Sunday, January 12, 2003

News Feed 20121120

Financial Crisis
»European Stocks Slip as Moody’s Downgrades France
»Eurozone Springing Back, Says Monti
»Italian Govt Averted ‘Total Disaster, ‘ Says Monti
»Monti Says Italians Accepting Austerity Better Than Rest
»Moody’s Strips France of AAA Rating
»Schäuble: Don’t Panic on French Economy
»Accidental Gunfire at “No Gun” Businesses
»Make Thanksgiving 2012 an ‘Agenda 21 Knowing Thanksgiving’
»Mosque Celebrates Opening
»Private Moon Race May Spark Lunar ‘Water Rush’
»Renowned Philosopher Berates Western ‘Islamophobia’
»The Ugly Truth About Benghazi and Team Obama
»Snapshots Explore Einstein’s Unusual Brain
Europe and the EU
»France Sees Alarming Rise in Islamophobia
»Greenlandic Premier Calls for Danish Investment
»Iranian Police Arrest Man Who ‘Mutilated Girlfriend’
»Poland Says Extremist Planned to Blow Up Parliament
»Sweden: ‘Ban Dual Citizens From Serving in the Riksdag’
»Sweden: Woman Charged for Sex With Human Skeleton
»UK: Boyfriend ‘Stabbed Older Partner Then Beat Her to Death With Shears in Underpass After She Refused to Have a Threesome’
»UK: Child Sex Gang Suspects Held in Police Raids
»UK: Danny Nightingale ‘Bullied Into Guilty Plea’
»UK: Ex-Criminals Will Become Mentors to Newly-Freed Prisoners and Offer Tips on How to Go Straight
»UK: Final Moments of Teenager Caught on Camera as She Walks to Meet Boyfriend Who Tied Her to a Tree, Tortured and Sexually Assaulted Her Before Stabbing Her to Death
»UK: MP Says Sgt Danny Nightingale Has Been Let Down
»UK: SAS War Hero Danny Nightingale is in Jail While Terror Suspect Abu Qatada is Free. This is a Travesty of Justice
»UK: Sentenced to Tidy Up His Room: Judge Orders Teenage Burglar to Help His Mother With Chores Around the House if He Wants to Stay Out of Prison
Israel and the Palestinians
»Andrew C. McCarthy: Along Comes Hamas
»Bigotry on the Beeb
»Gaza: Hamas Executes 7 Men on Suspicion of Treason
»Humiliating Slip in Hamas’ Cannibalistic Cognitive War Strategy: Haniyah and Kandil Kiss Baby Hamas Killed
»Morsi Discusses Israeli Aggression on Gaza With International Leaders
»Six Israeli ‘Spies’ Executed Before Baying Mob in Gaza City, Before Motorbike Gang Drags One Bloodied Victim Through the Streets
»The Dead Baby War: Fisking Max Fisher
»The Gates of Jerusalem Are the New Gates of Vienna.
»The Shomron Mobile Support Initiative for Teens in Distress
»When Did Hamas Become Secular?
Middle East
»Iran Says Recognition of Nuclear Right Prerequisite for Success of Talks
»Saudi Arabia: Muslim Fury as Paris Hilton Opens Shop in Mecca
»The Jihadis of Yemen
»Turkish Denizbank Sponsors Manchester United
»UK: MPs to Debate Jailed SAS Sniper Case
»Wacky Saudi Preacher Sparks Swiss Dispute
South Asia
»007 Daniel Craig Visits Afghanistan
»Burma: Obama Tells Myanmar to Stop Violence Against Rohingyas on Historic Visit
»Burma: Obama Speaks Out for Rohingya Muslims
»France Ends Combat Mission in Afghanistan
»Indonesia: West Java: New Tasikmalaya Mayor Plans to Implement Sharia
»Italian Defense Minister Expects Verdict on Italian Marines
»New Afghan Bridge to Stand Test of Time
Far East
»China: Worse Than You Ever Imagined
»China: A New Account of Mao’s Great Famine Reveals the Dark Heart of Socialism
Australia — Pacific
»Several Pro-Israel Rallies Held Across Australia
Sub-Saharan Africa
»Kenya: Another Bloody Sunday
»Nigeria: No Alternative to Muslims, Christians Living Together — Cardinal Onaiyekan
»Nigeria: World Toilet Day — 34 Million Practise Open Defecation
»South Africa: Chasing the Final Flush
Latin America
»Mars Cave-Exploration Mission Entices Scientists
»Foreigners Born in Italy Up 28.7% Since 2010
»Italy ‘Will Have 17% of Foreigners, 30% Over 65 in 2059’
»Mark Steyn: Tribal America
»UK: Muslim Migration an ‘Islamist Threat’
Culture Wars
»Anti-Gay Marriage Protesters Clash With Feminists in Paris
»Transgender Beauty Queen Praises Her Amazing Family Ahead of BBC Documentary on Her Mission to Become Miss England
»UK Primary Schoolteachers ‘Could Face Sack’ For Refusing to Promote Gay Marriage
»Is There a Jewish Gene?
»New Look at Einstein’s Brain Pictures Show His Genius
»Vikings Feasted on Seals, Bones Reveal

Financial Crisis

European Stocks Slip as Moody’s Downgrades France

European stock markets slipped lower on Tuesday as investors took profits after Moody’s stripped France of its coveted triple-A rating, and before more eurozone talks on Greece’s latest bailout cash.

The Paris CAC 40 index fell 0.50 percent to 3,422.43 points as Moody’s cut France’s bond rating by one notch to “Aa1”, citing structural weaknesses in the French economy, slow reform, and French exposure to troubled eurozone countries.

It also warned that an additional downgrade was possible.

London’s FTSE 100 index of top companies shed 0.35 percent to 5,717.82 points in late morning deals and Frankfurt’s DAX 30 dropped 0.10 percent to 7,116.76.

Wall Street had surged on Monday on upbeat housing data and hopes that politicians will find a way to avoid the so-called “fiscal cliff” of automatic tax hikes and spending cuts in January.

European equities had also soared on Monday on rising prospects that Washington can reach a deal, but sentiment soured following the France downgrade.

“After yesterday’s temporary respite, equity markets are looking strained once again after that Moody’s downgrade of France served to heighten fears surrounding the eurozone crisis once more,” said analyst Fawad Razaqzada at traders GFT.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Eurozone Springing Back, Says Monti

We avoided disaster, markets are coming back to Italy

(ANSAmed) — DUBAI, 20 NOV — “The Eurozone is overcoming the crisis,” Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Monti said in Dubai. “More than a currency, the Euro is a symbol of the integration of Europe which the governments of Europe are determined to preserve and reinforce”, he said. “The markets have begun to understand this and are coming back to Italy”, he added during talks at the Chamber of Commerce. According to Monti Italy’s public purse is now ‘healthy’.

“In the last 12 months my government has worked over the odds to bring the country’s debt into line and support the economic climate”. “We’ve managed to avoid a state of total disaster. In the last 12 months we had to put the pressure on at home: we couldn’t risk another catastrophe in Europe”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italian Govt Averted ‘Total Disaster, ‘ Says Monti

Emergency administration had to ‘put out fire’

(ANSA) — Dubai, November 20 — Italian Premier Mario Monti said Tuesday that his emergency government of unelected technocrats averted an economic disaster with the measures it has taken since coming to power last year.

Monti’s administration, which was sworn in after Silvio Berlusconi quit as premier a year ago when Italy’s debt crisis was threatening to spiral out of control, has passed painful austerity measures of tax hikes and spending cuts to put the country on track to balance the national budget.

It has also passed a series of structural economic reforms designed to boost growth in the medium and long term, including a controversial labour-market package and liberalisations of several sectors of the economy. “We’ve managed to avoid a total disaster. In the last 12 months we had to put out the fire at home,” Monti said in Dubai during a tour of the Persian Gulf.

“We could not risk having another flash point in Europe (that would have worsened the eurozone crisis)”.

