Sunday, January 12, 2003

News Feed 20121205

Financial Crisis
»Spain Hits New Joblessness High at Almost 5 Million
»American Reds Still Backing Obama
»America Nears El Tipping Pointo
Europe and the EU
ȣ2bn of UK Aid to Help Third World Go Green
»Biggest UK Mosque: Decision Due on Tablighi Jamaat Bid
»Dutch Ready to Revoke Blasphemy Law
»French Sperm Count ‘Falls by a Third’
»Gas: Greek Reserves Could Reach 427 Bln Euros, Deutsche Bank
»Italian Premier Calls High-Speed Rail ‘Growth’ Measure
»Italy: Financial Times Urges Bersani to Clarify Party Direction
»Male Fertility Down in France… And Will UK be Next? Sperm Counts Fall Rapidly Due to Diet and Lifestyle
»Mining Company Fibs About Danish Support for Uranium Extraction
»Netherlands: All Football Matches Scrapped After Linesman’s Violent Death
»Nobel Prize to Get Hedge Fund Boost After Awards Sink 20%
»Quality of Life in Athens Lowest in Western Europe, Survey
»Serbian NATO Envoy Jumps to Death at Brussels Airport
»Spain’s ‘New Muslims’
»UK: Appeal for Information About Whereabouts of Man Arrested in Connection With Sexual Offence — Bristol
»UK: A Teenage Girl Was Raped After Accepting a Lift Home From a Stranger in Rochdale
»UK: Homecoming Parade for Royal Welsh After Afghanistan Tour
»UK: Megamosque Nixed for Now
»UK: Nassim Nicholas Taleb and His Enemies
»UK: Rochdale Safeguarding Board Chairman Quits After Sex Grooming Scandal
»UK: Sex Grooming: Shaun Wright May Face Select Committee Summons
»UK: The Turner Prize: A Bloated, Contrived, Luvvie-Riddled Waste of Taxpayer’s Money
»UK: Tories Vote to Scrap ‘Undemocratic’ Human Rights Act
»UK: Tories Turn Up Heat on Human Rights Act as Seven Former Ministers Call on Cameron to Repeal the Law
»UK: We Wish You a Merry Hatefest
North Africa
»Arab Spring on Big Screen in Bari Arab Film Festival
»Egypt: More Clashes at Presidential Palace, Two Dead
»Libya: Al-Qaeda ‘Intensifying Efforts to Establish New Base in Libya’
»Three Dead, 350 Wounded in Egypt Violence
»Tunisia: Sixtieth Anniversary of Farhat Hached’s Assassination — UGTT March Disturbed
»Tunisia: ‘UGTT is Murdered the Very Day We Commemorate 60th Anniversary of Leader Farhat Hached’s Assassination, ‘ Houcine Abassi
»Tunisia: UGTT HQ Attacked, Unionists Almost Lynched in Video
Israel and the Palestinians
»Europe Mulls New Mideast Peace Plan: Palestinian Official
»Israel Accuses US of Backing European Settlement Backlash
»The Conversation Israel and Palestine Needs to Have
Middle East
»2 Killed, 12 Injured in Fresh Fighting in Lebanon’s Tripoli
»A US-Led Coalition Against Syria Could Include Israel
»Italy Has No Plans to Cut Contingent to UN Lebanon Mission
»NATO’s Turkey Missile Deployment “Inconducive” To Peace: China FM
»Syria: ‘Russia is a Convenient Excuse to Do Nothing’
»Syria: Children Freezing to Death, Italy to Sent 1.5mln Euros
»Turkey Opens an Arabic Website for Arab Visitors
South Asia
»India: Not Another Mosque-Temple Tinderbox
»India: Gujarat Polls: Who Will Hug the Muslims?
»Over 500 Buddhist Artifacts Looted in Bangladesh
Australia — Pacific
»Faith Off: Sparks Fly in Doveton Mosque Row
Sub-Saharan Africa
»Nigeria: Disquiet Over Sack of Jaji Military Chiefs — Jni Alleges Religious Bias
»Nigeria: We’ll Dialogue With Boko Haram if … — FG
»Nigeria: Christians, Muslims Ask to Join Hands to Fight Terrorism
»Somali Men Jailed in Rome for Piracy
»South Africa: Beleaguered White SA Farmers Ask for State Protection
»South African Farmers Fearing for Their Lives
»Immigrants Absent From German Public Sector
»UK: Countryside is Under Threat in Migrant Surge
Culture Wars
»The Agenda Behind Gender Bending
»Earth’s Earliest Dinosaur Possibly Discovered
»NASA’s Next Mars Rover Should Collect Samples, Experts Say

Financial Crisis

Spain Hits New Joblessness High at Almost 5 Million

+11% in a year, fewer registered for social security benefits

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, DECEMBER 4 — Spain’s unemployment rate continued to grow in November, reaching almost 5 million — a new record high of 74,296 more jobless compared with the previous month. These figures were released today by the Labour and Social Security Ministry. The overall number of unemployed is 4,907,817 people, a rise of 487,355 people in one year (more than 11%). Almost 38,000 of the newly unemployed (reported the sources) are the effect of the discharge of special obligatory contracts of the Social Security Institute for non-professional assistants for the disabled. This is the direct effect of measures adopted in July by Mariano Rajoy’s conservative government in the decree for service cuts affecting the disabled, on the basis of which non-professional caregivers must pay social security contributions which previously had been paid by the state. A sharp drop was also seen in November for the number of those signed up for social security benefits, down by 111,782 — about 205,678 fewer than at the beginning of the year. In the sector breakdown, 85% of the newly unemployed were from the tertiary sector while the rest were from agriculture or manufacturing.

Labour Minister Fatima Banez has admitted that “it is clearly a negative figure”, in commenting on the unemployment rate today. However, she went on to defend the government’s policies, saying that “ despite having made the appropriate decisions and asked for enormous efforts from citizens, the recession continues to have painful consequences for all Spaniards.” She said that “the government is working every day to change the situation.”

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


American Reds Still Backing Obama

Erwin Marquit, a member of the International Department of the Communist Party USA (CPUSA), recently told a conference of communist political parties from around the world that communists in the U.S did not run their own candidate for president on November 6 because they worked within the Democratic Party for the reelection of Barack Obama and the victories of “progressive” Democrats to Congress.

“The Communist Party USA not only welcomes the reelection of President Barack Obama, but actively engaged in the electoral campaign for his reelection and for the election of many Democratic Party congressional candidates,” Marquit declared at the conference, hosted by the Lebanese Communist Party.

Under Obama, he said, “…we have been forming Party clubs in states in which we previously had very few or even no members. This influx of new members led us to have a national Party school earlier this year to acquaint new members with the Marxist-Leninist orientation of the Party.”

