the traditional Diyafat Al Eid, a key feature of any Eid celebration. Dubai Events and Promotions Establishment gave out the sweets on Sunday to mark Eid Al Fitr. Eid in Dubai is also distributing Diyafat Al Eid at shopping malls in the city where visitors will be welcomed with traditional sweets and Arabic coffee. Deira City Centre, Mall of Emirates, Dubai Festival City, Mirdiff City Centre, Dubai Mall, Mercato and Al Ghurair Centre will see volunteers handing out dates and sweets with Arabic coffee for all shoppers.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Gunman Kills Nine at Yemen Mosque

A gunman has opened fire on worshippers marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in southern Yemen, killing nine. The gunman targeted men praying outside a crowded mosque in al-Dhale, a governorate about 115 miles south of the capital, Sanaa, during morning Eid el-Fitr services. Nine people were killed and another 10 wounded, officials said. The gunman was arrested at the scene.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Happiness of Eid is Tempered by Plight of Syrians

APART from the squawking rainbow lorikeets in the gum trees, the scene at Lakemba Mosque yesterday could have been anywhere in the Middle East. As the yellow light of dawn marked the end of a month of fasting for Ramadan, up to 40,000 Australian Muslims knelt on prayer mats facing east along half a kilometre of Wangee Road outside the mosque .


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Jordan: Interviewing the Islamic Action Front

by Zach Smith

It’s good to be back at NextGen Journal. For the last two months, I studied Arabic in an intensive program in Amman, Jordan, which explains my lack of foreign policy columns in this space, given the relative lack of Internet access and extremely heavy homework load. However, I’ve come back with lots to share, including some (hopefully) interesting pieces on different aspects of the Jordan-U.S. relationship, the future of democracy in the “Arab world” and other related topics, like the Arab-Israeli conflict. One of my most interesting experiences in Jordan was an interview with Dr. Abdallah Farajallah, a member of the Islamic Action Front’s executive team.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Mosques Packed in UAE to Pray and Spread Joy

Muslims were urged to observe the Ramadan themes of piety, obedience and generosity throughout the year at Eid Al Fitr prayers on Sunday.

Imams at grand mosques and informal musallas said Eid was the time for those who fasted to reap what they sowed during the Holy Month, according to Wam, the state news agency. “Eid is meant to be a time of enjoyment that should extend to one’s family, relatives, friends and neighbours, and even domestic helpers,” imams said. “In this, Muslims should follow the tradition of the Prophet Mohammed, who had been keen to spread joy and share it with his family.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Oman: First Day of Eid Marked

HM prays at Taimour mosque — MUSCAT — The Sultanate yesterday celebrated the first day of Eid al Fitr. His Majesty Sultan Qaboos performed Eid al Fitr prayer at the Sultan Taimour Bin Faisal Mosque in South Maabelah in the Wilayat of Seeb, Governorate of Muscat. The prayers were led by Shaikh Abdullah bin Mohammed al Salmy, Minister of Awqaf and Religious Affairs. Al Salmy gave thanks and praise to the Almighty. His sermon included an interpretation of Surat al Fatiha Chapter of the Quran.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

‘Tumour’ of Israel Biggest Problem for Islamic World: Iran

TEHRAN: The “cancerous tumour” of Israel is the biggest problem confronting Muslim countries today, Iran’s supreme leader said on Sunday, repeating an epithet slammed just days earlier by UN chief Ban Ki-moon and US and EU officials.

In a speech marking Eid -ul-Fitr, the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramazan, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said “the big powers have dominated the destiny of the Islamic countries for years and… installed the Zionist cancerous tumour in the heart of the Islamic world,” according to the official IRNA news agency.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

U.S. Says Iraqis Are Helping Iran to Skirt Sanctions

When President Obama announced last month that he was barring a Baghdad bank from any dealings with the American banking system, it was a rare acknowledgment of a delicate problem facing the administration in a country that American troops just left: for months, Iraq has been helping Iran skirt economic sanctions imposed on Tehran because of its nuclear program.

The little-known bank singled out by the United States, the Elaf Islamic Bank, is only part of a network of financial institutions and oil-smuggling operations that, according to current and former American and Iraqi government officials and experts on the Iraqi banking sector, has provided Iran with a crucial flow of dollars at a time when sanctions are squeezing its economy.

The Obama administration is not eager for a public showdown with the government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki over Iran just eight months after the last American troops withdrew from Baghdad.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

War Against Iran as Costly as Peace

Press analyzes costs of various scenarious

(ANSAmed) — ROME, 20 AUG — The cost of war against Iran and the cost of peace. The issue is on the agenda in Israel, where the talk of a possible, upcoming conflict with Tehran is frequent. But if the first focus of the debate was whether the Jewish state would attack, now speculations seem to focus on the cost of war.

