Sunday, January 12, 2003

News Feed 20121017

Financial Crisis
»Bond Spreads Plunge: Italian Bonds Sell Out and Markets Rise
»Crisis-Hit Spaniards Move Money to Switzerland
»Greece: Government Keeps Hard Line, Troika Leaves
»Hollande: Risk of Euro Zone Explosion Over
»Italian Bond Spread Returns to April Levels
»Jack Welch and Steve Forbes Are Correct About the Unemployment Numbers Being “Cooked”
»Bangladeshi Man Arrested After Allegedly Trying to Blow Up Fed Building in NYC
»Chinese-American Grandmother Assaulted for Believing in Traditional Marriage
»Liberal Lawlessness Exposed in Opposition to Voter ID Laws
»Man Shot While Trying to Slaughter Pig Has Died
»Obama’s Media Allies Struggle to Conceal Red Mentor
»Obama Tries to Con Military Vote Again
»Take Away Obama’s Lies, And it is Easy to See That Romney Won Hands Down
Europe and the EU
»Belgium: Marc Dutroux’ Ex Wife Gets Suspicious Letter in Her Nunnery
»Comedian Beppe Grillo Slams Aspiring Leader of Italy’s Left
»Commission Opens Probe Into Italy’s Disaster Tax Breaks
»France Vows to Regain Control of Corsica
»Italy: Fresh Probe Brushes Lombardy Regional Govt
»Italy: Formigoni Says Lombardy Government to Dissolve October 25
»Muslim Who Married a Second Wife in Secret Sharia Ceremony Stabbed Her to Death in Row Over Their Unborn Baby
»Over 2 Mln Vaccine Doses Halted in Italy for Health Concerns
»UK: Rahman: Lawyer Murdered Wife and Told Her Sister to Collect Her Body
»UK: Sex Abuse Rife at BBC Says Ben Fellows
»UK: Savile Pictured at the Jersey House of Horrors: Paedophile DJ is Surrounded by Children at Care Home Where 192 ‘Suffered Abuse’
Mediterranean Union
»EuroMed Heritage Experts Meet
North Africa
»Egypt: Teacher Cuts Off Students’ Hair for Not Wearing Hijab
»Living in Fear: Coptic Christians in Egypt
»Shocking Video: Muslim Women Drinking Camel Urine for ‘Good Health’
Middle East
»Iran to Award “Islamic Nobel” For Muslim Scientists Only
»Turkey: Pianist Fazil Say Trial for ‘Insulting Islam’ Begins
South Asia
»Toulouse Terrorist’s Al Qaeda Mentor Killed in Pakistan
Far East
»Overrated: China’s High-Speed Rail Boom Has Echoes of Great Leap Forward.
»One in Four UK Births Are to Immigrant Women
»Open Borders ‘Causing Chaos’
»First Planet Found in Star System Next Door
»Human Rights Council: Foxes in the Henhouse
»UN Agency Funded With Saudi Money Wants to Edit Worldwide Textbooks

Financial Crisis

Bond Spreads Plunge: Italian Bonds Sell Out and Markets Rise

Hollande declares fear of eurozone explosion is over

(ANSA) — Milan, October 17 — Bond interest rates and spreads plunged to new lows on Wednesday, while the Italian treasury saw record orders flood in for its bond issue Thursday.

Italy’s third bond placement in six months saw 10 billion euros worth of orders in three days of negotiations. Wednesday alone saw nearly 5 billion euros worth, or roughly double the value of orders on each of the previous two days. The extraordinary success of the placement was helped by the fact that plunging spreads on the secondary market made the Italian treasury’s short term bonds more lucrative than the secondary market equivalent. Orders from institutional investors helped double the value of Wednesday’s orders whose numbers were roughly on par with Tuesday — 45,000 versus 41,000, respectively.

The yield on Italian 10-year bonds in the secondary market dropped to 4.77% on Wednesday, the lowest it has been since June 2011 — well below the 4.90% threshold called “sustainable” by Italy’s treasury director-general of public debt, Maria Cannata in an interview with Sky TG24 on Tuesday.

The spread between the same bonds and the German benchmark counterpart sank below April levels to close at 313 points. Rating agency Moody’s decision not to downgrade Spain’s sovereign debt gave a big boost to Spain on Wednesday.

Spanish and German 10-year bonds saw their spread narrow 41basis points to close at 383. The yield on the Spanish paper was 5.47%. “The worst — that is, the fear of an eurozone explosion — has passed,” declared French President Francois Hollande told the newspaper Le Monde. “The best has yet to come. It is waiting for us to build it,” Hollande added. Meanwhile, European markets rose for the second day in a row.

Milan’s FTSE MIB index rose 1.56% to surpass the 16,000 point threshold to close at 16,233 points. London’s FTSE-100 index rose 0.69%. Paris’s CAC 40 index gained 0.78%. Frankfurt’s DAX index climbed 0.29%. photo: French President Francois Hollande.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Crisis-Hit Spaniards Move Money to Switzerland

Crisis-hit savers in Spain are transferring their their money to Switzerland for safety, the head of Geneva’s 80-strong banking association said on Wednesday.

“The (Spanish) clients have deliberately chosen to place their money in Switzerland because they no longer have confidence in Spanish banks,” Bernard Droux, president of Geneva Financial Center, told reporters.

Geneva banks had seen an influx overall of new deposits in recent months, he said, refusing to provide numbers but stressing that the money had been taxed and declared.

