Sunday, January 12, 2003

News Feed 20120927

Financial Crisis
»Berlin Wants Next Italian Government to Follow Monti’s Lead
»Five Mainstream Economists Sound a Warning
»Irish MP: ‘The ESM is Destroying the EU’
»Make Sequestration Work for Country, Not Destroy it
»Quantitative Easing Did Not Work for the Weimar Republic Either
»Where Were You the Day the Dollar Died?
»30 Examples of Why America is No Longer a Free Country
»Americans Care Far More About Magna Carta Than We Do
»Attacks on Muslim American Houses of Worship on the Rise
»Dispatch International: Tariq Ramadan Does Washington
»Futuristic Cycles Become Today’s Reality
»Illinois Sailor Killed in Afghanistan
»Judge Orders ‘Innocence of Muslims’ Filmmaker to Jail
»Liberals Can’t Break 200-Year Racism Habit
»Most Republicans Think West and Islam Are in Fundamental Conflict, Poll Finds
»New 3D Printing Project Aims for Gun Blueprint
»Obama and Ahmadinejad Singing From the Same Choir Book
»Organs Taken From Patients That Doctors Were Pressured to Declare Brain Dead: Suit
»Pa. High School Band Commemorates Russian Revolution; Citizens Outraged
»SAT Reading Scores Hit a Four-Decade Low
»Security Requested for Mosque Meeting
»The Green Energy Fraud
»This is Insanity
»US Army General Removed From Afghanistan Faces Sex Charges
»US Boycotts Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Speech at UN
»Whole Foods Knowingly Engages in Massive GMO Deception, Says Undercover Video by ‘Organic Spies’
»Critics Deplore Canada’s Shift to the Right
Europe and the EU
»British Judge Halts Abu Hamzas Extradition
»Cleansing the Internet of Terrorism: EU-Funded Project Seeks to Erode Civil Liberties
»First Review of J.K. Rowling’s Very Grown-Up Novel
»France to Expel Muslims Who Threaten Public Order
»Germany: Merkel: Stop Worrying About Muslims
»Germany: Merkel Urges More Tolerance Towards Muslims
»Green Light for Prayer Calls at Swedish Mosque
»Islamists Who Pose a Threat ‘Have No Place in France’
»Italian Regions’ Requests for EU Solidarity Funds Denied
»Italy: Govt Considering Checks on Regions After Lazio Scandal
»Italy’s Regions: 300 Fewer Councillors
»Merkel: Islam is Part of Germany
»Monti Exploits UN Trip to Promote New Image of Italy
»Netherlands: Extreme Right-Wingers Disrupt Mandela Statue Unveiling
»Norway: Hagen Halts Muslim Prayer at Oslo School
»Norway: Breivik Seeks Return of ‘Knights Templar’ Outfit
»Tests Underway for New Swiss ‘Monster’ Trains
»UK: ‘Missed Chances’ In Rochdale Abuse Scandal
»UK: British Freedom Party Appoints Racist as South West Regional Organiser
»UK: Council and Police Had 127 Warnings About Sex Abuse in Town Where Asian Gang Raped Dozens of Children, Finds Damning Report
»UK: David Cameron on Letterman: PM Fails His History Test
»UK: EDL Sets Date for First March in Norwich
»UK: Ex-Soldier in Court Over Anti-Muslim Facebook Rants
»UK: Girl: 17, On HIV Drugs After She Was Brutally Raped in City Street
»UK: Grooming Trial Sparked National Debate
»UK: Imams Hold Meeting to Discuss Affect on Community Relations in Run-Up to Today’s Bradford City Centre Protest
»UK: Jack Straw: Pakistani Community Must Face Up to Grooming Scandal Following Rochdale Case
»UK: Labour Back “We Are Walsall” Rally
»UK: Radical Cleric Abu Hamza Launches Another High Court Challenge to Avoid Extradition to the U.S.
»UK: Rochdale Child Sex Ring Inquiry Blasts Care Workers
»UK: Rochdale Abuse Victims Ignored by Social Workers, Review Finds
»UK: Rochdale Grooming Victims ‘Did Not Want Sex’
»UK: Rochdale Abuse: Social Services ‘Missed Opportunities’
»UK: Social Services Under Fire in Rochdale Grooming Scandal
»UK: Tory Grassroots ‘Despair’ At £12bn Foreign Aid Spree: I Haven’t Met One Backbencher Who Agrees With Cameron, Says Ex-Minister
»UK: What Would be the Details of a Conservative-UKIP Pact?
»UK: Why Do the Asians Hate Me? …
»What Kind of French Republic Needs the Protection of Marine Le Pen?
North Africa
»Celebrating Al-Andalus Day in Egypt
»Libyan President Has ‘No Doubt’ Deadly 9/11 Attack on U.S. Consulate Was ‘Pre-Planned’ And Says Anti-Islam Film Had ‘Nothing to Do With’ It
»Libya: The Big Bang in Benghazi
»Merkel Postpones Her Visit to Tunisia for Security Reasons
»Now Hillary Clinton Strongly Hints That Libya Consulate Was Attacked by Al Qaeda in Humiliating Back Track
Middle East
»Iran Unveils ‘Indigenous’ Drone With 2,000km Range
»Netanyahu Draws “Red Line” On Iran’s Nuclear Program
»Not in Our Name: Understanding Youth Engagement in the Middle East and Around the World
»Putin: Western Countries Are Wreaking Chaos in Syria
»Saudis Stop Unaccompanied Nigerian Women Pilgrims in Jeddah
»Alexander Lebedev Charged in Russia With ‘Hooliganism’
»Duma Studies Draft Blasphemy Law: The Support of the Patriarch, The Hopes of Muslims
»Putin Slams Double Standards in Fighting Terrorism
»Russia Bans All GM Corn Imports; EU May Also Ban Monsanto GMO in Wake of Shocking Cancer Findings
South Asia
»Emotional Scenes at RAF Honington as Troops Return From Afghanistan
»India: Quran Pages Found Again, Now in Prem Nagar
»Indonesia: Jakarta: New Extremist Cell Linked to Al Qaeda: Eight Arrests
»More Than 50 Village Chiefs Resign in Indian Kashmir Following Threats From Muslim Extremists
»Pakistan: Faisalabad: 16 Year Old Christian Girl Gang Raped for Hours by Young Muslims
»Suicide Bomber Kills 2 NATO Troops in Afghanistan
»Thailand: Muslims Protest at US Embassy in Bangkok
Far East
»China’s Young Communists in it for the Glory
Sub-Saharan Africa
»Racial Attacks Incidents: South Africa
Culture Wars
»EU Parliament Wants Women on ECB Board
»Leading Homosexual Rights Advocate Arrested on Child Pornography Suspicions
»I Think You Need a Dose of James Thurber
»Is it Time Up for Watches? One in Four Prefer to Rely on Their Mobile or Tablet
»Needed — A Refresher Course in Freedom of Speech
»New Theory on Why Men Love Breasts
»RIP Andy Williams — Voice of the Greatest Generation

Financial Crisis

Berlin Wants Next Italian Government to Follow Monti’s Lead

German govt hopes ‘path of reform’ continues

(see related story on Monti on site) (ANSA) — Berlin, September 26 — Berlin said on Wednesday that it hoped the next Italian government continues with the policies currently being pursued by Premier Mario Monti’s emergency technocrat administration.

“We hope that the next government in Italy also continues on the path of reforms and with efforts to regain competitiveness,” German government spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters when asked about Monti’s pledge not to run in Italian elections next year.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Five Mainstream Economists Sound a Warning

The Wall Street Journal ran an article [url] the likes of which I have never seen. “The Magnitude of the Mess We’re In.” It was written by five well-known economists. It warns readers about a series of highly destructive outcomes of the federal government’s present fiscal policies. The article says that these problems are close to being unmanageable.


The problem with [the] article is it is naïve. It is Pollyanna to the core. It begins with the on-budget deficit: a mere $1.2 trillion a year. The on-budget deficit is peripheral to the real federal deficit, which reflects the unfunded liabilities of the federal government, primarily in Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. This deficit dwarfs the on-budget deficit. It is rising at $11 trillion a year.

This deficit has a present value of $222 trillion. This means that the federal government, today, must invest $222 trillion in market investments that will return about 5% per year for the next 75 years. No such investments exist, and the federal government does not have $222 trillion in reserve. The Federal Reserve system could print that, of course, but then that would only lead to hyperinflation.

In other words, by starting with the on-budget deficit, the five economists low-balled the problem. This makes it look as though the problem can be dealt with by Congress. It cannot, except by one technique, namely, default. They mention unfunded liabilities only briefly, and they offer no numbers.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Irish MP: ‘The ESM is Destroying the EU’

Ireland is taking its challenge of the European Stability Mechanism to the highest authority. Unlike previous challenges, this case will go before the European Court of Justice, with potential implications for the ESM.

He is quick to respond to emails and calls, and even answers them himself — regardless if it is Saturday night and he’s out on the road. What he is up to is not only obvious on his website, but also on his Facebook page and, of course, is reported in the Irish media. His words are both assertive and engaging. Thomas Pringle, the independent member of the Irish House of Commons, is a full-blooded politician. His biggest task at hand today is his legal case against the European Stability Mechanism (ESM).

The case against the ESM, has grown out of Ireland, a country which requested financial help in 2010. Thomas Pringle believes that Ireland will not benefit from the EU bailout, and even less so from the ESM. “I do not think the terms of the ESM are in the interests of Ireland. The ESM is designed in a way that will divide the EU and result in its destruction.” The EU is based on good grounds,” says Pringle, “and the EU must make decisions which respect the rights of all the countries and their laws, as is enshrined in the EU Treaties.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Make Sequestration Work for Country, Not Destroy it

The big news these days outside of terrorist killings and fire bombings of American embassies in most of the lands where the “peaceful” Muslims currently have the upper hand and are administering their particular version of their “peaceful” and “loving” enforcement of their gentle hints of persuasion to have their way, is a process taking place in our once grand nation that was honorable and strong, but is now destined to be one of the more inferior and weak world nations, pending on our socio-communist leaders bent on destruction of America with the help of a new tool called Sequestration.

If you’re not aware of what that term means don’t feel lonely as millions haven’t got a clue to what it is supposed to represent; but, when our country is left as a shadow of its former self and a relatively spineless, gutless, decimated shadow of pre-Obama America, then you’ll have an inkling of what is going on.

Sequestration is taking shape in the form of implementation planning by means of legislation enacted on August 02, 2011 titled, Budget Control Act of 2011, Public Law (112-25, S.365) which is a round of automatic Sequestration spending cuts scheduled to begin in January 2013. These cuts will be dangerous to our military along with the nation’s economy. Were they enacted on a complete basis covering ALL cost bases they could have had great merit; but they fall woefully short.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Quantitative Easing Did Not Work for the Weimar Republic Either

Did printing vast quantities of money work for the Weimar Republic? Nope. And it won’t work for us either.

If printing money was the secret to economic success, we could just print up a trillion dollars for every American and be done with it. The truth is that making everyone in America a trillionaire would not mean that we would all suddenly be wealthy. There would be the same amount of “real wealth” in our economy as before. But what it would do is render our currency meaningless and totally destroy faith in our financial system. Sadly, we have not learned the lessons that history has tried to teach us. Back in April 1919, it took 12 German marks to get 1 U.S. dollar. By December 1923, it took approximately 4 trillion German marks to get 1 U.S. dollar. So was the Weimar Republic better off after all of the “quantitative easing” that they did or worse off? Of course they were worse off. They destroyed their currency and wrecked all confidence in their financial system. There was an old joke that if you left a wheelbarrow full of money sitting around in the Weimar Republic that thieves would take the wheelbarrow and they would leave the money behind. Will things eventually get that bad in the United States someday?

Of course we are not going to see hyperinflation in the U.S. this week or this month.

But don’t think that it will never happen.

The people of Germany never thought that it would happen to them, but it did.

The following is an excerpt from a Wikipedia article about the Weimar Republic. Take note of the similarities between what the Weimar Republic experienced and what we are going through today…

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Where Were You the Day the Dollar Died?

That’s a question people will be asking you in the not-too-distant future. The past few weeks have seen several events transpire that spell the inevitable ruin of the dollar. As usual, only some of these events have been reported in the mainstream press, leaving most Americans blissfully clueless about the catastrophe roaring towards them.

Most people are aware that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke recently announced the Fed would begin “purchasing additional agency mortgage-backed securities at a pace of $40 billion per month.” Additionally, the Fed “will continue through the end of the year its program to extend the average maturity of its holdings of securities as announced in June, and it is maintaining its existing policy of reinvesting principal payments from its holdings of agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities in agency mortgage-backed securities.”

Taken together, the Fed will “increase the Committee’s holdings” of long-term securities to the tune of $85 billion per month, at least through the end of the year. And then? The Fed “will continue its purchases of agency mortgage-backed securities, undertake additional asset purchases”, use its “other policy tools” until such time as the labor market—read “unemployment rate”—improves “substantially”. How much is “substantially”? Mr. Bernanke didn’t say. For all practical purposes, this third round of Qualitative Easing (QE3, as it’s being called) will go on and on and on…until Mr. Bernanke says “enough”. So, at least in theory, QE3 will obviate the need for QE4, QE5, QE6 and so on…because it’s QE “Until”.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


30 Examples of Why America is No Longer a Free Country

Nanny state is no longer on steroids, it has turned into the Incredible Hulk

From people being harassed for paying by cash or having a food garden, to Americans being arrested for letting their children play outside — innumerable examples over the past few months alone illustrate that the United States is no longer a free country.

The nanny state is no longer just on steroids, it has turned into the Incredible Hulk as collectivism, pernicious bureaucracy, regulation, mass surveillance and outright tyranny runs wild across the country.

Here are just a selection of stories from scores of recent examples illustrating how America is ‘land of the Free, home of the brave’ no more.