“The war against Iran could cost $ 42 billion” headlines today the site of Arutz Sheva, network close to Israeli religious right wing. The data is taken from a study of the Business Development Institute (BDI) in New York, which based its estimate on the cost of Israeli-lebanese war(over one month of war in 2006).

“The consequences of an attack on Iran are difficult to predict — writes the “Globes”, authoritative economic magazine- but no doubt it would affect Israeli national economy for a certain period of time. “ Even now, after all, “the specter of war hangs like a black cloud on the Israeli market. “ But if war would cost dear, peace also has its price, as pointed out by Yarom Ariav, former director general of Ministry of Economy, an expert in the field of military spending. “If Israel does not attack, and Iran becomes a nuclear power — said Ariav, quoted by the Haaretz newspaper — the economic backlash would be significant: our rating would worsen and we should greatly increase the budget for defense and national security. “ Excluding considerations of various nature(strategic, ethical, etc.), it is therefore very difficult to understand which one of the two scenarios would be less costly.

But uncertainty has a price too: “The current climate is a deterrent for those who want to invest in the country, “writes today the site Ynet. Even the real estate sector — a hen that laid golden eggs in recent years -in the first half of 2012 has seen “a halving of foreign investment in comparison with the previous year. “

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Yachting: Turkish Investors Eye Ports in Greece

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, AUGUST 20 — Turkish investors are interested in marina and port privatizations in neighboring Greece, according to a Greek official, as a Turkish business group has called on local companies to invest in the neighboring country. “The process has not begun yet,” said Greek Privatization Boards’ coordinator Panos Protohsaltis during an interview with Anatolia news agency, referring to a recent parliamentary decision that sees large privatizations as part of further austerity measures. “We will decide on the process within a few weeks. The government has made a decision that gives a green light (to sell-offs). This is an important step.

“Turkish companies are interested in Greek ports, he said without elaborating. “It is the right time for Turkish companies to invest in Greece,” said Selim Egeli, head of the Turkish-Greek Business Council within the body of Turkey’s Ministry of Development and the Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey (DEIK). International companies other than Turkish firms will also show an interest in Greek port and marina privatizations, Egeli told Anatolia. In May, Hellenic Duty Free, a joint venture between Turkey’s Setur Marinas and Greece-based Follie Group, won 40-year operation rights on Lesbos Island, which is a 1.5-hour boat trip away from Turkey’s tourism destination of Ayvalik on the Aegean coast. Another Turkish company has already said it is in the game. Global Yatirim Holding is closely interest in port privatizations in Greece.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Pussy Riot: Possible New Law Against Criticism of Judges

(AGI) Moscow — Following the Pussy Riot trial Russia may introduce a law to limit the freedom to criticise judges. Ilya Kostunov, an MP for the ruling party United Russia refused to rule out legislation in this regard. The politician explained that it has become “common custom” to criticise the decisions of the judges, but that should only be done by “other judges or other professionals, who know the law.” .

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

South Asia

Afghanistan: Top US General in Afghanistan to Discuss Attacks

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The U.S. military’s top general met with senior officials in Afghanistan on Monday to attempt to stop a recent wave of attacks by Afghan soldiers and police against international forces in the country. Once an anomaly, attacks from inside the Afghan security forces have been climbing in recent months. There have been 30 such attacks so far this year, up from 11 in 2011.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

India: Thousands Flee Bangalore for Fear of Persecution

Over 5,000 panic-stricken northeastern Indians have fled the southern city of Bangalore after reports their communities would become the target of violent attacks.

Wild rumors have been spreading, causing panic, that people originally from India’s northeast now living in the southern city of Bangalore would be attacked to avenge sectarian violence in Assam, in which 74 lives were lost last month.

The fright among students from northeastern states was accentuated after a Tibetan student was stabbed on August 13 in the neighboring city of Mysore in an apparent case of mistaken identity.

Outsiders at home

Two extra north-bound trains ran in addition to the transportation service’s normal schedule late Wednesday night to clear the expected rush of passengers headed for Assam. Many people desperate to leave Bangalore had to buy unreserved tickets and board packed trains to leave the city.

“We are scared and fear for our lives. Two days back three of my friends got anonymous text messages that we will be harmed. And suddenly this panic erupted,” student Daniele Panmei told DW while waiting to board a train, adding, “all of us will come back when the situation is better.”