The communist resurgence under Obama is not surprising, since he has consistently waged a Marxist class warfare campaign as President and was influenced as a young man by Communist Party member Frank Marshall Davis.

[Return to headlines]

America Nears El Tipping Pointo

An article by Nate Cohn in the current New Republic argues, as the title puts it: “The GOP Has Problems With White Voters, Too.” As proof, Cohn cites Jefferson County, Colo.; Loudoun County, Va.; Wake County, N.C.; and Somerset County, N.J., all of which went Republican in presidential elections from 1968 through 2004, but which Romney lost in 2012.

Smelling a rat, I checked the demographic shifts in these counties from the 2000 to the 2010 census. In each one, there has been a noticeable influx of Hispanics (and Asians, who also vote Democrat), diminishing “the white vote” that Cohn claims Republicans are losing.

Between the 2000 and 2010 census, for example, the white population of Jefferson County declined more than 90 percent to less than 80 percent, while the Hispanic population more than doubled, from 6 percent to 14 percent.

In Loudoun County, the Asian population tripled from 5 percent to 15 percent and the Hispanic population doubled from 6 percent to 12 percent. Meanwhile, whites plummeted from 83 percent to 69 percent of the population.

Similarly, Wake County shifted from 74 percent white to 66 percent white in the past decade, while the Hispanic population doubled, from 5 percent to 10 percent, and the black population stayed even at about 20 percent.

[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

£2bn of UK Aid to Help Third World Go Green

Britain yesterday pledged almost £2 billion in “climate aid” to help finance foreign projects including wind turbines in Africa and greener cattle farming in Colombia.

Each household will contribute £70 to schemes to tackle climate change in developing countries before March 2015, under plans championed by Ed Davey, the Liberal Democrat Energy Secretary.

Conservative MPs were furious last night at the scale of the bill, which was unveiled as George Osborne prepares to announce a series of tax rises and spending cuts in today’s Autumn Statement.

Lord Lawson of Blaby, a former Chancellor, also criticised the “appalling waste of money” at a time when household budgets are already squeezed.

Senior Conservatives were also dismayed at the timing of the announcement, but Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, hailed the cash as “fantastic news”.

The disclosure is sure to provoke anger among hard-pressed families, who increasingly see foreign aid and green energy as among the lowest priorities for Government spending in the current financial climate.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

Biggest UK Mosque: Decision Due on Tablighi Jamaat Bid

A decision on whether to approve plans for what would be the UK’s biggest mosque, near the Olympic Park in east London, will be made later.

The Islamic missionary group Tablighi Jamaat has been trying for 10 years to build a large mosque in Newham. The mosque would have four times the capacity of St Paul’s Cathedral with room for almost 10,000 worshippers — which opponents say is too big. Plans for the Abbey Mills site will be discussed at a meeting later…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Dutch Ready to Revoke Blasphemy Law

While some countries convict people for blasphemy and tighten laws concerning insulting religions, the Netherlands aims to strike blasphemy from the books. But the Dutch are going to make one royal exception. Blasphemy has been illegal in the Netherlands since 1932. But it’s been decades since the statue has seen the light of a courtroom — the last time anyone was convicted of “offensive blasphemy” was in 1968. Now, the Dutch government would like to remove the law entirely. The Dutch parliament in The Hague has suggested abolishing section 147, under which blasphemy becomes a punishable offense. Any insults lobbed at the Dutch Queen Beatrix, however, shall continue to be a punishable offense…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

French Sperm Count ‘Falls by a Third’

French men are not as fertile as they used to be, according to a new study. And not only are they producing less semen, but the sperm is of a lower quality at that.

Researchers found that the sperm count in French men fell by nearly a third between 1989 and 2005, at a rate of about 1.9 percent a year. The study, published in the Oxford journal Human Reproduction, tested semen samples from more than 26,000 men from across the country.

“To our knowledge, this is the first study concluding a severe and general decrease in sperm concentration and morphology at the scale of a whole country over a substantial period,” wrote one of the report’s authors, epidemiologist Dr Joelle Le Moal.

[Return to headlines]

Gas: Greek Reserves Could Reach 427 Bln Euros, Deutsche Bank

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, DECEMBER 5 — Undersea natural gas reserves south of Crete could reach an estimated value of up to at 427 billion euros, according to a Deutsche Bank report. The German lender’s report notes that the Greek government has commissioned preliminary seismology studies, with initial results expected in mid 2013. The report, however, also noted that the scale and evaluation of the natural gas reserves have yet to be verified and have so far been based on gas finds in the Levantine Basin in the Eastern Mediterranean, a sea area between Cyprus, Turkey, Syria, Israel, Egypt and Lebanon.

According to the report, as Kathimerini online writes, revenues stemming from the exploitation of the natural gas reserves could be expected in no fewer than 8 to 10 years.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Italian Premier Calls High-Speed Rail ‘Growth’ Measure

Monti says ‘concrete’ projects needed to flank budget discipline

(ANSA) — Rome, December 3 — Italian Premier Mario Monti said Monday the future high-speed rail link between Lyon and Turin will contribute to badly needed economic growth in France and Italy.

“We are both convinced” that for economic growth “budget discipline” is necessary, but “at the same time not sufficient,” Monti told reporters at the conclusion of a France-Italy bilateral summit in Lyon.

“Concrete initiatives are needed, like the one confirmed today, with shared political will, of the Turin-Lyon high-speed link,” Monti said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Financial Times Urges Bersani to Clarify Party Direction

Must say if will follow Monti agenda says British newspaper

(ANSA) — Rome, December 5 — The first task of newly re-elected Democratic Party (PD) leader Pier Luigi Bersani must be to clarify his party’s direction, the Financial Times newspaper said Wednesday.

The FT, an influential British newspaper, said Bersani should be clear with voters on where he stands on reforms already implemented by Premier Mario Monti and his technocrat government.

Bersani’s “first task is to clarify whether his government will follow the path traced by Monti” in such areas as public finance, pension and labour-market reforms, and public spending cuts. In an editorial following Bersani’s victory Sunday in PD primaries, the newspaper said clarity from Bersani — a 61-year-old former Communist — is also important for Italy’s credibility in the eyes of financial markets and investors.

Markets are said to be concerned by the PD’s alliance with the smaller leftist SEL party, although Bersani has already signalled he will not deviate from Monti’s adherence to EU-mandated fiscal discipline. Polls suggest that Bersani could become the country’s next premier in elections slated for February or March.

Bersani’s PD party stands a good chance over former premier Silvio Berlusconi’s centre-right People of Freedom (PdL) party, which is in a state of confusion as its candidate for premier is still not known just months before the vote.

