Sunday, January 12, 2003

News Feed 20121029

Financial Crisis
»Draghi Backs Calls for Eurozone ‘Super Commissioner’
»ECB: Crisis Nations Have Lost Their Sovereignty
»Greece: Salary Cap for State Firm, Bank Executives
»Greece: Archbishop Slams EU Stance Toward Athens
»Greece: Troika Refuses Concessions on Labor Reforms
»Interest Rates Down in Successful Italian Bond Auction
»Monti Underlines Progress to Shore Up Euro
»Northern Italian Companies Vulnerable to Money Laundering
»Sources Say France, Germany Propose Expert Help for Greece
»Frank Gaffney: Obama’s Perfect Storms
»Media Promotes Frankenstorm, Ignores Obama Benghazi Bombshell
»Mom and Dad, We’re Blaming You for Obama’s Failures
»Obama’s October Surprise — Exposed by Benghazi?
»Obama Accepts ‘Osama Bin Laden’ Donations
»The Psychological Conditioning of Americans
»Liberal Treason Explained: “The Kindergarden of Eden”
Europe and the EU
»Blair Says Europe Needs an Elected President to Stop it Breaking Up (Got Anyone in Mind, Tony?)
»Google Boss Meets Hollande Amid Media Row
»Greece: Journalist Arrested Over ‘Lagarde List’ Banks Leak
»Greek Journalist Arrested for Releasing “Lagarde List” of Swiss Account Holders
»Greek Finance Officials Among Suspected Tax Evaders
»Greek Journalist in Court Over Swiss Data Leak
»Greek Journalist in Court Over ‘Lagarde List’
»Italy: Cop Fined 32,000 Euros After Skipping Work for Soccer
»Italy: Alitalia Antitrust Ruling ‘Could Bring Down Prices 30%’
»Italy: Chair of Lazio Region’s Cabinet Office Investigated
»Marion Maréchal-Le Pen: The New Face of the French Right
»Multi-Drug Resistant TB Rises in Eastern Europe
»Two Seats for Islam Party in Belgian Local Polls
»UK: Girls of 13 Given Birth Control Jab at School Without Parents’ Knowledge
»UK: Nigerian Sex Trafficker Used ‘Juju’ Witchcraft Rituals to Terrorise Young Orphans He Raped After Smuggling Them Into Britain
»UK: Woman Raped in Alley by Stranger on Night Out Was Sexually Assaulted Again by Second Passer-by as She Lay Helpless
North Africa
»Egypt’s Coptic Christians Vote for New Pope
»Tunisia: National Guard Protests Gov’t PR-Salafist Leniency
»Tunisia: Salafist Extremist Attack Alcohol Sellers
Middle East
»Christianity Struggling to Return to Eastern Turkey
»Turkey and Germany: A Unique Partnership
»Observers Doubt Fairness of Ukraine’s Election
South Asia
»Italian Senate Approves Prisoners’ Treaty With India
»Terzi Presses New Indian FM Over Detained Italian Marines
Far East
»Missionaries Rescue Trafficked Koreans in China
»The Ferrari-Red Communists: China at a Crossroads in Shift From World’s Factory to Industrial Power
Sub-Saharan Africa
»A Trip Through Hell — Daily Life in Islamist Northern Mali
Latin America
»Lawmaker Urges Feds to Monitor Hezbollah in Mexico
»Greece: Nearly 500 Illegals Held in Crackdown
»Immigration-Population Factor: Importing Cultural Poverty
»Italy: Employers Legalize 135,000 Foreign Workers
»Sweden to Get 50,000 Asylum Seekers in 2013
»UK: Evil ‘Juju Magic’ People Smuggler Jailed for 20 Years
Culture Wars
»‘I Was Born a Boy, Became a Girl, And Now I Want to be a Boy Again’: Britain’s Youngest Sex Swap Patient to Reverse Her Sex Change Treatment

Financial Crisis

Draghi Backs Calls for Eurozone ‘Super Commissioner’

Mario Draghi, President of the European Central Bank, has backed German calls for a super ‘euro-commissioner’ with sweeping powers to intervene in national budgets. “If we want to restore confidence in the eurozone, countries will have to transfer part of their sovereignty to the European level”, he told Der Spiegel.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

ECB: Crisis Nations Have Lost Their Sovereignty

The head of the European Central Bank (ECB) on Sunday threw his weight behind a German scheme to allow the EU to intervene in countries’ budgets and propose changes before they are agreed in parliaments.

The EU should have the power to police and interfere in member states’ national budgets, Mario Draghi told Der Spiegel magazine in an interview due to be published on Monday, saying he “completely supported” the suggestion by German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble to give more autonomy to the EU’s economic and monetary affairs commissioner.

“I am certain, if we want to restore confidence in the eurozone, countries will have to transfer part of their sovereignty to the European level,” Draghi told the magazine, demanding a more concerted push for European integration.

“Several governments have not yet understood that they lost their national sovereignty long ago. Because they ran up huge debts in the past, they are now dependent on the goodwill of the financial markets,” Draghi said.

Since the outbreak of the eurozone debt crisis three years ago, the European Union has taken unprecedented measures, including creating a fiscal treaty between them, setting up a huge joint bailout pot and moving towards a banking union next year.

“Governments have taken steps that would have been unthinkable a year ago. That is progress but it is not enough,” Draghi said.

Creating new financial rules in the EU will not be enough to save the currency, said the central bank chief, they must also be rigorously enforced.

Draghi also reiterated his defence of the ECB’s disputed programme of buying the bonds of debt-wracked countries to drive down their borrowing, unpopular with Germans who fear it will cause inflation.

“My family once lost a large part of its savings through inflation. So you can be sure that I champion price stability not just for professional reasons but also for personal reasons,” said the Italian.

EU leaders will gather in Brussels on December 13 and 14 to thrash out a framework for the future running of the 27-nation Union on the basis of a report being drawn up by Draghi and three other senior EU politicians.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Greece: Salary Cap for State Firm, Bank Executives

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, OCTOBER 26 — Greek government is putting a ceiling on the salaries of governing board members in state corporations and banks. According to a draft law amendment that 60 New Democracy deputies have tabled in Parliament — as Kathimerini online reports -, the salary of the chief executive officers of state corporations should not exceed the salary of the general secretaries of ministries, and the salaries of bank chairmen should not exceed that of the prime minister. The measure will apply automatically to any corporation or bank that the state holds a controlling stake at. In other cases the state’s representative in the board will put the issue up for voting in the corporation’s general meeting, according to the deputies’ proposal that has the government’s backing.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Greece: Archbishop Slams EU Stance Toward Athens

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, OCTOBER 29 — The Archbishop of Athens and all of Greece, Ieronymos, on Saturday spoke out against Europe’s handling of the financial crisis in Greece which, he said, is encroaching on the debt-hit nation’s sovereignty. “We Greeks are experiencing a peculiar war. I feel we are under occupation, our sovereignty is on the wane and we are the victims of all-out usury,” Ieronymos said in an interview with Skai Television on Saturday. Urging Greece’s European peers to respect the country’s history and dignity, the head of the Greek Orthodox Church warned that recent developments “marked a deviation from the roots and principles of the European Union.”