Monti pointed out that a recent report by the OECD said that his government’s reforms would boost Italy’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 4% over the next 10 years.

“The markets have begun to understand this and (investors) are coming back to Italy,” he added.

Monti reiterated his view that Europe as a whole was on the way to fixing a debt crisis that has raised doubts about the future of the single currency.

“The eurozone is overcoming the crisis,” Monti said. “More than a currency, the euro is a symbol of European integration which the governments of Europe are determined to preserve and reinforce”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Monti Says Italians Accepting Austerity Better Than Rest

‘They haven’t reacted like people in Greece, Spain and Portugal

(ANSA) — Abu Dhabi, November 20 — Premier Mario Monti told investors in Abu Dhabi Tuesday that Italians had learned to accept austerity measures better than those in other highly indebted eurozone nations. “Up until now they haven’t reacted as people in countries such as Greece, Spain and Portugal regrettably have,” he said in a business meeting.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Moody’s Strips France of AAA Rating

Minister Moscovici, it’s the previous government’s fault

(ANSAmed) — Paris, November 20 — Moody’s has stripped France of its AAA rating, downloading the country’s debt one notch to AA1 with a negative outlook.

The ratings agency said the move was due to France’s exposure to the eurozone crisis and the risk it will have to contribute to bailing out other countries.

It also cited internal problems that could affect the nation’s long-term growth prospects. “These include the rigidities in labour and services markets and low levels of innovation, which continue to drive France’s gradual but sustained loss of competitiveness and the gradual erosion of its export-oriented industrial base,” Moody’s said. Another agency, Standard & Poor’s, downgraded France in January.

French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici on Tuesday blamed the downgrade on the economic management of previous governments.

But he added that the downgrade would spur the French government to forge ahead with structural economic reforms and he stressed that the country’s economy remained sound. “The rating change does not call into question the economic fundamentals of our country, the efforts undertaken by the government or our creditworthiness,” Moscovici told a press conference.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Schäuble: Don’t Panic on French Economy

Germany’s finance minister said on Tuesday that the French economic situation was stable, after international ratings agency Moody’s cut the government bond rating by one notch from the highest level.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Accidental Gunfire at “No Gun” Businesses

In Tulsa, police report there have been two cases of accidental gunfire at businesses where “no gun” signs are clearly posted.

Last week, at St. John Medical Center and then at AMC Southroads movie theater where a woman shot herself in the finger with her gun that she concealed in her holster.

On Friday, at AMC Southroads police said security asked the man to leave after his firearm was seen in the theater.

AMC has a “no weapons sign” posted on the doors.

Police said he was refunded his money and was told he could pick up his wife after the movie.

However, officers said the man failed to tell employees or police that his wife was also carrying her handgun in the theater.

An hour later, police officers were called to AMC where his wife reportedly went to the restroom and dropped her Springfield XD .40 out of her holster and it went off.

The round went through part of her finger and she was transported to the hospital.

Police believe she will be okay. No one else was hurt.

“I don’t think us, just going to watch a movie, should have a weapon on us,” said AMC movie goer Mindy Meyer.

At Select Cinemas no one has been caught carrying a firearm since open carry went into effect on November 1st. The owner, Blake Smith, said he wants to keep it that way.

“It’s just way too many people around that could become a victim,” said Smith.

He runs Riverwalk theater and the Admiral Twin Drive-In. He said he hasn’t posted “no weapons” signs but they’re on order.

“We would ask that you take it back to their car just like AMC did,” said Smith.

Under the Oklahoma Defense Act Title 21 Section 1290.22, business owners can ban weapons with or without a posted sign.

“There doesn’t have to be a posted sign once you enter the business if you are then told to leave due to your firearm you have to leave,” said Tulsa Police Public Information Officer Jillian Roberson.

If a gun owner refuses, law enforcement can arrest the gun owner for trespassing or if the gun fires they can forward charges for mishandling of a firearm.

Under Oklahoma Statute Title 21 Section 1290.17 police can confiscate your handgun license if you violate the Self Defense Act. It is up to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations to determine of your handgun license will be revoked for good.

OSBI agents said since Open Carry went into effect on November 1st, they have not received a case of illegal use of a concealed carry license in businesses but are expecting cases such as the two from Tulsa to arrive in their office to make a determination.

OSBI reports in 2011, agents issued 24,000 handgun licenses and less than 2% were revoked and only two were for recklessness.

Police said if you’re going to carry, concealed or openly carry responsibly.

“Ignorance here really isn’t an excuse, said Roberson. “Know your weapon, know what you are carrying and be familiar with it. There is no reason to unholster your weapon out in public unless you feel your life is in danger.

Most firearms come with a company manual. Springfield Armory has its posted online. (See attached link).

Oklahoma law prohibits gun owners from carrying firearms concealed or openly in airports past TSA security, public meetings, schools, federal buildings, courthouses, college campuses, bars and sporting events.

           — Hat tip: Lurker from Tulsa[Return to headlines]

Make Thanksgiving 2012 an ‘Agenda 21 Knowing Thanksgiving’

Every household should serve up a sizable portion of Agenda 21 and what it’s all about with the turkey and stuffing this Thanksgiving.

There is no better time than between Thanksgiving and Christmas to reflect on your life and where loss of individual freedoms is taking modern society.

You don’t have to go to university to become a graduate of All Things Agenda 21. The only university courses on the subject are administered by the UN University of Peace in sunny Costa Rica. All you have to do is Google the United Nations and Sustainable Development for a chilling check on reality.


Children love horror stories told by their elders and the ‘Rewilding” portion of Agenda 21 is one horror story you can tell them that is absolutely true.

The goals of Rewilding are staggering, summed up at The Wildlands Project:

The Wildlands Project goal is to set aside approximately 50% of the North American continent (Turtle Island) as “wild land” for the preservation of biological diversity.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Mosque Celebrates Opening

ICM opens doors to community

MURFREESBORO — More than two years of a rocky path behind it, the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro celebrated its opening Sunday with food, fellowship and special guests.

Each guest was greeted and offered a tour of the facility before being ushered to the main assembly hall for a program with several speakers, including Jerry Martin, U.S. attorney for Middle Tennessee, and Thomas Perez, U.S. assistant attorney general of the Department of Justice…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Private Moon Race May Spark Lunar ‘Water Rush’

A private race to the moon with robotic probes may kick off a lunar “water rush” that helps humanity explore asteroids, Mars and other deep-space destinations, some scientists say.

The 25 privately funded teams competing in the $30 million Google Lunar X Prize may perform vital prospecting work that will lay the foundation for large-scale exploitation of moon water, leading to cheaper and more efficient space exploration, the idea goes.

“This is like the gold rush that led to the settlement of California,” Phil Metzger, a physicist at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, said in a statement. “This is the water rush.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Renowned Philosopher Berates Western ‘Islamophobia’

Renowned philosopher Martha Nussbaum addressed a packed auditorium Friday afternoon, berating Western Islamophobia, a problem Nussbaum said continues to plague the country today. “Once, not very long ago, Americans and Europeans prided themselves on their enlightened attitudes of religious toleration, although everyone knew that the history of the West has actually been characterized by intense religious animosity and violence,” she said. Nussbaum, a service professor of law and ethics at the University of Chicago, said blatant legislative discrimination against Muslims in the United States, France, Belgium, Germany, and Spain, among other countries, requires examination…

[JP note: Renowned for stupidity perhaps, but little else.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

The Ugly Truth About Benghazi and Team Obama

by Michael Goodwin

Until Friday, there were two possible explanations for why the White House failed to immediately call the Benghazi attack an act of terrorism. One was incompetence, the other was worse.

Now there is only one, and it is the worse one. Based on the persuasive testimony of ex-CIA boss David Petraeus, it is clear the Obama administration made a deliberate decision to mislead Congress and the American people.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Snapshots Explore Einstein’s Unusual Brain

Photos reveal unique features of genius’s cerebral cortex.