But the PD will also face competition from comedian Beppe Grillo’s anti-establishment Five Star Movement, which opposes the current party system and wants Italy to have a referendum on whether to keep the euro as its currency.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Male Fertility Down in France… And Will UK be Next? Sperm Counts Fall Rapidly Due to Diet and Lifestyle

Falling sperm counts in France are a ‘serious warning’ to British men, scientists said yesterday.

A major French study has revealed that sperm counts and quality have fallen sharply since the start of the 1990s.

It is believed the trend is linked to diet, lifestyle and ‘gender bender’ chemicals.

Read more:

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

Mining Company Fibs About Danish Support for Uranium Extraction

Pushy foreign companies want Denmark and Greenland to allow the mining of the radioactive metal, but major diplomatic hurdles need to be cleared before the ban is repealed

A multi-billion kroner rare earth mineral mine in Greenland could break China’s near-monopoly on the minerals and bring enormous wealth to the Danish autonomous territory.

But while the mine’s operator, the Australian company Greenland Mineral and Energy (GME), is eager to get going, they can’t until a ban on uranium mining is lifted.

Uranium would be an inevitable by-product of the mine in the Kvanefjeld region, and GME has been placing pressure on Greenland’s Self-Rule government to lift the ban so it can invest an additional 15 billion kroner to get the mine started.

Lifting the ban is not simple, however. While Greenland has full jurisdiction over which resources it allows to be mined, if the mines affect the security of the Kingdom of Denmark, then the central Danish government also has a say.

As a result of the joint interest, the Greenlandic Self-Rule government and the Danish government recently agreed to establish a commission that will access the impact of lifting the ban.

Thee results of the study won’t be ready before the spring when the Self-Rule government will vote on whether to allow uranium mining. But according to GME, they already have the support of the Danish government.

“The Danish foreign minister Villy Søvndal … has indicated that Denmark will support Greenland in pursuing uranium production,” GME’s managing director Roderick McIllree wrote in a press release.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Netherlands: All Football Matches Scrapped After Linesman’s Violent Death

THE HAGUE, 05/12/12 — The Dutch football association KNVB yesterday cancelled all this weekend’s amateur football matches in a protest against the violent death of a linesman.

A linesman who was beaten up after an amateur football match on Sunday died on Monday. Three youths aged 15 and 16 have been arrested.

Out of respect for the linesman the KNVB has cancelled all 31,000 matches except those in the two professional leagues. All players there will wear black ribbons. A minute’s silence will be held before every professional game.?

The KNVB yesterday also called on all amateur clubs to open their clubhouses this weekend. It urges teams to get together and discuss the incident.

After an amateur football match between the B1 youth teams of Amsterdam club Nieuw Sloten and Almere club Buitenboys on Sunday linesman Richard Nieuwenhuizen was attacked by Nieuw Sloten players. He got unwell two hours later and was being kept in an artificial coma. He died on Monday from brain damage.

Three youths aged 15 and 16 of the B1 youth team have been arrested and charged with manslaughter. Nieuw Sloten has removed the team from competition, suspended the boys and passed their names to the KNVB.

According to media reports, the Nieuw Sloten club has been warned before by KNVB about aggressive behaviour, particularly in relation to its B1 youth team. Also, its younger C1 team is said to be given kickboxing classes prior to each match. Nieuw Sloten’s players and members are predominantly immigrants.

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

Nobel Prize to Get Hedge Fund Boost After Awards Sink 20%

The Nobel Foundation, which this year lopped 20 percent off its cash prizes, is planning to invest more money through hedge funds to boost its returns and restore the award to its previous size.

“When we look at the analysis we see that we can get more return with less risks by doing that,” Executive Director Lars Heikensten said in an interview at the Nobel Foundation’s Stockholm headquarters yesterday. “If we can choose hedge funds that we trust, then we can get better returns for given risks.” The fund “probably shouldn’t” be fully invested in debt securities, he said.

The Nobel foundation, created in 1900 at the request of Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel to award prizes in physics, chemistry, medicine, peace and literature, this year cut the cash amount of its prize for the first time since 1949. The move followed a decade of poor returns, exacerbated by the onset of the global financial crisis.

The foundation had 2.97 billion kronor ($448 million) in investments at the end of 2011, corresponding to an 18 percent slump from its 2007 level, according to its website. The decline prompted a cut in this year’s prize amount to 8 million kronor, from 10 million kronor to safeguard Nobel’s capital.

“It was a difficult decision to take, since Nobel when he wrote his will made clear he wanted his money to be used for prizes,” said Heikensten, a former governor of the Swedish central bank.

An economics prize was created by Sweden’s Riksbank in 1968. Alvin E. Roth and Lloyd S. Shapley shared the award this year for their work on matching supply and demand. Previous laureates include Milton Friedman and Paul Krugman. The 2012 peace prize went to the European Union.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Quality of Life in Athens Lowest in Western Europe, Survey

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, DECEMBER 4 — Athens offers its residents the worst quality of life of any city in western Europe, according to the latest global survey from consultant group Mercer. Earlier this year, the company’s researchers found that Athens was the world’s 78th most expensive city for non-locals, among 214 cities. Vienna has the best quality of life of any city in the world and Baghdad the worst, Mercer found as Kathimerini online reports.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Serbian NATO Envoy Jumps to Death at Brussels Airport

(Reuters) — Serbia’s ambassador to NATO jumped to his death from a multi-storey carpark at Brussels airport, officials said on Wednesday, and Serbia said it was investigating the incident.

Branislav Milinkovic, 52, jumped to his death during a conference of NATO foreign ministers, but officials did not make any connection between the meeting and his suicide.

“We are shocked and we are investigating all circumstances” surrounding the ambassador’s death, said a Serbian Foreign Ministry official who asked not to be named.

“We have no clues about what could prompt Milinkovic to do that. He was a good man,” the official said.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen was “deeply saddened by the tragic death of the Serbian ambassador,” who was highly respected, said an alliance spokeswoman.

Brussels prosecutor’s office said: “We can be sure that it was a suicide, therefore we are not investigating any further.”

The Serbian Foreign Ministry praised Milinkovic as a distinguished diplomat and jurist who would be “remembered as a skilled diplomat, an intellectual and a noble man.”

Milinkovic was appointed ambassador to NATO in 2009 but had already been based in Brussels since 2004 as an envoy from the now defunct state union of Serbia and Montenegro.

Serbian tabloid newspaper Kurir reported that Milinkovic jumped around 10 metres (30 feet) in the presence of Serbia’s assistant foreign minister for security policy, Zoran Vujic.

The report, which could not immediately be confirmed, quoted an unnamed foreign ministry source as saying: “It’s possible the man was depressed and that nobody had noticed.”