  • Parents across the country are being arrested for letting their children play outside. A stay at home mom in Texas was held in jail for 18 hours for allowing her children to ride on scooters while she was watching them from her home. A mother in Virginia was also harassed by social services and police for the egregious crime of allowing their children to play outside in another example of how the nanny state is running wild in America.
  • The war on lemonade stands, traditionally viewed as a quaint example of America’s entrepreneurial spirit, has intensified in recent months with cops slapping parents with fines for letting their kids run “unlicensed” lemonade stands in three separate incidents over the last year alone. A map of restrictions on child-run concession stands illustrates how there have been dozens of examples of police interference across the country.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Americans Care Far More About Magna Carta Than We Do

by Daniel Hannan

I suppose it’s possible to spend five years at Eton and not know what Magna Carta means. Winston Churchill once translated a piece of Latin in the House of Commons ‘for the benefit of any Old Etonians who may be present’. It’s even conceivable that you could take a First in PPE without stumbling across the answer. For what it’s worth, though, it strikes me as far more likely that David Cameron was being polite. He was in the US, after all, to fly the flag. There is a line between being polished and being smart-alecky, and David Cameron used the moment to come across as modest and amiable by not knowing something that a lot of viewers did know.

For the Cousins, in my experience, are far more aware of Magna Carta than we are. The site where the document was sealed, at Runnymede in my constituency, went unmarked until 1957, when a memorial stone was finally erected there — by the American Bar Association…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Attacks on Muslim American Houses of Worship on the Rise

The days during and immediately following Ramadan this year—which began July 20 and ended at sundown on August 18—saw one of the worst spikes in anti-Muslim incidents in more than a decade. The incidents were widespread and frequently violent, and although some of the perpetrators have been apprehended and charged, most have not been caught. Many cases are still under investigation.

Religious freedom is one of our most sacred principles, and it includes the right to worship freely and according to one’s conscience. Yet since the September 11 terrorist attacks more than 11 years ago, Muslim Americans and their houses of worship have been subject to threats, vandalism, violence, and even arson. The most recent rise in violent targeted crimes against Muslim Americans represents a threat to all Americans and violates core principles on which our nation was founded: religious freedom and tolerance…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Dispatch International: Tariq Ramadan Does Washington

by Diana West

Our motto is taken from Thomas Jefferson: Freedom of the press cannot be limited without being lost.

“Now Playing in Washington: More Lies from Tariq Ramadan”

WASHINGTON, DC — When I read that Tariq Ramadan would be speaking at a local bookstore in Washington, DC on September 11, the juxtaposition gave me a jolt. Was Ramadan — the world-famous and Left-celebrated Muslim “intellectual” banned from France for six months in the 1990s for alleged terror ties, and later from the US for six years (2004-2010) for reasons said to include charitable donations to HAMAS — really an appropriate choice for this darkest of anniversaries? But there was something intriguing about the prospect. What message would this scion of the Muslim Brotherhood deliver to the largely liberal upper middle class masses who would throng the bookstore to hear him?

I had never before seen Ramadan in action, but I knew his reputation for glibness, “doubletalk”, and contradiction. From these waves of words, as I would see, listeners seem to extract what is most shiny and appealing, and, as I would watch, nod their heads in recognition.

Never mind that among his favorite Muslim philosophers is Mohammed Rashid Rida, whom Islamic expert Andrew Bostom has described as a “full-throated, public supporter of the political aspirations of Ibn Saud’s Wahhabism”. Never mind that Ramadan, grandson of Hassan al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, unequivocably states there is “nothing in this heritage” that he rejects.

The Muslim Brotherhood, a shadowy organization with violent offshoots (including al-Qaeda) is best summed up by its motto: “Allah is our objective; the Prophet is our leader; the Quran is our law; Jihad is our way; dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.” But not to worry: Tariq Ramadan says he isn’t a member. Here in the bookstore, he repeatedly emphasized “dignity, justice and freedom” as the goals of so-called Arab Spring. People nodded. I doubt many realized these are the English-language buzz words of the Muslim Brotherhood, too.

Then again, maybe they did. Maybe it was Ramadan’s lineage — the grandfather he reveres, his father Said Ramadan, who spearheaded the Muslim Brotherhood’s entry into Europe — that drew the audience to his side where they could enjoy the frisson of the forbidden while taking comfort in Ramadan’s media-driven reputation as a “moderate.” But Tariq Ramadan is anything but “moderate.” Otherwise, he wouldn’t lie so much…

           — Hat tip: Diana West[Return to headlines]

Futuristic Cycles Become Today’s Reality

Bikes used to be seen as the preferred means of transport for the tech-resistant, but a new wave of e-bikes could prove popular with gadget geeks too. They provide chargers for smartphones, intelligent automatic transmissions, advance theft protection and enough power to make biking up steep mountain climbs more manageable.

Imagine a bike that can issue a smog alert: Exhaust sensors on the handlebars will be able to detect fumes and transmit the pollutant concentration to headquarters, where hundreds of sensors are feeding information into a pollution map of the city. The bike will then calculate an alternative route that steers clear of the worst pollution.

It’s part of a vision called “Smart Cities” that was dreamt up at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab, a stronghold of high-tech pioneers. Here, engineers who usually spend their time experimenting with artificial intelligence and avatars are now concentrating their efforts on reinventing a bike that will serve as the central feature of an intelligent transportation system in the future.

For now, the smart city is still just a figment of their imagination. But many of the components for intelligent bikes are already in place. For decades, the digital revolution bypassed bicycle design, but it is now finally reaching a domain hitherto dismissed as Luddite.

This sudden acceleration in development is powered by the boom in e-bikes. This year, some 400,000 electric bicycles are expected to sell in Germany alone, which is 100,000 more than were sold in 2011. Also known as pedelecs, they were initially seen as an option primarily for senior citizens. But these days, even mountain and touring bikes have gone electric.

These new high-performance two-wheelers allow amateur cyclists to raise their game: Even steep mountainsides and gale-force headwinds are manageable on a bike with a 250 watt motor. Professional cyclists, in comparison, can produce 400 to 500 watts.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Illinois Sailor Killed in Afghanistan

The U.S. Defense Department has announced the death of a sailor from Illinois who was part of military operations Afghanistan. According to the Pentagon, Gunners Mate 2nd Class Dion Rashun Roberts of North Chicago was killed Sept. 22 in a single vehicle accident in Jalalabad. Officials did not give a cause for the accident. The 23-year-old Roberts was assigned to an East Coast Naval Special Warfare Unit. North Chicago High School Principal Eric Gallagher says Roberts, a 2005 graduate, enlisted in the Navy his senior year after participating in the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps. Gallagher describes Roberts as a friendly kid who was very well liked.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Judge Orders ‘Innocence of Muslims’ Filmmaker to Jail

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the filmmaker behind the controversial movie “Innocence of Muslims” that has sparked days of rioting across the Muslim world, was ordered detained Thursday by a federal judge for allegedly violating terms of his probation.

The judge cited a “lengthy pattern of deception,” including making false statements to probation officials. “The court has a lack of trust in the defendant at this time,” Judge Suzanne H. Segal said, adding that he posed “some danger to the community.”

Nakoula was arrested earlier in the day. Federal prosecutors argued in a court hearing Thursday afternoon that he posed a flight risk and should remain in custody.

His attorney argued that Nakoula be released on bond, saying his client would be in danger at the downtown L.A. federal prison because it had a large Muslim population. He also denied his client violated his probation.

Nakoula was convicted on bank fraud charges in 2010 and was warned against misbehaving on the Internet.

He was ordered not to own or use devices with access to the Web without approval from his probation officer -— and any approved computers were to be used for work only. “Defendant shall not access a computer for any other purpose,” according to the terms of his probation.

There were also restrictions placed on him in enlisting others to get on the Internet for him. Some speculated that Nakoula may have violated those terms after the film trailer was loaded onto YouTube, although it is unclear what exactly prompted the recent arrest.

Nakoula had been arrested in 2009 after federal agents searched his home in Cerritos on suspicion that he had engaged in a scheme to create fake identities and open credit cards in those names, then draw tens of thousands of dollars from the phony accounts.

According to the court file, Nakoula operated under a dizzying array of aliases, including Kritbag Difrat. In June 2010, he was convicted on four counts, including bank fraud and identity theft, and was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison. He was also ordered to pay $794,700.57 in restitution.

He was released, according to federal records, in June 2011.

Authorities interviewed Nakoula earlier this month amid the furor over the movie. Actors have identified him as the filmmaker.

[Return to headlines]

Liberals Can’t Break 200-Year Racism Habit

Democrats spent the first century of this country’s existence refusing to treat black people like human beings, and the second refusing to treat them like adults.

After fighting the Civil War to continue enslaving black people and then subjecting newly freed black Americans to vicious, humiliating Jim Crow laws and Ku Klux Klan violence, Democrats set about frantically rewriting their own ugly history.

Step 1: Switch “Democrat” to “Southerner”;

Step 2: Switch “Southerner” to “conservative Democrat”;

Step 3: Switch “conservative Democrat” to “conservative.”

Contrary to liberal folklore, the Democratic segregationists were not all Southern — and they were certainly not conservative. They were dyed-in-the-wool liberal Democrats on all the litmus-test issues of their day.

All but one remained liberal Democrats until the day they died. That’s the only one you’ve ever heard of: Strom Thurmond.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Most Republicans Think West and Islam Are in Fundamental Conflict, Poll Finds

Most Americans reject view of a clash of cultures that can only have one winner, but two-thirds of Republicans support it

An overwhelming majority of Republican voters in the United States regard the west and Islam as being embroiled in “a fundamental conflict which only one side can win”, according to new YouGov polling seen exclusively by the Guardian. As the UN general assembly was convening in New York, with an agenda including the ongoing conflict in Syria, the Iranian nuclear question and the Arab uprisings, the pollsters asked both American and British voters about their attitudes to the Muslim world.

Opinion was reasonably evenly split on both sides of the Atlantic, and indeed somewhat more tolerant in the United States. Overall, Americans rejected the view of a fundamental clash of cultures that can only have one winner — only 39% adopted this view, against 47% who believe that “it is possible for the west and Muslims to coexist in peace”. In Britain, by contrast, the respective figures were 43% and 41%, suggesting that British opinion towards Islam is somewhat more hostile overall. But American opinion is beset by a sharp partisan divide. By a near three-to-one margin, of 64% to 23%, Republicans perceive a fundamental conflict. The overall picture of American tolerance emerges only because Democratic identifiers incline even more emphatically towards the hope of peaceful co-existence, by a 68%-18% margin. The partisan gap in support for the “conflict” view is therefore 46 percentage points. Among independents, the split is right down the middle — with 45% believing peace should be possible, and 44% ruling it out.

There is something of a right-left split in the UK too, but it is nothing like as marked. Amongst Conservatives, there is a 49%-40% lead for the perception of conflict, a near mirror image of the 48%-39% balance in favour of peaceful co-existence among Labour supporters. That makes the Tory-Labour gap in support for the “conflict” perspective 10 points. Liberal Democrats are the most optimistic about east-west relations, with 58% believing peace should be possible, against just 26% who say the reverse.

The powerful picture of partisan division in the United States is also evident when YouGov asked respondents whether they felt that most Muslims backed the recent wave of anti-American violent protest that swept several countries after an anti-Islamic film made in the US became available on YouTube. The overall balance of opinion in both Britain and America was very similar, with 34% of Britons and 37% of Americans believing the violence had the support of half or more Muslims, against 55% of Britons and 53% of Americans who believed that it only had minority support.

Once again, however, when Republicans were singled out the balance changed: by 59% to 34% they believed that the violent attacks enjoyed majority backing among Muslims. Democrats take the opposite view, by a margin of 68%-18%. British voters are, once again, less sharply divided on partisan lines. Respective proportions of 41%, 34% and 23% of Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat voters believe that the rioting enjoyed majority support. And among voters of all three stripes most believe that the violence rested on only minority support.

Britons and Americans alike are feeling disinclined to provide aid to foster democracy in the wake of the Arab spring. In Britain, 69% rejected the suggestion of giving aid, as did a majority of each party’s voters. In the US, the idea of aid is rejected by a slightly smaller overall majority of 58%, although once again the strong partisan divide comes to the fore. Some 81% of Republicans reject the idea of giving aid, but only 36% of Democrats feel the same way.

For the British element of the fieldwork, YouGov interviewed 1,739 British adults online. Fieldwork was undertaken between 23 and 24 September 2012. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+). YouGov is a member of the British polling council, and complies with its rules. In the US, 1,000 adults were interviewed between 22 and 24 September.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

New 3D Printing Project Aims for Gun Blueprint

3D printers may challenge U.S. gun regulations the coming decade by creating the possibility for a gun factory in every home. The “Wiki Weapon” project aims to make that a reality by creating the digital blueprint for such homemade weapons.

The Wiki Weapon project successfully raised $20,000 to hit its fundraising goal last week — even after crowd-funding website Indiegogo kicked the project off its site. The project’s creators, a group of friends organized under the name Defense Distributed, want to create the first fully plastic, printable gun for anyone with a 3D printer to make, according to The Guardian.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Obama and Ahmadinejad Singing From the Same Choir Book

“Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Tuesday that a new world order needs to emerge, away from years of what he called American bullying and domination.” (FoxNews, Sept. 26, 2012.)

Were it not for height and beard, Obama and Ahmadinejad would be one and the same.

The day before Obama told the UN Assembly: “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam” and “Let us remember that Muslims have suffered the most at the hands of extremism.”

The millions slaughtered by radical Islam over the centuries got no mention, let alone a requiem, in the ramblings of this Hollywood-manufactured Pocket Messiah.


The biggest news ignored by the mainstream media is that the UN, the Muslim Brotherhood and the socialists are now working in concert to deliver One World Government on a largely suspecting global population.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Organs Taken From Patients That Doctors Were Pressured to Declare Brain Dead: Suit

[WARNING: Disturbing content.]

The New York Organ Donor Network pressured hospital staffers to declare patients brain dead so their body parts could be harvested — and even hired “coaches” to train staffers how to be more persuasive, a bombshell lawsuit charged yesterday.

The federally funded nonprofit used a “quota” system, and leaned heavily on the next of kin to sign consent forms when patients were not registered as organ donors, the suit charged.

“They’re playing God,” said plaintiff Patrick McMahon, 50, an Air Force combat veteran and nurse practitioner who claims he was fired as a transplant coordinator after just four months for protesting the practice.