In addition to an increase in Spanish funds, Droux said Geneva banks had seen an inflow of cash from other eurozone countries so far this year, as well as from the Middle East and developing countries including those in South America.

An inflow of funds since the eurozone debt crisis took hold has pushed up the Swiss franc, seen as a haven asset, and driven the Swiss monetary authorities to massive measures to try to hold their currency down to prevent Swiss exports from becoming too expensive.

Switzerland is not a member of the European Union and so is not a member of the eurozone.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Greece: Government Keeps Hard Line, Troika Leaves

‘Unacceptable’ requests. Talks to continue by email

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS — After three hours of talks, the three leaders of parties in Greece’s government coalition — the prime minister and leader of Nea Dimokratia (centre-right) Antonis Samaras, Evangelos Venizelos of Pasok (Socialists) and Foris Kouvelis of the Democratic Left — decided last night to maintain a hard line in confronting requests by representatives of the troika (IMF, EU and ECB).

All three leaders rejected as ‘unacceptable’ the troika’s request to change labour contracts in the private sector. ‘Negotiations with the troika will continue’, said Kouvelis at the end of the meeting. ‘The troika’s request has nothing to do with what Greece has to confront in relation to the 11.5 billion cuts. What the troika is aiming at is destroying all labour rights and goes beyond what society is able to withstand’.

Venizelos also wanted to send a clear message to representatives of Greece’s international creditors. ‘The troika is playing with fire. The package of measures must lead Greece out of the crisis otherwise markets will not be convinced. Further measures involving workers’ rights don’t help productivity nor employment’.

IMF’s envoy Poul Thomsen at the end of the troika’s meeting with Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras and Labour Minister Yannis Vroutsis spoke about the talks’ progress. ‘We agree on most political issues, and for the few left we will soon find an accord’.

Stournaras also spoke about progress at the end of the last round of negotiations with the troika’s representatives. ‘Relevant progress has been made in the negotiations. The issues which are still open will be solved in the next few days’, he said.

According to, which quoted Finance Ministry sources, the troika’s representatives are leaving Greece but talks will continue by email.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Hollande: Risk of Euro Zone Explosion Over

Yes to multi-speed Europe, political union after 2014 vote

(ANSAmed) — PARIS — French President Francois Hollande told Le Monde in an interview published today that ‘the worse, that is the fear of an explosion of the euro zone, is over’. He also said that ‘better times have yet to arrive, it is up to us to build them’.

Hollande also called for the ‘political union’ of the EU and said it was a possibility ‘after the 2014 European elections’.

In the interview also published by Italian daily La Stampa and Spain’s El Pais, the French head of state said he saw a ‘multi-speed’ Europe including ‘different circles’ which can be called ‘avant-guarde, forerunners or hard core’ and stressed the importance of the French-German axis, the historic force of European integration. The Paris-Berlin axis is ‘the couple enabling acceleration which therefore can also slow down things if it is not in synch’.

According to Hollande, EU countries are ‘very close’ to exiting the crisis. ‘We have made the right decisions at the summit in June 28 and 29 and we now have to implement them quickly. First of all, we have to solve the situation in Greece, which has made lots of efforts and must certainly remain within the euro zone. Secondly, we must respond to the demands of countries which have carried out the expected reforms and must be able to finance themselves at reasonable rates’.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italian Bond Spread Returns to April Levels

Contagion worries eased by Spain bailout speculation

(ANSAmed) — Rome — The spread between 10-year Italian bonds and the German benchmark dropped to the lowest level since April in early trading on Wednesday, as concerns about contagion from Spain eased, with Madrid seen as close to asking for a bailout.

The spread dropped to 321 basis points, after closing at 339 on Tuesday, before edging up slightly to 325 points with a yield of 4.82%, the lowest since March.

The spread is an important barometer of Italy’s borrowing costs and of investor faith in the country’s ability to weather the eurozone crisis. The European Central Bank helped relieve the pressure last month when it announced plans to buy the bonds of countries at the centre of the eurozone crisis that are facing high borrowing costs.

Maria Cannata, the Italian treasury’s director-general of public debt, said that Tuesday’s yield of 4.9% was “sustainable” in the long term before adding that he believed the Italian spread “could go down to 200 points”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Jack Welch and Steve Forbes Are Correct About the Unemployment Numbers Being “Cooked”

They are just wrong about the date when they started “Cooking The Books Chicago-Style”

Jack Welch received a great deal of press and undeserved criticism regarding his now famous tweet regarding the bureau of labor statistics “conveniently” dropping the unemployment rate below 8% for the latest “Jobs Report”.

I’m sure some of this will be discussed in the debate this evening and as with the last debate, Governor Romney will probably be closer to the truth, and the Obama administration will believe their own unemployment propaganda, just like the Benghazi propaganda.

Out of curiosity I went to the bureau of Labor Statistics and downloaded two files:…

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Bangladeshi Man Arrested After Allegedly Trying to Blow Up Fed Building in NYC

Federal authorities arrested a Bangladeshi national Wednesday morning for allegedly plotting to blow up a Federal Reserve Bank in New York City’s lower Manhattan, mere blocks away from the site of the terrorist attack of Sept. 11, 2001. The bank is one of 12 branches around the country.

