Sunday, January 12, 2003

News Feed 20120926

Financial Crisis
»Crisis: 30,000+ Take to the Streets of Athens, Molotovs
»Italy Strong Enough to Solve Its Economic Woes Says Germany
»Popular Discontent Boils in Spain
»Spain: Parliament Under ‘Siege’ In Protest Against Cuts
»Spain: At Least 35 Arrested, 64 Injured in Madrid Clashes
»Spain: Rubber Bullets Fired at Violent Anti-Austerity Protest
»American Jacobins
»Anonymous Attacks Golden Dawn NY’s Website
»Anti-Muslim Filmmaker’s Probation Case Creeps on
»Christian Conservatives Angered by Obama’s Comments on Islam at UN
»Hubble Telescope Reveals Farthest View Into Universe Ever
»Madonna Causes Confusion by Referring to President Barack Obama as a Muslim
»Mosque Approved for South Santa Clara County
»Obama: Anti-Islam Video Can’t be Banned
»Women Scuffle Over Spray-Paint Protest of Anti-Jihad Ad
Europe and the EU
»Belgium: Over 600 Anti-Social Behaviour Fines Since June
»Europeans Did Not Inherit Pale Skins From Neanderthals
»France: ‘Anti-White Racism’
»Greek Ministers Debate Outlawing Golden Dawn
»Italian Newspaper Editor Sentenced to Jail for Libel
»Italy: Pressure Mounts on Berlusconi Party Governor in Lazio
»Italy: Land-Artist Near Verona Creates a Work for Obama
»Italy: Prosecutor Probed for ‘Aiding’ Berlusconi in Sex-Party Case
»Italy: Napolitano Speaks of Unacceptable and Shameful Corruption
»Italy: Prosecutors to Probe Sicily Assembly Budget, Party Documents
»Oldest Ivory Workshop in the World Discovered in Saxony-Anhalt
»Sicilian Prosecutors Investigate Region’s Spending
»Swiss Catholic Bishop Tells Google to Remove Anti-Islam Movie
»UK: Babar Ahmad’s Family Respond to ECHR Ruling
»UK: David Cameron to Reaffirm Britain’s Aid Commitment
»UK: London Local Mosque Receives Hate Mail
»UK: Less a Nation of Shopkeepers, More a Land of Stand-Ups
»UK: Mother of Three, 32, Wakes From a Coma Thinking It’s 1998 and She’s Still Only a Teenager
»UK: Oldham Mosques Council Rejects Anti-Islamic Film Demo
»UK: The Queen: Why Couldn’t We Arrest Abu Hamza?
»UK: The Queen’s Question is Fair — Why Was Abu Hamza Allowed to Continue?
»Zinedine Zidane Headbutt Statue Unveiled in Paris
»Serbia: Bajrakli Mosque, Last Relic of Ottomans in Belgrade Challenges Passage of Time
North Africa
»Egypt’s Morsi Will Embrace Non-Muslims, Women in Secular State
»Gaddafi’s Revenge From Beyond the Grave: Libyan Rebel Credited With Capturing Dictator Dies After Being Kidnapped and Killed by Dictator’s Supporters
»Libya President: Anti-Islam Film Trailer Had Nothing to Do With Attack on US Consulate
»Tunisia: Women Win: Constitution Confirms Their Rights
»UK to Advise Egypt on Quelling Sinai Militants
Israel and the Palestinians
»Ashton to Donor Countries: Help Palestinians
Middle East
»Iran to Boycott 2013 Oscars Over Innocence of Muslims
»Syria Crisis: Blasts Hit Damascus — Live Updates
»Turkey: ‘Innocence of Muslims’ Film Banned in Turkey
»Viennese Muslim Group Petitions for Church in Saudi Arabia
Far East
»Chinese Muslims Start Leaving for Hajj
Sub-Saharan Africa
»Mali Islamists ‘Increasingly Repressive’
»Rise in Witchcraft & Satanism in Kwazulu-Natal
»Somalia’s Islamist War Chest Being Boosted by UN Funds
Latin America
»Barbados: British Aid Used to Train Waiters at Billionaire’s Playground
Culture Wars
»Bullying, Bingeing, Racism and the Other New Deadly Sins
»Paris Sets Sights on Gay Games
»UK: Grandmother: 73, Who Sent 500 Racist Letters Demanding England is ‘Made Pure Again’ Gets Life-Long ASBO
»Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamophobia at UN General Assembly
»Noam Chomsky: Not Even Right About Linguistics
»What Chomsky Doesn’t Get About Child Language
»World Muslim Group Demands Laws Against “Islamophobia”

Financial Crisis

Crisis: 30,000+ Take to the Streets of Athens, Molotovs

Anti-austerity protests, marches, 24-hr national strike

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, SEPTEMBER 26 — Tensions were high on Wednesday in the central Syntagma Square as some anti-austerity protesters threw molotov cocktails at police, who responded with tear gas as a small-scale fire developed in the square.

More than 30,000 people took to the streets in a massive, union-organized protest against the government’s latest proposed austerity measures. In a smaller event organized by the Communist Party-affiliated PAME union, more than 15,000 people marched without incident from Omonia Square to the Parliament building.

Protests are ongoing in all major cities to coincide with a 24-hour national strike called by the country’s three major unions, which are PAME, ADEDY (public sector) and GSEE (private sector). Meanwhile leaked media reports allege that Premier Antonis Samaras has already signed off on the new austerity package, which must now be approved by the leaders of the three-party ruling coalition.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Italy Strong Enough to Solve Its Economic Woes Says Germany

‘Fundamentally sound,’ Bundesbank chief tells Grilli

(ANSA) — Frankfurt, September 26 — Italy is strong enough to cope with problems created by the debt and economic crisis shaking Europe, the head of Germany’s central bank said Wednesday.

“Italy is strong enough to solve its problems on its own, despite the challenges it faces, it is fundamentally sound,” Jens Weidmann, Bundesbank president, said at a joint press conference with Italy’s Economy Minister Vittorio Grilli.

Grilli agreed, saying Italy has no plans to seek any form of bailout from European authorities.

The country’s reform efforts and “the results that we are getting provide comfort in the fact that our economy can get back on a growth trajectory,” Grilli said in Frankfurt. “We do not need help”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Popular Discontent Boils in Spain

Protestors clashed with police in Spain’s capital yesterday (25 September) as the government prepared a new round of unpopular austerity measures for the 2013 budget.

Thousands gathered in Neptune plaza, a few meters from El Prado museum in central Madrid, where they formed a human chain around parliament, surrounded by barricades, police trucks and more than 1,500 police in riot gear.

Police fired rubber bullets and beat protestors with truncheons, first as protestors were trying to tear down barriers and later to clear the square. The police said at least 22 people had been arrested and at least 32 injured, including four policemen.

As lawmakers started to leave the parliament late Tuesday in official cars or by foot, a few hundred people were still demonstrating in front of the building. Most dispersed shortly afterwards.

The protest, promoted over the Internet by different activist groups, was younger and more rowdy than recent marches called by labour unions. Protestors said they were fed up with cuts to public salaries and health and education.

“My annual salary has dropped by €8,000 and if it falls much further I won’t be able to make ends meet,” said Luis Rodriguez, 36, a firefighter who joined the protest. He said he was considering leaving Spain to find a better quality of life.

Demonstrators also said they were angry that the state has poured funds into crumbling banks while it is cutting social benefits.

With this year’s budget deficit target looking untenable, the conservative government is now looking at such things as cuts in inflation-linked pensions, taxes on stock transactions, “green taxes” on emissions or eliminating tax breaks.

The 2013 budget is the second conservative Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has had to pass since he took office in December. Spain must persuade its European partners that it can cut the budget shortfall by more than €60 billion by 2014.

Rajoy has already passed spending cuts and tax hikes worth slightly more than that over the next two years, but half-year figures show the 2012 deficit target slipping from view as tax income forecasts will not be hit due to economic contraction.

He said earlier this month the 2013 budget would cut spending further in all areas of government apart from pensions and borrowing costs.

Spain is at the centre of the eurozone debt crisis on concerns the government cannot control its finances and those of highly indebted regions, bitten by a second recession since 2009 which has put one in four workers out of a job.