In September 2011, a 19-year-old man injured in a car wreck was admitted to Nassau University Medical Center. He was still trying to breathe and showed signs of brain activity, the suit charged.

But doctors declared him brain dead under pressure from donor-network officials, including Director Michael Goldstein, who allegedly said during a conference call: “This kid is dead, you got that?” the suit charged.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Pa. High School Band Commemorates Russian Revolution; Citizens Outraged

Pennsylvania’s New Oxford High School marching band stirred controversy earlier this week after a halftime show that commemorated the Russian revolution included olive military-style uniforms and giant hammers and sickles.


An angry parent notified Fox News to alert them to the school’s antics. The parent, who asked not to be identified, attended a football game at the school with his children on September 14 and was appalled by the performance he witnessed. He told Fox News,

It was Glee meets the Russian Revolution. I’m not kidding you. They had giant hammers and sickles and they were waving them around. Who thought this was a good idea?

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

SAT Reading Scores Hit a Four-Decade Low

Reading scores on the SAT for the high school class of 2012 reached a four-decade low, putting a punctuation mark on a gradual decline in the ability of college-bound teens to read passages and answer questions about sentence structure, vocabulary and meaning on the college entrance exam.

Many experts attribute the continued decline to record numbers of students taking the test, including about one-quarter from low-income backgrounds. There are many factors that can affect how well a student scores on the SAT, but few are as strongly correlated as family income.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

Security Requested for Mosque Meeting

The Islamic Society of Santa Barbara’s plan to put a community center and mosque at the corner of Los Carneros Road and Calle Real had a conceptual hearing on Tuesday before Goleta’s Design Review Board. The society — which has been moving through the various stages of review and seven similar meetings since 2008 — moved the building slightly and added two additional parking spaces for a total of 44. Planning-wise, the project has not generated much controversy; but socially, the Islamic Society’s quest triggered enough emotionally charged response from letter writers that the city on Tuesday asked for the presence of a sheriff’s deputy.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

The Green Energy Fraud

Just like Obamacare, President Obama is committed to force us into using green energy regardless of what the people want — or can afford. Although U.S. reserves of oil, natural gas and coal are inexpensive and very abundant, Obama has done all he can to shut down every plan to develop these sources of economically cheap energy.

Obama even defied a court order requiring the Department of Interior grant deep water drilling permits for oil. Meanwhile, Cuba contracted several companies, including China, to conduct exploratory drilling within 60 miles of the Florida coast; something Obama would not let U.S. companies do. By the end of 2011, Cuba had brought in a Chinese deep water drilling rig and started drilling some 60-70 miles from Florida.

The EPA is also refusing to grant new permits to open new coal mines and has gone so far as to revoke existing permits. Once again, the federal court ruled against the efforts of the Obama administration, in this case the EPA, charging that the EPA exceeded its authority under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act.


Europe is already reeling from the realization green energy is bankrupting them. Great Britain estimated last summer that 25 percent of their population already suffers from “energy poverty” as British energy costs skyrocketed by 71 percent. British companies are threatening to move to other countries. Some are already moving.

An in-depth study in Spain found that for every job green energy creates, 2.2 are lost in the rest of the economy as the enormous subsidies required for green energy sucks jobs out of the private sector.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

This is Insanity

I believe Albert Einstein is credited with saying, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Using that definition, it would appear that many of our so-called “conservative” friends are insane. Every four years, they accept a phony conservative Presidential candidate and expect somehow that they are going to achieve a different result. They never do. Either the phony conservative loses because he is virtually indistinguishable from his Democrat opponent (i.e., John McCain), or after being elected while campaigning as a true conservative, he governs as a big-government neocon, and the course of the country changes not one iota (i.e., George W. Bush). This election year is no exception.

The GOP has nominated a man who has governed as a big-government liberal in one of the most liberal (if not the most liberal) states in the union: Governor Mitt Romney of Massachusetts. Furthermore, on virtually every issue one can think of, Governor Romney has flip-flopped more often than a fish that just landed in the bottom of a boat. To get a feel for just how often Romney changes his positions, watch this video.[url]

If Mitt Romney has proven anything, it is that his word means absolutely nothing. Nothing! Romney is an opportunistic chameleon who will say anything or do anything to get elected. Yet, this is the man whom conservatives trumpet as the savior of America! Why? He is a Republican, and, therefore, he must be better than the Democrat. In short, Mitt Romney is the lesser of two evils. But is he really?

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

US Army General Removed From Afghanistan Faces Sex Charges

Winston-Salem, North Carolina: A decorated US Army general is facing charges of forcible sodomy and engaging in inappropriate relationships stemming from allegations that got him sent home from Afghanistan this year, US officials said on Wednesday. Brigadier General Jeffrey Sinclair, who is based at North Carolina’s Fort Bragg, has also been charged with wrongful sexual conduct, misusing a government travel charge card, possessing alcohol and pornography while deployed and mistreating subordinates, military officials said in a statement…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

US Boycotts Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Speech at UN

The United States boycotted President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s speech at the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday as thousands protested outside the building about the Iranian leader’s hate-mongering.

In his address, Mr Ahmadinejad criticised the US over the manner of Osama bin Laden’s killing and questioned the motives of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in wishing to be president. He described Israel, whose delegates were absent because it was the Yom Kippur holy day, as “uncivilised Zionists”. Mr Ahmadinejad’s offensive language in UN addresses has prompted Western diplomats to walk out in past years. But yesterday the US announced beforehand that its delegates would not attend. The UN building in New York was the target of a large crowd of protesters condemning Iran’s threats against Israel, days after Mr Ahmadinejad expressed his hopes that the country would be “eliminated”. Britain sent three officials to the speech. They had been instructed to walk out if he said anything offensive. David Cameron and William Hague were both in New York, but neither the Prime Minister nor the Foreign Secretary attended. Mr Ahmadinejad called September 11 a “tragic incident” but suggested that an “independent fact-finding team” should have prepared the world for the perpetrators to be brought to justice “instead of killing and throwing the culprit into the sea without trial”…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Whole Foods Knowingly Engages in Massive GMO Deception, Says Undercover Video by ‘Organic Spies’

(NaturalNews) Whole Foods deceives consumers into unknowingly buying GMOs while financially supporting a GMO supply chain that ultimately enriches Monsanto, charges an explosive new undercover sting video released by Organic Spies. (Link below.)

The video features secret camera footage from a dozen Whole Foods stores in the Los Angeles area, capturing Whole Foods employees lying on camera about the genetically engineered ingredients found in products sold at Whole Foods.

“It’s against our policy to carry anything that’s grown with GMOs in it,” says one employee, caught on camera.

But according to Organic Spies, anywhere from 20% — 30% of Whole Foods products contain GMOs. See the full video at:

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Critics Deplore Canada’s Shift to the Right

Canada used to be hailed globally, especially vis-à-vis the US, for its progressive environment and social policies. But under the conservative government a drastic rollback has taken place, say green and rights groups.

As Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Thursday will receive the annual “World Statesman” award from the Appeal of Conscience Foundation, launched in 1965 by a New York rabbi, for his work as a “champion of democracy, freedom and human rights” his approval ratings at home are plummeting.

According to a recent poll conducted by an Ottawa-based research firm, 50 percent of Canadians disapprove of their leader and nearly that many of his Conservative Party. The country is headed in the wrong direction say 45 percent of respondents.

Linda Luneau, a 73-year-old artist, is one of these Canadians. On 17 September she participated in a protest on the steps of Parliament, as session opened, and just days after the award to Harper was announced, to voice her distaste with his government and its cuts to social programs.

“I’m here today because I’m watching one program after another being destroyed. There’s just so many things and now they want to introduce another bill and how much are we going to loose again?”

Other protestors included union leaders, environmentalists, human rights activists, organic farming supporters, indigenous rights activists, anti-poverty activists and concerned citizens.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

British Judge Halts Abu Hamzas Extradition

LONDON: A British judge on Wednesday halted the extradition of Abu Hamza to the United States on terror charges after the radical Islamist preacher lodged a last-ditch legal appeal.

The High Court will hear the legal challenge from the Egyptian-born cleric and a second terror suspect, Khaled Al-Fawwaz, on October 2, Britain’s Judiciary Office said.

The European Court of Human Rights on Monday gave Britain the green light to deport Abu Hamza, Fawwaz and three other men, and British officials had said they expected to extradite them within two weeks.

But a high court judge on Wednesday “issued interim injunctions preventing their (Abu Hamza and Fawwaz) removal” pending a hearing in open court on their appeal, a Judiciary Office spokeswoman told AFP.

The hearing will take place next Tuesday before two senior judges, John Thomas and Duncan Ouseley, the spokeswoman added.

The grounds for the appeal by Abu Hamza and al-Fawwaz were not immediately clear and their lawyers did not return calls from AFP seeking comment.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

Cleansing the Internet of Terrorism: EU-Funded Project Seeks to Erode Civil Liberties

A new project aimed at “countering illegal use of the Internet” is making headlines this week. The project, dubbed CleanIT, is funded by the European Commission (EC) to the tune of more than $400,000 and, it would appear, aims to eradicate the Internet of terrorism.

European Digital Rights, a Brussels-based organization consisting of 32 NGOs throughout Europe (and of which EFF is a member), has recently published a leaked draft document from CleanIT.

On the project’s website, its stated goal is to reduce the impact of the use of the Internet for “terrorist purposes” but “without affecting our online freedom.” While the goal may seem noble enough, the project actually contains a number of controversial proposals that will compel Internet intermediaries to police the Internet and most certainly will affect our online freedom. Let’s take a look at a few of the most controversial elements of the project.

Privatization of Law Enforcement

Under the guise of fighting ‘terrorist use of the Internet,’ the “CleanIT project,” led by the Dutch police, has developed a set of ‘detailed recommendations’ that will compel Internet companies to act as arbiters of what is “illegal” or “terrorist” uses of the Internet.


Notice and Take Action

Notice and take action policies allow law enforcement agencies (LEAs) to notify and act against Internet companies, who must remove “offending” content as fast as possible. This obligates LEAs to determine the extent to which content can be considered “offensive.” An LEA must “contextualize content and describe how it breaches national law.”


Real Identity Policies

Under the CleanIT provisions, all network users, whether in social or professional networks, will be obligated to supply their real identities to service providers (including social networks), effectively destroying online anonymity,

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

First Review of J.K. Rowling’s Very Grown-Up Novel

BBC Arts Editor Will Gompertz gushed forth in an embarrassing fountain of flattery. ‘I have never ever encountered a pair of electric blue peepers like J.K. Rowling’s. It’s as if a couple of azure-coloured crystals have been installed in her head — and then back-lit for dazzling effect.’

The Guardian’s interviewer couldn’t wait to inform the world’s richest author that she is, you know, rather brilliant. ‘When I tell her I loved the book, her arms shoot up in celebration.’

Oh, what a spell the normally reclusive J.K. weaves on her admirers. Pre-sale orders have already placed the hardback at the top of the bestseller lists before it is even in the shops. Holy invisibility cloak! Now you don’t see it, now you do. The question is, can The Casual Vacancy ever live up to the hype?

On balance, I would have to say no. Not unless you want to have more than 500 pages of relentless socialist manifesto masquerading as literature crammed down your throat.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

France to Expel Muslims Who Threaten Public Order

Muslims must respect ‘laws and values’ of French Republic, Valls

(ANSAmed) — PARIS, SEPTEMBER 27 — “I will not hesitate to expel those who declare themselves a part of Islam and pose a grave threat to public order,” French Interior Minister Manuel Valls said on Thursday. Speaking at the opening of the Grand Mosque of Strasbourg, which has the biggest Muslim prayer hall in the country, Valls added that he would not hesitate to expel whoever claims to be a Muslim but does not respect the “laws and values” of the French Republic. “In order to be French, or to live in France, there is no need to give up one’s faith or to deny one’s origins,” said the minister, whose approval ratings are rising.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Germany: Merkel: Stop Worrying About Muslims

The first online “tele-townhall” meeting between Chancellor Angela Merkel and some 7,000 of her party members took place on Wednesday evening, during which she asked Germany for more tolerance towards Muslims.

Merkel was clear about her thoughts towards the three million Muslims living in Germany. Islam, she said, “is a part of us.”

In the wake of a turbulent year for the German Muslim community, Merkel urged her country against generalising, news magazine Der Spiegel said on Thursday.

“We absolutely have to make sure that we do not tar everyone with the same brush,” she said. “(Radical) Islamism is not Islam in Germany and the majority of Muslims here clearly distance themselves from violence.”

Merkel, who leads the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), suggested to viewers that as Christians, her party members should spend a little more time thinking and talking about Christianity “than being afraid of Islam,” Die Welt reported.

Shortly before the conference, it emerged that Merkel had cancelled a trip to Tunisia due to safety concerns.

The meeting, a spokesman for Merkel told the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper, took inspiration from the eighteenth century open townhall meetings in the US. Organisers hoped it would be “close to the people, a bit cool and a bit Obama-esque.”

CDU members were invited to phone and ask the Chancellor questions. Other topics included pensions, the euro crisis and education policy.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Germany: Merkel Urges More Tolerance Towards Muslims

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called on her fellow citizens to exercise more tolerance toward the country’s 4 million Muslims, stating that Islam is part of Germany. People, she said, need to be careful to differentiate between extremists and the religion itself.

Germany should be more tolerant of its Muslims, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday night, calling the religion part of the country’s makeup.

“We should be very open about this and say: Yes, this is part of us,” Merkel said during a teleconference with some 7,000 members of her conservative Christian Democratic Union party.

In view of the violent protests that have taken place in recent weeks across the Muslim world against a controversial anti-Islam film and offensive Muhammad caricatures, Merkel said Germans should be careful to differentiate between Islamists and the religion itself. “We must be incredibly careful that we don’t lump everyone together,” the chancellor said. “The Islamists are not the Islam of Germany.”

Indeed, the majority of the around 4 million Muslims living in Germany have distanced themselves from the violence abroad, Merkel said, adding that those who refuse to recognize the country’s laws can naturally expect to face legal consequences.