[Return to headlines]

Spain’s ‘New Muslims’

A FORMER New York Times correspondent has penned a new book tracing the history of Spain’s ‘new Muslims’.

Al-Andalus Rediscovered discusses the integration of Muslim boatpeople, students, women and clerics, and how they fare in a largely Roman Catholic region. “Spain and Portugal have such long and conflicted history with the Islamic world,” said author Marvine Howe. “I focus primarily on the new Muslims, including the economic migrants who come via pateras from North Africa, the 2004 Madrid terrorist attacks and the impact of the economic crisis on integration efforts,” she added.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Appeal for Information About Whereabouts of Man Arrested in Connection With Sexual Offence — Bristol

Mohammed Sabry Aldeed, aged 37, of no fixed abode, was arrested on suspicion of rape following an incident which took place on the platform at Stapleton Road railway station at around 11pm on Sunday, 16 September 2012.

Aldeed was arrested by a patrolling Avon and Somerset Police officer who spotted him walking on Stapleton Road on Thursday, 27 September and recognised him as being a man wanted by BTP in connection with the incident.

Following an interview by BTP detectives, Aldeed was released on police bail to return to Trinity Road police station on Tuesday, 23 October.

His bail conditions included attending Trinity Road police station every Monday and Thursday.

Aldeed failed to answer his bail conditions and his whereabouts are currently unknown.

The Crown Prosecution has given authority to charge Aldeed with rape and enquiries are currently ongoing to trace Aldeed and bring him to justice.

Detective Constable Steve Eyers, of BTP, said:”It’s paramount that we locate Aldeed as soon as possible and ensure that he is brought back into custody and he answers the charge of rape.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: A Teenage Girl Was Raped After Accepting a Lift Home From a Stranger in Rochdale

At about 12.40am on Saturday 1 December 2012, the 17-year-old was on Fleece Street when she was approached by a man in a car who offered her a lift home.

She accepted and the man took her to her house in Newbold.

During the journey he made threats towards her, leaving her frightened for her safety.

As she opened her front door the man got out of his car and followed her in.

Taking advantage of her drunken state he then raped her.

The man is described as Asian, in his early 20s, 5ft 7in tall and of stocky build. He had short black hair, was clean shaven and was wearing a white T-shirt and jeans.

Detective Inspector Ian Harratt, of the Serious Sexual Offences Unit, said: “The victim, suffering the effects of having consumed a variety of drinks during a night out, has accepted a lift home from a stranger in the early hours.

“The end result, tragically, is that he has forced his way into her house and raped her.

“If anyone can help us identify this person I would urge them to contact us.

“Unfortunately this incident acts as a timely reminder of just how important is it to keep yourself safe, especially in the lead up to Christmas when more people will be out drinking and socialising.

“Clearly, there are those prepared to take advantage of people when they are at their most vulnerable and by following a few safety tips, such as only travelling in pre-booked taxis and always staying with friends, we have a much better chance of having a safe Christmas.”

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: Homecoming Parade for Royal Welsh After Afghanistan Tour

Members of 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh have marched through Swansea in a homecoming parade to mark their return from Afghanistan.

The occasion remembered Capt Stephen Healey, 29, and Cpl Michael Thacker, 27, who died during the tour. The city also signed a community covenant to support members of the armed forces and their families. The parade began on Oystermouth Road and went through the city centre to Brangwyn Hall. Speaking before the event, Lord Mayor of Swansea Dennis James said: “This will be a historic day for the city when its links with the armed forces will be celebrated and sealed in the new covenant.”…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Megamosque Nixed for Now

Esmerelda, our Roving Reporter (this is not a time to avoid clichés) has just phoned/texted from the heart of the protest near Stratford Old Town Hall to say that permission for the Megamosque has been refused.

The decision must be ratified by the office of Boris Johnson, non-Lord Mayor of London, who had better not turn again. There may also be an appeal.

Esmerelda will file a full report when she gets back.


           — Hat tip: Steen[Return to headlines]

UK: Nassim Nicholas Taleb and His Enemies

In the process of becoming rich, famous and outspoken, Nassim Nicholas Taleb — the best-selling author of The Black Swan — has accumulated enemies. With the publication of Taleb’s latest book, entitled Antifragility, his critics are out in force and putting the boot in. A prime example is a hostile review by David Runciman in the Guardian, which kicks off with a useful description of what Antifragility is all about […]

Taleb has found new ways of annoying people, especially those on the left. David Runciman identifies their main complaint: “Taleb thinks modern states become fragile when they get into debt, and that a prerequisite of political antifragility is rigid fiscal conservatism.” Leftwingers enjoyed The Black Swan because it exposed the intellectual bankruptcy of the financial establishment. However, though Taleb continues to excoriate the cheerleaders of vulture capitalism, he also shows that they are all of a piece with the advocates of debt-fuelled statism. In other words, Taleb, in his own defiantly eccentric, willfully cantankerous fashion, has shown himself to be a proper conservative. And his critics — whether of the left, right or centre — don’t like that at all.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Rochdale Safeguarding Board Chairman Quits After Sex Grooming Scandal

The head of Rochdale council’s safeguarding board has quit following the borough’s grooming scandal. Board chair Lynne Jones has stepped down after less than three years, describing the last 12 months as ‘challenging’. In May nine men were jailed for grooming young girls using drink and drugs. Following the case the board delivered a ‘damning’ report slamming the council and police for repeatedly failing the victims. Mrs Jones, who joined as chair of the board in 2010, is the latest in a string of high profile figures to leave their jobs in the wake of the scandal. Since May Cheryl Eastwood, the council’s director of children’s services, and Steve Garner, head of its targeted services department, have both left the council. Chief executive Roger Ellis took early retirement shortly before the court case…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Sex Grooming: Shaun Wright May Face Select Committee Summons

SOUTH Yorkshire’s newly-elected Police and Crime Commissioner Shaun Wright may have to face a Commons committe looking into the Rotherham sex grooming scandal. Keith Vaz, chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, said during a hearing yesterday that Cllr Wright, who was Rotherham Council’s Cabinet member for children between 2005 and 2010, could be asked to give evidence to the committee, along with other council representatives.

Times journalist Andrew Norfolk, who spent two years looking into sexual exploitation in the town told the committee that he was ‘flabbergasted’ that the issue of attitudes to the age of consent had not been considered over the question of young girls being groomed for sex by Asian men. “If you come from rural Mirpuri, Kashmiri community, where whatever state law says, village tradition and Sharia law says puberty is the green light for marriage, then perhaps you begin to understand why it’s not just lone offenders,” he told the committee.