The 21-year-old suspect, Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, attempted to detonate what he thought was a 1,000-pound bomb in front of the Fed building on Liberty Street, but the device was a fake supplied to him by undercover FBI agents who had been tracking his activity, the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force said Wednesday afternoon.

The supposed explosives posed no threat to the public, the FBI said.

A criminal complaint accuses Nafis of having overseas connections to Al Qaeda and travelling to the U.S. in January to recruit individuals to form a terrorist cell and conduct an attack on American soil. But one of Nafis’ potential recruits was an FBI source, who alerted authorities, the FBI said.

A federal law enforcement official told Fox News that there was no evidence Nafis was directed by Al Qaeda to carry out this attack, though he appears to have thought he was working for the terrorist group.

At one point, according to criminal complaint, Nafis told undercover agents: “I don’t want something that’s like, small. I just want something big. Something very big … that will shake the whole country, that will make America, not one step ahead, change of policy, and make one step ahead, for the Muslims … that will make us one step closer to run the whole world.”

A U.S. official told Fox News that President Obama was Nafis’ first target, but the criminal complaint only refers to “a high-ranking official.” The complaint also mentions the New York Stock Exchange as a proposed target.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Chinese-American Grandmother Assaulted for Believing in Traditional Marriage

BURIEN, Wash., —In an appalling display of intolerance, a Preserve Marriage Washington volunteer was attacked Sunday while serving on the campaign to Reject Referendum 74. Traditional marriage supporter, Arlene Mark, was assaulted while sitting in her Subaru Legacy as she waited to distribute campaign literature to other volunteers in the parking lot of a Safeway supermarket in Burien.

The assailant ran at Arlene’s car, hit the back of her vehicle, and ripped the Reject 74 campaign yard sign off of the side of her car that she had taped onto her vehicle so that other volunteers who were going to meet her in the parking lot could recognize her in the rain. As he tore the sign, threw it on the ground, and stomped on it, the same-sex marriage activist yelled at Arlene, “This is what I think of your f—-ing sign! I’m gay and proud of it.” The perpetrator shouted vulgar profanities at Arlene, calling her a “b——” and screaming ‘f——you!”

An uninvolved witness came to Arlene’s aid. That Good Samaritan was Nikki Davis, 36, a pregnant African-American woman, who was sitting in the passenger seat of the van parked next to Arlene’s vehicle as Nikki waited for her brother to return from shopping in the Safeway grocery store. Nikki was not involved in the political campaign and did not know Arlene, but came to her defense. The assailant then turned his ire on Nikki. He proceeded to hurl racial epithets and vile slurs at her, including calling her a “black b——” and the n-word, and telling her to “go back to Africa.” He also pounded on the back of the van, and kicked its tires. Nikki, who was terrified for Arlene, for herself, and for her children who were with her in the car, called the police.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Liberal Lawlessness Exposed in Opposition to Voter ID Laws

The only things the Republicans wish to suppress are the illegal votes.

Here is a law professor, admittedly from a Los Angeles, California Loyola Law School, where conservative Republicans are an extinct species of homo sapiens, and the usurper occupying our White House is deemed the savior of the modern world; or what will be left of it when the savior has completed destroying it.

This law professor, named Rick Hasen, offers proof that Democrats are the villains behind the drive to create a clear field of lawlessness for fraudulent voting procedures with little to no identification requirements to prove that an individual has a legal right to cast a voting ballot.


Now why would Hasen believe a strict ID law should ‘have the potential to suppress Democratic turnout’? Strict ID laws are quite common requirements for much simpler and less important processes why should they be dismissed for something as important as voting for the president of the United States?

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Man Shot While Trying to Slaughter Pig Has Died

ELK GROVE (CBS13) — A man who was shot in the face by his older brother during a pig slaughter over the weekend has died.

The Sacramento County Coroner’s website identified the victim as 28-year-old Koua Vang. The shooting happened early Saturday morning at the family’s rural Elk Grove home in the 8400 block of Kinder Lane.

Vang was shot as he and his brother were attempting to slaughter one of their pigs for a family party.

The older brother had the .22 caliber rifle, while Vang stood by. When the older brother put the gun to the pig and fired, police say the pig bucked back.

“The pig bucked, and the rifle went backwards, and it went off again a second time,” said Officer Chris Trim.

The second shot hit Vang directly in the face.

Police said on Saturday that they did not believe the shooting was an intentional act

           — Hat tip: Takuan Seiyo[Return to headlines]

Obama’s Media Allies Struggle to Conceal Red Mentor

A liberal writer named Elspeth Reeve, who writes for The Atlantic magazine, frets that Barack Obama’s relationship to Communist Party member Frank Marshall Davis is getting more attention from voters and may constitute an “October surprise” that dooms the President’s re-election chances. She calls Davis only an “alleged communist” when in fact he was a card-carrying CPUSA member with a 600-page FBI file.

Her story goes further downhill from there, clearly suggesting that Obama’s media backers are worried and desperate to conceal the truth.

Practicing a new form of damage control, she acknowledges that “Davis was important to Obama,” because the evidence of the relationship cannot be denied, but claims that “Obama doesn’t seem to have been important to Davis.” Her evidence for this claim is that Davis biographer John Edgar Tidwell was quoted as saying that there was no mention of Obama in any of Davis’s papers. She thinks this gap in the record somehow gets Obama off the hook for a relationship with a communist who doubled as a pornographer.


Paul Kengor now draws our attention to the fact that Obama’s audio version of Dreams from My Father has omitted every reference to “Frank” that was in the book.