Albert Einstein is considered to be one of the most intelligent people that ever lived, so researchers are naturally curious about what made his brain tick.

Photographs taken shortly after his death, but never before analysed in detail, have now revealed that Einstein’s brain had several unusual features, providing tantalizing clues about the neural basis of his extraordinary mental abilities.

The most striking observation, says Falk, was “the complexity and pattern of convolutions on certain parts of Einstein’s cerebral cortex”, especially in the prefrontal cortex, and also parietal lobes and visual cortex.

The prefrontal cortex is important for the kind of abstract thinking that Einstein would have needed for his famous thought experiments on the nature of space and time, such as imagining riding alongside a beam of light. The unusually complex pattern of convolutions there probably gave the region and unusually large surface area, which may have contributed to his remarkable abilities.

Falk and her colleagues also noticed an unusual feature in the right somatosensory cortex, which receives sensory information from the body. In this part of Einstein’s brain, the region corresponding to the left hand is expanded, and the researchers suggest that this may have contributed to his accomplished violin playing.

According to Sandra Witelson, a behavioural neuroscientist at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, who discovered that the parietal operculum is missing from Einstein’s brain, the study’s biggest contribution may be in encouraging further studies. “It makes clear the location and accessibility of photographs and slides of Einstein’s brain,” she says. “This may serve as an incentive for other investigations of Einstein’s brain, and ultimately of any consequences of its anatomical variations.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

France Sees Alarming Rise in Islamophobia

French Muslims have become the target of a marked increase in Islamophobic violence and actions, as well as incendiary statements by politicians, over the last two years, according to a report by a leading anti-racism observatory.

The number of racist acts against Muslims in France is increasing “alarmingly”, according to the country’s National Observatory of Islamophobia, whose president has called for overt Islamophobia to be taken as seriously as anti-Semitism, which is a criminal offence in France.

According to a report by the Observatory, which claims to fight “all forms of racism and xenophobia”, “in 2011 the number (of anti-Muslim attacks) was up 34% on the previous year … but what is happening in 2012 is alarming. Between January and the end of October there were 175 reported Islamophobic acts, a 42% increase compared with the same period in 2011.”

The report highlighted the occupation of a building site of a new mosque in Poitiers, near Paris, by 74 members of the extreme-right splinter group “Generation Identity”, who chanted hostile “warlike” slogans against Islam and Muslims.

The Observatory’s President Abdallah Zekri told France 24 that the rise in anti-Muslim sentiment in France could be partly explained by “the tense socio-political atmosphere in France being driven by a resurgence of the far right”.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Greenlandic Premier Calls for Danish Investment

Denmark is being called upon to reinforce its stake in the semi-autonomous Arctic territory by investing in developing its mineral wealth

Greenland’s premier, Kuupik Kleist, has called on Denmark to invest in developing his country’s mineral resources.

In a lengthy op-ed in Politiken newspaper today, Kleist argued it would be a shame if Denmark did not invest in the next stage of Greenland’s development, considering their long shared history.

“The alliance between Denmark and Greenland has been incredibly beneficial for both,” Kleist wrote. “Isn’t it about time that we, after 300 years of history (…) openly declare the love and mutual esteem we have for one another?”

Kleist’s appeal to Denmark and Greenland’s shared heritage arrives after China promised 12 billion kroner of investment for a future iron mine in Greenland. With more mines set to proceed in the coming years, Kleist proposes that Denmark and Greenland establish a commission to examine ways for Denmark to increase its investment in Greenland and ensure that Denmark maintains its prominent position in the semi-autonomous Arctic territory.

In response, PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt (Socialdemokraterne) said the proposal sounded like a good idea.

“If the Self-Rule administration wants to strengthen the co-operation between Denmark and Greenland in the resources field, the government is naturally open to discuss it,” Thorning-Schmidt told Politiken.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Iranian Police Arrest Man Who ‘Mutilated Girlfriend’

Police in Iran have arrested a man thought to have horribly mutilated his girlfriend in her Berlin flat, it was reported on Tuesday. He had escaped a German manhunt and been on the run for the past three weeks.

Ramdani is said to have tied the 36-year-old identified only as Banafsheh K. to a chair and seriously mutilated her face and body, on October 30 in her flat in the Schöneberg district of the capital.

She survived and was taken to hospital after a man walking along the street outside heard cries for help and called the police. Her ten-year-old daughter had also been tied to a chair and gagged but was physically unharmed.

Spokesman for the prosecutor Martin Steltner told The Local just after the attack happened, that the suspect had Dutch citizenship but was originally from Iraq. The victim was a refugee from Iran whose husband did not live in Berlin.

Her daughter suffered severe shock and was placed in the care of city authorities.

“I saw how medics carried a woman covered in blood into an ambulance,” a neighbour told the Tagesspiegel newspaper. The woman and her daughter were said to have only recently moved into the building.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Poland Says Extremist Planned to Blow Up Parliament

Polish officials said on Tuesday they had arrested a radical nationalist who planned to detonate a vehicle loaded with four tonnes of explosives outside parliament, possibly when the president and prime minister were in the building.

Prosecutors said the man, a scientist who works for a university in the southern city of Krakow, had assembled a small arsenal of explosive material, guns and remote-controlled detonators and was trying to recruit others to help him.

A video recording taken from the suspect showed what prosecutors said was a test explosion he conducted, leaving a large crater in the ground.

Polish television, citing sources close to the investigation, said the suspect planned to copy methods used by Anders Behring Breivik, who killed 77 people in bomb and gun attacks in Norway last year and said he was driven by far-right views.

“The suspect does not belong to a political group or party. He claims that he was acting on nationalistic, anti-Semitic and xenophobic motives,” prosecutor Piotr Krason told a news conference.

“He carried out reconnaissance in the neighborhood of the Sejm (parliament). This building was to be the target of the attack. He collected explosives and materials for detonation,” Krason said.

Poland has no experience of militant violence in its modern history. Society is though deeply polarized between supporters of liberal values and those who believe the country is neglecting its Catholic roots and succumbing to foreign influence.

Earlier this month, a rally in the capital, Warsaw, by right-wing nationalists turned violent, when youths in the crowd started throwing flares and stones at police.

Earlier on Tuesday, prosecutors said they had initiated legal proceedings against the bomb plot suspect on November 5 and that Poland’s Internal Security Agency would handle the case.

“The case looks very serious,” Pawel Gras, a government spokesman, told TOK FM radio station. “We know that the possible targets were to be the president, the parliament and the government.” (Writing by Christian Lowe)

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Sweden: ‘Ban Dual Citizens From Serving in the Riksdag’

The Sweden Democrats want to ban people with dual nationality from serving in the Riksdag, according to a secret document sent to the Parliamentary Investigative Service (Riksdagens Utredningstjänst, RUT) and published by newspaper Expressen.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Sweden: Woman Charged for Sex With Human Skeleton

A woman in western Sweden who was arrested after police found skeletons in her apartment has now been charged for using the bones as sex toys, a hobby she claimed was motivated by an interest in history.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UK: Boyfriend ‘Stabbed Older Partner Then Beat Her to Death With Shears in Underpass After She Refused to Have a Threesome’

Tuanjai Sprengel, 43, was stabbed with a kitchen knife by Muhammad Shafi then had her skull shattered with a pair of metal shears, which caused brain damage.

Her body was then dumped in an underpass near her home in Berkshire.

She also suffered a number of broken fingers, caused as the victim tried to defend herself from the brutal blows which rained down on her head.

Jurors were told how Shafi was accused of killing her by smashing her over the head with the pair of metal tinsnips.

Days before her tragic death, Tuk, as she was known, confided in a pal that Shafi had asked her to have a threesome with him and that he had become enraged when she refused.

She had told her friend that one of Shafi’s male friends was staying with the couple and that Shafi had wanted the man to sleep in their bedroom.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: Child Sex Gang Suspects Held in Police Raids

Police urge victims to come forward after 100 officers raid homes in High Wycombe in an operation targeting a child sex ring.