The fear among the waiting passengers was palpable.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Indian Leaders Greet Nation on Eid-ul-Fitr

NEW DELHI, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) — Indian President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Vice President M. Hamid Ansari Sunday greeted the nation on the occasion of Eid-ul- Fitr, which is celebrated on Monday. “On the joyous occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr, I extend my warm greetings and good wishes to all my fellow citizens,” the president said.

“Eid-ul-Fitr marks the culmination of the period of fasting during the holy month of Ramzan which is a month of blessings and forgiveness. The festival reminds us of our duties towards the poor and downtrodden as well as the need for charity and generosity towards all,” he said. “May this auspicious day strengthen mutual goodwill and instill in us a sense of unity and pride in the composite culture of India, “ he said.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

India Gains Interest in Islamic Banking

The government is considering introducing Islamic banking in the country. The Ministry of Finance recently asked the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to reconsider such a possibility.

The RBI formed a committee to look into the matter after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Malaysia in 2010, when Singh indicated that the government was open to the idea of a banking system that could address the long-standing concerns of the business section of a minority community.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

India Blames Mass Exodus on Pakistan-Based Groups

India has blamed Pakistan-based groups for creating an atmosphere of fear which triggered the mass exodus of over 10,000 panic-stricken people from the northeast. India’s interior ministry has accused Pakistan-based elements of uploading provocative and offensive content on the Internet and spreading it through social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to create a scare among people throughout India who are of northeastern descent. An investigation by the home ministry revealed that over 10,000 panic-stricken northeastern Indians have fled the southern cities of Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad over the last five days after reports that their communities would become the target of violent attacks on Eid.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Indian Minister Says Bureaucrats ‘Can Steal a Little’

A provincial minister in India’s most populous state has sparked a scandal after suggesting to bureaucrats that they could “steal a little” if they performed well in their duties.

Shivpal Singh Yadav, in charge of housing and construction in northern Uttar Pradesh state, on Friday hastily withdrew the offer he made a day earlier during a meeting with government employees, which was also attended by journalists.

Yadav is an uncle to the state chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, whose Samajwadi Party stormed into power on an anti-corruption platform in elections held in Uttar Pradesh in March.

“If you work hard, you can steal a little, but don’t behave like bandits,” the Press Trust of India quoted Yadav as saying at the meeting in Etah town, about 124 miles from capital Lucknow.

The comments drew flak from political opponents, prompting Yadav to retract his offer and accuse journalists of sneaking into the gathering.

“I have taken back those words,” he told reporters in Lucknow on Friday. “Why are you raking it up? I don’t know why the media is targeting me,” he said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Indonesia: Anti-Christian Attacks Mark the End of Ramadan in Java

This year’s Idul Fitri was tarnished by bloodshed and violence. In Solo, a grenade was thrown at a police station; no victims were reported. In Bandung, police tells priest to stop Mass as many fear attacks by Muslim extremists.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) — In Indonesia, acts of religious intolerance have characterised this year’s Idul Fitri, the celebration that marks the end of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting and praying. Over the week-end, extremist groups stopped a Catholic Mass in West Java. In Solo (central Java), a police station was hit by a grenade attack. Unlike previous years, Muslim celebrations are no longer free of violence. Still, most of the faithful respected an established tradition and invaded the streets on their scooters and other vehicles, honking, blowing horns and shouting “God is great.”

A priest in Bandung said that a group of Muslim extremists prevented Mass celebration in a ‘house church’ in Majalaya, West Java. He said local police called him on his mobile, warning him of possible “incidents” or attacks against Christians attending Mass during Idul Fitri.

Local Catholic sources explained that for about “a dozen years” Mass has been celebrated inside a room in a plant in the industrial zone because the authorities “have not issued the appropriate papers” for a permanent structure.

Similar cases have been reported elsewhere in the country. The latest one involved the Saint John the Baptist Catholic Church in Parung (Bogor Regency) where the lack of a building permit has led to shuttering or demolition of the structure.

Idul Fitri celebrations have been tarnished by another attack, this one against a police station in Solo, the second largest city in central Java. Here, an unknown number of attackers threw a grenade inside the station as people celebrated in the streets. Fortunately, no one was hurt. However, the fact that it even occurred during the religious celebration is interpreted as a “strong message” to the police.

It is unclear though, if this attack was a response to the arrest of Muslim leader Abu Bakar Baasyir. For Indonesia’s intelligence chief, there were enough elements to find the unknown attacks, but for now, details would not be released.