Merkel’s open reception to Islam comes some two years after she was criticized for fanning the flames of the country’s immigration debate by saying that the multicultural concept had “failed utterly.” During that same speech in Oct. 2010, however, the chancellor did voice support for a widely discussed statement made just weeks before by then-President Christian Wulff, who said that Islam was “part of Germany.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Green Light for Prayer Calls at Swedish Mosque

A mosque in the south Stockholm suburb of Botkyrka has received approval to make prayer calls from its minaret, the first time such permission has ever been granted in Sweden.

On Tuesday, a majority of the members of Botkyrka municipality’s city planning committee voted in favour of scrapping a 1994 prohibition on allowing prayer calls dating from before the construction of the mosque, located in the municipality’s Fittja district, the Dagen newspaper reported.

The Christian Democrats were the only party to vote against allowing the mosque to make prayer calls.

The matter was put to a vote after Ismail Okur, chair of the Botkyrka Islamic Association (Islamiska föreningen i Botkyrka) filed a citizens’ petition with the local council in January seeking permission to allow prayer calls at the mosque.

He told Dagen that members of the association decided it was time they took steps to exercise their right to religious freedom in Sweden.

“We’ve lived our whole lives in Sweden; we’ve paid taxes; we’ve been exemplary citizens; we’ve given a lot to Sweden,” he said.

“Now we want to get a little back. Now we want to have religious freedom.”

However, the local council’s decision to allow prayer calls at the mosque is only the first step toward making Okur’s request a reality.

First the entire municipal council and executive board must approve the move. Then the Islamic Association must decide whether to file a request for a permit with local police, or start sounding the call to prayer immediately.

The decision could be of major significance for Sweden, as it could set a precedent for other mosques in the country to follow, according to Dagen.

Stefan Dayne, a Christian Democrat member of the city planning committee who voted against lifting the ban, claimed that members of other parties didn’t vote to uphold the prayer call ban because “they were afraid” of losing the support of local Muslims.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Islamists Who Pose a Threat ‘Have No Place in France’

France “will not hesitate” to expel those who threaten French security or secular values in the name of Islam, Interior Minister Manuel Valls said Thursday in a speech for the inauguration of the largest mosque ever built in France.

France’s Socialist government vowed Thursday to do more to integrate the country’s Muslims but warned that it would not tolerate the country becoming a hotbed of Islamic radicalism.

In a speech marking the inauguration of the Strasbourg Grand Mosque, the biggest Islamic place of worship ever built on French soil, Interior Minister Manuel Valls pledged to come down hard on extremists, warning that foreign activists trying to stir up trouble would be immediately deported.

But he also held out an olive branch to the country’s four million Muslims by promising state help for the construction of more mosques and for the training of Muslim clerics.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Italian Regions’ Requests for EU Solidarity Funds Denied

Marche governor says refusal is a ‘big disappointment’

(ANSA) — Ancona, September 26 — The request by 11 Italian regions for European Union solidarity funds for damage from heavy snowstorms last February was refused on Wednesday by an EU review commission.

The regions of Abruzzo, Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Emilia-Romagna, Lazio, Marche, Molise, Puglia, Tuscany and Umbria together applied for 2.7 billion euros for last winter’s snow emergency.

According to European Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn, “the request does not meet the criteria required for the EU solidarity fund”.

Brussels reviewers said that two out of the three criteria were not met, including the minimal damage estimate filed by Italy, which was below the 3.6 billion euros required.

Italy submitted documentation estimating 2.7 billion euros in damages.

Marche Regional Governor Gian Mario Spacca called the decision a “great disappointment”.

“The EU has not heard our people’s cry of suffering brought on by the emergency that has harmed living conditions in our territory,” said Spacca.

Spacca emphasised that “the formalism the European Union applies is a standardized assessment based only on the parameters of red tape. It disregards the real aspects of a painful event that forced us to call on Europe’s solidarity”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Govt Considering Checks on Regions After Lazio Scandal

Bill responds to pressure to clean up corruption

(ANSA) — Rome, September 26 — The Italian government said Wednesday it was mulling a law that would impose checks on the regions following a string of scandals, culminating in the alleged embezzlement of millions of euros in public money at Lazio party offices. Civil Service Minister Filippo Patroni Griffi announced it planned to introduce a bill that would be the first item on the agenda in the next legislative term if it is not approved sooner. Pressure has mounted both nationally and internationally on Italy to impose stricter checks on corruption in politics since the center-right People of Freedom (PdL) party, headed by former premier Silvio Berlusconi, was hit by a scandal that forced its governor in Lazio, the region around Rome, to quit this week.

Responding to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) on Monday, Premier Mario Monti promised to implement balanced anti-corruption reforms.

Other scandals have reached Lombardy, Campania, Puglia and Sicily.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy’s Regions: 300 Fewer Councillors

(AGI) Rome, Sept. 26 — Italy’s Regions have proposed to curtail the number of regional councillors in Italy. “There will be over 300 fewer councillors,” said President of the Lombardy Region, Roberto Formigoni, at the end of a meeting with Undersecretary Antonio Catricala at the Palazzo Chigi government office. “We illustrated our proposal to the President of the Republic and suggested that the government adopt an urgent measure in a very short time to roll out cost reductions in all our Regions,” said Formigoni: “This plan envisages a drastic cut in the number of councillors by over 300, a one-third reduction.” Formigoni went on to say that , “the Court of Auditors will scrutinize political expenses. This is a compulsory self-reform initiative for everyone. Those who do not implement it within a reasonable time-frame, say 60 days, will be sanctioned.” ..

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

Merkel: Islam is Part of Germany

Angela Merkel has said Islam has become a part of Germany and is urging her fellow citizens to show tolerance for Muslims. The Chancellor told members of her conservative Christian Democratic party that the great majority of Muslims in Germany had distanced themselves from the recent violence during protests against an anti-Islam video that ridiculed the Prophet Muhammad…

[JP note: Mutti Dhimmi.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Monti Exploits UN Trip to Promote New Image of Italy

Premier meets Obama, says country wants to ‘restore itself’

(ANSA) — New York, September 25 — Mario Monti said on Tuesday that he aimed to modify global perceptions of Italy and the European Union during his visit to New York for the opening of the 67th session the United Nations General Assembly. “New York is one of those cities where many global opinions are formed — I am here to give a precise perception of the evolution of the situation in Italy,” Monti told journalists. “Participating in this assembly is an opportunity to hold a series of bilateral meetings that form a part of the actions taken from the beginning (of my tenure) to promote the perception of a new dynamic by which Italy wants to restore itself to grow and, at the same time, (communicate) the new European framework to which Italy is contributing”.

Former European commissioner Monti has been credited with restoring Italy’s international standing after taking the helm of an emergency technocrat government after the financial crisis forced Silvio Berlusconi to step down as premier last November.

He has passed austerity measures to put Italy’s public finances in order and structural economic reforms to boost growth which have been acclaimed for making the country part of the solution to the eurozone crisis, rather than part of the problem.

Monti said he updated United States President Barack Obama about progress made toward stabilizing the economic situation in the European Union during a brief meeting late on Monday.

The Italian premier said one of the subjects they touched on was “an update on European Union progress toward a more stable eurozone structure — a subject that interests Obama very much”. Monti said that no mention was made of upcoming parliamentary elections in Italy. But they did discuss Obama’s bid to beat Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and win another term this November. “We talked about the progress of the election campaign in the US,” said Monti, who has pledged not to run in next year’s elections in Italy. Monti went on to say that the US president’s speech to the General Assembly of the United Nations on Tuesday had been “totally coherent”, showing “tight logic” with an important emphasis on the need for “tolerance, respect of the rights to speech and religion and human rights”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Netherlands: Extreme Right-Wingers Disrupt Mandela Statue Unveiling

Five members of the extreme right-wing organisation Voorpost were arrested in The Hague on Tuesday evening after disrupting the unveiling of a statue of Nelson Mandela by South Africa’s archbishop Desmond Tutu.

During the ceremony the four shouted slogans and threw missiles, Nos television said. According to news agency ANP, they were protesting at the killing of white farmers in South Africa.

The statue was made by artist Arie Schippers and is located close to the Omniversum.

The archbishop is in the Netherlands for a few days. He has also been given an honorary doctorate by Groningen University and made an honourary member of FC Twente football club.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

Norway: Hagen Halts Muslim Prayer at Oslo School

An Oslo high school has been told by the city officials to close a Muslim prayer room following criticism from Carl I. Hagen, a city councillor for the right-wing populist Progress Party.

“I have told the school via the education director that it is not acceptable to establish a separate prayer room in an Oslo school,” Torger Ødegaard of the Oslo schools council has explained, according to a report by state broadcaster NRK.

“School is an institution for education and not a religious institution,” he said.

Hellerud high school in Oslo became the first school in Norway to establish a Muslim prayer room and the move was roundly criticised by Carl I. Hagen, former head of the right-wing populist Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet) and currently a representative on the city council.

Hagen is reported to have threatened to jeopardise budget negotiations if the city’s education authorities did not act on the issue.

According to NRK, Ødegaard was initially dismissive of Hagen’s complaints, explaining that it is not the job of the council to interfere in the daily business of the city’s schools, but ultimately bowed to the pressure.

Hellerud high school’s principal Tora Morstad explained however that the room is not a “prayer room”, but a quiet room where pupils can go to pray and was established so that they would not have to go down to the cellar.

Morstad however told NRK that the school plans to fall in line with the council’s decision and prayers in school premises will be discontinued.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Norway: Breivik Seeks Return of ‘Knights Templar’ Outfit

Norwegian terrorist Anders Behring Breivik has requested the return of a dress uniform and other items which he connects to a clandestine group called the Knights Templar.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Tests Underway for New Swiss ‘Monster’ Trains

Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) is grappling with how to handle longer passenger trains than it has ever operated before.

The 16-car double-decker trains, set to go into operation at the end of 2015, are 400 metres long, requiring special training for drivers and technicians, according to a press report.

SBB has been conducting simulations since the beginning of the month to see how such trains would actually operate.

“We wanted to learn in reality how to overcome problems with these monsters,” SBB spokesman Reto Scharli is quoted as saying by the 20 Minutes online news site.

The Twindexx Swiss Express trains, produced by Bombardier, are capable of carrying 1,400 passengers in their longest versions.

They are part of a 1.9-billion-franc ($2 billion) order announced by the state-owned railway — the biggest in its history — to supply 59 new trains, totalling 436 carriages, with the first ones set for delivery next year.

The Twindexx trains, with a top speed of 230 kilometres per hour, are to be built in Villeneuve in the canton of Vaud and in Görlitz, Germany, while their propulsion and control systems are being produced in Västerås, Sweden.

The trains are touted for passenger comfort, their ability to negotiate curves at high speed and their energy efficiency.

SBB locomotive drivers, such as Roger Walder, expressed concerns about the longer trains because he said it will be necessary to arrive at stations more slowly than before.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UK: ‘Missed Chances’ In Rochdale Abuse Scandal

Social workers, police and the Crown Prosecution Service “missed opportunities” to stop a child exploitation ring abusing young girls, a report into the scandal reveals.

The review was ordered in the aftermath of a trial which saw nine Asian men jailed for grooming young white girls for sex. It looked at how agencies including the council, police, NHS and Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) worked between 2007 and 2012 to safeguard children and young people who were at risk of sexual exploitation. The picture which emerges from the report is one of vulnerable young girls, some as young as 10, who were being targeted for sexual abuse, being written off by those in authority who believed the girls were “making their own choices”. “Deficiencies” in the way children’s social care responded to the victims’ needs in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, were caused by “patchy” training of frontline staff, the Rochdale Borough Safeguarding Children Board (RBSCB) said in its review into child sexual exploitation (CSE). Rochdale Council said it has used the review’s findings to implement a catalogue of changes and improvements…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: British Freedom Party Appoints Racist as South West Regional Organiser

Earlier this week the English Defence League’s political wing, the British Freedom party, announced the appointment of their new South West regional organiser. She’s an EDL activist from Bristol named Chelsea Anne White. White’s explanation of her decision to join British Freedom features the usual anti-Muslim rhetoric — “mosques, we don’t want them and we don’t want burka-clad women on our beaches…. We don’t want animals sent for halal slaughter”. However, in a statement on her Facebook page outlining what motivates her longstanding support for the EDL, White makes it clear that her Islamophobia is part of a wider philosophy that differs little from the traditional skin-colour racism of the far right:


You might think that a party which claims its hostility towards Islam has nothing to do with racism would balk at appointing such an obvious racist as its public representative. But then, given BF leader Paul Weston’s own views on the “ethnic cleansing” of the “indigenous race”, that would be a bit hypocritical, wouldn’t it?

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Council and Police Had 127 Warnings About Sex Abuse in Town Where Asian Gang Raped Dozens of Children, Finds Damning Report

[WARNING: Disturbing content.]

A council and a police force received 127 warnings from NHS staff about children as young as 10 at risk of abuse and ‘missed opportunities’ to stop an Asian gang that raped dozens of vulnerable young girls over several years, it has been revealed.

Rochdale social services, police and the Crown Prosecution Service had failed to shut down the sex ring — dismissing victims as prostitutes in years of turning a blind eye, a damning report into the scandal has found.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: David Cameron on Letterman: PM Fails His History Test

by James Kirkup

Well, they knew it was a risk. The Prime Minister’s appearance on David Letterman’s chatshow was always going to be tricky, but he was caught out pretty sharply by his host’s questions about British history. Who wrote “Rule Britannia”? What does “Magna Carta” mean? Mr Cameron didn’t know, floundering obviously. “It would be good if you knew,” Mr Letterman told the sheepish PM, who took a minute or two to catch on and grasp that he’d been caught out by his host’s “dumb American” pose. Still, he got the important stuff right; the population of the UK, the difference between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, the Government’s policy on euro membership, that sort of thing.

He also got in a few “shameless” plugs for British business and investment, which is why he was there in the first place. There were also mercifully few “posh” gags, beyond a jibe that he sounds like “the guy from the King’s Speech”. And no one mentioned Boris Johnson. Most important, he laughed at his own mistakes. “I’ve ended my career on your show tonight,” he said with what looked like a genuine laugh. So what did we learn tonight? First, Eton College and a First (in PPE) at Oxford don’t make you omniscient. And second, David Cameron is human, makes mistakes and can take a joke. The PM may feel a bit silly tonight, but he’s suffered no real harm. Who knows? This could even do him some good: in politics, a little humility goes a long way .