Police have arrested eight suspected members of a child sex gang during a series of dawn raids on several homes in Buckinghamshire. The men, aged between 21 and 28, were held on suspicion of committing sexual offences against a girl. Thames Valley Police said the girl, who is under 18, reported being abused between 2007 and 2012, but investigators believe other victims may have fallen prey to the same group and urged them to come forward. “We believe that it is likely that there are more victims who have not yet spoken to the police and would like to encourage anyone who is a victim to come forward,” said Detective Chief Inspector Vince Grey. “Our number one priority is to protect the victims, both their identities and well-being in such cases.” The abuse of the girl began in 2007 when she was 12 years old, reports said. Mr Grey praised the girl for speaking to the police, saying she had been “extremely brave and courageous”…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Danny Nightingale ‘Bullied Into Guilty Plea’

The father of an SAS soldier jailed for illegally possessing a weapon says he pleaded guilty only because he expected leniency.

The father of an SAS sniper jailed for illegally possessing a gun has told Sky News his son was bullied into pleading guilty at a court martial. Humphrey Nightingale said: “We knew Danny was not guilty but the judge made it quite clear that if he did not plead guilty he would be sent to a civilian jail for a minimum of five years. “Our hands were tied and we had no other option — Danny has a lovely wife and a young family. We expected a lenient sentence — maybe suspended — but instead he was sentenced to 18 months.” Sgt Danny Nightingale, a father of two who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, is at the Military Corrective Training Centre in Colchester, Essex, after admitting possessing a prohibited firearm and ammunition. The gun, a 9mm Glock pistol, was a gift from Iraqi soldiers he had been training. It had been packed up and returned to him by colleagues in Iraq, after he had to leave the country in a hurry to help organise the funeral of two friends killed in action…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Ex-Criminals Will Become Mentors to Newly-Freed Prisoners and Offer Tips on How to Go Straight

Ex-burglars, muggers and gang members will be recruited to be ‘wise friends’ to newly-freed prisoners, Chris Grayling will announce today.

They will wait for inmates at the prison gate to offer them ‘mentoring’ on how to go straight.

Freed prisoners will also be helped to find a house and a place on a drug or alcohol rehabilitation course.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Final Moments of Teenager Caught on Camera as She Walks to Meet Boyfriend Who Tied Her to a Tree, Tortured and Sexually Assaulted Her Before Stabbing Her to Death

[WARNING: Disturbing content.]

These images show the the poignant final moments of Hannah Windsor, caught on CCTV as she walks to a secret meeting with her boyfriend, seemingly without a care in the world.

Within hours she would be dead; tortured and murdered in a sustained brutal attack at his hands.

‘Sadistic’ Adam Lewis, 18, tied the 17-year-old college student to a tree, sexually assaulted her, strangled her and attacked her with a knife.

He has now been jailed for at least 22 years for the killing.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: MP Says Sgt Danny Nightingale Has Been Let Down

An SAS sergeant jailed for possessing a pistol has been let down by the military criminal justice system, an MP who visited him in custody warned last night.

Danny Nightingale, a father of two, has been detained at the Military Corrective Training Centre in Colchester, Essex, after pleading guilty to possessing an illegal firearm given to him by the Iraqi soldiers he had helped to train. Sgt Nightingale’s heartbroken daughter has written to David Cameron begging him to send her him home for Christmas, the Sun has reported. Mara Nightingale, five, who thinks her father is away on training, has written a heart-felt letter to Mr Cameron. In her best handwriting Mara carefully wrote: “Dear Mr Cameron, please help daddy come home in time for Christmas we hope you can help us Mara and Alys.” Julian Brazier, Tory MP for Canterbury and Whitstable, has taken up his cause and secured an adjournment debate to take place in the House of Commons this evening in the hope that with the backing of MPs, the 18 month sentence can be overturned…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: SAS War Hero Danny Nightingale is in Jail While Terror Suspect Abu Qatada is Free. This is a Travesty of Justice

by Nile Gardiner

Sally Nightingale, wife of jailed SAS war hero Danny Nightingale, has made a moving appeal to David Cameron to intervene in the case of her husband’s imprisonment. As the Telegraph’s Defence Correspondent Sean Rayment reports today, she has asked the prime minister for “five minutes of his time” in return for Sergeant Nightingale’s 17 years of service in the Army, writing in a letter: “I would like to speak to you face to face and explain in person why this sentence is such an injustice. Prime Minister, you can help my husband and his family. Your intervention can end his detention.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Sentenced to Tidy Up His Room: Judge Orders Teenage Burglar to Help His Mother With Chores Around the House if He Wants to Stay Out of Prison

A judge gave a serial burglar an unusual order — help out with household chores or risk jail.

Judge David Ticehurst told 18-year-old Jamie Froom, from Mangotsfield, Glocs, to make his bed, do the washing up and respect his parents.

His mother Melanie, 35, was asked to tell the court if he failed to adhere to the conditions.


Froom today said the judge’s ruling was ‘too strict’ — because he already does housework and is now getting nagged by his mum.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Andrew C. McCarthy: Along Comes Hamas

And it is not just Gaza’s jihadists. Understand: This is not Hamas’s war of extermination against Israel. It is Islam’s. And yes, for the millionth time, there are various ways of interpreting Islam, but the Islam that matters in the Middle East, the Islam that animates tens of millions of Muslims, is Islamic supremacism. Israel, the canary in the West’s coal mine, is not besieged by an eccentric doctrine weaved by Hamas, Hezbollah, and al-Qaeda. Jihadist terrorists are just the point of the ideological spear.


Recent polling shows that four in five Egyptians (i.e., about 60 million people) believe the Camp David Accords — the treaty that has kept peace between Egypt and Israel for 30 years — should be dissolved. It is the same four out of five Egyptians that, given the chance, voted to put Islamists in control of their government.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Bigotry on the Beeb

by Douglas Murray

I have only just caught up on the latest episode of BBC Radio 4’s ‘Any Questions’. In that programme, from All Saints Church in Somerset, a Mr Stephen Bedford asked the panel this question:

‘Despite all the foreign aid and support Israel has spectacularly failed to get on with its neighbours. Does Israel deserve a future?’

More people have been killed in Syria in the last twelve months than have died in the whole of the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians over recent decades. In addition, the Assads have spent recent decades destabilising the Lebanon, assassinating leading politicians there and much more. Yet who would even think of going onto the BBC and asking whether, having so conspicuously failed to get on with its neighbours, Syria should ‘deserve a future’.

The same could be said of absolutely any and every country in the region. But I doubt that the Mr Bedfords of this world would ask whether these countries ‘deserve to have a future.’ And this isn’t a despotism we are speaking about, but an ally and a democracy. How does hatred like this become so mainstream? Well, one reason is that so many British politicians, including Britain’s favourite idiot granny Shirley Williams, tell them lies about Israel which the BBC allows to go out uncorrected. Here is Shirley Williams in reply to the bigoted question with which (unlike the excellent two conservative voices on the panel) she had absolutely no problem. Shirley Williams told the audience that Gaza is ‘a slum’ and then went on to say the following:

‘It’s crowded out to the gills. It’s full of people struggling to find a box in which to live. It’s full of people who see their land slowly eaten up by more and more Israeli settlements.’

What settlements? What ‘slow eating up’? Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza in 2005. There is not a Jew in Gaza. Not a Jewish family, not a Jewish settlement, not a Jewish house, not a Jew. The place is — as the Palestinians have said they would like the West Bank to be if it comes under their full control — wholly and absolutely Judenrein. The last Jew in Gaza was Gilad Shalit. Does Shirley Williams think he was there building settlements for five years, rather than holed up in captivity as a hostage of Hamas? Is it any surprise that members of the British public can come out with bigoted sentiments like those expressed in Somerset when the BBC gives airtime to politicians who spread lies with impunity?