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

More NZ Troops May be Sent to Afghanistan

More New Zealand non-combat troops may be sent into Afghanistan now that increased insurgent activity has resulted in the deaths of five Kiwi soldiers this month. Prime Minister John Key said the support may come from non-combat SAS forces who would assist with logistics and planning. Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker, 26, Private Richard Harris, 21, and Corporal Luke Tamatea, 31, were killed instantly on Sunday evening (NZT) when their humvee, the last in a convoy, was struck by a 20 kilogram improvised explosive device (IED) on the road to Do Abe in the northeast of Bamyan Province. When questioned today about the use of humvee vehicles, Mr Key said: “No vehicle would have survived that explosion.” He described the blast as “massive”. Mr Key confirmed a specialist IED team had been sent to Afghanistan last week after the deaths of Lance Corporals Rory Malone and Pralli Durrer just over two weeks ago.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

New Zealand Announces Early Afghan Withdrawal After Spate of Deaths

New Zealand will pull its soldiers out of Afghanistan earlier than planned, the prime minister announced, after the country lost three troops in a Taliban bomb attack on a convoy.

John Key said it was “highly likely” the country would now withdraw its 145-strong contingent in April 2013. He said the decision to bring forward the withdrawal date had not been influenced by the attack in Bamiyan province on Sunday morning. An increase in violence in the province where the contingent is stationed has seen the country lose five troops this month. A total of 10 New Zealand soldiers have died in Afghanistan since they began their mission in 2003. Mr Key said New Zealand would not “cut and run”, but would withdraw “as fast as we can, and we’ll do it in the way that protects our people as best we can”. The three soldiers, including the first New Zealand woman killed in action since Vietnam, died instantly when their Humvee hit a large homemade bomb.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Pakistan: Girl With Downs Syndrome Arrested for Blasphemy

Islamabad, 20 Aug. (AKI) — Hundreds of Christian families on Monday fled the village near Islamabad where an 11-year-old Christian girl with Down Syndrome had been arrested for blasphemy, according to Pakistan’s Express Tribune newspaper.

The girl was arrested Friday in the village of Meharabadi Jaffar after villagers severely beat her for allegedly burning 10 pages of the Noorani Quaida, the book used to learn the Koran in the village of Meharabadi Jaffar on Monday.

A report released by the non-governmental organisation Centre for Law and Justice said at least 200-300 Christian families deserted the village and surrounding areas driven by fear of reprisals by the Muslims.

The organisation blames the government for not having adopted any measures to safeguard Christian families, according to The Express Tribune.

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

Pakistan’s President Orders Probe Into Blasphemy Arrest of Disabled Girl

Pakistan’s president has called on officials to explain the arrest on blasphemy charges of a Christian girl with Down’s Syndrome who allegedly burnt pages inscribed with verses from the Koran.

There is a growing debate about religious intolerance in Pakistan, where strict anti-blasphemy laws make defaming Islam or desecrating the Koran punishable by death. Police said the girl, Rimsha, was arrested in a low-income neighbourhood of the capital last Thursday and remanded in custody for 14 days after furious Muslims demanded she be punished. Police, speaking to AFP on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case, said the girl was in her teens and had been arrested after hundreds of angry residents protested demanding that police took action. Activists say she is 11 years old. President Asif Ali Zardari took “serious note” of the arrest and called on the interior ministry to submit a report on the case, state media said on Monday.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Far East

China Sees Red Over Europe Wine Imports

(SHANGHAI) — A Chinese industry group has asked the government to probe European wine imports, claiming EU subsidies are harming domestic producers, state media said Monday.

The China Alcoholic Drinks Industry Association has urged the Ministry of Commerce to investigate whether wine from the European Union is damaging the nation’s domestic market, the official Xinhua news agency said.

“Almost every Chinese winemaker has felt the impact from the EU,” an official of the association, Wang Zuming, was quoted as saying.

“The EU has provided various subsidies to the wine industry, putting Chinese makers at a disadvantage,” he added.

Wang confirmed to AFP that the association had made the formal request to the government, but declined further comment. The ministry could not be reached for comment.

China is seeking to build a domestic wine industry. Much of the wine made in the country has until recently been mass-produced and of low quality, but there are now some good Chinese wines being produced, experts say.

According to European estimates, exports of wine and spirits to China total more than one billion euros ($1.2 billion) annually.

But counterfeiting in China has caused huge losses for European winemakers, particularly Bordeaux wineries. Bordeaux is popular in China.

The International Organisation of Vine and Wine estimates that wine consumption in China, the world’s most populous country, rose to 17 million hectolitres (mhl) last year, up by 1.5 mhl from 2010.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

China: Signs Point to Power Struggle in Gu Kailai Case

In China, the wife of former leading politician Bo Xilai has been convicted of murder. A number of experts believe the case is merely a result of a grab for power among members of China’s elite.