For example, the book says, “It was the same dilemma that old Frank had posed to me the year I left Hawaii.” The audio version says, “It was the same dilemma posed to me the year I left Hawaii.”

Kengor told The Blaze, “This is blatant, flagrant—clearly a concealment. And it’s in Obama’s voice. There’s no question that Obama knew of this. No question.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Obama Tries to Con Military Vote Again

Obama cares so much about the military that Mitt Romney is forced to sue just to protect the military vote. Yet Obama pretends to be a friend to the military and their families. Hogwash!

In yet another blatant attempt to manipulate the pro-military vote that has voted Republican ever since Democrats became publicly anti-military in the 60s, the latest pre-election (and debate) headlines read — “U.S. manufacturers to train veterans for factory jobs!” — Hurrah for King Obama!

And since just about every manufacturing job left in America is a “union” job, you would think that reason enough for Obama & Co. to move young men and women leaving the military into union jobs, so that their union dues will funnel right back to the Democrat Party.

Obama is much smarter than that though and he is after much more than the military vote here, which he cannot get after four years of decimating the military in every way possible. The DNC is actually trying to block the military vote. It is pro-military voters they are after and any con that works will do.


Among the four companies is huge government defense contractor Lockheed Martin. Lockheed was set to layoff thousands of employees at the first of October. The Obama Administration could not afford to have that happen just ahead of Election Day, while they were trying to trick voters from all walks, into thinking the economy was improving.

So, the Obama Administration contacted Lockheed (among others) and promised that American taxpayers would “cover their losses” if Lockheed would hold the layoffs until after the election, so that voters would not know just how bad the economy really is until after Obama secured re-election.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Take Away Obama’s Lies, And it is Easy to See That Romney Won Hands Down

“For the third [debate] in a row, Democrats are getting more time to address national audiences than their Republican opponents, even as they protest the debate moderator asserting the opposite.”—Eric Pfeiffer

Eventually I had to use my remote’s mute button whenever it was Obama’s turn to speak during last night’s debate. Listening to him speak was one thing in 2008—before he had acquired any track record to speak of, but it is something else to hear him lie through his teeth when you know what he has and has not done as POTUS the past four years. Listening to him last night was teeth-gritting stuff I’ll tell ya.

Any last remaining vestiges of hope that I can trust anything that a Democratic politician says was laid to rest last night—along with any hope that the media will give Romney a fair shake during the debates. The liberal slant of the moderators has moved beyond embarrassing into irritating (moving toward infuriating). The liberal media will deny having any such bias of course, but as we know they lie.


For example, leftists have a long history of despising the middle-class (the hated bourgeoisie), and yet they love to claim that it is conservatives who hate the middle-class, and the liberals who love them. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

And their propensity for violence (yet another case of projection by the left) should let us know well before hand that these whiny, forever disgruntled, immature narcissists will throw a tantrum as a matter of course whenever they do not get their way.

Below is a very truncated list of liberal violence during the Obama regime. Keep in mind that these incidents happened while their guy was in power; while their party held the reins of power. Imagine how petulant and violent they will become with a Republican in the White House.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Belgium: Marc Dutroux’ Ex Wife Gets Suspicious Letter in Her Nunnery

Michelle Martin, the former wife of the Belgian child sex killer Marc Dutroux, has received an envelope containing suspicious white powder. Martin, who has served her sentenced for child abduction and deprivation leading to two girls’ deaths, received the letter at the convent of the Poor Clares in Malonne where she is staying.

This time the letter was addressed to Michelle Martin in person. Earlier the nuns also received a letter containing white powder. Civilian protection officers were alerted. Tests on both letters are now being carried out and by Thursday we should know what they contained.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Comedian Beppe Grillo Slams Aspiring Leader of Italy’s Left

Grillo accuses Matteo Renzi of suffering ‘penis envy’

(ANSA) — Rome, October 17 — Comedian and populist politician Beppe Grillo ferociously attacked the mayor of Florence and aspiring leader of the left, Matteo Renzi, with a litany of insults on Wednesday.

In a colorful blog entry, Grillo let forth a hail of fire that characterized Renzi as an empty poser trying to co-opt Grillo’s party platform.

The move comes as Renzi campaigns to unseat current leader of the center-left PD party, Pier Luigi Bersani, in elections next month for secretary of the Democratic Party. “Renzi suffers penis envy. He wants to be like the M5S, but must content himself with being PDminusL,” Grillo wrote in his blog on Wednesday. The M5S is Grillo’s “Five Star Movement”, named after five priorities on Grillo’s agenda — water, environment, transport, connectedness, development. “PDminusL” is a play on the names of the centre-left and centre-right parties. The centre-right People of Freedom Party is the PdL. Remove the “Liberty” or “L” and the acronym becomes “PD” or the centre-left Democratic Party. The joke insinuates that there is little difference between the two parties, except that the PD holds no pretense of promoting freedom.

Grillo also called Renzo an “unconscious idiot, a school desk-mate who copies you but does not know how to explain it to the teacher, a political wheel-sucker, a wandering mayor, an aspiring little-D’Alema, a vacuum with a hole in the middle”.

Massimo D’Alema is an ex-prime minister, ex-foreign minister and long-standing member of Italy’s centre-left establishment who has come under criticism for holding political power for too long.