On the regional front, Catalonia, which generates about 20% of the national output, announced on Tuesday it would hold early elections on 25 November after its call for more tax autonomy was rejected last week by Rajoy.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Spain: Parliament Under ‘Siege’ In Protest Against Cuts

Thousands on the street, riot police seal off building

(ANSAmed) — MADRID — Riot police have sealed off Spain’s Parliament Tuesday ahead of a demonstration against the Rajoy government’s handling of the economic crisis. The protest, which began gathering steam this morning and has been supported by over 50,000 people across Spain in a Facebook campaign, is expected to end in a symbolic ‘siege’ of congress at 18.00 in which protestors will call for Rajoy’s resignation. Activists from left wing parties, disillusioned trade-unionists, ‘indignants’ from the 15-M movement, public sector workers, academics, intellectuals and ordinary people who have been hit by the crisis plan to cordon off the Lower House during session in order to save it from ‘kidnapping by the Troika and financial markets, in collaboration with Spain’s main political parties.’ A high wire mesh erected around Parliament and the surrounding streets is being guarded by 1350 riot police who were last night deployed to the scene ahead of the protest.

La Carrera de San Jeronimo has been the scene of numerous protests at austerity cuts over the summer, including the abolition of civil servants’ ‘13th month’ pay and a VAT increase to reduce the deficit and achieve the goal of stability fixed at 6.3% this year and 4.5% in 2013.

Budget cuts totaling 40 billion euro are likely to be approved by the executive of the Partito Popolar at a Council of Ministers meeting on Thursday.

Government delegate in Madrid, Cristina Cifuentes, has warned that it would be a ‘crime’ to surround Parliament. President of the Parliament, Jesus Posada reminded protestors that “Parliament is inviable’ and cannot be interrupted or suffer external pressures”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Spain: At Least 35 Arrested, 64 Injured in Madrid Clashes

Protest continues outside parliament today

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, SEPTEMBER 26 — At least 35 people were arrested and 64 injured in clashes late on Tuesday between protesters and police during a rally outside Spain’s parliament against austerity measures, the government said Wednesday.

Officials said 27 of the injured people were police officers.

The ‘Occupy Congress’ rally took place with the Spanish government preparing to present new austerity measures on Thursday as part of moves to reduce the country’s budget deficit.

Protesters have said they will demonstrate outside parliament again later on Wednesday.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Spain: Rubber Bullets Fired at Violent Anti-Austerity Protest

Police fire rubber bullets and beat protesters with truncheons at an anti-austerity demonstration near Spain’s parliament in Madrid.

Protesters clashed with police in Spain’s capital on Tuesday as the government prepares a new round of unpopular austerity measures for the 2013 budget that will be announced on Thursday. At least 22 demonstrators were detained and 28 injured, as clashes continued late into the evening near the Spanish parliament, Spanish broadcaster TVE reported. More than 1,500 police in riot gear had been deployed throughout the day in preparation for the demonstration, with barricades being set up. Police fired rubber bullets and beat protesters with truncheons, first as several protesters were trying to tear down barriers and later to clear the square…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


American Jacobins

by Seth Ackerman

In a recent broadside against the Occupy movement, Alexander Cockburn assailed, among other things, “the enormous arrogance which prompted the Occupiers to claim that they were indeed the most important radical surge in living memory. Where was the knowledge of, let alone the respect for, the past?” Cockburn may be prone to rhetorical excess, but it is striking how little the Occupy movement has identified with any particular tradition of American radicalism. At the height 
of the southern Civil Rights Movement, it was common in New Left circles to refer to the 
Freedom Riders as “the new abolitionists,” the title of a much-read 1964 book by Howard 
Zinn. No such cries of historical continuity were audible from Zuccotti Park…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Anonymous Attacks Golden Dawn NY’s Website

Hackers respond fast to news of the Greek neo-Nazi group’s New York chapter

After news broke Monday that Greek neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn had opened up an office in New York to garner expat support, it did not take long for Anonymous hackers to get to work bringing down its communications systems.

The Twitter account, @YourAnonNews, often used to make announcements for the hacker collective, first publicly posted the phone number connected to the fascist group’s Queens-based office and invited followers to “give them a warm welcome to the neighborhood.”

A follow up tweet asserted, in characteristically playful parlance, that the hackers had disabled Golden Dawn’s New York chapter website:

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

Anti-Muslim Filmmaker’s Probation Case Creeps on

CERRITOS, Calif. (AP) — The federal probation violation investigation targeting the man behind the anti-Muslim video inflaming the Middle East is proceeding slowly and privately, reflecting the explosiveness of the case. Federal officials have said nothing publicly about the case, and neither has Nakoula Basseley Nakoula’s attorney. Nakoula has put his home up for sale and gone into hiding since violence erupted over the 14-minute YouTube trailer for “Innocence of Muslims,” a crudely made film that portrays the Muhammad as a religious fraud, womanizer and pedophile. Enraged Muslims have demanded punishment for Nakoula, and dozens have died in violent protests linked to the movie. A Pakistani cabinet minister on Monday offered a $100,000 bounty to anyone who kills Nakoula. Meantime, First Amendment advocates have defended Nakoula’s right to make the film even while condemning its content. President Barack Obama echoed those sentiments Tuesday in a speech at the United Nations…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Christian Conservatives Angered by Obama’s Comments on Islam at UN

by Chris McGreal

Some right-wing commentators saw president’s discussion of hate speech as a thinly veiled attack on American Christians

has drawn fire from the Christian right over his attempt to criticise Muslims who are offended by slander of the prophet Mohammed while desecrating other religions. Right-wing critics turned on the president over his speech to the United Nations in which he sought to dampen the backlash against the anti-Muslim film that prompted violence across the Middle East earlier this month. They accused him of saying that the foundation of Christianity is itself a slander against Islam.

Obama told the UN that the modern world presents a unique challenge because “anyone with a cell phone can spread offensive views around the world with the click of a button”. He said the notion that the flow of information can be controlled is obsolete and so the question is how to respond to offensive material. The president said that there is no justification for violence and the killing of innocents in response to an offending video or hate speech because that “empowers any individual who engages in such speech to create chaos around the world”. “We empower the worst of us if that’s how we respond,” he said.

Obama returned to the theme later in the speech when he implicitly noted the hypocrisy of those who resort to violence because they believe their religion is offended while refusing to respect the beliefs of others. That’s when he upset some on the Christian right. “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam. But to be credible, those who condemn that slander must also condemn the hate we see in the images of Jesus Christ that are desecrated, or churches that are destroyed, or the Holocaust that is denied. Let us condemn incitement against Sufi Muslims and Shiite pilgrims,” he told the UN. “It’s time to heed the words of Gandhi: ‘intolerance is itself a form of violence and an obstacle to the growth of a true democratic spirit.’ Together, we must work towards a world where we are strengthened by our differences, and not defined by them. That is what America embodies, that’s the vision we will support.”

The backlash was almost immediate with some on the right saying the president was launching a thinly veiled attack on Christians. “It is an orthodox Christian belief that Mohammed is not a prophet,” wrote Erick Erickson, the editor of the conservative website Red State. “Actual Christians, as opposed to many of the supposed Christians put up by the mainstream media, believe that Christ is the only way to salvation. Believing that is slandering Mohammed.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Hubble Telescope Reveals Farthest View Into Universe Ever

The Hubble Space Telescope has captured the farthest-ever view into the universe, a photo that reveals thousands of galaxies billions of light-years away.

The picture, called eXtreme Deep Field, or XDF, combines 10 years of Hubble telescope views of one patch of sky. Only the accumulated light gathered over so many observation sessions can reveal such distant objects, some of which are one ten-billionth the brightness that the human eye can see.

The photo is a sequel to the original “Hubble Ultra Deep Field,” a picture the Hubble Space Telescope took in 2003 and 2004 that collected light over many hours to reveal thousands of distant galaxies in what was the deepest view of the universe so far. The XDF goes even farther, peering back 13.2 billion years into the universe’s past. The universe is thought to be about 13.7 billion years old.

“The XDF is the deepest image of the sky ever obtained and reveals the faintest and most distant galaxies ever seen,” Garth Illingworth of the University of California at Santa Cruz, principal investigator of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field 2009 program, said in a statement. “XDF allows us to explore further back in time than ever before.”