[JP note: View the Home Affairs Committee session with Andrew Norfolk here

Committee Chair Rt Hon Keith Vaz MP on Andrew Norfolk: “At a time when there is widespread discussion about the failings of the press we are pleased to welcome such a distinguished investigative journalist. It is the work of Andrew Norfolk which brought the terrible cases of localised grooming to national attention. His work has started a long overdue public discussion on the attitudes towards the victims of child sexual exploitation which we hope will mean that failures like those seen in Rochdale and Rotherham won’t happen again.”

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: The Turner Prize: A Bloated, Contrived, Luvvie-Riddled Waste of Taxpayer’s Money

by Ruth Dudley Edwards

Anyone who watched Channel 4’s coverage of the Turner Prize last night will have noticed Noel Fielding’s hat, which vaguely resembled an ill-fitting bearskin. I suppose if you’re a comedian who moonlights as a surrealist (he once put on an exhibition called Psychedelic Dreams of the Jelly Fox at a Soho patisserie), you feel it necessary to wear something extremely silly when you’re on television talking about art…

[Reader comment by rsmith on 5 December 2012 at 3:30 am.]

Two words: Cultural Marxism.

[JP note: Three words: Common Purpose Art.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Tories Vote to Scrap ‘Undemocratic’ Human Rights Act

Andrew Mitchell, the former government chief whip, led more than 70 Tory MPs in voting to scrap the Human Rights Act.

The Commons vote intensified pressure on David Cameron from his own backbenchers to pull Britain out of the “undemocratic” jurisdiction of the European court. The Prime Minister has said he would like to abolish the Human Rights Act but suggested Nick Clegg’s Liberal Democrats would not allow him move “further and faster” with reform. Former Tory ministers including Nick Herbert, Crispin Blunt and Gerald Howarth were among 71 Conservatives who backed a Commons motion to repeal Labour’s Human Rights Act 1998…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Tories Turn Up Heat on Human Rights Act as Seven Former Ministers Call on Cameron to Repeal the Law

Seven former ministers voted for the repeal of the Human Rights Act yesterday — as Tory MPs stepped up pressure on David Cameron to act on the issue.

Former Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell, former justice minister Crispin Blunt and former schools minister Nick Gibb were among 72, mostly Tory, MPs who voted for the repeal of Labour’s controversial legislation, which enshrined the European Convention of Human Rights in British law.

Other senior Tories involved included the former defence minister Sir Gerald Howarth, former social security secretary Peter Lilley and former whips Bill Wiggin and James Duddridge.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: We Wish You a Merry Hatefest

by Sarah AB

On the 23rd December, at a venue yet to be announced, a conference entitled ‘Five Great Men’ (a reference to those who are seen as precursors to Muhammed within Islam) will feature the following speakers:

  • Ustaad Murtaza Khan
  • Abu Abdisalaam
  • Imam waseem kempson
  • Sheikh Abu Usama Ad-Dharbi
  • Imam Shakeel Begg
  • Raheem Jung (Islam Channel)

Murtaza Khan has come out with these statements: “We should have a sense of shame. For how long have we seen our mothers, our sisters, and our daughters have to go and uncover themselves before these filthy non-Muslim doctors. We have become Jews in our clothing, Jews in our eating and Jews in everything that we do, and the other half is Christian in everything we do. Muslims are following one of these accursed nations. And people are still not waking up to understand the fact that these people are enemies towards us.”…

[JP note: Link to conference poster ]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Arab Spring on Big Screen in Bari Arab Film Festival

The first Arab Film Festival of Bari, Italy to be held from December 5 to 7 will be dedicated to the Arab Spring. Twenty five filmmakers from Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine, guest of honour of the festival, will take part in this event.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Egypt: More Clashes at Presidential Palace, Two Dead

All presidential advisors resign

(ANSAmed) — CAIRO — The political situation in Egypt seems about to explode, after Mohamed Morsi’s recent moves transformed the area around the presidential palace in Cairo into the scene of more clashes between his supporters and those opposing him. More blood has also been shed, with at least two people dying in the clashes this evening: a Muslim Brotherhood activist and a woman, ANSA was told by sources within the security forces.

Meanwhile, all of President Mohamed Morsi’s advisors announced their resignation, according to one of them, Ayman El Sayad.

Today, thousands of pro-Morsi demonstrators gathered in front of the presidential palace, taking down the tents of the opposition, who yesterday had been forced to leave them. This evening Morsi left the presidential palace while violent scuffles and stone-throwing were underway. “The blood which has been shed this evening at Ittahadeya cancels out the president’s legitimacy,” said Nasserite leader Hamdeen Sabbahi in a press conference with Mohamed El Baradei and Amr Moussa. Morsi is “to blame for the violence this evening”, and opposition groups are ready for dialogue if he withdraws his decree. Otherwise “the battle will go on”, Mohamed El Baradei said after a meeting of the National Salvation Front.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Libya: Al-Qaeda ‘Intensifying Efforts to Establish New Base in Libya’

by Con Cloughlin

Al-Qaeda is intensifying efforts to establish a new base for its terrorist operations in Libya following the recent attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, according to the latest Western intelligence reports.

The leaders of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the North African offshoot of the mainstream organisation, are making a concerted effort to link up with Ansar al-Sharia.

The CIA believes Ansar al-Sharia was behind the September 11 attack on the US consulate in which four people died, including US Ambassador Christopher Stevens. AQIM leaders are also attempting to establish ties with other Libyan Islamist groups in the hope of establishing an al-Qaeda fiefdom there similar to the one it has created in nearby Mali. Intelligence officials say that leaders of the AQIM movement have been travelling regularly to the desert town of Ghat in south-western Libya, close to the border with Niger. Their aim is to establish a foothold in Libya from which to launch attacks against Western targets, as well as gaining access to the large stockpiles of weapons — including Russian-made anti-aircraft missiles — that were looted by Libyan rebels during the fall of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s regime at the end of last year…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Three Dead, 350 Wounded in Egypt Violence

THREE demonstrators have died in clashes between opponents and supporters of Egyptian head of state Mohamed Morsi around the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt’s top rescue official says.

Mohamed Soltan told journalists on Thursday that the three were shot dead, while nearly 350 others were wounded.

It was the worst violence in Egypt since Morsi became the country’s first Islamist president in June.

He drew the wrath of the opposition and many in the magistrature by assuming exceptional powers under a November 22 decree.

Allies and foes of Morsi lobbed fire bombs and rocks at each other in the plush Heliopolis neighbourhood in a Cairo suburb as shots rang out early on Thursday.

Many of the opposition had left and a few hundred protesters remained outside the palace.

The violence spread beyond the capital, with protesters torching the offices of the powerful Muslim Brotherhood in the Mediterranean port city of Ismailiya and in Suez, witnesses said.