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Gaza: Hamas Executes 7 Men on Suspicion of Treason

Firing squad in downtown Gaza City, bodies left on the street

(ANSAmed) — GAZA, NOVEMBER 20 — A Hamas firing squad on Tuesday executed seven Palestinian men on suspicion of treason.

The men were shot to death in El-Nasser Street in downtown Gaza City. A crowd immediately surrounded the bodies, which were left on the street.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Humiliating Slip in Hamas’ Cannibalistic Cognitive War Strategy: Haniyah and Kandil Kiss Baby Hamas Killed

by Richard Landes

Here’s a classic. Let’s start with the ghoulish display of sorrow over the body of a dead boy, allegedly killed by Israeli bombing. It’s aimed right at the heart of a someone like Annie Lennox who, upon seeing bombs falling on Gaza immediately imagines Palestinian babies on the receiving end, rather than Hamas militants targeting Israeli babies. And, of course, the news media snatch up the photo-op.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Morsi Discusses Israeli Aggression on Gaza With International Leaders

President Mohamed Morsi has made phone calls with each of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Presidential Spokesman Dr. Yasser Ali said in a press statement today 19/11/2012 that Morsi has also received a telephone call from French President Francois Hollande. The calls came as part of efforts aimed to stop the Israeli aggression and bloodshed of Palestinians, Ali added.

[JP note: Risible.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Six Israeli ‘Spies’ Executed Before Baying Mob in Gaza City, Before Motorbike Gang Drags One Bloodied Victim Through the Streets

[WARNING: Disturbing content.]

Six men accused of being ‘Israeli spies’ were dragged through the streets of Gaza City and executed in front of a chanting mob today as Israel warned Palestinians to evacuate some areas of the territory in apparent preparation for a ground invasion.

Witnesses said the six were taken to an intersection in the north of the city where they were summarily shot for providing intelligence that helped Israel pinpoint key figures in Hamas and the Islamic Jihad targeted by their warplanes.


Significantly, Egypt’s president Mohammed Mursi, who has been vocal in his support for the people of Gaza and whose Muslim Brotherhood was mentor to the founders of Hamas, predicted a breakthrough ceasefire could be reached tomorrow and that negotiations were yielding ‘positive results.’

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

The Dead Baby War: Fisking Max Fisher

by Richard Landes

Reflections on Palestinian Thanatography and Western Stupefication

Max Fisher, formerly of the Atlantic Monthly, now the WaPo’s “foreign policy advisor,” just posted a reflection on the war of images in the current Gaza operation. In it he makes every effort to be “even-handed.” And in the end, comes up empty-handed. A remarkable example of how intelligent people can look carefully at evidence and learn nothing. If I didn’t know better (which I don’t), I might think he was doing some “damage control,” if not for Hamas (in which case, presumably it would be unconscious), then for the paradigm that permits him not to acknowledge Hamas’ character…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

The Gates of Jerusalem Are the New Gates of Vienna.

The endless wars with Israel are not really about the Jewish State. Nor are the wars about the Arabs living in the territories that Israel lost in 1948 to Jordan and Egypt and recaptured from them in 1967. The rest of the Muslim world cares no more about them than Hitler cared about the Sudeten Germans or Japan really believed in the rights of Chinese and Koreans.

Israel is a sideline in a regional struggle by fractured populations, divided by ethnicity and religion, by language and natural resources, to unite into a single commonality. It is a natural target because its population consists of a people who are members of a different religious and ethnic group than the dominant religious and ethnic groups of the region.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

The Shomron Mobile Support Initiative for Teens in Distress

Adolescence is a period rife with problems. Adolescence is a period rife with problems, emotional, social and other. These problems are exacerbated by the economic, social and security difficulties in Israel and where relevant, by the immigration process. These problems are exacerbated by the economic, societal and security difficulties in Israel and where relevant, by the immigration process. This complex environment makes some of the youngsters all the more vulnerable to a variety of risk situations. This complex environment makes some of the youngsters all the more vulnerable to a variety of risk situations. We believe that a majority of the youth is in need of an attentive ear, support, guidance and counseling, whether it be about bothersome mundane problems or severe cases of alienation and neglect. Many end up dropping out of established frameworks and end up on the streets.

The world of the streets is another world, different and daunting. Every night, many teens roam public parks, squares, cities and recreation centers, many of these roaming youths dropped out from schools and other settings.. In the absence of support and assistance, many of them fall into drug and alcohol abuse and engage in antisocial activities.

These lost teenagers come from all sectors of society: veteran Israelis and new immigrants, secular, religious and Haredi Jews. , These teens are suffering from neglect environmentally, socially and emotionally.. They are often characterized by aggressive behaviour, have difficulty in trusting, and are beset with self-image problems.

Shomron Teens.

In the Shomron region there are some 4000 teenagers. Of those there are some 350 teens at risk both boys and girls. 50 are self acknowledged dropouts and another 200 have “secretly” dropped out. In addition, some 50 are substance abusers.

Teenagers growing up in the Shomron have all the problems of youth growing up anywhere and several more specific to their region.

  • Exposure to terrorist events.
  • Sense of alienation from the state due to expulsions of family and friends
  • Police records/arrests — many from fighting expulsions
  • Disconnect / tension with family on religious grounds
  • Low socioeconomic status in certain areas.

           — Hat tip: TV[Return to headlines]

When Did Hamas Become Secular?

by Hannin Ghaddar

If one reviews the rhetoric of the liberal “resistance” supporters, especially after the escalation of violence in Gaza, you’d think that Hamas is a liberal or secular group, not an Islamic faction. During the nearly two years of systematic and brutal killing by the Syrian regime of the Syrian people who are resisting tyranny, many Arabs preferred to remain silent, justifying their denial by fear of the Islamists. But suddenly, when Hamas decided to respond to the Israeli attack on Gaza, this reaction was cheered as the ultimate resistance. It didn’t matter who is resisting here and why. The Islamic nature of Hamas does not matter, only because it is against Israel. This juvenile attitude of having one enemy, Israel, and justifying all other kinds of brutality and tyranny in the name of resistance is very common among many Lebanese and Arab leftists and liberals. Do they ask if Hamas has been the best example of governance in Gaza, the way they question the Syrian opposition day and night? Never. At least Hamas had the chance to demonstrate what kind of state it envisions, and it has been obvious that it is not the secular, civil state the opposition is demanding in Syria…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Iran Says Recognition of Nuclear Right Prerequisite for Success of Talks

TEHRAN, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) — Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said Tuesday that recognition of Iran’s right to nuclear enrichment is prerequisite for success of talks with five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus German (P5+1). Mehmanparast at weekly press briefing said that Iran is ready to resume “constructive” talks with the P5+1, adding that the West should correct its “mistakes” and quit its earlier stance towards Iran’s nuclear program…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Saudi Arabia: Muslim Fury as Paris Hilton Opens Shop in Mecca

GLITZY socialite Paris Hilton has outraged Muslims by opening a new shop — in their holy city of MECCA.

They took to social networking sites to vent their anger at the blonde celebrity — who famously starred in an internet sex tape. One said the development was “insulting Mecca” — the holiest city for the world’s 1.2 billion Muslims. Others said the bags and accessories outlet in Saudi Arabia was an “affront” to the “principal sanctuary” of Islam…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

The Jihadis of Yemen

by Robert F. Worth

Yemen is an ancient country on the southern heel of the Arabian peninsula, the crucible of many of the peoples and customs we now think of as Arab. But to most Westerners, it is little more than a code word for bizarre terror plots. The branch of al-Qaeda based there has made three efforts to plant bombs on US-bound jetliners, starting with the “crotch bomber” in late 2009, who tried to detonate himself as his flight approached Detroit and succeeded only in burning his own genitals. The plots have grown steadily more sophisticated, and fears of another terror strike originating in Yemen are said to keep President Obama up at night. Yemen is often described in newspaper shorthand as “the ancestral home of Osama bin Laden,” even though his father left there for Saudi Arabia as a very young man…

“Yemen used to be the tail of the Saudi cow. Now it is its own cow.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Turkish Denizbank Sponsors Manchester United

4-year deal to issue official Red Devils credit cards in Turkey

(ANSAmed) — ROME, NOVEMBER 20 — Turkish lender Denizbank and Manchester United signed a four-year sponsorship deal, making the bank the sole issuer of official Manchester United credit cards in Turkey, the club announced Tuesday.