Grillo added, “However, (Renzi) is young and polite-looking. And if he’s a good boy I’ll consider his enrollment in the M5S as an activist”. photo: Beppe Grillo.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Commission Opens Probe Into Italy’s Disaster Tax Breaks

EU concerned measures breach rules on State aid

(ANSA) — Brussels, October 17 — The European Commission on Wednesday said that it has opened an investigation into whether tax breaks for Italian companies in disaster zones breached EU rules on State aid.

“The Commission is concerned that all aid beneficiaries may not be companies that effectively suffered damage as a consequence of natural disasters, that in some cases the damage may not have been caused exclusively by natural disasters and that the aid may not always be limited to compensating such damage,” the EU executive said in a statement. It cited the examples of aid given following earthquakes in Sicily (1990), Umbria and Marche (1997), Molise and Puglia (2002) and Abruzzo (2009) as well as floods in northern Italy in 1994.

“If the Commission, following this in-depth investigation, finds that the measures are incompatible with EU State aid rules, Italy may need to recover the aid paid out to beneficiaries,” the statement said.

“In order to avoid more public spending that would have to be recovered afterwards, the Commission has also ordered Italy to stop implementing these measures until the Commission has taken a final decision on their compatibility”.

This implies that Rome will have to stop giving tax breaks to companies hit by this year’s deadly earthquakes in Emilia-Romagna.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

France Vows to Regain Control of Corsica

France’s Socialist government vowed Wednesday to restore order in Corsica after the slaying of a top lawyer, as interior minister Manuel Valls admitted that France looked ‘impotent’ in the face of mafia violence.

Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault described the island’s accelerating descent into lawlessness as “intolerable” and said the government would issue new instructions to the authorities there on tackling crime.

“The government is determined to act against the plague of organized crime in Corsica,” Ayrault said.

President François Hollande added: “The violence in Corsica is not new but it has changed in nature and intensity. It is today essentially linked to (criminal) networks, clans, feuding that has led to the number of deaths increasing incessantly in a way that is completely unacceptable.”

Antoine Sollacaro, a well-known advocate with links to Corsica’s intertwined worlds of armed nationalism and mafia-style criminal clans, was killed in a professional ‘hit’ on his way to work on Tuesday.

It was the 15th murder of its kind this year on a Mediterranean island that is equally well known for its idyllic combination of spectacular mountains, pristine beaches and balmy climate. Since the start of last year there have been 37 murders and 117 attempted killings.

On an island with 310,000 inhabitants, that means the murder rate is roughly four times that of Marseille, traditionally seen as France’s capital of crime.

Gang violence in Marseille in late August prompted calls for the army to be called in but the slayings on Corsica had, until now, provoked little discussion in the corridors of power in Paris.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Italy: Fresh Probe Brushes Lombardy Regional Govt

Catholic group’s financial body heads probed

(ANSA) — Milan, October 17 — A fresh probe has brushed the regional government in Lombardy after Governor Roberto Formigoni scrapped the executive when scandals peaked in alleged vote buying from the Calabrian ‘Ndrangheta mafia by a regional councillor.

The latest probe involves Compagnie delle Opere, the financial institute of influential Catholic lay organisation Comunione e Liberazione, one of Formigoni’s staunchest backers.

Tax police searched Compagnia delle Opere’s offices in Bergamo near Milan and placed its chairman and deputy chairman under investigation for allegedly getting Formigoni’s administration to favour a well-known Milanese businessman, Pierluca Locatelli, in connection with a new asbestos dump.

Formigoni, a member of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Freedom (PdL) party, has called for new elections soon.

The PdL leadership is sending mixed signals about whether he should carry on, with some heavyweights saying regionalist Northern League leader Roberto Maroni, a former interior minister, should step in.

The League has almost as many seats as the PdL in the regional assembly.

One of its regional councillors is among 14 under investigation for various cases of alleged graft.

Formigoni is himself being probed for corruption.

Like the others, he denies all wrongdoing.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Formigoni Says Lombardy Government to Dissolve October 25

Mass resignations expected for early elections in December

(ANSA) — Milan, October 17 — Lombardy’s regional council will be dissolved on October 25, the region’s besieged, exiting governor, Roberto Formigoni, announced on Wednesday. Formigoni, who is fighting a corruption scandal that has swirled around himself and six members of his executive council, added that elections “could be the 16th or the 23rd of December”.

Fourteen resignations on the regional council are needed to dissolve the local government and necessitate early elections. So far 24 out of 29 regional councillors have volunteered, according to Paolo Valentini, the regional chief of the centre-right People of Freedom Party (PdL) to which Formigoni belongs. Among the holdouts was Stefano Maullu, who challenged Formigoni to resign instead. “He should take his political responsibility. He should resign,” Mallu said on Wednesday.

“He is not glued to his seat with superglue,” Mallu added.

“If we wait until April for elections, we would save 50 million euros for the public”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Muslim Who Married a Second Wife in Secret Sharia Ceremony Stabbed Her to Death in Row Over Their Unborn Baby

A British Muslim, who married his second wife in a secret sharia ceremony, has been sentenced to life in jail for stabbing her to death in a ‘merciless’ attack.

Siraj Arif, 31, knifed Saiba Khatoon — who was 19-weeks pregnant — with such ferocity that two of the three kitchen knives he used snapped under the force of the blows in the row over their unborn baby.