The photo reveals a wide range of galaxies, from spirals that are Milky Way-lookalikes, to hazy reddish blobs that are the result of collisions between galaxies. Some of the very tiny, faint galaxies could be the seeds from which the biggest galaxies around today grew.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Madonna Causes Confusion by Referring to President Barack Obama as a Muslim

Pop star Madonna urged Americans to support President Barack Obama during a concert in Washington DC but incorrectly referred to him as a Muslim.

In a video posted on YouTube by audience members at the concert, the singer delivers a rousing, profanity-laced political speech on freedom during her show. “Now, it’s so amazing and incredible to think that we have an African-American in the White House … we have a black Muslim in the White House … it means there is hope in this country, and Obama is fighting for gay rights, so support the man,” Madonna said. Mr Obama, who stands for re-election on Nov 6, is Christian. Madonna said later: “I was being ironic on stage. Yes, I know Obama is not a Muslim — though I know that plenty of people in this country think he is. And what if he were? The point I was making is that a good man is a good man, no matter who he prays to. I don’t care what religion Obama is — nor should anyone else in America.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Mosque Approved for South Santa Clara County

After another round of debate between impassioned opponents, American Muslims living at the southern tip of Silicon Valley finally received the go-ahead Tuesday to build a mosque in rural San Martin. Even so, nobody seemed to leave the room happy. “We feel vindicated that our mosque has been approved,” said Melindah Bush, a spokeswoman for the South Valley Islamic Center. “But we’re somewhat disappointed in that it will affect the practice of our religion.” In a chamber filled nearly to capacity, five Santa Clara County supervisors voted unanimously to approve a mosque that was, ultimately, smaller and more limited in the number of events than the group wanted. Still, the downsizing didn’t mollify opponents…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Obama: Anti-Islam Video Can’t be Banned

(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) — Global discussion on blasphemy will doubtless rollon, after US President Barrack Obama declared that the “Innocence of Muslims” a form of “freedom of speech”, in a statement that directly contradicted President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s view on the same issue. Obama, the second head of state to address the first day of the General Debate session of the UN 67th general assembly after Brazilian President Dilma Vana Rousseff, claimed that the video was “crude and disgusting” and “sparked outrage throughout the Muslim world.” “Now, I have made it clear that the United States government had nothing to do with this video. It is an insult not only to Muslims, but to America as well,” Obama went on, in a move to ease global rage at his country as part of the fallout of the circulation of the video. Two weeks ago, US Ambassador to Libya John Christopher Stevens and three other US Department of State employees were killed during an assault on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya by an angry mob in a protest at the video, which the Muslim world has said is ridiculing Prophet Muhammad. Despite acknowledgement that conflicts and violence may appear as a result of a publication of such “blasphemy”, Obama said the US could not ban such a video…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Women Scuffle Over Spray-Paint Protest of Anti-Jihad Ad

A protester was arrested after spray-painting one of the controversial anti-jihad ads that have appeared in subway stations

A protester was arrested Tuesday after she was caught spray-painting one of the controversial anti-jihad ads that have gone up in subways, then tussling with another woman who tried to stop her. The New York Post recorded the exchange on video, showing 45-year-old Mona Eltahaway spraying over the subway ad, as another woman, Pamela Hall, tried to block the paint as she held on to a mounted camera…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Belgium: Over 600 Anti-Social Behaviour Fines Since June

The City of Brussels imposed more than 600 fines for anti-social behaviour in the period between 15 June and 15 September.

69 of the fines were issued to people that were caught attacking homosexuals or sexually intimidating women. In the summer the film “Femme de la rue” (top photo) that was made by the film student Sofie Peeters, highlighted the problem of sexism and sexually aggressive behaviour that is all too commonplace in some areas of the capital.

There have also been a number of well-reported homophobic assaults in the centre of Brussels that is home to a vibrant gay community.

The City Authorities decided that it was time to act and a system of on-the-spot anti-social behaviour fines was introduced.

This had the advantage of being immediate, while a criminal prosecution can sometimes take years.

The figures on anti-social behaviour fines were given by the Mayor of Brussels Freddy Thielemans (Francophone socialist) in response to a question tabled by the Flemish liberal councillor Els Ampe.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Europeans Did Not Inherit Pale Skins From Neanderthals

The people who built Stonehenge 5000 years ago probably had the same pallid complexion of many modern inhabitants of the UK. Now it seems that the humans occupying Britain and mainland Europe only lost the darker skins of their African ancestors perhaps just 6000 years earlier, long after Neanderthals had died out. The finding confirms that modern Europeans didn’t gain their pale skin from Neanderthals — adding to evidence suggesting that European Homo sapiens and Neanderthals generally kept their relationships strictly platonic.

There is a clear correlation between latitude and skin pigmentation: peoples that have spent an extended period of time at higher latitudes have adapted to those conditions by losing the skin pigmentation that is common at lower latitudes, says Sandra Beleza at the University of Porto in Portugal. Lighter skin can generate more vitamin D from sunlight than darker skin, making the adaptation an important one for humans who wandered away from equatorial regions.

Those wanderings took modern humans into Europe around 45,000 years ago — but exactly when the European skin adapted to local conditions had been unclear.

Beleza and her colleagues studied three genes associated with lighter skin pigmentation. Although the genes are found in all human populations, they are far more common in Europe than in Africa, and explain a significant portion of the skin-colour differences between European and west African populations.

By analysing the genomes of 50 people with European ancestry and 70 people with sub-Saharan African ancestry, Beleza’s team could estimate when the three genes — and pale skin — first became widespread in European populations. The result suggested that the three genes associated with paler skin swept through the European population only 11,000 to 19,000 years ago.

“The selective sweeps for favoured European (versions of the three genes) started well after the first migrations of modern humans into Europe,” says Beleza.

The finding agrees with earlier studies suggesting that modern humans did not lose their dark skins immediately on reaching Europe, says Katerina Harvati at the University of Tübingen in Germany. “(The new study) is interesting because it suggests a very late differentiation of skin pigmentation among modern humans,” she says.

An earlier analysis of ancient DNA in 40,000 and 50,000-year-old Neanderthal bones, respectively from Spain and Italy, suggested that our extinct cousins had light-coloured skin and reddish hair in their European heartland. But the Neanderthals went extinct around 28,000 years ago — long before modern humans in Europe gained a pale skin. Evidently Neanderthals did not pass these useful local adaptations on to modern humans, despite genetic evidence that the two species interbred.

Middle Eastern contact

That might seem unusual given that the two species lived cheek-by-jowl in Europe for several thousand years. But it makes sense if the interbreeding evident in the genes occurred in the Middle East, where modern humans and Neanderthals first met, says Chris Stringer at the Natural History Museum, London.

In that region, Neanderthals may have had darker skins, explaining why our species did not gain a pale skin after interbreeding with them. Indeed, a study earlier this year of ancient DNA suggested that Neanderthals living in what is now Croatia had dark skin and brown hair.

“Neanderthal skin colour was probably variable, as might be expected for a large population spread out over a large territorial expanse,” says Harvati.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

France: ‘Anti-White Racism’

“Anti-white racism is growing in our cities.” It’s a statement that the French have heard several times over the past few years, during TV and radio interviews; debates; perhaps from their bigoted neighbour. But never before has it been heard publicly by a politician who isn’t affiliated with the far-right National Front (FN) party.

So when Jean-François Copé, secretary general of France’s (supposedly) centre-right UMP party, came out with the disquieting assertion on Wednesday, the reaction was one of disbelief. Admittedly, Copé, was trying to get attention. He’s runnig for UMP party president, with elections just two months away. He’s also about to publish a new book, extracts of which had been sent to conservative daily Le Figaro for some favourable airing…

“There are certain districts in our towns, where individuals — some of which hold French nationality — despise French people who qualify as Gallic, under the pretext that they don’t share the same religion, don’t have the same skin colour, or the same origins.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Greek Ministers Debate Outlawing Golden Dawn

Greek ultra-nationalist party Golden Dawn (Chrysi Avgi) is under the political microscope as several government ministers have debated outlawing the party. Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has discussed a possible ban but so far appears negative.

The election of Golden Dawn to parliament in June this year acted as a shock to the political world. From the beginning other political parties refused to work with them, but have witnessed the surging popularity of Golden Dawn amongst citizens, as their own political popularity wanes.

Golden Dawn is a legitimate political party protected under the Greek constitution, with current polls indicating it has more than 10 percent of the electoral vote. Digital Journal reported that former Greek Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis said this weekend that “If we had elections tomorrow the Golden Dawn would get 20%.”