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: EDL Sets Date for First March in Norwich

The English Defence League will hold its first march in Norwich this November, citing a decision to ban a Christian bookstall as a reason for the demonstration. Police confirmed they had been approached by the EDL about the protest for Saturday November 10, although a route is yet to be decided. The EDL, which has 81 members on its Norwich Facebook page, listed the banning of Reverend Alan Clifford of the Norwich Reformed Church from using a market stall on Hay Hill as a reason for the march. They believe the decision by Norwich City Council, following a complaint about anti-Islamic leaflets, violated freedom of speech…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Ex-Soldier in Court Over Anti-Muslim Facebook Rants

A FORMER soldier wrote anti-Islamic comments on his Facebook page he started supporting the English Defence League (EDL). Kenneth Holden, 30, was arrested after police were alerted to two updates he posted on his personal page on the social network site, abusing Muslims. Holden, of Winskell Road, South Shields, pleaded guilty to two counts of sending an offensive message by a public communication network at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court yesterday. He also admitted causing criminal damage to his grandfather’s home in a separate incident.

Claire Wright, prosecuting, said: “On April 21, the two messages were brought to the attention of the police. Officers searched Facebook and found the defendant’s page and saw the religiously abusive comments. He was arrested, and asked the police if it was because he didn’t like Muslims. In a second police interview, he posted the comments on his page and accepted that they could be seen as offensive to Muslims.” The criminal damage case goes back to June 28 when he was found by police in his grandfather’s home. The court heard his grandfather was ill in hospital at the time, and Holden’s uncle had changed the locks to the house. When he went round to the house, he couldn’t get in, so he broke in through the back door.

Kevin Smallcombe, defending, said: “He was in the Army, and has some fairly strong views about Muslims. He supports some of the beliefs of the English Defence League and believes that the group was started after some Muslims spat on soldiers who were returning from Afghanistan. The comments on Facebook were of a religious nature. Some people say it is part of free speech, but by his guilty plea Mr Holden accepts he crossed the line. Most of our country has fair and tolerant views but some are extremists, on both sides of this argument.” Mr Smallcombe added that while Holden supports the EDL, these posts were not in any way to do with the group. With regards to the criminal damage, the court heard it was a family dispute and Holden was at his grandfather’s home to change the locks again. Magistrates adjourned the case until Monday for the probation service to prepare a report about him. He was granted bail until then.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Girl: 17, On HIV Drugs After She Was Brutally Raped in City Street

A TEENAGE rape victim had to take medication after she was attacked amid fears she may have contracted HIV.

Mawawe Karam was jailed for ten years yesterday for raping the 17-year-old.

CCTV showed Karam with her in the street, steering her along and directing her into an alleyway where he brutally raped her. He stripped her of her clothes and stole her mobile phone. Despite suffering grazes and bruises, the girl managed to get help from a passerby who saw her crying uncontrollably and wearing just a jacket in the street at 5.15am.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: Grooming Trial Sparked National Debate

When a child sex ring of nine men was brought to justice in May it sparked a national debate over the role of gangs of largely Asian men in grooming white girls. Following the trial the police, questions were raised about the cultural backgrounds of those involved, and whether this had allowed exploitation to flourish. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the local council in Rochdale were heavy criticised when it emerged that the girls who complained were not listened to amid a catalogue of systematic failings.

Police and social workers were accused of failing to tackle the issue for up to a decade. A chance to stop the gang was missed in 2008 and both the police and the CPS were forced to apologise for their failings while Rochdale Council said it “deeply regretted” the missed opportunities. The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is now investigating the botched inquiry…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Imams Hold Meeting to Discuss Affect on Community Relations in Run-Up to Today’s Bradford City Centre Protest

A group of Bradford Imams has expressed concern about tomorrow’s mass protest in the city, fearing it could do more harm than good.

Thousands of Muslims are expected to meet in Centenary Square in the afternoon to rally against an American-made ‘anti-Islam’ film they say attacks their faith and insults the Prophet Muhammed.

Organisers estimated around 2,000 people could turn up but there are reports that crowds could be much bigger if supporters travel in from outlying areas.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: Jack Straw: Pakistani Community Must Face Up to Grooming Scandal Following Rochdale Case

Jack Straw has called on the Asian community to face up to the issue of Pakistani men grooming white girls following the abuse of vulnerable youngsters in Rochdale.

Jack Straw has said that the “fundamental failure” in the Rochdale case, in which dozens of girls were groomed for sex by a group of men of Pakistani origin, lay with the police and social workers who failed to take action to protect them. But, the former Home Secretary added, there was an added “issue here about colour,” in cases in which Asian men took advantage of white girls. Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, he said: “There is an issue of ethnicity here which can’t be ignored. It is true that if you go into the sex offenders wings of prisons there are proportionally more white men than Asian men. But there’s also the separate issue of group grooming in the Asian community. In terms of group grooming, there is an ethnic dimension to this which is Asian men and white girls, and that has to be faced by the Asian community. These are small communities, and people would have an idea that there are groups of men that are abusing girls in this way, and that has to be faced.”

A report into the events in Rochdale has found that police and social services missed dozens of opportunities to intervene to stop the abuse. Girls as young as 10 were considered to have consented to sex, and were said to have made a lifestyle choice to have relations with dozens of strange men in return for money, food and drugs. Nine members of the group were convicted of rape and other offences following a trial in May. David Crompton, chief constable of South Yorkshire Police, has been ordered to appear before the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee to answer allegations that the force withheld information about the case. The committee will also examine whether there was a racial element to the crimes.

Last year, when the Rochdale scandal first emerged, Mr Straw claimed that some men in the Pakistani community viewed white girls as “easy meat”. He said: “There is a specific problem which involves Pakistani heritage men … who target vulnerable young white girls. We need to get the Pakistani community to think much more clearly about why this is going on and to be more open about the problems that are leading to a number of Pakistani heritage men thinking it is OK to target white girls in this way. These young men are in a western society, in any event, they act like any other young men, they’re fizzing and popping with testosterone, they want some outlet for that, but Pakistani heritage girls are off-limits and they are expected to marry a Pakistani girl from Pakistan, typically. So they then seek other avenues and they see these young women, white girls who are vulnerable, some of them in care … who they think are easy meat. And because they’re vulnerable they ply them with gifts, they give them drugs, and then of course they’re trapped.”

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Labour Back “We Are Walsall” Rally

Walsall Labour Party is giving its full support to a peaceful demonstration celebrating community strength and tolerance being held in Gallery Square on Saturday at 11am. The “We are Walsall” rally is being held to counter the racism of the English Defence League who are bussing in people from across the country to incite hatred of the town’s Muslim community. Cllr Tim Oliver said it is fantastic that so many community groups, churches, temples and members of political parties are joining together to oppose the EDL’s message of hate, and instead celebrate the town’s tolerance and understanding. “We in the Labour Party were the first to warn about this vile group and its plans to come to Walsall in July. Since then the leaders of all the borough’s main political parties have condemned it and people from so many diverse and varied backgrounds have come together to organise this peaceful statement to show our communities won’t be divided by the hatred of outsiders. As a party we have made representations to the council and the police on how we can minimise the threat and disruption the EDL want to bring to our streets. Given that past protests by the EDL in areas like Dudley have become drink-fuelled, violent rampages we are very concerned that the site of their demonstration will take place so close to bars and we would urge that landlords either shut for the day or refuse to serve them.”

The “We are Walsall” rally will be joined by local Labour MPs David Winnick and Valerie Vaz, who will stress the rally’s message that the people of Walsall won’t be divided.” Cllr Oliver added “The best response to the EDL is for the people of borough to join the peaceful rally and send an overwhelming message that they are not welcome in our town.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Radical Cleric Abu Hamza Launches Another High Court Challenge to Avoid Extradition to the U.S.

Radical cleric Abu Hamza has today launched a feckless last-minute High Court bid to avoid extradition to the United States, costing taxpayers at least £10,000.

The hate preacher is trying one final throw of the dice to stay in Britain but the Government is confident there is nothing he can do to avoid being thrown out of the UK.

He and fellow terror suspect, Khaled Al-Fawwaz, will have their applications to stay heard at the High Court next Tuesday.

The basis of his appeal has not yet been revealed but it is likely to involve his physical and mental health.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Rochdale Child Sex Ring Inquiry Blasts Care Workers

Exclusive by John Scheerhout

The father of a victim of the Rochdale sex gang has called for the care workers who let his daughter down to be ‘named, shamed and sacked’ — after a report laid bare the extent of their failings. Nine men were jailed in May after being found guilty of exploiting girls as young as 13 as part of a grooming ring. A court heard how the victims were routinely plied with drink and drugs before being passed around for sex. Today, an independent probe into the failings of Rochdale council, the NHS and police found care workers had:

  • Missed opportunities to help the victims and bring the perpetrators to justice
  • Concluded that the girls were having consensual sex — and may even have been working as prostitutes
  • Refused to believe one of the victim’s stories, instead urging her parents to ‘set boundaries’.

The dad of one of the victims told us he welcomed the report — but said it told him nothing he didn’t already know. He added: “This is what I’ve been saying for three years. The staff concerned should be named, shamed and sacked. Their wrong-doing, their negligence, their mistakes, have ruined lives. If you do wrong in a job you should be sacked. They have not only done wrong, they have ruined lives.”

The 29-page report, published today, was drawn up by the Rochdale Borough Safeguarding Board, which is made up of officials involved in various bodies that care for children, including the police, the council and NHS. The report slams care workers for refusing to believe victims when they first came forward in 2008. Care workers had little understanding of child sexual exploitation, the report says, and instead tended to focus their energies on the parents. The report noted patchy training and ‘deficiencies’ in the way children’s social workers responded to the victims. It said some care workers became frustrated because they believed managers were failing to act on their concerns.

The document detailed the experience of one victim of sexual abuse, referred to by the pseudonym Suzie. It said care workers didn’t believe her even though she had repeatedly complained, and instead told her parents to ‘set boundaries’. The report said case files showed staff in the council’s children’s social care department often took no further action as they believed the girls were ‘making their own choices’ and engaging in consensual sexual activity. It added that care staff and their managers ‘did not consistently recognise or understand the nature of the sexually exploitation of children and young people’.

The report did NOT name any individual care workers linked to any of the failings. Nor did it raise the issue of race — even though the judge who jailed the nine Asian members of the sex ring told them he believed a factor in the abuse was that the girls were ‘not of your community or religion’. That sparked allegations from victims’ relatives that fears of being branded racist had prevented a prompt investigation. Jim Taylor, chief executive of Rochdale council, said: “This review highlights that all agencies did not work together adequately and it is very clear that, in the past, council services missed opportunities to offer assistance. I deeply regret this. There was more that could, and should have been done to protect the victims when allegations first came to light.”

The nine men jailed in May, aged between 24-59, received jail terms of between four and nine years. They were found guilty of a range of offences including rape and conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with a child. The abuse, which centred around two takeaways, began in 2008 and was reported to police by one of the victims that year. But it was not until 2011 that a prosecution was launched.

Inquiry ignores ‘race’ claims

RACE had been a major theme during the trial of the nine Asian men accused of systematically sexually abusing a string of white girls. But it was only when they were finally jailed that anyone in authority suggested publicly it had been a factor in their crimes. Judge Gerald Clifton told the gang: “I believe that one of the factors that led to that was that they were not of your community or religion.” The court heard most of the men were from Rochdale’s Pakistani community and were married with children. The gang’s leader, Shabir Ahmed, had repeatedly suggested during the trial he was the victim of a ‘white conspiracy’. But the judge’s views were hotly contested by police and council bosses. It was only later — when quizzed by MPs — that GMP’s chief constable Sir Peter Fahy conceded figures showed Asian men were over-represented when it came to sexual grooming of children. One of the few to support the judge was Mohammed Shafiq, of the Rochdale-based Ramadhan Foundation, who said: “We’ve got a problem because these people think white girls are worthless.”

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Rochdale Abuse Victims Ignored by Social Workers, Review Finds

A review of multi-agency responses to the sexual exploitation of young girls in Rochdale unearthed multiple failures, which the council has already begun to address

Social workers repeatedly ignored victims of child sexual exploitation in Rochdale because they perceived teenage girls to be “making their own choices”, a review has concluded.

The review of multi-agency responses to child sexual exploitation in Rochdale is a fore-runner to a serious case review, due next year, and was conducted at the same time as some of the criminal court proceedings. It found serious faults with the way General Manchester Police (GMP) and Rochdale’s children’s social care dealt with allegations and referrals, as well as lack of a joined-up strategy to tackle the problem.

The review acknowledged that professionals around the country were only just starting to become more aware of the issues around sexual exploitation between 2007 and 2011. They recognised the impact of the Baby P case and budget cuts had hampered this. However, it also concluded that social workers did not follow current ‘child in need’ guidance properly, which would have protected some of the victims. Police also missed chances to arrest and convict perpetrators early on. The review followed the case of Suzie*, one of the victims involved in the high profile Operation Span, which saw nine men convicted of grooming girls earlier this year.

One victim’s experience

Although Suzie had been referred to children’s social care several times since the age of 15, none of the referrals were followed up. When Suzie fell pregnant social care focused on the risk to the baby but continued to ignore the exploitation she was experiencing. Despite twice reporting attacks on her to police, a poor investigation and a decision by the crown prosecution service that Suzie was an unreliable witness meant her attackers went free. Suzie lost all faith that agencies were able to protect her. Combined with perceived pressure from social care about her parenting, Suzie resorted to self-harming, drug and alcohol use and running away. “Social work practitioners and managers wholly over estimated the extent to which Suzie could legally or psychologically consent to the sexual violence being perpetrated against her,” the report stated. There were numerous problems creating the specialist “Sunrise” team to deal with sexual exploitation. They included a lack of co-ordinated funding and a failure to plan for issues such as governance, supervision and information sharing protocols. It also remained difficult to recruit a social worker to the team, the review found.