[Return to headlines]

Tunisia: Sixtieth Anniversary of Farhat Hached’s Assassination — UGTT March Disturbed

Tunis — The march staged by the Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT), on Tuesday at the Kasbah in Tunis, on the occasion of commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the Farhat Hached’s assassination, was disturbed by stone throwing. People, mainly members of the Revolution Protection League, came in large numbers, attempted to disrupt the march led by UGTT secretary-general Houcine Abassi himself and members of the labour union’s executive bureau, and shouted insults and various accusations at the marchers.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Tunisia: ‘UGTT is Murdered the Very Day We Commemorate 60th Anniversary of Leader Farhat Hached’s Assassination, ‘ Houcine Abassi

Tunis — Three members of the Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT) executive bureau, Hfaiedh Hfaiedh, Samir Cheffi and Mouldi Jendoubi, were assaulted on Tuesday, by members of the Revolution Protection League at the Mohamed Ali Square, just in front of the UGTT headquarters, according to labour union sources. “UGTT is murdered on the very day we are commemorating the 60th anniversary of the assassination of leader Farhat Hached, as trade-unionists have been attacked. This shows the real intentions of those sides,” UGTT Secretary-General Hassine Abassi told TAP news agency.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Tunisia: UGTT HQ Attacked, Unionists Almost Lynched in Video

Attack by gov’t supporters, former minister among the injured

(ANSAmed) — TUNIS, DECEMBER 5 — A shocking video broadcast on Nessma TV shows yesterday’s attack in Tunis on the central headquarters of the UGTT union by a group of government supporters. Hundreds are seen in the video just before they attack Tunisia’s most powerful union (its offices are located in central Tunis) and then during the attack itself, with the attackers using what seems an iron bar or railings to knock down the door. The attackers claim to belong to the League for the Protection of the Revolution, and their actions met with opposition from the severely outnumbered union members, who were soon forced to retreat.

The video shows the attackers chasing the union members and hitting them with sticks and flag poles. One of the most shocking sequences shows a unionist hit to the back of his neck by a stick, who then fell violently to the ground and continued to be kicked in the head, despite his clearly being unconscious.

A few minutes later police in anti-riot gear arrived in front of the union headquarters and placed themselves between the attackers and those attempting to defend the offices. However, the police seemed to take a passive stance in the video, despite the fact that the attackers continue to chase and beat one individual(evidently considered an adversary). Dozens were injured, including Said Aidi,former minister and representative of the Al Joumhoury party. Aidi sustained serious injuries to his face when he tried to put up resistance to the attack.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Europe Mulls New Mideast Peace Plan: Palestinian Official

RAMALLAH, Dec. 4 (Xinhua) — European countries are mulling a new plan to revive the peace talks that have been stalled since 2010 between Israel and the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), a Palestinian official said Tuesday. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said France, Russia and Britain are leading such efforts…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Israel Accuses US of Backing European Settlement Backlash

Israel has accused its closest ally, the United States, of endorsing a concerted European backlash against its plans to expand settlements in east Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Five European countries, including Britain, have registered formal protests with Israeli ambassadors over last week’s decision by Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to build 3,000 settlers’ homes and develop an area of the West Bank that could render a Palestinian state unviable. Along with Australia and Brazil, they were joined by Egypt, threatening to destabilise its fragile regional relations. The Egyptian foreign minister said it had registered a “strong protest” with Israel’s Cairo ambassador over the proposals. Despite the mounting international protest however, Mr Netanyahu’s office indicated there would be no backing down over its settlement plans. An official in Mr Netanyahu’s office told the AFP news agency: “There will be no change in the decision that has been made.”…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

The Conversation Israel and Palestine Needs to Have

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is spiraling out of control. Peter Beinart and Alan Dershowitz on the conversation both sides desperately need to have while peace is still a possibility.

From the Gaza war and the upgrading of Palestine at the U.N. to Israel’s announcement that it will likely build new settlements, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is spiraling out of control. We as coauthors disagree on the Palestinian U.N. bid, as on other important aspects of Middle Eastern politics. But on this we profoundly agree: negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority must resume, and fast. In the wake of the Gaza War, with Hamas growing stronger and the Likud lurching to the right, it is easier than ever to be pessimistic about the prospects for Israeli-Palestinian peace. But acquiescing to that pessimism means acquiescing to new spasms of terrible violence…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Middle East

2 Killed, 12 Injured in Fresh Fighting in Lebanon’s Tripoli

BEIRUT, Dec. 4 (Xinhua) — Two people were killed and 12 others wounded in a fresh fighting between the two rival neighborhoods of Sunni Bab El-Tebbaneh and Alawite Jabal Mohsenin in north Lebanon’ s port city of Tripoli, a security source said. The source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity that one man was killed and two others were wounded in Jabal Mohsen, while another man was killed and 10 others were injured in Bab El- Tebbaneh. Sniper fire is still ongoing in the area, which led to the closure of a main highway, as the Lebanese army that were deployed in the region sent out patrols in the area, separating the rival neighborhoods.

Tensions rose in the city amid conflicting reports about the death of Sunni Salafists gunmen from Tripoli, who tried to infiltrate the border region with the Syrian province of Homs.

Reports said an unknown number of young men were killed in an ambush by the Syrian government forces recently. Tripoli has repeatedly been the focus of the sectarian conflict linked to the troubles in Syria between pro- and anti-Syrian government gunmen from Sunni and Alawite groups, whose rival districts, Bab al-Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen, respectively, are divided by the main thoroughfare Syria Street.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

A US-Led Coalition Against Syria Could Include Israel

A military coalition led by the US, ready to intervene in case the Syrian regime uses chemical weapons against rebel forces, could include Israel, Maariv has reported. The US is ready to take military action “within days” if chemical weapons are used, according to reports. “It won’t require major movement to make action happen. The muscle is already there to be flexed,” a US official told The Times. “It’s premature to say what could happen if a decision is made to intervene. That hasn’t taken shape, we’ve not reached that kind of decision. There are a lot of options, but it [military action] could be launched rapidly, within days.” Countries involved in the combined force could include the UK and other European allies, The Times said. Maariv reported that Turkey and Jordan could also be involved. These reports come after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Israel’s National Public Diplomacy forum on Tuesday that the country is “closely monitoring” developments in Syria.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Italy Has No Plans to Cut Contingent to UN Lebanon Mission

‘UNIFIL more necessary than ever,’ says Monti

(ANSA) — Rome, December 5 — Premier Mario Monti said Wednesday that Italy has no plans to cut its contingent in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, UNIFIL.