Despite Golden Dawn’s political legitimacy their presence in parliament has set off alarm bells across Greece and Europe. Many claim the party is Neo-Nazi, a charge the party denies. It also vehemently denies any links to a spate of racist violence that has seen immigrants attacked. The party has however been involved in a number of direct actions that prompted debate, including a vote by the parliamentary ethics committee.

To Vima reports that several government ministers have been discussing outlawing the party with Antonis Samaras. However, the prime minister is not in favour of a ban. Talk of outlawing the party is not new.

In May Digital Journal reported Moshe Kantor, President of the European Jewish Congress, called for a ban on European far-right groups, following Golden Dawn’s first electoral victory and entrance to parliament.

Earlier this year the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, Nils Muiznieks, initiated an investigation into allegations of links between the Greek police and Golden Dawn. Now he has called on the Greek government to investigate if Golden Dawn should be outlawed.

Recently Alexandros Sakellariou, a sociologist and researcher at Panteion University in Athens, told theSET Times: “Golden Dawn does not have any legitimate place in the government, but it does have a legitimate place in the political arena from the moment it is a legitimate political party.”

In a recent interview Alexis Tsipras, leader of the coalition of the extreme left, SYRIZA, told Athens News that Golden Dawn are “obviously being treated with tolerance by the police, the mass media and a broad swathe of the pro-memorandum front. This tolerant attitude must end. Whether these organisations are acting within the parameters of the law is for the courts to judge. On the other hand, the fact is that a substantial segment of the electorate chose an extreme answer to the crisis by voting for the neo-Nazi party, thinking that they were casting a so-called anti-system vote.”

As ministers debate outlawing Golden Dawn To Vima reports several members of the cabinet have said: “It is not so easy to outlaw. A decision to outlaw will lead to more intense activism with unpredictable consequences.”

Concerned about repeated reports of racist violence allegedly committed by members of Golden Dawn, Minister of Public Order Nikos Dendias has given orders for police to come up with a strategy to deal with the issue. According to RFI Golden Dawn headquarters and local branches are under observation from the security police, whilst related websites are under surveillance by the Cyber Crime Unit. These measures are intended to keep a tight control to limit actions by Golden Dawn, and to curb its influence.

Meanwhile Dendias has been tasked with dealing with many of the issues raised by Golden Dawn. The aim is to mitigate direct action by Golden Dawn by replacing it with a political solution. If the government is seen to be dealing with issues which have helped Golden Dawn win popularity, then the party is expected to limit its action and concentrate more on the parliamentary process.

Birth tourism — an industry that helps wealthy foreign women give birth in the United States and get citizenship for their babies — appears to be growing in California, according to the Sacramento Bee. The thousands of dollars these women spend later gives their children easy access to American universities and jobs. It also opens up green cards for the entire family after the child becomes 21.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 7,719 children were born in the United States to mothers who lived overseas. That is an increase of almost 55 percent since 2000. NCHS data likely understate the totals, critics say, because it only includes information reported by parents during hospital stays. No one knows the actual number of birth tourists

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

Italian Newspaper Editor Sentenced to Jail for Libel

‘Disturbing ruling in a democracy’ says journalists’ union

(ANSA) — Rome, September 26 — The Cassation Court on Wednesday confirmed a 14-month jail sentence for Alessandro Sallusti, the editor of the Berlusconi family newspaper Il Giornale, for libel.

Sallusti was appealing an earlier sentence from June 2011 in which he was held responsible for printing libellous remarks submitted by a reader in another rightwing paper he edited, Libero, expressing outrage over judge Giuseppe Cocilovo’s decision granting a 13-year-old the right to have an abortion. “If there were the death penalty, and if it were ever applicable in a situation, this would be the case. For the parents, the gynecologist and the judge,” wrote the anonymous reader in 2007, who used the pseudonym ‘Dreyfus’. The comment appeared in an article by Andrea Monticone, who now faces a new trial. The court ruled that since the comment was not directly traceable to the person who said it, the responsibility fell on the editor of the paper. It added Sallusti was responsible for misrepresenting the court’s ruling as one that forced the girl to have an abortion, as opposed to granting her the right as a minor without the consent of both parents.

The case, which has aroused freedom-of-expression protests from Italian journalists of all leanings, prompted a special session of the Italian journalists union FNSI, which has not ruled out calling a strike. “The ruling defeats and kills the freedom of expression,” FNSI Secretary Franco Siddi told ANSA, calling the decision “disturbing” in “a country with a democratic constitution”. “Journalists know how to respond in unison,” he added. Upholding the Milan court’s ruling, the Cassation Court on Wednesday also ordered Sallusti to pay for all trial expenses, including an additional 4,500 euros for costs from the latest appeal. Following the ruling Wednesday, Sallusti announced he was stepping down.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Pressure Mounts on Berlusconi Party Governor in Lazio

Opposition parties quit in protest over corruption scandal

(ANSA) — Rome, September 24 — Pressure was mounting on Monday for Lazio Governor Renata Polverini of former premier Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Freedom (PdL) party to quit because of a big corruption scandal in the region.

The scandal erupted earlier this month when the PdL’s then regional chief, Franco Fiorito, was placed under investigation for suspected embezzlement of party funds.

Investigators are looking at around 800,000 euros of financial transactions linked to Fiorito. On Sunday councillors for the main parties in opposition in the regional assembly, the centre-left Democratic Party, the leftist SEL and the anti-graft IdV, quit in protest at the scandal.

If the councillors of the centrist UDC party, which supports Polverini’s administration, also step down the government of the region around Rome will collapse.

Polverini met PdL Secretary Angelino Alfano, who last week said the governor was a “victim”, in the House on Monday for talks on the crisis caused by the case.

The scandal is seen by many as a threat to the PdL’s chances of maintaining its position as the biggest party in parliament in next year’s general elections.

The PdL are currently trial far behind the PD in second place in the polls.

Berlusconi has not decided whether he will run for a fourth term as Italian premier next year at the head of the PdL ticket.

Polverini last week hinted she would step down and said that she had been “betrayed by a system that has existed for years”.

But she subsequently said she had “suspended” her resignation and announced cuts in spending by local politicians to raise up to 20 million euros to divert to health and social services.

On Monday a senior Catholic clergyman commented on this scandal and a series of other recent ones that have hit various parts of Italy’s political spectrum. “Rome is a city where the social fabric is irritated by the scandals, by the privileges (of the political class) and the repeated unscrupulous crimes in which there are some people who are well off and many who are badly off,” said Cardinal Agostino Vallini, the Vicar General of Rome.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Land-Artist Near Verona Creates a Work for Obama

Dario Gambarin draws on US President for inspiration

(ANSA) — Verona, September 25 — Italian land-artist Dario Gambarin has produced a one-of-a-kind artwork dedicated to US President Barack Obama in his family field near the northern city of Verona.

Gambarin, who produced a colossal portrait of the US president in 2009, has drawn on the Democratic candidate once again as a source of artistic inspiration.

Using a tractor, the artist says he makes the images, which are viewable only by flying over, without taking any measurements beforehand.

He deletes the work after a few days. His most recent design that spans the size of a football field is not a portrait this time, but a combination of graphics and symbols that spells out in letters and numbers “for Obama” and encircles the word for love in Italian with the letter O and prefaces it with a B.

The mown-field design also includes a crescent moon symbolizing the Islamic world and writes “for the earth”. A mixture of Italian and English was used to convey a message in favor of the US president and Nobel Peace Prize winner’s work for peace and dialogue.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Prosecutor Probed for ‘Aiding’ Berlusconi in Sex-Party Case

Laudati suspected of trying to block investigations

(ANSA) — Bari, September 25 — Bari chief prosecutor Antonio Laudati has been put under investigation for allegedly trying to thwart a probe into alleged sex parties at former premier Silvio Berlusconi’s homes, magistrates in Lecce said on Tuesday.

Laudati is being probed for alleged abuse of power for allegedly trying to block and hamper investigations into Bari businessman Giampaolo Tarantini, who is suspected of having supplied prostitutes to parties at the media magnate’s homes.

He is also suspected of “aiding and abetting” Berlusconi by trying to prevent investigations into the ex-premier. Another prosecutor who has served in Bari, Giuseppe Scelsi, is also being probed for alleged abuse of power. Berlusconi is being probed over suspicions he bribed Tarantini to lie to magistrates about the women he took to the parties.