A court in the eastern Chinese city of Hefei convicted Gu Kailai, the wife of Chinese politician Bo Xilai, of murder on Monday (20.08.2012). Chinese state media have reported that Gu, a former prosecutor, admitted to poisoning British businessman Neil Heywood. The court sentenced her to death, but that sentence has been commuted. If Gu maintains a clean record for the next two years, she will serve a life sentence in prison rather than being executed.

Gu’s husband Bo Xilai, who was party chief of China’s largest city Chongqing, had been seen as a top candidate to become a member of China’s center of power — the Communist Party’s Politburo Standing Committee. To the shock of the nation, he was removed from his office in March. Until that point, he had been the charismatic bearer of hope of the so-called “New Left,” son of a famous veteran of the revolution and a poster child of the upper class of “princelings.” Now, with the loss of his seat in the Politburo and in the party’s central committee, his career in politics has come to an end

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Tobacco Industry Taps Into Asian Smoking Demand

While much of the industrialized world has seen a big drop in the number of smokers, the opposite is true of many emerging and developing markets in Asia. Health officials are concerned.

Big tobacco companies like big numbers, and they’re finding them in Asia, with the world’s largest and fastest growing population.

Take China with its estimated population of 1.3 billion people: More than 300 million Chinese already smoke. Or consider India with its 1.2 million people: Around 275 million people there are tobacco users, according to recent World Health Organization (WHO) figures.

Those are significant numbers in their own right. But a closer look at them shows even greater potential for profit-driven tobacco companies: In China, for instance, just over 2 percent of tobacco users are women and about 10 percent of teenagers smoke.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Australia — Pacific

Imposition of Sharia Law a ‘Myth’

by Ross Peake

The head of a federal inquiry into multiculturalism hopes to push back against the notion that all Muslims in Australia want to impose Sharia law. Labor’s Maria Vamvakinou describes this as a myth and a ‘‘fault line’’ in the community, along with the perception that Muslims do not want to integrate with mainstream Australia. She also wants migrants to be described by their ethnic origin as opposed to faith, to overcome the trend of grouping all migrants from Afghanistan or Iraq as Muslims. The Joint Standing Committee on Migration has uncovered wide-spread prejudice against Muslims in its inquiry into multiculturalism.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

3 Children Found Bound, Stoned to Death in South Africa, Police Say

South African police say they are hunting “day and night” for suspects after three children were found tied up and stoned to death.

Bafana Kekana, Hosea Richard Kekana and Johana Kekana, ages 9, 10 and 12, respectively, were reported missing Thursday after they didn’t return to a youth care center where they had been living, according to a statement from the South African Police Service. The children participated in a school march Wednesday that called for more teachers.

The children’s bodies were found by a resident in Naboomspruit, a town in the northeastern part of South Africa, on Saturday, still in their school uniforms with their hands and feet bound by shoelaces.

The South African Police Service also says bloody stones were found near the bodies and that the girl, Johana, had apparently been raped.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

A School and a Police Station Attacked in North Nigeria

(AGI) Abuja — This morning an armed commando attacked a Catholic church and a police station in Damagun. The city lies 30 km from Damaturu, the capital of the Federal State of Yobe, in North-Eastern Nigeria. The attack, local authorities explained, was fended off by the police forces that had been deployed in the area after a car-bombing attack against a school on Sunday. There are no reports of casualties in the attacks although part of the building hosting the school was destroyed. Again on Sunday, a raid on an army checkpoint in Kano, the largest city in Northern Nigeria, caused the injury of 2 soldiers. In the past, Kano and the Federal State of Yobe have often been targeted by the Boko Haram Islamic fundamentalist terrorist group.

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

Attempts at Dialogue Between Boko Haram and Nigerian Govt.

(AGI) Abuja — Attempts at dialogue are ongoing between the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram and the Nigerian Government.

The terrorist group has been ravaging large portions of Northern Nigeria. During the weekend the Government, represented by its Information Minister Labaran Maku, “welcomed any initiative that might guarantee the peace and security that have been lost during the last two years”, during which the acts of terrorism either claimed or attributed to the Group have caused the death of at least 1,600 persons. As the Minister himself reported, his statements are in reply to the immediately preceding statements by Boko Haram, which affirmed that it is ready to open a negotiation with the central government of Abuja, the Country’s capital. It is not the first time that mention is made of a dialogue between the Government and the terrorists although all attempts at dialogue subsequently failed due to boycotts, claims of unreliability, the failure to meet the initial requests or claims considered to be unacceptable, by either one of the parties. One of the world’s top experts of Boko Haram, the intellectual and activist Shehu Sani, who had already wrapped the issue up as “lies” in a recent interview to AGI when referring to any possible imminent or ongoing negotiation, is skeptical in this new case too: “the Government’s statements are a stratagem to make Nigerians believe that it will succeed in putting an end to instability and insecurity”. According to Sani, Boko Haram’s opening to dialogue needs to be proved as said opening, reported by the national newspaper ‘Leadership’, came from Saudi Arabia, the current place of residence of Habu Mohammed, one of the deputies of the Group’s leader Abubakar Shekau: “I’m not informed of any negotiation”, Sani affirmed, “no credible negotiation is under way. If there were serious negotiations under way, Boko Haram would have reported them and not the Government. And Boko Haram only provides information through communiques posted on YouTube by its leader Shekau”.