Many of the report’s recommendations have already been put in place by Rochdale’s Safeguarding Children Board, including more staff training on sexual exploitation, workshops in secondary schools and an expansion of the “Sunrise” team. All referrals to social care of children over the age of 12 are also now screened for signs of sexual exploitation. Jim Taylor, chief executive of Rochdale Borough Council, said the council accepted the findings of the review. “There was more that could, and should have been done to protect the victims when allegations first came to light. Unacceptable practice is being investigated and dealt with in line with our procedures.”

Chief superintendent Annette Anderson, divisional commander for Rochdale, said the report had highlighted the complex nature of child sexual exploitation. “We have already stated that there were issues with an initial inquiry into child sexual exploitation in Rochdale in 2008. However, the IPCC are currently supervising an investigation into that inquiry so it would be inapprotpriate for us to go into further details at this moment. All we can say is that GMP’s forcewide approach to child sexual exploitation and child abuse in general has changed significantly over the last few years,” she said.

*Name has been changed

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Rochdale Grooming Victims ‘Did Not Want Sex’

Social workers and police officers must realise that victims of grooming gangs are not consenting to sex, a senior social worker has said.

Janet Foulds, former chair of the British Association of Social Workers, was responding to a report on the Rochdale grooming case which found that some social workers thought the victims were mature enough to make their own decisions about sex. Ms Foulds said: “Part of the grooming process… is that children, young people, appear to be going along with what’s happening — terrified often, and under the control of the perpetrators.

Abuse justice

“But the way that the children and young people are groomed may give people the impression that it is consensual, but it absolutely isn’t.” The chief executive of Rochdale Borough council, Jim Taylor, said he accepted the findings of the Rochdale Safeguarding Children Board. He said: “I need to be confident improvements have gone far enough, that we really are doing everything we can do to ensure young people are protected — and also, let’s not forget that abusers need to be brought to justice quickly.” Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk said the report should have included input from the victims. He said: “It doesn’t explain why the social workers, why social services had a culture of blaming the victims for the abuse that they received.” Jon Brown, of the NSPCC, said: “These vulnerable girls were groomed and exploited and should have been treated as victims from the start.” He praised Rochdale Council’s “openness” in publishing the report, and said “huge strides” had been made to stop the failings happening again.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Rochdale Abuse: Social Services ‘Missed Opportunities’

Social services and police “missed opportunities” to stop the sexual abuse of young girls in Rochdale, a report into a grooming scandal has revealed.

“Deficiencies” and “patchy” training of front line staff were behind the failings, the Rochdale Borough Safeguarding Children Board said in its review of child sexual exploitation.

It comes after nine men were jailed in May for grooming girls as young as 13. Lawyers say the findings could support “legal action against social services”. The report — ordered in the aftermath of the grooming trial in Rochdale, Greater Manchester — reviews the work of local agencies, including the council, police and the Crown Prosecution Service between 2007 and 2012 in safeguarding children at risk of sexual exploitation. Using feedback from 23 support staff, it charts the experience of one victim from 2007 to 2010.

It reveals the girl spoke to support workers on several occasions about the abuse she was suffering — including giving a detailed complaint to detectives. However, the report suggests some child protection services failed to act and the abuse continued. It says: “While some organisations were consistently supportive in their response, overall child welfare organisations missed opportunities to provide a comprehensive, co-ordinated and timely response and, in addition, the criminal justice system missed opportunities to bring the perpetrators to justice.” It also reports that “activity to disrupt alleged offenders was developing on the ground, but this was not always followed through at a more senior level”.

“The early investigations of crimes and the prosecution of alleged offenders were flawed.” The report also shows some officials believed vulnerable girls as young as 10 — who were being groomed for sexual abuse — were “making their own choices”. One of the girl’s parents said they were simply told their teenage daughter was hanging out with a bad crowd, it says.

‘Victims ignored’

Labour MP for Rochdale Simon Danczuk, who described the report as “limited”, said: “It doesn’t give a voice to the victims.” He added: “It doesn’t explain why the social workers, why social services had a culture of blaming the victims for the abuse that they received at the hands of these perpetrators.” Richard Scorer of Pannone Solicitors, which represents one of the victims in the recent case, said he expected legal proceedings to follow: “There’s clear evidence that social services failed to act, failed to intervene, when they had this mass of information, about this grooming and exploitation of young girls. They failed to act on that information, even though they had a responsibility to do that. And that’s the basis of any legal action we’ll be putting forward.” He added: “Obviously we need to… build up the detail of exactly what happened. But I think this report probably does give us a pretty firm basis for legal action against social services.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Social Services Under Fire in Rochdale Grooming Scandal

LONDON — Social workers and police in Rochdale came under fire on Thursday after a report revealed “missed opportunities” to stop the grooming of young girls in a shocking case which saw nine men convicted earlier this year. The review from Rochdale Borough Safeguarding Children Board (RBSC) found there were “missed opportunities” to respond to claims being made by the girls, and to prosecute those responsible…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Tory Grassroots ‘Despair’ At £12bn Foreign Aid Spree: I Haven’t Met One Backbencher Who Agrees With Cameron, Says Ex-Minister

David Cameron’s pledge to spend billions more on foreign aid has come in for a withering attack from a sacked minister — who said he did not know a single rank-and-file Conservative who backed it. Gerald Howarth, a defence minister until the reshuffle, urged the Prime Minister to scrap the ‘arbitrary’ target to spend 0.7 per cent of national income on aid by 2013, and said it was only being imposed to mollify Lib Dems. He said it was time to ‘reorder the priorities’ and divert the money saved into the defence budget, warning that savage cuts to spending on the Armed Forces were having a dangerous effect on Britain’s influence in the world…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: What Would be the Details of a Conservative-UKIP Pact?

by Andrew Lilico

I have recently joined longer-standing advocates of a Conservative-UKIP pact, such as Daniel Hannan and Toby Young. Some folk will think this an obviously attractive idea; others will think it obviously unattractive. But for some the question might turn upon the details. Here, then, I try to unpack some. As a preamble, though, it is worth reflecting upon what the Conservatives and UKIP might each expect to get out of such a pact. Some folk say we don’t need any pact — we should simply announce a referendum and expect UKIP to fold as a consequence. Others say we should just declare we endorse UKIP’s agenda and ask UKIP, in exchange, to endorse our candidates. I don’t think either of those is really a goer. It really isn’t true that the Conservatives endorse most of UKIP’s agenda. The modern UKIP is a fully-fledged party with a range of policies, most of which Conservatives don’t agree with. Even on Europe, I don’t recommend that the Conservative Party says its position is to withdraw — if that were really our position, why would we need a referendum? We’d simply say we’d withdraw!


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Why Do the Asians Hate Me? …

From the Daily Mail. The Times does society no favours by hiding it’s reporters research behind a paywall; the Daily Mail likewise by refering to these men as Asian when we know they are not Tibetan or Hindu. They are Muslim…

[JP note: Daily Mail article previously posted in the newsfeed for 25 September 2012.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

What Kind of French Republic Needs the Protection of Marine Le Pen?

by Fiachra Gibbons

Le Pen’s logic sees her calling for a ban on Jewish kippas. France must escape this kind of myopic secular fundamentalism

Marine Le Pen’s call for a ban on headscarves, Jewish kippas, and even the djellaba in public is not some new low in the long and abject story of France’s failure to come to terms with itself. We have been here before, and unfortunately we will be again. That is the tragedy of modern France, a tragedy that entered a new absurdist phase the day Marine Le Pen recast herself as the protector of the values of the Republic.

You need to suffer from a very particular kind of historical amnesia not to find banning the kippa in France grotesque, particularly as Le Pen used it to kickstart her party conference just as Holocaust survivors were gathering at Drancy to remember the 60,000 Jews who were deported to the death camps from there by French police. The blocks in which they were held now house mostly north African immigrants and their children and grandchildren, some of whom wear headscarves and, on very rare occasions, djellabas…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Celebrating Al-Andalus Day in Egypt

From Al-Ahram Online:

El-Sinnary House to host ‘Al-Andalus Day’ Wednesday

Event will feature rare photos of region’s most celebrated mosques, along with rare art dating back to the Umayyad Period

Egypt’s Bibliotheca Alexandrina and Kuwait’s Abdul Aziz Saud Al-Babtain Foundation will host a one-day event in Cairo’s El-Sinnary House on Wednesday to celebrate Andalusian heritage. Dubbed ‘Al-Andalus Day,’ the event will feature rare photos — including many depicting the famous Alkaza Palace in Seville (the Andalusian capital) — and a collection of rare art, some of which dates back to the Umayyad Period. The gallery will also feature silk tissues dating from the era of the Bano El-Ahmar, or ‘Red Sons,’ who ruled Granada until 1492 AD. The visitor will also be able to see rare coins from the Islamic era, along with old photos of the region’s most celebrated mosques, including the Bab Al-Mardoum Mosque, the Great Mosque of Cordoba and the Gaffaria Palace. The event will take place on Wednesday, 26 September, from 10am until 9pm. El-Sinnary House, Haret El-Mong (behind El-Saneya School)

Sayeda Zeinab, Cairo

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Libyan President Has ‘No Doubt’ Deadly 9/11 Attack on U.S. Consulate Was ‘Pre-Planned’ And Says Anti-Islam Film Had ‘Nothing to Do With’ It

Libyan president Mohamed Magarief has claimed the deadly 9/11 anniversary attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi was undoubtedly a ‘pre-planned act of terrorism.’

The comments follow repetitive claims by the U.S. government that the attack last month that killed ambassador Chris Stevens was spontaneous, and was sparked by an anti-Islam film produced in California.

But President Magarief quashed the idea the assault on the consulate was prompted by the movie, adding that he has ‘no doubt’ it was a premeditated act of terrorism targeting American citizens.

‘It’s a pre-planned act of terrorism,’ he told NBC’s Ann Curry, adding that the anti-Islam film had ‘nothing to do with this attack.’


Magarief said the video had been available for months before the Benghazi attack and therefore wasn’t the catalyst.

‘Reaction should have been, if it was genuine, should have been six months earlier. So it was postponed until the 11th of September,’ he told NBC. ‘They chose this date, 11th of September to carry a certain message.’

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Libya: The Big Bang in Benghazi

The problem with Obama’s split Islamists maneuver is that Al Qaeda had spent more time attacking Saudi Arabia, the most Islamist Sunni country on earth, than any other Muslim country. Turning Egypt and Syria Islamist was not going to dissuade or isolate Al Qaeda. For Islamists, there is an endless well of “extremes” so that the rise of one Islamist government is just an excuse for more Islamists to arrive and denounce them as fakes and puppets of America and Israel.

Islamist governments have a traditional way of occupying the attention of their angrier Islamist brethren. They buy them flight lessons and maps of American landmarks. That’s how the House of Saud largely solved its Islamist terror problem and that is how our “moderate” friends in Egypt are hard at work solving their Islamist terrorist problem by pointing them at Israel and using their attacks as an excuse to militarize the Sinai.

In Libya, the Benghazi consulate was being guarded from other Islamist militias by the Muslim Brotherhood militia. The ways in which plan failed are a microcosm of the larger failure of the entire plan to buy peace by selling out our allies to the Muslim Brotherhood and hoping that the Islamists we backed will be more moderate than the ones bombing us.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Merkel Postpones Her Visit to Tunisia for Security Reasons

(AGI) Berlin, 27 Sept — Angela Merkel postponed her visit to Tunisia on 9 October for security reasons. Government spokesman Steffen Seibert said “the visit was postponed to a later date by mutual agreement with the government of Tunisia.” The Financial Times Deutschland wrote that security worries caused the chancellor to call off her trip. The newspaper pointed out that this postponement was ‘the most visible consequence’ in the Arab world of the unrest caused by the US-made anti-Islamic during which the German Embassy in Sudan came under attack.

Tunisian president Hammadi Jebali went to Berlin over the summer and in the course of his visit, Merkel pledged her support for the country’s ongoing process of democratisation, saying there would be “intense collaboration” between Germany and Tunisia.

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

Now Hillary Clinton Strongly Hints That Libya Consulate Was Attacked by Al Qaeda in Humiliating Back Track

In a humiliating admission, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said today that there was an explicit link between the al Qaeda network in North Africa and the deadly attacks on the U.S. consulate in Libya, backtracking from what the State Department had said previously.

Speaking at a Security Council meeting at the United Nations, Mrs Clinton said an Algerian-founded branch of the al Qaeda network was situated in the area, using their location to plan and execute attacks, like the one in Benghazi on September 11.

This goes directly against the initial statements of the White House and President Obama, who acknowledged that the consulate attack, which killed Libyan ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, was a terrorist attack but that al Qaeda’s involvement’s was unclear.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Iran Unveils ‘Indigenous’ Drone With 2,000km Range

Iran has unveiled what it says is a new “indigenous” long-range unmanned drone capable of flying over most of the Middle East, state media report.

The Shahed (Witness) 129 had a range of 2,000km (1,240 miles) and could be equipped with bombs and missiles, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps said.

It is reportedly capable of carrying out reconnaissance and combat missions.

Last year, the Iranian authorities displayed a US drone which they claimed to have brought down electronically.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Netanyahu Draws “Red Line” On Iran’s Nuclear Program

(Reuters) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu drew his “red line” for Iran’s nuclear program on Thursday despite a U.S. refusal to set an ultimatum, saying Tehran will be on the brink of a nuclear weapon in less than a year.

By citing a time frame in an address to the U.N. General Assembly, Netanyahu — who has clashed with President Barack Obama over the urgency of military action against Iran — appeared to suggest no Israeli attack was imminent before the November 6 U.S. presidential election.

Holding up a cartoon-like drawing of a bomb with a fuse, Netanyahu literally drew a red line just below a label reading “final stage” to a bomb, in which Iran was 90 percent along the path of having sufficient weapons-grade material.

Experts put that at the point that Iran has amassed enough uranium, purified to a level of 20 percent, that could quickly be enriched further and be used to produce an atomic bomb.

Netanyahu told the United Nations he believes that faced with a clear red line, Iran will back down in a crisis that has sent jitters across the region and in financial markets.

“And this will give more time for sanctions and diplomacy to convince Iran to dismantle its nuclear weapons program altogether,” he added.

Netanyahu’s remarks were the closest he or any top Israeli official has come to publicly laying out precisely which Iranian actions could trigger an Israeli military strike on Tehran’s nuclear infrastructure.