The case is related to an ongoing trial concerning allegations Berlusconi paid to have sex with an underage prostitute, Karima ‘Ruby’ El Mahroug, at his Arcore villa outside Milan and abused his power to try to cover the affair up.

Tarantini is suspected of providing at least 30 women for the former prime minister in a bid to exchange sex for public contracts.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Napolitano Speaks of Unacceptable and Shameful Corruption

(AGI) Rome — President of the Republic Giorgio Napolitano spoke at a ceremony held to inaugurate the new school year today, saying, “Sadly the press has recently revealed to us all how, totally disregarding legality, there are many unacceptable and shameful phenomena of corruption”. “This is not a context,” said the president,”that is acceptable to those sensitive to the common good,for honest citizens, or for those wishing to start a business.”

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

Italy: Prosecutors to Probe Sicily Assembly Budget, Party Documents

Speaker’s expenses questioned

(ANSA) — Palermo, September 25 — Palermo prosecutors are to examine the budget of the Sicilian regional assembly and documents pertaining to spending by party caucuses as part of a probe opened on Tuesday. The investigation comes in the wake of funding scandals involving parties from both sides of the political fence in Milan, Rome and other cities.

On Tuesday youth coordinator for the Great South party Massimo Cusimano called on the speaker of the regional assembly Francesco Cascio to “disclose the list of expenses made using reserved funds at his disposal because the assembly president has the moral obligation, even before the political obligation, to say how he spends citizens’ money”. Cascio allegedly spent his entire budget allocation of 380,000 euros for 2010 and had the same amount available to him the following year. In the 2012 budget he was allocated 342,000 euros. photo: assembly building in Palermo, Palazzo dei Normanni

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Oldest Ivory Workshop in the World Discovered in Saxony-Anhalt

An international team of archaeologists has discovered a 35,000-year-old ivory workshop within a larger mammoth hunting site in Germany. The open-air workshop had been divided into different work zones, where the ivory was split and then carved. Such organization of tasks is thought of as modern human behavior.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Sicilian Prosecutors Investigate Region’s Spending

(AGI) Palermo — Palermo prosecutors are now investigating money spent by parliamentary groups in Sicily’s Regional Assembly in order to assess any eventual waste and irregularities. The prosecutors responsible are Leonardo Agueci, Maurizio Agnello and Sergio De Montis .

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

Swiss Catholic Bishop Tells Google to Remove Anti-Islam Movie

(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) — A Swiss Catholic priest has censured the release of a blasphemous US-made film that insults Islam’s Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), calling for its removal from the Internet. Bishop Pier Giacomo Grampa told the Swiss SonntagsZeitung newspaper in a recent interview that the “Google officials should remove this byproduct” from YouTube. Grampa further highlighted that the West must not take advantage of freedom of speech to insult other people’s beliefs. Google claims that its policy is to remove content only if it represents hate speech, violates the company’s terms of service, or in case of a request by the US government or a court order.

Google also says that it did not consider the highly offensive Islamophobic video as a hate piece. However, millions of protesters across the Muslim world consider the video as one of the most inflammatory contents to circulate on the Internet. Google’s action, according to US observers, has raised fundamental questions about the control that Internet companies have over online content. The Muslim world has been outraged over the $5-million movie that was reportedly financed by more than 100 Zionist Jews…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Babar Ahmad’s Family Respond to ECHR Ruling

In response to the news that the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights has rejected Babar Ahmad’s appeal against his extradition, the family of Babar Ahmad stated: “The decision of the Grand Chamber is largely irrelevant to us as this matter should never have come to this stage had the British police done their job almost nine years ago and provided the material seized from Babar’s home to the CPS rather than secretly passing it to their US counterparts. The CPS is now in possession of all that material which forms the basis of the US indictment and should immediately prosecute Babar for conduct allegedly committed in the UK. There is enormous public interest in Babar being prosecuted in the UK, as reflected by the fact that almost 150,000 members of the British public signed a government e-petition to this effect last year. Moreover, a British businessman Karl Watkins has recently commenced his own private prosecution of Babar based on the principle of the matter. We now call on the Home Secretary to immediately undertake to halt any extradition until the Director of Public Prosecutions makes a decision on the material that is in his possession.”

For further information contact or 07585355581. You can also visit or the official Facebook page

[JP note: The Travels of Babar the Elephant here ]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: David Cameron to Reaffirm Britain’s Aid Commitment

David Cameron has reaffirmed Britain’s commitment to increase its aid spending to the United Nations target of 0.7 per cent of national income by 2013.

The Prime Minister, in New York for the UN General Assembly, last night co-chaired the first meeting of a new high-level panel tasked by Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, with drawing up a new framework for global development after 2015. Mr Cameron also urged other countries to live up to their promises to deliver funding to meet the Millennium Development Goals, which expire in 2015. “I think it is important that countries that make promises keep those promises,” he said. “We made promises to the poorest people in the world and it is a promise we should keep. To those who are sceptical, I would say it is not only a moral obligation that the better-off countries have to tackle poverty in our world when we still have over a billion people living on less than a dollar a day, but it’s also in our interests that we build a more prosperous world.”


[Reader comment by ripleynu on 26 September 2012 at about 9:10 am.]

Cameron seems to like putting his signature to his own (political) death warrant as often as possible.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: London Local Mosque Receives Hate Mail

(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) — While violent protests are taking place across the Middle East and North America, a local mosque was concerned, but not totally surprised, when it received hate mail. London Muslim Mosque Imam Jamal Taleb said the incident was reported to the police Sunday (Sept. 23), adding the mosque doesn’t know who sent the letter, but the institution does occasionally receive letters when conflict arises somewhere else in the world. “Whenever something happens overseas, especially related to the Muslim faith, we get something by phone or by mail,” Taleb said. “They tell us, ‘We don’t want you here, you’re a stranger, we want you to be out of the country’.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Less a Nation of Shopkeepers, More a Land of Stand-Ups

by Rowan Pelling

Everybody’s now in the laughter biz — including me

Question: how many comedians does it take to change a light bulb?

Answer: One, but you’ll have to drag him kicking and screaming from the spotlight and remind him he’s an electrician. Everyone I meet nowadays, whatever their day job, burns to do stand-up comedy. I caught the contagion in March this year and, five small gigs later, I can safely say no legal high compares with the euphoria you feel when a room of strangers laughs at your gags. Each chortle is a massage to your ego that no other form of praise can equal. On Monday I dashed into my London hairdresser’s for a blow dry and mentioned to the young man on reception that I was co-hosting the Funny Women Awards that evening. He looked suddenly bright-eyed. “Really? I’ve just set up a website, Jokepit, that promotes new comics,” he said, confirming my suspicion that everybody’s now in the laughter biz. Comedy’s the thread that binds Britain’s social tapestry together. Ruminations about politics, faith and the economy have been replaced by one-liners…

[JP note: They laughed when I said I was going to be a comedian. Well, they’re not laughing now.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Mother of Three, 32, Wakes From a Coma Thinking It’s 1998 and She’s Still Only a Teenager

Quite a few 30-somethings have wished they could turn back the clock and be a teenager again.

Sarah Thomson experienced the reality when a burst artery in her brain wiped out her memories of marriage and 13 years of motherhood.

The 32-year-old went into a coma from which she awoke thinking she was 19.

She had no idea who husband Chris and children Michael, 14, Daniel, five, and four-year-old Amy were. She started to dye her hair all colours and, by her confession, act moodily like a teenager.

The ten days she spent in intensive care last November had destroyed 13 years of her life, making her think it was still 1998. Mrs Thomson thought her favourite band the Spice Girls were together, had no memory of the Millennium and didn’t know Michael Jackson had died.

‘When the children came to see me I just had no idea who they were, I thought they were somebody else’s,’ said Mrs Thomson, who lives in Exeter. ‘I kept calling them the wrong names, and had no idea why they were so pleased to see me…

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UK: Oldham Mosques Council Rejects Anti-Islamic Film Demo

Muslims in Oldham will lobby politicians rather than hold street demonstrations over an anti-Islamic film that has sparked global protests.