Ms Khatoon’s seven-year-old son Farris, from a previous marriage, was woken by the noise and found his mother covered in blood, Manchester Crown Court heard.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

Over 2 Mln Vaccine Doses Halted in Italy for Health Concerns

‘No affected vaccine distributed’ says health minister

(ANSA) — Rome, October 17 — Dutch pharmaceuticals company Crucell has halted delivery of 2.3 million doses of flu vaccine in Italy, the Italian health ministry said Wednesday. “No affected vaccine has been distributed” in Italy, Health Minister Renato Balduzzi told local television. The supplier of the vaccine, called Inflexal V, halted distribution over unexpected test results, which occurred in two out of 32 batches of vaccine that did not go to the market in Italy or elsewhere. Crucell is not a major flu-vaccine provider to Italy, said the health ministry as it prepares for the flu season. “Other companies have guaranteed to supply the needed doses in order to prevent any problems for citizens,” Balduzzi said. Crucell is not the only pharmaceuticals company to halt its flu-vaccine program over health concerns.

GlaxoSmithKline told ANSA Wednesday it was recalling its Infanrix Hexa distribution in 20 countries due to possible bacteria contamination.

No at-risk vaccines were delivered to Italy, the company said. It added that further tests proved none of the vaccines were contaminated, and that the recall was voluntary as an added precaution. On average, 10 to 12 million Italians receive flu shots annually.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

UK: Rahman: Lawyer Murdered Wife and Told Her Sister to Collect Her Body

Isle of Dogs, Stratford, East London — A solicitor battered his wife to death before texting her sister and ordering her to collect the body from his flat, a court heard today (Tues). Mohammed Rahman, 32, attacked Jasmin Chowdhury in a jealous rage after she accused him of having an affair with another woman, it was said. Rahman then fired off a series of text messages to her family before leaving his wife, also 32, to die on their bed, the Old Bailey was told.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: Sex Abuse Rife at BBC Says Ben Fellows

A FORMER child actor revealed how he “ran a gauntlet of paedophiles” at the BBC, claiming the entertainment industry was rife with sex abuse.

Ben Fellows, who appeared in Eastenders, The Bill and Starlight Express before becoming an award-winning filmmaker, spoke last night about how he was preyed upon by actors, directors and producers.

Mr Fellows’s testimony will pile more pressure on the BBC in the wake of the Jimmy Savile sex scandal.

He said: “Once I’d entered the entertainment industry proper I ran a gauntlet of paedophiles — both at the BBC and other television production companies and also in theatres, as well as commercial photo shoots.

“In fact, almost every production I was involved with I was targeted in some way or another.”

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: Savile Pictured at the Jersey House of Horrors: Paedophile DJ is Surrounded by Children at Care Home Where 192 ‘Suffered Abuse’

A photo has emerged which shows paedophile Jimmy Savile surrounded by children at a Jersey care home where 192 youngsters allegedly suffered abuse.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

Mediterranean Union

EuroMed Heritage Experts Meet

Project Phase IV discussed at MESERUO conference

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, OCTOBER 17 — EU officials and cultural experts discussed the Phase IV results of the Euromed Heritage program at a Center for Mediterranean Europe Studies (MESEURO) conference on Wednesday.

Founded in 1998, Euromed Heritage defends the cultural heritage of countries around the Mediterranean basin. With a current budget of 71 million euros, it finances historic building renovations, water conservation projects, restoration of books and manuals, and the creation of audiovisual archives.

At today’s conference, experts pointed to the October burning of Aleppo’s ancient Arab market, or souk, the May attacks on the desert oasis town of Ghadames, in Libya, and the vandalizing of mausoleums, churches and synagogues in Egypt and Tunisia, as examples of the destruction of precious human heritage, which must be protected.

“We’re looking for ways to read these new scenarios as they unfold. Culture is crucial in understanding burgeoning new civil societies,” said MESEURO co-founder and vice president of the European Parliament, Gianni Pittella.

“The program has gone beyond intercultural dialogue, and is now actively working in human sector development,” according to Alberto Cortezon Gomez from the European Commission. “Cultural capital, and spending on conversions and restorations, must not be considered a cost, but an investment,” added Euromed Heritage legal expert, Jean-Louis Luxen. “Heritage protection contributes to the harmonic development of cities, while tourism, if mismanaged, can destabilize local communities.” Final Phase IV results of will be presented in Fez in January 2013.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Egypt: Teacher Cuts Off Students’ Hair for Not Wearing Hijab

Primary schoolteacher disciplined

(ANSAmed) — CAIRO, OCTOBER 17 — Education officials took disciplinary action against a primary school teacher in the Upper Egyptian governorate of Luxor after she cut off two female students’ hair as a punishment for not wearing hijabs, or Islamic veils, Al-Ahram online newspaper reported on Wednesday.

The teacher, who was reported to authorities by the children’s parents, had previously threatened to cut off the hair of any students who showed up in class with bare heads.

The Islamic veil for girls is not mandatory in Egyptian public schools, but corporal punishment is still a frequent occurrence.

Children’s rights activists have been militating for an end to this practice, according to Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Living in Fear: Coptic Christians in Egypt

As al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri calls for renewed protests against the U.S. and Israel in the wake of reaction to the film about Mohammed, it is the ancient Christian community of Egypt, the Copts, who are in the greatest immediate danger. Ashraf Ramelah, a Coptic leader, describes how Copts are dealing with the new Islamist reality in Egypt.