But by referring to a spring or summer 2013 time frame for Iran to complete the next stage of uranium enrichment, the Israeli leader also seemed to dispel, at least for now, fears that Israel might strike Iran before the U.S. presidential election, 40 days away.

Netanyahu’s remarks also seemed to deliver a two-part message to the Obama White House — along with Iran’s leaders, his most important audience — signaling that the hawkish prime minister wanted an end to the all-too-public war of words with Washington over Iran’s suspected nuclear ambitions. But they also showed he was not backing down an inch on his insistence that much harsher warnings must be delivered to Tehran…

[Return to headlines]

Not in Our Name: Understanding Youth Engagement in the Middle East and Around the World

Sally Steenland talks with Zeenat Rahman, special adviser to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for Global Youth Issues at the U.S. Department of State, about young Muslim leaders standing against intolerance, the secretary’s work with youth throughout the Middle East, and why building engaging partnerships in this young region is not only strategic but necessary for strengthening our own social fabric and the message of empowerment worldwide.

Sally Steenland: Let’s get right to it. There has been a lot of news coverage about the uprisings and unrest in the Middle East in response to a hate-filled, anti-Muslim video that was produced in California. What’s important for us to know that’s either not being covered in the news or should receive more attention?

Zeenat Rahman: One of the most salient images that stuck in my mind from the last couple of weeks was the counterprotest that many Libyan citizens held right after Ambassador Stevens was murdered. They were saying, “This is not in our name.” What I’ve heard over and over from young people across the Middle East is, “This doesn’t represent us.”

We saw it last weekend with the protests by Libyan people standing up for what they believe in. I did a web chat with colleagues from the State Department and our alumni in the region last week, and we got notes from those who tuned in saying, “Just so you know, I’m doing my small part and participating in these counterprotests. I hope they help.”

So I think the story is that what we saw on our TV screens the last couple weeks doesn’t represent the majority of people. We have a responsibility as policymakers, media people, and just regular people to know what the rest of the story is…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Putin: Western Countries Are Wreaking Chaos in Syria

(AGI) Moscow — The policies of Western Countries are destabilizing the States of the Arab world and risk wreaking chaos in Syria. This is the accusation launched by Russian President Vladimir Putin. “Our [Western] partners can’t stop.

Having wreaked havoc in many areas, they continue the same policy in other countries, including Syria”, said Russia’s leader.

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

Saudis Stop Unaccompanied Nigerian Women Pilgrims in Jeddah

(AGI) — Jeddah, 27 Sep — More than a thousand unaccompanied Nigerian women on their way to the Mecca are being held at Jeddah airport. With the women now in day 5 of their detention, Saudi authorities explained that the decision was warranted by their lack of a male chaperon — what the Muslim religion calls a ‘mahram’. Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan has dispatched a team of five to negotiate a solution with Saudi authorities.

The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has clarified that under similar past circumstances Saudi authorities had agreed to allow the women to reach the Mecca. With no such hindrance occurring at Saudi Arabia’s other major pilgrimage site in Medina, NAHCON has suggested that the Saudi authorities’ decision appears to target “Nigerian pilgrims only.” It is understood that a total of 170 pilgrims have given up hope of completing their pilgrimage and have already made their way back to Nigeria.

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


Alexander Lebedev Charged in Russia With ‘Hooliganism’

Alexander Lebedev, the Russian billionaire owner of The Independent and Evening Standard newspapers, could be jailed for five years after he was charged with “hooliganism motivated by political hatred” for punching a fellow guest on a television show.

Legal proceedings were brought against Mr Lebedev in Moscow, a day after the 52-year-old tycoon suggested President Vladimir Putin had endorsed an attempt to put him in prison in revenge for allegedly funding opposition groups. Mr Lebedev’s lawyer said the prosecution was a politically motivated attack designed to stop him dabbling in politics. A trial raises the spectre of a second high-profile businessman and critic of Russia’s ruling elite ending up behind bars, after the two guilty verdicts against the opposition-minded oil magnate Mikhail Khodorkovsky in 2005 and 2010. The hooliganism charge against Mr Lebedev, who is worth an estimated £700  million, is the same as that under which three members of the Pussy Riot feminist punk group were jailed for two years last month. The prosecution relates to an incident last September when Mr Lebedev, a former KGB officer, punched the rich property developer Sergei Polonsky during the recording of a programme on Russia’s NTV channel about the global financial crisis…

[JP note: Hopefully they will lock him up and throw away the keys.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Duma Studies Draft Blasphemy Law: The Support of the Patriarch, The Hopes of Muslims

The text provides for up to five years in prison for desecration and destruction of religious symbols. For the Orthodox Church, society has long been in need of the initiative, while Muslims hope that it will protect their right to build mosques.

Moscow (AsiaNews) — Already pre-announced by national press, the draft legislation that will introduce fines and penalties for “offenses against religion and the religious sentiment”, was presented to the Russian parliament yesterday. The proposal is supported by the Russian Orthodox Patriarchate and also Muslims, the second largest religious community in the Federation.

According to the text — which has the support of all four parties in the lower house of parliament — “public insults to the faith and humiliation during liturgical services” will be subject to fines of up to 300 thousand rubles (10 thousand dollars), to 200 hours community service or imprisonment for three years. For the desecration and destruction of religious objects, places of worship and pilgrimage, fines arrive at 100 to 500 thousand rubles, 400 hours mandatory community service or up to five years in prison.

The legislative initiative comes on the heels of the controversy raised by the Pussy Riot case, the Russian feminist punk band members sentenced to two years in prison for a performance in February, in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow. The prosecution during the trial, relied on the alleged offense against the Orthodox faithful. But the issue is not only related to the Church. Even within the Muslim community (18% of the population), after the spread of anti-Islam film that sparked violent protests in more than 20 countries, tensions are running high. The Russian judicial authorities are trying to prevent access to the trailer on Youtube . Meanwhile internet providers in some regions such as Volgograd, Omsk are blocking the site hosting the controversial video.

According to a Vtsiom State institute survey, 82% of Russians are in favor of a stiffer penalties against blasphemy especially after a succession of vandalism against religious symbols: soiling of icons, crosses destroyed in different parts of the country. “This broad consensus in society — said the head of the Synodal Department for Relations between state and society, Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin — is a clear sign that many were waiting for this initiative.”

The draft law has also found the consensus of Muslim leaders, who they hope will be used “against those who try to foment ethnic hatred and religious.” The mufti of Moscow and central Russia Albir Krganov, expressed the hope that the law protects the right of “every community of traditional religions” to build their own places of worship. The question is rather delicate, he noted, with different regions with a Muslim majority where attempts are being made to prevent the construction of new churches and Moscow, where there are protests against the construction of new mosques.

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

Putin Slams Double Standards in Fighting Terrorism

(AGI) Moscow — Russian President Vladimir Putin has called for increased efforts to counter “terrorist threats and extremism”.

“We consider it necessary to increase joint efforts to counter terrorist threats and extremism wherever it may be: in Libya, Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Egypt and Afghanistan”, Vladimir Putin said during a meeting with foreign ambassadors. “Double standards do not belong here. Terrorists need to be given a hard and unanimous rebuff, but only while respecting the cultural values and religious feelings of the people”, he added.

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

Russia Bans All GM Corn Imports; EU May Also Ban Monsanto GMO in Wake of Shocking Cancer Findings

(NaturalNews) Russia has now officially banned all imports of genetically modified corn, citing concerns from a recent study by French researchers [url] showing rats grew massive cancer tumors when fed a lifetime of Monsanto’s genetically modified corn.

Russia’s consumer protection group, Rospotrebnadzor, said it was halting all imports of GM corn while the country’s Institute of Nutrition will be evaluating the results of the study.

The Russian ban is the latest blow to Monsanto, a company desperately clinging to the myth that its genetically modified crops are “no different” than traditional crops and therefore long-term safety testing is completely unnecessary. Monsanto has assaulted the French study, claiming it did not use enough rats and that the duration of the study was too short — an absurd claim, given that Monsanto’s own studies on animals are only 90 days in duration, while the French study looked at the effects of rats eating GM corn (and drinking trace levels of Roundup herbicide) for two years.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

South Asia

Emotional Scenes at RAF Honington as Troops Return From Afghanistan

THERE were tears of joy and relief at RAF Honington last night as family and friends gathered to welcome home the first wave of troops from Afghanistan.

Twenty-one soldiers from 1 Royal Tank Regiment’s G Squadron returned to their Suffolk base after being deployed in the Helmand Province on Operation Herrick for the past six months, as part of the 12th Mechanized Brigade. Wives, girlfriends, mothers and children watched proudly as their loved ones, led by three pipers, marched along the runway and back into their arms…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

India: Quran Pages Found Again, Now in Prem Nagar

Twelve days after torn Quran pages found in Masuri triggered violent clashes between residents and police, leading to the death of six, more desecrated pages of the holy book were found in Ghaziabad. Police said a ragpicker in Prem Nagar had found the torn pages of the Quran on Tuesday. This is the third such find in Ghaziabad in the past one month — desecrated pages were first found in Pilkhuwa on August 10 and then in Masuri on September 14, police said. According to police, the torn pages found in Prem Nagar also had a few phone numbers scribbled on them. “The ragpicker found the pages near the railway tracks in Prem Nagar, close to Devendra Hotel. He handed them to his father— a scrap dealer — who took the pages to Chand Masjid,” a police officer said.

Police said community elders along with the Imam decided to bury the book to avoid a conflagration on the lines of the Masuri incident. “The scrap dealer took the pages to the mosque at 6 am on Wednesday. Those at the mosque called the phone number scribbled on the pages. The number is of an owner of a farmhouses on Meerut Road,” the officer said. “The farmhouse owner denied any involvement, and later contacted the police. Police then got in touch with the masjid authorities and asked them to hand over the pages for an investigation,” he said…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Indonesia: Jakarta: New Extremist Cell Linked to Al Qaeda: Eight Arrests

The group called Indonesian Al-Qaeda was affiliated with the network of bin Laden and was planning bloody attacks. Investigators have identified a new type of detonator and a liquid “extremely lethal” substance. Among the possible targets of the fundamentalists the Buddhist temple of Borobudur World Heritage Site.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) — Indonesian police have identified a newly formed, Islamic extremist cell, linked to the international terror movement founded by Osama bin Laden. The fundamentalist group is called Indonesian Al-Qaeda and, according to investigative sources, had already “planned” — even though there were certain dates — a series of devastating attacks on sensitive targets in the country. The deputy police spokesman in Jakarta, Brigadier General Boy Rafli Amar says that this new extremist organization has “designed” a new model of detonator, using containers for cooking rice to enhance the effects of the explosion and cause the most possible casualties and damage.

Il nuovo metodo di fabbricazione degli ordigni è stato scoperto dagli agenti dell’anti-terrorismo, nel corso di un raid avvenuto la scorsa settimana a Surakarta (Solo), nello Java centrale, in seguito al quale sono stati arrestati otto sospetti estremisti. Alla guida del gruppo vi sarebbe Badri Hartono, meglio noto col nome di battaglia Toni, 45 anni, fermato in precedenza dalla polizia.

The new method of manufacture of explosives was discovered by anti-terrorism agents, during a raid last week in Surakarta (Solo), central Java, following which they arrested eight suspected extremists. The suspected leader of the group Badri Hartono, better known as the Battle Toni, 45, had been stopped earlier by the police.

During the operation, the security departments seized dozens of materials and articles suitable for the preparation of bombs, including a liquid “extremely lethal” substance as confirmed by Gen. Amar. To illustrate the danger, the senior officer explained that it is comparable to the bomb detonated by a suicide bomber aboard a minivan in August 2003, which hit the Marriot Hotel in South Jakarta, killing 12 people and wounding 150 others.

Along with Toni, police arrested seven suspected extremists in several areas including Solo, Tangerang and West Kalimantan. Among those arrested was Joko Tri Priyanto, already sentenced to three years in prison and released in 2007, for providing accommodation and hospitality to Malaysian terrorist Noordin Moh. Top. Another component of the newly formed extremist cell led by Badri Hartono is Thorik, already chosen as a possible suicide bomber in an attack that is still under investigation.

In recent days, Security Minister Djoko Suyanto, refused to confirm the reports that the extremist Indonesian Al-Qaeda cell wanted to attack the temple of Borobudur in Magelang, in central Java, the largest Buddhist place of worship the world and a world heritage site.

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

More Than 50 Village Chiefs Resign in Indian Kashmir Following Threats From Muslim Extremists

The decision comes after terrorist groups kill two local officials. Extremists fear losing support among the local populace. After last year’s first democratic elections in 30 years, various administrations have opened new schools, health clinics and roads, making people freer and better educated.

Srinagar (AsiaNews/Agencies) — More than 50 sarpanch (village chiefs) have resigned in Jammu and Kashmir after receiving threats from Islamic extremist groups. Their decision was made public in local Urdu-language newspaper following the assassination of a local administrator in Baramulla District, the second in less than two weeks. Locals believe the threats stem from fundamentalists’ fear of losing grassroots support in favour of village chiefs.

For the past eight months, village chiefs and their aides have been the victims of intimidation of terrorist groups like Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (responsible for the 2008 Mumbai attacks) and Jaish-e-Mohammad. So far, more than 700 sarpanch have tendered their resignation.

Everything began in 2011 when the first free vote was held in Jammu and Kashmir’s panchayat (village-level administrations) in more than 30 years. Between 13 April and 27 June, more than 30,000 officials were elected with a 79 per cent turnout despite extremists’ threats and calls for a boycott.

Rapidly, the newly elected administrators launched a series of initiatives to favour the development of the poorest rural areas in the state, including schools, health clinics, roads and electricity.

Locals believe that the wave of democracy and progress pushed Muslim extremists to act in order to stop losing support in a population that was getting better educated.

For now, the two murders have been enough to cause panic among local administrators.

Nevertheless, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah urged panchayat officials to stay at their posts.

“The government,” he told them, “will do everything possible to create trust and bring security. Creating a network of strong and functioning local administrations remains one of its goals.”