Oldham Mosques Council (OMC), which represents 27,000 Muslims, made the decision at an emergency meeting called over rising anger among mosque members. On Saturday Muslim groups marched through Manchester calling for new blasphemy laws. The US-made film denigrates the prophet Mohammed, say Muslims. The 14-minute video was first posted on YouTube on 1 July. “We would like to appeal to all the people of Oldham, that, while we respect individuals’ human rights, it is through respect of each other that we build a better tomorrow for all our citizens,” said a statement from OMC, which represents 35 mosques and madrassa. It added: “The video represents a new insult, provocation and incitement to religious hatred against Islam and Muslims, which could damage world peace.” The council said it would be working with other faith groups to devise a local strategy to respond to similar incidents in the future. It added that it would lobby MPs and MEPs for international action against attempts to incite religious hatred.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: The Queen: Why Couldn’t We Arrest Abu Hamza?

by James Delingpole

Like many razor-sharp 86-year-olds, the Queen must spend an awful lot of time wondering what the hell became of the Britain she knew in her youth, and of all those commonsense values and that basic decency which saw us through trials like the Second World War. Unlike the rest of her generation, she is constitutionally prevented from saying this aloud. But just occasionally her private views slip out. And when they do, my how you wish she was actually running the country herself rather than leaving it to idiots like her useless fifth cousin Dave…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: The Queen’s Question is Fair — Why Was Abu Hamza Allowed to Continue?

by Vikram Dodd

MI5 let the ‘preacher of hate’ carry on as long as he didn’t target Britain — seeing his mosque as a useful source of intelligence

Some may doubt the constitutional propriety of the Queen’s reported intervention in the Hamza case, but it is difficult to fault her question: why was the “preacher of hate” allowed to run free for so long? Her Majesty’s questioning was shared by Muslims who had once used the Finsbury Park mosque, and felt terrorised when Hamza and his henchmen seized control of it, turning it into a place of hate. Some will claim the long-running Hamza saga shows the extent to which human rights have got so out of hand and that they need to be “rebalanced”, that is, cut. Some will claim the then Labour government was soft on Hamza because of a multicultural-inspired fear of upsetting Muslims — a claim undermined by the fact that the same Labour government took part in the widely opposed Iraq invasion, and allegedly colluded in the torture of Muslim terrorism suspects held by the Americans. But when, as now seems as certain as anything in the saga dating back to the late 1990s, he is extradited to the US, Hamza will take some secrets with him. How could he turn a north London mosque into a place to foment violent jihad under the noses of the security services?


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Zinedine Zidane Headbutt Statue Unveiled in Paris

Six years after French football legend Zinedine Zidane was ejected from the 2006 World Cup championships for headbutting another player, the infamous moment has been immortalised in the form of a bronze statue in the heart of the French capital.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Serbia: Bajrakli Mosque, Last Relic of Ottomans in Belgrade Challenges Passage of Time

The Bajrakli Mosque, which was built almost 300 years ago by Ottomans in Belgrade, now capital of Serbia, challenges the passage of time with dignity. In the centre of Belgrade, the mosque got its name from the flag (Turkish, bayrak) that signalled the call to prayer to other mosques. As the endowment of Sultan Suleiman II, it is the only remaining mosque of the many that once existed in Belgrade and is still full at Friday prayers. Turkey’s ambassador to Belgrade Ali Riza Colak told AA correspondent on Tuesday that as the first worship place Ottomans built in the city, Bajrakli Mosque was priceless. He said that it was not a symbolic mosque but an active Muslim place of worship in Belgrade. Colak added that new worship places were getting opened as the Muslim population grew in the area. Bajrakli Mosque, the only mosque with minaret, was turned into a Catholic church during the period of Austrian rule (1717-1739). This period also saw the majority of Belgrade’s mosques destroyed. Upon the return of the Ottomans, it once again became a mosque. After its restoration in the 19th century, which was undertaken by Serbians, it became the central city mosque.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Egypt’s Morsi Will Embrace Non-Muslims, Women in Secular State

The rights of non-Muslims and women are safe in Egypt, Prime Minister Mohammed Morsi said, repeatedly telling a US audience that the newly democratic country will remain a secular state.

“All Egyptians represent the majority, all Egyptians — men, women, Muslims, and Christians… regardless of their beliefs, their gender, their colour,” Morsi said at the Clinton Global Initiative forum in New York. Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood movement who was elected following Egypt’s revolution against US-backed strongman Hosni Mubarak, told the forum led by former president Bill Clinton that Egypt will remain pluralistic and secular. “We have really a new democratic state and a new real civilian state in Egypt: non-theocratic, not military,” he said. Morsi dismissed worries by some outside Egypt that civil and religious rights, including for the Coptic Christian minority, are likely to decline with the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood. He said the real problem in Egypt was Mubarak-era corruption. “We don’t have a real problem in terms of the rights of women,” he said. “However, the corruption is something everybody suffered from.” Morsi also said freedom of expression must be used responsibly, hinting at looming tensions in the newly-democratic nation…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Gaddafi’s Revenge From Beyond the Grave: Libyan Rebel Credited With Capturing Dictator Dies After Being Kidnapped and Killed by Dictator’s Supporters

One of the young Libyan rebels credited with capturing Moammar Gaddafi in a drainage ditch nearly a year ago has died of his injuries after being kidnapped, beaten and slashed by the late dictator’s supporters.

The death of Omran Shaaban, who had been hospitalised in France, raised the prospect of even more violence and score-settling in the north African country.

The newly elected National Congress have already authorised police and the army to use force if necessary to apprehend those who abducted the 22-year-old and three companions in July near the town of Bani Walid.

Libya is battling lingering pockets of support for the old regime, and its government has been unable to rein in armed militias in a country rife with weapons.

Earlier this month, a demonstration at the U.S. Consulate in the eastern city of Benghazi turned violent, killing four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador.

Shaaban was praised as a ‘dutiful martyr’ by the National Congress, although his family says he never received a promised reward of 1million Libyan dinars ($800,000) for capturing Gaddafi on October 20, 2011, in the former leader’s hometown of Sirte.

The eccentric dictator was killed later that day by revolutionary fighters.

The Libyan government said it would honour Shaaban with a funeral befitting a hero. His body was greeted at the airport in his hometown of Misrata by more than 10,000 people for a procession to a soccer stadium for funeral prayers.

Photos on social media websites showed a wooden coffin with a glass window that revealed Shaaban’s face, with white gauze covering his head.

In the capital of Tripoli, several hundred protesters gathered outside the headquarters of the National Congress to demand that the government avenge Shaaban’s death.

Shaaban’s family said that he and three friends had been en route home to the western city of Misrata from a vacation in July when they were attacked by gunmen in an area called el-Shimekh near Bani Walid.

Shaaban and his friends, who like many Libyans were armed, fired back, the family said.

Two bullets hit Shaaban, and he was paralysed from the waist down, his relatives said. The men were captured by militiamen from Bani Walid, a town of about 100,000 people that remains a stronghold of Gaddafi loyalists and is isolated from the rest of Libya…

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]

Libya President: Anti-Islam Film Trailer Had Nothing to Do With Attack on US Consulate

The anti-Islam film trailer that the White House has repeatedly blamed for sparking unrest in the Middle East had nothing to do with the attack that led to the death of U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, that nation’s president said in a television interview.

Libyan President Mohamed Magarief said the deadly Sept. 11 attack in Benghazi, which also resulted in the deaths of three other Americans, was more likely pegged to the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

“Reaction should have been, if it was genuine, should have been six months earlier. So it was postponed until the 11th of September,” Magarief told NBC’s Ann Curry in the exclusive interview. “They chose this date, 11th of September to carry a certain message.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Tunisia: Women Win: Constitution Confirms Their Rights

No ‘complementary’ role to men

(ANSAmed) — TUNIS, SEPTEMBER 25 — A simple word in the text of a draft of Tunisia’s new Constitution and the conditions of Tunisian women would have gone back half a century in an instant. The word is ‘complementary’ and had been promoted by hardliners — who then dragged so-called moderates, including women, along — with Ennadha and other ultra-conservative parties. Such an addition would have made women in Tunisia not social actors with the same rights as men but a complement to men worthy of nothing by themselves.

The word was scrapped despite the resistance of its supporters after the commission of the constituent assembly in charge of social issues, including women’s role in society, also stated that men and women are equal in the labour market.