The deal is a profitable one for the Turkish lender, which employs 11,250 people and has 610 branches throughout Turkey, where an estimated 9.5 million Manchester fans are expected to line up for the credit cards.

Presented by former Red Devils goalie Peter Schmeichel, the deal was signed in Turkey, where Manchester United faces off against Galatasaray in a Champions League match tonight. “This is the 11th sponsorship this season, proving the strength of the Manchester brand and the fact that we want to engage with fans all over the world,” said the club’s commercial director, Richard Arnold.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

UK: MPs to Debate Jailed SAS Sniper Case

MPs will discuss the controversial case of an SAS sniper jailed for illegally possessing a gun. Sergeant Danny Nightingale, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, was sentenced to 18 months in military detention by a court martial after pleading guilty to possession of a prohibited firearm and ammunition. Julian Brazier, MP for Canterbury and Whitstable, has secured an adjournment debate on the case and MPs will debate it this evening. Last night Mr Brazier, a former captain in the SAS reserves, visited Sgt Nightingale at the Military Corrective Training Centre in Colchester, Essex. “It was humbling in a way to feel that such a guy, who has given so many years service could have been brought so low by a system of which I am part, the legislature,” he said. “It filled me with a determination that we have to get justice for this guy.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Wacky Saudi Preacher Sparks Swiss Dispute

A controversial Saudi preacher has been authorized to appear at the second annual conference of the Central Islamic Swiss Council (CCIS) in Fribourg next month over the objections of critics.

The planned appearance of Sheikh Mohammed Al Arifi at the December 15th meeting has raised concerns because of inflammatory statements he has broadcast on YouTube and elsewhere.

The sheikh is alleged by critics to have made anti-Semitic remarks, insulted homosexuals and the Danish people and offered advice on wife-beating.

He is also known for declaring in a television interview that in the Muslim religion there is no minimum age for the marriage of a young girl, according to a spokesman for the Bern-based Swiss association of former muslims.

Kacem El Ghazzali, the association’s president, told Le Matin he believes in freedom of expression but Al Arifi is a Salafist who preaches violence and hatred.

The association and the Zurich-based Forum for democracy and human rights both issued a statement condemning the sheikh’s planned appearance at the Fribourg meeting.

The groups cited a case in which Al Arifi said on a programme on the Al Rissala channel in Saudi Arabia, financed by religious authorities, that western women married dogs and donkeys and that 54 percent of Danish women did not know who the fathers of their children were.

“We condemn racist and sexist declarations that violate the Swiss legal system,” the groups said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

South Asia

007 Daniel Craig Visits Afghanistan

Soldiers, sailors and airmen serving at Camp Bastion met 007 star Daniel Craig when he visited the base on Sunday. He surprised the 800 troops who were about to watch Skyfall, the latest Bond Film. After a brief introduction of the film to the enthusiastic audience, Daniel was given a tour of the camp during which he had an opportunity to meet soldiers and see some of the training they do before they deploy to forward operating bases…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Burma: Obama Tells Myanmar to Stop Violence Against Rohingyas on Historic Visit

Barack Obama became the first U.S. president to visit Myanmar on Monday, using a six-hour trip to balance U.S. praise for the government’s progress in shaking off military rule with pressure to complete the process of democratic reform and end violence against Rohingya Muslims. Myanmar considers the Rohingya Muslims to be illegal immigrants from neighboring Bangladesh and the government does not recognize them as citizens. A Reuters investigation into the wave of sectarian assaults painted a picture of organized attacks against the Muslim community…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Burma: Obama Speaks Out for Rohingya Muslims

YANGON — US President Barack Obama in his historic speech in Myanmar said Monday there was no excuse for violence against innocent Rohingya people and they held the same dignity as the other people were enjoying in Myanmar.Obama urged an end to sectarian unrest in the western state of Rakhine.”For too long, the people of this state, including ethnic Rakhine, have faced crushing poverty and persecution. But there’s no excuse for violence against innocent people, and the Rohingya hold within themselves the same dignity as you do, and I do,” Obama said in his address at Yangon University.”National reconciliation will take time, but for the sake of our common humanity, and for the sake of this country’s future, it is necessary to stop the incitement and to stop violence,” he added.Two major outbreaks of violence since June between Muslims and ethnic Rakhine Buddhists in the state have left 180 people dead and more than 110,000 displaced.Most of those who fled their homes were stateless Rohingya Muslims, who have faced decades of discrimination. “Today, we look at the recent violence in Rakhine state that has caused so much suffering, and we see the danger of continued tensions there,” Obama said.Myanmar’s reformist government is under pressure to give citizenship to the Rohingya as it comes under international scrutiny, with warnings that the conflict threatens its democratic transition.Obama urged Myanmar to hasten its “remarkable” reforms on a visit during which he was feted by huge crowds and met Aung San Suu Kyi at the home where she was long locked up…

[JP note: Muslim-in-Chief, Promoter of The Ummah Supreme (POTUS), and OIC roving ambassador, Obama addresses the pressing plight of Burmese Muslims while ignoring Christian minorities in the Middle East and elsewhere. See “We expect from the United states to convey a strong message to the government of Burma so they protect that minority, what is going on there is a genocide,” Djibouti Foreign Minister Mahmoud Ali Youssouf, who is the acting OIC chairman, said on Saturday (17 November 2012)]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

France Ends Combat Mission in Afghanistan

Nijrab Base(Afghanistan), Nov 20: France ended its last combat mission in Afghanistan today, withdrawing troops from a strategic province northeast of Kabul as part of an accelerated departure from the war-torn country. Paris has said all French combat soldiers will leave next month, two years before allied nations contributing to the 100,000-strong International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) led by the United States are due to depart. Around 1,500 French soldiers will stay into 2013 to take responsibility for repatriating equipment and training the Afghan army to take over when all NATO combat troops leave in 2014…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Indonesia: West Java: New Tasikmalaya Mayor Plans to Implement Sharia

Budi Setiawan wants to introduce Islamic law following a “personal commitment” he made to Muslim leaders during his election campaign. Civic groups, activists and university students voice their opposition to the proposal. Aceh is the model for an “Islamic” society and morality. But this threatens the separation of state and religion in Indonesia.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) — Tasikmalaya’s newly elected mayor wants to introduce Sharia (Islamic law) to please local extremists who backed his candidacy for the post. Budi Setiawan himself made the announced yesterday, a “personal commitment,” he said despite strong opposition from various groups in the city, activists and movements, including university students. In taking office, Mr Setiawan reiterated his desire to implement his project of making Tasikmalaya, a city in southeastern West Java Regency (province), a jurisdiction based on Muslim “values and morality”.

Mayor Setiawan justified his proposal by saying that he received “strong backing from Muslim leaders” during the election campaign, and now wants to honour his “commitment” to fundamentalists, ensuring that city bylaws would be based on Islamic law in matters customs and behaviour.

Despite support for the mayor by the local parlamentarian, Asep Maosul, his plans have been met with a barrage of criticism and popular outrage. Opponents say that politics and public morality cannot be the privilege of a single individual or religion and violate human rights and freedom of expression. However, such a controversy is not new. For some time, the authorities have tried to “Islamise” the city.

On paper, Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country, is a secular nation, based on the 1945 constitution that grants the same rights and respect to all religions even though Muslims are a majority.

Yet, in some places like Aceh, scene of a violent uprising in the past, central authorities have allowed the introduction of the Islamic law in order to secure peace.