“We haven’t spoken about extending the UNIFIL mission but I want to reiterate that Italy is not considering any further cuts to the number of the contingent in Lebanon because we believe the UNIFIL force is more necessary than ever, given the situation in the region,” Monti said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

NATO’s Turkey Missile Deployment “Inconducive” To Peace: China FM

BEIJING, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) — NATO’s decision to deploy Patriot missile batteries in Turkey is “inconducive to peace, security and stability” in the region, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said Wednesday. “Highlighting military factors and strengthening military existence are inconducive to the resolution of contradictions and disputes, and inconducive to the peace, security and stability in the whole region,” spokesman Hong Lei told reporters at a regular press conference, when asked to comment on the NATO decision…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Syria: ‘Russia is a Convenient Excuse to Do Nothing’

The US should intervene in Syria, if necessary with ground troops, argues Nadim Shehadi, associate fellow at Chatham House’s Middle East Program. At the moment, he told DW, the US has no policy toward Syria…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Syria: Children Freezing to Death, Italy to Sent 1.5mln Euros

‘We must act to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe’, Italian FM

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, DECEMBER 5 — In announcing EUR 1.5 million in immediate aid for Syrian refugees, Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi said that the humanitarian emergency “is extremely urgent, and we must prevent a humanitarian catastrophe”. The refugees are in camps on Syria’s borders in Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan, where there are “300,000 refugees”, and where “children are already freezing to death, as I have been told by the head of the Syrian opposition”.

Terzi noted that a plane would be leaving from Brindisi with the aid “over the coming hours”.

The Italian foreign minister said that “the humanitarian emergency that has been created by this extremely serious Syrian crisis has been Italy’s top priority from the very beginning. We tried to get the international community to act and we were among those who pushed the most for UN and EU programmes to help the refugees.” He went on to say that “there are already 300,000 refugees in Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon. We have arranged for additional, substantial aid to be delivered over the next few hours, over 1.5 million euros’ worth, including heating systems. Children are already freezing to death in some camps in Jordan, as I have been told by the leader of the Syrian opposition.” The minister then said that, as seen in the foreign ministers dinner at NATO headquarters, other European countries “are putting forth massive efforts” for humanitarian aid, noting that German Foreign Minister Westerwelle is preparing to allocate 70 million euros and that Italy will set aside 20 million euros “from the beginning of next year”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Turkey Opens an Arabic Website for Arab Visitors

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, DECEMBER 5 — Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism opened a website in the Arabic language to appeal to the Arab tourism sector, Anatolia news agency reports quoting Cumhur Guven Tasbasi, a senior official with the Ministry.

Tasbasi said that the website in Arabic language would increase the number of Arab tourists visiting Turkey. “We want our culture and tourism attaches in all corners of the world to promote Turkey on their website in the language of the country they serve in. Turkish Culture and Tourism Attache’s Office in Dubai began such services. We do hope that the number of Arab tourists visiting Turkey would increase significantly,” Tasbasi stated.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

South Asia

India: Not Another Mosque-Temple Tinderbox

by Rosina Nasir

The Charminar-Bhagyalaxmi temple row in Hyderabad could escalate into an Ayodhya-like situation if the powers that be do not cease from their polarising antics

It seems in secular India, encroachment and squatting to build illegal religious structures in public spaces are still quite rampant. Religion may be a private affair, but vested interests know well how to manipulate it in public spaces. By the time the administration or the state machinery takes cognizance, the event has already snowballed into a political crisis, now with fears of polarisation thrown in. Such polarisation was precisely what happened in Ayodhya, resulting in the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Faizabad district, Uttar Pradesh…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

India: Gujarat Polls: Who Will Hug the Muslims?

Although Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi carried out a year-long Sadbhavana Yatra to reach out to the state’s Muslim community, the fact is that no member from this minority group got a ticket to fight the polls under the BJP banner this year. “Sadbhavana Yatra was meant for the development of six crore Gujaratis. It was not for a particular community. We don’t look at it like that.It was for all,” said BJP spokesperson Jai Narayan Vyas in a CNN-IBN programme India@9. Denying that the absence of a Muslim candidate from the BJP list signifies that the party has no faith in them, Vyas said, “It is simply a matter of social engineering.”…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Over 500 Buddhist Artifacts Looted in Bangladesh

More than 500 artifacts were stolen from Buddhist monasteries in a coordinated attack on the minority faith in Bangladesh last month. Fourteen Buddhist monasteries reportedly came under attack by mobs of Islamists, as well as from Muslim Rohingya refugees from neighboring Myanmar (Burma). However, a criminal network with high level political links network may have […]

           — Hat tip: Takuan Seiyo[Return to headlines]

Australia — Pacific

Faith Off: Sparks Fly in Doveton Mosque Row

A local council has overwhelmingly rejected a call for a discussion on the “dangers” of Islam in an ongoing row over a planning application for a mosque in the south-eastern suburb of Doveton. At a City of Casey council meeting on Tuesday night, mayor Amanda Stapledon said a discussion on the “dangers” of Islam — proposed by deputy mayor Sam Aziz — would create a very poor perception in a multicultural community. Tensions between the mayor and her deputy were clear during a fiery debate in front of a large public gallery. Cr Aziz’s original notice of motion proposed to invite Pastor Danny Nalliah, known for his strong views against Islam, to address the council “on the dangers of indoctrinated religious intolerance to the values, freedoms and stability of liberal and democratic societies”…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Nigeria: Disquiet Over Sack of Jaji Military Chiefs — Jni Alleges Religious Bias

Abuja and Kaduna — The removal of two top military commanders in Jaji on Saturday is drawing sharp reactions from several quarters, including the JNI and senior security officials who allege the decision was tinged with religious bias. Commandant of the Armed Forces Command and Staff College (AFCSC), Air Vice Marshal Abdullahi Kure and the Corps Commander, Infantry, Major General Muhammad D. Isa, were removed over the twin blasts that killed 15 people at a church in the Jaji Military Cantonment a week earlier.

The Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI) pointed out in a statement in Kaduna yesterday that the speed with which the commanders were removed was never noticed in previous bombings of military formations. On Saturday, Chief of Defence Staff Admiral Ola Sa’ad Ibrahim named Air Vice Marshal E. E. Osim to replace AVM Kure at AFCSC and directed Major General K. C. Osuji to act as Corps Commander, Infantry. JNI Secretary-General Dr. Khalid Abubakar Aliyu said yesterday the fact that the two officers who were swiftly removed are Muslims, and were replaced by two officers who are non-Muslims, makes any discerning observer to be suspicious of the motives behind the exercise…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Nigeria: We’ll Dialogue With Boko Haram if … — FG

Abuja — Minister of State for Defence, Erelu Olusola Obada, said Tuesday that the Federal Government had not ruled out dialogue with the Boko Haram sect provided they were ready to come out from their hiding place…

[JP note: They’re behind you!]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Nigeria: Christians, Muslims Ask to Join Hands to Fight Terrorism

Worried over the current security challenges facing the nation, the Cherubim and Seraphim Movement Church (CSMC) Yandoka, Bauchi State, has enjoined members of the two major religions (Christianity and Islam) in the country to come together and take pragmatic steps aimed at putting an end to the present and unnecessary killings of innocent people, particularly in some parts of the northern Nigeria…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Somali Men Jailed in Rome for Piracy

Case relates to seizure of oil tanker in seas two years ago

(ANSA) — Rome, December 4 — Eleven Somali men were sentenced to prison for three and a half years Tuesday on charges of piracy and attempted kidnapping after an attack two years ago on an Italian vessel.