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Greece: Troika Refuses Concessions on Labor Reforms

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, OCTOBER 29 — Greece’s foreign lenders have refused to make any further concessions on changes to labor laws contested by a junior coalition partner, the country’s finance minister said on Sunday, prolonging an impasse on a crucial austerity package. Athens has been locked in talks with its European Union and International Monetary Fund lenders on the austerity package for months, but a final agreement has been held up by the small Democratic Left party’s refusal to back the new wage laws. The party, which says the changes undermine labor rights, has said it will vote against the measures when they are put to a parliamentary vote next week. The party has demanded the troika of European Commission, European Central Bank and IMF lenders allow a national wage agreement to apply to all employees rather than just unionized workers. It also wants the lenders to withdraw a plan to axe the 10% salary hike employees get when they marry. “The troika has not accepted the (party’s) demands,” Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras told journalists as daily Kathimerini reports.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Interest Rates Down in Successful Italian Bond Auction

Treasury sells eight billion euros worth of six-month BOTs

(ANSA) — Rome, October 29 — Interest rates dropped significantly on Monday in a successful auction of six-month BOT Italian State bonds.

The Treasury sold all of the eight million euros worth of bonds it put up for auction and the average interest rate fixed was 1.347%, compared to 1.503% at a similar sale last month. The auction was hotly awaited for signs of a possible impact on investor confidence after Silvio Berlusconi threatened to bring down Premier Mario Monti’s emergency government at the weekend.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Monti Underlines Progress to Shore Up Euro

Italian PM calls for appreciation of EU’s ‘miracles’

(ANSA) — Madrid, October 29 — Italian Premier Mario Monti reaffirmed the European Union’s progress on shoring up the euro after a meeting with Spanish Premier Mariano Rajoy in Madrid on Monday. “The EU summits in June and October produced important, decisive decisions that gave a strong signal on the determination of the EU to preserve the integrity of the euro,” Monti told reporters after the summit.

“It is easy to criticize the slow pace of European decisions but one must also be aware of the ‘miracles’ (EU countries) are making,” added Monti. “There is perfect synchrony and common analysis of the situation that afflicts the eurozone, as well as the means and instruments for the EU to adopt,” Rajoy said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Northern Italian Companies Vulnerable to Money Laundering

Recession exacerbating danger, anti-mafia prosecutor Grasso says

(ANSA) — Padua, October 26 — Italy’s antimafia prosecutor Piero Grasso warned that northern Italy could be at risk of becoming a money laundering hub as financially struggling companies are in danger of being snapped up by those seeking to recycle funds of dubious origin.

“It is a fact that some (crime syndicates) with extra funds, with liquidity, seek to infiltrate the healthy sectors of the economy with dirty money,” Grasso said speaking at conference in Padua. “From this point of view the north and also the Veneto region are at risk”.

The city of Padua is in the Veneto region. “The risk is that mafia emissaries purchase companies that are suffering financially at rock bottom prices”, he added. “We need to avoid this by keeping our eyes wide open and keeping the spotlight on strange phenomenon”. Grasso went on to add that banks had an essential role in monitoring irregular activities as they were obliged to signal any suspicious activities to the authorities.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Sources Say France, Germany Propose Expert Help for Greece

(ANSA) — Berlin, October 25 — International experts and consultants supported by France and Germany could be brought in to help the Greek government, sources said Thursday.

Those two European allies are prepared to help Athens “regain the confidence of investors,” a high-ranking source told ANSA.

Meetings have been ongoing this week to find a solution to Greece’s debt woes and clear the way for billions more in euro aid.

On Wednesday, a spokesman for EU Finance Commissioner Olli Rehn said that “substantial progress has been made in negotiations with the Greek government, but some pending issues remain before we can come to an agreement on the technical level”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Frank Gaffney: Obama’s Perfect Storms

Barack Obama faces not one but two perfect storms. He may actually be grateful for the meteorological one if it predictably helps obscure the political one at least for the next week.

Hurricane Sandy is, of course, a disaster no one would welcome. Untold numbers of Americans are having their lives endangered, or at least severely disrupted, and the potential economic harm is unimaginable at this point.

The president could nonetheless see a silver lining in this horrific “weather event.” For one thing, he gets to posture as the leader of the nation in a terrible time of testing, the doler-out of federal emergency assistance and the great consoler around whom we instinctively rally in such circumstances…

           — Hat tip: CSP[Return to headlines]

Media Promotes Frankenstorm, Ignores Obama Benghazi Bombshell

For the majority of last week, Hurricane Sandy and the coming “Frankenstorm” dominated the mainstream media. If no one knew any better, it’d appear nothing else even remotely newsworthy happened.

But something else did happen. News broke the attacks in Benghazi that led to the death of U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stephens and three of his staff members on September 11, 2012 were anything but a random, out-of-control protest over some YouTube video.

Fox News was the only mainstream media outlet to report last week that CIA operators were denied help during the Benghazi attack. Urgent requests for military back-up were ignored. In addition, a Navy Seal team stationed at the annex a mile from the attacks reported they were twice told to “stand down” when shots were heard that night.

Fox reported some soldiers ignored the orders and went to evacuate the consulate anyway. Although the building was found on fire and shots were exchanged, requests for backup were again denied.

In the aftermath, unclassified cables between the Obama Administration and Benghazi paint a picture that, at a minimum, proves the Obama camp is lying through their teeth about what they knew about the situation brewing in Benghazi and what they did about it.

An executive brief prepared by Right Side News details the timeline of events that led to what went down in Benghazi. At least a year prior to the September 2012 attacks, officials began alerting the Obama Administration to potential, organized terror threats against U.S. Interests, including Benghazi. Throughout 2012, more and more security was requested at the installation. In March 2012, not only was a request for more security denied, but security was actually cut back. Three more requests in June, July, and one from Ambassador Stephens himself in August 2012, were again denied.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Mom and Dad, We’re Blaming You for Obama’s Failures

Voters have short memories and are easily duped by a charming smile, lies, and empty promises. Many voters lack a basic understanding of history, government, and economics.