In other places, the principles of separation of state and religion and that of equal rights have not prevented abuses and violence. For example, in Bogor, Mayor Diani Budiarto shut down the Yasmin Church. His counterpart in Bekasi did the same to the Philadelphia Protestant Church.

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

Italian Defense Minister Expects Verdict on Italian Marines

Indian supreme court back in session

(ANSA) — Brussels, November 19 — The Italian defense minister said on Monday he expected a verdict shortly from India’s Supreme Court regarding the fate of two Italian anti-pirate marines currently detained in India on criminal charges that include killing two fishermen in February.

“We are expecting the sentence from the Indian Supreme Court, which today finished its ‘recession’ period, and thus returns to work,” Italian Defense Minister Giampaolo Di Paola told reporters after a meeting of European defense ministers in Brussels on Monday.

“We are confident that in the next few days there could be a verdict, and we are confident that Italy’s good reasons could be recognized,” Di Paola added.

The Italian government has been pressing India to help resolve the fate of two Italian anti-pirate marines and has stressed Italy’s wish to bring them home.

India’s Supreme Court has yet to rule on Italy’s petition that it should have jurisdiction over the case. 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 the shooting of the two fisherman in the southern port of Kerala, Jelestine Valentine and Ajesh Binki.

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 on an Italian ship.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

New Afghan Bridge to Stand Test of Time

Royal Engineers from 21 Engineer Regiment have replaced an important bridge to assist the local population of Nahr-e Saraj in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province. The Golden Egg Bridge is part of a vital route that links the main highway and local communities, as well as helping the Afghan National Army maintain communications and freedom to operate.

Insurgents blew up the original bridge. The new one is designed so that repairs and maintenance can be carried out by local tradesmen, making it longer lasting. Forces News went along during its construction.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Far East

China: Worse Than You Ever Imagined

by Ian Johnson

Last summer I took a trip to Xinyang, a rural area of wheat fields and tea plantations in central China’s Henan province. I met a pastor, a former political prisoner, and together we made a day trip to Rooster Mountain, a onetime summer retreat for Western missionaries and later for Communist officials. From its peak we looked down on China’s Central Plains, which stretch six hundred miles up toward Beijing. Over the past few decades, the region below us had become one of the centers of Christianity in China, and I asked him why. He said it was a reaction to the lawlessness and rootlessness in local society. “Henan is chaotic,” he said, “and we offer something moral amid so much immorality.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

China: A New Account of Mao’s Great Famine Reveals the Dark Heart of Socialism

What is it about Communism and mass starvation? From the Soviet Union in the 1930s to Ethiopia in the 1980s, Communist regimes have deliberately engineered famines to achieve their political aims. However, the greatest of all of these crimes against humanity was the Great Chinese Famine of 1958 to 1962 in which at least 36 million people died.

In the New York Review of Books, Ian Johnson reviews a translation of Tombstone, Yang Jisheng’s monumental account of the catastrophe:

Tombstone is a landmark in the Chinese people’s own efforts to confront their history, despite the fact that the party responsible for the Great Famine is still in power. This fact is often lost on outsiders who wonder why the Chinese haven’t delved into their history as deeply as the Germans or Russians or Cambodians. In this sense, Yang is like Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: someone inside the system trying to uncover its darkest secrets.”

The book is banned in China — unsurprisingly, given its central argument:

“His main point is to prove that the Party, from the village chief up to Chairman Mao, knew exactly what was going on but was too warped by ideology to change course until tens of millions had died. Like Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago, the book is a cry of outrage from a victim. Yang vowed to erect for his father an everlasting tombstone, one that would not crumble or fall with time, and he did so with this book.”

Ian Johnson’s review provides a useful guide to the book, which few of us are likely to read, but all of us should know at least something about. Consider, for instance, the following insight into the mentality of those responsible for the deaths so many people:

“Adding to the problem were the harmless-sounding ‘communal kitchens,’ in which everyone ate. The kitchens took on a sinister aspect because of a nonsensical plan to boost steel production by melting down everything from hoes and plows to the family wok and meat cleaver. Families thus couldn’t cook and had to eat in the canteens, giving the state complete control over the supply of food. At first, people gorged themselves, but when food became scarce, the kitchens controlled who lived and who died: ‘The staff of the communal kitchens held the ladles, and therefore enjoyed the greatest power in distributing food. They could dredge a richer stew from the bottom of a pot or merely skim a few vegetable slices from the thin broth near the surface.’ These posts, of course, went to the Party’s most trusted members or relatives.”

When conservatism goes wrong, it is because it is distorted beyond all recognition. For instance, free markets cease to function as such when governments allow vested interests to exploit a monopoly position or to escape the consequences of their own recklessness. But when socialism goes wrong (more wrong than usual, that is) it is still recognisably — indeed, characteristically — socialist. The policies that resulted in Mao’s great famine, though extreme, are nevertheless totally consistent with the idea that the state knows best.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Australia — Pacific

Several Pro-Israel Rallies Held Across Australia

Thousands rallied across the Australian continent in support of Israel’s offensive on Gaza, as both PM Julia Gillard and Opposition Leader Tony Abbot blamed Hamas for the escalation.

SYDNEY — Thousands of Australian Jews stood shoulder to shoulder with Israel on Sunday at solidarity rallies across the continent. Billed as “red alert” rallies by the Zionist Federation of Australia, about 4,000 Jews in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Canberra — many dressed in red clothing — heard for 15 seconds the alert siren that has echoed across Israel this week as Hamas continues to fire rockets across the Gaza border. Almost 2,000 people converged at a suburban park in Melbourne on Sunday morning, while in Sydney a capacity crowd, including several Christian Zionists, crammed into Mizrachi Synagogue in Bondi, forcing hundreds more to throng outside. Many bore red placards declaring “12,000 rockets in 12 years,” “15 seconds to life,” and “Israelis have a right to live in peace.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Kenya: Another Bloody Sunday

Nairobi — Before he knew what was happening, Charles Ngeana, 31, at the scene of Nairobi’s 18 November blast, was struck by a flying sheet of metal. The roof of a packed ‘matatu’ minibus on Route 28 was lifted up and its right side completely blown out. “I ran at first because of the dust,” said Ngeana. “The impact was very big.” Ball-bearings, used to maximize the impact of an explosive device, left nearby vehicles speckled with holes. “It definitely came from inside the matatu,” Ngeana said. It took him a few moments to realize he had gashes on his face, throat and right leg. Soon after the blast, which took place in Eastleigh, the commercial centre of Nairobi’s ethnic Somali population, fighting broke out in the street. People appearing to be of Somali origin were attacked for their perceived association with Al-Shabab, a Somali insurgency group that has repeatedly targeted Kenya because of its military involvement in Somalia. In the melee, Ngeana sought the protection of a Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) emergency response team. The bomb exploded around 4pm.

Security deteriorating

“We anticipate this on Saturdays and Sundays,” said Abdi Nasir, the technical director of the National Blood Transfusion Service, speaking outside the Kenyatta National Hospital where 29 casualties of the blast had arrived. They were followed by over 10 casualties of the riots. “The previous Sunday, and for around one month, every Sunday there has been a disaster. So we were waiting, going by the current trend.” With just four months until elections, the security situation in Kenya is deteriorating. The country has suffered more than such 20 attacks this year, most of them involving grenades or small explosive devices; the attacks have been blamed on Al-Shabaab or its sympathizers. This is the worst attack to hit Nairobi, in terms of casualties, this year. Hundreds of people filled three streets afterward, throwing stones and fighting. On man stabbed in the neck during the post-blast riot said: “They were shouting ‘these people, they’re the ones who are our enemies’, so I tried to run away.”