Tunisian women have repeatedly demonstrated to defend their rights as part of efforts to preserve the country’s secularism under the strenuous attack of the religious Ennahdha party. They protested with courage against Salafite fundamentalists who have been monopolizing demonstrations and threatened them with violence.

Tunisian women have regained their role in society, a role many wanted to marginalize.

In 1956, Tunisia became the first Arab country in the world to have legislation equaling women to men in a long road to bring women’s rights on the same level as those of the West.

Women’s rights have however been undermined by traditions such as ‘cotumier’ marriages under which families arrange marriages without the bride’s consent, often without her even knowing her future husband, in poor as well as in the richest families.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

UK to Advise Egypt on Quelling Sinai Militants

General Sir David Richards will lead team advising how to ween Bedouin tribes in the Sinai Peninsula away from smuggling

Britain is to provide military advice to the Egyptian government to help it crack down on militants in the Sinai Peninsula who are destabilising relations with neighbouring Israel.

In his first meeting with the Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi in New York, David Cameron will announce that Britain’s most senior military figure will travel to Cairo. General Sir David Richards, the chief of the defence staff, will lead a British effort that will also see a stabilisation team despatched to Egypt. The team, which will mainly consist of field experts from the Department for International Development, will advise on how to ween Bedouin tribes in Sinai away from smuggling…

[JP note: Perfidious Albion. Useful to have the British Army in place when it comes to advising the Egyptians on how to penetrate Israeli defences. As in 1948 in Jordan.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Ashton to Donor Countries: Help Palestinians

EU,conflict resolution urgent

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, SEPTEMBER 25 — The European Union has launched a new appeal to donor countries withthe Ad Hoc Liaison Committee for the Coordination of the International Assistance to Palestinians during a meeting in New York. The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton called on donors to help the Palestinian Authority, said a statement released in Brussels.

The high representative reaffirmed the EU’s position concerning the need to make urgent progress for a solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the best interest of stability, prosperity, lasting peace and security in the region, said the statement issued by Ashton’s spokesperson. Ashton also stressed that the results obtained with the creation of the institutions of the Palestinian State and to support economic sustainability are crucial in this context. The EU high representative also emphasized the importance of pursuing all political issues, confronting the grave economic situation and security issues concerning both sides.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Iran to Boycott 2013 Oscars Over Innocence of Muslims

Culture minister Mohammad Hosseini also called for a wider boycott of next year’s Academy awards by Muslim nations

Iran’s film-making community will not be represented at this year’s Oscars after the government announced a boycott over the anti-Islam film Innocence of Muslims. The move is something of a turnaround because the country’s Oscar entry for 2013, Reza Mirkarimi’s comedy A Cube of Sugar, was announced on Monday. Culture minister Mohammad Hosseini also called for a wider boycott of next year’s Academy Awards by Muslim nations. “I am officially announcing that in reaction to the intolerable insult to the Great Prophet of Islam we will refrain from taking part in this year’s Oscars and we ask other Islamic nations to show their protest like this,” the minister told the ISNA state news agency. “This film was made in America and the Oscars are held there, and so far no official stance by the nation that made this film has been taken.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Syria Crisis: Blasts Hit Damascus — Live Updates

‘Criminal mischief’ charge

Mona Eltahawy is tweeting again after her arrest in New York. She has been charged with “criminal mischief”…

[JP note: See story above — USA: Women Scuffle Over Spray-Paint Protest of Anti-Jihad Ad]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Turkey: ‘Innocence of Muslims’ Film Banned in Turkey

(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) — Turkish minister of transport, seafaring and communications Binali Yildirim ordered the blocking of links to the provocative film ‘Innocence of Muslims’ on all URL-addresses in Turkey, Anadolu agency reported. In order to ban access to the film without banning entire websites, the ministry is negotiating with the administration of these resources. As a result, the access to the scandalous content in the Internet was reduced. Demands for the deletion of the film were sent to the law office of YouTube & Google Inc. in Turkey. However, the company didn’t fulfil the demands and was sent for trial by the Turkish government.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Viennese Muslim Group Petitions for Church in Saudi Arabia

‘Like Islam in Europe,Christianity must have freedom of worship’

(ANSAmed) — Vienna — A liberal Viennese Muslim group has petitioned the Saudi Arabian government for permission to erect a Christian church and repeal its prohibition of the Christian faith. “Like Islam in Europe, Christianity must be acknowledged the right to freedom of worship,” wrote the ILMOE — which stands for Liberal Muslim Initiative in Austria — in a letter to the Saudi ambassador to Austria, Mohammed al-Salloum.

The contents of the letter was reported Wednesday by the news agency APA. ILMOE President Amer al-Bayati requested a meeting with the Saudi diplomat to present the group’s ideas for the project.

Bayati wrote that Saudi Arabia’s prohibition of Christianity exposes the people of that faith to grave personal risk and is “a glaring violation of the freedom of denomination.” Bayati added that at a moment when Saudi Arabia is supporting and financing the construction of mosques on a massive scale in Europe, the lack of freedom of region for Christians in Saudi Arabia is a source of “great disappointment”. The organization first asked Saudi authorities to build a church last spring, after Saudi Arabia’s top Sunni religious leader, the Grand Mufti, called for the destruction of all Christian churches on the Arabian peninsula. The ILMOE condemned the Grand Mufti’s gesture saying Islam does not prohibit the construction of Christian churches.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Far East

Chinese Muslims Start Leaving for Hajj

BEIJING: A total of 332 Chinese Muslims flew to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, via a charter flight Tuesday evening for Hajj. They are the first group among 13,800 Chinese pilgrims that will head to Saudi Arabia, according to Jin Rubin, vice secretary general of the Islamic Association of China…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Mali Islamists ‘Increasingly Repressive’

Radical Islamists in control of northern Mali are becoming “increasingly repressive,” amputating limbs, whipping people in the streets and stoning to death a couple accused of adultery, a human rights group has said.

The Islamists’ efforts to impose Sharia law has also extended to banning ring tones on mobile phones that are not Koranic verse readings, as well as prohibiting cigarettes and alcohol. Women who wear jewellery or perfume, or fail to cover their heads can also face punishment, Human Rights Watch said in its report Tuesday. “The Islamist armed groups have become increasingly repressive as they have tightened their grip over northern Mali,” said Corinne Dufka, senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Stonings, amputations and floggings have become the order of the day in an apparent attempt to force the local population to accept their world view.” Human Rights Watch said it had documented at least eight amputations since the radical Islamists seized power earlier this year in the north of Mali, a predominantly moderate Muslim country in western Africa. Other elderly residents collapsed after being flogged as punishment, the group said…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Rise in Witchcraft & Satanism in Kwazulu-Natal

A student’s eerie discovery of burning candles, a jar of blood and a knife within a six- pointed star at the University of KwaZulu-Natal has alarmed occult experts, who warn there is an upsurge in witchcraft and Satanism in Durban, Pietermaritzburg and Richards Bay.

Of particular concern is that the symbol of the six-pointed star was also found last week at the scene of the suicide of a Reservoir Hills teenager, Kyle Mudaly, 16, with claims he had occult links. This is denied by his family.

Mudaly was found with a deep incision to his chest, with blood smears around it. A six-sided star was daubed in black ink on his bedroom wall.

Occult expert and sociologist Dr Kobus Jonker said he was receiving calls for help every week from every province with hot spots including the three KZN cities, Cape Town, Fish Hoek and on the West Rand in Krugersdorp, Randfontein and Roodepoort. In some cases students were turning to witchcraft to pass exams.

Both Jonker and occult and Satanism expert Dr Herbie Staples warned parents to be vigilant to avoid a tragedy such as a suicide.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

Somalia’s Islamist War Chest Being Boosted by UN Funds

The war-chest of Somalia’s al-Qaeda-allied Islamists is likely being boosted with United Nations funds used to buy charcoal from areas the terror group controls, The Daily Telegraph has learnt.

Al-Shabaab pays for weapons and fighters with the £800,000 a month it earns from charcoal sales and exports, now banned under a British-sponsored UN Security Council resolution adopted at the London Conference on Somalia in February. The business has become the group’s “most lucrative source of income”, according to the UN Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea. But the UN has since April been buying 52 tonnes of charcoal a week for the kitchens of peacekeeping forces in Mogadishu, and one Somalia expert said it was “highly unlikely” that the deal was “not at least indirectly benefiting” the terrorists…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Latin America

Barbados: British Aid Used to Train Waiters at Billionaire’s Playground

A billionaire’s playground where British funds help to train the next generation to wait on wealthy hotel guests.