Only an uninformed or welfare dependent American would vote for a person endorsing the repulsively obscene ad that presents a young woman urging Democrats to carefully pick their candidate in the same way they picked the guy they lost their virginity to.

The Democrat factor of desperation and indoctrination is on full display in the latest ad which uses young children, in chilling lyrics, blaming their parents for the economic failures of the Obama’s administration. The ad takes me back to the communist indoctrination I suffered under the communist regime when the absolute ruler, Ceausescu, and his wife, Elena, forced us to sing in school praises to them as our real father and mother. Our biological parents, we were told, were stupid and needed re-education.


If you add the lack of basic economics knowledge to the lack of historical facts and American government, you have the perfect Obama voter who is ill-informed, easily manipulated, but has very strong ignorant opinions, mostly based on feelings or the misinformation fed to them on a daily basis by the mainstream media, the aggressive promotional army of the Obama campaign.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Obama’s October Surprise — Exposed by Benghazi?

Iran, Valarie Jarrett, Nuclear Weapons, Iranian “Red Crescent” team

Barack Obama promised Americans that he is committed to investigate any intelligence and security failures in Libya. To this end, it was announced in the Federal Register on October 4, 2012, that Thomas Pickering would be the chairman of the U.S. State Department’s Accountability Review Board, a commission charged with investigating the deaths of Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans on September 11, 2012, in Benghazi. But who is Thomas Pickering and why was he selected to head the investigation?

Summoning the ghost of Earl Warren, Pickering appears to be a logical choice to select if one were to have an interest in controlling the public disclosure. Pickering, it appears, has quite a cozy history with Iran as extensively documented by Matthew Vadum in his October 24, 2012 report.

While the magician on stage activated the theatrical fog and diverted everyone’s attention elsewhere, the activities behind the scenes were in full swing. Concurrent with the appointment of Pickering to throttle the outflow of information about Benghazi, Valerie Jarrett, Obama’s Iranian-born Senior Advisor, jetted to the nation of Qatar. Although her activities were concealed by the magician’s accomplice — the dutiful Western media — it was reported by the Asia Times last week that Jarrett met with senior Iranian officials to negotiate a deal pertaining to Iran’s nuclear weapon ambitions.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Obama Accepts ‘Osama Bin Laden’ Donations

WASHINGTON — Using a Pakistani Internet Protocol, or IP address, a disposable credit card and a fake address, “Osama bin Laden” has successfully donated twice to Barack Obama’s presidential re-election campaign.

The “Bin Laden” donations, actually made by WND staff, included a listed occupation of “deceased terror chief” and a stated employer of “al-Qaida.”

“Bin Laden” is currently set up on the official campaign website to contribute more to Obama’s campaign. The name is also registered as a volunteer.

Since the “foreign” contribution was sent, “Bin Laden’s” email address has received several solicitations from Obama’s campaign asking for more donations.

[Return to headlines]

The Psychological Conditioning of Americans

In the past, I have mentioned that Edward Bernays in PROPAGANDA (1928) said: “Those who manipulate the organized habits and opinions of the masses constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of the country…The technical means have been invented and developed by which opinion may be regimented.” And in THE IMPACT OF SCIENCE ON SOCIETY (1951), Bertrand Russell wrote: “Although this science of mass psychology will be diligently studied, it will be rigidly confined to the governing class. The populace will not be allowed to know how its convictions are generated.”

In 1966, Dr. James McConnell, a professor of psychology at the University of Michigan, stated: “I teach a course called The Psychology of Influence, and I begin it by stating categorically that the time has come when, if you give me any normal human being and a couple of weeks,…I can change his behavior from what it is not to whatever you want it to be, if it’s physically possible…I can turn him from a Christian into a communist and vice versa…Look, we can do these things. We can control behavior.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Liberal Treason Explained: “The Kindergarden of Eden”

“If they weren’t so dangerous and destructive, one could smile and pat the Modern Liberal on the head and tell him how cute he is and go on about the business of being an adult. But he is dangerous and destructive, with the True Believer’s very purpose being the total destruction of everything that God and science—most obviously Western Civilization—has ever created. …The Modern Liberal will invariably and, in fact, inevitably side with evil over good, wrong over right and the behaviors that lead to failure over those that lead to success.”—Evan Sayet “The Kindergarden of Eden”

“There is one thing a professor can be absolutely certain of: almost every student entering the university believes, or says he believes, that truth is relative… The students, of course, cannot defend their opinion. It is something with which they have been indoctrinated.”—Allan Bloom “The Closing of the American Mind”


Of all the harmful doctrines promulgated by liberals, perhaps none has been as devastating in its effects as relativism. Put simply, relativism is the belief that there is no such thing as objective truth—truth is relative—one person’s “truth”is no more or less valid than another person’s. Relativism has been incorporated into several insidious offshoots such as moral relativism, cultural relativism, deconstructionism, postmodernism, political correctness, and multiculturalism.

I would be more than happy to slice and dice the concept of relativism like a Cuisinart blender, but time will not allow for it at the moment. Suffice it for now to point out that one of the basal claims of relativism—”there are no absolutes”—is self-refuting. That is, if the axiom is right then it is wrong, for the statement itself is asserting an absolute.

(Sidebar: If you would like to delve into the subject in more depth, let me suggest the paper “Relativism”(available online) by Allen Wood, Professor of Philosophy at Stanford University. Dr. Wood is more refined than I in his dialogue with relativists, e.g.: “If relativists say that this isn’t what they mean when they assert a proposition or say they believe it, then they are apparently using the terms “assert” and “believe” in a new and mysterious sense, which they apparently can’t explain. Until they do explain the meanings these words have for them, we can’t be sure what (if anything) they are really saying when their mouths make noises that sound (to us) like assertions of relativism”).

[Comment: Well worth reading the whole article.]

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Blair Says Europe Needs an Elected President to Stop it Breaking Up (Got Anyone in Mind, Tony?)

Tony Blair today claimed Europe needs a directly-elected President to save it from breaking up.

The former British Prime Minister, who has made clear his desire for another major job in politics, said voters across the continent should elect ‘a big post held by one person’ to reinvigorate enthusiasm for the European project.


Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party, said: ‘This is the man who would sell his country for the bauble of EU office. This a man who cannot be trusted with our or any other country’s future.

‘He hopes that the EU can in some way have one speed while travelling at two. It just isn’t possible. His hopes will be dashed, as I hope will his ambitions.’

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Google Boss Meets Hollande Amid Media Row

Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt was to meet French President François Hollande on Monday amid a revenue row with French, German and Italian media firms who want the Internet giant to pay for content.

Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt was to meet French President François Hollande on Monday amid a revenue row with French, German and Italian media firms who want the Internet giant to pay for content.

Google, which receives four billion hits worldwide every month, has warned it will exclude French media sites from its search results if France adopts a bill that forces search engines to pay for linking to its news sites.

Italian and German firms have also joined the demand that the search engine should share some of the advertising revenue from user searches for news in media websites.

France’s Communication and Culture Minister Aurélie Filippetti on Monday adopted a combative tone ahead of the meeting.

“This European drive will not allow us to be penniless,” she said on France Inter radio. “We must not think that all the fights against Internet giants are a lost cause.”

Filippetti, who is also due to meet Schmidt, said it “was only normal that big search engines contribute to finance the press.”

A letter sent by Google to several French ministerial offices this month said it “cannot accept” such a move and the company “as a consequence would be required to no longer reference French sites,” according to a copy obtained by AFP.

Google said a law would “threaten (Google’s) very existence”.

Leading French newspaper publishers last month called on the government to adopt legislation imposing a settlement in the long-running dispute with Google, forcing it and other search engines to share some of the advertising revenue.

Their demand follows the German government approving in August draft legislation that would force search engines to pay commissions to German media websites.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Greece: Journalist Arrested Over ‘Lagarde List’ Banks Leak

Charged of violating laws relating to the privacy of data

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS — Greek investigative journalist Costas Vaxevanis was arrested on Sunday and then quickly released after his magazine Hot Doc published on Saturday a list of more than 2,000 names that it claimed was the infamous “Lagarde list” of Greeks with Swiss bank accounts given to Greece by French authorities in 2010 to be probed for tax evasion. The journalist, as daily Kathimerini reports, is to appear in court at noon on Monday when the date of his trial, on charges of violating laws relating to the privacy of personal data, is to be set. Vaxevanis, who was arrested on charges of violation of privacy, made several postings on his Twitter account before being taken in. “They’re entering my house with a prosecutor now, they’re arresting me. Spread the word.” He described the police surrounding the house of a friend where he was arrested, as “fascist militia.” In an interview uploaded onto the Internet before his arrest, following the announcement that a warrant had been put out, the owner and editor of Hot Doc said he was being unfairly targeted. “Instead of arresting the tax evaders and the ministers who had the list in their hands, they are trying to arrest the truth and freedom of the press,” he said. Greek authorities did not confirm that the list printed on Saturday in Hot Doc was indeed the list of names given to former Finance Minister Giorgos Papaconstantinou by Christine Lagarde in the fall of 2010 when she was France’s finance minister. Neither Papaconstantinou nor his successor Evangelos Venizelos, who forwarded the list to authorities earlier this month, have indicated that the list included the names of politicians. But the Hot Doc list of 2,059 names includes at least three politicians, including two conservative former ministers, one of whom is deceased, and a current adviser to Prime Minister Antonis Samaras. Giorgos Voulgarakis, former minister and today the speaker of parliament from Samaras’s center-right New Democracy Party, was quick to deny the accusations and responded by accusing Hot Doc of slander. and declared via his Twitter account, “Neither my wife nor I have any offshore companies or foreign bank accounts.” According to the magazine, Voulgarakis’ HSBC deposits dating back to 2003 are not on the speaker’s tax declarations. Citing privacy concerns for individuals on the list, Hot Doc said it had redacted exact bank balance figures, but added that some accounts contained as much as 500 million euros. The Hot Doc report did not make specific accusations of money laundering. The publication pointed out that it was legal to own a Swiss bank account, but implied that the Greek government has done little to investigate the matter. A massive social media campaign is now underway asking that all charges against Vaxevanis for his role in the ‘Lagarde list’ leak be dropped.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Greek Journalist Arrested for Releasing “Lagarde List” of Swiss Account Holders

A Greek journalist has been arrested for publishing a list of Greeks with deposits in Swiss bank accounts. The names were originally sent to the Greek government by the current head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde.

Kostas Vaxevanis, the editor of the magazine Hot Doc, announced on his twitter account on Sunday morning that he had been arrested after publishing the list containing 2,000 names.

He also announced that he is due to face court on Monday morning.

Lagarde sent the list to the former Greek finance minister, Giorgios Papakonstantinou, in 2010 when she was still the French finance minister.

The Greek government had tried to keep the list secret since then. […]

           — Hat tip: LH[Return to headlines]

Greek Finance Officials Among Suspected Tax Evaders

Greek magazine Hot Doc has published the names of 2,059 suspected tax evaders in a move likely to stoke social tension.

The roll call of people who held accounts at the HSBC bank in Geneva includes Stavros Papastavros, an aide to Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, and the wife of Georgios Voulgarakis, Samaras’ former minister of culture and public order, as well as officials in the finance ministry, businessmen, doctors, housewives, lawyers, pensioners and students.

Hot Doc redacted the amounts of money held in the accounts, but said some of them contained as much as €500 million.

The journal’s editor, Costas Vaxevanis, was briefly arrested after it went out on Saturday (27 October).

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Greek Journalist in Court Over Swiss Data Leak

A Greek investigative journalist appeared in court on Monday charged with breach of privacy after publishing names from an alleged list of Swiss bank accounts that the Athens government has been accused of trying to cover up.

Costas Vaxevanis, a veteran television journalist who is editor of the “Hot Doc” magazine, published the list in its Saturday issue.

It included more than 2,000 names, allegedly from a controversial list of HSBC account holders that was originally leaked by a bank employee and passed to Greece in 2010 by France’s then finance minister Christine Lagarde.

Vaxevanis says he received the information in an anonymous letter whose sender claimed to have received it from a politician.

He faces a maximum three-year jail sentence if convicted.

“Instead of arresting thieves and ministers breaking the law they want to arrest the truth,” Vaxevanis commented on his Twitter account Saturday.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Greek Journalist in Court Over ‘Lagarde List’

A Greek journalist has appeared in court after being charged with breach of privacy for the publication of the “Lagarde List.” His trial comes the same day a major Greek newspaper reprinted it in full.