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Nigeria: No Alternative to Muslims, Christians Living Together — Cardinal Onaiyekan

The newly appointed Cardinal and Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Archbishop John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan, said last night there was no alternative to Muslims and Christians living together in Nigeria and that he would not stop his relationship with Muslims including breaking the Ramadan fasting with them. Speaking when he received members of the Al-Habibiyyah Islamic Society of Nigeria led by its Director and Chief Imam, Sheik Fuad Adeyemi at his residence, the former Co-Chairman of the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC), said many Christians approved his relationship with Muslims in Nigeria and across the world to foster peace and harmony and that God is also happy hence his elevation to Cardinal position…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Nigeria: World Toilet Day — 34 Million Practise Open Defecation

As Nigeria joined the rest of the world to mark this year’s World Toilet Day, a joint UNICEF and World Health Organisation 2012 report has revealed that estimated 34 million Nigerians practice open defecation. According to the report, Nigeria is amongst top five countries in the world with largest number of people defecating in the open…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

South Africa: Chasing the Final Flush

There is no shortage of jokes and a long list of euphemisms when it comes to talking about toilets. But for the staff of the Pollution Research Group (PRG) based in the chemical engineering department at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), toilets are a serious business. Particularly so when you are part of a team attempting to re-invent the toilet as we know it — a 200-year old design that depends on an infinite water supply and extensive sewer system…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Latin America

Mars Cave-Exploration Mission Entices Scientists

NASA is mapping out a strategy to return bits of rock and soil from the Martian surface to Earth, but the most intriguing Red Planet samples lie in underground caverns, some scientists say.

The space agency’s next steps at Mars are geared toward mounting a sample-return mission, which is widely viewed as the best way to look for signs of Red Planet life. Such signs are perhaps more likely to be found in material pulled from the subsurface, so some researchers hope NASA’s first Martian sample-return effort won’t be its last.

“While I’m very much interested in a surface sample-return to get us over this hump of doing it, of course I immediately want to go on and start sampling more cryptic materials in lava-tube caves,” said astrobiologist and cave scientist Penny Boston, of the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in Socorro. “I would love that.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Foreigners Born in Italy Up 28.7% Since 2010

One out of four births in Lombardy

(ANSA) — Venice, November 20 — Italian research foundation Moressa said in a report released Tuesday that the number of foreigners born in Italy in 2012 was up 18.4% since 2011 and 28.7% since 2010.

One out of four foreigners in 2011 were born in the northern region of Lombardy (25,000) while more than half of the total foreign births throughout the country (58.6%) in 2011 were concentrated in Lombardy, Veneto, Lazio and Emilia-Romagna.

Since 2002, the number of children born to foreigners in Italy has risen 209%.

The highest total of foreign births per capita in 2011 were found in Emilia-Romagna, 29.1%, and the lowest in the southern region of Puglia, 5.4%.

In general the report said that the number of foreign births differed greatly between the north and south of the country.

The combined southern regions of Molise, Basilicata, Sardinia, Calabria, Puglia, Sicily and Campania registered foreign births lower than 10%.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy ‘Will Have 17% of Foreigners, 30% Over 65 in 2059’

15% over 80 says Istat chief Giovannini

(ANSA) — Rome, November 19 — The Italian population will be 17% composed of foreigners and 30% made up of over-65s in 2050, Istat President Enrico Giovannini said Monday.

Currently immigrants make up 7% of the population.

The over-80s will be 15% of the population in 2050, said the statistics agency chief.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Mark Steyn: Tribal America

To an immigrant such as myself (not the undocumented kind, but documented up to the hilt, alas), one of the most striking features of election-night analysis was the lightly worn racial obsession. On Fox News, Democrat Kirsten Powers argued that Republicans needed to deal with the reality that America is becoming what she called a”brown country.”


According to the Census, in 1970 the “Non-Hispanic White” population of California was 78 percent. By the 2010 census, it was 40 percent. Over the same period, the 10 percent Hispanic population quadrupled and caught up with whites.

That doesn’t sound terribly “natural” does it? If one were informed that, say, the population of Nigeria had gone from 80 percent black in 1970 to 40 percent black today, one would suspect something rather odd and unnatural had been going on.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Muslim Migration an ‘Islamist Threat’

Mail on Sunday columnist, Peter Hitchens, regurgitated his ‘Eurabia’ style antipathy for Muslims in a short column in yesterday’s paper. Hitchens, writing on the recent ruling by the appeals court on Abu Qatada, suggests that “The real Islamist threat to Britain comes from mass immigration and multiculturalism”. He writes, “Having encouraged large numbers of Muslims to come and live here, we now also officially urge them to stay separate from the rest of society” and claims “this will lead to great trouble”…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

Anti-Gay Marriage Protesters Clash With Feminists in Paris

French activists from the Ukrainian-based feminist group Femen were pepper-sprayed, hit and kicked by anti-gay marriage protesters in Paris on Sunday when they tried to disrupt a march against plans to legalise same-sex marriage and adoption rights.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Transgender Beauty Queen Praises Her Amazing Family Ahead of BBC Documentary on Her Mission to Become Miss England

Aged 16 Jackie Green became the youngest person in the world to undergo transgender surgery.

Now as a 19-year-old woman, Jackie has made history once again by becoming the first transgender Miss England finalist, and a BBC3 documentary to be aired tonight follows the teen’s mission to become a beauty queen.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK Primary Schoolteachers ‘Could Face Sack’ For Refusing to Promote Gay Marriage

Liz Truss, an education minister, refused to rule out the possibility that teachers, even in faith schools, could face disciplinary action for objecting on grounds of conscience.

Parents who object to gay marriage being taught to their children would also have no right to withdraw their child from lessons,…

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Is There a Jewish Gene?

by Richard C. Lewontin

The question of ancestry has been of human concern in virtually all cultures and over all times of which we have any knowledge. Whether it be a story about the origin of a particular tribe or nation and its subsequent mixture with other groups, or curiosity about a family history, there is always the implication that we understand ourselves better if we know our ancestors and that we, within ourselves, reflect properties that have come to us by an unbroken line from past generations. As treasurer of the Marlboro Historical Society in Vermont, I am the recipient of requests for printed copies of the Reverend Ephraim Newton’s mid-eighteenth-century history of our town, 70 percent of whose pages consist of “Genealogical and Biographical Notes” and a “Catalog of Literary Men.” Over and over our correspondents write of the “pride” they have in descending from these early settlers…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

New Look at Einstein’s Brain Pictures Show His Genius

The mystique surrounding Albert Einstein’s brain as the source of his intellectual power seems to only have intensified since his death in 1955 at age 76. You can even poke at his grey matter in an iPad app. When the Nobel Prize-winning physicist, whose special theory of relativity changed the way we look at physics, died of an aneurysm, his son gave permission for his father’s brain to be removed and studied.

It was dissected and photographed by pathologist Thomas Harvey, and in 2010 14 of his photos were rediscovered when they were donated to the National Museum of Health and Medicine. According to a study published last week in the neurology journal Brain, Einstein’s remarkable intelligence could be attributed to his prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for speech as well as imagining events and simulating their consequences. His is dramatically expanded from a normal brain.

The researchers also noticed that there is a large knob on his motor cortex, representing Einstein’s early extensive practice playing the violin.

After it was photographed, Einstein’s brain was divided into 240 sections and mapped so that observers of the blocks could understand which sections of the brain they were looking at. One hundred and eighty of the brain blocks are at the University Medical Centre of Princeton, but many more are unaccounted for, raising the possibility that there’s a piece of Einstein’s brain in your grandparent’s attic.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Vikings Feasted on Seals, Bones Reveal

Seals made up as much 80 percent of the Viking diet in Greenland, new analyses of Norse skeletons reveal. The finds suggest that the settlers’ mysterious disappearance from Greenland 500 years ago was hardly due to an inability to adjust to the icy environment.

“Even though the Norse are traditionally thought of as farmers, they adapted quickly to the Arctic environment and the unique hunting opportunities,” explained researcher Jan Heinemeier of Aarhus University in a statement. “During the period they were in Greenland, the Norse ate gradually more seals.”

Through analyses of the carbon isotope ratios in bone samples from 80 Norse skeletons, the researchers determined that a large proportion of the Vikings’ diet came from seafood, with seals making up between 50 and 80 percent by the 14th century.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]