The Somalis were convicted of attacking the oil tanker Valdarno on January 16, 2011, off the coast of Yemen. The Italian tanker, which is part of the fleet of shipping company Navigazione Montanari, headquartered in Fano, managed to escape.

Italian marines arrested the pirates, who have been held in prisons in Rome.

Numerous Italian vessels have been seized by pirates who have taken millions in ransom payments by attacking vessels sailing in the Arabian Sea

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

South Africa: Beleaguered White SA Farmers Ask for State Protection

In the wake of hundreds of attacks and murders, a group of activists and farmers marched to Pretoria over the weekend to demand the state protect them and their property, International Business Times reports. Represented by farmers associations AfriForum and Solidarity — the beleaguered farmers asked Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa to declare such assaults “crimes of priority.” SAPS figures show the country’s overall murder rate stood at 51 per 100,000, while farmers’ murders stood at 99 per 100,000.

The farmers said that farm murders are marked by extreme brutality. Therefore, the argument that farm murders are ‘only murder’ does not hold water.” In a statement, AfriForum Deputy CEO Ernst Roets blamed the ruling ANC party and the South African Police Service (SAPS) of ignoring the plight of rural white farmers who are increasingly vulnerable to violence perpetrated by dispossessed blacks almost two decades after the fall of apartheid. “Farm murders are not only a crisis,” Roets said, “They are a catastrophe.”…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

South African Farmers Fearing for Their Lives

On Saturday, in an unprecedented move to mark the second anniversary of the slaughter of a farming family, survivors of farm attacks marched in Pretoria and called for attacks on South Africa’s mostly white farmers to be designated a crime of national priority.

Since the attack on Attie Potgieter and his family, the simple stone farmhouse where they lived has stood empty and crumbling, with nobody wanting to live in the home where one of South Africa’s most disturbingly brutal crimes took place. Mr Potgieter, a farm caretaker, was stabbed and hacked 151 times with a garden fork, a knife and a machete near Lindley in the Free State — the agricultural heart of the country. His wife, Wilna, and two-year-old daughter, Willemien, were both made to watch him die, before being shot in the head, execution style…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


Immigrants Absent From German Public Sector

In the last decade Germany has made great strides when it comes to integration. A recent study, however, shows a relative absence of children of immigrants working in the public sector. The OECD sees cause for alarm. Apparently those who object to immigration in Germany are also in control of public sector jobs. Or at least, that was the conclusion of a study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) presented in Berlin on Monday. According to the study, Germany takes a “sad last place” compared to the 34 other member states of the OECD when it comes to children of immigrants in the public sector, said the director of the study, Thomas Liebig…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Countryside is Under Threat in Migrant Surge

NEW houses will have to be built across Britain’s countryside to provide homes for a mass influx of immigrants, an MP has warned.

Tory backbencher Philip Hollobone used a Commons debate to raise concerns about a fresh surge of newcomers when border controls for Romanians and Bulgarians are relaxed next year.

He estimated that around 270,000 people will head to Britain from the two new European Union countries in the two years from the border shake-up scheduled for next December.

And he savaged the Home Office for failing to prepare for the potential threat to law and order and social cohesion from the looming influx.

“The British people won’t put up with this for much longer,” the MP said.

“I know through my humble experience as a special constable with the British Transport Police on London’s Underground network that some eight out of 10 shoplifters arrested by the police are from Eastern Europe.

Mr Hollobone raised his concerns about the end of temporary restrictions on immigration controls from Bulgaria and Romania in a debate in Parliament’s Westminster Hall annex.

He pointed out that 43 per cent of new homes under construction were already likely accounted for as a result of population growth spurred by immigration.

“What we are going to see is swathes of our countryside built over to accommodate the millions of new arrivals from the European Union, over which we seemingly have little control,” the MP said.

“The numbers are getting completely out of hand,” he told MPs.

“My constituents will be horrified to learn that from next December yet another hole in Britain’s border controls will be opened up with the prospect of unlimited immigration from Romania and Bulgaria.”

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

The Agenda Behind Gender Bending

We are now familiar with pro-homosexual bias both in the western media, and in the Anglo-American political elite. In the UK, increasingly media personalities and politicians openly promote the homosexual agenda.

The stated aim is for society to accept that the homosexual lifestyle is on a par with the traditional family paradigm. Anyone daring to question this assumption is attacked and branded as being “outdated, hateful, and offensive”.

The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey is the latest victim of such homosexual swarming. Even his former college (Kings College, London) is being pressured to remove his photograph from their famous alumni display. (Sounds like Stalin’s Russia doesn’t it?)

[Return to headlines]


Earth’s Earliest Dinosaur Possibly Discovered

A wonky beast about the size of a Labrador retriever with a long neck and lengthy tail may be the world’s earliest known dinosaur, say researchers who analyzed fossilized bones discovered in Tanzania in the 1930s.

Now named Nyasasaurus parringtoni, the dinosaur would’ve walked a different Earth from today. It lived between 240 million and 245 million years ago when the planet’s continents were still stitched together to form the landmass Pangaea. Tanzania would’ve been part of the southern end of Pangaea that also included Africa, South America, Antarctica and Australia.

It likely stood upright, measuring 7 to 10 feet (2 to 3 meters) in length, 3 feet (1 m) at the hip, and may have weighed between 45 and 135 pounds (20 to 60 kilograms).

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

NASA’s Next Mars Rover Should Collect Samples, Experts Say

The unmanned rover that NASA plans to launch toward Mars in 2020 should gather up Red Planet rocks and dirt for delivery to Earth someday, some experts say.

NASA science chief John Grunsfeld announced the new rover here Tuesday (Dec. 4) at the annual fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union. Details of the roughly $1.5 billion mission have yet to be worked out, but some big names in the Mars community are already pushing hard for a sample caching system.

“I hope and expect that its main mission will be to collect and cache a well-chosen set of samples for eventual return to Earth,” Steve Squyres of Cornell University, principal investigator for NASA’s Opportunity Mars rover, told via email.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]