Investigative journalist Costas Vaxevanis appeared in court on Monday, one day after his arrest for publishing a list of Greeks with Swiss bank accounts, which the government is accused of covering up.

Vaxevanis is a well-known television journalist and the editor of Hot Doc magazine, which published the names of Greek citizens with accounts at the bank HSBC.

The list of more than 2,000 names was handed to the Greek authorities by France’s then-finance minister, Christine Lagarde, in 2010, earning it the nickname the “Lagarde List.” She has since become become the head of the International Monetary Fund, one of three lenders in a troika charged with managing Greece’s bailout.

According to police, Vaxevanis was arrested for violating laws regarding personal data. His trial will begin November 1, and he faces a maximum of three years jail time if convicted.

Hot Doc says the list was sent to them anonymously and authorities have not confirmed its authenticity.

“The prosecutor’s office wants to protect tax evaders,” Vaxevanis said outside the courtroom to a small group of supporters. “I am just doing my duty.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Italy: Cop Fined 32,000 Euros After Skipping Work for Soccer

Officer called in sick for four years

(ANSA) — Massa Carrara, October 25 — The Italian Audit Court found an ex-policeman guilty of medical fraud on Thursday and ordered him to pay over 30,000 euros in compensation to the State.

Raffaele Moriani, 34, filed medical certificates extempting him from his post on the Imperia police force so that he could play forward on the minor league team U.S. Soccer Forcoli from 2006 to 2010.

Moriani was ordered to pay 32,549.85 euros plus interest and legal fees that also cover “damage to police force’s image”, the court said.

He must also reimburse the salary received during his ‘sick leave’ and compense the doctor who signed his certificate 11,000 euros.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Alitalia Antitrust Ruling ‘Could Bring Down Prices 30%’

Consumer group applauds the opening of slots on Rome-Milan route

(ANSA) — Rome, October 26 — A ruling by Italy’s antitrust authority that flagship carrier Alitalia must give up its exclusive on the Rome-Milan route could bring ticket prices down by as much as 30%, consumer group Federconsumatori said on Friday.

The ruling to open seven slots on the Rome Fiumicino-Milan Linate route to competitor airline EasyJet was announced on Thursday and overturns an ad hoc legislative decree that amended the suspended antitrust laws in 2008.

“This is an important decision for numerous passengers who, up until yesterday, were unjustly forced into paying higher-than-necessary prices,” Federconsumatori said.

The 2008 legislative decree allowed Alitalia to keep its position in an attempt to salvage its leading position in the Italian market and repay a government bridge loan of 300 million euros to the then almost insolvent carrier.

The airline said last April that it lost 2 million passengers and 50% of its earnings in the space of three years as a result of high-speed rail companies like the Frecciarossa.

The slots apply especially to “peak transit hours in the morning and evening,” the antitrust authority said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Chair of Lazio Region’s Cabinet Office Investigated

Probes continue into alleged funds misappropriation

(ANSA) — Rome, October 29 — The Chair of Lazio region’s cabinet office Mario Abbruzzese and councillor Isabella Rauti are among those being probed in a wave of recent scandals involving the alleged misappropriation of public funds.

Both are from ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Freedom party (PdL) and Rauti is the wife of Rome mayor Gianni Alemanno.

Earlier this month Franco Fiorito, the former caucus chief in the Lazio region for the PdL was arrested for allegedly embezzling public money.

At the time of his arrest, Fiorito said that “Abbruzzese was aware of how the funds were being divided up” and helped those doing it.

The political funds scandals also caused the PdL’s Renata Polverini to step down as governor of Lazio late September.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Marion Maréchal-Le Pen: The New Face of the French Right

At 22, she is France’s youngest ever MP. Her grandfather, Jean-Marie, founded the rightwing Front National and came second in the 2002 presidential race. Her aunt succeeded him as party leader last year. Now Marion Maréchal-Le Pen is the newest face of the party ready to bring its anti-immigrant policies to a younger generation

In June, Maréchal-Le Pen became the youngest MP in modern French history, at the age of 22, after topping the poll in her constituency of Carpentras in the south-eastern region of the Vaucluse, with 49.09% of the vote. And yet the most disconcerting thing about her victory was arguably not her youth but her politics: Maréchal-Le Pen is an MP for the Front National and the newest face of the French far right. Her grandfather, Jean-Marie Le Pen, founded the political party which she now represents, a party which is anti-Europe, anti-globalisation and which believes in stringent immigration controls and national protectionism.

“Integration is no longer possible,” she says. “When you’re the single French person in the middle of 10 Tunisians, the majority will impose their way of life on the minority.”

Blonde, slim and striking, Maréchal-Le Pen talks in a fluent and engaging manner. When we meet in her small, airless office in the headquarters of the Assemblée Nationale in Paris…

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

Multi-Drug Resistant TB Rises in Eastern Europe

TB, which cannot be cured with conventional drugs, is spreading in Eastern Europe. So far, strategies to fight the disease have shown little success because it is closely linked to poverty and exclusion.

Two years ago, most addicts in Eastern Europe died from a overdose or committed suicide; today, more and more of them are dying from multi-resistant tuberculosis (TB).

“The leading cause of death for people we treat is TB,” says Daria Ocheret, who has worked with addicts in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius for 10 years. “And most of the time, it is multi-resistant tuberculosis.”

For many people, TB is a disease that was eradicated in the last century. But the fact is the disease has returned and is more dangerous than ever. Multi-drug resistant TB complicates the treatment of patients worldwide.

The past several years has seen the rise of strains that are resistant not only to conventional antibiotics but nearly to all medicines. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than 400,000 people are suffering from multi- or extremely-resistant TB.

The former Soviet Union is especially at risk in Europe. Around 80,000 people with resistance to conventional TB medicines live in former Soviet states — a fifth of all cases worldwide, according to the WHO. A total of 15 European countries are considered high-risk, including Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Bulgaria, and Moldavia as well as the Baltic states.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Two Seats for Islam Party in Belgian Local Polls

It has been hailed as a new era for the Muslim community in Belgium. Two candidates from the fledgling orthodox muslim party Islam have been elected to seats in Anderlecht and Molenbeek in the recent local elections. The party plans to present candidates at regional, national and European elections in 2014.

           — Hat tip: LH[Return to headlines]

UK: Girls of 13 Given Birth Control Jab at School Without Parents’ Knowledge

Schoolgirls as young as 13 are being given contraceptive injections and implants during lunch-breaks without their parents’ knowledge.