After a long history of persecution as a minority in Egypt, in these days the nonetheless resilient Copts face a dire moment. The ominously Sharia-leaning Muslim Brotherhood government of Egypt, headed by President Mohammed Morsi, has taken over the country from the oppressive — but slightly more tolerant — Mubarak regime. Adding to this crisis is the absence of spiritual and political leadership for the 18 million-strong Coptic community, namely a Pope. The church is still in the throes of a longstanding selection process to name a new spiritual head to permanently replace the interim administrator, a bishop, who has been the caretaker leader since the death of Pope Shenuda III earlier this year.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Shocking Video: Muslim Women Drinking Camel Urine for ‘Good Health’

by Raymond Ibrahim

A video just appeared further substantiating my recent report, “Sharia-Medicine: Egyptian Clinic Treats People with Camel Urine,” which documents how several Islamic authorities praise the practice of drinking camel urine for good health-based on the advice of Muslim prophet Muhammad-and how in Egypt there is now even a clinic that treats people by giving them camel urine to drink.

The video appeared on Dream TV, with talk show host Wael Ibrashi narrating. It shows men collecting camel urine in buckets and giving it to people who are, in Ibrashi’s words, “looking to be healed from influenza, diabetes, infectious diseases, infertility,” etc.

Several women are shown drinking camel urine-and doing all they can to keep it down and not vomit.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Iran to Award “Islamic Nobel” For Muslim Scientists Only

And Shi’a, not Sunni, Muslims, are likely to take all the glittering prizes.. But the Sunni Muslims have their own Nobel Prize, named after King Fahd, and awarded by Saudi Arabia. So all shall have prizes. That’s fair.

From The Muslim Times:

Iran to Grant Islamic Nobel Prize to Scientists

Posted by Muhammad Azimul Haque

Source: Fars News Agency…

           — Hat tip: Steen[Return to headlines]

Turkey: Pianist Fazil Say Trial for ‘Insulting Islam’ Begins

Artists demonstrate in support of world-famous pianist

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, OCTOBER 17 — Turkish artists have taken up the gauntlet for pianist Fazil Say, whose trial on charges of “publicly insulting religious values” in Twitter messages is scheduled to begin on Friday in Istanbul.

Dozens of Turkish artists on Tuesday gathered on Tuesday in front of Istanbul’s Nazim Hikment cultural center in support of Say 42, an internationally renowned pianist and declared atheist, who faces up to 18 months in prison if convicted. Gulsin Onay, Tarik Akan, Genko Erkal, Murat Beser, and Cahit Berhay were among those demonstrating their support of Say, who at the time of his indictment in May said he might go into exile, perhaps to Japan.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

South Asia

Toulouse Terrorist’s Al Qaeda Mentor Killed in Pakistan

An Al Qaeda recruiter who allegedly mentored Toulouse terrorist Mohammed Merah was killed in Pakistan, the SITE jihadist monitor reports.

An Al Qaeda recruiter who allegedly mentored Toulouse terrorist Mohammed Merah has been killed in Pakistan, the SITE jihadist monitoring service reports. A post on an extremist web forum Monday announced the death of Belgian-Tunisian terrorist Moez Garsalloui, according to SITE.

Garsalloui had claimed responsibility for the attack on the Otzar HaTorah Jewish day school by Merah in the southern French city earlier this year.

Merah, a French citizen of Algerian descent, claimed to have attended Al-Qaeda-style training camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan. He killed seven people — three Jewish schoolchildren, a rabbi and three paratroopers — in a wave of shootings in and around Toulouse in March. He killed himself after a 32-hour siege of his flat by police.

Algeria refused to allow the burial of the Toulouse terrorist’s body in its nation’s soil.

The post announcing the death of the jihadist recruiter and propagandist said he was killed in a raid. It added he had previously escaped bombings in Miranshah, the main town in the North Waziristan district of Pakistan’s lawless tribal areas.

No details of the raid were given but the jihadist website announcement appeared a few days after two U.S. drone strikes in North Waziristan killed 23 people, according to Pakistani security sources, AFP reported.

The death notice named Garsalloui as the leader of “Jund al-Khilafah,” the Army of the Caliph — a terrorist group that had claimed responsibility for the March 19 attack in Toulouse by Merah. A forum post from one of Garsalloui’s accounts in April had described meeting Merah in Pakistan and mentoring him, according to SITE. The post described helping the French terrorist to make himself understood to other fighters in Arabic.

Garsalloui and his wife, Belgian-Moroccan jihadist Malika el-Aroud were convicted in June 2007 by a Swiss court of running websites that supported terrorism, AFP reported. He served three weeks in prison and then moved to Belgium, where he and his wife were charged with recruiting jihadists to fight in Afghanistan.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Far East

Overrated: China’s High-Speed Rail Boom Has Echoes of Great Leap Forward.

If this story were about irrigation projects and featured a different cast of characters it could have been published back in 1952. It has serious and scary echoes of the Great Leap Forward: the shoddy workmanship of huge construction projects, top officials pressuring lesser officials to get things done faster than humanly possible, workers cutting corners and using unsatisfactory materials to meet tight deadlines, pervasive bribery and ballooning budgets, leading to destruction and tragedy.