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

Pakistan: Faisalabad: 16 Year Old Christian Girl Gang Raped for Hours by Young Muslims

The rape took place in the house of one of the three members of the group, all belonging to wealthy families. The incident occurred in broad daylight; the desperate cries for help of the girl in vain. The father tells AsiaNews: “despite our poverty, I will not accept compromise.” Vicar General: “poor family, but rich in the Catholic faith. They deserve justice. “

Faisalabad (AsiaNews) — A new case of gang rape against a Christian minor in Pakistan. The rape occurred in broad daylight, for hours, in a private home where three young Muslims — all under 30 — abused a defenseless girl. A story, Fr. Bonnie Mendes tells AsiaNews that demonstrates “the powerlessness of the poor in Pakistan,” which is reflected “in all its evidence in events such as the sexual abuse of Shumaila” which took place on September 20 last, but has only now been revealed by the press. A story similar to that which occurred Sept. 4 — again in Faisalabad — when a 60 year old Muslim merchant has raped a Christian girl of 10. These episodes confirm the increase of attacks against children in Punjab, as evidenced by a survey carried out by the Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC), covering the first five months of 2012, which documents 122 cases of violations in the province: among these, at least 40 sexual, 14 murders, 22 kidnappings, 14 corporal punishment, six forced marriages and 13 deaths due to lack of basic medical care.

Shumaila Masih, a native of Chak 226, Samundari, in the district of Faisalabad (Punjab), is the oldest of four children of a poor Christian family. On the morning of September 20 the girl was headed to the house of a wealthy Muslim, where her mother worked as a maid, to warn of sudden visit by some guests. On the way she met three young Muslims — Iftikhar Hussain 27, Shahid Munir and Muhammad Imran both 30 — who tried at first to persuade her to go with them. At her refusal, the three took her by force and locked her up in the house of Iftikhar Hussain, taking turns raping her for hours. The attack took place at 11 am, in broad daylight, but no one intervened to save Shumaila, despite the desperate cries and pleas for help. At about 5 pm the father Manzoor Masih, along with two cousins, began searching for the girl when she failed to return home. Arriving close to the house where she was being held they heard her cries. At the sight of the men, the three young Muslims fled, leaving Shumaila naked and in pain on the bed.

Her father reported the incident to police who opened an investigation and arrested two of the three members of the pack. The last, Shahid Munir, is still at large and the police have launched searches to arrest him. Meanwhile, a medical report has confirmed the gang rape suffered by the girl, who is now a guest of the family of her uncle for security reasons. Shumaila has extensive physical and psychological injuries, as well as pain and injuries that prevent her from even walking. Contacted by AsiaNews the girl’s father Manzoor Masih, 45, swears that “despite our poverty, I will never reach a compromise settlement” with the rapists of his daughter. He hopes that these elements “are punished according to the law,” so that everybody understands that “it is not permissible to assault any young girl” just because you are rich or powerful. “These people are monsters — concludes the parent — and must be punished without mercy” -

Fr. Bonnie Mendes, former Executive Secretary of the National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) of the Church of Pakistan, also insists on the poverty factor, while stressing that the violence occurred “in broad daylight” at the hands of “rich young Muslims.” The young girl “continues to suffer” and does not get justice, “because of her poverty.” As long as the lower segments of the population do not unite, the priest adds, “they can never aspire to social equality.” He thoughts are echoed by Fr. Khalid Rasheed Asi, vicar general of the diocese of Faisalabad, according to who “religious minorities and marginalized groups are easy targets for wealthy landowners in rural areas.” “I personally know the victim — he adds — because I was pastor in that area, they are a very poor family, but rich in the Catholic faith. They deserve justice.”

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

Suicide Bomber Kills 2 NATO Troops in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan — A suicide bomber wearing a vest packed with explosives killed two foreign troops in eastern Afghanistan on Wednesday, according to NATO and Afghan officials. Din Mohammad Darwesh, the governor’s spokesperson in Logar province, said the bomber targeted a vehicle inside a NATO convoy that was on its way to a nearby district. Although the NATO-led international military coalition declined to give further details on the casualties, citing policy, Darwesh said both of those killed were Americans, one who died immediately and one who died of his wounds a short while later. A third soldier was injured, he added. Wednesday’s deaths bring the number of coalition fatalities to at least 3,190, including 2,123 Americans, since the war started in 2001, according to…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Thailand: Muslims Protest at US Embassy in Bangkok

BANGKOK (AP) — Islamic protesters have pushed barricades and confronted police in front of the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok during a rally against a video produced in the United States that denigrates the Prophet Muhammad…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Far East

China’s Young Communists in it for the Glory

With over 80 million members, China’s Communist Party is the largest in the world. But its young members are more interested in helping their own reputation than the teachings of Marx and Mao.

The young, thin woman with long black hair doesn’t wish to be named or share at which state-owned company she works at in Beijing out of fear for the repercussions of talking to the press without permission. Still, she is proud. Proud that she has been a member of the Communist Party for three years.

“Maybe I was only chosen because I studied international politics; everyone around me wants to join the party,” she said.

But not everyone is invited to the party. China’s Communist Party only wants the best. Whoever wants to join must have excellent grades. They have to fill out an application, take preparation courses and pass an entrance examination. Those accepted are put on a probationary period and have to write reports on self-reflections every three months. Then they must also swear an oath of loyalty to the party. Why bother with all the trouble?

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Racial Attacks Incidents: South Africa

From May 1 2012 to Sept 17 2012, the site logged 334 violent incidents of a racial nature. A total 255 were attacks on whites, of whom 99% were Afrikaners — including 65 incidents of ‘dehumanisation’: i.e. mutilation/torture and humilation of the victims indicating extreme hatred towards the victims. There also were 86 incidents of ‘xenophobia’ including the hacking to death of Chinese shopkeeper Long Liang Chen 31, his young wife and baby girl in their shop in Warden, Free State on Sept 16 2012. The 33 recorded incidents of industrial sabotage are worrying: targetting as they did the economic strength of South Africa to undermine the increasingly shaky ruling Troika of the ANC/SACP/Cosatu movements, which are waging internal warfare over leadership-positions and financial advantage. The 33 industrial-sabotage incidents included four sabotage attacks by armed groups of black ‘demonstrators’ against two coal-fired power stations in which multi-miltion Rand damage was inflicted on expensive, imported infrastructure sites. Two incidents of ‘strongly suspected’ incidents of sabotage against two other power stations were also recorded which were never investigated by officials as suspected sabotage, but considered ‘due to incompetent personnel’. In this regard, it is also worrying that the number of squatter-camps for fired Afrikaner artisans and other ‘white’ workers has mushroomed (another 19 new camps were identified in this time-period). These skilled artisans are being fired under the ANC’s striving for 100% black-African job-occupation under its racist black-economic-empowerment laws. The ANC-regime denies that they are firing ‘white’ workers and replacing them only with lesser-skilled ‘black African’ workers, but Solidarity trade union has recorded a growing number of their members being fired from government- and private economic enterprises only because of their skin-colour, and private & state-run enterprises such as Eskom, the SA Police Service and the Public Health Service and even the Blood Bank all are firing ‘white’ workers and/or refusing to advance them inside the organisations to higher-level positions: which are kept for black-African job seekers only. Similar incidents were also recorded at for instance the Woolworths company, resulting in a boycot and legal protests against the company’s anti-white hiring policies by its primarily ‘white’ customers.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

EU Parliament Wants Women on ECB Board

The European Parliament wants a woman appointed to the European Central Bank’s (ECB) executive board, reports Reuters. “We notice that the EU member states’ nominations to some of the most important… EU institutions result in an appallingly monotonous line-up of nominees,” said the parliament in a letter to EU governments.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Leading Homosexual Rights Advocate Arrested on Child Pornography Suspicions

Larry Brinkin a prominent homosexual rights advocate surrendered to police on Thursday after being charged with two felony counts of child pornography possession and distribution, according to the San Francisco Police Department

The SFPD has released information indicating that some of the children used for Brinkin’s alleged pornography collection appear to be as young as one, two and three years old.

Accompanying the pornographic images of the children were racist and violent remarks also alleged to be made by Brinkin.

Peter LaBarbera, president of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality, told LifeSiteNews that people shouldn’t be shocked to learn that Brinkin, “the pioneering San Francisco homosexual activist who famously came up with the term ‘Domestic Partner,’“ may have been involved in child pornography. “Sexual sin doesn’t satisfy and often deviance begets even worse sexual deviance,” he said. “Tragically, we see homosexual men disproportionately represented in pedophilia cases.”

Brinkin brought the first domestic partnership lawsuit against his employer in 1982, then went on to work for the pro-homosexual San Francisco Human Rights Commission until retiring in 2010. The week of his retirement was declared Larry Brinkin week by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]


I Think You Need a Dose of James Thurber

by Ruth Dudley Edwards

What with Plebgate and Lib Dems and polarised American politics and trolls and other grave topics, I thought a dose of the great American humorist James Thurber might be just what some of you need. It was Thurber who explained: “The wit makes fun of other persons; the satirist makes fun of the world; the humorist makes fun of himself.” This is from an interview in the Paris Review in 1955 and describes how he dealt with his literal-minded editor’s questions about this cartoon [see article].

Once I did a drawing for The New Yorker of a naked woman on all fours up on top of a bookcase — a big bookcase. She’s up there near the ceiling, and in the room are her husband and two other women. The husband is saying to one of the women, obviously a guest, “This is the present Mrs. Harris. That’s my first wife up there.” Well, when I did the cartoon originally I meant the naked woman to be at the top of a flight of stairs, but I lost the sense of perspective and instead of getting in the stairs when I drew my line down, there she was stuck up there, naked, on a bookcase.

That cartoon really threw The New Yorker editor, Harold Ross. He approached any humorous piece of writing, or more particularly a drawing, not only grimly but realistically. He called me on the phone and asked if the woman up on the bookcase was supposed to be alive, stuffed, or dead. I said, “I don’t know, but I’ll let you know in a couple of hours.” After a while I called him back and told him I’d just talked to my taxidermist, who said you can’t stuff a woman, that my doctor had told me a dead woman couldn’t support herself on all fours. “So, Ross,” I said, “she must be alive.” “Well then,” he said, “what’s she doing up there naked in the home of her husband’s second wife?” I told him he had me there.

If you liked that, try his “The Night the Bed Fell on My Father”, one of the most perfect humorous short stories ever. You will be the better for it.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Is it Time Up for Watches? One in Four Prefer to Rely on Their Mobile or Tablet

Watch lovers, watch out. Your favourite accessory may be running on borrowed time.

Watches are falling out of fashion, a study has revealed — with a quarter of us preferring to use a mobile phone or computer to tell the time.

This is up from 18 per cent just a year ago, suggesting that the clock on their demise is ticking rather rapidly.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Needed — A Refresher Course in Freedom of Speech

by Hugh Fitzgerald

[Re-posted from February 11, 2006]


Free speech is not absolute. It never was. Not to John Adams, who approved of the Alien and Sedition Acts. Not to Abraham Lincoln. Not to Holmes or Brandeis. Not to those who crafted the Brandenburg Test. Whether or not that test which requires incitement to “imminent lawless action” needs to be revised given that anti-Infidel propaganda almost never results in the “imminent” action that is feared, but rather helps, through the steady stillicide of Islamic propaganda, in the recruitment of Muslims and mentally unstable non-Muslims Looking for a Community and a Reason for Living, needs to be examined.

And so too does what is to be defined as a “speech act.” Choking an adversary, or raping someone, may be a way of “expressing” one’s hatred of, let’s say, an Infidel who disparages Muhammad, or of an Infidel girl who has chosen to wear dress deemed provocative while walking near a mosque. But no non-Muslims would define these as “speech acts” requiring protection. Training for terrorist acts cannot be protected even if they have been disguised as something else — such as mere innocuous “paintball” play.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

New Theory on Why Men Love Breasts

Why do straight men devote so much headspace to those big, bulbous bags of fat drooping from women’s chests? Scientists have never satisfactorily explained men’s curious breast fixation, but now, a neuroscientist has struck upon an explanation that he says “just makes a lot of sense.”

Larry Young, a professor of psychiatry at Emory University who studies the neurological basis of complex social behaviors, thinks human evolution has harnessed an ancient neural circuit that originally evolved to strengthen the mother-infant bond during breast-feeding, and now uses this brain circuitry to strengthen the bond between couples as well. The result? Men, like babies, love breasts.

When a woman’s nipples are stimulated during breast-feeding, the neurochemical oxytocin, otherwise known as the “love drug,” floods her brain, helping to focus her attention and affection on her baby. But research over the past few years has shown that in humans, this circuitry isn’t reserved for exclusive use by infants.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

RIP Andy Williams — Voice of the Greatest Generation

by Tim Stanley

How sad to hear that Andy Williams has died, a man with a voice as smooth and delicious as caramel whipped cream. Modern listeners would probably label him pejoratively as “easy listening.” But that was entirely his appeal: he was easy to listen to. Williams’ performances contained none of the latter-day trend towards screeching and melisma — verbal acrobatics confused for singing. His records are timeless because they deferred to the words and the music. And what music.

Williams was one of the most popular artists of his generation. At one point in the 1960s he had more golden albums than any singer bar Presley, Sinatra or Mathis. Some of those songs have achieved legendary status, including Moon River and Can’t Take My Eyes Off You. There are probably millions of people across the world who were conceived to this music, accompanied in Britain by the old standards of soft lighting and Babycham. He sang at Robert Kennedy’s funeral and Ronald Reagan called his voice “a national treasure.” Given the current state of the US treasury, one might say that he was considerably bigger than that. This man’s voice was the dictionary definition of class.

Andy Williams was one of the voices enjoyed by the greatest generation — the men and women who liberated Europe and then tried to build a prosperous and peaceful America in the 1950s and 1960s. He conjures up images of Christmas specials (doubtless recorded mid-summer in Burbank), mustard sweaters, scarves, children’s choirs and plastic snow. These were the motifs of an epoch that valued family and tradition, an era that saw home life as a place of stability. With his passing, we are reminded that this ideal is far beyond our grasp. It was made briefly possible by the postwar wealth and lingering religious values. Both are now in short supply and the world is far poorer for it.

Of all my favourite Williams’ songs, the best is the one I’ve posted above — I Can’t Help Falling in Love. My late grandmother played it obsessively, and it’s easy to see why.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]