School nurses have given implants or jabs to girls aged between 13 and 16 more than 900 times in the past two years, a survey by The Daily Telegraph has found. Girls aged 13 have been given contraceptive jabs and implants on more than 20 occasions.

A further 7,400 girls aged 15 and under have been given contraceptive injections or implants at family planning clinics.

Under the patient confidentiality rules, nurses are banned from seeking the permission of parents beforehand, or even informing them afterwards, without the pupil’s permission.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: Nigerian Sex Trafficker Used ‘Juju’ Witchcraft Rituals to Terrorise Young Orphans He Raped After Smuggling Them Into Britain

[WARNING: Disturbing Content.]

An ‘evil’ Nigerian people smuggler who used witchcraft rituals to force terrified children to work as sex slaves has been jailed for 20 years.

Osezua Osolase, 42, who lived in Gravesend, Kent, preyed on poverty-stricken Nigerian orphans and tricked them into travelling to the UK with the promise of a better life.

But instead the Nigerian, who has HIV, treated the victims as ‘commodities’ to be used in a form of ‘modern-day slavery’ by attempting to send them on to mainland Europe to be sexually assaulted by gangs.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Woman Raped in Alley by Stranger on Night Out Was Sexually Assaulted Again by Second Passer-by as She Lay Helpless

[WARNING: Disturbing Content.]

A woman who was dragged into an alleyway and raped after a night out was subjected to a second horrifying ordeal by another man as she lay recovering from the attack.

Mustafa Yussuf was the first to prey on the woman as she walked through Manchester city centre on New year’s Eve, marching her into Church Street car park and raping her in a nearby lane.

After the assault the then 20-year-old fled the scene, leaving the woman helpless.

It was then that, instead of assisting her, another man pounced on the woman and raped her.

The distressing details of the double rape emerged as Yussuf, now 21, from Manchester, was jailed for seven years for the attack.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Egypt’s Coptic Christians Vote for New Pope

A council of more than 2,000 Egyptian Coptic Christians will vote for a new leader on Monday. The new pope will be tasked with leading the region’s largest Christian minority through Egypt’s post-revolution era.

The ballot comes after the death of Pope Shenouda III, who headed the church for four decades before his death in March. The new leader will become the 118th head of the Coptic Church.

Whoever is elected to succeed Shenouda will be in charge of leading the region’s largest Christian minority through increased sectarian tension in Egypt’s post-revolution era.

The council — made up of senior clergy, current and former Coptic officials, journalists, local advisers and MPs — will choose between five candidates: three bishops and two monks. The names of the three receiving the highest number of votes will be written on separate pieces of paper and placed into a box on the altar of Saintt Mark’s Cathedral in Cairo.

On November 4, a blindfolded child will select one piece of paper. The new Pope will then be enthroned in a ceremony on November 18.

The five candidates are Bishop Rafael, 54, a medical doctor and current assistant bishop for central Cairo; Bishop Tawadros, 60, of the Nile Delta province of Beheira; Father Rafael Ava Mina, 70; Father Seraphim al-Souriani, 53 and Father Pachomious al-Suriani, 49.

Coptic Christians make up between 6 and 10 percent of Egypt’s total population of 83 million. Many are concerned about persecution resulting from the rise of Islamists in Egypt following the election of Mohamed Morsi. This concern comes despite the new president’s promise to be a leader “for all Egyptians.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Tunisia: National Guard Protests Gov’t PR-Salafist Leniency

Commander Slimane wounded by extremists, in critical condition

(ANSAmed) — TUNIS — For three days beginning on Monday, Tunisian National Guardsmen will wear red armbands to protest what they say is the Islamist-led government’s excessive leniency towards Salafist extremists. This follows on the wounding Saturday night of Police Commander Wissam Ben Sliman, who intervened when a group of hardline Salafist Muslims attacked alcohol vendors in their small shops in the Dawar Hicher neighborhood, a poor area on the outskirts of Tunis. Slimane is in hospital in critical condition.

The government does not prosecute Salafist extremists, who frequently act outside the law, using Molotov cocktails and knives, a National Guard union leader said. After their actions, Salafists hide in Ennour and El Khalil mosques, which are off-limits to national security personnel, the union leader said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Tunisia: Salafist Extremist Attack Alcohol Sellers

(ANSAmed) — Rome, 29 October — An alcohol beverages seller was attacked in La Manouba by a group of Salafist extremists, who cut off four of his fingers.

The incident supposedly happened on Saturday night, with attacks culminating with an attack of a National Guard official, who was allegedly hit on the head with a large knife and is in serious conditions, according to the Arab site, Assabah News.

According to the site the alcohol salesman was transferred to the capital’s Charles Nicole hospital. He successively refused to lay charges on his aggressors, stating that he preferred to resolve the matter “his own way”.

Clashes between Salafist Muslims, which are now acting as the “religious police” , and alcohol sellers are continuing in Douar Hicher, according to Security sources.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Christianity Struggling to Return to Eastern Turkey

Turkey is home to one of the oldest Christian populations in the world, the Suriyani, who fled during recent conflict. In the last few years they’ve been returning, but problems with their resettlement are apparent.

For 1,600 years the bell at Mor Gabriel in southeastern Turkey has tolled, calling people to prayer. Everything about the Syriac Orthodox monastery here is ancient.

The ceremonies are conducted in Aramaic, a language spoken at the time of Christ. Known as the second Jerusalem, the monastery is not only considered important for Syriac Christians, but the wider Christian faith. But a ruling by Turkey’s highest court in favor of the Turkish state over the ownership of monastery land has cast a shadow over its future.

Kuriye Kos is the head of the Mor Gabriel foundation that runs the monastery. “After all these court cases anything can happen,” he told DW. “We have other lands, and there we could also face the same thing. We have been living here for thousands of years.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Turkey and Germany: A Unique Partnership

The expansion of economic ties, as well as growing cooperation in the field of foreign policy, have made Turkey and Germany crucial partners. But this new period also presents new challenges for Berlin.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to Berlin this week will highlight a new period in exceptionally close but at times uneasy relations between Turkey and Germany.

Erdogan is slated to open a new Turkish embassy complex in Berlin, which will be Ankara’s largest in the world, symbolizing Turkey’s growing activism in international politics, as well as its growing interest in strengthening ties and gaining influence with the Turkish diaspora.

“This building is an expression of the great importance we attach to Germany; importance and value we attribute to our Turkish citizens living here,” said Turkey’s ambassador to Berlin, Huseyin Avni Karslioglu. “We will have a glorious embassy, which our people can be proud of,” he told the Turkish press.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Observers Doubt Fairness of Ukraine’s Election

Ukraine’s ruling party has claimed victory in this weekend’s election. The opposition held its own, including the party of boxing champion Vitali Klitschko. However, there are doubts the election was free and fair.