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

Genocide Looms for White Farmers

South Africa’s black president sings killing songs as thousands massacred

The eyes of the world were on South Africa two decades ago as the apartheid era came to an end and Western governments helped bring the communist-backed African National Congress to power.

Last month, however, when Genocide Watch chief Gregory Stanton declared that white South African farmers were facing a genocidal onslaught and that communist forces were taking over the nation, virtually nobody noticed.

Few outside of South Africa paid attention either when, earlier this year, the president of South Africa began publicly singing songs advocating the murder of whites.

The silence is so deafening that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton didn’t even publicly mention the problems when she was there last week. Instead, she was busy dancing, pledging billions of dollars and praising the ruling government.

“I find that quite disturbing, as if Afrikaner lives do not count for the Obama administration,” Dan Roodt of the Pro-Afrikaans Action Group, PRAAG, told WND.

He says the situation is rapidly deteriorating.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Kenya: Prayers, Feasts and Fun Mark Idd

KENYANS have been urged to shun tribalism and remain peaceful during the election period. In his address during this year’s id-ul-Fitr celebration in Nairobi, Jamia Mosque Imam Muhammad Swalihu called on religious leaders to be at the forefront of uniting their faithful and guide them in choosing credible leaders. He spoke after leading congregational prayers for thousands of Muslims who joined the rest of Muslims faithful around the world to mark the end of holy month of Ramadhan at Sir Ali Muslim club yesterday.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Nigeria: Ready to Have Dialogue With Militants

The Nigerian government announced Saturday that it is ready to hold peace talks with the Boko Haram sect in a bid to stop violence in the west African country.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Nigerian Leader Rejects Change to Islam

ABUJA, Nigeria, Aug. 6 (UPI) — The Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram said it would not negotiate with the government, and called on the Nigerian president to resign and accept Islam.

In a half-hour video posted on YouTube, Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau offered no explanation of the group’s demands or positions, but claimed some people in Nigeria were committing evil acts in its name, the news agency Allafrica reported Monday.

The group, prevalent in northeast Nigeria, has been accused of terrorism against Christians, and the call on the video for President Goodluck Jonathan to convert from Christianity to Islam was considered laughable by Dr. Reuben Abati, Jonathan’s special adviser on media and publicity.

“It amounts to sheer blackmail for any individual or group to ask the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to convert to Islam. The president cannot be intimidated by any group or individual,” Abati said.

           — Hat tip: Nick[Return to headlines]

Latin America

Brazil: Olympic Flag Taken Up to Rio’s Christ Statue

The Olympic flag receives a special blessing from seven different religions at Rio de Janeiro’s Christ the Redeemer Statue.

The Olympic flag made it to the top of Rio de Janeiro’s Christ the Redeemer Statue to get a blessing in an inter-religious act aimed at marking the peaceful union of all nations. The Olympic symbol made its grand entrance next to flags of all countries that took part in the Games in London. The 130-foot monument, which looks out over Rio’s dramatic view of beaches and mountains, is the Catholic country’s main symbol. The President of the Rio 2016 Organising Committee Carlos Arthur Nuzman and Rio’s Mayor Eduardo Paes attended the ceremony. After it touched base in Brazil last week, the Olympic flag toured Rio’s slums and was set for public display at the government palace.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Mexico Replaces All Federal Police at Key Airport

All 348 police officers assigned to Mexico City’s international airport have been replaced after three officers were shot dead when they confronted colleagues allegedly involved in drugs trafficking.

Regional federal police chief Luis Cardenas made the announcement on Sunday in Mexico City, saying the replacement officers had been brought in from around the country.

The new officers had also undergone psychological and drugs testing, he said, while the outgoing officers had been assigned posts in other Mexican states.