Gathered around an urn full of hot water, a group of young waiting staff are polishing the cutlery until it gleams. Another team is laying the restaurant tables, while a manager picks up a wine glass, turning it in the sunlight to ensure that it is spotless. Little surprise: guests at Barbados’s hotels are among the most demanding in the world. Yet this training establishment is not being run by one of the country’s many world-class hotels. It is paid for by you. The European Union provided £1.8m to build an entire hotel and leisure complex, complete with golf course, in which to train 200 young people a year in hospitality management, baking technology and “culinary arts” in Barbados. Despite having one of the most sophisticated hotel industries in the world, Barbados asked the EU — whose aid budget is one-sixth funded by Britain’s Department for International Development (DfID) — to pay to train the next generation of sommeliers, chefs and maitres d’s at the Hotel PomMarine, on the south west coast of the island…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

Bullying, Bingeing, Racism and the Other New Deadly Sins

THE seven deadly sins have been given a modern makeover after being branded outdated.

And research has named racism as the biggest sin in today’s society.

In horror flick Se7en, starring Brad Pitt, 48, gruesome murders were carried out based on the original sins of wrath, envy, greed, gluttony, sloth, lust and pride.

But the film may require a remake to include the updated list of binge-drinking, domestic violence, tax evasion, racism, ­terrorism, bullying and bigotry.

The poll was carried out by TV channel CBS Reality, whose new series Sins & Secrets premieres tonight at 10pm.

Director of programming Sam Rowden said: “The research has really opened our eyes as to the strength of public feeling toward some of the biggest issues today.”

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

Paris Sets Sights on Gay Games

Paris is officially in the running to host the 2018 Gay Games, but is facing formidable competition. spoke to Michael Geffroy, co-chair of the Paris organising committee, to find out how the French capital has to offer.

Two years ago, the city lost the bid, but Paris has not given up the hope of some day organising the Gay Games, an international sports and cultural event that gathers athletes, artists and activists every four years. The French capital recently received approval from national authorities to re-launch its bid to become a host city and is now aiming for 2018.

Paris’ bid is being is backed by a 30-strong group of French LGBT (lesbians, gay, bisexual, transgender) organisations working alongside France’s gay and lesbian sports federation.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UK: Grandmother: 73, Who Sent 500 Racist Letters Demanding England is ‘Made Pure Again’ Gets Life-Long ASBO

Poison pen letter writer Margaret Walker, 73, was given a lifetime antisocial behaviour order after she admitted sending over 500 leaflets full of racist slurs, graphic drawings and vile rants about different ethnic groups.

The widow from Fareham, near Portsmouth, branded Scots ‘scum’ and lambasted people of Pakistani origin as ‘scroungers’ during the five-year spree.

She said Prime Minister David Cameron was ‘flooding the country with ethnic people’ and bombarded MPs, businesses, shops and parish councils up and down the country with her racist views.

She singled out Marks and Spencer and St Mary’s Hospital in Portsmouth demanding the hospital to get rid of ‘dirty, untrustworthy foreign staff, to make it pure again’ for English people.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]


Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamophobia at UN General Assembly

(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) — Muslim leaders have called on the Western countries to stop spreading Islamophobia and blasphemy in their communities, challenging US President Barack Obama’s defense of freedom of expression. In his address to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, Obama condemned the “violence and intolerance” erupted across the world over a blasphemous anti-Islam film produced in the United States. He also stated that the removal of such sacrilegious videos or offensive publications from the Internet would be a violation of the US constitution, which “protects the right to practice free speech.”

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono challenged Obama’s speech, saying the insulting movie was another example of religious defamation. Yudhoyono stressed that freedom of expression is “not absolute” as according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights “everyone must observe morality and public order.” He also called for the establishment of an international “instrument to effectively prevent incitement to hostility or violence based on religions or beliefs.” In addition to Yudhoyono, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari asked the UN to take actions against the “incitement of hate” against Muslims…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Noam Chomsky: Not Even Right About Linguistics

For a certain kind of leftwinger, there’s no bigger blight on the world than the USA. Admittedly, the foreign policy mistakes of successive US administrations have supplied ample grist to the mill of anti-Americanism, but you don’t have to be a neo-con to see that the deep hostility of people like Julian Assange to America’s role in the world is utterly unbalanced.

Perhaps the most respectable exponent of this kind of worldview is Noam Chomsky, the grand old man of theoretical linguistics. As if often the case with public intellectuals, achievement in a specialised academic field somehow translates into a general license to have your ill-considered rants on unrelated topics taken seriously. However, as a fascinating post by Deevy Bishop — a Professor of Developmental Neuropsychology — explains, Chomsky might not even be right about linguistics…

In other words, Chomsky has made a valid observation (about the way that sentences can be analysed by linguists), but has falsely assumed that it is of fundamental relevance to the issue at stake (about how human beings acquire language in the first place). Deevy makes no comment about Chomsky’s political views, but something analogous surely applies: Just because bad things are done within the context of America’s political and economic systems, it does not mean that those systems are fundamentally bad.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

What Chomsky Doesn’t Get About Child Language

by Deevey Bishop

Noam Chomsky is widely regarded as an intellectual giant, responsible for a revolution in how people think about language. In a recent book by Chomsky and James McGilvray, the Science of Language, the foreword states: “It is particularly important to understand Chomsky’s views … not only because he virtually created the modern science of language by himself … but because of what he and colleagues have discovered about language — particularly in recent years…”

As someone who works on child language disorders, I have tried many times to read Chomsky in order to appreciate the insights that he is so often credited with. I regret to say that, over the years, I have come to the conclusion that, far from enhancing our understanding of language acquisition, his ideas have led to stagnation, as linguists have gone through increasingly uncomfortable contortions to relate facts about children’s language to his theories. The problem is that the theories are derived from a consideration of adult language, and take no account of the process of development. There is a fundamental problem with an essential premise about what is learned that has led to years of confusion and sterile theorising…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

World Muslim Group Demands Laws Against “Islamophobia”

GENEVA (Reuters) — The world’s largest Islamic body called on Tuesday for expressions of “Islamophobia” to be curbed by law, just as some countries restrict anti-Semitic speech or Holocaust denial.

Pakistan, speaking on behalf of the 56 countries that form the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), condemned a video made in the United States that defamed Islam and the Prophet Mohammad, igniting Muslim protests around the world this month.

“Incidents like this clearly demonstrate the urgent need on the part of states to introduce adequate protection against acts of hate crimes, hate speech, discrimination, intimidation and coercion resulting from defamation and negative stereotyping of religions, and incitement to religious hatred, as well as denigration of venerated personalities,” Pakistan’s ambassador Zamir Akram said in a speech to the U.N. Human Rights Council.

Akram said the crudely made video, as well as the burning of the Koran and the publication of defamatory cartoons, amount to “deliberate attempts to discriminate, defame, denigrate and vilify Muslims and their beliefs”.

Such acts constitute “flagrant incitement to violence” and are not protected by freedom of expression, Akram said. Rather, he said, Islamophobia must be acknowledged as a contemporary form of racism and be dealt with as such.

“Not to do so would be a clear example of double standards. Islamophobia has to be treated in law and practice equal to the treatment given to anti-Semitism, especially in legislations.”

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]


Anonymous said...

Well done James Delingpole for agreeing with what I posted recently i.e. time for the return of an absolute monarchy. Thanks to him also for spelling out the destruction through the Left and conservatives with a small c of one of the nicest countries on earth. Is it possible that she and the Duke of Edinburgh actually think alike about the state that their politicians have reduced her kingdom to in 60 years but that only Phil has been allowed to say anything - till now?

Reading about the latest report on grooming and pimping in Rochdale, Lancashire, including by an Afghan asylum seeker, whilst his friends aim to bump off the spare to the throne, I thought what a cess pit of a country we have been reduced to through mass immigration, open borders and woolly minded liberal do-gooders and other more sinister manipulators.

The Queen's coronation in 1953 hailed a new Elizabethan Age and now look at what they have done. Elizabeth the First of England did a bit of ethnic cleansing of blackamoors. I am sure that Elizabeth 2 wishes she could do the same, starting with Abu - the leech - Hamza.