The parliamentary election in Ukraine on Sunday (28.10.2012) coincided with the clocks being set back an hour for Daylight Saving Time. Where Ukrainian politics are concerned, the country seems to have been set back by 10 years.

“This election is comparable to the national vote in 2002,” Olexandr Chernenko, head of the Committee of Ukrainian Voters NGO, said in a television interview. He pointed out “systematic irregularities” in several constituencies that may have influenced the outcome of the vote.

According to preliminary results, voter turnout was at 58 percent. Official results were still pending Monday morning as ballots are counted manually.

Early results, however, clearly show President Viktor Yanukovych’s Party of Regions will be the strongest force in the parliament. On Sunday, several polling institutes interviewed voters at the ballot boxes, and estimated that the ruling party had garnered about a third of the vote.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

South Asia

Italian Senate Approves Prisoners’ Treaty With India

Agreement deals with transfer of prisoners to home country

(ANSA) — Rome, October 25 — Italy’s Senate approved an arrangement Thursday with India that could help to end the stand-off between the two countries over two Italian marines held there.

The agreement deals with the transfer of prisoners to their country of origin and should help solve the dispute involving two marines detained in India since the shooting last February of two Indian fishermen.

Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, both anti-pirate marines, have been at the centre of a diplomatic row between Italy and India since then.

They were granted bail in June, but were ordered to remain in Indian territory until their trial now slated for November 8.

India’s Supreme Court has still not given its ruling on Italy’s petition that it should have jurisdiction over the case because the incident took place on an Italian ship.

The Italian government has stated that, regardless of who has jurisdiction, the marines should be exempt from prosecution in India as they were military personnel working on an anti-piracy mission.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Terzi Presses New Indian FM Over Detained Italian Marines

Latorre and Girone held since February over fishermen shooting

(ANSA) — Rome, October 29 — Italian Foreign Minister Guilio Terzi contacted his newly appointed Indian counterpart Salman Khurshid to stress Italy’s wish to bring home two anti-pirate marines held for allegedly killing two local fishermen, the foreign ministry said Monday. India’s Supreme Court has still not given its ruling on Italy’s petition that it should have jurisdiction over the case because the incident took place on an Italian ship.

Marines Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone have been at the centre of a diplomatic row between Italy and India since being detained in February for charges that include the homicide The Italian government believes that, regardless of who has jurisdiction, the marines should be exempt from prosecution in India as they were military personnel working on an anti-piracy mission.

They were granted bail in June, but must remain in Indian territory.

On Sunday, Salman Khurshid was named Indian foreign minister by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who reorganized roughly a third of his cabinet in what was widely seen as a bid to regain electoral support ahead of elections.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Far East

Missionaries Rescue Trafficked Koreans in China

A large number of North Koreans in China are women, many of whom are trafficked there and forced to work as sex slaves. Missionaries in South Korea are helping to rescue them.

Hannah fights back tears as she recalls her life as a sex slave. This young woman in her early 30s, who does not want to use her real name, is a North Korean refugee who now lives in Seoul. Like many other female defectors, she was once the victim of Chinese human traffickers.

“The man bribed border guards to let me cross. I thought I could trust him,” Hannah says. “But later he became violent and beat me. He wouldn’t let me leave his home.”

Human rights groups estimate there are tens of thousands of North Koreans secretly residing in China. Women are believed to make up the majority of these escapees because they can be sold into brothels and as wives or concubines to Chinese men. Since they are regarded as “illegal economic migrants” by the Chinese government, they have no legal recourse and remain in the shadows.

While in captivity, Hannah went online and found help via Christian missionaries operating undercover in China. She fled the man’s home when he left the house to run errands.

“I called the missionary and arranged a time and place to meet. He brought me to a shelter and then later to Beijing, where I entered the South Korean embassy,” Hannah said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

The Ferrari-Red Communists: China at a Crossroads in Shift From World’s Factory to Industrial Power

The Chinese are seen as victors in the global financial crisis, and as both a hope and a threat to German industry. Beijing wants to be more than the world’s factory. But the country’s economic engine is showing signs of stalling and it is uncertain what direction it will take in the future.

A visit with Mr. Huang, one of the richest and most controversial men in the People’s Republic of China, is full of surprises. Take, for example, the four pairs of climbing boots lined up like exhibits behind the door to his office. “I was at the South Pole and North Pole, and twice on Mt. Everest with these,” says Huang, pointing proudly to a series of photos that serve as proof of his adventures. There are Buddha statues and various animals in the adjacent rooms, including rhesus monkeys and pygmy rabbits in cages, as well as small sharks swimming in circles in a large aquarium leaning against a wall.

“I love nature,” says Huang Nubo, 56, a businessman with an estimated net worth of at least $1 billion (€772 million). The founder and chairman of the Beijing Zhongkun Investment Group, Huang discovered a market niche: He builds resorts with an emphasis on sustainable design. His company benefits from the new wanderlust and “green” consciousness of the affluent Chinese upper and middle classes.

He tells the short version of life story while a Siam cat purrs on his lap. He was orphaned at 13, and in 1960 his father committed suicide after a quarrel with a party secretary. His mother later died of grief. He attended Beijing University, joined the Communist Party to further his career and became an official in the party’s propaganda division. Then he withdrew from politics and founded his company.

“As an entrepreneur, you have more freedom than you do in politics, and you can usually move around more,” says Huang, whose party connections certainly didn’t hurt his growing business. But, as he points out, “Chinese society has developed unevenly, which isn’t good. Too many people are losing out.” This is why Huang gives a substantial portion of his profits to the needy. With charitable donations of about $5 million a year, he is seen as one of the country’s most generous philanthropists.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

A Trip Through Hell — Daily Life in Islamist Northern Mali

For months, an Islamist regime has been terrorizing northern Mali. Hundreds of thousands have already fled the region, and those who have stayed behind are experiencing new forms of cruelty with each passing day. A SPIEGEL reporter documents a two-week journey through a region Europe fears will become the next Somalia. […]

           — Hat tip: LH[Return to headlines]

Latin America

Lawmaker Urges Feds to Monitor Hezbollah in Mexico

The presidential campaign has featured plenty of talk about terrorism in the Middle East, but one lawmaker is warning that the federal government is ignoring a growing Hezbollah presence in Mexico, with the Lebanese terror group increasingly joining forces with drug cartels.