There is one important difference between the July 23 rail crash and comparable disasters during the Great Leap Forward: the role played by the Chinese public in compelling Beijing to investigate the tragedy. Widespread anger about a blatant cover-up led officials to fire those responsible, slow trains to more reasonable speeds, issue new safety precautions, and review the entire high-speed rail network. The public outcry was so strong that Prime Minister Wen Jiabao was forced to visit the site, where he vowed to continue the investigation and crack down on corruption.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


One in Four UK Births Are to Immigrant Women

HUNDREDS of thousands more female immigrants arrived in Britain over the past 10 years than was believed — and have created a mini baby boom.

The startling findings show that the number was underestimated by 361,000.

Most of these women are in their prime child-bearing years, aged 20 to 44.

More than a quarter of all births in the UK are now to women who were not born here, boosting the number of children aged 0-8 years by nearly 300,000 since the last census in 2001.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

Open Borders ‘Causing Chaos’

A SURGE in asylum claims from eastern Europe last night put EU chiefs under pressure to tighten border controls.

The governments of six EU countries called for visa regulations to be reintroduced for citizens from the western Balkans.

The move was being seen last night as belated recognition that the EU ‘s open-door border policy had been a

massive blunder.

At present, Albania, Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia have the right to travel to the EU Schengen zone without visas.

But a letter from the governments of Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands to the European Commission warned that “thousands” of newcomers are causing chaos by making asylum claims using fake passports.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]


First Planet Found in Star System Next Door

Meeting the neighbours is normally easier than this. After years of searching, astronomers have finally spotted an Earth-mass planet in Alpha Centauri, the nearest star system to our own. Although the planet orbits too close to its parent star to host life, its discovery ups the chance of the system also hosting hospitable worlds.

Alpha Centauri looks like a single point of light from Earth, but it contains two bright stars that share a relatively close binary orbit, including one that looks a lot like our sun. This binary pair is in our cosmic backyard, about 4.3 light years away, spurring great interest in its ability to host planets.

“It is the most followed star in the search for planets,” says Xavier Dumusque of the Geneva Observatory in Switzerland. Finding such worlds, however, proved to be a challenge. So far, planet hunters have ruled out the presence of gas giants akin to Jupiter in Alpha Centauri. Finding smaller planets with the methods available takes patience.

Using the La Silla Observatory in Chile, it still took Dumusque and colleagues four years to spot the planet around Alpha Centauri B, the smaller of the two stars.

The painstaking process included around 450 observations of the slight gravitational wobble the planet induces in Alpha Centauri B as it orbits the star. The task was made even more difficult by Alpha Centauri B reaching the peak of its solar cycle during the observations, increasing noise in the data.

The team calculates that the new planet is 1.13 times the mass of Earth, which means it is likely to have a rocky composition. However, with a “year” of just over three Earth days, this rocky body is not our planet’s twin.

“The surface temperature must be hundreds — thousands — of degrees. There is perhaps lava floating on the planet,” says Dumusque. Still, planets tend not to be loners, so the Alpha Centauri system should have more. There’s a chance these undetected worlds are in the habitable zone, the region around a star most likely to support life as we know it.

“I’m really thrilled by the news, it’s just great,” says Javiera Guedes at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, who in 2008 had predicted that it would be possible to spot a planet in Alpha Centauri, given the amount of data collected.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Human Rights Council: Foxes in the Henhouse

The international community concedes that every person is entitled to fundamental rights that preclude abuses of discrimination, intolerance, injustice, and oppression. In 1948, following World War II, the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights was signed, thus establishing basis for world freedom, justice, and peace.

A plain-language version of this Declaration unambiguously touts rights to freedom of thought/speech, religion/conscience, assembly/voting for one’s preferred candidate or party slate. Fundamental human rights likewise include right to equality, privacy, marriage and family, needful sustenance, private ownership, safety, and more—all regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, religion, and socio-economic standing. If accused, one has the right to legal representation and a public trial; moreover, he is considered innocent until proven guilty. Furthermore, the Declaration expressly outlaws slavery, torture, unfair detainment/ false imprisonment, and killing.[2]

Charged with strengthening and protecting human rights worldwide, an inter-governmental body within the United Nations (the Human Rights Council) consists of forty-seven Member States elected by the U.N. General Assembly. One might reasonably expect those charged with reviewing, advising, and addressing human rights violation complaints themselves embrace the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as summarized above.[3]

But composition of officials at the Council’s twenty-first session in Geneva (September 2012) suggests otherwise.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UN Agency Funded With Saudi Money Wants to Edit Worldwide Textbooks

The UN agency that promotes education wants a say in how future textbooks are written, and Saudi Arabia — a nation whose own school books have been criticized for promoting hatred of Christians and Jews — is helping to bankroll the effort.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is currently working with member states to revise its strategy for the publication of textbooks and learning materials. According to UNESCO’s website, experts from 21 countries met in Paris last month at a meeting financed by a $29,000 Saudi donation and focused in part on “ways to ensure that content aimed at students systematically reflects cultural and religious diversity, and avoids gender stereotypes.”


“Saudi textbooks are extremely hateful and full of xenophobic texts,” said Ali AlAhmed, author of the upcoming book “Saudi School Books: Objective Education or Extremist Indoctrination?” and director of the Gulf Institute in Washington, D.C.

According to AlAhmed, the Saudi funding “shows how xenophobic governments like [that of] the Saudis are able to buy influence.” He said UNESCO was betraying its mandate to uphold “value and standards of education and tolerance” as he warned UNESCO and the UN system as a whole were “susceptible to financial buyouts from countries like Saudi Arabia.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]