On June 25, three officers were killed by colleagues who were confronted over their alleged involvement in cocaine smuggling from South America on incoming airliners. One suspected police officer is in custody, while two others are still on the run.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


400 Migrants Land in Lampedusa

Also from Tunisia. Official fear further mass landings

(ANSAmed) — PALERMO — Close to 400 immigrants landed on the Italian island of Lampedusa Sunday, reversing a trend which has seen the amount of arrivals decreasing over recent months. The immigrants, thought to be of sub-saharan descent, were picked up in wooden boats during separate landings. The first, with 231 people aboard, including a pregnant woman and four children, was intercepted around 30 miles off the coast of island. A second, carrying 126 people was picked up Sunday afternoon. Almost all of them are Tunisian. It is thought that they will be housed in the island’s 350 capacity detention centre, which last September burned down following rioting by immigrants.

Local harbour officials are said to be concerned about the possibility of a reprisal of the mass immigrant landings on the island in 2011.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

A College Lifts a Hurdle for Illegal Immigrants

Monday is the first day of the school year for Metropolitan State University of Denver, a compact, urban campus in the heart of the city’s downtown.

It also signifies the dawn of a controversial new policy for this institution of 24,000. Among the crowd of students who will show up for class next week are dozens of illegal immigrants who, as part of a specially tailored tuition rate, can now qualify for a reduced fee if they live in Colorado.

The new rate, approved by the university’s board of trustees in June, has garnered praise from immigrant rights advocates here who have tried for years to get legislation passed that would allow state colleges to offer discounted tuition to local, illegal immigrant students.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Boatpeople ‘Threatened Self-Harm’ On Ship, Forcing Worried Skipper to Change Course

A GROUP of rescued asylum-seekers threatened self-harm unless a merchant ship changed course to take them to Christmas Island, the vessel’s owners say.

The Wallenius Marine shipping line today said the 67 asylum-seekers picked up near Indonesia early on Tuesday were not physically aggressive towards the crew of the MV Parsifal, clarifying initial reports and potentially defusing a political brawl over the incident.

The company says after being told the MV Parsifal was headed for Singapore, “the survivors became agitated and threatened self-harm”, causing the ship’s master to become concerned for his vessel and crew.

“While the survivors’ demeanour was agitated and the master was concerned that they could pose a security threat to the Parsifal’s crew and vessel, there was no physical aggression,” the shipping line said.

The account of the rescue emerged as Australian authorities said they had last night intercepted another boat, this one carrying 63 suspected asylum-seekers, northwest of Christmas Island.

The Coalition earlier demanded a criminal investigation into the diversion of the MV Parsifal, after Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare declared the asylum-seekers were “very aggressive”.

Tony Abbott described the turn of events as a “reverse Tampa incident”, recalling special forces’ boarding of a merchant ship in 2001 to stop it disembarking asylum-seekers.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Italian Coastgaurd Rescues 357 Migrants

Italy’s coastguard rescued 357 African migrants over the weekend, reports the Irish Times. The migrants had attempted to reach Europe by crossing the Mediterranean in wooden boats. The coastguard rescued 231 sub-Saharan Africans, including 33 women and four children, on Saturday. Later the same day they rescued 126 Tunisians.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

‘No Papers, No Fear’: Undocumented Immigrants Declare Themselves on Bus Tour

They are in the United States without documentation, and they are tired of hiding. Over the past few weeks, a group of more than 30 housekeepers, day laborers, students and immigration activists has been making its way across the country in a ragtag caravan, chanting “no papers, no fear” and proudly declaring “I’m undocumented” in public gatherings.

The riders do not have the legal documents to be in the U.S., a point they want everyone they meet to know. They are on the bus tour, dubbed the “undocubus,” to highlight their plight and to challenge their anti-immigrant foes in the ongoing national debate on immigration.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UK: Fresh Doubts Over Training of Temporary Immigration Staff

Barely-trained staff were brought in to plug the gaps at Britain’s borders, it has emerged

Temporary recruits have been issued with memos telling them which countries are members of the European Union, such is the concern about their performance. They have also had to be reminded to make sure all gates are properly closed, amid claims that some passengers have entered the country without being challenged by immigration officers. The limitations of the instruction given to hundreds of temporary recruits emerged in an email written by Brian Moore, the outgoing head of the Border Force, which have been seen by The Daily Telegraph.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Undocumented Immigrants Confront Author of Strict Immigration Laws

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Protesters opposed to strict state-level immigration laws confronted one of the key writers of such legislation as he testified at a U.S. Department of Justice civil rights hearing here on Friday.

Holding up small banners with the words “undocumented” on them, four self-proclaimed undocumented immigrants stood up one at a time to denounce the laws, interrupting the testimony being given by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who helped author the measures in Alabama and Arizona.