One report shows hundreds of thousands of Middle Easterners living in Mexico, and a small percentage of them may be radicals using routes established by drug networks to sneak into the U.S.

The ties linking Mexico to Islamic terrorism were underscored earlier this year when an alleged Iranian operative plotted to assassinate a Saudi diplomat in Washington using a hired gun on loan from a Mexican drug cartel. Rep. Sue Myrick (R-N.C.) says the mounting evidence of a Hezbollah presence in Mexico is being ignored by the Department of Homeland Security.

“I don’t have a lot of faith in the Department of Homeland Security,” said Myrick. “They should be looking at these groups in Mexico much more closely.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Greece: Nearly 500 Illegals Held in Crackdown

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, OCTOBER 29 — The latest police sweep of undocumented immigrants in the Greek capital led to 487 arrests, police said over the weekend. Authorities said nine of the detainees were arrested because they were not in possession of the proper residence papers. Officers said the sweep on Friday included a search of 14 properties, carried out as part of an ongoing crackdown, dubbed Xenios Zeus. According to the police, as daily Kathimerini reported, some 44,734 migrants have been briefly detained since the start of the sweep operation. Of these, 3,505 have been arrested.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Immigration-Population Factor: Importing Cultural Poverty

The United States once enjoyed the most educated and productive civilization in the world. Our citizens enjoyed K-12 education where most students graduated from high school. Twenty percent of graduates continued on through college, master’s programs and ultimately Ph.D.’s. Most others took up trade schools. Millions from around the world clamored to attend our universities. They still do.

However, since we began importing millions of immigrants from the third world from 1965 up to the present, our educational systems plummeted. California, the most immigrant overrun state, fell from the top five educational states in the Union to the bottom five in 2012. California’s crime, corruption, welfare, free breakfasts and lunches for students along with food stamps for families tops the national list.

Heavily Middle Eastern immigrated Detroit, Michigan suffers a 76 percent dropout/flunkout rate from high school students. (Source: Brian Williams, NBC News, June 2010) Cities like Denver, Chicago, Miami, Atlanta, Houston, San Francisco and New York suffer 50 to 60 percent flunk out rates. A whopping 7,000 students drop out of high schools across the United States every day, one every 26 seconds. (Source: CNN News)

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Italy: Employers Legalize 135,000 Foreign Workers

60% of them families; we’ll go after large-scale abuse, minister

Foreign workers waiting in front of the postal office in Naples to present a request of regularization of their position (archive photo)

(ANSAmed) — ROME — About 135,000 illegal workers were regularized by their Italian employers from September 15-October 15, Italian Minister for International Cooperation Andrea Riccardi made known in a communique on Monday.

“Families have been virtuous on this issue, with over half of the applications, I would say 60%, coming from families. They have proven themselves responsible and wiling to pay the 1,000-euro tax on foreigners,” the minister told Rai Radio 1.

The government has given employers of illegal immigrant workers a grace period of one month, and carried out a campaign to inform them of the chance to regularize their workers.

“I’m very glad,” the minister said. “I knew there were situations of illegality due to ingenuity, perhaps in cases of old people’s care. These were the ones who had to be helped. The real, large-scale illegality, for example in the farming industry, will be prosecuted to the full extent of the new law.

Penalties have been stiffened, and we intend to go after these exploitative employers.” The government in July issued a decree meting out heavy sanctions to employers refusing to document their foreign workers.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Sweden to Get 50,000 Asylum Seekers in 2013

Over 50,000 asylum seekers are expected to come to Sweden next year, according to the latest prognosis from the Swedish Migration Board (Migrationsverket), pushing the country’s capacity past its limits.

Sweden’s capacity for asylum seekers will be stretched with the predicted influx of 54,000 asylum seekers, a figure that hasn’t been so high since the Balkan war in the beginning of the 1990s, which brought 84,000 people.

“This is a very strained situation,” said Migration Minister Tobias Billström to the TT news agency.

Since September this year, 1,250 asylum seekers have arrived in Sweden each week, far more than the Migration Board’s capacity of between 500 and 700.

This means that some asylum seekers are forced to wait while the agency concentrates on prioritizing the cases most likely to be approved, such as single children, refugees from Syria, and families with children.

“The main focus is to find time to take in and register applicants and above all find lodging that meets the need for those coming,” Billström said.

The situation in Syria has resulted in an extremely fast growing number of Syrian refugees arriving in Sweden in a short time.

In the prognosis published in July, the Syrians were the third most populous asylum group. In just two months, it had become the biggest. In September alone, 1,326 Syrian asylum seekers came to Sweden.

Meanwhile, the Migration Board director general Anders Danielsson explained that the influx of asylum seekers means a focus on the housing issue in Sweden.

“That’s the next question. Our mission is to take in people, evaluate their right to asylum, and if they are approved, the next step is the so-called ‘establishing’. At that point, the case is more or less handed over from the Migration Board to the employment agency and the municipalities,” he told TT.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UK: Evil ‘Juju Magic’ People Smuggler Jailed for 20 Years

Cruel Osezua Osolase, 42, is also HIV positive and raped one of the young girls without wearing protection, a court heard.

The former security guard was found guilty of seven counts of trafficking young girls, rape and sexual activity with a child.

He had shipped the teenage girls from Nigeria to Britain where he groomed them to be sold for sex in Italy and Spain.

The court heard he cast spells using “juju” magic over his three Nigerian victims — now aged 15, 17 and 18 — to stop them running away.

Osolase, who worked at a trendy London fashion shop, found his victims begging on the streets of Nigeria and promised to take them to the UK to get an education.

He then used West African rituals, known as juju magic, to trick the teenagers into believing they would die if they tried to run away.

He was jailed for 20 years at Canterbury Crown Court which heard he took advantage of vulnerable girls whose stories were “tinged with tragedy”.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

‘I Was Born a Boy, Became a Girl, And Now I Want to be a Boy Again’: Britain’s Youngest Sex Swap Patient to Reverse Her Sex Change Treatment

Ria Cooper made headlines last year when she became Britain’s youngest sex change patient aged 17, after years of begging her family and the NHS to turn her in to a girl.

But now, having lived as a women for less than a year the 18-year has decided to change back in to a man after suffering huge mental anguish as a woman.

She has cancelled the full sex change operation that was scheduled for January and ceased the female hormone therapy that has seen her develop breasts saying that she has found the changes overwhelming and that they have made her deeply unhappy.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]