Kobach, who advised those states before being elected to statewide office in Kansas, and others were invited to speak about the impact of such laws by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, an independent commission of the federal government.

But the session was interrupted by protests.

“I have received a lot of discrimination. I am Maria Huerta, undocumented and without fear. I have no fear! You have to respect our rights. They are civil rights,” the 65-year-old woman, originally from Mexico, cried out just before throwing the hearing agenda on the floor. “I leave it there. Keep it. You don’t know how to respect human suffering.”

Huerta is among a group of undocumented immigrants traveling across the country in a caravan to highlight their situation and those of others still living in the shadows. Before landing in Alabama, the ragtag caravan made stops in Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee. Their ultimate goal is the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., where they intend to press their concerns.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

An American Election and Marxist Olympic Ceremonies

What can one possibly say about Danny Boyle and his whole conception of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies for the London Olympics of 2012? It’s hard to find pejoratives specific enough to both brand him with and point toward a World War III, a second Holocaust that Danny Boyle and Neo-Soviet Vladimir Putin’s Marxist visions might very well provoke.

How can we describe this?

Purposely infuriating?

Militantly Marxist?

A flaming insult to not only Winston Churchill but William Shakespeare as well?

Or, as my Canadian acquaintance would have it, “cheeky Brit humor”.

Why, of all people, does Boyle pick a grotesque caricature of Winston Churchill to recite these words of Caliban from The Tempest?


Here’s the Cummings Study Guide’s description of Caliban:

Caliban: Savage half-man who serves as a slave on Prospero’s island. He is the son of a witch, Sycorax. Caliban believes he is the rightful ruler of Prospero’s island, having inherited it from his mother.

What does Boyle seem to be saying?

“Churchill’s no hero of mine! He’s no Prospero from The Tempest! He’s Caliban! A savage half-man who wouldn’t understand the ‘janglings’ of the Industrial Revolution since his disgusting kind made the whole Industrial Revolution happen!!”

Who then must be the all-knowing, infinitely wise Prospero in the mind of Danny Boyle? Who, aside from Mr. Boyle himself?

Karl Marx.

British Communism was all over both the Opening and Closing Ceremonies.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


French Amputee Swims From US to Russia

Frenchman Philippe Croizon, whose limbs were amputated after an electrical accident in 1994, swam across the Bering Strait linking North America and Asia on Friday to complete his quest to link all the world’s continents.

The Frenchman braved strong currents and near-freezing temperatures in a roughly four kilometre swim between the US island of Little Diomede and Big Diomede in Russia that he said took about one hour and 20 minutes.

“This was the hardest swim of my life, with a water temperature of four degrees Celsius and strong currents,” the deeply moved Croizon told AFP after reaching the Russian island.

“We made it,” said the 44-year-old, who was accompanied by long-distance swimmer Arnaud Chassery, 35. Since May the pair have swum across three other straits separating the continents and Friday’s was the last.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

The Mirage of Moderate Islam

Islam does not have a separation of Mosque and State, because there is really no state, only the mosque

Moderate Islam is a mirage, a projection by desperate Westerners of their own values and culture, on an entirely different religion and culture. It is a mirage that many Muslims are eager to uphold, in the same way that desert merchants might sell goblets and bowls of sand to passing travelers foolish enough to confuse water with dust. And like travelers who think they are drinking water, when they are actually swallowing sand, it is a deception that will eventually kill the deceived.


A moderate Muslim might pursue such a goal “peacefully” through Dawa or missionary work, but successful Muslim mass conversions have taken place either directly or indirectly through the sword. Even Muslim missionary successes in the West take place in the context of Muslim terrorism. There is no Islam without the sword, because it has no meaning or identity without violence. A non-violent Islam is nothing but a collection of tribal mores and borrowed religious ideas. It quickly recedes to the secular and the cultural, driving the Islamists to revive its core ethos through acts of violence and terror.

This is what Western political and cultural leaders do not understand. The Right is correct that Islam like Communism can be weakened by capitalism, but it cannot be destroyed that way. Because Islam is not incompatible with business, it originated among merchants after all. The fruits of capitalism can help secularize Islam, but not without empowering the very same type of merchants who helped create it. That is why American capitalism has helped create the terrorist threat by enriching the new rulers of Mecca, the House of Saud, which has expanded its own power by funding a new Islamic invasion against its best customers in the West. And so history repeats itself again.


The fundamental error conservative American political leaders made was to assume that Capitalism and Democracy were absolute forms of good, in reality they’re simply tools and prisms which different cultures use to express their potential in different ways.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Anonymous said...

"Hassan’s beard disrupts the court proceedings" :)